Character Development – NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep

A grey cubeI have been working on character development for the 2016 NaNoWriMo Event.

Over the past few weeks I have been developing characters using college ruled paper, a fountain pen and paperclips.

I have my favorite reference books close at hand.  I will not open yWriter and begin my next novel until November 1st.

Character Development – NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep

Every time I start a new novel I learn more about character development.

I want to share one of my new lightbulb moments with you.  I will begin with an excerpt from The Old Testament book of Ezekiel from the King James Version.

“And every one had four faces:

the first face was the face of a cherub,

and the second face was the face of a man,

and the third the face of a lion

and the forth the face of an eagle.”

Character Development – NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep

A grey cube         Imagine your character as a cube.  The surfaces may have huge or subtle differences in color, form, brightness or darkness.  A character possesses human traits and emotions, all on a continuum.  These characteristics may be muted or amplified depending on era, setting and situation.

One of my characters has a work persona.  Her work face or cube surface at work is confident, calm, businesslike and easy to get along with.  Over time, we might discover she has a love for horses.  At work she keeps this part of her cube mostly turned away.

People on the ranch see another cube surface.  She is happy, free, in control and a little horse poop is all in a day’s ride.  The people at the ranch to do not see her work surface.  There is no need to turn that outward.  No one knows she is buttoned down and controlled by her company’s expectations.

Character Development – NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep

Your character’s backstory, nurturing, nature and life experience write on that cube that represents who she is.

Under normal circumstances your reader can observe the work-a-day/recreational surfaces but there is much more going on.

Change the normal situation into something unexpected and the cube will transform.  Repressed traits on another surface break through.  We see an evolving character.  She will adapt and comply or maybe she’ll come completely undone.

Her control issues may surface in an amplified way.  This may distort or cover this character’s cube surfaces.  She may present a yet to be seen surface.

The good worker who loves riding horses is still there but those traits have been dialed back or muted.

As her world begins to change, she begins to change.

A character developed as a kind, giving and loving person may turn and face you with a surface projecting a more human and flawed persona.  Put more pressure on her and she may stalk and prey on you with the skill and strength of a lion.  Present another situation and she might swoop down on your pages as an eagle swooping in for the kill.

Human personality exists on a continuum.  Some traits which are deeply hidden or controlled will surface in reaction to an abnormal situation or event.

When you are working your character remember all sides.  What events will mute or amplify her character traits.  Let her show more than one surface.  Show us the corners, the darkened cells holding repressed memories, the bright and shiny bits of pride and accomplishment.

            Let her be a cherub, a human, a lion and an eagle.




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Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June)

Welcome back to another Writerly Round-Up.  Each week I gather interesting Writerly news, blog posts and other things.  Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June) is bound to have something helpful or newsworthy for writers, publishers and editors.

Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June)


Advance Review Copies: Why They’re Used and How to Create Them 

by Jane Friedman at IngramSpark

ARCs get used for many purposes, but mainly:

  • To gather professional, industry reviews, from sources such as Publishers Weekly
  • To solicit endorsements that will be printed in or on the book
  • To share with influencers who need to see the book before deciding on potential coverage
  • To send to important connections who might be in a position to write an influential, early review or offer some other form of help


Cup of Pens ClipArtWhen Does Your Inner Critic Appear?  Three Scenarios of Self-Sabotage and How to Renegotiate Your Contract


Mary Carroll Moore

The inner critic is our internal gatekeeper.  Its job is to protect us.  It has a very loooong memory, way back to our first creative efforts in childhood.  Unless we had an exceptionally supportive environment for our creativity, both at home and at school, we probably logged some embarrassing moments about “showing off” or “being unoriginal” or “did you really make that or did you copy it” or any number of other creativity slams.  When we edge up to this again, as adults trying to write a book, the IC goes on amber alert.

Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June)


The Art of Distraction: Using Red Herrings

A Writer’s Digest Tutorial with Jane K. Cleland

Writers use red herrings the way magicians use sleight of hand—to distract their readers from seeing what’s really there. In this video tutorial, award-winning author Jane K. Cleland explains how to use red herrings to build page-turning suspense.In this 24-minute video tutorial, you’ll discover:

  • How to use red herrings to control reader perception
  • The difference between structural and visual red herrings
  • Three tried-and-true techniques to add red herrings to your writing

No matter the genre, red herrings add engaging complexity to plots and characterization.


Author uses novel tactic to promote book

Build Book Buzz

I did a double take when I got out of my car in the parking lot of the Penfield, N.Y. Wegmans supermarket.

A car two spots from mine had a magnetic sign on the driver’s door that said, “AUTHOR ON BOARD.”

What a clever idea!” I thought. It’s such a novel tactic. (Pun intended.)

The author wasn’t literally on board at that moment, so I took a couple of pictures and decided I’d contact her later  to see if she’d answer a few questions for a blog post.

I did, and she did.

(I did this myself in my Tarot Reading days.  My car wore the sign throughout a trip through Yellowstone National Park.  Several people inquired about how to get a tarot reading.)


Well, this wraps up another week of Writerly News.  If you have a post or a suggestion to include in Writerly Round-Up shoot me an email.

Don’t touch anything sharp!


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Writerly Round-Up (19 – 25 May)

Another week has passed and I have combed my email and social media for some more Writerly articles.  I hope you are enjoying these posts and you are finding useful links.  This is Writerly Round-Up (19 – 25 May).  If you click on the header above the blurb you will be whisked away to the website containing the entire article.

Dialogue: Abused and Misused by Joni M. Fisher

Savvy Authors Blog

People recognize terrible dialogue when they hear it in movies, or on television or read it in books. It comes off wooden, robotic, confusing, lecturing, boring or in some way artificial sounding. Examples abound in B-grade movies, comic books, soap operas, and probably in the last book you refused to continue reading. Don’t be that writer.

Dialogue is NOT conversation put on paper.



Writerly Round-Up (19 – 25 May)


Cup of Pens ClipArtHow to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Editing

by Catherine Dunn

This is part one of a six-part series.

As a self-published author, it’s your responsibility to make sure your book is as high-quality as it can be, and an editor is an indispensable resource who can help make your book look professional instead of amateurish.

Getting off to a Good Start

Ask your peers—other writers—for their opinions. Join local writing groups. Meet writers online and ask them to have a look at one or two chapters for you. Don’t be shy about getting feedback from your fellow writers.

Every writer is focused on her own work, so make sure you give something back to the community by returning the favor for others.


The Author’s Guide to Book Marketing: Part 1

by Matt Kaye

As soon as you start researching book marketing, you enter a world filled with hollow buzzwords, misleading get-rich-quick strategies, and heaping doses of snake oil. I know I’m talking with an author who has encountered these when I hear things like, “I heard I should ditch Twitter and start building up an email newsletter,” or “I found a PR person who promises they can make my book an Amazon bestseller,” or “I was told I should reserve a budget of $x for Facebook ads.”

My response to these comments is usually, “Maybe, but…” These might be good suggestions, or they might be a complete waste of time and money—it all depends on the book, the author and the readership. I’ve found that there’s no shortage of advice on tactics (some good, some bad), but very little on strategy and planning.

Book marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all. What you can do to market a book is pretty much infinite, and without a clear strategy and plan you can easily waste a ton of time and go broke drowning in details. There’s no obscure outlet, hidden ad campaign, special pitch or magic button that will instantly launch your book into mega-bestsellerdom. The reality is, it’s research, strategic planning, creative thinking, coordination, focus, experimentation, asking (lots of asking), getting rejected, and continuing to plow forward.


Writerly Round-Up (19 – 25 May)


What is a Submission Packet and Why Do I Need One?

by Sally Franklin Christie

Authors need to have a Submission Packet.  The infamous Query Letter is only the start of this Packet.  The following components go into a file on or off of your computer called the Submission Packet.


  • The Query Letter
  • The Submission Synopsis
  • Sample Chapters
  • The Cover Letter
  • The Manuscript


Amazon KDP and Kindle Unlimited: What It Means for Authors and Publishers

by Chloe

Kindle Unlimited & KDP Select: A History

Since the inception of KDP Select, there has always been a KDP Select Global Fund, which is a pot of money that goes to authors whose books are downloaded for free through Amazon’s eBook programs. Authors who enrolled their eBooks in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select prior to the launch of KU could have their books downloaded for free by Kindle owners who were allotted one free eBook per month through the Kindle Owners Lending Library. In the days prior to KU, the Global Fund totaled around $1 million, and was divided proportionally amongst the authors who had their books downloaded…. (more on site)

How Do Authors Drive KU Borrows?

The same marketing tactics that work for selling books also work for driving KU borrows:

  1. Promote your title to readers (through your email list, Facebook or Google ads, features on deal sites)
  2. Drive enough sales or download volume to rise in the bestseller charts
  3. Activity on the title spurs Amazon’s algorithm to recommend your book to other readers with similar tastes
  4. Halo sales continue after your promotion has run; KU borrows turn into KENP read
  5. Run another promotion 90 days later once momentum declines


Wow, another Writerly Round-Up has come and gone.  Drop by next week to see what goes on in my Writerly World.

Don’t touch anything sharp.


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What is a Submission Packet and Why Do I Need One?

Submission Packet clipart folders

What is a Submission Packet and Why Do I Need One?

You have your novel written, revised, revised, edited, revised again, already.  Now, you want to start looking for a publisher.  Your words need a home.


Authors need to have a Submission Packet.  The infamous Query Letter is only the start of this Packet.  The following components go into a file on or off of your computer called the Submission Packet.


  • The Query Letter
  • The Submission Synopsis
  • Sample Chapters
  • The Cover Letter
  • The Manuscript

The Query Letter

Most of us know about the query letter.  There are as many how-to sites for writing query letters as there advertisements on the Home Shopping Network.

The Synopsis

The Submission Synopsis is not a plot summary of your novel.  The synopsis uses a specific form.  They are written in the present tense even though the novel may be written in past tense.  It follows a single viewpoint character through the plot.  This may seem restrictive if you have a novel containing three story lines and seven POV characters.  The synopsis also uses the third person even though your novel might be telling itself from the first person perspective.  You have to tell how your novel ends.  This is not a burb or a hook.  You should have a long and a short synopsis in your packet.


The Submission Synopsis should follow these guidelines.

  • Single or Double Spaced with 1 inch margins and numbered pages.
  • Present tense.
  • Third Person.
  • Begin with a strong hook.
  • Follows a single viewpoint character to the end.
  • Mention the VP character’s motivations or goals.
  • Follow the story chronologically from beginning to ending.
  • Sticks to essential plot elements.
  • Uses a dramatic tone and presentation.
  • Always includes the ending.


Sample Chapters.

You will want to include sample chapters in your Submission Packet file.  Some publishers ask for 3 chapters.  I’ve submitted the first 50 or almost 50 pages.  These three chapters don’t have to be from the start of your book.  But the first three chapters might do the work of hook setting and you never want to make anyone in the publishing house work to catch onto your plot.


The Cover Letter

This is not a Query Letter.  The Query Letter is part of the Submission Packet Files.  On a time-line, we’d Query first.  When asked for more we go back into our Submission File for the other documents.

The cover letter accompanies the other items in your file.  It reminds the publisher that the contents of the package were indeed requested.

You should include your hook again and itemize what you have included in the package they just opened on their desk or computer.


The Manuscript

Your manuscript should be formatted in a traditional way.  Submission guidelines will help you out.  If only chapters were requested, do not include the full manuscript.


Clipart disorganized file systemWhy do you need to have a Submission Packet?

Because it makes you an efficient writer.  It saves time.  It sets you up for success.  Put in time on these files and you won’t have to scramble when the agent or publisher gives you the nod.  With all of these things tucked away and ready to go you can start on your next project because nothing sells a first book better than a second book.

This is the end of my post about Submission Packets.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

Submission Packet Contents

  • The Query Letter

  • The Submission Synopsis

  • Sample Chapters

  • The Cover Letter

  • The Manuscript





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Writerly Round-Up (12 – 18 May)

You are about to read Writerly Round-Up (12 – 18 May)

In my youth, I wanted to be older than my brother, I thought I could run the world and time passed at a snail’s pace.

Funny how my take on reality has changed.

I am okay with my brother being the oldest of 8, I am not going to run for president in 2020 and another week has passed.

Welcome back to another Writerly Round-Up.  You will see snippets of things that fluttered into my email, Facebook or Twitter feed during the week.  Hover and click on the Headlines and you will be whisked out of my post and into the whole article that caught my attention.


Writerly Round-Up (12 – 18 May)


CNET Releases Crowdsourced SciFi Novel

Daniel Berkowitz

In October 2015, CNET asked readers to help the tech site write the novel, and dozens decided to contribute, with hundreds of others reading and providing feedback, collaborating in a single Google Doc under a Creative Commons license to shape a rough draft of the story.

The venture was inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and its goal was to produce “a novel-length work of fiction at least 50,000 words long in the span of just 30 short days.”


Cup of Pens ClipArtMy Favorite Tool for Checking Story Sequence


Mary Carroll Moore

Two of my private clients are working on nonfiction books.  They have a ton of expertise to share, but they normally teach in person, so putting their techniques and theories into a logical sequence on the page has proven challenging for both.  They found my website and decided to work with me to check the structure of their books-in-progress.

I start them with basic structure analysis techniques, which I learned as an editor at different publishing houses.  Most writers just write–they don’t necessarily know anything about structure.  Editors used to take care of that, but they don’t anymore, so we writers must learn to analyze the structure of our own books and get them in shape before we submit the manuscript.


Writerly Round-Up (12 – 18 May)



Law and fiction — blogs with a real-life view of lawyering

Leslie Budewitz

Writing a character who is a lawyer, but you’re not one — or closely related to one? A recent post on favorite blogs for lawyers on the Washington State Bar Association blog mentioned these, so I took a quick look. Good inside info.


Can a DNA Sample Reveal Age?

D. P. Lyle, MD

DNA will of course reveal gender, but there is also research suggesting that race, hair and eye color, and physical features such as stature might also be determined from a DNA sample. These aren’t completely worked out yet but they are intriguing aspects of DNA analysis.

But what if a DNA sample could be used to determine the approximate age of the person? This would definitely help as, once again, it would narrow the suspect list. For example, if the crime scene DNA could be shown to have come from someone who was approximately 25 years old it would effectively eliminate a 60-year-old suspect. But is this possible? Maybe.


Are We There Yet?

The Future of Books: VR, Augmented Reality, Self-Driving Cars and More

Sanj Kharbanda

The physical book is a great device, and for many purposes it will continue to be the best format. But if we believe the digital transformation in book publishing is almost complete, we will soon find out we are wrong.

There are many new technologies on the horizon that will impact what and how we read. At the recent F8 (Facebook Developer Conference), Mark Zuckerberg shared his 10-year plan, including many ideas about his vision for virtual reality (VR) and chatbots. Do publishers have a 10-year plan? Are publishers prepared for what is here or almost here?


Writerly Round-Up (12 – 18 May)



Authors on Twitter: 43 Stunning Header Image Examples

This one came from a Facebook Post by Sandra Beckwith

Building an online platform often means having a presence on Twitter. While readers may engage more with certain authors on social networks like Facebook or Instagram, and it’s hard to actually sell books on Twitter, many authors use Twitter to connect directly with readers, other authors, and industry professionals.

Twitter’s header image offers a great opportunity to spark recognition between a book and its author. It is highly visible to Twitter users when looking at a profile on the web, on Twitter’s mobile app, or after clicking on a Twitter handle in third-party apps like Tweetdeck — but even with its high profile, this space is often underutilized or neglected altogether.


Well, readers, this is it for Writerly Round-Up.

I hope you are finding these weekly posts useful.

Till next time, don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Round-Up (5 – 11 May)

I see you are back for another Writerly Round-Up.  Welcome back to a look at the various things that fluttered into my email and social media during the week.

Last Thursday I participated in my first Kindle Free Day and as a result. 94 potential fans have my book on their e-readers.  I am planning another Kindle Free Day next Thursday.

Now, let’s have a look at my Round-Up.


Writing versus Structuring–Why Both Are Important and How to Toggle Between Them in Your Writing Sessions


Mary Carroll Moore

When we have an idea for a book, that original vision feels whole, complete in our minds.  The force of its image drives us to write.  But as we write, we must force this wholeness through the narrow funnel of the linear brain.  It can get squeezed and jumbled, come out on the page with gaps.

In our minds, it’s still whole.  But on the page, there are missing pieces.



Writerly Round-Up (5 – 11 May)


Cup of Pens ClipArtLaw and fiction — blogs with a real-life view of lawyering

Leslie Budewitz

President – Sisters in Crime

If a lawyer takes a part in your WIP, major or minor, and you’re not a member of the bar, or closely related to one, you’ll need a few resources on daily life in the law – the culture of the practice. Today on Law & Fiction: the Blog, I’m sharing a few blogs I’ve found with insights into conflicts, choices, and daily dilemmas lawyers face.


From Sandra Beckwith’s  365 Daily Book Marketing Tips series

Identify the keywords that readers use to find books like yours and create content using those words for your website.

Sandra Beckwith is everywhere but this is a good first stop if you have a book or even think you’ll write a book.

Build Book Buzz resources help take the guesswork and mystery out of book marketing, promotion, and publicity.


How to Use Guest Blogging to Promote Your Book

Beth Hayden

When you create a guest post, you write an article specifically for a site that is not your own. Over the past few years, guest blogging has become a powerful (and free) tool in many authors’ book promotion toolboxes.

You have to decide what works for you, and whether you want to include guest blogging in your book promotion strategy—but for me, it’s a no-brainer. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get more subscribers, build your platform and get more book sales. When done strategically, regular guest posting can be your most powerful book promotion tool. So pick some sites, start brainstorming your post ideas, and get ready to go on an exciting ride.


W3C and IDPF Are Exploring Plans to Combine


(This is for Authors who also design or build websites and other geekish things involving code, CSS, HTML… )

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) announced today that the two organizations have mutual interest in combining to advance publishing technologies at a faster rate.


Photo of a DandelionThis is the end of another Writerly Round-Up.  Thanks for dropping by and don’t touch anything sharp.  I am leaving you with a photo I took just before our latest snow.  Yes, Springtime is hard to pin down in Montana.  This is the flower every mother receives from her child.  The next most popular gift is a rock.


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Writerly Round-Up (28 April – 4 May)

Welcome to another Writerly Round-Up Post.  The following items fluttered into my email or social media during the week.  The link to read the full article or post is in the Header Text.  I have set these Writerly Round-Up posts as a Category aptly entitled Writerly Round-Up.  This should make it easy to see all of these Round-Up posts at a glance.


Writerly Round-Up (28 April – 4 May)



How to Use Different Points of View in Your Story


Mary Carroll Moore

How many points of view (narrators) can you have in one book without confusing the reader?

