Okay so it looks like I fell off the planet. Promise - I'm still here. The last four years have been ... hard. There's no other word for it. Everything is fine. I'm fine, but I've been the caregiver of my mom who has Dementia. Between her needs, work, etc I seem to have lost control of my time. I am still writing and am trying hard to get back to my blog.

In case you weren't aware Phaze and HSWF which where under the Mundania Umbrella have closed. I was smart enough to get my titles back before all this happened. I'm happy to say the three books I sold to HSWF have been picked up by Melange Books and are available through their Satin Books imprint. I have even sold a new title to them called Magical Quest due out in 2022

I have also been lucky enough to find a publisher for my Vespian Way series. I'm now with Blushing Books under the name of Bethany Drake. I have five titles out with them right now and am close to submitting two more. There's Desire's Destiny, Desire's Duty and Desire's Promise. Then there is two in my werewolf series, Tears of the Queen and Legend of the Tears. I have just finished the rough draft of the third book in the series and have plans for a fourth one the moment I submit it.

I'll probably still be sporadic here on the blog. Unless I win the lottery and can hire someone to help me I can't avoid it, but know I'm still here still working hard in the background and am hoping to do better at keeping my blog alive.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Latest Guest: Joanne Myers #interview

Happy Saturday everyone! Help me welcome my latest guest JoAnne Myers. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.  

I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvas paint. When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, my dog Jasmine, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Savvy Authors, Coffee Time Romance, Paranormal Romance Guild, True Romance Studios, National Writers Association, the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams. My original canvas paintings, can be found at: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com

Tell us about your latest release.

Loves, Myths, and Monsters, is a anthology of 11 fantasy tales entwined within the human world.  It stars the Mothman, the Chupracabra, Mermaids, Werewolves, reincarnation, time travel, a Quaker love story, a serial killer family circa 1870, an Egyptian love curse, a demonic cellmate, and etc.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
Satan! He is the ultimate bad guy.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why? 
That would be Jackie Reeves. She is the heroine in Murder Most Foul-my detective/mystery. She is as tough as she is beautiful, and ready for action.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one? 
I write fantasy, paranormal, true crime, mystery, and poetry.  I have a lot of interests, so I cannot just be happy writing about one genre.

4.)What are you working on now?  
I added more poems to my poetry collection, Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between, and found a second publishing company. I am eagerly awaiting for its release which is to be in May.

5.) What got you to start writing? 
I have always been able to write. Even as a child I had a flare for art.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?  
Some story ideas come from true life scenarios. Other's are strictly from my imagination, and some stories come from my conversations with others.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you? 
That I am a loner and publicly shy and awkward.

8.) Do you have any special talents? 
Just writing and painting, and being a great loving grandmother.

9.)  What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?  
To never give up. That is the best advice one author could give to another author. I also wrote a post about Never Giving Up.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?  
It would be to talk with Ann Rule. I would gossip about our books, and ask her what her big break was. I know some of her books have been turned into movies.  That would be awesome, the ultimate reward.

