Ways to Inspire Your Writing #WritingTips #WritingCommunity


Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

Ways I’ve found to inspire my writing

I often get asked where I go for inspiration. There are literally a million different storylines out there- you just have to be open to ideas.

The other night, on America’s Got Talent there was a trapeze act where the woman flipped in mid-air over a fiery pit of spikes. It made me wonder what her backstory was; why would she risk her life for a moment’s glory that way?

I follow a couple of amazing photographer blogs; Tofino Photography and Steve McCurry. Both of these men delve deep into the souls of their subjects. They fill me with awe and endless ideas for stories.

Another way that I get story ideas is from news clips. Whether you write murder mysteries, romance, paranormal, or true life there’s a story waiting to be told. Here’s an interesting story from my home province:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/possible-meteor-alberta-1.5457429

Many know my obsession with covers. I truly believe a great cover can lead to sales and the trickle effect of having your book noticed and talked about, but that’s not all. As a writer, if you decide on a cover prior to starting the book it can serve as inspiration for the story.

This is true for my contemporary romance, Valentine: A Hearts and Kisses Romance

Free from Feb 12-16

When I came across this cover, I immediately saw a rom-com and couldn’t resist snatching it up!

Blurb:

Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

Excerpt:

Val opened the door to the brownstone and ushered Norma Jean inside. What a fiasco. He was just glad it was over.

“Thanks for accepting my apologetic dinner. My aunt’s dog isn’t usually so…”

“Cute?” she supplied, smiling as he helped her remove her wet coat. Of course, it had to be pouring when they left the restaurant.

“Troublesome,” he corrected. Though really, he’d only been living here a week, so what did he know?

“It’s strange I never saw him here before your aunt became ill.” A horrified look crossed her pretty face. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

He shrugged, uncomfortable. She couldn’t, he barely knew his great-aunt. “It’s fine, we aren’t that close.” He hung her jacket by the door. “Maybe next time we go out we can avoid setting off the fire alarms.”

He’d meant it as a joke, but when he turned and caught the hopeful expression in her sky-blue eyes he cursed his loose lips.

“That sounds amazing,” she sighed, then glanced down the hall. “Something smells good.”

Oh, hell. He’d left his roast slow-cooking while he took her out, but he hadn’t planned on the delay with the water sprinklers and the firemen who wanted to know what happened. He’d be lucky if it wasn’t beef jerky by now.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’m stocking the freezer for those days when I don’t want to cook after work. Do you want to join me for coffee and a sandwich?” he offered reluctantly.

She gazed longingly down the hall, but shook her head. “Maybe next time. I need to study, mid-terms are coming up soon.”

He sighed his relief. She was nice, and would make a great friend, but he wasn’t interested in anything else. He’d been burned by women enough to last a lifetime. He’d give love a pass.

“Okay, well… have a nice night,” he ventured, waiting for her to go up the stairs to her room.

She laughed softly and leaned close to brush his cheek with her cherry red lips. “Don’t try so hard,” she murmured, before sashaying away on the stilts she wore for shoes.

Val rubbed his jaw and strode down the hall. Maybe they could just be friends.

He entered the kitchen expecting smoke, and instead found himself staring at the shapely bottom of a woman bent over his oven basting his roast while the mutt who’d ruined his day sat nearby, a sloppy grin on its narrow face.

Now what?

Your turn; what inspires you to write?

Don’t forget, Valentine is FREE until Feb 16th!

happy valentine's day

Meet the Author- #AuthorSpotlight #WritersHelpingWriters @JamesCudney4


Author Spotlight- James Cudney IV

I’m thrilled to have James Cudney on the blog today! He is as kind as he is handsome, and a darn good writer to boot. 🙂

I’ve followed his blog, This is My Truth Now, for some time and appreciate his generosity as much as the informative reviews he shares. If you need a good book to read, look no further than James Cudney IV!

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. I can’t believe I’m already writing the sixth book in this series. Come join in the fun…

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

Social Media Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Let’s Get to Know You

What do you write?

I have seven (7) published books. Two (2) are stand-alone family drama novels (Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure) and five (5) are part of the Braxton Campus Mysteries. Both the family drama novels include some amount of romance / relationship sub-plots. The mystery series follows all the cozy rules (no graphic sex, violence, vulgar language), but they are not very light anymore… they’ve gotten complex and push the envelope. I’d deem them murder mysteries with a twist. I’m working on three books for 2020, and there will be one from each of these two genres plus a third I will share more on early next year.

Ooh, I’m looking forward to that!

What genre do you favor?

At my core, I’m a mystery guy… but I intend to write a book in all major genres within the next ten years.

I can’t help but want to try all styles and angles to fully develop my writing skills and hone my areas of expertise. There will always be twists and cliffhangers (in my series) because that’s what I love doing.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I loved writing as a child, but it wouldn’t pay the bills, so it was only a hobby. After nearly 15 years in the workforce, I took a break to begin my writing career. Almost three years later, I will have 10 books published in 2020. Now, I think about finding a happy medium – both writing and part-time work in technology and corporate operations. I don’t know how to not be busy or multi-task.

You’re well on the road to success!

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

That’s a tough question! Couldn’t you ask my favorite drink instead? Oh, wait… that’s coming up later. LOL Let’s see… finding an agent and securing a publisher rarely happens when you look across the wider industry. I think that’s often the best opportunity to get your work noticed by the bigger sites and marketing companies; however, given the amount of time you might have to wait to even get lucky, it’s probably not ideal anymore. I tried for six (6) months, then decided to just jump in the water and navigate it myself.

Becoming ‘famous’ is fine balance of networking, strong writing, unique personality, and luck.

Sometimes you’re in a writing group and a literary agent notices you. Other times you’re writing an article or short story and the right publisher stumbles upon it. For many of us in the digital age, we build our following though book reviewing, blogging, and social media interaction. Ultimately, I think that’s the future… publishing companies don’t want to pay for expensive marketing, and if you don’t have your own following somehow, they often won’t take a big risk on you. That said, I’d suggest a compromise in between the two spectrums. Don’t do all the work yourself; you have to pay someone to help with either editing, promoting, marketing, or sales management. Know your own skills and use those first; let others with stronger talent handle the other aspects.

Good advice- obviously it’s working for you.

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

Cozy mystery, historical fiction, and thrillers. I like suspense a lot. I’ve read a few romance novels, and as long as they are about the relationship and the drama between the lovers, I enjoy them. (Hence why I like yours!!!) I was reading something lately where the term bodice-ripper was used (any idea where that came from? LOL). I’ve heard it before, and it’s kinda funny… under the right conditions, I could be caught reading one or two. But they would mess with my head too much, so I have to balance them with lighthearted fun and massive gore! 😊

I think bodice-ripper came from historicals featuring pirates ‘capturing’ fair maidens’ hearts 🙂 This from Urban Dictionary: An historical romance where the heroine has lots of non-consensual sex, which becomes consensual. 

How do you approach starting a new book?

Outline. Outline. Outline. Outline. Should I keep going? Phew, it’s exhausting, but I first dream about it. I lose sleep until the main plot is worked out. I write it out, then edit it until I love the story. Then I can write the book based on pre-determined scenes in my chapter by chapter breakdown. Within those scenes, it’s totally on the fly. I just know where it needs to start and where it needs to end up. Whether the characters laugh, cry, cheat, or kill… it’s all up to them at that point!

Sounds like you’re a plotser- part plotter, part pantser 🙂

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

Oh, you won’t like my answer. Ummmm… none? I don’t mean that how it sounds. I don’t learn from reading ‘how-to’ books. I learn from experience, conversation, and reading other people’s works. I see how they write, decide what works for me, incorporate pieces into my style, and end up with my own version of an approach. On the flip side, I’ve read some of the biggies and always find advice that makes perfect sense. I just struggle to read a ‘how-to’ book without actually doing the writing work while I’m reading.

That makes perfect sense to me- I’m the same way 🙂

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

Genealogy. Cooking. Gardening. Exercising. Playing with my dog. Theater. TV. Reading. I’m more of a homebody, but I do like to travel a lot too.

Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

Oddly enough, not really. I admire something in everyone I meet. Even when I dislike someone, they do something I think is good / acceptable enough that I figure out what I can learn from them. As a kid, I adored JFK, but as an adult, when I learned more about him, there were things I found troublesome to accept. In the end, I like personality types rather than specific individuals. For instance, JFK was a strong communicator and had amazing ideas to change the future, but if he truly had affairs, I am disappointed in some ways. I choose to focus on a person’s most common traits and actions, then I can consider them someone to admire, a hero to some degree.

I like that idea.

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

Nothing too atypical… but I did teach people how to bowl. I worked in a bowling alley for two years and learned the entire operation from 14 to 15. My favorite job was a grocery store clerk when I was 16 to 17.

What was your best date ever?

What’s a date? I think I remember those from a very long time ago. Is that when two people do something fun before they move in together or get married? Just kidding!!! I’m not sure I have a favorite one, but I do recall my second date with W (significant other) the most. We had our first date right before Christmas in 2011, but W left the next day to visit family and then travel to Europe for two weeks. The anticipation of having our second date was intense, and I always remember how nervous I was… I worked in Manhattan but lived in Long Island. It took 90 minutes by train each way, and I kept thinking… we’re not meeting for dinner until 8… I’m not getting home until well after midnight, then I have to come right back into the city for work the next morning. It helped me decide to sell my house in Long Island and buy a place in Manhattan. And the date lasted well past midnight, so I was a very tired guy the next morning after that ridiculous commute. (Keep those thoughts clean, friends… you didn’t think I stayed over in the city that night, did you?)

Sounds like you were already committed to the relationship- a romance in the making!

Tell us something you are really proud of.

For someone as shy and nervous around other people as me, and for someone who absolutely hates conflict and being judged, I wrote and published 7 books and deal with the negative feedback in a much healthier manner now. It’s simple. If you didn’t like my book, there’s something wrong with you, right? Ha! Just kidding… about that last statement. I get angry or upset when it happens on occasion, but it takes a day to feel better now. It used to take me weeks to recover.

Readers don’t realize how much courage it takes to put our precious book babies in their hands.

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

Relaxing. I can’t stop my mind from working in overdrive. Ever. I try to do nothing, but it never works out. I have to drink a bunch, but then I feel bad the next morning, so it’s a vicious cycle.

Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate all the way. I am a sweet dessert guy, not a salty snack guy. Feed me chocolate and I am yours forever.

Good to know 😉

If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?

Read people’s minds or move from place to place more quickly. I don’t like not knowing what someone’s thinking, so I’d rather hear it and deal with the consequences than let the worry eat me alive. Plus, if I moved quickly enough, no one could catch me!

Fancy restaurant or picnic?

Picnic, but I do go to my fair share of fancy restaurants. I enjoy it, but there’s something comforting and thrilling about a stunning picnic in nature.

Beer or wine?

Wine. I drank beer in college. I like the occasional one now at a picnic or BBQ, but I’d rather have a glass of wine with dinner. And Jack Daniels and ginger ale as a pre-dinner cocktail. Or seven. Whatever is appropriate for the evening.