Can I use both first person and third person in one book?

Can I switch narrators in the middle of a scene?


Cup of Pens ClipArtHow Does Age Affect Reading?


Andrew Rhomberg


Do books have age-specific audiences?

We will not look at the age of book buyers, but rather at how reading a book, and specifically the completion rate (the percentage of readers who finish reading a book), correlates with age. Completion rates are an interesting proxy for understanding how strongly a book engages a specific reader and whether a book appeals to a certain audience segment more than to a different group of readers.

In short, the answer is that the completion rate for books is often quite age-dependent. This is very much unlike the case of gender. So let’s have a closer look.


Writerly Round-Up (28 April – 4 May)

How to Make Reading Relevant to Today’s Consumer


Eric Shoup


In a world where users can access entertainment from their mobile devices anytime and anyplace, all forms of media are competing against each other for a resource that is quickly becoming scarce: user attention.

The study shows that users spend 19 minutes of the day reading, but more than 1 ½ hours on social networks and more than five hours watching video. Of course, these sessions aren’t all in one sitting and probably not even of the same content. In a recent user research project we conducted at Scribd, we found more than one participant reading five or more books at the same time—through small portions of each intermittently as time permitted and the interest struck them.

Reading is facing an uphill battle against other forms of media in the fight for attention.


If I Should Die is Free Today Only at Amazon


If all goes well, my book is free today at Amazon.  This is my first try at a Free Day.

The theory according to the book Short Promo Success by Dan Defigio, a Free Day drives Amazon Rankings up and the higher the ranking the more exposure your title gets.  The more exposure the more sales.

So go on over and buy my book!


Writerly Round-Up (28 April – 4 May)


The Saturday Writing Quote – Conroy on reading


Leslie Budewitz


“From the beginning I’ve searched out those writers unafraid to stir up the emotions, who entrust me with their darkest passions, their most indestructible yearnings, and their most soul-killing doubts. I trust the great novelists to teach me how to live, how to feel, how to love and hate. I trust them to show me the dangers I will encounter on the road as I stagger on my own troubled passage through a complicated life of books that try to teach me how to die.”

– Pat Conroy, in My Reading Life (2010)

Ms Budewitz is scheduled to be a guest at The Writer’s Chatroom.


365 Daily Book Marketing Tip


Sandra Beckwith


Build Book Buzz

Write and giveaway a short e-book that lets readers sample your writing.


Why you need both CreateSpace and IngramSpark


Amy Collins


Build Book Buzz

I have been asked one question more than any other: “Do I need IngramSpark if I have CreateSpace?”

I know it’s tempting to avoid the extra expense and hassle of taking on a second print on demand (POD) provider, but I want to take a moment and share some of the experiences we’ve had at New Shelves Books with our POD work.  I hope these statements help you determine if you need one or both.

So . . . do you need both?


We have arrived at the end of this week’s writerly-round-up.  I hope you are enjoying these posts.

Till Next Week – Don’t Touch Anything Sharp!

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Writerly Round-Up (21 – 27 April)

Hello and Welcome to another Writerly Round-Up Post.

The following articles or blog posts showed up in my email or on social media during the week ending on 27 April.  As always, if you see something you’d like me to include, email me.


Writerly Round-Up

Tips on How to Read Your Own Work Objectively

“How can a writer learn to read her own writing from a reader’s eyes/brain/comprehension?” she asked.  “When I reread my work–it’s me –how I write.  I’d like to be able to reread it and go ‘You’re doing the same thing.  Change this or that.’  Maybe I’m looking for a magical way to reread my work.”


Writerly Round-Up (21 – 27 April)Cup of Pens ClipArt Writerly Round-Up

The Great Amazon Page Count Mystery

By Andrew Rhomberg

How Amazon pays authors for work included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) made headlines across the inter-webs recently. Ann Christy’s post “KU Scammers on KU – What’s Going On” even made it on to the homepage ofHacker News. The discussion raises many interesting questions about what reading data Amazon collects and how Amazon uses reader analytics.



Lee Loftland

Police officers are taught/trained to stop a threat to human life. U.S. police officers are not soldiers and criminals are not enemy combatants. Contrary to the belief of some people, U.S. streets are not battlefields where cops shoot first and ask questions later. It cannot and does not work that way.


365 Daily Book Marketing Tips series

Sandra Beckwith

Identify 1 to 3 key messages from your book to share in media and other interviews.


Writerly Round-Up

The Writer’s Forensics Blog


Guest Blogger: Lisa Black: Everything Old Is New Again

(Lisa Black just released a new title and I am seeing her in guest posts everywhere. Well done Lisa.)


My character, Cleveland forensic specialist Maggie Gardner, is unrealistic in one respect—she still spends a lot of time at her microscope looking at tiny bits of trace evidence, hairs, fibers, paint, and glass.

No one does that any more. Well, maybe Abby on NCIS, but she’s the most unrealistic forensic person on screen, even though she’s so cute we don’t care.

Sure, on old episodes of Dragnet you can see some nerdy guy in a lab coat explain how these pollen spores are only found in one quadrant of the city, but that art had already died before I started in forensics in 1994. We got spoiled by DNA, by ‘absolutely yes’ or ‘absolutely no’ answers. No one wanted to hear that this red nylon was ‘consistent with’ the suspect’s shirt, because they wouldn’t be hearing how many red nylon shirts were manufactured, how many were sold in this area, and while we’re at it let’s hack into Macy’s sales figures and find out who they were sold to. Unlike television, forensic labs do not have databases of all this information and would probably be violating a few important laws if they did. Nope, ‘consistent with’ was all you got. Take it or leave it.


Facebook: The World’s Largest Bookstore?

By Jason Illian

A month or so ago, Facebook reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015, and let’s just say they crushed the ball. Knocked the cover off. Pointed to the bleachers and then hit it out of the park.The big moneymaker was its burgeoning video ad business. Facebook states that people are watching 100 million hours of video per day on its social platform. More than 500 million people watch Facebook video every day. Just let that sink in. Facebook isn’t simply a video discovery platform; it’s becoming the video discovery platform. And it’s still growing.




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Writerly Round-Up (14 – 20 April)

Yes, it is time for another Writerly Round-Up and here it is. These things made it into my email or caught my attention on social media this week. If you have anything you’d like me to showcase shoot me an email.

Writerly Round-Up (14 – 20 April)

From The Writer’s Dig by Brian Klems

6 Ways To Tell the Difference Between a Supportive and Toxic Writer

It’s a topic writer’s rarely want to breach, but one that definitely warrants discussion. We all want to be humble in our craft, never appearing to be self-obsessed or over-confident or selfish in our abilities or intentions. We want to support writing in all forms, from all individuals, and are quick to give of ourselves, our time and our connections in order to grow the writing community. However, that same community is, unfortunately, filled with individuals that are more toxic than supportive. Being a writer is challenging and competitive, time-consuming and exhausting; a combination that can bring out the worst in certain individuals.

Cup of Pens ClipArtHow Do You Find a Good Editor–When You’re Ready for One?

Kathy, a writer who has attended my Madeline Island retreats and online classes, has almost reached the finish line with her memoir. I’ve watched her work hard over the past few years, creating a strong structure for her book, workshopping her chapters, and fine-tuning. She wrote me this week about her recent trials, trying to find a good copyeditor who will help her catch errors and get the manuscript ready to submit.
Kathy wrote, “I have been working with a copyeditor and am ready to give up on her. I did not have good vibes when we first met but because she came highly recommended, I decided to override any doubts I had. The first thing she wanted me to do was change my prologue from the ambulance ride to another prologue I wrote in 2011. She was very insistent and it was almost if I didn’t agree, she wouldn’t work with me. I haven’t made any decision about what I’m going to do but feel we are not a good fit.

From the 365 Daily Book Marketing Tips series!

Follow journalists who write about your book’s topic on Twitter. Re-tweet their content, compliment them, ask questions.

To your book marketing success,
Sandra Beckwith


Why You Should Consider Advertising to Your Own Fans on Facebook

By: Chris Syme

The chatter about Facebook ads in book marketing circles these days is all about building massive email lists and selling books. And although I am in that corner, I also believe that there are many entry-level advertising opportunities for authors with smaller platforms and budgets to grow their fanbases and email lists without breaking the bank.
Smaller budgets return slower growth, but ads do definitely speed up the process. For authors who are looking to get started in Facebook ads with small budgets, advertising to their own Facebook fans brings both value and return in certain circumstances.

5 essential book promotion tools for a first-time author

If you have the right tools in your book promotion toolbox, you’ll be able to build a solid foundation for your book’s success. And, just as a screwdriver, hammer, and saw serve different purposes, each one of these five book promotion tools contributes in a unique way.
These aren’t the only tools you’ll need in your toolbox, but they’re the ones that help you build a solid foundation for your book promotion success.
That wraps it up for this week’s Writerly Round-Up. Before you leave take a moment and watch my updated book trailer for If I Should Die.



Don’t touch anything sharp.

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William Wilkie Collins on Writing

Ask any modern day author who writes full time and you will get answers that mirror an interview of Wilkie Collins.

Portrait of Wilkie Collins

Portrait by John Everett Millais, 1850

William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and short story writer. His best-known works are The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866), and The Moonstone (1868), considered the first modern English detective novel.


William  Wilkie Collins on Writing



“The secret of that is to get out of the beaten track of ideas,” he replied. “The popular impression, I believe, for ages has been that fat people are necessarily good-humored. Now, I never observed that fat people were any more good-humored or virtuous than thin people, and that is the reason why I made Count Fosco a fat man. A fat villain was an absolute novelty in fiction, though not so, I maintain, in fact.”

“You are so prolific a writer that it is evident you must work very hard.”

“I write all day long; yes, absolutely. I work like any other laborer. Immediately after breakfast I seat myself at my desk, work without intermission until luncheon time, and then again straight on till dinner.”

“Do you write at night?”

“I used to, but I was obliged to give that up. Really, there were too many ghosts about.”

“Those you had summoned for use in your fiction?”

“Yes—accompanied by their friends. They clustered together just beyond the smoke from my pipe and stared at me with glassy eyes. I was forced to jump up, seize my hat and go to the club.”

“Don’t you require more exercise than you get seated all day at your desk?”

“I can’t spare time for any more. I walk to the club every evening and back, and play a game of whist with one or other of my literary friends.”

“Will you not give me some more hints about writing, please?”

“Pay great attention to style. That is a point upon which I am most solicitous. Every line of my books is carefully worked over, sometimes rewritten two or three times in order that it may be perfect in the matter of style.”

Olive Logan (1839-1909)

Olive Logan (1839-1909)

This an excerpt of an interview from my e-copy of collected works also at 1889 The World written by Olive Logan (1839-1909) was an American actress with Augustin Daly’s Broadway theatre. She also wrote plays and later novels and in 1868 gave up the stage for a full time writing career which included journalism.

Don’t touch anything sharp.


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Writerly Round-Up (7 – 13 April)

Welcome to another Writerly Round-Up. Writerly Round-Up (7 – 13 April)  As usual, these items crossed into my path by email or social media.


Writerly Round-Up (7 – 13 April)


Cup of Pens ClipArtCrime Scene Questions for Writers

This is a very active Yahoo Group.  Membership requires approval.

Group Description

A forum for asking and answering crime scene investigation, applied forensics, and police procedure questions for fiction or non-fiction writers. Writers are invited to ask and crime scene investigators, forensic scientists, and medical practioners are invited to answer. Of course, experienced writers are invited to help the newer ones and each other.

A Sample of Current Topics

  • DNA How Long Does It Take? 6 Posts
  • Husband running away with… 6 Posts
  • Living my in a large city like… 11 Posts
  • Handgun / revolver for a woman 6 Posts
  • Private Investigators 9 Posts




I began using LibraryThing when I worked as a Marketing Manager for a Publishing Company.  I visited yesterday to open my own account and add my books.

What is LibraryThing?

LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for book lovers.

LibraryThing helps you create a library-quality catalog of books: books you own, books you’ve read, books you’d like to read, books you’ve lent out … whatever grouping you’d like.

Since everyone catalogs online, they also catalog together. You can contribute tags, ratings and reviews for a book, and Common Knowledge (facts about a book or author, like character names and awards), as well as participate in member forums or join the Early Reviewers program. Everyone gets the benefit of everyone else’s work. LibraryThing connects people based on the books they share.


The Saturday Writing Quote — Faulkner on ambition and judgment


Leslie Budewitz

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

— Wm Faulkner, quoted in The Writer, 9/12


Writerly Round-Up (7 – 13 April)

From the 365 Daily Book Marketing Tips series!


Sandra Beckwith

Don’t do a free Kindle book promotion until you know how to do it the right way. Read Short Promo Success: How to Run Successful Free Promotions in Just One Day.

To your book marketing success.


The Writer’s Forensics Blog


The Cyber Exchange Principle


The cornerstone of forensic science is known as the Locard Exchange Principle. Edmond Locard (1877-1966) studied and developed his investigative skills under the great forensic pioneer Alexandre Lacassagne and later headed the forensic laboratory in Lyon, France. His observations led him to conclude that criminals always left traces of themselves at crime scenes. And took evidence away when they departed. This became the foundation of his exchange principle.


The Writer’s Chatroom

Writer’s Digest 101 Best Sites & Best of the Best for Online Writing Communities


Congratulations to Audrey Shaffer for her hard and unfailing work.

The Writer’s Chatroom is listed in Writer’s Digest 101 Best Sites issue. Best of the Best for online writing communities on page 39 and page 41 has a half-page sidebar about the site.


Book Marketing 101


Jane Friedman

It is possible, if not desirable, for an author to launch an effective book-marketing campaign without a publisher’s support or assistance. Mainly, it requires time and energy. It may also require some monetary investment to hire a publicist, PR firm, or marketing consultant to advise and assist you. The good news is that, by the time your second, third, or fourth book comes out, you should have a solid base of readers to work from—a base that was developed from marketing activities associated with previous launches.


This is the end of another Writerly Round-Up.  Email me at if you have a suggestion.

Don’t touch anything sharp.


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Writerly Round-Up (1 – 6 April)

Welcome to another Writerly Round-Up Post.

These are things I gathered during the week. I hope some of them are helpful or at the very least, entertaining.

Mockup2-1500x2400pixelsThis week I am adding a bit of shameless self-promotion. Kim Richards Gilchrist helped with cover art, editing and formatting so that I could release my New Author’s Revised Edition of If I Should Die. This title is available for pre-order at Amazon and will go live on 12 April 2016.

Thank you to everyone who supported me in so many ways when I suddenly fell from publication. I’m back. I have plans for a collection of short stories followed by a Sequel to If I Should Die and a Revised Edition of Milk Carton People.

The following articles and links came mostly from my email. 

Writerly Round-Up

Catch a Clue

Patty Jager

Every Monday catch a clue about a new to you mystery, thriller, or suspense book or author.

Authors: In comments give readers a five sentence passage from one of your books.


  • Title
  • Author
    genre (mystery, thriller, suspense)
  • buy link
  • Website or Amazon Author page link.Readers enjoy finding new authors.


Cup of Pens ClipArtWelcome to the new and improved FabianSpace!

Karina Fabian

Thanks again to the people who shared what they want to see as far as content. You can see the full results on my blog. For the next six months or so, I’ll use that feedback. Of course, you are always welcome to comment. Let me know what you love or hate. I want to share my book news, but I want it to be something you enjoy. Email anytime:

My goal is to keep this monthly newsletter light, fun and useful. We’ll have quick news here, then Vern gets his say (by popular request – he’s so proud!), then writing tips. When I have something big going on that I want to share in greater depth, like a new writing class or a book, I’ll invite you to a separate newsletter run. That way, you don’t get inundated with stuff you’re not interested in. Sound good?


Are you making these mistakes with your Amazon book description?

Build Book Buzz

What’s the first thing you do when you search for a book on Amazon and find one that could be just what you want or need?

If you’re like most, you read the Amazon book description at the top of the page.

That’s because you’re looking for specific information. If you can’t find it, you go on to the next book in the search results.

3 common mistakes

That book description is the reader’s gateway to your book — it’s what convinces a reader that your book is the solution to their problem. And yet, so many authors and publishers slap up something quick and vague — using as few as two sentences sometimes — on the most valuable real estate on your Amazon’s sales page.

Is it time for you or your publisher to revisit your description to make sure it meets reader expectations? Here are three common mistakes you’ll want to look for in yours.



Lee Loftland

The year is 1988 and I’m assigned to patrol duty in a town called Soft Kitty, Ca. We’re bordered by the towns Warm Fur Baby and Sweet Puppy. All three are located in Squeezemtodeath County. Soft Kitty, where I work, is the county seat.

My name is Officer Usta Luvmyjob, III, and I work the graveyard shift. I carry a gun and wear a badge. It’s my job to protect and serve.


Thanks for dropping in and don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Round-Up (March 17 – 31)

Writerly Round-Up (March 17 – 31)

Welcome to another Writerly Round-Up. This post contains links and news gathered over a 2 week period. The following information came from my email and social media feeds.Cup of Pens ClipArt

Homicide Investigations: Solving the Murder Puzzle

Sometimes it’s best to work a case in reverse by ruling out potential suspects who couldn’t have committed the crime. Then, when all is said and done, the last man standing, so to speak, is the killer.


Some Tips to Make Your Ebook Look Great 

By Kevin Callahan

In my previous post, I offered a few ideas on how to make ebooks feel unique by taking advantage of some visual design cues.

But I neglected to mention one crucial step: test, test, test your EPUB and MOBI files on multiple devices and apps.


Malpractice in Mysteries Medical and Thrillers

By D. P. Lyle, MD

Too often, fiction writers commit medical malpractice in theirs stories. I see it all the time, and unfortunately, these mistakes can sink the entire story.


From the 365 Daily Book Marketing Tips series

Use the “Book Marketing Canvas” template to create a one-page business plan for your book.



Anatomy of an evidence room

Law and Fiction

When I practiced in Seattle, a small group of lawyers in my firm represented commercial fishermen and seafood companies. That’s what led us to involvement in a large criminal conspiracy case against a man known as “the Geoduck King.” (That’s gooey-duck, and it’s a big old ugly clam.)

I thought of that recently when I read this article on a police department evidence room in a Twin Cities suburb. It’s an eye-opening look at how physical evidence is handled and stored, how it can pile up, and how it’s managed.

But they don’t say anything about storing a freezer full of big old ugly clams.


4 steps to an About Me page that sizzles by Andrew Wise

Build Book Buzz

Blogging isn’t easy. We are constantly being pulled in a million different directions, so it’s not uncommon for one task to take precedence over another. In our haste to get out blog posts out, we often neglect the little things . . . like the importance of a well written “About Me” page for an author.