For the Love of Ginnie
I don’t know why I wanted to save the life of a person I never met. Maybe it was because I was tired of bachelorhood. Maybe it was because I was a chemist and the unusual, and unexplained, fascinated me. Or, maybe, it was because I was obsessed with this twenty-year-old, dark-haired beauty named Mary Virginia “Ginnie” Wade I had read about.
These questions filtered through my mind as I drove to the bar to meet my best friend Will.
Will’s favorite hangout was “The Bling,” originally an old truck stop on State Route 93, in Nelsonville, Ohio. The place became a restaurant/lounge/dance hall and brothel when semis no longer became a necessity for long distance hauling. The invention of the transporter also replaced many other primitive jobs such as mail delivery and travel. “The Bling” was best known for the large flashing lights suggesting scantily clad women in seductive positions above the front entrance, and its “bulldogs,” monster-sized bouncers in Armani suits who patrolled its two-block perimeter, inside and out.
“The Bling,” just another joint with a sleazy atmosphere, like all alcohol-serving establishments, differed only in that it catered exclusively to class “A” clientele. Politely—or maybe not so politely—everyone called it the “Whorehouse for the rich and bored.” Its reputation grew. Its income grew even faster.
I pulled up in front and exited my vintage DeLorian, tossing the keys to the baby-faced valet, by-passed the doorman with no questions asked. Just an exchange of large smiles between us. Will was also part-owner.
As I entered the twenty-four carat gold, electronic doors, Will immediately spotted me and motioned me toward the bar with his diamond embellished hand.
I loved sitting at the bar. It was the perfect place to see the shows. “Two double scotches and water,” Will said, as we shook hands, and I slid into my seat beside him, just as the tall, leggy waitress produced the drinks in an instant.
I immediately recognized the “girl” as one of the latest “do-everything-like-a-wife” robotics. Robot manufacturing had become a booming business since the last war destroyed the immune and reproductive systems in most humans, especially females.
“I don’t know why you waste your time flirting with non-humans,” I said, cautiously sipping my drink. The immense emptiness of not being able to acquire a wife and soul mate, I felt at this age in my life, almost drove me to alcoholism, but my boss and mentor, Doctor Obar Gabry, intervened, saving my life and promising career.
“Because, dear friend,” Will began, “beggars can’t be choosey, and ladies are in scarce supply. Beside, these ‘girls’ are all pink inside.”
Ugh!” I said, gulping down a large swallow of alcohol as if it could wash away my friend’s vile mental picture from my mind.
“Come on, Alex, loosen up. Live a little.” Will motioned to the waitress for another round of drinks. “You’re alive, so act like it. Don’t let your beautiful mind go to waste. This world needs people like you. People started treating me like a god once I became an entrepreneur, and I love it.”
I had to laugh. Maybe my self-pity stage had outlived its use. Only I can find a wife for myself. I certainly won’t ask Will to hook me up. His sense of values are as artificial as the women he beds.
The pain and loneliness I felt at times from yearning for a life-long partner and family wasn’t easy to accomplish. Scientific and Medical technology still could not reverse the sterilization effects on the female species.
Sure there were some human women to date. But most were either sterile, too old, too young, or there was just no chemistry between the two of us. I wanted that spark that unites between two people madly in love...like my parents. I never met any couple happier with one another then my beloved parents. That’s the kind of love I want…never ending.
The emptiness and frustration of not finding companionship at times made me want to die. But that was the loneliness talking. I know that now. I love life. I want to live, and I know who I want for a wife. It’s just that meeting her would be a little tricky.
Abruptly, I asked, “What do you think about time travel?”
“Are you serious?” Will asked. “Scientists have tried to conquer time travel for hundreds of years, and failed.”
“Maybe they failed because they weren’t Doctor Gabry and me.”
Will looked at me in awe. “Oh, my god, you’re serious!”
“We discovered something today in the lab,” I said, giving him an arrogant smile. “We believe this is the answer.”
“So who is to be the Guinea pig?”
Silence came from Will, then a gasp. “That could be suicide.”
“Or the biggest discovery of the thirtieth century.”