Favorite author?

Agatha Christie. Kate Morton. Henry James. Ken Follett.

Smooth or hairy?

Oh! Hmm… are you asking if I am, or what I prefer? Now this is an interesting question… Based on reading your past interviews, a majority of your interviewed authors are female. Now I’ve got a spotlight on me and have to figure out how to respond appropriately. Can we jump back to the beer or wine question?

Lol- put you on the spot, did I?

I have a little bit of hair. If you follow my social media accounts, there was a recent shirtless picture (which I hemmed and hawed over for at least thirty minutes before posting), so you know it’s just a small amount. I HATE shaving my face too, so I tend to have 3-day growth all the time. I get too itchy after a week, so the sweet spot is twice per week to shave, often based on meetings or other events.

In others… I am an appreciator of all varieties. There are days when I think smooth is much cleaner to look at and ogle from a distance. On some occasions, the rugged and rough look can really be an intense picture to drool over, right? I think I’d settle on somewhere in the middle… then it’s up to the moment to decide what to do or how naughty to be.

I think I navigated that well unless you were actually talking about furry or non-furry throw pillows on couches and beds. Did I mess up this question? Let’s see what Jacquie actually prints. I think I need to go hide now… I say with a scarlet red complexion cascading from my ashamed forehead down to my shaking toes.

You did fine, though now I want to see the shirtless photo!

Books by the Author

147 4 star ratings!

Watching Glass Shatter (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama)

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family. Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death. We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits. https://amzn.to/2ol6IHe

Father Figure (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama)

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies. Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent. Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. https://amzn.to/2NagJiD

BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERY SERIES

Academic Curveball: Death at the Sports Complex (#1)

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled. Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever. In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss. https://amzn.to/2JlmHMw

Broken Heart Attack: Death at the Theater (#2)

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan is back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright? https://amzn.to/2qGofKB

Flower Power Trip: Death at the Masquerade Ball (#3)

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus? As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion. Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him. https://amzn.to/2Jm7E5r

Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car (#4)

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case from shortly before Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby is discovered near an electrified dead body during the campus cable car redesign project, Kellan must investigate the real killer to protect his brother. Amidst sorority hazing practices and the victim’s connections to several prominent Wharton County citizens, a malicious motive becomes more obvious and trickier to prove. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized, and if he wants to move forward, he must make a few ruthless sacrifices. Election Day is over, and the new mayor takes office. Nana D celebrates her 75th birthday with an adventure. A double wedding occurs at Crilly Lake on Independence Day. And Kellan receives a few more surprises as the summer heat settles in Wharton County. https://amzn.to/2N67tw4

Haunted House Ghost: Death at the Fall Festival (#5)

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost. https://amzn.to/2Pdc5TT

Coming Soon!

Frozen Ice Bank: Death at Danby Landing (#6) – Coming in 2020

A winter blizzard unlike any other descends upon Wharton County. Everyone’s so busy preparing for the four towns to shut down that they don’t realize Nana D has gone missing until it’s too late. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed psychic never could’ve prepared him for this level of massive damages. Once a dead body turns up beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must turn to April to face his worst fear of all. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother? Meanwhile, Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. April wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward with an unremitting vengeance. Between helping Kellan locate Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of a prominent Braxton citizen, April’s world explodes with more turmoil than she can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about Madam Zenya’s latest premonition—the suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

If you enjoyed this interview, show James some support by commenting and hitting those share buttons!

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

Bitmoji Image

Meet the Author @SarahMallery1 #NewRelease #Writertips


Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

It is my pleasure to introduce a friend and fellow writer, Sarah Mallery, to the blog today! I met Sarah a couple of years ago when we participated in a box set together. She’s talented, kind, and hard-working.

Please welcome Sarah!

What do you write?

For the last ten years, I have mostly written historical fiction. BUT I have now dipped my toe into different waters. “Tea, Anyone? Book 1 Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery” is a modern mystery––with a bit of time travel (Gotta get in some historical research, don’t I?)

What genre do you favor?

I am very eclectic in my tastes in music, movies/TV series. And books.  Although historical fiction has played a big part in my life, I really am open to any genre––if the characters and plots grab me.  In fact, it sometimes surprises me how much I end up liking a book that I thought I’d never get into, because of the author’s skill of reeling me in.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I actually have a little story about that. First off, you have to understand that I come from a family of writers. My dad was a television writer from the Golden Age of Television up into the 1970s, my grandfather and great uncle were both Pulitzer Prize winners, my grandmother, aunts and uncles were all editors. The result? I wasn’t going to touch writing with a ten-foot pole! But then something happened…at the age of fifty.

My very first short story was written just outside of a Macy’s Foundations department, where I waited for my then teenage daughter to select a few bras. She was taking her sweet time, so, as I sat on a leather couch nearby, I got out a little pad and pencil and started scribbling a short story. Forty-five minutes later, my daughter appeared, apologizing heartily for taking so long. I looked up at her, dazed, my mind exploding with inspired thoughts and images.

            “It’s okay, honey,” I told her. “Why don’t you go back and check out some panties?”      

Twenty years later, I feel the same way. Once I start writing, time stops for me.

Talk about having a legacy to live up to! But you managed just fine 🙂

Are you published?

Yes. Through Amazon Digital Services LLC.  Check out my Amazon page below.

Where can you be found on social media?

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/S.-R.-Mallery/e/B00CIUW3W8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Website or blog:  https://www.srmallery.blog

Newsletter:  https://www.subscribepage.com/t6s5a7

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/s-r-mallery

Twitter – @SarahMallery1

Facebook – https://bit.ly/2BTGs8H

Goodreads – https://bit.ly/2k9tefZ

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/sarahmallery1/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mallerysarah/

Audible – https://adbl.co/2MsT23o

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

Having had the experience of being published through a small press that didn’t do much for me promotion wise, and after talking to a few authors who were published through some pretty big houses then left to be an Indie, I realized I, too, was happy being an Indie.  I get to see exactly how much money I make every day, both from sales and pages read, I can easily set up sale prices, and I feel I have complete control over my book cover and manuscript. I was once told by a potential agent that my western romance, “The Dolan Girls,” could possibly be accepted by a big publishing house, and was I interested in signing up with them? I was just about to release it myself as an Indie, but after looking at the covers on the publisher’s site, I decided I didn’t want to change mine to look like so many of theirs. Besides that, I knew that if my book were actually taken, the book probably wouldn’t have come out for at least another year or two. Nah. That wasn’t going to work for me…

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

Again, I like them all. I even read a couple of Zombie books and was amazed by how much I got into them. It was all because the author had made the characters very appealing and the story compelling. Bingo. A no brainer…

How do you approach starting a new book?

At first, I come up with an idea of what I want to write about. It can come from anywhere. From an article I’ve read, a quote I saw at some point, a picture that grabbed me, a book with plot suggestions. Then, I start thinking of scenes. I write them down on little pieces of paper or 3 x 5 cards and shove them into a large manila envelope. Every time I watch a movie or television show, look at a picture book, or just observe something in my life, I jot down my thoughts and throw them into that envelope. Maybe it’s a throwback to when I was a quilt designer and put together all these little pieces together to create blocks. Who knows? It’s just how my mind works.

What a unique idea!

I ALWAYS make sure I know pretty how much how I’m going to start the book…and how I’m going to end it. Once I’ve at least settled on that, I can relax and proceed. After I have amassed quite a lot of little tidbits, I take them all out, paper-clipped them into categories/characters/plot, and start thinking of where they’ll go in chapters. Basically, I’m a Planner with a Pantser Rising. In other words, generally, I want to know where I’m going, but I’m not opposed to changing my mind at a moment’s notice.

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

I use a lot of different books, but these are the three I consistently use:

“Master Lists for Writers” by Bryn Donovan

“The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

“The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits” by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

1) Sometimes, to de-stress, I just go onto my Youtube app and watch all kinds of videos. Puppies, kittens, parrots, toddlers dancing to music, funny Late Night opening monologues, scenes from comical movies––whatever does the trick. Or maybe watch a comedy with hubby where we both howl with glee. Forget meditation. For me, letting those laughing endorphins loose hits the spot!

2) I also like to water my plants because I listen to music while I’m doing it and I’m outside (negative ions, negative ions).

3) I enjoy having family and friends over (once I’ve cleaned up the house, that is!).

4) I like my Senior and Fit exercise class. Not only is it helping me physically––as someone who is past thirty (WAY past)––before class and after, it is like walking into a cocktail party, everyone is so chatty and friendly.

5) And lastly, I love to cuddle with my cat, Junebug. She’s actually featured in my “Tea, Anyone?” So now, I write notes on what cute things she does for future books in the series. Does she realize why I’m taking out a pad and pencil as I coo at her? Maybe. But chances are, she’s just wondering when I’m going to feed her next.

Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

I’m going to just name some groups of people.

1) Fire fighters who continually deal with great danger all the time. We owe them so much!

2) People who stand up against injustices in the world, no matter their jobs or politics.

3) Scientists who work tirelessly to discover cures for horrendous diseases.

4) People with crippling conditions who fight every day just to survive.

5) People who quietly donate great sums of money to charities without any fanfare.

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

Well, once at a job interview, the guy took one look at my resume and said, “You’re either amazing because of how many careers you’ve had… or you’re insane.”

Before entering the writing world, I’d been a singer (both classical and pop/disco), a calligrapher, a secretary, a waitress (a singing waitress to be exact), a production artist, a composer for educational films, a quilt designer, an English As a Second Language teacher, an accent reduction teacher, and a reading teacher.

Wow! When did you sleep? lol

What was your best date ever?

I know this sounds corny as all get out, but it was with my husband, some forty years ago. At the time, I was the female singer of a little band, playing in all kinds of small establishments. One of them looked like the set of the TV show, “Cheers.” Charming place. Anyway, my then non-hubby was in the crowd and came over to talk to me on each of my breaks. Finally, he asked me for my phone number, but being cautious, I took his number instead. When I did call him several days later he said he was happy to hear from me, and could I meet up with him on the commercial set where he was working? Turned out he designed and built props for commercials. And being a creative sort, I loved seeing what he had designed, and how clever his little village looked. After the shoot was over, we went out for dinner and drinks. Why was it the best date? Not because we did anything so special. No high-speed racetracks, no skydiving, no watching a fabulous Broadway show, no moonlight drive with the top down. It was just a simple date with a handsome, intelligent man who made me feel unbelievably comfortable––and safe.  

Sounds wonderful to me.

Tell us something you are really proud of.

I know I should be proud of having written ten books, with two of them receiving READERS’ FAVORITE gold medals. But if I really think about it, I think I’m most proud of staying involved with the wonderful world of authors online. People who not only are talented, but are also kind, sympathetic, and full of great stories. I’ve met men and women who have sometimes had to deal with unbelievable hardships in their lives, yet still soldier on, writing, and supporting other authors. It truly touches my heart.

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

I wish I was better at promoting…but I’m learning, learning every day.

Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate chips, particularly in ice cream. Or chocolate chip bars. Yummmm.