Believe it or not, the About Me page on any given site is usually somewhere in the top ten most visited pages. It makes sense, too, when you consider that nearly 80 percent of daily blog visits are from new visitors. They want to trust that the person they are getting their information from is reliable, and the About Me page is the place where they find that out.


7 Things That Will Doom Your Novel (& How to Avoid Them)

By: James Scott Bell 

There are a lot of ways not to do something. Like the new boat owner a few years ago who was filling up his pleasure craft with fuel for that first time out. Only he mistook the tube meant to hold fishing poles for the gas tank. After completing his work he started up the engine.

The gas fumes ignited and blew the boat owner into the sky. He came down in the drink and was rescued, but the boat was a goner.

You can be just as creative in finding ways not to write your novel. With a little thought and not much effort, you can easily devise methods to prevent yourself from actually finishing a book—or finishing a book that has a chance to sell.

So if not finishing or not selling are your goals, I’m here to help you with the following seven tips (also, grab this free download on how to write a novel)


The Internet of Things: Who’s in Your Bed…or Toaster?


This is an article about your toasters, toothbrushes and TV’s, and your refrigerators and the locks on your front doors. Your new cars and baby monitors and your wrist-worn exercise trackers. And let’s not forget watches and even your mattress covers. Yes, I said mattress covers.

I’m talking about the “Internet of Things” and how our homes are ripe for anyone and everyone to use our gadgety-things as listening devices. That’s right, the tinfoil-hat-wearing-folks were absolutely and undeniably correct. Our toothbrushes are indeed capable of spying on us.


My book If I Should Die is available for pre-order at Amazon.




Till we meet again, don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Round-Up (March 10 – 16)

Mockup2-1500x2400pixelsARCs of If I Should Die are available by email.

Welcome to another week of Writerly Round-Up (March 10 – 16)

Crime Scene is a site that has been around since the dawn of the Internet

This is a New Case

The Stranger Danger Case

What happened?

On February 20, 2016, Vanessa Pruitt returned to her home after a few days out of town.

She discovered her husband and another person she didn’t know apparently shot to death in the basement rec room of the house.

__Cup of Pens ClipArt


Tips to Help Your Fictional Cop’s World Come Alive

Does your latest tall tale feature a beginning, middle, and end? How about characters, setting, and dialog? Have you been really creative and inserted lots of sentences composed of various words with various meanings?

If you answered yes to each of the above questions, well, you’ve taken the appropriate first steps toward accurately writing about cops, crime, and crooks.



Build Book Buzz

Sandra Beckwith

Quick tip for selling more books on Pinterest


I’ve noticed that a lot of authors are making a big mistake with their book-related pins on Pinterest. The good news is that it can be fixed very easily.

I’ve created a super short video (one minute!) for you today that shows you how to fix the problem so your pins are helping you sell more books. It’s truly as easy as one, two, three!



From Flo Stanton a Writer’s Chatroom Regular

Publishing A Book? 10 Questions A Publisher Will Ask You

7) Is Your Book Unique?

When your submission comes in to a publisher, the first thing they want to know is:

  • “Why should I publish yours rather than someone else’s.“
  • “What is its uniqueness?“
  • “What does it have that no other article or book on the subject has?”



Balancing the Three Key Elements of Story  

  1. If I want to build tension or suspense, I work on people’s reactions to something that is planned, going to happen, suspected of happening.  I might use dialogue with a lot of subtext to hint that something’s not right and it’s affecting somebody.



The Author’s Three-Step Test for Sellability


Marketing 101

The basic principles for selling products are the same no matter what, and the reason is because the buying process is a function of human psychology. In marketing, we define the buying process via a funnel. It is the same for buying a book or buying a refrigerator. Even though the process of moving people through that funnel has changed over the years due to how people gather information, the funnel is still a staple in marketing. A basic understanding of the buying process is the bedrock of step three.



The Writer’s Forensics Blog


Diatoms: Microscopic Clues of Death By Drowning

What are diatoms? How do they help the Medical Examiner determine that a death was from drowning?

Determining that someone has drowned is not as easy as it might seem. The finding of water in the lungs isn’t enough. Sure drowning victims most often have water-filled lungs but if a corpse is tossed into a body of water, the lungs will often passively fill as the water replaces the trapped air in the airways and lung tissue. However, if the ME finds inhaled debris such as plant and water-born insects, etc. deep in the lungs, this suggests that the victim was breathing at the time they entered the water and inhaled the debris-filled water. But this isn’t always found.

So a method for determining drowning is needed. Diatoms might help. Though controversial and definitely not universally accepted as a sign of drowning, this search for diatoms is an interesting forensic science technique. And this search is not in the lungs, but rather in the bone marrow.



Thanks for dropping by for my Writerly Round-Up.  I’ll get back to you next week with a whole new batch of links.


Don’t touch anything sharp!

ARCs of If I Should Die are available by email.












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Writerly Round-Up (March 3 – 9)

Cup of Pens ClipArtWriterly Round-Up (March 3 – 9)


Welcome back to my Writerly Round-Up. This is a round-up of writerly links or comments from my email and social media. Enjoy them and send me an email if you see a link I shouldn’t miss.

Please take a moment after this post and subscribe to my email newsletter.

Writerly Round-Up

8 Reasons Why People Buy Books By: Andrew Rhomberg

Reason 6 – Makes Me Look Smart

Books are also status symbols, as Ben Evans, now at Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital group, Andreesen Horowitz, once pointed out to me. These are the books we put prominently on the shelf in the living room to say something about us. Often these are books that we have not actually read, but want the world to believe we have read.


Golden Donut Short Story Contest


The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to continue the Golden Donut short story contest in 2016. The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. We will not provide clues as to the subject matter of the image, or where the shot was taken. That is for you and your imagination to decide. Remember, though, what you see in the image absolutely MUST be the MAIN subject of your tale. (Go to the Website to see the Photo and complete rules.)


Essential Tools for the Writer’s Toolbox

This week’s post is reprinted from Writer’s Block, an online newsletter from the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

Tangible skills are easier to gather. They come from close reading, taking classes, studying other writers, practice, and good feedback. I refined my list of tangible skills to ten essentials, the “never leave home without them” toolbox. These are the craft skills that have taken me from beginner to published.


Dominique Raccah: ‘The Surprise Transformation in Our Industry’ By: Daniel Berkowitz

Raccah believes there is “a world of opportunity” in children’s and YA publishing, and “invite[s] us all to work together.”


Using Pine Trees to Solve Murders

Obviously a pine tree cannot become an actual police detective. For starters, they have no hands for holding donuts and coffee cups. Nor will their size allow them inside a Denny’s restaurant for a half-price meal of Moons Over My Hammy.

So here’s how it works…


National Black Writers Conference

The National Black Writers Conference is a public program that provides writers, scholars, literary professionals, students, and the general public with a forum for expanding their knowledge and reading of Black literature and for engaging in dynamic and spirited conversations, panel discussions, readings, workshops, and performances on conference themes and on future trends in the literature of Black writers.


Well, now, that wraps up this week’s Writerly Round-Up. Join me next week and send suggestions to me at

Don’t touch anything sharp!

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Writerly Round-Up (February 25 – March 2)

Cup of Pens ClipArtWriterly Round-Up (February 25 – March 2)

Welcome back to my Writerly Round-Up. I am gathering a smattering of interesting things that crossed my social media path or appeared in my e-mail. You are welcome to submit links for my Writerly Round-Up posts to my email.

From Sandra Beckwith’s 365 Book Marketing Tips

Set daily promotion goals. They could be time or task-based.
To your book marketing success.

How to Set a Novel in an Unfamiliar Location

By: Brian A. Klems


When my agent secured a three book deal for my protagonist Lucy Hall, on the strength of my manuscript for Journey to Death, I was thrilled but also a little nervous. I like to research my books thoroughly, and I had never visited Mahé, the island in the Seychelles where my novel is set. All my research had been done online. I had useful email conversations with the British High Commission in the capital, Victoria. Everyone I approached online was very helpful, but it was impossible to discover what sounds can be heard in the Cloud Forest up on the mountain. Studying the websites, I was confused about whether the sand on the beach at Beau Vallon Bay is actually white or golden. And are the bats really as large as people said? (Read More at Writer’s Digest)


5 Things Better Call Saul Can Teach Us About Writing

By: Cris Freese


1. Quirky Characters Have Quirky Backgrounds.

No one expected the first season of Better Call Saul to begin with the wheeling-and-dealing, shady Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. And though the black-and-white opening began with a nervous Goodman fearing he’d been recognized at a Cinnabon in Ohama, it was clear that this is the aftermath and not the main story. The lawyer with the cheesy commercials, one-liners and shiny white Cadillac had to have a background. That background is the basis for Better Call Saul, essentially making it a character study of sorts. And Goodman’s background is as quirky (or more so) as his shtick. (More at Writer’s Digest)


Samhain Publishing “Winding Down” 


Samhain Publishing announced to authors via email on Friday that the digital publisher is “beginning the process of winding down due to our market share’s continuing decline. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.” Christina Brashear adds, “We prefer to go out gracefully and not get to the point where our overhead compromises our ability to pay the authors’ royalties. That’s would just be wrong. We want to stay on the high road and keep your respect.”


Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? Spread the Word: Tips from an Indie Author

By Drucilla Shultz


After working as an architect and in the fashion industry, Andrés Quintero has found his calling: writing and illustrating picture books. His first title, Hairy Harold & His Extraordinary Trip to New York, was self-published last year and praised as an “impressive debut” by Publishers Weekly.


5 Questions with Dominique Raccah, CEO & Publisher, Sourcebooks By: Daniel Berkowitz


Why do you come to DBW year after year?

To learn and to connect. The industry is in a state of transformation and there are so many opportunities available to us with new technology and new partnerships. DBW is a great venue to hear what people are working on and to share ideas about how we can expand the publishing world together.


Where to Find DNA Evidence By Lee Loftland


Can’t seem to find the right clues for your current work-in-progress? Well, here’s a handy guide to help with locating DNA evidence.

Greater Treasures: A DragonEye Novella Kindle Edition by Karina Fabian


Inside the loosely-defined offices of the Dragon Eye Private Investigations Agency, draconic gumshoe Vern d’Wyvern and his better-looking partner, Sister Grace McCarthy, are jolted out of their video comas by a knock at the door.

Come back next week to see what makes the Writerly Round-Up list. Send me suggestions at
By the time this post goes live, subscribers to my Newsletter will have seen my new cover art for If I Should Die. You will see it here, soon. That shouldn’t stop you from subscribing. 

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Round-Up – 18 – 24 February 2016

Cup of Pens ClipArtWriterly Round-Up 18 – 24 February 2016

Welcome to this week’s Writerly Round-Up.

The following is a collection of items and links I’ve collected from my email and social media. If you are promoting an event or release and you’d like to see it in next week’s  Writerly Round-Up, please email me.


Ep 076: “How To Make A Living With Your Writing Pt. 1”

From Book Marketing Tools

Welcome to the 76th episode of The Author Hangout, a podcast designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

A tip from Sandra Beckwith

It’s important to make sure your press releases reach the right media outlets so if you’re confused when using a service such as eReleases, call the customer support number for help. (affiliate)

To your book marketing success. Sign up for Sandra’s 365 Daily Book Marketing Tips series!


Small Library Survey ends Friday 26 February

From LibraryThing

Interested in using TinyCat—our upcoming online catalog for tiny libraries? Take our survey, and be automatically entered to win a $100 Amazon/IndieBound gift certificate.
We want to make sure we’re doing TinyCat right, and meeting all our small libraries’ needs. Whether you’re already beta testing TinyCat, or just potentially interested in using it, we want to hear from you! Survey responses are completely anonymous. The drawing will close Friday, at 12 noon Eastern, so be sure to get your response in by then.



A Law and Fiction Article

Character opportunities — booking photos


Montana laws strongly favor public access to information, while also recognizing the personal right to privacy — both are expressly recognized in our 1972 Constitution, replacing the bare-bones model we enacted on statehood in 1889. Curiously, we did not have a recognized public policy on booking photos — aka mug shots — probably because our low population means some important issues simply never reach the courts. Read more on the Law and Fiction Site.


Sign up for my Newsletter and be among the first to see my new cover art for If I Should Die.


If I Should Die has Murder, Embezzlement, Betrayal and Silence.


Peyton Farley has settled into a new life in southwest Montana. Research and fact checking for a local newspaper is a perfectly safe job, or is it?

One morning, Peyton awakens and finds a strange man in lace up work boots who is bleeding out on her kitchen floor.  As Peyton calls 911 from her bedroom, someone is stealing the body. (Coming Soon)


More Writerly Round-Up


Digital Book World’s Launch Kids: Looking Forward and Back


February is a great time to talk about children’s books, in the aftermath of Toy Fair, Digital Kids, the MidWinter ALA and its accompanying Newbery, Caldecott and other awards, presented in January. While publishing for the adult market has its rewards and sense of community, children’s publishing has an infectious enthusiasm and sense of mission that is made manifest at ALA.   Read the rest online.

At The Writer’s Chatroom

Celebrity Sundays:

Famous writers, up-and-coming authors, and other notables closely tied to the writing and publishing industry will be our featured guests each Sunday at 7:00 PM ET. Our chats are moderated using a queue format, to allow those in attendance to gain the most from each chat. No password needed for scheduled chats!

From JA Konrath’s Blog

Fisking Lee Child

I like Lee Child. He’s a generous guy, pleasant, smart, and a decent writer.

But Lee has aligned himself with the pinheads of Authors United, and though his views differ enough to be considered on their own merits rather than instantly dismissable like the majority of AU alarmism, Child’s continued anti-Amazon stance is getting boring.
Read more on JA’s website.


That is it for this week’s Writerly Round-Up. If you’d like to suggest a link or promote an event email me at If you like these posts, sign up for my email and share this post on social media.

Till next time, don’t touch anything sharp!

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The Big Ask

I have been thinking about, considering, mumbling, mulling and otherwise putting off a dip in the shallow end of the self-publishing pool.

water splash clipart

My Spoon River of Houses was going to be my first title but I unexpectedly got the rights back on two previous titles.

I review, revise and edit, I take notes in my Molskine and stop to work on an e-jigsaw-puzzle. Then I talk about reviewing, revising and editing.

I have new cover art for If I Should Die but I am not going to show you, yet. I want to prepare a press release announcing the new release and build up my MailChimp email list.  Nothing motivates like suddenly not having a book to sell.

A fellow author is currently trying to build his list as well. As an effort to encourage him, I said he needed to ‘ask.’ Make an offer of some readerly value and court your potential reader and fan. After all, the worst that can happen is that your email list stays at two subscribers, yourself and one other.

Then I began to walk the talk. I sent out an email to my two subscribers, myself and someone else. Sure it feels silly to send out emails to one other person but practice is the best teacher. You spare your potential reader from witnessing your train wrecks as you learn the software.

To show I am working on growing my list –

• The sign-up link is part of my email signature.
• The form to subscribe to my MailChimp list appears here on my website.
• I am working on a list of very cool things to offer my potential subscribers.

If you subscribe to my newsletter you will be among the first to see my new cover art for each of my up-coming releases.

The Big Ask

Now, for the ask… I am looking for subscribers and I hope you will be among them!

 Click on the link above or search the sidebar on the right.  Cell phone users should probably just click the link above.

Till next time, don’t touch anything sharp!

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Writerly Round-Up

Writerly Round-Up February 12 – 17

Cup of Pens ClipArtThis is a sampling of email and social media topics that caught my attention this week.

From Build Book Buzz Sandra Beckwith

10 rock-solid reasons why authors should build an email list

In our Build Book Buzz Facebook group, an author recently shared his concerns about changes planned for Twitter. Saying he has “invested a lot of effort” in Twitter, he asks, “If it goes away, how will you compensate [for] your loss of [this] medium?”

This is why you need an email list, friends.

Planting Sensory Details–What to Use, When to Use It–for Emotional Impact in Your Writing

Sensory details tap into our reptilian brain, the part that responds without filter by any logic. Smells and sounds are often the most evocative of sensory details in writing.

Earth In a Cradle of Clouds… Posted on Facebook by Heather Leigh

Photo of Earth from Space

Six Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books

While attending uPublishU at Book Expo America as a speaker at the end of May, I sat in on several excellent panel presentations. One that I found particularly helpful shared the results of testing that BookBub has done on the text used to describe books offered for sale in its daily newsletters.

Don’t touch anything sharp.  If You see something I should include just open an email.



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Writerly Round-Up

Writerly Round-Up February 5th – 11th

Cup of Pens ClipArtMy ribs are driving me crazy and sitting at my laptop seems to make them worse.

Doh, it is a laptop, I should move it.

I’m here, so I am going to write this post in spite of the pain.

The following are links to things that crossed my path during the week in my email or on social media.

Mystery Readers Journal Forensic Mysteries

The Mystery Readers Journal Forensic Mysteries Issue is out and it’s excellent. Filled with wonderful and informative articles by some really fun folks. Janet always does such a wonderful job and this issue is a testament to that.

Law & Fiction

Today on Law & Fiction: the Blog, I take a look at statistics on age, gender, and race in the legal profession, and some implications.

Missing fire hydrant dumped at Hyalite

The hydrant disappeared from 8th and Babcock the last weekend in January.  Crews went up to retrieve the hydrant this morning and brought it back to the City Shops.

The Conversations We Ignore, Wounds, & Well-Motivated Inner Conflict by Mackenzie Lucas

A Savvy Authors Post

Mackenzie Lucas is a lover of story in any form. She’s an avid reader of genre fiction, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance, and she listens to an eclectic mix of music that spans from pop/rock to country to gospel. She loves a good story whether it’s an erotic short, a full-length romance novel, or the narrative slice-of-life found in country music. In any story, emotional integrity and authenticity are most important to her as well as a big dose of romping hot sexual tension.

From Flo Stanton’s Blog


Happy 260th Birthday to Mozart!

From The Writer’s Chatroom

Paul McDermott answers a question.

“Noiz: how long is a piece of string? Some chapters NEED to be short.”

This is the last link I am adding for this week’s round-up.

Sex Education for Children in the Norway’s TV

For Adults Only if you are American.

‘‘this video could be inappropriate for some viewers’’— This is not a porn film. The sequence is part of ‘‘Newton’’, Norway’s national TV contribution for the children’s sexual education.

Okay, that’s all folks.  Don’t touch anything sharp.  

Share my post.  I don’t mind if you commit FaceBookery.  Tweet and G+ if you wish.  


Email me if you have a suggestion for next week’s round up.





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From: The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley

I overheard my son who said, “You can lose all of your stars but they can’t take away the battles you have won.”

I am sure they were playing a war game of some kind but from my perspective it sounded very wise.