Blurbs for “Loves, Myths, and Monsters” 11 fantasy tales filled with mystery and intrigue entwined within the human world.
            Little does 17 year old Zoe, realize, but the Chupracabra followed her to Ohio from South America.  What happens next is a series of chilling mysteries, and unsuspecting friendships and love.
            When all game warden Daren Abram, had to worry about was which lucky lady to woo, he comes to the realization that his town is being stalked by the reincarnation of the town’s legend.
            For teenage mermaid Constance, coming to the quaint seaside town of Willowick, is heavenly, until she falls for mortal boy Drake. For the town to survive, Constance is forced to choose between her kind and the boy and town she loves.
            Apiologist 34-year-old Duncan McPherson goes to Circleville, Ohio, to investigate a series of mysterious bee attacks. What is uncovered proves to be more dark and sinister then anyone imaged.                                                    
            Incarcerated in the abandoned Roseville jail, is the last thing rich college student and speeder Brice Conrad, needs. With an “agreement” between the town and a permanent demonic “guest”, only the unfortunate ones know the truth, but do not live to tell.
            When an Egypt love curse scroll is stolen from a Dean’s office, persons begin dying in bizarre and grisly ways, with the college’s mascot a Viking King statue jokingly blamed for it
            When young Lycan Sonny Red Blanket, a Shawnee Indian falls for mortal girl Drenda Way, he must save her from his fellow Lycan’s and stop a werewolf uprising.                                IS IT ONLY A MYTH?
When 32-year-old Vinton County Sheriff, James “Jim“ Connors, discovers he has a Mothman hunting in his county, he stops at nothing to save his citizens.
            Handsome bachelor and Scientist Alex Anderson from the thirtieth century, returns to the Civil War with time serum to save his beloved Ginnie Wade from a snipers bullet, while finding a roller coaster ride of joy and perils.
            A seemingly loving family turns out to be serial killers in 1873.
            The rough and ready cowboy John Queenie gets the shock of his life, when the ad to break a “wild filly” turns out to be a fiery Quaker girl named Tess. This is a story proving love conquers all.

Other books by JoAnne:
Murder Most Foul-a detective/mystery
Wicked Intentions-7 bone chilling paranormal stories
The Crime of the Century-a biography true crime
Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between
Upcoming Releases:
Twisted Love-a biography true crime anthology available May 10
Flagitious-a detective/mystery novella anthology available Summer of 2014
Website:  Books and Paintings by JoAnne  http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com
Blog: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/page2

Buy Links:
LULU in print

That's for joining me JoAnne!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Updates and a thought about writing

If you noticed I didn't post an interview this past weekend. I had decided to take this past weekend off because of a birthday bash I had for several members of my family. I will also not be posting an interview on the weekend of Memorial because I will be out of town. July 4th will be the same way.

This week I'm just posting this update due to the fact I have a family emergency to deal with. Nothing too bad but it's taking all my time right now.

Something I've been thinking of writing is a group of things that has happened to my friends and family over the years. We've all done some really goofy things and I think it could be really funny if I could come up with a plot. My brain has been thinking about this for a while and I think I have come up with an idea. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. I've been thinking about using that as a blog so I can show how my writing process is but I sure don't want to bore you with how many pages I have so I still need to figure out how I can entertain and still show how I work from beginning to final draft.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Writing Down the Bones: Rewrites

Oh I found a really good one this time - this came from a handout by Rita Gallagher, who passed in 2004. There is no date on it but most of these handouts have been dated from the 1980's so I believe this is from the same era.

This is about rewrites - but before we start understand what might work for one person might not work for another. Each book is different. It depends on the type of plot, whether it is a contemporary or historical, and how many characters it has in it.

I love what Rita tells us.

First that too many rewrites can do more damage than too little. Someone once told me to use this rule of thumb and it does work. When you get so tired of your ms you want to throw it against the wall consider it done.

Another thing to keep in mind is to trust yourself. We all second guess ourselves, but the more people you ask to read your story the more opinions you will get and they might not all say the same thing. Some of those suggestions could cause more harm than good.

Learn your craft. Take classes, join a writing group that focuses on the art of writing. Buy books on writing, whatever works the best for you.

As your story flows along make sure your characters react when they are supposed to and react properly. They shouldn't under react or over react, and make sure it is logical for your character.

Rita then quotes Somerset Maughn:
Fuss about style
Try to write in a clear and concise manner
Aim for rhythm and balance
Take pains to be simple clear and succinct
Read the sentence aloud. If you stumble, it needs to be re-written.

Keep writing!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Guest for this Week: S.S. Hampton Sr.