If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?

I would immediately change the basic personalities of all the nasty, greedy people in the world who only care about themselves and no one else. Don’t get me started…

Fancy restaurant or picnic?

Well, I’d start with a picnic. But at the first sign of ants, it’s off we go to a fancy restaurant!

Beer or wine?

Wine––preferably white.

Favorite author?

I have several, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it’d be Harper Lee. Love her simple yet lyrical words, her “show don’t tell” writing, and her amazingly touching characters.

Smooth or hairy?

We’re talking about men, right? LOL

Face, chest, or butt? All I can say is if it’s the bottom of their feet, that’s a real problem…

Lol, great answer 🙂

And now for some promo:

“Tea, Anyone? Book 1 Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery Series”

http://BookShow.me/B07Z59QTMC

AMAZON BLURB :

How do two modern, quirky, twenty-something gals solve murders in a small, cozy USA town?

Easy. With a little time travel, some humor, and a lot of hard work. When the skeptical Brooke first meets the psychic Abby, she’s not impressed. But with the help of her comfort cat, her middle-aged roomie, her childhood friend, and a hunky detective hinting at a sweet romance, Brooke not only accepts that Abby has real gifts, it’s clear that these five people and one cat make up a crack team.

 
Got tea, anyone? In 1773, the Boston Tea Party sure did. Find out why going back in time helps break the case!
#Cozy mystery, #Time travel, #Paranormal, #Murder, #Cats #US History, #Humor

Excerpt

4)  It takes a small Village…the Gang of Five’s meeting

The pizza dinner that night was a free-for-all. Henry, Brooke, Larry, Tony, and Abby couldn’t shut up for one second as they each tried to tell everyone the facts they had unearthed. Brooke likened their words to the twelve-tone music Henry had once forced her to hear at New York City’s Lincoln Center. In both cases, there was a mix-master of chaotic noise.

Finally, Larry placed two fingers in his mouth and blasted out a high-pitched whistle.

Dead silence. Except for June’s questioning meow.

“Okay. One at a time,” Larry commanded. “And raise your hand if you want to be heard.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Brooke snapped.

“Especially you, Brooksy. Now, who wants to speak first?”

Everyone shot up his or her hand at the exact same nanosecond.

Sighing, Larry shook his head. Meanwhile, Abby ripped up little pieces of paper, wrote numbers on each one, crumbled them up, and mixed them together in an empty bowl.

“Let’s do it like they do in first grade.” Abby handed out one crumbled paper ball to each person. “Let’s see who has number one.”

Brooke held up her wrinkled paper, triumphantly. “I do, I do. I go first!” she called out.

“See? First grade,” Abby said.

Everyone laughed.

“Okay. Here’s what I found,” Brooke said. “I have a document from the Sheffield Company that includes a few names and initials of their customers. Also, we’ve got an old journal page that gives out names, possible events, and now I’ve got some possible DNA proof that evil can run in families.”

Larry raised his hand. “I’m number two. According to Henry, the Whitman family, who has a history of some pretty shady business practices, now has a lawyer––Ruth Novak’s ex-husband, by the way––who also practices some under-the-table dealings. Turns out, after Cathy and Wynnie were murdered, their dear brother, Michael, made out with millions. Almost instantly. To me, that smells.”

Tony slowly raised his hand. “I’m next. What about Collin? Have we forgotten about him? I know he passed a polygraph, but I found out from an interview with the Whitman maids that he used to be there at their mansion all the time, in his––” He pulled out a small note paid and read his notes out loud. “His fancy suits and expensive shoes. That’s a far cry from the groundskeeper position he has now. I say he had a definite motive for murder, even if he doesn’t come from a––” He added the next two words in air-quotes, ‘evil family.’”

Henry raised his hand halfway. “Since Larry took over my little speech…” He shot a fake dirty look at the detective. “I’m now going to add something about Michael Whitman. He not only got a large inheritance. He left their home years before. In fact, in his high school yearbook, when asked what his goal was in life, he actually wrote, ‘To leave home and my family as soon as possible.’ To me, he wasn’t so thrilled with any of them. And boy, one look at his photograph back then, and you could see the anger written all over his face.”

After some general mutterings, everyone turned to Abby.

“Okay, my turn,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about all of this. A lot. I keep coming back to one thing, besides the evil family, I mean. And that is, what’s the significance of the journal? How can we connect that with our modern life?”

As everyone sat still, even Junie paused during mid fur-washing lick to gaze up at the clairvoyant.

Brooke shot up her hand. “Ooooh-oooh! I know!”

“She’s definitely in first grade,” Larry said.

Jacquie, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I so appreciate it!!

Sarah

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

Bitmoji Image

Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque #amwriting #BookReview @tammi_ninja


Are you struggling with email? Newsletter numbers getting you down? Fewer people opening your messages? No real reaction when you launch a book?

There’s another way—better way.

Imagine having a large list of happy readers who devoured every email you sent. Or launching a book and activating an army of fans who did the selling for you. You could be that person, with the help of Newsletter Ninja.

Newsletter Ninja is a comprehensive resource designed to teach you how to build and maintain a strongly engaged email list—one full of actual fans willing to pay for the books you write, rather than free-seekers who will forget your name and never open your emails.

• Learn new ways to think about your email list
• Re-energize your existing subscribers
• Embrace not just the basics, but next level methods
• Improve engagement and watch those open/click rates soar
• Build a happy list of passionate readers
• Launch your books into the charts

You’ll get a handle on open rates, click rates, and engagement—while also learning about yourself, your readers, and what you’re really selling when you send an email. (Spoiler: it’s not your books.)

Whether you’re building a mailing list, want to grow an existing one, or simply want to raise your email game, Newsletter Ninja has solutions that will work for you.

Biography

Tammi Labrecque lives in Bangor, Maine with two kids, three cats, and dozens of fictional characters that keep her awake nights.

She writes under a few pen names across several genres, including romance, fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, LitRPG, and horror.

Under her own name, you can find her writing romance novels that no one reads or teaching at newsletterninja.net.

My Review

This book has been on my radar for quite a while now. It was highly recommended by marketing guru David Gaughran and The Creative Penn.

I’ve been actively working toward a strong mailing list/author website as I agree with the importance of not counting on social media as a reliable marketing basis.

Tammi explains how to build your newsletter from the ground up. She’s smart, funny and uses easy-to-implement techniques. She also added a host of helpful links in the back to reference just about any questions you might have.

A big section of the book relates to the behind the scenes work needed to set up a successful newsletter (I found some great tips here!) and then she walks us through the best ways to connect with our readers, once we have them, and how to keep them from hitting that unsubscribe button. Also, she explains the importance of gaining an active fanbase as opposed to those who never open our newsletters and therefore bring down our rankings with email providers.

There’s a ton of useful information here. I know I’ll be going through it again and again!

I give Newsletter Ninja 5+ lovely kisses- Add this to your Writer’s Toolbox!

Bitmoji Image

Spinning Tires #WritersLife #amwriting


Spinning My Tires

Lately it feels as though my writing has come to a standstill and I’m just spinning tires without going anywhere.

We were talking about this at my local critique group meeting and I realized- thankfully- that at least I’m not alone with this dilemma.

Some call it writer’s block or writer’s slump, maybe winter doldrums, but whatever you name it, it can lead to depression and feelings of anxiety. I know I’ve been questioning why I put myself through this lately.

But, this is the thing… If you’re a writer, you write. It’s almost as important as breathing, so I’ve decided to search the internet for some inspirational quotes to help me (and you) feel better.

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.

Wolfgang Puck
BrainyQuote.com

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin
BrainyQuote.com

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

E.L. Doctorow
BrainyQuote.com

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury
BrainyQuote.com

Today, I’m celebrating a landmark birthday and rather than allowing myself to dwell on getting older, or the fact my pen seems to have temporarily run dry, I’m going to concentrate on the positives- I have my health, a supportive family, fantastic writing friends, and it’s spring- anything is possible!

Newsletter Goodies

If you like deals and steals, check out my newsletter here: https://app.mailerlite.com/g7j1r2/

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well #Reading


Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

 

 

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

 

Keeping the magic of #romance alive – Sally Cronin @sgc58 #Inspiration #WritersHelpingWriters


Keeping the magic of romance alive – Sally Cronin

 

 

My thanks to Jacquie for inviting me to share my views on romance. It is one of the elements of our lives which is universal, and much sort after. People often ask what the secret to a happy relationship is… darned if I know. All I can offer you is some of the little things I have come to appreciate over the last 50 odd years of dating and relationships. Make that 55 as I had a crush on Peter Birch at primary school age ten which resulted in my first broken heart!

Because many of you who are reading this are writers, I thought you might be interested in a few statistics on the billion-dollar-a-year Romance book industry via Romance Writers

  • The annual total sales of romance novels per year is in excess of a billion dollars.
  • Romance novel share of the U.S. fiction market is 34%.
  • 82% of romance readers are women.
  • Average age is 35-39.

What interested me about these statistics is that romance is a hot ticket item. It is also evident that romantic stories are very much sought after by women, but clearly not as high on the list for men. Something that those who feel men are sometimes not as romantic as they might be, would find interesting!

Another statistic is that the average age of those seeking out romance stories is between the ages of 35-39… which begs the question… Do women in their 40s, 50s, 60s give up on romance, or they are simply not catered for by the romance writers?

Like most young girls of my generation, I was infused with the myths surrounding love and romance at an early age. Between fairy tales and my mother’s desire to make the goal of romance clear cut in my mind, I surmised that at some point a Prince Charming, on a white horse, would sweep into my life, whisk me off my feet, and we would ride off into a future of bliss, children and Happy Ever After.

I was encouraged to take the available wisdom to heart, and with hopes and dreams of my own, embarked on my own dating adventures. The trouble with ingrained expectations is that they are not always as revered by others, particularly the opposite sex.

However, after some false starts, at the age of 20, a more mature Prince Charming of 26 did arrive, in uniform and driving a classic American sports car. It seemed that expectations had been met and exceeded, and it was crowned with a spectacular wedding with matriarchal approval on both sides. We drove off into the sunset with clanging tin cans behind the steed… which proved to be tolling bells of doom!

Trouble is what you see is not always what you get! And when compounded with differing expectations of what a relationship is supposed to be, and a lack of commitment of one of the participants, things tend to fall apart. After four years, some interesting life lessons, and an expensive legal intervention which took three years, I finally managed to extricate myself with a vow to never marry again.

Then wouldn’t you know it, six months later, into my life walked a softly-spoken, unassuming guy who took me out on a date and asked me to marry him before the night was over. Five weeks later, without any ceremony, and with just our parents in attendance, we exchanged rings and our own vows.

The last 38 years have taught me that romance is not one-size fits all, is unique to two people who love each other, and is not always about red roses and chocolates.

Some of the elements that spell romance for me.

As Jeremy Taylor quoted ‘Love is Friendship set on Fire’. Of course there is that initial, and amazing firework display of hormonally induced physical attraction, which then evolves over the years into a familiarity that can still be breathtaking. However, without the essential elements of like-mindedness, shared moral code, sense of humour, and appreciation of another’s unique personality, the fire of romance slowly dies down to embers.