I also remember a college graduation speaker who said that no one could take what we have learned.  A liberal arts education allows us to learn a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about a few things.

beaker-with-water-clipart-beaker-green-mdMany things from those college years float into my thoughts.  Botany class and an applicant for a professor’s position gave a lecture on the importance of Stem Cells.  This was probably in 1976.  I can still feel the jar of cells in my hand.  I gazed into the cloudy mixture of undifferentiated plant cells and passed it up to the student behind me.

Psychology JumbleI remember Abnormal Psych.  The professor assured us that we’d imagine we had each mental illness as we studied them.  He assured us that we were okay.  That was a squeaker.

English Lit Words JumbleOf all the courses I took back then English Lit classes come most easily in my idle moments.  I was an accidental English Major, undeclared.  I loved to read.

Today, this line kept surfacing. “Thirteen’s no age at all. Thirteen is nothing.” Thank you Google for making it so easy to track this down.  Now I am sharing it.


Portrait of Girl with Comic Book by Phyllis McGinley

Thirteen’s no age at all. Thirteen is nothing.

It is not wit, or powder on the face.

Or Wednesday matinees, or misses’ clothing,

Or intellect, or grace.

Twelve has its tribal customs. But thirteen

Is neither boys in battered cars nor dolls,

Not Sara Crewe, or movie magazine,

Or pennants on the walls.

Thirteen keeps diaries and tropical fish

(A month, at most); scorns jumpropes in the spring;

Could not, would fortune grant it, name its wish;

Wants nothing, everything;

Has secrets from itself, friends it despises;

Admits none to the terrors that it feels;

Owns half a hundred masks but no disguises;

And walks upon its heels.

Thirteen’s anomalous–not that, not this:

Not folded bud, or wave that laps a shore,

Or moth proverbial from the chrysalis.

Is the one age defeats the metaphor.

Is not a town, like childhood, strongly walled

But easily surrounded; is no city.

Nor, quitted once, can it be quite recalled–

Not even with pity.

From: The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley (1954)

Till next time, don’t touch anything sharp!

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Writerly Round-Up

Writerly Round-Up – 29  January – 4 February 2016

Cup of Pens ClipArtDuring the week I tweet, share or post various writerly news that comes into my email, a book I am reading or through social media in general. Here are some weekly highlights.  Welcome to my Writerly Round-Up.

Cross Marketing Strategies for Authors with Deborah Magnus

February 8 – March 6, 2016

Savvy Authors Forums

Without book sales we fail, but there’s no reason to imagine you’ll be one of the losers. There is real power in every author’s arsenal, you just need to know where to find it and how to turn it into more book sales!


From Sandra Beckwith’s 365 Daily Book Marketing Tips Series

The book marketing groups on LinkedIn will help authors of all types learn more about publishing and marketing. Join one or two.


From Karina Fabian

Catholic Writer’s Conference

March 4-6

The next conference is coming up March 4-6. If you are Catholic and a writer and want to get all the advice and networking of a live conference without all the live conference expenses, go to and check it out.


Three Brilliant Publishers Doing Things Differently

A Digital Book World Article

The encouraging thing is that despite predictions of doom and gloom, the publishing industry is far from lifeless. Publishers are still pushing boundaries, spotting gaps and taking risks. The industry is keeping itself on its toes, and that bodes well for the future.


Writing about cops? Changes in police training –  a Law and Fiction Blog by Leslie Budewitz

These articles on the changes in police training are several months old, but still very interesting, exploring the changes introduced in Washington State by the new director of the Criminal Justice Training Academy, former King County (Seattle and environs) Sheriff Sue Rahr.


Amazon Link Anatomy: What You Don’t Know Might Be Killing Your Reviews

Amazon URLs can be confusing.  Sometimes they are super short and other times they are three lines long.  So, what exactly is all that stuff in between?


Emotional Peaks: How to Make Sure They’re in Your Scenes and Chapters

When you read a great story, you don’t even notice how you’re engaged.  You just are–right?  But skillful writers plant a rhythm into their writing.  Like breathing, there are peaks and valleys of emotion and tension through all great scenes, chapters, even whole books.

Well that is it for this week.  I took these links from places I visited through social media and email.  I hope they are helpful and entertaining.

Don’t touch anything sharp.








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I WOULD have been as great as George Eliot

Photo from McKendree Yearbook

Spoon River Anthology Cast

I pulled up my files on my anthology project I call the Spoon River of Houses. It is modeled after Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, something I would never have discovered if not for George Lightcap.

Thank You George.

I was in the McKendree College Production of Spoon River. So, doing what many authors do best, I left my WIP to look back to the source of my inspiration.

This excerpt was among my favorites and at the time I had no idea I’d actually turn into a Writer. But I did know who George Eliot was… In the production I had five roles, one of them was the photographer, Penniwit, I made the photograph of Margaret Fuller Slack.


Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

47. Margaret Fuller Slack

I WOULD have been as great as George Eliot
But for an untoward fate.
For look at the photograph of me made by Penniwit,
Chin resting on hand, and deep-set eyes—
Gray, too, and far-searching. 5
But there was the old, old problem:
Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity?
Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me,
Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel,
And I married him, giving birth to eight children, 10
And had no time to write.
It was all over with me, anyway,
When I ran the needle in my hand
While washing the baby’s things,
And died from lock-jaw, an ironical death. 15
Hear me, ambitious souls,
Sex is the curse of life!

I should get back to editing.  Thanks for dropping by and don’t touch anything sharp.

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Fiction Friday – Cannibal Prompt

Fiction Friday a Writing Prompt

I am using a Prompt from A Year of Writing Prompts 365 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block by Brian A. Klems and Zachary Petit.  This is a Writer’s Digest book well worth $7.99.

clipart stew pot
Fiction Friday – Cannibal Prompt

From the e-book January 29 entry –

Fine Young Cannibals

You have been captured by cannibals. How do you convince them not to eat you? If that fails how do you attempt to get away?

(I only use one cannibal in my entry)

An ancient woman is stoking a fire in her hearth. She comes back to the counter and begins chopping root vegetables. “How much to you think you weigh, sweetie?”

“You aren’t thinking what I think you’re thinking?”

The old woman plunks a heavy iron pot up on the counter. “You look a bit scrawny, that’s okay though.”

“I am, really, you should try that hen I saw out in the side yard. If you un-truss me, I’ll go get it for you. I’ll even lop her head off with that ax.”

“Nah, I am in the mood for the other ‘white meat.’”

“Then I think in the interest of full self-disclosure I am not just scrawny, I am bitter. Really, I am a mean evil, bitter, bitter woman. You don’t want to eat me.”

“Bitter, you say. What kind of bitter?”

“My husband dumped me for a newer model, a real freaking model, blonde, vapid.”

“Go on.”

“My boss said I was out of date, he promoted a kid with pimples to be my supervisor.”


“I was out for an afternoon hobble when you offered me tea and cookies. When I came inside you knocked me silly, trussed me up and now it looks like I’m going to be the main entrée at a dinner for one.”

The woman snatched up the knife she’d put down while I was pleading my case. She leaned over me.

“That’s it girlie, I’m cutting you lose.”

“What? Why?”
“Just go, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

I almost ran back to my apartment. Sure I wasn’t dinner tonight, but now I know I am not even good enough to eat. There should be some comfort in this ending but all I want to do tonight is marinate in a bottle of red wine.

Then End…

Don’t touch anything sharp.

All Fiction Friday Posts 

Go down to the comment box if you’d like to add your own response to today’s prompt.

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Writerly Round-Up

Cup of Pens ClipArtWriterly Round-Up 22 – 28 January 2016

During the week I tweet, share or post various writerly news that comes into my email, a book I am reading or through social media in general. This week I thought I’d collect my weekly highlights and share them in a single place. Welcome to my Writerly Round-Up.

What Memoirists Always Ask: How Much of My Story Can I
Tell without Hurting Others?


Mary Carroll Moore is a A former nationally syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Mary’s essays, short stories, articles, and poetry have appeared in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers around the U.S. and have won awards with the McKnight Awards for Creative Prose, Glimmer Train Press, the Loft Mentor Series, and other writing competitions.

Shelfari is Merging with Goodreads

Shelfari is Merging with Goodreads & LibraryThing is making this offer to current Shelfari users.


Import your Shelfari library and get a free LibraryThing account.

We’ve seen a number of Shelfarians becoming more active on LT recently, and we’re happy to have you! You might find some of your old friends over in the Shelfarians on LibraryThing group, created and managed by your fellows.

In Savvy Authors News

Letting Your Characters Write Their Own Story by Georgia Woods


Georgia Woods was born and raised a Southern girl, and still loves the South with its history and tradition and manners. She loves Southern cooking, playing pool, boiled peanuts, fishing and hunting, fast cars, and slow dancing barefoot in the dark. She lives with her ex-military husband, who is her best friend and the love of her life even if he is one of those grumpy alpha types.

Owner, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Taliesin Publishing, Georgia has been a leader in the eBook industry for nine years, guiding and encouraging up and coming romance writers.

I Renewed Two of my Domain Names and Shamelessly plugged my Host A Small Orange


A Small Orange is not your average web hosting company. We don’t believe in offering you “unlimited plans” that actually require costly upgrades in order to meet your expectations and requirements. We believe that you should only pay for the resources that you need, period.

The Write Life posted The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2016


No matter what you want to accomplish in 2016, we’re sure you’ll find quality inspiration and resources.

Writer’s Digest University

Writing the Memoir 101

You’ll take a look at personal memoirs as well as memoir writing prompts and tips. Learn how to write a powerful memoir that will engage readers for years to come.

From Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz.

Using Google’s Keyword Planner


Research the keywords readers will use to find your book online. Make sure they’re in your book’s description.


The Writer’s Chatroom


The Chatroom is open ONLY for scheduled chats. Sunday guest/topic chats start at 7 pm ET (New York time). Wednesday open chats start at 8 pm ET.

We’re so much more than a mere chatroom.  We’re a vibrant group of writers whose work spans all genres, who join together to encourage one another and to share important information regarding the profession of writing.


This is the end of my Writerly Round-Up.  Please check out the rest of my site. Share this post. Contact me if you’d like to be a Writerly Wednesday Guest.  Stalk Me.  Friend/Follow me on FaceBook, Follow me on Twitter @sallychristie, contact me at sally@sallyfranklinchristie if you see a link I should share.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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If I Had a Drill

empty speech bubbleThe following is a slightly enhanced conversation with my DH.

“Dude, what ya lookin’ for?”

DH rummaging and walking around in spiraling circles says, “I had a 400-piece drill set and I can’t find it. You don’t think someone came into the breezeway and took it?”

“I didn’t know you had a drill set. When did that happen?”

“I won it, a few months ago.”

“You won a 400-piece drill set and didn’t tell me? Where did you win a drill set?”

“I put in on a raffle down at Dotty’s.”

“You were gambling? Two months ago?”

“Well, it was a raffle. Yes,” he looked at my feet, “I was droppin’ a few quarters.”

“I can’t even look at you straight on. What were you going to drill?”

“Found it. I feel silly, it was right there.”

My DH gets beady eyed over using a hammer and now that the drill bits had been recovered the conversation went into question and answer period. Ask my daughter, I can drive a person into the shallow end with my questions.

“What are you going to drill? Do we even have a drill?”Clipart of a Drill

“Yes, we have a drill I bought one the year of the hail storm when I had to scuff the paint off the windows to repaint.”

“Okay, I remember that. What are you planning to do?”

“Nothing. But I could turn our house into Swiss cheese with all of these bits.”

I thought we were finished when in he comes with a huge box of drill bits. It does indeed contain 400 bits.

“We can, to quote Sarah Palin,”Drill baby Drill.””

He let me take a photo of the label and missed or ignored my Sarah Palin impersonation.

There are bits that turn all kinds of screws.

doorknobThere are some bits that make the big holes for doorknobs.

“Let’s put a doorknob through the floor. People could come over, try to turn it.. contemplate what might have been going through our minds when we put it in.”

“No, we are not going to put a doorknob in the hardwood floor.”

“You know that song, If I Had a Hammer? We can do that, only with If I Had a Drill.”

DH does not want to do this either.

“You can’t have a drill set this huge and not use it. It is wrong. I want to drill. Nik works at a lumber yard, when he comes to pick up Jeepers I can ask him to bring us something to drill.”

DH doesn’t comment on this idea either. Maybe, he doesn’t ‘get’ me.

Cross Section Fracking Rig“We can drill for water, drill for oil, drill for the sake of having a drill.”

No reply.

“We could try fracking.”

I realized at this point my audience was in another room watching tv.

What would you do with a 400-piece drill set?


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Hello World – Sally is in the Building!

A Sign Saying I'm BackI’m back.

I have renewed my Domains for Writerly Wednesday and Fiction Friday. I have my virus protection up-to-date and may be starting a job with another publisher, soon.

What? Someone asked where I have been?

No one would believe the stranger than fiction story behind my quiet spell. Let’s just say that when I am in a persistent vegetative state, a journal will surface.

I am going to put out a call for Writerly Wednesday Submissions and get back into my Fiction Friday Posts. I am even thinking about putting a toe into self-publishing my Spoon River of Houses anthology.

A few people have suggested I try my hand at some Writerly Workshops.

Hello World Name Tag

So, Hello World – Sally is in the Building!


If you have been a previous guest at Writerly Wednesday you are welcome to come back.  If you have a new book fiction, non-fiction or creative non-fiction that has a buy link, go ahead and shoot me an email. Full Info is here.. 

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“it is the process of learning about him that interests us”

The Art & Craft of Novel WritingOakley Hall says in The Art and Craft of Novel Writing (July, 1994)

“A character must be produced on the page, whole and alive, his breath congealing on the air. It is not necessary that we know instantly what he is, for it is the process of learning about him that interests us. As in the representation of any living reality, characterization is rooted in detail. It is the trifles and what they imply or reveal that create the living entity.”

From The Weekend Novelist (1994) page 30

If you are priming your creativity for Nano-ing the passage above should be helpful.

I call any preparation for writing – composting. I compost while I am filling a water bottle. I compost when I’m counting baby chicks. I compost just before falling asleep and just as I awaken and question the clock about the true time.

I like thinking about my characters.

During NaNo while we have permission to write by the seat of our pants we are learning about our characters on the fly.

Remember, as you second guess yourself and want so badly to hit delete and you are questioning every word you set down remember what Oakley Hall said about character… “it is the process of learning about him that interests us.”

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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Pre-NaNoWriMo Inpiration from Robert J. Ray

It is that NaNo Time of Year Again.

Coming up on my first NaNo in 2007 I was very, very, unsure of myself.

What if I say I’m going to do this and I don’t make it through the first week?  What if everyone I know finds out I am a huge failure.  I hesitated to even say I was thinking about it.  But, I went ahead and set up an account login at  And on 7 November 2010 that novel, If I Should Die, was published.

The Weekend Novelist Yellow Tattered BookPre-NaNoWriMo Inpiration from Robert J. Ray

The Weekend Novelist

January 1994 Edition (Yellow Cover)

“As a novelist, you probe the lives of people around you – parents, family, friends, co-workers – searching for motives. And when you find the right motive, the perfect pitch of a motive, it makes your character hum.  A character that hums at a high enough pitch will drive your whole novel.”

Page 24

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Narrator Becky Parker

This week at Writerly Wednesday I’d like to welcome my very first narrator guest.  Welcome Becky Parker, narrator of I Left My Brains in Francisco by Karina Fabian.   There are two Zombie Quizes included in this Interview – when you click on them you will be taken to youTube.  Other links will take you to the Amazon Audible Pages.


Becky Parker Geist Bio Photo

Becky Parker Geist

Becky Parker Geist (performance name: Becky Parker)

Becky Parker Geist is the founder and owner of Pro Audio Voices, serving clients internationally as a go-to place for exceptional voiceover for audiobooks, advertising and animation.

After receiving her M.F.A. in Acting in 1981, Becky began narrating Talking Books for the Blind through the Library of Congress, narrating over 70 titles in two years, and quickly became one of their most popular narrators. As a professional stage actress, she has toured internationally (England and U.S.) and on the east and west U.S. coasts. She performs a wide range of voiceover
work, but has a particular love for creating audiobooks with sound effects – the more theatrical the better! Becky brings her broad range of theatre skills –acting, directing, producing, marketing – to bear in all her voiceover and production work.

Committed to leadership and building strong, long-term relationships, Becky serves as President
of BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) and is a member of IBPA
(Independent Book Publishers Assn), APA (Audio Publishers Assn), and TBA (Theatre Bay

Becky is married to classical composer John Geist and has 3 adult daughters: Elise, Jes and
Jerrilee. As of 2015, Becky can truly say she is bi-coastal, going back and forth between New
York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been having a blast working Off Broadway
in NY for the past few years and has been a professional stage actor in the Bay Area since 1985.


  1. You are the Voice of the Neeta Lyfee Series. You are also my first interview with a narrator, voice over artist.  Your signature file says – Pro Audio Voices is a San Francisco Bay Area based company serving clients internationally as a go-to place for exceptional voiceover services for Audiobooks, Animation, and Advertising, with an emphasis on those with uplifting and inspiring stories and messages.  Can you tell us some of the steps involved in bringing the Neeta Lyffe Series to life?

In terms of the production process, first I read the manuscript – at least far enough to get a solid feel for the characters and story. Then I start recording. During the recording process, there are things I’ll check with Karina about, such as pronunciations of unusual names, words for which there could be multiple ways of pronouncing them, or words/names for which my online research comes up empty. I typically record a chapter then edit it, then send it on to Karina and Kim for corrections or final approval.

Audio editing involves listening to my recording with my director/editor ‘ears’ on. I’m listening for things like slurring, external sounds, content emphases that might be off, mis-reads or inverted word orders. I’m a believer in reading every word as written – word perfect – because I assume the writer and the text editor have already worked through the process to find the best expression.

Mixing – getting the right balance of sound levels between the narrative voice and the sounds/music – is really important to get right or else the sounds become a distraction instead of an enhancement. It’s all about the story and bringing it to life in the imagination of the listener. That is always my primary goal. Give the listener the most engaging, enjoyable audiobook experience possible.

I also then master the audio file, which is the technical and creative act of balancing, equalizing and enhancing, the digital files so that the finished product will have attained the maximum quality and competitiveness in the open market, and will produce the highest quality master files for duplication on CDs, etc. With the Neeta Lyffe books, it takes longer to edit since I’m designing the soundscape and sourcing or creating sound effects and/or music and mixing those elements in – making sure the balance seems right – all before I send it for approval.

