Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Welcome My latest Guest Glenn Maynard! @GlennMaynard64

I want to welcome Glenn Maynard. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

Desert Son is a paranormal romance novel which includes out-of-body, past-life-regression hypnosis and reincarnation. Carter Spence is involved in a car accident and has an out-of-body experience, finding himself overlooking his own accident, which took the life of his parents. He walks through heaven and meets a woman who claims to be his mother, then reunites with his body and tries to follow signs to figure out what the woman meant. This is when he meets Brenda, and they begin to figure things out as they head west. When they stay with old man Martin in an old white house in Boulder, Colorado, they find diaries and experience strange behavior from Martin which catapults them into answers they wish they never found.

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?

Jack Nicholson in The Shining. The line between reality and fiction is so fine and that’s what makes him such a believable character. He is totally insane, yet so believable as a character that you forget he’s just an actor playing the part.

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

My favorite character is Brenda because she brings so much to the table and helps the main character, Carter Spence, search for his real identity. She is smart, witty, pretty, and sassy. She can take care of herself, don’t you worry about that, and she always seems to come up with the right answer at the right time to move the storyline along. They work well together, and both have a vested interest in the answers they seek.

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

I began my writing career with a non-fiction book about my one-year journey through the 48 continental states in an RV, entitled “Strapped into an American Dream.” I then began writing paranormal, having developed a fascination with accounts of reincarnation in Asia. Even my leap from travel book to out-of-body travel book was paranormal. That’s where I am now. It could change, but not a lot, and there will always be dark overtones in my fiction. That’s the way life is sometimes. Everybody will face darkness, and not just at night. I’ll bring that darkness during the day and raise you five.

4.) What are you working on now?

I am editing book three of the Desert Son trilogy, having just released book two, Wayward Soul, on January 7, 2016. There is plenty of action in the third book as well, and I’m trying to get it out there as quickly as I can. I’ve convinced myself that I can publish one book per year. My published books timeline is 2009, 2014, and 2016, so 2017 is not an unrealistic goal, since I’m on my second draft. There’s still a lot of work to be done, though.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I remember being in first grade and my mother sitting me down and telling me that my teacher called about a story that I wrote, which she said was very good. That made enough of an impact on me to remember it 40-plus years later. When I was in college, my family members used to send me money (they didn’t know it was beer money) and I would send a Thank You note back in poetry form. They were funny poems, and soon more money would come my way from family members wanting a poetic thank you. It was a win-win deal, and I always seemed to win with my ability to write.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I get my ideas from Reading books and newspapers, watching movies, and use these story lines as bases to spin a whole new tale. My books are a combination of stories and people that I’ve come across in my life. There are so many directions to take a story, and storylines evolve during the writing process for me. I get anxious to see where the story line takes me and how my characters get out of the scrapes they are faced with.

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

They would be surprised to know that as much patience it takes to being a writer, I am the most impatient person you will come across. Maybe it comes with age, but even stop lights have me throwing my head back. When I sit down to write or edit, all of this unused patience from my day is released during these creative moments.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

My special talent is creating book-length stories. I also play acoustic guitar and sing, but the world will be a better place if I stick to writing.

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

The one piece of advice that I received was just prior to the publication of my first book. Someone told me that “the only one who truly gives a sh*t about your book is you.” I found that to be the truth. It is 100% up to me to promote my book. If I don’t market it every day, then nobody will know about my book. For the most part, small publishers publish. Writers write, and they also market what they write.

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

I would talk to John Lennon about his life and learn more about his path to fame. I would also talk to him about how he went about pumping out so many hit songs with that British band. What was his process?

11.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I would come back as a Cheetah so that I could outrun all the predators.






Blurb:
Carter Spence is a 26 year-old accountant out of Boston who has an out-of-body experience following a car accident that kills his parents.  He views the chaos from above the scene of the accident, then passes through the tunnel and reunites with relatives who have long been dead.  A woman he does not recognize approaches him and says, “Welcome, son.”  Her message to him is that he needs to be aware of his true identity and should follow signs that will lead him there. She mentions mountains, but Carter is jolted back into his physical body before she can finish.

After burying his parents, Carter heads west and meets a free-spirit named Brenda, whom he is drawn to on many levels. She becomes his travelling companion and leads him to Boulder, Colorado, and to an old white house of an old man named Martin. Diaries, hypnosis, and past-life regression reveal a bizarre connection between these three. Carter discovers that the truth to his identity can only be found by pursuing the answer to whether he is the reincarnation of his biological father in what is shaping up to be a love affair rekindled beyond the grave.