An analogy I often use for romance between two people, is that it is like an extended ballroom dance that flows and whirls with two partners in perfect sync. Always staying within the limits of the dance floor, allowing other styles come into play, with fiery tangos and playful sambas as the tempo of the music changes. Even when there is a momentary loss of connection, there is a coming together again, and the dance always finishes in a firm embrace.

Whilst there may be the occasional extravagant gesture when a special event warrants it, mostly it is the small things that keep romance alive and flourishing.

 

 

Red roses are wonderful, and we all love to receive a bouquet on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. But it is the odd flower brought in from the garden and laid on a breakfast tray, a small tree planted in the garden that blossoms every spring, or the paper flower, misshapen and oddly coloured that appears by a bedside, that really help to keep romance alive.

Romance is waking up on every birthday to find cards hand-made from images of sea, sunflowers, cats and dogs, golden sunsets with handwritten verses inside that come from the heart. It is also those few minutes on your wedding anniversary when you sit silently, holding hands and remembering that special day and the people who are no longer there to share the memories with you.

True romance flourishes when you are unwell and scared and a strong hand holds yours and a voice close to your ear, tells you that it will be alright, that you are safe. It is when you suffer a loss and cry together and heal together. It is when you walk through the door and someone says, ‘hi love, how was your day?’

Romance is when the last words before you go to sleep are ‘I love you’

 

Romance does exist after 39 years old, whatever the statistics might say.

Romance and love go hand in hand, and as I watch very old people together, you can tell the ones who still adore and respect each other. It is easy to still see that spark and twinkle in the eyes, the small touches of a hand or brush of lint from a shoulder. That unity has been welded from years of life, laughter, sadness, joy, disappointment, excitement and love. Thousands of cups of tea, breakfasts in bed, dances in the kitchen, date nights, holding hands in the movies and vigils by a sickbed, have gone into the rich tapestry that is romance. There might be a faded red rose pressed between the pages of a diary, or a diamond ring that comes out on special occasions, but it is these small daily gestures that will have kept the romance alive and will continue to do so long after one or both of them dies.

Romance is also about the things we don’t do in a relationship.

We don’t belittle someone we love in public and then say ‘But you know I love you’.

We don’t bully them and then say we are doing it ‘Because you know I love you.’

We don’t marry who we believe is Prince Charming or the fairy princess, and then set about changing them by saying ‘You know it is because I love you.’

We don’t take the actions of those we love for granted, and saying ‘thank you’ for a meal, a wardrobe full of clean clothes or for being a great mum or dad, goes a long way to keep romance alive.

Romance is not about making someone happy or expecting them to make you happy. Your happiness is your responsibility and choice. Putting the onus for your happiness on someone else is a very quick way to lose them.

I will leave you with one of my favourite poems on romance from Elizabeth Barrett Browning courtesy of The Poem Hunter

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Most of my stories have an element of romance.. and with my latest book, I have even got a Prince Charming (the good kind).

 

About Tales from the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

 

Here is a selection of my other books… an amazing gif designed by Paul Andruss… thanks Paul

 

All my books in Ebook are available: Amazon UK

And Amazon US: Amazon US

You can read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: Goodreads

Please connect to me via my Blog

Thank you Jacquie for or having me over and for allowing me to share my thoughts on Romance..♥

 

Finding Your Voice #Writertips #amwriting


laptop-3087585_640 (1)

 

When I first began my writing career I took a LOT of online classes on craft, editing, revision, grammar, technique, and the one thing that kept coming up was the need to discover your voice. The unique something that distinguishes your work and keeps your readers coming back for more.

But how?

What do the experts mean by voice anyway?

Do you have a favorite author? One whose pages you could read without seeing the cover and you’d STILL be able to say without a doubt, yes, that is definitely their book?

I thought so 🙂

That’s voice!

 

It’s a distinctive style that sets the writer’s work apart from anyone else. Some use setting, such as bestselling and award-winning author Louise Penny. Her books are set in and around the scenic mountain town of Three Pines, Quebec. If a fan were to read a brief passage from any of her books they would know who wrote the novel.

Other writers have a certain way with characterization that’s a dead giveaway, such as Jill Shalvis. Her writing style is part sass, part angst, and a whole lot of heat!

 

 

One of the best styles of voice comes with deep POV (point of view).

Military romantic suspense author Suzanne Brockmann does this better than most. Deep point of view is when the character acts, thinks, or talks and there is no need to add a name tag because we know this character. He/she is as real as if we were watching them on our favorite television series. Suzanne does this by creating distinct mannerisms that we immediately associate with that person. She does this so well, she can write entire passages without a name/ and frequently does, and yet it’s easy to know who is talking at any given moment.

Voice is something a writer gains with time. It can’t be forced, but for readers it’s that magic thing that will make them your fans. If you have a backlist take another look, you might be pleasantly surprised 🙂

I’m currently working on a summer romance set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A theme that runs through my stories is the value of family, and this one is no different.

Here’s the blurb for Sweetheart Cove:

Josie Sparks is looking for escape after a disastrous relationship. A summer job on a small Pacific Northwest island seems perfect. That is, until she meets her irascible new boss. She thinks she can help his sweet little girl–he’s another story.

Jacob Samuels needs someone reliable to care for his special needs daughter, but is sorry he trusted his sister with the task when help arrives in the shape of a too-young, too-tempting therapist with pain-filled eyes he can’t ignore.

Sand, surf, and soft island breezes bring two lonely hearts together in this heartwarming tale of second chance romance and a love that lasts forever.

 

SClargeFront

 

Exclusive excerpt

Josie wasn’t sure how she got through the next few days. She must have acted reasonably normal because no one questioned her absentmindedness, even when she set the puppy’s food in the refrigerator instead of the pantry where it belonged. Jacob’s kiss lived front and center in her thoughts, and his hard, masculine body encompassed her dreams. A moody, short-tempered grump who made her pulse skyrocket.

How could she feel this way about him when she’d been hours from marrying another man a month ago? She added fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to the picnic basket she’d prepared and glanced down at the pup sitting quietly at her feet. “If you’re looking for handouts, you’ll just have to wait. No offence, but I don’t trust your stomach in the car.”

“Is it time yet?” Jane wheeled into the kitchen, her face expectant. The dog, thinking it was playtime, crouched, nose on his front paws, butt in the air and tail wagging a mile a minute. He let out a couple of excited yips, then raced around the room and jumped against Jane’s short-clad legs. “Ow, Mischief, that hurts,” she cried, then stopped in shock and stared at the red marks already fading from her skin. “It hurt,” she whispered.

Josie pushed the dog out of the way and crouched at the little girl’s side. “Honey, this is great. I’m so happy for you. We better tell your father, so he can get you into the specialist for a checkup.”

Jane shook her head and gripped Josie’s wrist. “No. Can we keep it a secret? Please, Josie? Just for a while. I want to get better and surprise Daddy by walking. Please?”

Her pleading eyes undid Josie. How was she supposed to say no to that? She nodded. “Okay, but if you have any pains at all, you tell me, understand?” She patted Mischief’s silky head. “Guess your dad knew what he was doing, getting you a dog. Maybe we should name him Miracle instead of Mischief.”

Jane giggled. “It’s not Mischief, Josie. It’s you. You’re the miracle.”

 

 

I’d like to think I’m gaining a voice, but you the reader are the only ones who can tell me whether I’m right. What do you think? 🙂

The BadReadHead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge #BookReview #WriterTips @RachelintheOC


51fqxtuiZaL

 

THE SINGLE BEST TOOL every writer needs NOW to build, boost, and grow their author platform.

Unsure how to market your book or feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of author platform options out there (or not even sure what the term means)? Ever wish someone could break it down for you in simple steps?

Then this is the book for you!

Over the course of one month, Rachel provides you daily challenges containing a wealth of information, and easy to follow assignments to help energize your book sales. If you haven’t released your book yet, this book will help you set the stage necessary to build the strongest foundation possible for success.

Topics include:
* Twitter secrets
* Facebook page must-do’s
* Social media ideas you might not know or haven’t thought of
* Promotion, giveaways, and other book marketing secrets
* Website, blogging, and SEO tips designed just for authors

All writers, bloggers, and small businesses can benefit can benefit from this guide.

 

 

 

About the Author

Site: RachelintheOC.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Facebook: facebook.com/RachelThompsonauthor

Rachel Thompson is the author Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival and Los Angeles Book Festival and 5/5 Readers Favorite), and the multi award-winning and best-selling Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed.

She is humbled to be part of two gorgeous Feminine Collective poetry anthologies. Her final Broken book, Broken People, will be released Winter, 2018. She’s also currently finishing up the next BadRedhead Media book, the 30-Day Twitter Challenge. Look for both very soon!

She released the BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge in December 2016 to rave reviews, where it has remained in the top #100 on three lists and is a 5/5 Readers Favorite. She released an updated version late 2017 with many new tips and tricks.

Rachel founded BadRedhead Media in 2011, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader, FeminineCollective, BookMachine, BlueInk Reviews, and TransformationIsReal.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the blog-sharing hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, the weekly live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish (Tuesdays, 6pm pst), and #BookMarketingChat (every Wednesday 6pm pst) to help writers learn how to market their work.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. A single mom, Rachel lives in California (with her two kids and two cats) where she daydreams about Thor. And sleep.

My Review
This is an easy to follow course on upping your social media presence. It has daily exercise links to guide you through the maze of SEO, blogging, making a good headline into a GREAT headline, and so much more!
I found some really great information here and plan on going through it a few more times. It’s one of those books every author should keep next to their laptop!
I give The BadRedHead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge 5 lovely kisses- A Must Read!
cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21

The Snowball Effect #Writertips #HolidayRomance #mgtab @mimisgang1


PhotoFunia-1511057744

The Benefits of a Writer’s Group

 

A few months ago Mimi Barbour, creator of The Authors’ Billboard, a group of over thirty bestselling romance writers, came up with the ingenious idea of setting up box sets varying in size from six to eight books and enrolling them into the Kindle Select program.

The hope was to gain new readers, and of course sales, of our individual books. We started out with two or three sets, just to see how they would do.

 

books-1900467_640

 

There was such a fantastic response from our readers, three more followed. Then three more, then… well, you get the picture 🙂

As quick as we could put them together, they were getting read; to the tune of millions of pages read (Kindle Select’s method of determining how much to pay authors from a fund Amazon adds to each month)

http://akreport.com/amazon-kenp-rates/

It has proven to be a snowball effect, benefiting the group in ways we never expected.

 

snowman-1227018_640

 

We’ve become stronger as a group.

Friends who have each other’s backs. We support and promote new releases. Celebrate achievements. Share information. Build on our successes. And commiserate our failures.

No matter what, we know there’s someone who will listen when we need advice.

If you ever get the opportunity to join a writer’s group, I highly recommend giving it a try!