Neeta Lyffe Book One cover art

Neeta Lyffe Book One

Initially, we had made no plans for adding sound effects into the mix in Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator. Sound effects, I believe, should only be added when they truly enhance the listening experience. There were moments in this first book in the series, when music was playing in Neeta’s mind, and when the characters were on a radio show and the story just started calling out to me for sound effects. I checked in with Kim at Damnation Books and with Karina to see how they felt about adding sound effects. They were both really excited about my proposal and that decision has made a big difference in the audiobook series. Only a very small percentage of audiobooks are fully produced with sound effects – and certainly sound effects are not appropriate for every book – but I think they really add to the fun of the Neeta Lyffe series.

I Left My Brains in SF cover art

I Left My Brains in SF

In Book 2, I Left my Brains in San Francisco, Karina had several references to a fictional song that is important to the plot – I won’t reveal how or why – no spoilers here! There’s a scene in which the song is playing, and I realized, “I need that song.” So I created it. It took a lot of time and work but it was fun and the team was really happy with it. In the audiobook you never get to hear the whole thing, so we’re giving it as a bonus download from my site in the audiobook (free code is in the closing credits).

Sometimes there are corrections that come back such as a pronunciation or the emotional tone of a line of dialogue. I make those corrections and send them back to be checked again. Then, once all the audio files are given the thumbs up, I upload them to ACX and we submit them for approval. Once it’s approved, the audiobook is launched! The primary distribution channels are Audible and iTunes.

Zombie Quiz #1

  1. You have also put together other promotional items for the newest Audio Book in the series, I Left My Brains in San Francisco. Can you tell us a bit about what goes into making Zombie Quizes? 

One of the voiceover products I offer through Pro Audio Voices is the creation of whiteboard animations. I use VideoScribe software package to make them (or work with other video professionals depending on the project needs). As with any kind of presentation or performance, producing a video first means thinking through the whole piece, what the intent is, how it will be used, how we want it to feel, and what response we hope for. Next is figuring out the text – and I turned to Karina for some of what I used, but also wrote some of my own questions that I thought fit the books. Then I gather the images. In this case Karina sent me the zombie hand – which was perfect! After that I record the audio, and this requires a bit of tricky timing to make it all work out right, because of the limitations of the software. Then I adjust the timings of the writing and between slides and such.

What we hope for with the animation videos is to get folks to play with us. We ultimately want people to know about the audiobooks, obviously, and hope they’ll decide to listen to the series. There’s a free audiobook offer on my website ( when you subscribe to Audible and it’s great when folks use that freebie to get the Neeta Lyffe books. Again, the videos are a fun way to get our potential audience to play with us.

  1. What does your work area include? We know a writer has her software, her notebooks, pens, white boards, ocean side view, what does an Audio Artist have in her creative space?

My studio includes my microphone with pop screen (to cut the pop of air as in plosives like ‘p’), an audio interface (I use a Steinberg UR44) that connects my mic to my computer software, my Mac laptop with the Digital Performer DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, which is the audio software), and my iPad (to read from, so there are no noisy page turns as in a print book). I have a booth with soundproofing foam both to keep out external noise and to cut that ‘empty room’ rebound sound you get in a typical room. I have a notebook that I make notes about things like length of each audio track, settings from mastering the audio files, character and voice notes, pronunciations, etc. I also use my Mac for research for pronunciations, sending audio files, working on my website, etc. In and out of the studio, I use a small digital audio recorder to collect sound effects.

Many of the clips in my ever-growing collection of sound effects I created myself. Sometimes I’ll hear a sound and think I might be able to use that, so I’ll pull out my audio recorder that I carry around with me everywhere. These can be common sounds or really unusual ones, but sound collecting (this is also called “foley”) provides me with options when I’m looking for the perfect sound for an audiobook.  For other sound effects that I don’t have easy access to, I’ll often find what I need on, a crowd sourced sound effects database. I’m very grateful to my fellow foley artists around the world.

Zombie Quiz #2

  1. What other things do you do that writers should know about?

I am really committing to helping authors succeed and do ongoing marketing of the completed audiobooks. That’s rare for audiobook producers. Most producers just produce the audio and move on. I consider the relationship I have with each author and title one that deserves ongoing attention. And I have very committed to helping authors succeed, as evidenced by my service as President of Bay Area Independent Publishers Assn.

The other big thing I’d like writers to know is that as an actor, my job is to bring these characters and this story to life in the mind of the listener. There’s a fine balance of narrative and dialogue that a lot of narrators miss, in my opinion. If the narrator is not feeling the character’s emotions on some level, and/or does not know how to effectively express them, then I think they are missing the boat and causing the listener to miss it as well. Narrating a story is a bit like weaving a tapestry, balancing the dialogue and the scene enactment with the narrative voice.

When I add in sound effects, it’s like adding another color to the woof (the thread weaving in and out of the warp) and how it enters and exits and shows up in the tapestry all should feel organic. The editing and mixing is with the ear of director-producer – a very different role from that of the actor. When I’m editing, I’m also directing, and sometimes find sentences or segments I choose to re-record because I know I can do them better. It’s WAY more than just saying the right words in a ‘nice’ voice. It’s more like producing and performing a one-woman show for an audience of listeners who will each experience it as a private performance.

  1. When did you know Audio work was what you wanted to do?

That’s an interesting question and makes me look back to my very first recording work. When I was in third grade my best friend and I used a reel-to-reel recorder to make our own “radio show.” We spent several weeks (maybe months) on it, and it was great fun. So I was primed from an early age. But as an adult I knew after I graduated for U of Illinois with my MFA in Acting and got my first job: recording audio books for Talking Books for the Blind through Library of Congress. Loved it! And I became one of the listeners’ most popular readers, which led to being hired full time as one of only 2 full-time staff narrators.

  1. For anyone thinking about having their work converted to Audio, what is the first thing they should do?

Well, I think the simplest thing is to contact me at Pro Audio Voices to talk it over and get their questions answered. If they have not yet been selling many books in their other formats (print, ebook), then I’d recommend focus on marketing and start building a following first. An audiobook edition will certainly help with sales of all editions, but marketing has to happen if an author is to sell any editions. There are other advantages, though, to jumping right in. One of the things I do in that first conversation is ask about the author’s goals. Are they hoping to: create another income stream from the same content (always a good idea), increase cross-sales of other editions (that works), build another business or speaking career (for example, a book about financial planning to serve and draw in clients; or demonstrating expertise for a speaker on multiple marriages), or what else do they want to achieve? This helps me give better advice to help them meet those goals.

They could also go to and try to sort through the labyrinth to figure it out themselves. But there is no real guide available there, so most authors I’ve talked to find that just overwhelming and confusing.

Authors should also know there are some genres that don’t get as much action in audiobooks. Fiction dominates, and within that highest selling genres are romances then mystery/thriller, so if you have one of those, get it into audio. But all genres are represented, so if you’re writing in a different genre or non-fiction, don’t be discouraged. Think about who your target market is and are they likely to be listening to audiobooks. I can help you sort through these questions. And I have occasionally recommended to an author not produce an audiobook when I thought her/his book was not ready for that step. There are a lot of factors to consider.

  1. Tell us about how you handle scenes with many different characters talking.

Dialogue is some of my favorite stuff. I consider it very important to differentiate the voices so the listener can tell who is speaking without getting confused. When they get confused, you’ve lost them, at least for a while. I use a wide range of voices and several techniques to alter my voice to create different sounds. For example, I can focus it more into my nose for a more nasal sound, drop it into my chest for those big heavy guys, add raspiness or breathiness, raise or lower the register. Sometimes I’ll talk more out of one side of my mouth or the other, or open the back of my throat more. Even just changing my face into a squint or scrunch can change the voice. It’s really fun.

But one of the challenges in a book with lots of characters is remembering who sounds like what and how I made that voice. Consistency. The toughest is when a minor character goes away and later suddenly turns up again. Occasionally I have to go back to listen to what I did before. I really appreciate it when authors provide me with a list of characters (those that speak) and a few key characteristics for each to help me give them each an appropriate voice. Characteristics might include things like size, age, distinct vocal sound, life attitude, where the character is from geographically.

I do want to emphasize again, though, that the most important thing that is happening in the dialogue is the scene and characters coming to life through great acting. The vocal differentiations are a part of the craft of acting – finding each character’s voice – and the art is in truthfully playing those characters. As a listener I am often disappointed with the limited range of narrators in scenes with multiple characters. I consider dressing each character in appropriate vocal ‘clothes’ an important and delightful part of creating an exceptional listening experience.

Thank You Becky and Thank You Karina for being my guest on Writerly Wednesday.




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I Left My Brains in San Francisco Audio Release is Live!

I Left My Brains Promo Art

I am keeping this post up because Karina’s Audio Book is Live..

Here is where you can buy your copy…  I Left My Brains in San Francisco. 

Come back Next Week to Visit With the Narrator of this Audible Release.  

Welcome to Writerly Wednesday.. this site has been quiet far too long.  I can’t think of a better way to reboot the activity of Writerly Wednesday than having Karina Fabian come back as a Guest.

I Left My Brains in San Francisco Audio Release

An Interview with Karina Fabian

  1. Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator and I Left My Brains in San Francisco released through Damnation Books and now both are available in audio format. Could you tell the story behind writing the first Neeta Lyffe Novel?

It all started with a mutual friend, Becca Butcher. When Kim wanted to launch Damnation Books with a zombie anthology, Becca nagged me to write a story. I don’t like zombies much. So I wrote a pun-filled story about a team of exterminators taking out a zombie infestation in a Korean restaurant. “Wokking Dead” was a big hit, as was the lead character Neeta Lyffe. People asked Kim when Neeta would get her own novel, and the series was born. It’s been a lot of fun. My zombies are far quirkier and more slapstick than most, and the political and social satire is very cathartic!

  1. What can you share with us about yourself? You are very busy and multi-talented. Does your mind ever go quiet?

No, it does not, and I always have several creative, marketing and writing guild irons in the fire. However, after this tour is done, I’m making a concerted effort to BACK OFF. I need to concentrate on family until the kids are out of the house. I have few precious years left with them.

  1. Tell us about your writing space. You favorite tools for writing, software, pen, paper, voice recorder, picture window? 

I have my own study, which features a black desk with a green backing that picks up the green in the Celtic dragon curtains. My two bookshelves are also black and green and crowded with books mostly about faith and writing or that were written by my friends. I have a desktop computer with two screens because I got spoiled on the two-screen set-up at work. On the wall next to the curtain is a big white board which has my life priorities in the form of a jar with rocks. The big rocks are the things I need to concentrate on. I also have in one corner of the board a 4-quadrant organization of goals and activities. I’m hoping this will help me keep more focused. I just started this method, though, so time will tell!

  1. Where can we stalk you?


  1. Many of us do not have a clue about the process involved in taking a novel from print to audio. Can you share a little bit of the behind the scenes experience?

In a nutshell:

  • My publisher says, “I want to make an audiobook and I’m hiring an award-winning narrator to do it.”
  • I do the happy dance.
  • Becky (said award-winning publisher) calls me and we chat about voices.
  • I do more happy dancing because this is going to be so freaking awesome!
  • Becky starts the narration. She writes to ask about voices or words or to point out typos and make sure they are typos. (I cringe here.) She sends me the chapters to listen to, to critique.
  • I spend many hours marveling at my own words coming back at me in a different way. It is amazing how a different reader can change even the tone of a scene. It’s a whole new novel in some ways.
  • I happy dance because it is still freaking awesome.
  • The publisher takes care of the production, cover, loading on audible.
  • I recruit Becky for a book tour and we have a ton of fun with interviews, making videos and she even turned my TREE song into a real tune.
  • People buy the audiobook and post reviews saying how freaking awesome it is. (OK, guys – that’s your role!)
  1. Does Neeta ever touch anything sharp?

Only when taking out a zombie is involved. In fact, I thought of you when I wrote the opening line of the third book, Shambling in a Winter Wonderland: Neeta’s mother had told her the only time she should run with scissors was when a zombie was involved. Neeta wondered what her mother would have said about surfing with a katana.

I am keeping this post up because Karina’s Audio Book is Live..

Here is where you can buy your copy…  I Left My Brains in San Francisco. 

Come back Next Week to Visit With the Narrator of this Audible Release.  

Cover art for Neeta Lyffe

Neeta Lyffe

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator  is available at Amazon in Trade Paperback, Kindle and Audible Formats

By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become and international problem. While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator. When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer’s back porch, she needs money, fast. So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a game of tag. But that’s nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi. Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity?

I Left My Brains Cover ArtI Left My Brains in San Francisco (Neeta Lyffe Book 2) is available at Amazon as Trade Paperback, Kindle and Now as Audible Format.

Sequel to Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator

Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator—but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.

Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

I am keeping this post up because Karina’s Audio Book is Live..

Here is where you can buy your copy…  I Left My Brains in San Francisco. 

Come back Next Week to Visit With the Narrator of this Audible Release.  

Stalk Karina at …


Thank You Karina for letting me have you as a guest, again.

Come back on 21 October when Becky Parker Geist, the narrator of both of Karina’s books, submits to an interview!

I am keeping this post up because Karina’s Audio Book is Live..

Here is where you can buy your copy…  I Left My Brains in San Francisco. 

Come back Next Week to Visit With the Narrator of this Audible Release.  



Filed under Writerly Wednesdays

On a Clear Day

On a Clear Day we cannot see forever, but what we do see is awesome.

We have had some socked in days during the last few weeks.   Smoke comes in.  Smoke goes away.  Smoke comes back..

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

The following pictures were taken recently.  The very green one at the start is from a few months ago.  The rest began as smoke was leaving the valley and this morning when I ventured out to find the sun.


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Thank You Heather McPherson for Doing it So Well



“…Our car felt like an oversize costume we had to wear; we were trapped inside and the eyeholes didn’t match up.”

To Save a Life by Heather McPherson

ESOPUS 22:  MEDICINE (Spring 2015)




Sometimes, someone writes something so vivid, so right or so wrong, that I want to reach into the book and render help to the character on the page.

Thank you Tod Lippy and all of the people at ESOPUS and thank you Heather McPherson for doing it so well.


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Havan You are Released

A photo of Havan, a black lab..

Successor Service Dog from Canine Companions for Independence

Havan could give money to a clerk and come back to me with the change.

She could pick up a dime from the floor.

Havan could heel, side, front, back.. she could jump, sit and carry weights for me at the gym.

She knew under, up, car, out and stay.

She liked to do prolonged down-stays in front of the treadmill.

Havan could also turn our lights on and off even though our wiring is up-side-down.  (Up is Off/down is On)

Havan CCI NW '07

🙂 Havan – Trying to be Spunky – 🙂

She hated baths.HavanBathDay3.jpg

She was my extra cane.  She carried the laundry bucket.

She could pull my wheelchair.

Havan could also open doors by tagging the handicap button with her paws or nose.

She opened my fridge door and pulled my front door closed behind me.

  Tis the Season

Tis the Season

We were matched as a Team in February 2007

Havan could do a total of 44 commands.

There was a command we used that turned her into a regular dog.  A command that said she was free to just ‘hang out.’

On her last day, overtaken by a tumor  in her lung, I wept and gave her that last command.. “Havan, you are released.”

Havan, You are Released

January 2, 2005 – April 24, 2015

 For more information about Service Dogs and CCI go to


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In Memory of Emma and Sadness for Havan

a cat protecting the keyboard

We Call her Emma

Emma Lee came to live with us the first weekend of December in 1996.  In the first weeks  we moved to our Forever Home she was assaulted by Magpies.  That was in 1997.  As time passed she brought us birds and mice as offerings.  Some she’d go ahead and eat after our appraisal, others we had to dispose of ourselves.

Once, she caught one of our pet mice.  She didn’t eat it.  She left it on the floor in front of the computer.

As time passed, 8 years, 10 years, 15 years, we wondered at her continued life.  She was a spewy cat and loved to mark any laundry that lay about.

About 3 years ago she stopped catching mice and birds and last year lost all interest.

It became a daily remark, each morning as I fed the dog and she begged for her share, I’d say aloud, “Emmy, you’re still alive.”

She was turning 19 this year.

On April 2nd she crossed over to chase birds and mice on the other side.  We buried Dear Emma beneath the yellow rose bush where she used to stalk birds and mice.

In Memory of Emma and Sadness for Havan

Havan and Emma

Havan and Emma

Havan and I walking at MSU

Havan and I walking at MSU

We had a vet appointment with Havan, my Successor Service Dog from CCI.

Havan is 10, a black lab, trained to do several tasks to help me with my physical limitations.  We were paired as a team in February 2007.

It was on the day of Emma’s passing that we learned of Havan’s lung cancer.  These are her end days and each one is a blessing.  Each wag of her tail is a gift.

Havan has always snored.  When she went in to have some tumors removed from her belly and a lipoma taken from her side, the vet listened for this snoring and of course she didn’t show it off.

Late December she began to cough and her shots were due so we took her to the vet.  She would not cough no matter what the vet did that day, so we went home.  I changed her food, hoping that would help.

On Thursday the 2nd, we took her back and had an x-ray.  We also managed to get her to cough for the doctor.  That is when we discovered a rather large tumor in her lung.

She is on a cough med that actually works pretty well.  She is able to sleep, now.  But she is not into food.  Any of you who have had a lab in their lives will tell you this is not a good sign.

I have been in a really sad place of grief since then, unable to share much about it.  Today, I have finally gathered myself enough to honor both of the four footed creatures in my life.


Filed under Sally Heavy

If I Should Die & Milk Carton People on Sale 50% Off

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People are  available in formats to suit your favorite e-reader.

Cover Image for If I Should DIeAbout the book:
Murder, embezzlement, betrayal, and silence…

Peyton Farley, a southwest Montana newspaper researcher, awakens to find a man bleeding to death on her kitchen floor. The stranger draws one last gurgling breath. As Peyton awaits the arrival of the first responders, the man’s body disappears. Local authorities accuse Peyton of murder. No sooner is she released from custody on charges of murder and illegal disposal of a body, when she is abducted by a cab driver named Tater. If I Should Die is a nonstop page-turner involving murder, embezzlement, and the ultimate betrayal.

If I Should Die & Milk Carton People on Sale 50% Off

If I Should Die & Milk Carton People on Sale 50% Off

Get 50% off all Titles use code 61NF17DV2LEX at checkout.

Cover art for Milk Carton People

About the book:
Caught Between the Quick and the Dead.

Milk Carton People is a paranormal thriller about people who suddenly find themselves invisible, able to observe things but unable to participate. Do they go mad? Maybe they find others. It is quite possible that there is no point in being invisible. This is a book that plays on the very thin line of sanity and pure despair. The characters act and react to the new challenges and the reader gets to go along for the ride.

Thanks for Visiting My Blog

Friend Me at Facebook Sally Franklin Christe

Like me at Life is a Story 

Follow me at Twitter @sallychristie

Don’t touch anything sharp!