 Excerpt:

           Darkness swirled around Carter.  He snuck a final glimpse at his body below.  Instead of sympathy, he felt a dose of blissfulness injected into him.  Even though a commotion muddied the scene, Carter focused on how wonderful he felt, how carefree, and he hadn’t remembered feeling this way in all of his time below.
He felt as though helium detracted him from his body, but contentment resisted his fight to stay.  He concentrated intensely on staying put for the time being, at least until he could better make heads or tales of reality.
A vacuum-like suction whisked Carter away, and although darkness enveloped his scene, he did see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Carter thought about that expression for a moment, thus connecting it to its origin.  This happened in a flash.  He felt like a big smile.  The tunnel seemed like it should be frightening, but Carter was not frightened.  He just wanted closer to the light, which brightened, and brightened some more, and then some.  He wondered how such brightness did not even make him squint.  Carter certainly felt at home with this light.  He wanted to be part of it.
Although he could still catch glimpses of his lifeless body at the beginning of the tunnel, his desire to move forward at the speed of thought overpowered anything else.  His buoyancy, as odd an occurrence to the average person, did not particularly knock him for a loop.  He just went with the flow.
Carter found himself with a permanent smile plastered onto his face. The harmony was intense. The air was thin. Carter noticed he could breathe easier. His overall feeling could not improve. He lost his sense of smell, but that was irrelevant. Everything that was relevant he had, and this was the reason for his eternal bliss.
He took it all in.  He soaked it all up, bathing in these gifts. He wished to go nowhere else. He did a 360-degree swirl, which felt magical.  He did not know how he did it, nor did he know why he could do it, but he did know that he didn’t care about the logistics. In this results based world, the only thing that mattered was that he could do it, and he questioned it no further.
He took in the horizons, the lack of architecture, and the people going about their business. He saw a landscape which was way above the clouds and dropped off as it did with earth and sky. However, there were no buildings to blemish his view. Only trees and people dotted this Eden-like landscape. He did notice his stress level felt like zero. His body just drifted about, sometimes using his legs and sometimes not. He didn’t really need limbs anymore and felt like they had become obsolete. Carter realized that this is probably why humans go there when they retire.
As he floated toward the end of the tunnel, Carter saw gardens with vibrant greens, yellows and reds.  Birds chirped away in colorful harmony, the most beautiful songs, soaring, arms outspread, and he craved to shadow them.  Voices filled the heavens with music, but the sources remained out of sight.
A woman he didn’t recognize greeted him as he completed his journey.  The communication that followed did not take place in the ordinary verbal, earthly way, although Carter thought he could hear words.  The mysteriousness in which this communication transpired had no immediate effect on Carter.  It seemed normal, and he did not question it.  Rather, he just moved along as if this was a prescribed plan.
Telepathy is what Carter would described it as, and the two transposed each other’s thoughts.  He felt some love in his lifetime, but the love he presently felt far exceeded any prior love he had experienced.  I guess it was that the love here existed in the air; there was no fishing for it.  He was loved during his lifetime, and he knew it, but he could not explain how different this love was.  He felt different because of it, and that’s all he knew.
Love plastered itself all around, unconditionally, and contagious enough that Carter chuckled at the very thought of returning to life as he knew it.  He felt as if he had reached Nirvana.  He’d had this loving feeling once before, but the situation had escaped him.  Particular feelings can be familiar, and in this case the feeling was indeed a repeat, but it was tucked deeply away as a vague memory.
Carter scrutinized his beautiful surroundings.  Singing continued with the birds as well as the human-like voices in heavenly harmony.  He wished he could see the singers just to see if they really played the harp up here.  The sound was that special.  He always wished he could play an instrument, but suffered from feelings of musical idiocy.  But up here he felt would be his best chance to pull it off, and there’d be no critics. Precision attracted no such folks.
He saw no shadows, and the landscape spread forever.  So this is what it’s like to die, he thought.  The funny part about this thought was that he had been petrified of death in life.  Now death became his preference.  But maybe he was an optimist, he thought.  He thought that this brought new meaning to the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
He took in a panorama, noticing the brightness of the colors.  It would be unjustifiable to even think about comparing them with what he was used to.   The glossiness could not be surpassed by the earthly colors, and they enveloped his surroundings.  He slowly rotated his head to observe them in the trees, the bushes, and the gardens, just to name a few.  Everything sparkled.  He wished he could have experienced this for his 25 years on earth.  Instantly, Carter fell in love with this place.
Then he began to wonder if this was real life, and what he had experienced prior to this moment was just a dry run.  Maybe life on earth is nothing more than an SAT score is to college.  He felt that if he communicated that idea to those below, then they could be reunited sooner than later.
Carter suddenly began decoding the messages that the woman had been instilling into him.  When she greeted him, she had put her arms out in front of her and said, “Welcome, desert son.”
The heavens seemed to pause for Carter.  Not only did it perplex him in the way she said it, but with the message itself.  He thought that maybe he misread it.  Clearly, this was not Carter’s mother.  His mother had not arrived yet, and even though he believed she probably would, this woman hardly resembled her.
This woman was much taller than his mother, and had long, dirty blonde hair.  His mother wore her black hair short and curly.  This lady looked frail for her young age, but Carter’s mother had at least 25 pounds to lose.  And the rough skin on his mother could not have turned so soft.  Not a chance, thought Carter.  They don’t have one similar feature.
Then Carter lightened up when he thought of his mind even processing such silly thoughts.  After all, “son” can be used generically.  There doesn’t have to be a bloodline.  Maybe she simply did not know his name.  Maybe she was referring to the sun from a hot desert, he wondered.  He let his mind release what it had just accumulated, and returned the greeting as he followed the woman at her side.
Carter wondered why death on earth was so tragic. This idyllic setting is where everyone ends up. Sure they celebrate people’s lives at funerals, but he thought they should celebrate it as a Going Away party. Many people believe in the afterlife and many believe that the end is the end. You never really know until you pass over. Carter now knew. He also knew that the people who possess the truth cannot relay it back to earth.  Those who do relay the information back to earth Carter knew as “Quacks,” and that’s probably why the truth has yet to successfully navigate its way to earth.
The irony of it is linked to all the worry about people who pass on. Oh, how bad are death and taxes? Death, worse for the family then it is for the deceased, but isn’t that statement loaded? With tears flowing for the next several years by those left behind, it’d be nice if they knew that one day they would be reunited. If they only knew it was a temporary setback. If they only knew ahead of time that it’s only like a child going off to college. They’ll be back.
Carter found this to be comforting and soothing, and healing for those who have lost loved ones. The thought that you only say goodbye “for now” would bring great comfort to those left behind.  They would be together again in the future.  What a joyful thought that would turn funerals and wakes on its ears.  The theme would be to say goodbye for now.
Carter was able to look down and get a bird’s eye view of the people in his life. All he had to do was think of someone and the channel would change to a picture of their life at that moment.  It was live television. Carter was like a kid with a new toy. He was amazed that he had so much control over who he contacted, yet he had no control over sending messages. The only control of message sending came in the form of incoming prayers from people alive on earth to those who have passed on. Carter wondered why on earth there was no way to transmit messages from north to south.