If you’d like to meet our group and have some fun at the same time, stop by November 29-30 at our 2nd Annual Christmas Bash on Facebook. There’ll be plenty of chatting, games, and giveaways! You don’t want to miss the party, we’d love to meet you there!

 

 

ABB Christmas Bash

 

Reviews are the lifeblood of any successful author. Without you, we can’t be heard.

If you enjoy the story, please consider sharing on your favorite social media sites, as well as GoodReads and from wherever you’ve bought the book and visit us online for great deals, interesting blog posts, contests, and much more!

The Authors’ Billboard

We’d love to have you subscribe to our blog and to sign up on for our Weekly Newsletter.

http://authorsbillboard.com/newsletter-sign-up/

Thank you!

PhotoFunia-1511914152

 

And here’s a listing of our #boxsets: available for a LIMITED TIME!

Love, Christmas

Unforgettable Romances: Unforgettable Heroes

Unforgettable Heroes: Unforgettable Passion

Unforgettable Christmas: Gifts of Love

Kiss Me, Thrill Me

Dangerous Encounters: Love on the Edge

Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics

Sweet and Sassy

Sweet and Sassy Christmas

Love on Fire

Sweet Heat

 

Watch #RWISA Write Spotlight Tour with Michael Hicks Thompson #RRBC @mhthompsonsr


RWISA TOUR

 

Only a few days left on the Rave Writers-International Society of Authors month long spotlight tour highlighting the diversified talent in this amazing group.

Today’s special guest is Michael Hicks Thompson.

 

Michael Hicks Thompson

 

Michael was born in his mother’s own bed on a farm in Yazoo County, Mississippi. He grew up in a townof 310 souls. He knows a thing or two about strong Christian women, alcoholic men, and Jesus. He’s a member of Kairos (prison ministry), been to Cuba twice on door-to-door evangelism mission trips, been a Sunday School teacher, and a member of Independent Presbyterian Church for 35 years. He and his wife of 44 years live in Memphis, TN, have three sons and four grandchildren. The little ones call him “Big Mike.”

After earning his undergrad degree from Ole Miss and then a master’s in mass communication from the University of South Carolina, Michael started a one-man ad agency in Memphis. It grew to 87 employees in two cities, winning numerous national and international creative awards.

Michael sold his firm in 2011 and turned his attention to full-time Christian fiction writing. His latest novel, The Actress, is available in book stores and on Amazon in print, and Kindle. The Rector was first in the series. They’re both murder mysteries that take place in the Mississippi Delta. The Rector has already won four major awards.

 

DETOUR à CUBA

 

 

PART I

 

Once the port-of-call jewel for Magnus Wealthy, Cuba has been a country lost in time for the last half century, plus some.

 

Never been to Cuba? I recommend it. But do it before it returns to the playground of the filthy rich and the Hemingway admirers.

 

Yes, I’ve been there twice. But not as Magnus Wealthy. Think short-term mission trip. Door-to-door evangelism. Knock, knock. “May we come in.” (Of course, my interpreter said it the proper way: “¿Podemos entrar?”)

 

An interpreter is essential if you can’t speak the language.

 

But here’s the beautiful thing. Most Cubans are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They love to meet and greet Americans. We’re a mystery to them. It’s amazing. And understandable. Most have never tasted freedom.

 

Castro usurped the country in the biggest land swindle ever. Now, the elderly Cubans alive today are happy with a single, pathetic gift from Papa Castro’s government.

 

“He give me this cooking pot,” the appreciative, sun-wrinkled, Spanish speaking octogenarian said.

 

Never mind that his midget refrigerator will take him a lifetime to pay off.

 

PART II

 

We flew into Havana, via Mexico, spent the night and flew on to Holguin (hole-Keen) early the next morning. It’s a four-hour flight. Cuba is the size of California.

 

The ‘hotel’ in Holguin was once a grand one—now, dilapidated. Papa not only didn’t let the government keep hotels up to standard, he took the toilet seats away. From personal experience, I can assure you he did it to humiliate the eleven-and-a-half-million souls into submission.

 

Ask any American what Cubans look like and they’ll include “dark-skinned” as an answer. However, you’d be surprised to see nearly as many red-headed and blue-eyed Cubans as dark-skinned islanders. The Spanish influence is apparent. Fifty-one percent of Cubans are Mulatto, thirty-seven percent, White, and eleven percent, Black.

 

All Cubans are proud. And friendly. Why shouldn’t they be? They’ve not had the outside world of communications and world events for three generations. They’ve simply missed the rise in socio-economic gain around the world. They’ve been isolated. They don’t know any other life. They’ve lived on Cuban baseball and communism since 1959.

 

And they’ve avoided all the gun-shot TV news and television episodes of Law & Order. God blessed them.

 

Or, did He?

 

When I think of Cuba, I think of Maria. She’s the Lady who led our group through Cuba. Maria was born and raised in Havana, in a prominent family.

 

Shortly after Castro took over, her father gathered his wife and children and fled to America.

 

Maria has such a huge heart for her native land. She’ll always love her people and her land.

 

Many wealthy families left their homes and their businesses behind; to start over. But the ones not able to afford travel remained behind. They faced the dark days of seclusion.

 

Catholicism gradually faded away. To be replaced by many false religions—Santería being the most prominent. It’s a singing religion based on the old songs of slavery. So, most Santeríans are descendants of African slaves.

 

PART III

 

Every morning ten of us would have breakfast, pray, and pile into vans with our interpreters for an hour or two ride to a small village, usually to the south, near Guantanamo. A different village each morning. That way, we could avoid the immigration officials who’d heard we were proselytizing in their country. Only once did we hear our leader yell out, “Everybody in the vans. We have to leave. Now!”

 

We would meet at a local house church and greet the pastor. Some would have no more than ten church members; some as many as thirty. We snuck in bibles, clothes, hygiene products, and boatloads of gum.

 

Each church provided a local member to escort us, individually with our interpreter, to un-churched homes in the village. The patriarch or matriarch always welcomed us. Some even asked us to hold off any discussion so they could gather their family. Even neighbors. All ages would gather around in a small living room, many sitting on the floor, while we introduced them to original sin, Jesus, the Gospel, and a merciful God.

 

The interpreter kept track of those who repeated the prayer of salvation (asking Jesus to come into their hearts and save them from eternal damnation). More than a few grown men cried on my shoulder after accepting Jesus into their hearts.

 

Naturally, there were plenty who preferred to worship their idols. Ceramic statues, sometimes made of wood or plastic.

 

If the idol worshiper wasn’t getting what they wanted from their man-made God, they’d place them face down in their underwear drawer, to punish them. Strange stuff. And sad.

 

At the end of the week, our leader would give us the number. “Four-hundred-fifty-two made a profession of faith this week. You’ve not only sowed the seeds of the Gospel, you’ve been a part of the harvest.”

 

That made me feel pretty good, but we all knew Holy Spirit had been working in those hearts long before we arrived. Only God can change the heart of man. But, what really made me warm and fuzzy, was the sight of my sons who’d been able to join us on the mission field. They had been part of the harvest. And it would have a lasting, lifetime effect on their lives. They talk about it to this day.

 

And so do I.

 

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Michael Hicks Thompson’s RWISA Author Page

Watch #RWISA Write Spotlight Tour with Robert Fear #RRBC @fredsdiary1981


RWISA TOUR

 

Only a few days left on the Rave Writers-International Society of Authors month long spotlight tour highlighting the diversified talent in this amazing group.

Today’s special guest is Robert Fear.

 

robert fear

 

Born in Leicester in 1955, Robert’s family moved to Surrey when he was 11. He was educated at Reigate Grammar School. After this he worked in a bank in the city for several years before getting the travel bug. Fred, a nickname he got at school, stuck throughout his travels and has remained with him to this day. His travels took him to Ibiza for the summer of 1977, hitch-hiking around Europe in 1978 and the USA and Canada in 1979. During this time he also settled and worked in Germany. Fred’s Diary 1981 was written during the 158 days he spent travelling around Asia.

These days Robert is happily settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex where he lives with his wife and three cats. He works as a software consultant and has been able to combine work with some travel during the past fifteen years, having visited countries as far apart as Australia, Singapore, Ghana and Suriname.

 

The Fight by Robert Fear

Es Cana, Ibiza, Spain – August 1977

Jose took an immediate dislike to me.

He worked as a waiter at the Panorama hotel near the seafront. I had been there to see Diane, an English girl I met while at work in Grannies Bar. Petite and with short blond hair, she had a delightful personality. She was also a real head-turner.

Diane came to Ibiza on a two-week holiday with her friend, Elaine. It felt fantastic she wanted to spend time with me, but Jose thought his role was to be her protector. He glared at me every time he saw us together

Towards the end of her holiday, Diane spent a night with me and I didn’t get her back to the hotel until breakfast time. Jose was on duty and spotted us outside as we kissed. That just made things worse.

After Diane left for home, things deteriorated. The next Friday evening, as I walked to work, Jose headed towards me with a group of Spanish lads. Their intentions were obvious as they stared, raised their fists and shouted at me across the street.

Before they could catch me I escaped down the steps and into Grannies Bar. Their taunts still rang in my ears as I headed for safety.

Friday nights were always manic. Eager drinkers packed the outside terrace after a day in the sun. A queue of customers had already formed as I dived behind the bar to help serve them.

Four of us; Mick, Pat, Graham and myself, worked that evening shift. Pat was half cut and spent most of the evening with her friends. Mick’s mood was not good as a result, but the three of us got stuck in and served the eager punters.

After six weeks at Grannies, I knew the routine. We served drinks and collected pesetas in quick succession. Spirits were easier to serve than at home. Two ice cubes got thrown into a glass and the vodka, gin or brandy poured until the ice floated. Then the mixer was added.

We could drink behind the bar, provided we remained sober enough to serve. Pat loved her gin and tonics and often wasn’t! Mick, Graham and I had regular supplies of vodka and orange but remained level headed as we rushed around serving eager customers.

Willing female hands often helped out. They collected glasses and washed them up in the sink at the end of the bar. As a reward, they had drinks bought for them and got the chance to pull Graham, myself or even Mick on occasions.

Work finished at 3 am. We headed to El Cortijo for another drink and a dance. A group of Spanish lads hung around near the entrance, but I thought nothing of it. Only later did I found out they were Jose’s friends.

The disco pulsed and the dance floor heaved. Lights from the ‘disco ball’ flashed around scantily clad bodies as they cavorted to the sounds of Abba, Rod Stewart and Status Quo. We caught John’s attention, and he passed us a bottle of San Miguel each.

Graham and Mick met up with two girls they had chatted up in Grannies earlier. Pat had gone back to their villa with her friends so Mick was free for the night. Propped at the bar I sipped my beer and relaxed after a hard night’s work.

By instinct, I spun round to find Jose stood behind me. He glared at me and mouthed something. The music drowned out his words. Jose beckoned for me to come with him. Even though it was obvious he wanted a fight, I went. By the time I got outside it was too late.

My fighting skills were minimal. I had been the object of bullying at school. One lad taunted me with the repeated chant, ‘Freddy’s got a rudimentary organ’, while in the showers. This hurt me and screwed with my teenage sensibilities. I tried to avoid the shower room when he was there.