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Woe is My Blog

clipart image of a man at a computer

You Were WRONG!

Who says everything online stays online, forever?

I’m waiting.

I was trying to complete a WordPress Update that had gone wrong.

After attempting the update to 4.11 and loosing my Live Preview/Customize option I resorted to self-help.  Not quite the self-help that happened on The Walking Dead but …

I messed things up so horribly that for awhile I couldn’t even log into this blog and the index page appeared in Lorem Ipsum.  Lorem is the Natural State of all websites in template form.  It is also a very cool site for designing websites.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Woe is My Blog

I have my site hosted through A Small Orange.

Logo for ASO

A Small Orange

A Small Orange is not your average web hosting company. We don’t believe in offering you “unlimited plans” that actually require costly upgrades in order to meet your expectations and requirements. We believe that you should only pay for the resources that you need, period.

I have to say that A Small Orange has the BEST Customer Service.  They are patient, kind and never let on that Mrs. Christie is making them do the eye roll.

As a result of my mishap it appears I have lost my posts from September 2014 forward.  Since I have posts dating back to 2009 I suppose this is not as catastrophic as it feels.

If you have been a recent or past Writerly Wednesday Guest and cannot see your post I will try to recover any not online text files I may have saved and I’ll try to restore your wonderful Bios, Blurbs and Excerpts.

Don’t touch anything sharp and Self Help is not always the best way to solve update issues.



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Submission Packet?

Submission Packet ..  What is it  and why should you be working on it?

blue file folder clipart

Submission Packet

A submission packet is a group of files you’ll be glad you took the time to do.

A Submission Packet includes the following –


• A Query Letter
• You will want to include 2 synopsis files.

A Synopsis of about 1600 words
A Longer Synopsis of about 800 words

• Sample Chapters (1-3) or 50 pages
• A Cover Letter



You may want to write your synopsis first.

A synopsis is your novel’s plot told though one character’s eyes. This should be presented in the present tense and in 3rd person.

It does not matter that your novel has been written in first person past tense or that you have many plotlines and character viewpoints.

Choose the Main Plot and the Best Character to tell the story.

Start the synopsis with a hook, a first main event. Include the most important plot elements. Stick to the important points. Tell how the story ends.

Write the first Synopsis using about 1600 words. Then rewrite it cutting the word count by half.

This will give you a long and short synopsis.

Query Letter

After you have tucked the Synopsis files away in an easy to find folder, start your query letter.

A Query Letter can be distilled into a Hello I have this – are you interested?

Use the information you just finished up writing in your synopsis.

Think about the first part of the query letter as a blurb.

Read the blurbs for the books you find online. Go to a bookstore if you still have one nearby and read the book jackets.

A query letter is not a synopsis and needs to be kept to a single page.

Cover Letter

Your cover letter is one you will send while buzzed about the reply to your query. The Editor or Agent wants to see your work. You will be glad you have this one ready to go.

You’ll want to follow the guidelines to the letter. You should begin by indicating someone asked for your sample chapters or full on manuscript. You will know who to address so use that name and address.

A cover letter ‘covers’ your submission.

It doesn’t need to be epic long.

With the Synopsis, Query Letter and Cover Letter you’ll want to have three chapters or the first 50 pages ready.  The whole manuscript is very important as well.  The Manuscript is the Product you offered to the submissions officer and if you are a new author you should darn well have this final revision ready and waiting.

The there are more odds and ends you should be ready for.. with your submission packet ready and waiting it won’t be such a head spin when the other pesky things come your way.

There will be a contact to sign and more forms to fill out.

Maybe you already sent your sample chapters with the query letter because the guidelines asked for it or maybe you will be sending chapters with the cover letter. But with the cover letter, most of the time, you will be sending the full manuscript.

In any event, somewhere along the line you’ll find yourself answering questions you never saw coming. Take your time and answer them fully because it helps the cover artist, publisher and your assigned editor.

There will be formatting issues to address. These guidelines will probably come with the request for the whole manuscript. Sometimes these can be very hard to follow, especially if your word processor is different than the publisher uses.

You will be one step ahead and able to relax and enjoy the ride if you have most of this prep work done ahead of time.


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Filed under Writerly Wednesdays

I Saw What You Did Last Spring

Potatoes al la Doris graphic of potatoes

Potatoes al la Doris

“I’m pleased to be here, today.

I’m a little nervous.

We are gathered here, today, to dedicate this garden to the Hirsham Community.”

Papers rustle to the ground.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this.. I can’t.” Pepper’s hands tremble. She pauses and begins to recite the email she received just before appearing in front of the best gardeners in the community.


The letter won’t leave her mind.  She sees the words hanging over the group.  Thinking is impossible.

“Dear Pepper;
I saw what you did last spring.
You thought no one would ever find you out.”

Pepper can’t stop talking.  She is saying the words hanging over the gardener’s bright hats and tries to stop, talking, reading.

“What you didn’t know, was that I’d been there before you. I saw what was hidden at the back of the shed. Back behind the rake and hoe.

At this point it is becoming obvious to everyone there that something is terribly wrong. Some folks are looking around at each other as if to confirm the unfolding event. 

“When I first saw it, I thought it was an animal. Dead, but an animal. Brown, tangled. Dried leaves stuck in there.
Then I thought it was an old wig. What it was doing stuffed behind the garden tools, I couldn’t guess. But it wasn’t a wig.
When I nudged it away from the wall, it tumbled to face me with a hideous broken toothed grin.”

Now the crowd has gone completely silent.

“It was the gold rimmed tooth that gave it away.
I always thought the gold made her look old, trashy, even.
But that’s no reason to lop off Doris’s head and sweep it into the corner like that.

A lady in the back row gasps and claps her hands to her chest.
Why didn’t you put it with the rest of her? You know. The dried up body you buried at the edge of the garden? Right there with the potatoes.”


New Plant and Spade

Garden Party

Pepper paused to look at the potato patch, not ready for harvest but growing quite well. A lot of heads followed her gaze.
She continued her recitation.
“How long did it take to dry her up, like that?
Where were you keeping her?
I knew something was up when I saw you bent and sweaty with a wheelbarrow at your side.
I know what you did last spring.
Always watching,


The crowd mumbles. Someone laughs. Mostly they’re gawking in stunned silence.
Pepper excuses herself and darts off toward her car.
Finally Mrs. Sims, the group organizer, steps up to the podium, crunching the dropped pages under her heels.

“Is Anita here?”


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Filed under Fiction Friday

5 Things Successful People Do.. a Writer’s Chatroom Topic

Grant Cardone Founder and CEO, Grant Cardone Sales Training provided the core of the things I’ve chosen for thisWriterly Wednesday Post. You Can find the original article here.. I have used the 1 – 5 headings word for word and put my personal thoughts below them.

Thank you Flo Stanton for providing this link.

This is going to be the topic at The Writer’s Chatroom, tonight, 20 August 2014 at 6PM MDT..

5 Things Successful People Do that Others Don’t

Are you stalled out in your writing life? Are you having trouble finding the time to write or promote or blog? Do you need something a little more serious than butt glue?

Let’s try some of these pointers from Grant Cardone about Successful People..

1. They Go to Work to Prosper, Not Just to Work

I know some of you are thinking that writing for the big payoff is similar to selling your body for grocery money. You need to take on the attitude .. “I’ll Write For Money.” “I’ll Write as if my Life Depends on It.”

If Writing has become a painful, drag yourself to the computer issue, then, maybe now isn’t the time for you. But then I’ve heard Dr. Phil say, “Fake it Till You Make it. Think .. When Harry Met Sally.

2. They Exercise Incredible Drive

Are you driven? If this is an issue for you then concentrate on this aspect of success.

Think Nike.. Just Do It.

Life is a Story – Tell it Big. Don’t let another day pass without doing something in your writing life.

Once, I can’t remember exactly what it was, I complained that I couldn’t do something.

My Darling Husband asked.. “When have you ever started something you really wanted and didn’t finish?”

3. They Never Make Excuses

Can’t Never Did Anything.

The parrot crapped all over my submission. Print a new copy.

I’ve already had 6 rejections. Rack up 60.

Don’t blame it on economy. Don’t blame it on the stuck up editors and publishers you are trying to approach.

Don’t say you don’t have time.

Anyone who can’t find time should visit with Karina Fabian.

Don’t get lost thinking someone else can do it better. Do your best and honor those who came before you by writing through the excuses.

4. They Focus on Their Goals Daily

I have never been able to plan into the future.

At Audrey’s Goal Setting Chats each year I tell myself, “This is the Year I will Set and Achieve Goals.”

Then I think, “Nevermind.”

I do have a task list, a small list of goals that I jot down in my DayTimer and I check them off as I finish. These goals are realistic for me and I tend to get them done.

I do not believe in multi-tasking.

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can do more than one thing at a time.

I recently saw a demonstration on Brain Games that validated my stand on multi-tasking.

Do one thing, one do-able thing.

Then move on to the next.

Checking off a bunch of small tasks will boost your ego.


Do it one day at a time.

Finally, Successful People –

5. They Are Willing to Fail

I and the author who wrote the original post, like to think of failure as a learning or teaching moment.

Remember the 6 rejection letters? Big deal, right? Maybe, you can tweak your submission letter. Maybe, you didn’t adhere to the guidelines. Maybe, it just isn’t the right market for you.

Be willing to collect a wall full of rejection letters. It is proof that you are a writer.

Don’t set your goals so big you are destined to fail. Don’t make excuses. Become excited about what you chose to do and write toward the big payoff. You define the payoff. Make it a goal you can reach and then get it done.

Thank you again, Flo Stanton for the topic and thank you Grant Cardone for writing the post I relied on when I wrote this post.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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Damnation Books Call for Submissions – Dark Erotica

Damnation Books Call for Submissions – Dark Erotica

Erin Lale, Submissions Officer for Damnation Books and Eternal Press has put out a call for Submissions of Dark Erotica for Damnation Books.

Please follow the guidelines found here please read them before placing your submission.

Sally Franklin Christie Marketing Manager Damnation Books/Eternal Press

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Filed under Uncategorized

Our Trip to Butte Montana for a CCI Team Check In

Our Trip to Butte Montana for a CCI Team Check In


Help is a Four-Legged Word


Help is a Four-Legged Word

I was matched with my first CCI dog, Lincoln III in May 1998.  Lincoln retired in 2007 and Havan and I were matched.

Because CCI doesn’t ‘match and run’ after a team graduates, Teams see a trainer at regular intervals.  We have our Public Access Certifications updated.  This keeps the Dog safe, the Team safe and the public safe.

Havan turned 9 this year.  She is doing fine, looks good, has good weight and shiny fur.  She did need her nails trimmed and the trainer clipped them for me.

Since this is a good time to get new ‘clothes’ we came home with a new ‘pull harness’ and ‘freedom leash’.

The trainer did notice Havan is showing signs of age in her back legs and hip area.  I did not notice.  We agreed she’d probably retire in the next year and half or two.  She’ll demand a gold watch and lost of tummy rubs.

On the way to Butte and on the way back we saw an eagle’s nest with two mature eagles.  We saw loads of scenery and took lots of pictures.

The ‘pull harness’ has changed so I will have to get used to walking with it.  I hang onto the strap as we walk and Havan stabilizes my my lack of balance.  I would include a photo of her, but darn it, I don’t have one with the new vest to put up here.

I did include a picture of the CCI Trainer’s Van on the way out of the parking lot.

If you’d like some information about CCI as a donor or to apply for a service or hearing dog, please go to

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What’s Up with Death Notifications Using Facebook or Text?

What’s Up with Death Notifications Using Facebook or Text?

When did it become standard for family members to text or Facebook the news of a death in the family?
cell phone graphic

The Call


I think it is beyond bad form that my mom received a simple text message when my sister died of lung cancer.

“Kathleen died.”

Yesterday, amid my Facebook posts was a message asking me to see if my mother received news that her brother died.

Of course I called this person out on it.  The among the replies that followed was this message…

“S–t happens then you die.” 


 if you have her number you can call her ! I don’t…”

Call me old fashioned but I think this is just wrong.  No matter how dysfunctional a family might be, no one deserves a bereavement message in e-format or text message.

If I knew Miss Manners I’d ask her to weigh in.  Maybe, I’ll look her up.

Okay, I did look her up.  Click on her name above if you are curious…


Filed under Sally Heavy

Purple Prose Throw Down

I just drank a whole lot of water and I’ll be moderating chat at the top of the hour.

So, before I have to run to the fluid exchange center or unlock the chat room doors, I thought I’d write a quick post.

I have to re-think my Writerly Wednesday Posts because instead of reaching my goal of helping authors help themselves by guesting I was ending up in a mess of Customer Service Complaints about links that didn’t get attached to covers and how the page didn’t display just right. It was a freely given guest spot.  I am not a professional page setter-upper…

Writerly Wednesday was supposed to be an opportunity for both the Guest and Hostess to increase his or her fan base.  You know, find new readers…

I was offering a service of sorts and for the most part I enjoyed it. So, until I can make Writerly Wednesday more of a two sided affair I am going to try posting whatever comes to mind.

To all of my Guests who behaved beautifully, thank you.

purpleNow, for this Wednesday’s Post…
Because I am moderating The Writer’s Chatroom, tonight let me challenge you, my kind readers, to copy and paste some of your Purple-est Prose.
That’s right, even if you can’t make it to the chat room – bring it on!
Serve up your most overwritten prose from the nearest file you have on your hard drive or from the ‘cloud.’ Since you are showing your worst, no one is going to judge.
I am Throwing Down the Gauntlet, whatever that means, and inviting you to post your worst.
This is the link to the chat room topic.

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Tipping my Hat to Audrey Shaffer at The Writer’s Chatroom

Hello Awesome Visitors!

I wear many hats in my day to day life.  And if I could get my clip art widget to work I’d insert a tiny row of bouncing hats.

Tipping my Hat to Audrey Shaffer at The Writer’s Chatroom…

Photo of Audrey Shaffer

Audrey Shaffer

A week or so back I was in The Writer’s Chatroom with Awesome Audrey Shaffer or Head Moderator, Webmistress and all around Extraordinary Person.

banging_headWe were talking about ways to gather information and I suggested putting a ‘form’ on The Writer’s Chatroom Site.   Audrey suggested a form would make more work because she’d be hit with more spam to delete.

I wanted to test the spam issue so I included a form right here on this blog site and discovered that next to going moderation free this form did fill my email with spam.  I haven’t seen so many fake names, emails and responses since my early days at blogdom.

For those of you who have never been to The Writer’s Chatroom we meet twice a week.

Our Sunday Guest Chat includes, you guessed it, a Guest.  The guest is usually a traditionally published author or authors who are insanely successful at self-publishing.  We always have an eye or ear out for Agent Guests or Publishers.

The Guest Chat happens on Sundays at the Chatroom at 7 PM ET.

On Wednesdays we have what we call Topic Chats and these are usually moderated by Audrey or myself.  The topics vary with a focus on all things Writerly.

The Topic Chats happen on Wednesday at 8PM ET.

Subscribe to get a regular Newsletter that shares info on upcoming topics and guests.

Visit the Forum.

Check out the Blog.

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Filed under Sally Light

Showcasing Novel’s Trailer – Milk Carton People

Showcasing Novel’s Trailer – Milk Carton People

Milk Carton People a Novel by Sally Franklin Christie

Good Thursday!

I am working with my WordPress Page..

Making a ‘video’ post and trying out some gadgetry.

I am also fishing for some information.  How did you arrive on this page?  Who are You?

I am not going to spam you and I would never sell your email or other information.  I’d rather sell my novels instead.

(Contact Form has been removed because of Spammers)

Thanks everyone for visiting.  I will be posting again soon!

Don’t touch anything Sharp!

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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May 22, 2014 · 1:27 pm

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Bob Nailor

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Bob Nailor who is Co-author of “Ancient Blood: The Amazon” and author of “Pangaea, Eden Lost,” “Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold” & “2012: Timeline Apocalypse” available now! Also a contributing author to “Mother Goose is Dead,” “The Complete Guide to Paranormal Novels” & “Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology” plus many other anthologies.

With all of Bob’s credits I am pleased he took the time to be a guest and even forgave me for getting this post up a week late.  Thank-you Bob.

  1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

Is there such as a thing as “favorite marketing task,” Sally? I guess I would have to say book signings since I get to interact with the reader, meeting them face to face. Most of the time it is fun.

  1.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

I decided to go “indie” because I wanted to make sure it got out in a timely manner. One of my books took almost 2 years to find a publisher.

  1.   What do you have under your bed?

Intriguing question. As the years have passed, what is ‘under the bed’ has changed. Originally it was toys, then it was my trainset. As I matured, there were the proverbial magazines that most young males collect and when I married, at first it was storage and now, in my later years, if you were look under my bed — uh, do make sure you don’t get too close when you lift the bed skirt – I don’t want you to get scratched or bitten. Some of those dust bunnies are notoriously mean.

  1.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
  2. 99% of the time I’m a plotter. I do outlines so I have a vague idea of where I want to be and where I should be going. BUT… if the story takes on its own life, then I have to follow where it wants to go and see what comes. In once incident I wrote five chapters before I got back on track with the outline. Strangely, it was some of the best stuff written, and that from a beta reader.
  3.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I wouldn’t call it a bubble but I do prefer to be alone when I’m writing. Just let me put on the headphones, crank up the tunes which is very eclectic from Mannheim Steamroller to Liza Minelli to Iron Butterfly to Imagine Dragons and everything in between.  I do have a group of friends who help me edit but that’s when I’m finished, for the most part.  Of course, when I’m writing with my co-author, well… actually, I write alone during that time, too.  Yup. A loner.

  1.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

Most of the time ideas come to me at the worst moment.  But I’ve learned to handle that and always have a notepad or blank sheet of paper and always have a pen to write down any ideas or thoughts that come up. Before Smart Phones, I always carried a small cassette recorder in my car so I could dictate ideas or storylines.  Worst moment?  Let’s just say I used toliet paper to jot down the idea.

  1.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

Right now I use Word for writing but I’ve been playing with Scrivener to test it out.  As stated above, I never go anywhere without pen and paper.


Photo of Bob Nailor

Bob Nailor

Bob Nailor is an author in several books that span many different genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror and more. He lives in a ranch home nestled on a quaint wooded acre in NW Ohio. He and his wife have four sons and eight grandchildren. Bob enjoys traveling in his RV which allows him to absorb the ambiance of different locales for his stories. When not traveling, he can be found gardening during the summer and in the winter, snuggled in the warmth of his home, watching the snow and wildlife outside the windows. Although retired, Bob is constantly busy with speaking engagements, writing or editing.