Links:

Website: http://www.glennmaynard.weebly.com/
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1TL1etJ
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1XQNa20
Desert Son: http://amzn.to/1XqHOzC
Wayward Soul: http://amzn.to/1P9a96O

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Writing Down the Bones: Why I haven't posted @barbbradley

I am sorry, really, but it's been a little crazy here. My biggest excuse isn't my best. No the dog didn't eat it and I didn't spill coffee on it. Great googly moogly I'd probably have to shoot myself if I spilled coffee on my laptop since that's what I use to write these things on. Nope, my reason is because I've been cleaning...

I know, 'but you're a writer' you're supposed to ignore the cleaning until the writing is done. Normally that is my mantra, but since my mother-in-law passed in February it's been paying her bills and dealing with the probate office. Getting all the paperwork together so I can have her and my father-in-law's ashes buried at sea by the Navy. I'm not going to talk about the IRS or social security...grrr. It gets my panties in a wad just thinking about it.

Now my in-laws wanted me and my hubby to inherit their house when they passed. I think they knew we'd have a lot to deal with when they got older. So when my Father-in-law passed we moved in with June, but I had to put a lot of our stuff into storage.

The last few weeks I've been going through boxes and bins, trying to figure out where it's all going to go now. It's a lot of work but I can't seem to stop at this point. Most of it is out and all over the house, depending on which room of the house it's going to go in.

We're also taking over the master bedroom, which right now is a big storage room. So each day, when I can, I'm moving things. There are some items I'm moving a lot because I have no idea what I want to do with them. Those are probably the things I'll get rid of, but just not ready yet.

I will get back to the hand outs, promise. I just need a little more time.

Barb:)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Welcome my Latest Guest Penny Estelle! @Pennystales #interview

I want to welcome Penny Estelle.  First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Good morning, Barbara, and thanks so much for allowing me to barge onto your blog!  My name is Penny Estelle and I write in many genres.  I started out writing for the middle grade kiddos.  I have 8 books out that include fantasies, time travel adventures, and a puppy love contemporary.

I then decided to give writing for the older crowd a shot.  Under P. A. Estelle, I have a family drama, 6 historical western romances, 4 contemporary romances, and a paranormal romance.

My latest attempt were picture books for the beginning reader.  Fox Tots picked up both of my picture books, and I’m waiting on a third to be illustrated.

Tell us about your latest release.

Years ago, and I’m talking forty years, I wrote the great American novel (at least I thought it was!)  It took me five years to finish on my electric Brothers typewriter.  I sent out several queries and was politely told, thanks, but no thanks.  I put it in my closet and it sat there for forty years.  Once I got a few things published, I decided to take it out and have a look.  IT WAS HORRIBLE WRITING!  I took it out and rewrote the whole thing.  Revenge, the Cowboy Way was picked up by Rooster & Pig Publishing.  It’s been out for several years. 

Now to your question – My latest release is Gabe, The Thornton Trilogy.  Gabe is the number one son of the couple in Revenge, the Cowboy Way.  Two more stories will be coming out later this year – Colt, The Thornton Trilogy, Book 2, and Rebecca, The Thornton Trilogy, Book 3.

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?

Supernatural – Crowley (the devil)

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

UGH…..That is a hard question!  If I have to pick one I would probably go with Joanna Thornton in Revenge, the Cowboy Way.  She’s put in some horrible situations and she does what has to be done.  She’s spunky and loving and takes the bull by the horn and runs with it!