Two other lads pushed me around and sometimes thumped me. They wanted money, but I had none to give them. One time I gave in to their pressure and stole books for them from a sales exhibition held in the school hall. I never thought of fighting back. I did not know how!

Now I stood on the dusty wasteland twenty yards away from the front entrance of El Cortijo. Jose faced me, surrounded by his group of friends. The atmosphere was menacing and none of my friends were even aware what had happened.

‘So, you silly man, what you say?’ screamed Jose in broken English as he edged towards me.

‘What did I do wrong?’ I retorted.

I sweated in the heat of the August night and he must have sensed my fear.

‘You took girlfriend, English scum.’

‘No I didn’t. Diane wanted to be with me you arrogant pig.’

I amazed myself with that response. The drink from earlier in the evening gave me a false sense of courage. Things were dire and soon became worse.

Jose swung his right fist toward my head. I ducked and there was a whoosh of air as he missed.

He turned round and aimed another punch at me. This time he connected and his fist crunched into my jaw. I reeled backwards. Maybe I should have just gone to ground and admitted defeat. This time I fought back.

Well, fought might be too strong a word for it! I stumbled forward and made a dive for his midriff. Jose grabbed me by my shoulders and flung me to the ground.

I spat out a mouthful of dust before I tried to get back up. Then I saw the flying feet of Jose and his mates. It became obvious they wanted to give me a severe beating.

In defence I rolled into as tight a ball as possible with my hands wrapped around my head. The kicks and punches continued and my senses faded as protection against the pain.

Then it stopped. Shouts came from the front door of the disco and the Spanish lads scattered. John, Alan and two others screamed at the top of their voices to get them away from me. A German girl on her way to the disco had seen the scuffle and dived into El Cortijo to get help.

Worried faces peered at me as I uncurled myself. Although bruised and battered there were no broken bones. I hauled myself to my feet. With support from my rescuers, I struggled back to the disco for another drink.

An uneasy truce existed between Jose and me for the rest of the summer.

 

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Robert Fear’s RWISA Author Page

Watch #RWISA Write Spotlight Tour with Marcha Fox @startrailsIV


RWISA TOUR

 

I hope you’ve been enjoying Rave Writers-International Society of Authors month long #blog tour!

Today’s guest is Marcha Fox. Welcome, Marcha!

 

Marcha

 

Marcha Fox is a science fiction fan and author whose love of astronomy resulted in a bachelor’s of science degree in physics from Utah State University. This was followed by a 21 year career at NASA, where she held a variety of positions including technical writer, engineer, and eventually manager. Her NASA experience was primarily at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, but included trips to Cape Canaveral in Florida; visiting other Centers in Mississippi, Alabama and Maryland; as well as visits to California and the European Space Agency in The Netherlands. Her most memorable experience, however, was the sad task of helping to recover space shuttle debris in East Texas following the tragic Columbia accident in 2003.

“NASA was a great career experience, but writing is what I’ve always wanted to do,” she explains. “My education and aerospace experience have given me the background I need to write science-based stories populated with convincing characters. To me there is nothing more exhilarating than bringing a fictitious person to life.”

 

Your Wildest Dreams

I inhaled sharply when I recognized the introductory riff wafting from my favorite 80s station as Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues. Even though I had the original 45 RPM record, the album on cassette tape, and more recently, the CD, I kept them safely locked away so I wouldn’t binge on it. Nonetheless, when KPLV, 93.1 FM in Vegas, got around to playing it every few weeks or so, I’d indulge in a break, a delicious reminder of why I was here.

Consumed by ethereal and intimately familiar soundwaves, I got up, closed the blinds, and even though it was unlikely the song’s strains would penetrate my office’s cinder block walls, plugged in my headset so I could crank it up—I mean really up. I melted back into my chair, eyes closed, with what was probably an idiotic smile on my face, savoring each note as the song segued into its lively, 142 BPM tempo. The next three minutes and forty-one seconds, I’d be in heaven.

Even though this song came out eight years after she left, the first time I heard it, back when I was still in college in ’86, I knew two things: One, it would always be “our song”; and Two, I had to find her.

My heart leapt with visions of galaxies beyond, of what might be out there, where she might be. I plunged headlong through space and time, besieged by memories burned into my heart as permanently and painfully as branding was to a newborn calf. Did she remember? Feel the same thing I did? Sense the enchantment of fate-entangled lives?

I memorize pretty easily, which comes in handy, especially with things like the Periodic Table or Maxwell’s equations. And of course, favorite songs. These particular lyrics struck me, hard and personal, from day one, certain it’d been written exclusively for me.

As my eyes teared up, logic intervened and yanked me back to planet Earth.

Grow up, Benson! What are you, a total schmaltz or what?

We were kids, for heaven sakes. A teenage crush. I should’ve gotten over it, but never did. No wonder. Girls like her are rare. One of a kind. She’d already experienced things I never would. Things that were part of my wildest dreams.

The admonition failed, pushed aside by that part of me that felt alive again, jammin’ like a total jerk, mouthing the words as I sang along in my head. It’s not like I’m a teenager anymore, though at the moment I felt like one. No, memories of the heart never die—can’t die, evereven if you try to kill them.

I’d give anything to talk to her. Which of course I have, numerous times over the years, if only in my head. Okay, aloud more often than I care to admit. I could swear it even felt as if she answered a time or two. I suppose that’s how it is with your first love. Or your first kiss, even if it was only a peck on the cheek. It penetrates your soul and stays there forever.

That mid-summer day in ’78 hauling hay was as vivid as yesterday in my mind’s eye. The cloudless sky, sun hot on my neck, the aroma of first-crop alfalfa sweetening the mountain air. I scratched my shoulder, a reflex memory of itchy, stray leaves sticking through my T-shirt. My chest ached as I remembered tear tracks streaking her dust-covered face at something I’d said. Then, days later, that withering look when we lied about her ship.

The one we still have. What’s left of it quietly abandoned beneath a tarp in Building 15, here at Area 51.

How she knew we weren’t telling the truth, I’ll never know. Pretty funny it’s still sitting there. And I’m sure she’d think so, too. I can just hear her saying, “Stupid snurks, I knew they’d never figure it out.” Though actually they did, just didn’t find technology worth pursuing. Even contractors didn’t want it.

I had to admit it was pretty crazy, but she was my motivation to get where I was today: just short of a decade of college linked with serendipity that put me in the right place at the right time, hoping someday I’d find her. My life had changed a lot since then. How much had hers changed? Did she make it home? Was she still alive? With the effects of relativistic travel, which I understood only too well, she could still be a teenager, while I was easing into the infamous dirty thirties.

Not good. If I ever did find her, she’d probably think I was some lecherous old fart. Either that, or, with my luck, she’d be married with a bunch of kids. I winced with the thought.

My sentimental reverie vanished when my office door slammed open and Hector Buckhorn rolled in. Literally. Hec’s been stuck in a wheelchair ever since he crashed his hang glider into a New Mexico mountainside during spring break his last semester of college. He ridge soared a lot, particularly around Dulce, over restricted areas where he wasn’t supposed to be. Got caught a couple times, but being Native American, never got in trouble, even though it wasn’t his home reservation. He’s amazingly good at playing dumb, in spite of—or possibly because of—his 150ish IQ. He never talked about his accident, said he couldn’t remember. Makes sense, actually, given he suffered a massive concussion. The only time I ever saw him pissed him off was when he woke up in the hospital and discovered they’d shaved off his hair, since grown back beyond shoulder length.

I dropped the headset around my neck and faked a frown. “Don’t you ever knock, butthead?”

“Hey, man, wazzup?” he said, giving me a funny look. “You okay?”

I laughed. “Of course. Just thinking. Remembering. You know.”

Ahhh. They played that song again, didn’t they?”

“Can’t hide anything from you, can I, Chief?”

“Nope. I figured you were up to somethin’ with your blinds closed.”

He wheeled over to the grey metal, government-issue table on the other side of the room and helped himself to a handful of peanut M&Ms. Once I’d realized during my PhD days at Cal Tech that, in a pinch, they made a pretty decent meal, I’d kept that old, wide-mouth canning jar full. He dumped them in his mouth, perusing me with knowing, dark eyes.

“You were sure enjoyin’ that song of yours,” he said, not even trying to stifle his crooked grin as he munched away.

“Yeah,” I replied, uncomfortable with the conversation’s direction.

“We’ve known each other a long time, Allen,” he said. “Don’t you think it’s time you told me about her?”

“Not much to tell.”

He let fly with a popular expletive related to bovine excrement. “C’mon! What’s her name?” he persisted.

I blew out my cheeks and sighed, knowing resistance was futile. “Creena,” I answered, surprising myself when, again, I got a little choked up. I avoided his eyes by likewise heading for the M&Ms.

“So find her,” he said.

“It’s not that simple,” I replied, pouring myself a handful. “I don’t know where she is.” A statement that was truer than he could possibly imagine.

“I have some resources who could help,” he offered with a conspiratorial wink.

I shook my head, then stalled by popping a few colorful orbs in my mouth.

“Why not? If she’s anywhere on this planet, these guys’ll find her.”

I swallowed hard and paused; met his gaze. “She’s not.”

He scowled, making him look a lot like those old pictures of Cochise. “Say again?”

“She’s. Not.”

“Oh! I’m sorry.”

“Why?”

He shrugged. “I assumed she’s dead. She must’ve been quite a girl.”

“She was. Is. She’s not dead. At least as far as I know.”

His jaw dropped, shocked expression broadcasting the fact he’d caught the implications. “You’re not kidding, are you?”

“Nope.”

“Abductee?” he whispered.

“Nope,” I answered, raiding the candy jar again. “Immigrant.”

His eyes widened as he spewed an expletive that elevated excrement to sanctified status. “Don’t tell me she’s an EBE!”

I nearly spewed partially chewed M&Ms across the room. Extraterrestrial biological entity, indeed! Yet by definition, actually, she was.

I chuckled at his expression and shook my head. “No. Quite human. At least as far as I know.”

“Are you?” he added, chocolate-colored irises rimmed with white. His reaction surprised me—UFOs, even aliens, were no big deal in his culture, just business as usual with the Star People.

“C’mon, Chief! You’ve known me since tenth grade, running high school track!”

He leaned back, searching my face with more solemnity than I’d seen since I told him how Dad died. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, bro,” he said finally, shaking his head.

“You have no idea,” I said, throat constricting as scratchy lyrics from the headset, audible only to me, issued another reminder of why I was here.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Marcha Fox

 

[NOTE:–This is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Dark Circles, a slightly dark, hard sci-fi love story. No release date has been set.]

 

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Marcha Fox’s RWISA Author Page

Watch #RWISA Write Spotlight Tour with @Harmony_Kent #RRBC


RWISA TOUR

 

Today’s spotlight author for the Rave Writers-International Society of Authors spotlight tour is the amazing Harmony Kent!

Welcome, Harmony 🙂

Harmony

 

Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours. She is single and not admitting to her age.