52 Weeks of Writing Tips.

Cover Art 52 Weeks of Writing Tips by Bob Nailor

52 Weeks of Writing Tips by Bob Nailor

A collection of 52 writing tips and innovative suggestions to empower you and increase your writing prowess.

These tips will assist both the newbie and the expert — we all learn as we move forward and I am sharing secrets and how-to ideas I’ve discovered as I learned the craft. Topics cover multitutde of topics including editing, marketing, sales, characters, dialogsand much more.

Amazon Buy Link 

 (Because of my delay on getting this week’s post live I am offering to buy a copy of 52 Writing Tips for a random reader.  We’ll work out the ‘how’ later.  So, please leave a comment this week if you’d like your name to go into my virtual hat.) 



By Zombies

“That’s passive voice!” With that, my editor slash

Cover Art 52 Weeks of Writing Tips by Bob Nailor

52 Weeks of Writing Tips by Bob Nailor

ed away at the document using her red pen with wild abandon.

It looked right to me and it sounded okay. My whole body screamed “So who cares?”

I attended a seminar with one of the offered sessions being something like “about Active vs. Passive Voice” so I decided to sit in. The speaker bounced across the front of the classroom in near ecstasy, expounding on the failings of a passive voice story.

I was poised to ask a question when another brave soul interrupted the speaker and asked bluntly, “Who really cares?”

Dust motes froze in time. Those fuzzy balls in the corners snickered. Yes, it was that silent in the room you could actually hear them.

“Why, your reader cares.” Her eyes reminded me of those children’s paintings from the 1960s, the ones with the large eyes.

I nonchalantly scuffled around in my seat so my poised hand now rested in my lap… nobody the wiser that I considered the identical question. Like the others in the classroom – I stared, shocked, at the hapless victim who asked an innocent question.

With hands flailing in the air, the speaker ranted. “Your reader wants action! Your reader wants to be included. There is no reason to tell your reader, let them experience the moment.


It’s simple! In Active Voice, the subject of the line does the action. In Passive Voice, the sentence is turned around. Simply put:

• Active: Jack hates Jill.
• Passive: Jill is hated by Jack.

It is really easy to tell Passive from Active. Usually (almost always) the sentence is definitely more concise when it is Active Voice.

Now, as I learned just a few short weeks ago. The easiest way to decide if a sentence is active or passive is very simple.

… buy the book to learn the secret.

Amazon Buy Link 

Bonus Question!!!
Do you have any writing goals?

My goal this year is to get at least four books published. I have spent many years writing novels during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’ve moth-balled almost 14 novels in cyberspace. I decided they aren’t going to earn me a penny unless I clean them up and get them published. I am half way to my goal with the release of “52 Weeks of Writing Tips” and am now finishing up my edits on the third novel.


Other buy links to other titles.  

Pangaea, Eden Lost –

Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold –

Ancient Blood: The Amazon –

Eternally Be Mine, Valentinus –

 Thanks again Bob!  

 (Because of my delay on getting this week’s post live I am offering to buy a copy of 52 Writing Tips for a random reader.  We’ll work out the ‘how’ later.  So, please leave a comment this week if you’d like your name to go into my virtual hat.) 

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.







Filed under Writerly Wednesdays

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Laura Dasnoit

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Laura Dasnoit author of Forgotten Legends.


  1.   What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

So far? It would have to be the interview I had with Radio of Horror. It was definitely a different side of marketing that I am used to, but it was a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  1.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

I’m published with Eternal Press. I love the enthusiasm of my publisher.  They believe in me even when I am head-to-desk (rinse repeat) over a story.

  1.   What do you have under your bed?Under the bed is a stack of books that I intend on reading. The set wouldn’t be complete without the scattered dog toys left by my loving four-legged child. Oh, and socks. I kick them off in my sleep. My feet are notoriously cold.
  2.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
    A bit of both, I suppose. I plot out what I am going to write for the day and just go from there. Sometimes I stay on track, but most of the time, I write by the seat of my pants.
  1.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

Definitely the bubble girl over here; I reserve any attempts to reach out to my group until I am done with the book. Cuddles come later.

  1.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?It all comes down to music. The fight scene at the end of my book, Forgotten Legends, was written to 300 and the Gladiator soundtracks. I think the worst position I can find myself in is not finding the right music for the scene. That is when I go into panic mode. There’s a gif out there somewhere with a panicked expression. That would be me.
  1.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I use Microsoft Word. I save the pens and notebooks for the editing phase, and of course, the cursed/blessed highlighter of doom. To add, the set would not be complete without a bottle of writer’s tears. That or Kraken Rum.

Wow, a bonus question!!!! 

8. Any writer rituals?

I have to wiggle my nose Bewitched style before typing.

Honestly, this only makes me wish I could wiggle my nose like Samantha Stephens.


Laura Dasnoit author photo

Laura Dasnoit

Laura started writing at a young age when she discovered it was an outlet for her crazy imagination.  Since then, she has worked as a private investigator and even hit the ring as a professional wrestler.  Though she’ll forever have her heart in Atlanta, she now lives in New Hampshire with her beau, four legged son, and Ned the newt.

When she’s not working on her latest story, you can find her in a comic book store, watching ghost stories, or indulging in her unhealthy habit of antique book collecting.



Forgotten Legends Cover Art

Forgotten Legends


Forgotten Legends 
Iris Borden is a private investigator who considers her life normal. Well, aside from the dreams of Norse Gods. It is changed forever the day she is tricked by Death into becoming a soul collector. From that moment, she is propelled into a world she never imagined possible.


Buy Link(s)

Eternal Press Buy Link

Amazon Buy Link


“Where is he?” A loud voice boomed from a gray haired man. He

Forgotten Legends Cover Art

Forgotten Legends

loomed, even from a great distance and I dared not to utter a word. With a disgusted shrug, he picked up the remains of entrails from the first of three boulders.


“We have no quarrel with placing you where he was.  For the last time, where is he?” Outside the cramped cave, the sky crackled with light and sound, and I heard the rain pound against the earth. The embers of the late night fire stood in rage against the bitter wind that howled through the opening. Twelve men who were just as imposing as the man before me, stood in a row behind me, as to prevent my ability to flee. Cast in anger, the old man picked up the intestines and threw them at my feet.  The slime and cold blood splattered on my toes.


The man moved and every step pressed heavy into the ground. He grabbed my chin to force my gaze up to meet his. His eye was the color of steel, and his other was nothing but a hollow socket. Two crows sat on either shoulder uttering tales that only he could understand. He rubbed his thick unruly beard in thought,

“It is time for you to learn.”


From behind, a countless number of hands grabbed at me. A tight grip formed around my waist and as I looked down, I saw the thick band of a dark snake with a triangle head and piercing gold eyes. The room silenced at the sound of a coyote’s laugh in the far distance.


“Please don’t do this,” I whispered.  The weight of the snake was nothing compared to the loneliness and dread that surfaced all thoughts.  It slithered up and appeared to take pride in how much I could shake in fear.  Every part of my body tried to hold still as the snake’s head faced my own, its slender tongue flicked across my nose.  When it opened its mouth to show the fangs, I screamed in fear, “Loki!”


I awoke with a start from the dream. The alarm was buzzing. I fumbled around for it, bleary eyed. With a groan, I slammed the button a little too hard and pushed myself up out of bed. It was 7:15 a.m. There was something agonizing about being up before the sun on a Saturday, but in my profession, clients didn’t expect you to wait until Monday.


The nightmares were becoming more and more vivid. I really needed to lay off the coffee before bed, but considering I went to bed at two this morning, it’s a hard habit to break.  In an effort to forget the snake, I turned on every light in the bedroom and cranked up the radio.


Eternal Press Buy Link

Amazon Buy Link



Thank you Laura for being my guest and I wish you great sales.

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Filed under Writerly Wednesdays

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes David Andrews

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes David Andrews

Ancient Mariner – Teller of Tall Tales

David Andrews in the author of Coasting and The Sapphire Sea.

“Coasting” is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC contest.”

  1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

In late 2013 I was contacted by an old friend, the Federal Secretary of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers. He’d read “Coasting” and wanted me to write a letter to the editor of their monthly journal, “On Watch” showing that there was more to life than just engineering. The result was gratifying. My telephone starting ringing with a succession of old friends and even sometimes enemies wanting to praise the book for it accuracy. Knowing all of them as I do, I doubt that everyone had bought the book, but they’d all read it and I didn’t begrudge one of them their economy. There was no malice in it, just a way of life. They’re all Internet savyand technology adept.

  1. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

Editors who stand to gain by making my book better.

When I retired in 1997 with a desire to write stories based on my experiences as a seaman, I understood that I would have to learn the writer’s craft first. Three short courses and a professional manuscript assessment provided a reality check that the only way to learn how to write publishable fiction was to become published. Published authors get the services of editors for free, everyone else has to pay for them. With twenty six published stories, I’ve now had the services of thirteen editors and have learned something from each one.

My road to publication was simple. I researched the industry and how it worked, then began entering competitions, particularly romance ones, for feedback. Winning two national ones was good for my self esteem and a third one gave me a contract for five category romances, to be written at thirteen week intervals.

The discipline of my working career came into its own then and I completed the five books to publishable standards on schedule and then another project suggested by my publisher in the same time frame. It was a great learning curve with a publisher/editor who knew exactly what she wanted.

One of her demands was for a female pseudonym. Her research showed that women were more comfortable reading romances written by women than by men—the theory being that men understood too little of romance to be able to write it. I complied of course, choosing my wife’s middle name and her maiden surname, becoming Amy Gallow. Amy penned twenty-one published stories before I decided that I’d learned enough to write under my own name.

My systematic approached worked because my 2012 novel, “Coasting”, is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC competition.

  1. What do you have under your bed?

The last fifteen years of my sea-going career were in the offshore oil industry and I’d climbed far enough up the ladder to be under constant pressure. One offshore oil facility earned over a million dollars a day profit and I was the one they turned to if it didn’t. The crew worked twelve hour days in a hostile environment, handling high pressure flammable liquids and gases. The demands of upper management and the safety of the men and women who were my responsibility were often in conflict.

To maintain my sanity, I put aside an hour a day when I wrote fiction and everyone learned that disturbing me without good reason during that hour was not welcomed.

A significant body of writing grew out of the practice and I am still plundering it.

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

“Timor Phoenix”, now contracted to Eternal Press, was planned minutely using Microsoft Project.

I used the software extensively communicating with upper management, first to explain what I planned to do and then with a cost benefit analysis for the head office “bean counters”(the only language they understood). Later it was used to control progress and adapt to hiccups along the way.

“Timor Phoenix” began life as a MS Project file, complete with critical paths, manning lists, etc. My familiarity with the program allowed me to make extensive notes, analysing probable reactions and event sequences. When I came to write the story the first time, I had everything printed out on a table beside me and referred to it constantly.

“The Sapphire Sea”, on the other hand grew from a series of notes I made while serving as Chief Engineer on one of the supply boats mentioned in the story. They were more technical details, personalities, and possibilities than story. When I started the story, I read through the notes and began typing.

  1. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

In the beginning, I tried writing buddies, critique groups and the rest, but soon found they simply wasted time. Now I usually write two to three drafts, then let my wife read it, listen carefully to her comments, make any adjustments that make sense and then submit it.

  1. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

At seventy-six I have a lifetime of memories to sift through.

One story grew from an incident not long after I went to sea. I was at a dance some distance from the seaport where my ship was berthed and becoming quite friendly with the young woman sharing the a bracket of numbers. Another crew member was there and as we passed each other on the dance floor, he asked what time the sailing board was set. The atmosphere turned icy and the young woman stepped backwards out of my arms and walked away, leaving me standing alone in the middle of the dance floor. Seamen were not her favorite people it seemed.

This incident was the trigger for “A Soldier’s Woman”; a Coffee Time Romance Reviewer’s Award.

Every idea goes through a sifting process that fits the parts together into some form of storyline that I can put into a computer file. The next step is the research to gather the factual skeleton I can clothe with the flesh of my idea.

Then I start writing.

  1. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I began with Word Perfect more years ago than is comfortable to recall, but circumstances and the demands of publishers switched me to MS Word. I need no other tools than this and my computer.



Email David



author photo David Andrews

David Andrews

In 1997 I retired from the maritime industry after forty-five years on ships ranging from paddle steamers to the most technologically advanced offshore oil rigs. I wanted to write sea stories but realized I would have to learn my craft first so I began writing romance as Amy Gallow. First published in 1999, she penned twenty-one published stories before I felt competent to turn to my preferred genre under my own name. My 2012 novel “Coasting” is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC contest.”



The Sapphire Sea

The Sapphire Sea Cover Art

The Sapphire Sea

She was old, bordering on obsolescence, under-powered and small. Her crew were the last scrapings of the barrel, a mixture of drunks, old hands and new chums, yet the Sapphire Sea carried as many hopes and dreams on her last voyage in the Timor Sea as the most modern of her cousins.

Join her in Singapore as she sets sail on her final charter. The crew won’t mind and you’ll glimpse a way of life experienced only by those who had the good fortune to live it.

 Buy Link for The Sapphire Sea



The Sapphire Sea.

The Sapphire Sea slid sternwards beneath the surface, snuffing out the flames. The darkness grew thick and velvety and the water colder. He could feel it leaching the heat from his body.

            The effect of shock?

His mind took the escape route of examining the question rather than the broader implications of his situation. It was much easier to deal with the possibility of an unrecognized physical injury. His boots were gone and his body was battered but still whole. He ran his hands over his arms and legs, but could find no injuries.

The sudden appearance of a cluster of small yellow lights fifty metres away brought his mind to heel. Perhaps the others on deck had survived the explosion, shielded like him from the direct effect of the blast. He swam towards them.

The life jackets were empty, probably from the ready use locker on the bridge deck. The wooden lid had floated off and released them as theSapphire Sea sank. He tied them together and started towing them away from the oil he could smell breaking the surface, using the stars to swim northward across the tidal flow. He was at home in the water but they might come in useful later and their lights would guide any other survivors towards him. When he judged himself clear of the leaking oil, he found one of the whistles attached to the life jackets and blew several piercing blasts. There was no response.

He was alone.

The sea was calm, but the underlying swell of the distant storm lifted him regularly so he could scan the area for the flashing light of the EPIRB. It should have floated clear like the life jackets. Retrieving it would increase his chances of being found.

A small spark of light appeared intermittently to the south. It could be another life jacket released by the sinking, but he hesitated to swim back into the oil slick, especially when repeated blasts of the whistle drew no response.

He looked up at the stars, identifying “The Pointers”, Beta and Alpha Centauri, and used them to find the Southern Cross. It had just turned from its left side, making it after midnight. They’d missed their midnightreport to the rig and it was another six hours until daylight. It would be better then.

 Buy Link for The Sapphire Sea


Cover Art Coasting

Coasting by David Andrews – “Coasting”, is a finalist in the 2014 EPIC competition.


Email David



Thank you David for letting me do this for you!





If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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Fiction Friday – Cell Phones and Junk Drawers

Welcome to Fiction Friday…

Today I will talk about Cell Phones and Junk Drawers

Clip Art of a Cell Phone

Clip Art of a Cell Phone

I knew something was wrong when the two symbols at the bottom of my cell phone were the only things that lit.

How do we mortals fix our electronics?

We turn them off.  Then turn them on again.

When you call a cell phone support tech from someone else’s cell phone they always ask the annoying question.

“Did you try turning it off?”

When you go to the emergency room the nurses aide, nurse and the doctor on call will always ask…

Bedpan clip art

Did you try turning it off?

“When was your last bowel movement?”

Sorry, got off subject…

Okay, nothing on my phone was responding to my touch.  I did not know how to turn it completely off.  So I pried the protective covering off using my thumbnail and a pen.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the back off so I could pull the battery out.  I had never seen the phone out of its protective clothing and discovered some thin plastic around the silver edging to pull off.

Then I noticed I was leaving finger prints on the back and obsessed over getting those off.  A naked sound control and a naked power button cried out to be pressed.  This resulted in more fingerprints.

During my cleaning breakdown I thought of my Kindle.  To shut them down I always pressed and held the power button.

YES.  It worked.  I shut the phone all the way down and restarted it.

fingerprint clip art

Oh, no, I keep touching it everywhere!

Then set to work on the fingerprints, again.  While I was cleaning the back I bought something on Google.  I think it was a book but I can’t find it, now.  Hope it wasn’t a car.

I got everything shined up and put the protective gear back on my phone when a message popped up to remind me it is Fiction Friday.


Welcome to Fiction Friday

Junk Drawers…
 Drawers tell a lot about a person.  You really want to know your neighbor’s mind, just look in the junk drawer.

When you feel stuck with your WIP check out his or her junk drawer.  You never know what you might find…

The following is an excerpt of a NaNo Project from November 2008.. The point of NaNoWriMo is to write without editing.. and keep writing.  The excerpt below is in its very first seat of my pants draft..

What’s in your Junk Drawer?

            Back at the house, Elizabeth chopped up some veggies for a salad and loaded the dishwasher with the morning’s cup and plate.  She sat with her salad and tap water wondering what to do next.  Then after some thought a junk drawer caught her eye.

Drawers tell a lot about a person.  You really want to know your neighbor’s mind, just look in the junk drawer.  There were a few junk drawers in the house she had shared with Steve over the last two decades.  She started with the kitchen.

Rubberbands and paperclips.  Rubberbands have a sort of half life, a point at wich they stop stretching and stop snapping.  She pulled the small trash can from beneath the sink and dropped them in.  She didn’t really need the paper clips either, when was the last time anyone needed to clip paper?  Out they went.  A stray butter knife she tossed into the sink.  Ink pen, blue, two bic pens, black, out.

You know what, she thought out loud, I’m tossing it all.  The pulled the drawer free and tipped the contents into the round file.  The little rubber mat stuck fast so she sat the drawer back up on the counter and pried it loose at one corner with a finger nail.  She pulled it loose the rest of the way, rolling it as she went.  Beneath there was an envelope.  An old crusty thing, she poked the rubber mat into the trash and began lifting the dingy paper from the drawer bottom.  She was about to toss it out of hand when the return address caught her eye.

Come back next week to see another Fiction Friday Post..

Don’t touch anything sharp…

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Kathy Fischer-Brown

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Kathy Fischer-Brown author of Winter Fire.


1.  What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

I can’t say that I favor one method over another. To be truthful, I’d rather spend my time writing. I’ve done virtual tours, which are fun and enabled me to interact with readers and potential buyers. I’ve taken out ads, entered contests, done guest posts… All have value. But I really can’t say one particular method wins out. If any have resulted in a sale (or two or three), it quickly becomes my favorite J

2.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

Since 1999, I’ve had a number of publishers. A couple “went under.” Others did next nothing to publicize my books. In 2010 when Jude Pittman of Books We Love asked me to submit my historical romance, Winter Fire, I couldn’t resist. Jude had by then well over a decade of book marketing expertise on the web and with BWL, there was a noticeable difference. My books started to sell. Unlike the other publishers I’ve dealt with, BWL actively seeks venues to advertise their growing backlist and new authors. Having cover designer Michelle Lee on staff is also a big advantage.