I want to welcome Stan Hampton Sr. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I am a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist. I retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; I previously served in the active duty Army, the Army Individual Ready Reserve (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which I was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. I am a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). My writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 13 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, I miss the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, I officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Tell us about your latest release. 

My latest release from Melange Books is The Gates of Moses, and takes place in Venice, Italy. Long story short, an engineer charged with saving Venice from the encroaching, stormy Adriatic Sea, fails in his task. The city is emptied of the population and artworks evacuated. He sends his staff to safety while he remains behind, ostensibly to wait for evacuation, but in reality to die when the sea submerges Venice. He remains because a Venetian succubus claimed him many years before. The situation escalates when a young woman from his staff returns to battle the succubus for him.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. 

And why? Ahhh, my favorite villain? Ah, I do not know. But, if I had to name someone, then, Salma Hayek’s character from the Quentin Tarantino movie, “From Dusk to Dawn.” Why? Ahhh, she really put her talents to good use?

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why? 
Well, I really do not have a favorite character, but if pressed for an answer—in my short story collection Intimate Journeys, there is a short story, Dawn at Khabari Crossing. The character is Sergeant Braddock Hollingwood, a mobilized Army National Guard soldier serving in Iraq. The Iraq War is over and the last American combat unit is rolling south for the Kuwait-Iraq border crossing called Khabari Crossing. Hollingwood’s own unit will soon cross from Iraq into Kuwait and, ultimately, return home where they will be demobilized. Though Hollingwood hopes to remain in uniform and go on to Afghanistan, he does not know what the future holds for him. Nonetheless, he hopes for the best. Of the many characters I have written, I can relate to Hollingwood the most because, in a way, the story is somewhat autobiographical. Of course, because the story is a work of fiction, do not take it as a thinly veiled factual story.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one? 

I write science fiction, fantasy, erotica, military fiction, horror, and I even dabble a little in the Old West and Classical Rome. As for Dawn at Khabari Crossing—military fiction—writing the story was actually a college English writing class assignment. Afterwards I developed the story further for my short story collection. As for the genre of military fiction, the Global War On Terrorism and the Iraq War was a defining moment in my life. After spending most of my adult life in the military, or being a civilian associated with the military, it is a genre that I may know best. Thus, that is why Dawn at Khabari Crossing.

4.)What are you working on now? 

I do not want to give away too much, but imagine a Confederate veteran of the Civil War who drifts West after the war and encounters a horror that takes a real interest in him. More or less.

5.) What got you to start writing? 

I have wanted to be a writer since I was 15 years old. And that is because I have stories to tell. Of course, I did not become published until I was in my late 30s, and then not again until my late 40s. Beginning in 2002, my published writings became more frequent.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from? 

Everywhere. A conversation, a newspaper story, something I see, even my dreams. Ideas can appear at any hour of the day or night, and usually when least expected.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you? 

The tendency to include erotica in my writing. Ah, not gratuitous erotica, but erotica that really does have a place within the story.

8.) Do you have any special talents? 

Being a survivor? I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nor did I marry into money. Unlike others, my life has always been difficult and probably always will be, until the day of my death.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why? 

Many years ago I communicated with the writer Poppy Z. Brite. She relayed to me something her agent said—and I am paraphrasing here—short story writers usually do not become successful, but novelists do. I am not fond of editing though I recognize its importance. Until the past year I always wrote short stories and novellas because they are easier to write and edit, even rewrite if needed. A novel—oh boy. And when there are multiple characters—oh boy. There are days when I miss short stories and novellas.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about? 

Well, it would be a choice between Publius Quinctilius Varus or George Armstrong Custer. In 9 AD Varus was a Roman governor in Germany; he was leading three Roman legions on a campaign and they were ambushed by the Germans in the Battle of the Teutoburg Wald. There were few Roman survivors. Custer, of course, led the 7th Cavalry Regiment to the Little Big Horn in June 1876, and he along with some 225 men of his immediate command (Regiment HQ, Companies C, E, F, I, and L) were all killed. Whoever I would ultimately choose, I would ask, from their perspective, what really happened. It goes without saying that the historical record of a battle 2,000 years ago is mostly conjecture. Even for a battle almost 140 years old, though analyzed through eyewitness accounts and archaeological examination, questions still remain. I would like to know the answers to those questions.