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

As I said earlier, I write in many genres.  I am mainly writing now in the historical western romance genre.  It’s a popular genre with many people and it’s a great escape for me!

4.) What are you working on now?

Jesse’s Heartbreak, Book 3 of the Jesse Series.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I worked as a school secretary for 21 years.  It was a K-8 school and I heard every excuse from the kids when they were sent to the principal.  I thought it would be great to write about these kids.  All my kid stories have plenty of action and sarcasm. 

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I get asked that a lot.  It was easy coming up with MG stories as I have seven grandkids.  I watched my grandson play with a flying dragon.  It was a perfect ending for Hike Up Devil’s Mountain – all I needed was a beginning and a middle!  LOL  

I have 5 stories in The Wickware Sagas.  Kids go back in time and meet legends of the past.  One day I asked my 5th grade granddaughter and her friends if they knew who William Tell was – and they didn’t.  WHAT???  Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare was conceived.  He goes back and meets William Tell.

As far as my adult stories….I have nuttin’ to share.  They just come to me.

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

Most of my stories need to have a lot of research done.  I do that research because I want it historically correct.  Between you, me and your readers – history and I were never friends.  I wanted no part of it in any grade!  Now I love it!

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Absolutely none!!!  I used to be on a variety TV show with my sister where we danced and did gymnastics.  That was 100 years ago!

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

Don’t write to make money.  Write because it’s something you enjoy.  So true! So true!

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

John Wayne – He’s always been my man and he could give me tons of info on my western genre!

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

“Friends In Low Places” by Garth Brooks

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

An eagle






Blurb:

Gabe Thornton inherits the Double Bar Ranch from good friend and neighbor Bill (Pappy) Thomas, but there are conditions.   Last Will and Testament states five hundred acres have been set aside for his only niece, or interested heirs.  The property must be lived on for a year or said acreage will revert back to Gabe.

Molly Blackburn shows up in Bastrop, Texas, to claim the land her great uncle has left her.  Though she knows nothing about cattle ranching, she has no other choice when her father passes away.

Gabe is sure she won’t last a month and he tells her so, but greenhorn or not, she swears she will be there till the bitter end, no matter what! 

Will she give up her land or will she find more than just a cattle ranch in Bastrop?


Excerpt:

“I happen to also own a hand gun but..well I didn’t think to purchase bullets for it.”
“Perfect!” Gabe said, shaking his head.  “There’s also wood to be cut and hay and water to be hauled, plus a million other things.”  He laid the gun against the wall, opening the door.  “You won’t last the week and if you had half a brain you’d know it!”
“Get out of my house,” she hollered.  He walked out into the cold morning, but she was right on his heels, taking his coat off.  “Wait!”  He turned and she threw his coat in his face.  “Thank you for the use of your coat, but I’ll thank you to stay off my property!”
Gabe advanced a step her way, but a discreet cough stopped him.  There were his mother and sister, sitting on their horses.  He swung up on his horse, staring at his new neighbor.  “See if you can’t talk some sense into her!” he ground out before riding away.

For more information about me and my stories check out the following links:

I have a newsletter that goes out for new releases or sales.  If you would like to be notified, please sign up @ http://eepurl.com/388Xr

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Please Welcome My Latest Guest Nicole Evelina! #interview

I want to welcome Nicole Evelina - First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi everyone! I’m an award-winning historical fiction/historical fantasy and romantic comedy writer from St. Louis. Camelot’s Queen, which I’m here to talk about, is my second book. I have two more coming out this year, a romantic comedy set in Chicago called Been Searching for You and a historical fiction called Madame Presidentess, which is about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman who ran for President in the United States in 1872.

Tell us about your latest release.

Camelot’s Queen is the second book of my Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view. This one focuses on the story we think we all know – Guinevere’s time as queen. (Her early life before King Arthur is told in Daughter of Destiny, the first book in the series.) All the familiar elements are there – the battles, the infamous affair, the Holy Grail – but they are told in a way that’s different from the medieval legends we’re familiar with. Guinevere is a battle queen who rules side-by-side with Arthur, rather than being in his shadow; her affair with Lancelot doesn’t happen simply out of lust – it’s actually Arthur’s fault; and the Grail is different than you’ve ever seen it. Plus, Morgan is a disrupting influence in a way I don’t think any other author has ever shown her. And I delve into the dark side of Arthurian legend surrounding Guinevere’s kidnapping which is something many authors have shied away from. No matter the situation, this is a Guinevere with agency, perfectly willing to rescue herself.

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 do love Klaus from the Vampire Diaries and The Originals. He’s cold and arrogant and oh so violent, but there’s this tiny vein of vulnerability that makes you think maybe, just maybe, his humanity can be reached and redeemed. Joseph Morgan plays unapologetic evil so well! Joseph/Klaus was actually my inspiration for the character of Malegant in Camelot’s Queen, so be prepared for a bit of Klaus to show through! (He was so much fun to write!)