Here are ten things she thinks you ought to know about her …

  1. Born in 2013 (at least the author was …)

  2. Really boring

  3. Has absolutely no sense of humour

  4. Biographer is a compulsive liar

  5. Reads … a lot

  6. Writes … even more

  7. Completely sane(in)

  8. Neighbours are nuts

  9. If you’re feeling extra brave, she’s around

  10. Online …

 

Live or Die?

 

Harmony Kent

 

Sometimes, you need to accept help. Sometimes, you need to admit that you need it. Sometimes, you need to take the hand that’s offered. You reached out and took my arm. I let you. I took the assistance I needed. I gripped your hand so that you could pull me to my feet. The last thing I needed was for you to slit my wrists. So much blood. All that carnage. My heart ripped right out of my chest.

I did my best.

Though, what kind of an epitaph is that?

Do I want that immortalised on my headstone?

Does that adequately sum up a life?

What about all the rest?

At the end of the day, what’s left to show for all that struggle, all that pain?

Right now, only one thing remains certain, that things can never be the same. That river? Already crossed. That road? Already travelled. That life? Already lived.

No going back. Not ever.

Going forward, though? Now, there’s the question.

For this gal, only one choice remains. Live or die?

 

Sometimes, you need to accept help. Once bitten, twice shy and all that, though, ya know? Truth be told, I’ve come to the end. Like I said, no going back. The rub is that I can’t go on either. The wind whips my hair into my face and throws cold pellets of rain at me. I shiver and dig deep for the courage. Never did like heights, yet here I stand. To jump or not to jump? That is the question.

The darkness wraps around me and locks the breath in my lungs and my feet in place—leaves me perched here in a daze. The metal burns cold within my death grip. With pulse racing, I edge my left foot forward a couple of centimetres, and then bring the right one up level. Perforce, I have to let go of the steel girders now. I’ve taken a step too far. Sweat breaks free from every pore and soaks this trembling mass of flesh, muscle, and sinew. With a heart this broken, how does it even continue on?

‘Miss? Are you okay? … Miss?’

At the unexpected voice, I twist and startle. A man reaches for me, indistinct in the arc-sodium lights.

‘Miss? Here, take my hand.’

A sudden gust buffets me from behind, and I stumble forward, a scream frozen in my terrified throat. All of a sudden, it hits me, I don’t want to die. Too late, however, as I’m off balance and too close to the edge. Dimly, as I fall, I see that it’s not about living or dying but about having the choice. It seems the wind has finished your job for you. Limp and spent, I plummet to the waiting river below, which sends up cold plumes of spray and waves like open arms welcoming me in and under to die beneath.

 

Sometimes, you need to admit that you need it. At the first swallow of brackish water, I swallow my pride, and every molecule of this being cries out for help. I should have grabbed his hand. Should have, but could I have? Would I have if given the chance? More ice-cold water pours into my throat and drowns my lungs. All the philosophising ceases as it becomes a fight for life. The cold pierces and stabs like a knife.

Tired and afraid, and no longer quite so numb, I kick, searching for the surface. Already, my limbs have gone stiff. The pressure in my chest has grown unbearable, and I have to take a breath, even though I know it will mean certain death. I just can’t do it. Can’t hold it all in anymore. Bubbles erupt when the life-giving air breaks free of my now open lips.

They show me the way when they float up, up, and up.

For a second, I hesitate. Do I go for it or not? Here is my chance for total surrender. To not have to fight any further. Do I have the energy? The will? At the end of the day, what’s left to show for all that struggle, all that pain?

I did my best, but I don’t want that on my epitaph.

My legs kick and arms stroke, pushing through the murk and trying for air. With this exhaustion and cold, I doubt I’ll get there. By now, the bubbles have long gone, but I’ve come near enough to discern the orange city glow. Not far now. One more kick. One more. That’s it. Just one more.

 

Sometimes, you need to take the hand that’s offered. I come to, afloat on my back, and the icy waves provide my waterbed. Way up high, atop the bridge, come the blues-and-twos, as the emergency services rush to the scene of my demise. Don’t they realise that I’ve fallen too far from reach? Beyond any assistance or redemption.

It seems as if hours pass me by while I drift in and out and upon. This time, a deafening roar causes me to rouse. A shadow flies through the sky, trailing a bright beam. The search is on. These arctic temperatures have other ideas—so much so that I’ve begun to feel warm. A bad sign. Sleepy too.

Impossibly white light hits me and burns my eyes. I raise a hand to cover them and, immediately, lose my buoyancy and sink back into the dark. The search light now glows dimly above the water. Too tired, too cold, too done to even try and fight, I let the river have its way.

The universe has other ideas, it seems, and once again, I lose the choice. Strong hands grip my armpits and haul me upward. To the artificially lit night and the cold and the air and the despair. Oh, love, what did you do to me? So much blood. All that carnage. All those lies and abuse. What’s the use?

 

You reached out and took my arm. It all unfolded in a blur and strobe-like snapshots—the winch into the helicopter, the medi-flight, and them getting me here. Trouble is, I think they left my heart there.

A nurse bustles into the private room and pulls apart the drapes. ‘Time to let in some light,’ she says. Oh, how wrong could she be? The last thing I want to do is see. Right now, only one thing remains certain, that things can never be the same. I want to stay in the dark; hide from my shame.

‘You have a visitor.’ Her voice sounds far too bubbly. It hurts. ‘The police officer who tried to help on the bridge.’ A shadow crosses her face. Then she gets busy tidying the bedding and then me. ‘I’ll just go and show him in.’ Once again, I don’t get a choice. No time to find my voice.

The door opens slowly, and I lay with baited breath. A young man eases in, dark hair and chocolate eyes, with a smile that feels like the most glorious sunrise. ‘May I?’

His question gives me pause. Never before did anyone ask my permission. Dumbstruck, I give a mere nod. My visitor edges to the bed and takes a seat on the hard plastic chair that the nurse placed there. We sit in silence for a while, and then his eyes find my scars. So many. Clouds snuff out that beautiful dawn and darken his face.

Now, he’ll make his excuses and take his leave. He’s done his bit. But no. Instead, he takes my hand. Looks into my eyes. Somewhere from the edges, I register that he doesn’t have on his uniform. ‘It’s okay,’ he tells me, fingers rubbing mine. ‘You’re safe now. We’ll make this right.’

Uninvited, a sob brings the elephant right into the room. ‘No one can,’ I croak.

‘It’s okay. He won’t hurt you again.’

‘You know who I am?’

He nods, gives my hand a squeeze. ‘We know everything.’

All I want to do is shrivel up and crawl within.

With both hands, he reaches out and takes my arms. I let him. He seems an angel in human form, and I feel safe within his embrace. Into my hair, he whispers, ‘It’s okay. I’ve got you. I got you now.’

Can I take the leap of faith?

Now, there’s the question.

Live or die?

 

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Harmony Kent’s RWISA Author Page

Watch #RWISA Write Spotlight Tour with @RhaniDChaeBooks #RRBC


RWISA TOUR

 

Today on the month long blog tour sponsored by Rave Writers-International Society of Authors we are highlighting the work of Rhani D’Chae.

I hope you give her a warm welcome 🙂

 

Rhani

Author, Rhani D’Chae has always been an avid reader and began writing in her early teens. Her first ‘novel’ was a Star Trek adventure that she freely admits was a disaster, but she learned from it and never stopped writing. SHADOW OF THE DRILL is her first published novel, and is the first in a series that revolves around an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

She enjoys chatting with readers and fellow writers via Social Networking sites, and loves getting comments and other input from those who have read her work.

The characters in the following story are from my novel, Shadow of the Drill. After a moderately grueling assignment, they take a day off to enjoy a Sunday barbecue.

 

A Break in the Battle

 

   Charlene squealed, leaning to the side to avoid an airborne hot dog. She need not have worried, for the meaty missile bounced neatly against the chest of JT, who was seated next to her.

   “Damn it, Rudy!” JT grabbed a napkin from the table and scrubbed at his shirt. “That wasn’t funny!”

   “Really?” Rudy flashed an innocent grin over the top of barbecue grill. “I thought it was hilarious.”  He flipped a pair of hamburgers, then added a dash of seasoning to each.

   “You got hot dog grease on my shirt,” JT said crossly. “Next time, warn me so I can duck.”

   “Don’t run your mouth, and there won’t be a next time.” Rudy raised his right arm, pointing at the cast that encased it from wrist to elbow. “Even with this, I can hit what I’m aiming at.”

   JT shot a glare in Rudy’s general direction. “Can you believe him?”

   “You shouldn’t have said he was getting old, and you definitely shouldn’t have said he was losing his touch.” Charlene refilled her glass from the pitcher of lemonade on the table. Lemonade, and just the right amount of tequila.

   “Who’s getting old?” Decker stepped from the dining room onto the deck, leaning on a cane with one hand and holding a bowl of potato salad in the other. “You best not be talking about me!”

   “Don’t worry, Peter Pan, we weren’t.” Charlene pulled the chair to her left away from the table so that Decker could sit. “JT said it about Rudy.”

   “Well, that was stupid.” Decker set the bowl onto the table, then dropped into the chair, leaning the cane against the table before reaching for the pitcher.

   JT pointed to the stain on his shirt. “You’re not kidding! Good arm, bad arm, it don’t matter. He’s dead on.”

   He shifted in his chair, muttering a soft curse when his broken ribs objected.

   Decker smiled sympathetically, knowing from firsthand experience how he felt. “Give it a couple of weeks,” he advised. “You’ll feel better before you know it.”

   “I know,” JT replied. “But in the meantime, it really hurts!”

   “Your face looks better.” Decker reached across the table, tilting JT’s head to the right. “At least, the swelling’s gone down. You’ll have the color for a while, yet.”

   Charlene leaned back, tuning out the conversation while she thought back over the last six days.

   It had started as just another job, but it had quickly become so much more. Hired to find and retrieve a stolen Shelby Daytona Coupe, Decker and his team had landed in the middle of an auto theft ring that stretched from Bellevue to Portland. Finding the missing car had been difficult – retrieving it had been damn near impossible.

   The car had been located in Vancouver and liberated in the dark of night with considerable damage to all concerned. By the time the Shelby was safely in a truck headed north, Decker had calculated how much of a wear and tear fee he was going to charge his employer before the car was offloaded at its destination.

   Bruised and broken, Decker’s team had limped back to Tacoma and gone their separate ways. After checking on the Shelby, Decker had contacted the owner and arranged a time to meet.

   Charlene had greeted him at the door when he arrived home, the sight of his battered body bringing tears to her eyes. He had assured her that he was not seriously hurt, so there was no discussion of seeking medical help. He knew his body – and its injuries – better than any doctor, so she did not question his analysis of the situation.

   Injured and exhausted, he had needed rest. A great deal of rest. But, after only a day and a half, he was limping restlessly from room to room, and she knew that something needed to be done.

   The barbecue had been her idea, and he had willingly agreed. Though they often entertained, they had never invited more than two or three people over at once. The fact that it was JT’s first social visit to the house contributed to the uniqueness of the event, as did the presence of Decker’s old friend and occasional teammate, Hunter Grae.