Thanks so much for joining me Stan. I love learning about each of my guests - you have some interesting answers here.

Here's the blurb and excerpt from the Gates of Moses - enjoy!

BLURB: An engineer dedicated to saving Venice from the rising seas, fails in his task. As a severe storm and high tides threaten to burst through the flood walls, he resolves to remain in Venice with a ghostly lover who claimed his heart years before. A woman from his staff who loves him, does not evacuate, but remains to battle his ghostly lover before he dies in a sinking Venice

EXCERPT: The dull booms, like the measured beats of a primeval heart, echoed through the gray drizzling afternoon. Each boom was a countdown to a finely predicted cataclysm that man, through his mistaken notion that he could control nature, had finally admitted that he was powerless to hold back.
Dr. Gregorio Romano, tall, with dark brown hair and watchful hazel eyes, stood before the open tall narrow window of his corner office in the ornate, gilded Ducal Palace of the once La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, and peered into the gray drizzle toward the unseen barrier islands. The almost submerged islands of Lido and Pellestrina, with their channels opening onto the Adriatic Sea, formed the southeastern perimeter of the timeless Venetian lagoon. He listened to the echoing booms of the rising, stormy Adriatic, and thought of a mythical, prehistoric mother who gave birth to an imaginative species that dreamed of the impossible and often made it happen. And now the mother was ready to take back one of the greatest dreams of her children, ready to clasp it deep within her bosom.
“Yes,” he replied as he gazed at the gray choppy waters of the lagoon.
“Have you reconsidered? Are you ready to evacuate?”
“Not yet.” Gregorio tilted his head slightly as a sleek dark gondola glided effortlessly across frothy, white-capped waters and halted before the flooded wharf, the Riva degli Schiavoni, in front of the Palace.
Patrizia Celentano, the first and last female gondolier of Venice, looked up at him and gave a friendly wave. He raised a hand in return. Her gondola was a traditionally built and shaped boat, but rather than the traditional black as required by law, she painted it a dark wine color. Though she offered to erect a shelter to protect Gregorio from the elements, he always preferred to ride in the open.
“We can evacuate you by force if necessary.”
“You won’t,” Gregorio smiled as he turned to face his computer on the polished wooden desk. The broad, bearded face of his boss, Dr. Niccolo Ricci, nodded in agreement. “There’s no need, and a helicopter is scheduled to pick me up from the roof of my home tomorrow morning at 0600 hours.”
“The calculations might be incorrect. The gates could break tonight...”


Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing

Amazon.com Author Page

Amazon.com. UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ramdon Thoughts: This is my 100th post

One hundred posts - that's a big milestone to me. It took me a little over two years to hit that milestone, but I don't post everyday. In fact in the last two years I didn't even post every week. So far I have been doing better, been able to post twice a week with the interviews on Saturdays and then my post on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I've written about so many things. My main goal is to share the writing tips I've learned along the way. Talk about the writing that caught my attention...and you don't know how many times I had to curb myself to keep from speaking about non writing things. Like drivers on the highway! holy cow could I go off on that.

I've really enjoyed doing this blog and I hope I have given everyone information they can use as they write.

Here's to my one hundredth post!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Welcome Frances Paulli!

I want to welcome Frances Pauli First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

Tell us about your latest release
Dogs of War: Vertigo is the first book in a paranormal romance series featuring demons and the dogs who hunt them across multiple incarnations. The books cross timelines for the hero and heroine, bringing encounters from their past lives into the present and renewing a soul mate connection under the constant threat of the parasitic demons who follow each couple through life after life. The Dogs of War series also highlights the canines used in military conflicts and, hopefully, is a tribute to the dogs who have served alongside man in various theaters throughout our history.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Oh I have always loved Maleficent, primarily because she was so totally wicked for a Disney character. Over the top bad. I'm actually a little concerned that the new film might try to make her sympathetic. I like my bad guys to be bad to the bone, and would hate to see her nastiness explained away too much. 