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

Out of this one it’s all my villains: Morgan, Malegant and Marius. I think some sick, twisted part of me likes the villains because it’s fun to see what machinations they will think up next, how they will twist the plot to suit their own needs, and what lengths they will go to in order to get what they want.

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

I mainly write historical fiction (the romantic comedy was never intended; it just kind of happened). I’ve always loved history and I’ve found there are so many stories, particularly women’s stories, that have either never been told or aren’t know by a broad audience. My mission as a historical fiction author is to rescue little-known women from being lost in the pages of history. While other writers may choose to write about the famous, I tell the stories of those who are in danger of being forgotten so that their memories may live on for at least another generation. I also tell the female point of view when it is the male who has gotten more attention in history (i.e. Guinevere to King Arthur).

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m doing final edits on my July release, Madame Presidentess, which is about Victoria Woodhull, a real woman who was the first to run for President in the US in 1872. Despite that distinction – and the fact that she was the first female broker on Wall Street (along with her sister, Tennie), the first woman to speak before Congress, one of the first to run a newspaper and a powerhouse in the suffrage movement –  she’s largely been written out of the history books. This book is my way of lobbying to get her back into the public consciousness, especially in year when we may see our first female President.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve been writing as a hobby since I was little and started writing the first Guinevere book in 1999, but I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until about 2008. What changed? I read Twilight. (Go ahead and laugh.) There was something about it, about Stephenie Meyer’s story, that made me think, “hey, if this ordinary woman can do this, so can I.” And so my time as a serious author began.

As far as what got me going on Guinevere, I’ve been a fan of the character since I was a little girl. She was and still is a hero of mine. When I was in college, I read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I LOVED that book (it changed my life in many ways), but I hated her portrayal of Guinevere as an agoraphobic, simpering Christian. So I wrote my own version where she is pretty much the exact opposite. Parke Godwin’s book Beloved Exile made me wonder about the unknown parts of Guinevere’s life (the beginning and later years after Arthur) and with the two together, my trilogy was born.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I feel like my characters pick me. I am inspired by TV, music, movies, books, and Pinterest but I really believe that finding little-known historical personages to write about isn’t something left to chance. I believe these people want their stories to be told and pick authors to help that happen. (Yes, I’m getting all woo-woo on you. But Elizabeth Gilbert says something similar in Big Magic, so I’m using that as my excuse even though I believed it long before she wrote about it.) That would explain why you often see a proliferation of books about the same people/subject at the same time. A few years ago Hemmingway and his wife were all the rage, and at one point everyone had a book about Anne Boleyn. My beloved Victoria is even having a small resurgence at the moment.

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

I guess given that many of the characters in this series are pagan and I don’t exactly portray the Catholic Church very well, you’d be surprised I used to want to become a nun. I was actually voted Most Likely to Become a Nun in high school and went so far as to study with the secular Carmelites for a year. But that was not the path I was meant to follow. However, religion and spirituality remain very important to me, something you’ll likely see at least as a faint thread in all my novels, depending on the needs of the story.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Writing is my big talent. But if you want something off the wall – I can belch as well as any boy. I went to an all-girls high school and we were really, really good at teaching each other. My dad swears that that was all I learned in four years. (He kids. I learned so much more and my alma mater actually had a huge influence on my portrayal of Avalon in these books.)

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

The first author I ever met was YA author Alyson Noel. I had just completed my first draft of my first book and was so excited to begin querying agents. She told me “Don’t count the ‘no’s’ because it only takes one ‘yes.’” That is so true. This industry is so full of rejection and words like hers really helped me through the dark days. I can’t tell you the number of times that has gone through my head over the years: when I was querying and on submission especially. Then eventually when I decided to become an indie author, I expanded it to include “sometimes you have to be your own ‘yes.’”

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

I would love to talk to Christopher Marlowe. He’s always fascinated me and I am of the belief that he didn’t really die in that bar fight so many years ago. (I think he was Shakespeare, a subject I plan to novelize in the future.) I would want to know what really happened to him, what it was like being a spy in Elizabeth I’s court and what the deal with Shakespeare really was. (Can you tell I was an English major in college?)

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

“Wonder” by Natalie Merchant. I was born three months premature, weighing less than two pounds. No one thought I would survive. But here I am, 36 years later. I truly believe I was put on this planet for a reason and it has something to do with my writing.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?


A beloved housecat. I LOVE cats. I only have two (Conor and Caitlyn, twin sable Burmese), so I don’t know if I really qualify as a crazy cat lady, but I like cats more than I like people. I’m convinced they have a direct connection to the Divine or can at least see beyond the veil to the other side, so I’d love to know what that is like. And to have someone love me as much as I love my cats would be an honor.