   The side gate rattled, and Charlene jumped up to open it before Davis dropped his armload of Tupperware containers. The investigator gave her a warm smile, thanking her for her assistance.

   Charlene looked over his shoulder. “Where’s Bert?”

   “She’ll be along soon,” Davis told her. “She had to run her mother to the grocery store, so she’s a little behind schedule. But don’t worry, she’s not far behind me.”

   He handed over three of the containers. “Pasta salad, deviled eggs, and some sort of asparagus thing.” He shrugged apologetically. “Personally, I don’t think asparagus has any business being at a barbecue, but you know how Bert is.”

   Charlene laughed, then sobered when she noticed the manila envelope beneath the remaining two containers. “That better not be what I think it is.”

   “It’s everything I could find for the Palmer job. I promised I’d bring it by today.” He waved at Decker and JT, then slid the envelope from beneath the Tupperware to show he’d brought it.

   Charlene put her hand on his wrist, stopping him. “Not today, please. He’ll open it up, they’ll spend the rest of the day plotting and planning, and that’ll be it for the day off. You know it as well as I do. They just can’t help themselves.”

   Davis thought for a moment, then nodded. “You’re right,” he agreed. “Okay, I’ll toss this back in the car and give it to him tomorrow. I can’t stall any longer than that, but at least it won’t ruin today.”

   “Thank you,” Charlene said gratefully, then headed for the kitchen to unpack the Tupperware while Davis returned to his car.

   When she passed Rudy, he handed her a plate loaded with hotdogs and hamburger patties.

   “Here’s a first round. Is everything on the food table?”

   Charlene glanced over the long fold-up table that Decker had set on the grass. It held assorted buns and condiments, as well as paper plates and plastic silverware.

   “Just about. Hunter’s in the kitchen slicing cheese, and I have to put Bert’s stuff on plates, but it won’t take long. So yes, it’s pretty much ready. “

   “That’s a good thing.” Rudy pressed his fingers against the pieces of tape that held a long strip of gauze to the side of his face, checking that they were still secure. “So we’re just waiting on the cheese.”

   As if on cue, Hunter appeared on the deck, carrying a serving tray that had been loaded down with small plates of pickles, slices of cheese, and crisp lettuce leaves. He called out a greeting to Davis and Roberta, who were coming through the gate together, then headed for the picnic table to unload the tray.

   He was clad in shorts and a tank top, and Charlene could clearly see the stitches where the blade of a knife had cut into his calf, and the colorful section of bruising that a heavy object of some sort had left along his collarbone.

   She joined him at the picnic table, calling to the others as she set the plate down. She was able to get her hamburger onto a plate, along with potato salad and baked beans, before the table was surrounded by hungry people.

   Glad that she had escaped the swarm, Charlene returned to her place at the oversized table on the deck. Taking her seat, she enjoyed a moment of silence, knowing that a moment was all she would probably get.

   A light breeze brought the scent of roses, and Charlene closed her eyes, inhaling with pleasure. So far, the day had been wonderful, and she knew that the evening would be just as fine.

   Opening her eyes, she looked around at the people who mattered in her life. It couldn’t be more perfect, she thought with a contented smile. Fun, food, and the very best of friends combined to make a day that she would long remember. Especially since, for a few short hours, it was a fairly safe bet that no one was going to die.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Rhani D’Chae’s RWISA Author Page

 

Harness the power of Hollywood… Storytelling Made Easy by @Michael_Hauge #BookReview #Writertips


HARNESS THE POWER OF HOLLYWOOD STORYTELLING MAGIC

 

51Tom47GsqL

 

Renowned Hollywood story expert Michael Hauge’s Six Step Success Story formula gives your potential clients and buyers the emotional experience of success—and will move them to take action.

 

 

 

 

81BNGhI5g1L._SY200_

MICHAEL HAUGE is a script consultant, story expert, author and lecturer who works with writers, filmmakers, marketers, business leaders, attorneys and public speakers, both in Hollywood and around the world. He has consulted on projects starring Morgan Freeman, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Reese Witherspoon, and for Overbrook Entertainment, where he consulted on the scripts for (among many others) I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK, THE KARATE KID, SUICIDE SQUAD and BRIGHT, which is currently in production.

Michael is the best selling author of Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read, as well as the 20th Anniversary Edition of his classic book Writing Screenplays That Sell.

Michael has presented seminars, lectures and keynotes in person and online to more than 80,000 participants worldwide. According to Will Smith, “No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.”

 

My Review

I’ve been hooked on Michael Hauge since taking an online video conferencing course with him a few years ago on the art of storytelling.

He is friendly and charismatic and knows how to get his point across without ramming down your throat.

This book confused me at first as it seemed geared more toward toward entrepreneurs than authors, but I recommend persevering as there are many invaluable nuggets of information here to benefit everyone.

This will be a re-read for me!

I give Storytelling Made Easy 5 lovey kisses

cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21cropped-kiss21

You Are My Sunshine #LazyDaysOfSummer #amwriting #mgtab


poster-1568247_640

I don’t know about you, but when the warm winds and indigo blue skies of summer appear on the horizon, the last thing I want to do is sit in a chair forcing myself to fight past the sticky middle of my current WIP (work-in-progress).

It’s literally like pulling teeth.

I’d much sooner have my hands buried up to the elbow in fine black planting soil, or daydream on the end of a water hose watching the hummingbirds and butterflies play in the breeze.

 

butterfly-199115_640

 

But, I also realize if I want to take this writing career seriously, and I do, I need to sometimes make sacrifices.

One thing I’ve learned is better time management. I’m a late riser, mornings are not my thing :), so I usually sit at the computer with my coffee and go through the social media platforms sharing and promoting.

Then I spend an hour or two visiting my mom next door before FINALLY waking up enough to begin my day!

I take the computer outside to our gazebo where I can work on my story while watering the flowers, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a friendly hummingbird or two.

 

IMG_3283

 

Sometimes, I don’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It’s a WIP, just like me 🙂

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to lately, you can check out the new anthology written by members of my critique group to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary!

 

My Baby Wrote Me A LetterA family's brush with the past will threaten the fabric of their lives.

 

Dreams and Promises

Dreams and Promises includes six short stories and novellas written by authors who live in beautiful British Columbia.

It’s our way of honoring Canada’s Sesquicentennial.

Some of Canada’s major cities were founded in the seventeenth century, but July 1st 2017 marks 150 years since our country became a Confederation.

Our stories range from the era of the fur trade, to a commercial enterprise that opened up the Canadian and American West, to present day James Bay, a thriving neighborhood in the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia.

Universal link: http://books2read.com/DreamsandPromises

 

Amazon: 

 

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35387646-dreams-and-promises

 

 

 

Celebrating my first featured @Bookbub #Sale #mgtab


For an indie author, the tough job of writing a book, editing, choosing covers (all of mine are done by the fabulous Kim Killion), learning how to format (if you’re doing your own I highly recommend Vellum!) and uploading to your chosen vendors can seem overwhelming.

hustle-and-bustle-1738072_640

Fortunately, there are many informative blogs, such as Kristen Lamb, Writer Unboxed, and Bookbub to guide our tottering steps through an unfamiliar territory.

One of the main pieces of advice I’ve heard over and over again is the importance of building a backlist. It only makes sense; how can you keep a reader’s interest if you only have one or two books to share with them?

To this end, I’ve been hard at work the past couple of years and just listed my ninth book, Missing: The Lady Said No for pre-order!

missing-the-lady-said-no-ebook

Another tip I’ve learned thanks to the mentorship of two special ladies, Mimi Barbour and Anna Markland, is the importance of building connections in the writing world. One of the best ways to do this is multi-author box sets.

I’ve been blessed to be involved with some very fine authors in these sets and made friendships that I treasure. I can’t recommend this enough-if you get the opportunity to join a box set, go for it!

One caveat I have to make to this- do your research. I went into one set where I didn’t know the coordinator, but was familiar with some of the other authors. A few months later, after many unanswered emails and Facebook messages, we found she had taken our money and our manuscripts, and skipped out on her obligation to the group. It was only through the hard work of some of the other members we received our money and a legal letter that she would never publish our books in any part.

So now, how do you get the word out about your new book babies?

One way is to post on blogs like this. Another is to promote on the many Facebook reading groups and tweeting five or six times a day (yes, they recommend at least that much!), or you can apply to book promotional sites.

Some are easy and not too expensive, but they also don’t have the benefits you can reap from the granddaddy of advertising: Bookbub

There are many different rumors about the difficulty of landing an ad with Bookbub, and to be honest, I tried a LOT before they finally accepted me, yay!

One thing I can say, it’s NOT true that you need a bunch of reviews (I heard everything from 50-150) I have 5, yep, 5.

It’s also NOT true that you need to be on all vendors sites before they will accept you. I’m loyal to Amazon.

It IS true that a professional cover is critical. As is a good blurb- one without grammatical errors and isn’t five pages long 🙂

It IS true that Bookbub is expensive to advertise with, but then, they have hundreds of thousands of followers and almost always propel a book into the top hundred in Amazon (Fingers crossed!)

It IS true that you can advertise internationally for a minimal upgrade. (I did, hoping to gain a new readership)

I’ve tried to benefit from this promotion by booking some smaller sites before and after the big day. I also set one of my other books to #Free during that period, The Guardian.

#FREE Feb 5-9 2017

her-taste-reminded-him-of-blue-skies-and-endless-meadows-of-songbirds-and-bubbling-brooks-she-was-his-fire-when-he-got-cold-and-food-when-he-was-hungry-she-made-him-weak-yet-superhero-strong-all

And don’t forget the pre-order for Missing: The Lady Said No. The book doesn’t release until April 25/17, but I thought this would be a good chance to gain early interest 🙂

So, I bet you’re wondering what book made it through the rigid Bookbub criteria?

JacquieBiggar_WoundedHearts3D_HR

Available for a limited time at just .99 pennies

BUY NOW!

And watch for it February 6 as Bookbub’s featured sale!

How about you? Any advice on writing or promoting you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you 🙂

A New Library In Town: One Stop For Writers #MFRWauthor #mgtab #RSsos @onestop4writers


If there’s one thing all writers agree on, it’s that writing is TOUGH. The road to publication twists and dips as we learn the craft, hone our abilities, create stories we’re passionate about, fight discouragement, educate ourselves about the industry…and then start the process all over again as we realize there’s room to improve. But you know what? If you are like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yet, sometimes it’s nice to get a helping hand.

Finding a good writing book, a helpful blog, a mentor or critique partner to share the journey with…these things are gems along the writing path.

And guess what? Maybe there’s another resource waiting just up the road called One Stop For Writers.

 

 

One Stop For Writers is not writing software, but rather a powerful online library that contains tools, unique description collections, helpful tutorials and much more, brought to you by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows.

Could One Stop For Writers be the writing partner you’ve been searching for? Visit Writers Helping Writers this week and see, where Angela, Lee and Becca are celebrating their venture with prizes and some pay-it-forward fun.