For a purely aesthetic choice, however, I'd pick Lucius Malfoy...because yum.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

It's really hard to pick a favorite. You've heard that before, I imagine. For the Dogs of War series specifically, I'd pick Angel Remington. Angel is a big, tough as nails, tragic character who, despite liking dogs a lot more than people, manages to show her soft side at times too. Angel's soul mate, Rachel, was possessed by their demon and Angel was the one who had to kill her. So, she's pretty messed up, but her heart is always in the right place. I have big things planned for her in book three Cry Havoc, and I can't wait to put her on center stage.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I didn't. I just can't do it. (despite much advice to just pick one!) I have always read multiple genres, and I'm learning that that makes me something of a mutant. However, because of that, I think up stories in all sorts of places, space, underwater, past, present, future. I love them all. The romantic theme at the core is always there, and there is often humor, but the story that screams loudest gets written next and it is often a different genre than the last one.

4.)What are you working on now?

Currently I am writing book four in the Kingdoms Gone series. That one is set in a fairy tale world after the Final War has destroyed all the old kingdoms and left the current society in something of a mess. Most of the nobler races were wiped out in the war and we are left with imps, tinkers and fairy godmothers who use the scraps of magic that still linger in hidden pockets of "old space" to keep things from falling completely apart. 

5.) What got you to start writing?

I always had stories in my head. Originally, I kept them for myself and spun them out in my head, elaborating and expanding to entertain myself. Then I became suddenly afraid that I would lose them. I started taking notes, but the notes didn't hold up over the years and I realized I'd forgotten some of them. That panic to "save the stories" is what finally got me motivated enough to sit down and actually write them out.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I get some from dreams, and my dreams have a lot of story fragments in them. Since I started writing regularly and prolifically, however, the ideas can come from anywhere. Things I hear or see in real life and then ruminate on, people that catch my eye, conversations or questions about basically, life, the universe, and everything.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

Well, I'm pretty ordinary. I write about the very fantastic, but I live in the middle of the dry, empty desert, surrounded by brown grass and bare hills. I home school my two kiddos and have very, very little time to actually write. Somehow, the stories find a way to get out despite my schedule.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

This answer is going to come out a lot like the "what genre" one. Focusing is not my strong point. I crochet, spin and weave, paint, belly dance, play the ukulele, make wine, show dogs, do puppetry and teach Reiki. Not all at the same time, and definitely not often. There are far too few hours in the day!

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Keep writing. I think deep down that that's the only one that matters. Lots of advice, lots of it, is speculative, or based on personal experiences that may not mirror your own. But keep writing is the whole point. Finish one book, write another. Don't wait. Keep your muse moving and working. The words must flow.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I always pick William Shakespeare. Mostly because I want to hear him talk. Still, I think my love of words came from reading Shakespeare and it would be lovely to have a chat with him about it, about poetics and drama and putting it all together in a way that is timeless and lingering. What author doesn't want that? Words that linger long after they've moved along.

Thank you so much for having me on the blog!

Thanks for joining me Frances! Loved your answers - by the way you'll have to put those spiders away if I ever come to visit - have very healthy fear of them ever since a banana spider fell on my head as a kid. Won't touch them, don't even like to be in the same room with them.