I made it to my room and slammed the door. Alone at last, I leaned against the door, struggling to catch my breath. Tears spilled over as the enormity of the day finally sank in. I slid down to the floor and ran my hands through my hair. How could my life have changed so much in only a few hours? I thought Arthur had grown to love me, but he had just accepted a former lover back into his confidence after only having been reunited with her for a few hours. What did that mean for my marriage?
I didn’t know how long I spent contemplating my situation, but just as quickly as the tears had come, I started laughing. I was being ridiculous. Arthur had had to learn to live with Aggrivane at court long ago. Granted he’d sent my former betrothed on missions away from Camelot as often as possible, but he had still learned how to cope with his presence. I was behaving like a child. Galen had been right the day we argued in the forest so many years before. I really was worse than a fisherman’s wife. And worse, I had changed little with the passage of time. I stood, straightening my dress and mentally preparing myself to apologize to them both.
After a few deep breaths, I went back down to the meeting room, expecting to find Arthur and Sobian discussing the finer points of her new role. But to my surprise, the room was empty. Octavia came in, holding a tray to collect the ale pitcher and our used glasses.
“Do you know where Arthur went?”
She eyed me carefully. “He is in his room. Alone.” She emphasized the word, knowing I would wonder. “They told me about her new role. Are you in agreement that it is wise?”
“I will be,” I reassured her.
Octavia made a noise indicating she wasn’t so certain then busied herself cleaning up the table. That was when I saw the lone sheet of paper. Thinking it to be notes from Arthur and Sobian’s discussion, I bent over the table to get a better look.
My blood turned to ice. The letters were formed of patterns made by varying lengths of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. It was written in Ogham, the ancient language of the Druids, so it could not have come from Arthur. He hadn’t studied with them long enough to have learned it. Plus, its message was not one a husband leaves his wife.
I ran to Arthur’s room, rubbing my hand over the goose-pimpled flesh of my arm. “You may wish to rethink your decision,” I said as I entered.
He looked up. “Why is that?”
I held the paper out to him. “This was left in the meeting room.” I shivered again.
He plucked the paper out of my hand and turned it in several directions, trying to figure out how to read it. “Ogham. That’s unusual. What does it say?”
I grabbed it back, irritated beyond decorum. After what had happened with the madman and Sobian, I didn’t think I could take much more.
“That’s the problem. I think it’s a threat. ‘My queen, you may close your eyes to the one you scorned, but that will not keep me away. I will breathe your last breath so that you will live on forever in me.’
Arthur’s face darkened. “Only one man could claim such a thing.”
I looked at him quizzically, brow furrowing. “How do you know Sobian isn’t party to this? It appeared right after she did in the very room she last occupied.”
Arthur sighed, clearly frustrated that I didn’t trust Sobian implicitly as he did. “Because this isn’t her way. As she said, if she wished you dead, you would be. She has no need for idle threats.”
“Who then?”
“Think about the message.” His tone took on a condescending air I did not care for. “Someone you once rejected? Who did you give up to marry me? You may not want to see it, but the answer is right in front of you.”
He didn’t have to say the name. Suddenly I knew exactly who he blamed. His menacing gaze was fixed on my former lover.
Guilty or not, Aggrivane was in serious trouble.






Saturday, April 9, 2016

Welcome My next Guest J.J. DiBenedetto! @JJDiBenedetto

I want to welcome J.J. DiBenedetto!  First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

It’s called Finders Keepers, and it’s an adventure story about an archaeology student who gets mixed up with international art thieves.  If you picture “Romancing the Stone” you’re not too far off.  It’s the first book of a new series, and I’m already working on the next book.

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?

That’s a tough call!  From a book, I’d say Marc Remilliard, in Julian May’s “Saga of Pliocene Exile.”  He’s charismatic, smart and he’s got believable motivations for what he does.  Plus, you have to love a guy who can teleport halfway across the galaxy just using his psychic powers!

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

In this new book, it has to be Jane.  I’ve actually had versions of her show up in different stories and even in a role playing game, so she’s been with me for almost 20 years.  She’s a lot of fun – she’s got a good heart, but she’s also a little bit crazy.

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

This story is basically an adventure, and it wasn’t a choice, that’s just the story that came to me.  My previous series, the Dream Series, is basically paranormal romance with a strong mystery/suspense feel to it as well, but, again, that’s just the story that I “had” to write.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on Jane’s next adventure.  She’s going to have to try and help her father get remarried, stop a college friend from getting married, and there’s also the matter of a treasure-trove of art stolen by the Nazis during World War 2 that she’s going to have to find before it falls into the wrong hands.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve always written, since at least junior high school.  But about 3 years ago, a good friend sold her first novel, and I decided “hey, why not me, too?” and I got more serious about things.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

They really spring from the characters.  Usually I come up with who the character is, and then it’s just a matter of following them around and seeing what they do.

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

For my Dream Series books, I’ve had readers be surprised that I’m a man.  Those books are written in first-person, from the point of view of the heroine, who we first meet as a college student.  So I guess it’s a compliment that I got into her head well enough that readers were surprised to discover I wasn’t actually a young woman, but a man in his 40’s!

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I’m a fast learner, that’s probably about it.  I have no artistic skill at all – I never progressed beyond stick figures.  And although I love and appreciate music, I am about the least musically talented person you will ever meet.

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

Keep writing.  That’s really the best advice I’ve gotten, or that I could give to anyone else.