A modern day accountant with a level head and her feet firmly planted in ordinary reality, Genevieve doesn't believe in past lives, demons, or true love. All of which seems like a perfectly practical approach to life until the thing that killed her in World War One decides it’s time to try again…
Genevieve Oliver doesn't break the law. She doesn't take risks, and she definitely doesn't believe in anything weird. So getting pulled over for speeding on the way to pick up her new dog wasn't exactly on her to do list. Even more surprising, the cop who shows up at her window seems familiar. She’s never seen him before, and yet, just looking at the man makes her want to cry. But Viv has her head on straight.
She shakes off the encounter and heads to the dog breeder only to have an old magazine photo trigger a full blown, past life flashback. Not only do the soldiers in the picture look like her and her mysterious cop, she remembers them, a memory that holds as much danger as it does passion.
Now Viv is bouncing between two lives and being stalked by something evil in both of them. As the love story of two soldiers unfolds, her own heart opens for a man who may not even be available. Not that she has time to worry about minor details. If she can’t figure out the demon’s identity fast, Viv could lose more than just her life. She could lose everything she never believed in. 

Dogs of War: Vertigo
Viv cursed the lights flashing in her rearview mirror. Her speedometer read ten over, five more that she’d normally travel and enough to earn her a nice, fat ticket. Damn. Her wipers squeaked and brushed off a thinning film of rain. The side of the highway beckoned like her own funeral. So much for her perfect record.

She pulled her Malibu onto the shoulder and eased to a stop. Dog toys piled on the passenger seat, and she leaned across and shoved them back out of the way. The registration would be in the lower glove box, the slidey one she never opened. Her elbow jabbed a squeaky toy and it joined the wiper blades in mocking her. The box was locked. A chew rope tumbled off the pile and landed amongst the litter on her floorboards. Viv sat up and turned off the engine.

The patrol car lights shimmered and blurred through the rain—red, blue, red. The driver’s side door opened, and she looked away. The flashing and haze spawned a wave of dizzy she didn’t care to continue. He’d want her license as well, and she knew where that was. Unfortunately her purse lay buried beneath the heap of supplies, dog toys, chewies and sweaters that she probably hadn’t needed to bring today. Her nerves had made her do it, made her bring the whole shebang, and now they made her hands tremble as she tried to extract her handbag.

The sweaters parted and she managed to get her purse open before the light tap, tap, at the window stopped her heart. Her fingers snagged the wallet that miraculously hadn’t drifted to the bag’s bottom, and she sat up and tugged it free in one move. She felt dizzy again, had to lean back against the seat to catch her breath and found it ragged, her pulse racing. Was she having a panic attack?

The tap came again. Great. She’d look guilty or worse, drunk. She slid her left hand out and pressed the window lever. It hummed, and the glass lowered while she tried to compose herself. Outside the window, a wall of uniform waited. Viv could just make out the name on the badge: Officer Adams. Her eyes darted to the rearview mirror and back. She didn’t look drunk. Maybe he’d be in a good mood. Maybe he loved dogs.

“License and registration.” Officer Adams spoke too quietly for a cop. He nearly whispered.

“Of course. One second.” Viv extracted her driver’s license from an inside slot in the wallet. The registration would take more maneuvering, but she could buy a moment by passing one of them over. She extended the photo ID out the window at the same time her cop leaned down to peer inside the Malibu.

He looked familiar.

Deep set brown eyes regarded her over a strong nose and classic cop mustache. She knew him. Viv would have staked anything on it right then, but she was almost just as sure they’d never met. She watched his eyes narrow so slightly she’d have missed it if she hadn’t been staring. The dizziness morphed into a pressure in her head. His mustache moved, but he didn’t say anything more.

She was going to cry. The realization startled her enough to drive her to action. She dropped her gaze to the card in her hand, waved it a little to catch his attention.  Her license. The cop. She’d be getting a ticket any second now. How stupid would crying look? God, she didn’t want to find out.

She chewed her bottom lip and waited.

He hesitated. His eyes fell to the card and lifted. Viv found her hands gripping the steering wheel and didn’t remember how they’d gotten there. Don’t cry idiot. He’s just waiting for your registration. Shit. She’d only given him half the request. Now she sat like a weepy teenager and he had to be wondering what kind of drugs she’d taken.