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

Maybe Frank Herbert.  I’d love to ask him what he really intended for the final book(s) of the Dune series.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

On a bad day, I’d say the Oath Trio from the end of Act II of Gotterdammerung (bet you weren’t expecting that answer!).  But as a good Sicilian, I’ve been known to hold a grudge, and when someone really gets on my bad side, I’m right there with Brunnhilde when she calls down the wrath of the gods to wreak vengeance on the people who’ve betrayed her.

On a good day, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  It’s optimistic, joyful, and it makes me think of my native New York.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A dog, provided I got to also specify that I’d be born into a good home with a family that properly loved and cared for their animals.  If not, then a Komodo Dragon.





Bio:

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto is a long-time Arlington resident, having lived in the area since 1995.  He’s a marketing professional by day, and a prolific author by night, with his tenth novel scheduled for release on October 20th.
His Dream Series novels are bestsellers, with over 130,000 copies of the first book in the series, DREAM STUDENT, having been downloaded from Amazon.com and other e-book retailers. 
Aside from marketing and writing, J.J. enjoys photography, cooking, the opera and almost any book or movie about time travel.  He’s also a rabid New York Giants fan.
J.J. currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and their cat/owner, Danny.

About FINDERS KEEPERS
1,400 miles.
3 countries.
2 men she can’t trust.
What could go wrong?

Blurb:

It should have been a simple job.  All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car.  Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water.  Still, it should have been simple.

And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake.  Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts.  The one that a team of international art thieves is after.

Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves.  And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner.  If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.

Excerpt from Finders Keepers:

“My apologies, Jane,” he said.  “You’re right, of course.  I should have made allowances.  It’s not your fault that you have such a poor grasp of the English language; you didn’t have the benefit of a British education growing up, after all.”

His eyes twinkled so prettily as he said it, Jane couldn’t work up any annoyance over the insult.  “Not like you, I’m sure.  Eton, right?”  She paused for an instant, trying to recall the names of other posh boarding schools she’d heard in her time at Oxford.  She didn’t want him to assume she was some silly, ignorant American who’d only heard of Eton because everyone knew that one, even if they didn’t know anything else about it.  To her surprise, several names came to her quickly.  “Or was it Harrow?  Winchester?  Maybe Brookfield?” 

He grinned again, his eyes twinkled again.  “Oh, yes.  Dear old Brookfield!  How I loved to walk by the statue of old Mr. Chipping every day on my way to the cricket pitch.”  She’d stepped in it, but she had no idea how, exactly.  And then, after a moment’s reflection, she did.
Brookfield!  Of course!  The name had come not from one of her current classmates, but from an old, old movie, one that her mother had loved.  Jane couldn’t believe she’d botched things so completely. 

But it was done now, and she had to say something.  What would her mother have done if she were in Jane’s position?  Jane remembered times that Mom had been caught in a white lie or a little joke, and her mother had always brazened it out regardless.  Surely Jane could do the same?  “I’ve heard the cricket pitch is lovely,” she said, meeting his eyes.  Just barely, but it was eye contact.  “And the Latin teachers are second to none, aren’t they?” 

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Welcome My Latest Guest Dorothy A. Bell!

I want to welcome Dorothy A. Bell. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

Reinventing Mica Avery is a contemporary novel, the story is the story we all eventually face, that being the tying up of the loose ends our parents leave behind after they’ve gone. Coming from a dysfunctional home situation makes Mica’s task complicated and confusing. But it also offers the adult Mica the chance to heal and close some old wounds. Of course there is a love interest, contractor Gus Breedon. Gus is unlike any man, or person Mica has ever known before. He’s someone she can rely on, someone who wants to be her friend as well as her lover.

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?

Hands down Jack Nickelson as the Joker in Batman with Michael Keaton. So creepy and sappy. Evil and childish. Not unlike some of our politicians.

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

Buck Hoyt from my Oregon historical romance Dance Hall Road. Buck runs a whore house way out in the back-of-beyond. He’s a grouchy, prickly recluse with a heart as big as all outdoors, and when he cleans up, he’s real sexy.

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

Romance. Always romance. Mostly Oregon historical or western romance. I love the time period of the late 1800’s so much is going on, the industrial age is moving people into a whole new world, a world many are not ready to accept. Women are beginning to see they’ve been getting the shaft and are starting to stand up for themselves. We still have a lot of work to do in that respect.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to my Dance Hall Road series. I have another Dance Hall Road novel with the editor on the queue titled Do-se-do. Do-se-do is the story of Petra’s son, Gabriel. In Dance Hall Road Buck saves Petra and her infant son from certain death and a bleak future on the run.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I started writing novels way back when my husband worked the swing shift. Instead of turning on the TV I wrote stories, stories that I could see in my head. Stories where I could play all the parts. At that time I had not a clue how to have any of my novels published. That came about much, much later. I had a lot of learning to do.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Names of places and people intrigue me. Dance Hall Road came about while my husband and I were out for an afternoon drive east of Baker City. There is a Dance Hall Road out there. Out there in the middle of nowhere, a road that goes nowhere, a road with no signs, no buildings just dirt, sage and rock. I had to put a story to that place.