She reached for the glove box at the same time he spoke again.

“Do you have a dog?” Again, his tone didn’t match his profession, or his face for that matter. She’d have bet his normal speaking voice boomed.

“What?” She sat up and the seat beside her squeaked again. Christ. She had a kennel in the back seat for heaven’s sake. It was a logical question. “No. I mean, I’m on my way to get one. A puppy.”

“I’ll be right back.” He took her card and stepped away from the car.

Viv watched him in her rearview mirror—cop walk—but his had a nice edge to it. Or was she imagining that? She didn’t imagine him stopping halfway between their vehicles. He paused and looked back down at her license. She still hadn’t offered her registration. How much more guilty could she make herself look? But he didn’t spin and come back to arrest her. Instead, he returned to his patrol car, swung into the driver’s seat and sat behind the wheel without closing the door.

Weird. She pressed her lips together again. They trembled, and her eyes stung. Stupid. It’s just a ticket. But the embarrassment of it burned, and she knew she’d be crying before he got back. He’d think she was trying to get out of the fine.

He was beautiful. Viv cringed at the thought and watched him unfold from the car again. She sniffed but held herself together while he walked back through the rain. Her chest shuddered. He reached the side of her car and stopped again.

This time, he didn’t bend down. He poked the license back through her window. Viv took it and they both held on a fraction longer than necessary.

“You have a perfect record,” he said.


“I love dogs.”

The first tear escaped. He’d already turned and started away. Maybe he loved dogs. She cried while he started his car. Maybe she was sick. The dizziness could be a flu coming on. She should leave first. Wasn’t that the protocol? She fumbled the keys and had to duck to retrieve them from the floorboards. When she sat back up, his headlights already veered back out onto the road. His light bar went dark, and Officer Adams drove away.

 link:  http://wardogseries.blogspot.com/p/book-one.html

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Writing Down the Bones: What your Publisher doesn't want to see

I found another wonderful handout - this one from 1988 by Susan Wiggs - now a lot of it is a bit outdated now. Some of the rules have changed but a lot if still very true. As an editor I constantly see things like this and have to mark them.

Starting the chapter - Susan said to start each chapter with the word chapter - which is capped followed by the number - Chapter 1 - this is still true although with electronic publishers I have also seen the number spelled out.

Scene breaks and chapter breaks - Susan used the pound sign, which might still be true with traditional publishers but I have found the electronic publisher wants you to use the astrid now. There is no mark at the end of a chapter.

Use a personal pronoun instead of the characters name - this is still true - when I first started writing and belonged to a critique group someone made a comment they didn't know who was speaking so I started using my character's name like every 6 times. Several years later and a different critique group I was told I used them too much. Rule of thumb I use is if I think my readers could get confused about who is talking I put their names. I also use their names if I think the sentence reads better.

Always define the word thing - this is always a smart move. Mary had things to do - what sort of things? Does she need to buy large garbage bags, and rope? Why? Mary had to pick up the rope and garbage bags. A body wasn't going to bury itself. which one would you rather read?

Susan also spoke about redundant phrases like sitting down, retreated back, straightened up. I had that one pointed out to me - no need for the second word in each of those phrases - if you're retreating it's normally back.

She spends a lot of time on modifiers. One big one was try not to use more than one modifier for a word, another is placement. She used thick honey colored waves of hair and reworded it to waves of thick, honey colored hair.

Susan also recommends that you put the important information at the end of the sentence for more impact. You need to simplify trick sentence structure and be economical with your words. I've seen authors use "big" words to convey what the want the reader to know, I've also read my share of convoluted sentences. Mary stuck her tongue out at the man who cut her off as she brushed her hair back from her face. Brushing her hair back, Mary stuck her tongue out at the jerk who cut her off.

Some of this I have spoken about before, but I have learned that sometimes we need a 'refresher' course. It's fun seeing how other authors viewpoints on editing too.