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

Oh, first off, I once weighed 204 pounds and I’m only four foot eleven so that wasn’t good. Six years ago I lost eighty five pounds. I’ve gained some of it back over the last year. But I’m fighting the battle. I spent eighteen years of my life as an aquatic exercise instructor. Retired now, I go to the pool and do my own thing. I’ve had my knees replaced. I met my husband in the sixth grade. He bugged me all through grade school, middle school and high school. I agreed to go out with him when I was sixteen. And we’ve been going steady ever since. Oh, yeah, I’ll be seventy this summer and I feel like I just got started on my life.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

One of them, the biggie, is story telling. I do garden and landscaping.

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

Don’t lose your voice, don’t try to be something you’re not.

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

Cary Grant, Kathryn Hepburn, Spencer Tracey, Eleanor Roosevelt. I wouldn’t talk, I would listen.  

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

 Imagine by John Lennon.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A cat, they know how to survive. And do they ever have an imagination.



Blurb:

Taking a lesson from a house riddled with mold, clutter, and bitterness, Mica Avery unearths a treasure trove of lost love and forgotten dreams and enough wealth to begin her life anew, if she’s brave enough to grab hold and live it. 

Excerpt:

She’d never thought of herself as one of those swooning, fluttering types of females. But she sat there, her pulse playing hop-scotch, stomach woozy, and not a damn thing she could do about it. She couldn’t form a simple sentence or focus on anything but Gus Breedon, his tan, hairy legs, his muscular shoulders, and bulging biceps.
Oh, and the earwigs that probably, at this moment, were crawling up the side of the very stump she sat on.
With his hand going to her shoulder, he said, “Put your head between your legs, I hear it’s supposed to help.”
She closed her eyes to say, “It always sounds stupid to me. Who can bend over that far?” She didn’t say it out loud, but she thought, besides, if I look down, I’m gonna stare at your legs, those hairy, muscular, tan legs in those skintight cutoff shorts. Oh, my God.
“I sure am sorry I frightened you. I didn’t mean to.” Gus did have a nice, soothing voice, deep and warm like rich, brown molasses. She had to recover and fast, and made herself think of Gary. She needed to remember how Gary sounded. When she thought of Gary’s voice, she thought smooth, like cold steel. He clipped his words, making noises like a salesman most of the time. Lately, the sound of Gary’s voice irritated her. Yup, that worked—thinking of Gary pulled her completely out of panic mode, leaving her to feel nothing but stupid.
Gus Breedon, of all people, she couldn’t believe it.
“I’m okay,” is all she could say...very clever. “My heart, I think, is slipping back down into its correct position in my chest instead of up in my throat. My pulse has slowed from an all-out gallop to a trot.”
She rarely blushed, but around Gus Breedon she couldn’t stop the rush of heat from infusing her cheeks. Becoming flushed all over, she scolded herself you’re too old for this, too experienced for giddiness.
She had a mad desire to rip her clothes off and run through the sprinkler—with Gus giving chase, naked, of course. Well, what a silly thought. She blushed on top of her blush, and ordered herself to get a grip.
“Where did you come from?” she asked before she had time to think of another ridiculous scenario. Gus had a big face, a manly face, like the Brawny towel guy, only more brawny. Groan—there you go again. She could feel the giggle coming on. She wanted to stop it, stop it right now. She didn’t have time for Gus Breedon. As a matter of fact, she resented his presence altogether, with his hairy legs and big face.
“Oh, yeah. Well, I’m over at the Kramers,” he answered, and glanced over his shoulder toward the construction site. “We’re building an RV garage for them.”
This situation, with all the neighbors watching, all the guys on the construction crew watching her from the moment she’d pulled into the driveway—so typical Perry Grove. She could imagine them watching her, listening to her go around the house, looking in the windows, hollering for Lela.
Suspicious, Mica asked, “I thought you worked at the hospital?”
“The hospital...? Oh, oh, yeah, the janitor cart. I had a construction job, doing a remodel of some storage rooms. I stayed to sweep up, clean up after...you know. When I got off the elevator I went the wrong way. I should’ve taken a left to the service elevator, but I went right. I knew it the minute I turned the corner, and that’s when I nearly took you out. Sorry.”
Mica didn’t know why, but she nodded her head, even though she didn’t understand at all. Gus stood before the patio door, studying it. He bent forward, then squatted down on those magnificent thighs to run his hands along the aluminum channel at the bottom of the door. She wished he would go away. She didn’t need strangers hanging around. Lela would hate it, if she was in there stuck in the tub or something.
Gary should be here, not Gus Breedon. Gus Breedon wasn’t really a stranger, he knew Mica at twelve when she wore braces. Gus Breedon knew her at fifteen, her face one big pimple. And God help her, he knew her at sixteen, pregnant, and in disgrace...in so much trouble.
Here she stood, in trouble again. But this was a private, personal moment. She wanted to keep it between Lela and her, no outsiders allowed in on this one.

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