3.   What do you have under your bed?

Probably dust bunnies, but I avoid looking. This is prime real estate for our dogs and they despise the vacuum cleaner.

4.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

Definitely a pantser. I have a pretty good idea of where the story is going, but how to get there is part of the adventure. Unexpected things always happen, some leading to dead ends. But many times, a character materializes out of nowhere and before long, he or she becomes an integral part of the story.

5.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I love working with a critique group. Years ago, when I was an RWA member, I was part of an amazing bunch of writers. It’s difficult to work in a bubble with no one but my hubby to read my words and comment on them. Thankfully, he’s a teacher, director, and playwright, but still… he’s my hubby and his comments and suggestions are not those of a completely objective writing partner or group.

6.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

My ideas come from a variety of sources—not the least of which are dreams—and at (sometimes) the worst places. Many a time, late at night while walking my pups, an idea or “aha!” moment will pop into my head and there’s no way to jot it down. I have learned not to trust my brain, so I repeat a word or phrase over and over until I’m at my desk. Otherwise it vanishes into the ether. And then there’s the shower, which never fails to gift me with fully realized scenes and the choice of jumping out with my hair full of shampoo to jot it down, or rinse off and hope I’ll remember at least a part of it. If something from a dream captures my imagination, I don’t have to do anything. It will simmer on the back burner and when it’s ready, it lets me know…kind of like a tea kettle letting off steam. At that point, it becomes unavoidable unless I’m in the midst of another project. Then I just turn down the heat and let it continue simmering.

7.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?


I’ve been using WordPerfect since its DOS days and consider it my favorite word processing program of all time. During my years working in offices, I was forced to learn Word, and I have a copy on my computer for final edits and submissions. I also keep a notebook on me at all times. My favorites are the little hardcover ones from Moleskin. They fit in my purse or a pocket and you can write in them pretty much everywhere (except the shower). When I take notes, I’m very particular about my pens. One has to have a good weight and balance and feel comfortable in my hand. It must also have a click top, a medium point, and black ink. I used to write with a fountain pen, but a leak in my purse put an end to that.

Other tools I couldn’t live without are dictionary and thesaurus programs. I used to pull my Roget’s off the shelf, find an entry, flip through the cross referenced pages, and by the time I’d find a suitable synonym, my train of thought would have vanished around the bend. Today, I use a program from Word Web, and another from Babylon. Both are exceptional; one even dates its entries. So now, my compact OED and Webster’s are gathering dust.


Photo of Kathy Fischer-Brown

Kathy Fischer-Brown


Authors get their ideas in a variety of ways. For me, it’s mainly from dreams—very cinematic dreams—that stay in my head long after I’ve awakened. Mostly these night flicks are nothing more than a collection of cryptic and often unrelated scenes that need to simmer on the back burner while my muse helps to add seasoning and substance to the mix.

I’ve always loved history. Way back in junior high, my mind would wander from dates, battles and treaties to musings on what it might have been like to live in another time. Family vacations always included visits to Civil War or Revolutionary War battle sites, tours of colonial houses and restored villages, which, even these many years later, serve as inspiration.

Born in New York City, I live in central Connecticut with a long-time husband, a grown-up daughter and two dogs. 2012 was a big year for the family as we welcomed our first grandson into the world.






Amazon Author Central 


Cover Art for Womter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown

Womter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown

Blurb for Winter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown


When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her.

Banished by the Seneca Indians who had adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. “Ethancaine” treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.


Buy from Amazon


Excerpt from Winter Fire


Anticipating a deer come to water, he quickly dug a foothold in the snow and, bracing himself, raised his rifle.

Immediately, he lowered the weapon and expelled an impatient breath. Just his luck!  Not a deer at all. A woman.

And a foolish woman to boot!  She had wandered out onto the thin ice, and now stood stock still—as if in fear or uncertainty—-her faded brown wool cloak seeming to tremble all around her.

“Get back!” he shouted. “The ice won’t hold you!”

She whirled around in alarm.

And in that split second, he saw her eyes. Those startled doe’s eyes. Zara Grey!

Cover Art for Womter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown

Womter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown

In the next instant, a crack—like a musket shot—echoed through the ravine. She reeled as the ice heaved up beneath her amid an angry surge of black water. And then, her face frozen in a look of surprise, her mouth open in a semblance of a silent scream, she disappeared through the widening breach.

His gaze fixed on the roiling chasm, Ethan hurled himself down the slope. She surfaced—flailing arms and legs, and gasping desperately for air—churning up the black water into an icy froth. She grasped at the splinters of ice.

“Keep your head up!”

Racing along the bank, he ripped off his deerskin jacket and hurled it, along with his rifle and belt into the snow. If she went under again, she’d be trapped. Already the current had taken her, sweeping her like a bobbing cork toward the opposite bank where the ice was thicker.

“Keep your head up!”

But the frenzied movement of her arms had slowed. She gasped at the water along with the air. She could barely keep herself afloat. As if she had made a conscious choice to surrender herself to a stronger power, he saw the spirit drain out of her. An eerie calm settled over her eyes as her gaze met his, then she slipped under again without a struggle.

Without stopping to think, Ethan tore off his shirt and moccasins, and dove through the opening.

Praise for Winter Fire

“Kathy Fischer-Brown recreates the terror of the Indian wars and vividly evokes the wonder of newfound love.”

— Faith V. Smith, Romantic Times

 “Kathy Fischer-Brown weaves a tale of intrigue set to a backdrop of history and romance…. This is a touching story, the characters are vivid, the history is accurate, and the details really give the story a sense of place.”

The Romance Studio

“Reminiscent of ‘Last of the Mohicans’ with its raw, haunting mood, Winter Fire, by Kathy Fischer-Brown, is a compelling story of love and hate, acceptance, and forgiveness. Oft times painful, it is a rich, exciting read through a dark time told exquisitely by an exceptional writer.” 

— Bonnie Napoli, author of Shadows of the Eclipse

Buy Winter Fire from Amazon

Other Books by Kathy Fischer-Brown

Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter (Book 1, “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy) 

Courting the Devil (Book 2, “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy) 

The Partisan’s Wife (Book 3, “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy) 

Kathy Fischer-Brown Special Edition


Historical fiction, historical romance, historical novels, Native American romance, bargain ebooks, ebook, Romance novels

Thank you Kathy for being my guest.  I wish you best sellers.


If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.




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Fiction Friday – They Never Saw it Coming

Welcome to Fiction Friday – They Never Saw it Coming

Photo of Quaking Aspen Blooms

Quaking Aspen Blooms

Winter is slow to release its icy grip on spring time.  Tulip and Iris bulbs sleep frozen earth.  But the Quaking Aspens defy Old Man Winter and sport some understated blooms.

Photo of a Doe and her Fawns

Family of Deer

Little by little the grass begins to green.  Bunnies play among the fawns and birds try to get to the bird feeders before the squirrels and deer empty them.

Some things you’ll never see coming.  It isn’t written in the stars.  It will come like a thief in the night.

Afterward all sorts of people, religious groups and network news analysts will lie and say they knew it all along.

The Tulips and Irises will wait.  It is going to be difficult for wild things but they will adapt.  Human kind?  Well… first ‘hearts will go out’ and slogans will pop up and different groups will try to help pick up the pieces and put them back.  But soon everyone will begin thinking of themselves.

Some people are survivors.  Some are great at coping.  Some will lay down and die.  It is going to be a difficult time and when they write the history books they’ll agree they never saw it coming.



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Puppy Cam – Live Feed from Eukanuba & Canine Companions for Independence

HavanSallyHavan is my second service dog from Canine Companions for Independence, CCI.

Recently Eukanuba & Canine Companions for Independence have been sharing a puppy cam.

These puppies have great things ahead of them.  They will go to wonderful homes with CCI Puppy Raisers.  From there they will go into advanced training to become service dogs and therapy dogs for people with all kinds of disabilities.

I am going to attempt to drop some code in here so you can watch the puppies.

Live streaming video by Ustream

 Puppy Cam – Live Feed from Eukanuba & Canine Companions for Independence

Watch The Hero Litter on the #EukanubaPuppyCam born March 18th!


7 days/week 12pm – 12am EST

Weights as of 4/3/14 biggest to smallest (by collar color):

Turquoise – Male: 4lbs 7oz
Orange – Female: 4lbs 0.3oz
Harvest (Light Pink – Female): 3lbs 15.1oz.
Hudson (Neon Pink – Male): 3lbs 13oz.
Neon Green – Female: 3lbs 10 oz
Holly (Purple – Female): 3lbs 9.9oz
Brown – Female: 3lbs 9.3oz

For more information on Canine Companions for Independence and all that they do as an organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs visit

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Laurie White

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Laurie White author of Without a Trace, Twist of Fate and Desert Heat.

1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?
Booksigning. And I had a Release Day Party for Without a Trace on Facebook that was a BLAST.
2. What do you like about your publisher?
My publisher is thorough, professional, and cares about putting the best product possible out there. The editors and publisher are fantastic to work with, and the authors are like a big family.
3. What do you have under your bed?
Old manuscripts.
4.  Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
Pretty much a pantser!
5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?
I pretty much write in a bubble, then get critiquing afterward, during revision/editing.
6.  When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
I never know when an idea will come! When it does, I use whatever I can to write it down, whether it be jotting on a napkin, on my hand, or racing to my laptop to get the idea down.
7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?
I write in Word; sometimes use pen and notebook or paper if I need to jot down notes.


Photo of Laurie White

Laurie White

Laurie White is the author of two romantic suspense novels from Sweet Cravings Publishing. Her latest novel, WITHOUT A TRACE, was released January 30, 2014 from Secret Cravings Publishing. Laurie is a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with family, traveling, and watching movies. She is the proud mama of four adorable cats and lives in the hills of Tennessee.


WITHOUT A TRACE – Available NOW from Secret Cravings Publishing!

TWIST OF FATE – February 2013 from Sweet Cravings Publishing

DESERT HEAT – October 2012 from Sweet Cravings Publishing


Cover Art

Without a Trace by Laurie White

Magazine journalist Rachel Bennett has a reputation for getting to the heart of a story. However, when her sister disappears and is suspected of embezzling from her employer, the story has suddenly become personal. The last thing Rachel wants right now is the distraction of Matt Romero, the detective assigned to the case. She wants no involvement with this rough-and-tumble cop…or so she thinks.

Matt accepts the risk that goes with his job. Two years ago, his wife was murdered, a tragedy he blames himself for. He’s vowed to protect his family and friends because he doesn’t want to go through the pain of loss again. However, the lovely journalist soon begins breaking through the icy wall around his heart.
As Rachel and Matt search for answers in order to find her sister, they uncover a corruption that puts them both in danger – and a passion that puts both their hearts at risk.


Something wasn’t right. 
Rachel Bennett felt uneasy from the moment she’d set foot in her sister’s apartment. A bead of perspiration trickled between her shoulder blades. 
She’d been unable to reach her younger sister Paige for the past three days. She hadn’t even shown up at work. Rachel cut short a long-awaited Palm Springs vacation out of concern for her. The three-hour drive back to Los Angeles this morning was a blur. 
Something made her almost whisper the word. She paused outside Paige’s half-open bedroom door before peering into the sun-splashed room. A hint of Paige’s signature scent, Ed Hardy, hung in the air. The bed, normally covered with a cheerful floral comforter, sat unmade in the messy room. Unusual for her neatnik sister. 
She would never just take off like this. At least not willingly. 
What’s happened to my sister? 
Rachel noticed several black smudges on the wall by the window. A nervous feeling gnawed at her. Slowly, she stepped into the bedroom, toward the telephone. She needed to call for help. 
“Police! Stop right there.” 
The resonant male voice was strong and authoritative. Rachel froze, confused, blood pounding in her head. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. “I’m Rachel Bennett. My sister, Paige Bennett, lives here. I have a key.” 
“Okay. Turn around.” 
In slow, careful movements, Rachel complied. Her pulse thrummed even harder as she came face-to-face with the most overwhelming man she’d ever laid eyes on. His features were rugged and darkly handsome, his hair black as sin. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. 
A twinge of wariness assailed Rachel as her gaze took in the man. All in all, he made a dangerously sexy package despite his ordinary dark gray suit and tie. He looked like no cop she’d ever seen, but his open-legged stance and the familiarity with which he held his pistol—aimed at her—seemed to show years of experience on the force. Or simply a lot of practice using a gun. 
Certainly he won’t shoot, she told herself, heart crashing hard against her chest. “Can I see your ID?” 
The man’s steely dark eyes never left hers as he unclipped the gold badge from his belt and held it out to her. 
“Matt Romero, LAPD Detective Support and Vice,” he said.
Rachel studied the badge. In her work as a writer for Southland Life magazine, she’d seen enough cop badges to know this was the real thing. What sort of trouble could Paige be in? 
“How did you…” 
“The apartment manager let us in. We had a search warrant.” He lowered his gun, then clipped his badge back onto his belt. 
“Search warrant? Has something happened to Paige?” A cold knot formed in the pit of her stomach. Although a part of her didn’t want to know, her reporter’s instinct demanded answers. 
Skepticism flickered across Romero’s face, but as he studied her he seemed to relax. He holstered his weapon. “I saw a photo on the desk over there of you with your sister. You resemble each other very much. Why don’t we sit down?” He motioned toward the living room. 
Rachel trudged down the hallway, struggling to prepare herself for whatever this man was about to tell her. Horrifying possibilities whirled in her mind. Had Paige been arrested for some reason? Worse yet, badly hurt or even—no, she couldn’t allow herself to think about that last one. A shudder rippled through her. 
Then she felt one of the detective’s large hands on the center of her back. The guiding gesture, although gentle, unnerved her. The heat from his palm burned through the thin fabric of her blouse. She walked a bit faster. 
In the living room, Rachel sank into Paige’s comfortable powder blue sofa. She took a deep breath to calm herself, but her stomach knotted up when Romero settled into the chair beside the sofa, right next to her. 
“Why are you here, Detective? Where is Paige?” 
“That’s what my partner and I are trying to find out, Ms. Bennett.” 
“What do you mean?” she asked, managing to sound a lot less anxious—and a lot less aware of the man across from her—than she really was. 
He looked her dead in the eye. “Your sister is missing, Ms. Bennett.”


Thank You Laurie for being my guest.  Let us know when your next title is released.  Dust off those manuscripts under your bed.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes C. A. Sanders

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes C. A. Sanders author of The Watchmage of Old New York and Song of Simon.


1.   What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

What I’ve found works best (and it’s really the only thing that works) is to actively engage readers.  Make friends with reviewers.  Answer comments on your blog and facebook page.  Comment on tweets.  It’s very easy to get lost in a sea of spam (there’s an image for ya).  You have to make your own waves.

2.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

The reason why I believe in selling to publishing houses is because I want my work to be the best it can be.  A novel has a lot of working parts.  The writer is just one of them, the biggest one perhaps, but not the only one.  A good novel needs proofreaders, editors, layout artists, cover designers, marketers, and a ton of other things a writer can’t get from self publishing.  I am very grateful to Damnation Books for making Song of Simon as good as it could be.

3.   What do you have under your bed?

I’m speaking theoretically as I haven’t been down there lately, but I’d say a lot of dust bunnies and lost bandanas.  If there’s a monster under there, he’s not doing a very good job.

4.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

I am a plotter.  I make sure all of my plot points, world notes, and characterization are in place before I start.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t change them, but if I’m gonna go for a long drive, I want a map.

5.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

This is hard to answer.  I would prefer to work in a critique group, but they are hard to find and harder to keep together.  Instead, I write the first draft in the bubble and then submit to my beta writers.  I write several drafts of a story before it’s finished.  Each one goes through the beta process.  I’m not a perfectionist, but I’m pretty damn close.

6.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

The kernel of “Song of Simon” came to me in a fever dream, and it later grew from a rant about a certain vampire series.  An odd combination, as there a no vampires or kernels in the novel, but it’s the truth.

I tend to have my best ideas as I’m falling asleep, and I make sure to write them down.  There have been times when I forgot, and I always regret it.

7.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I use a combination of Microsoft Word, legal pads, and text messages to myself. I used to be a music journalist, and I carried a recorder with me (the machine, not the instrument, though I can rock out a sweet cover of “Smoke on the Water” on one).  A recorder is a bit of overkill now, since I don’t need exact quotes.  I’ve written ideas on envelopes and napkins in the past, but modern technology makes it much easier.  These are wondrous times that we live in.


craig with sunglasses outside diner

C. A. Sanders

C.A. Sanders is an author, journalist, and professor. His debut novel, Song of Simon, is available in e-format and print at,, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookseller.

The Watchmage of Old New York  Cover Art

The Watchmage of Old New York

In addition to Song of Simon, his award winning and immensely popular webserial “The Watchmage of Old New York,” is available with FREE registration at

C.A has a BA in Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz and an MA from The City College of New York. After graduating in ’00, C.A. took on a variety of unique, interesting, and occasionally terrible jobs, in order to gain experience for his writing. C.A. has worked as a tarot reader, a writer/actor in a dinner theater, an ambush salesman, a non-profit solicitor, a Human Resources pencil pusher, a music journalist, a guitar instructor, a limo driver, and a Special Education teacher, to name just a few. He currently tutors and teaches creative writing.

A lifelong New Yorker, C.A. lives in the suburbs of NYC with a turtle that he has had since he was six years old. He is patiently waiting for MetroNorth service in his area.

C.A. is convinced that this is the year that the Jets win the Super Bowl…he says this every year.

Twitter: @CraigASanders

Blurb for “Song of Simon”

Cover Art Song of Simon by C. A. Sanders

Song of Simon by C. A. Sanders

Life was never sweet for Simon. He lived in suburban New York, dodging high school bullies and strumming his guitar. Things were about to get much worse.

Simon is drawn into the land of Algavar, where High Priestess Teretha has imprisoned their god in amber. He falls into a holy war led by Ilyana, a renegade priestess who claims to be the Messiah. Simon agrees to accompany Ilyana on a quest to kill Teretha, and he sinks hip deep into the violence and despair that permeate Algavar.

Will Simon become the hero Ilyana believes he is, or will he lose his soul in a bloody world so different from his own?

Buy links:
“Song of Simon,”

from Damnation Books.
from Amazon.
from Barnes & Noble

Blurb for “The Watchmage of Old New York”

This serial is unlike any you’ve ever read: a serio-comic mashup of history, fantasy, gumshoe, and steampunk wrapped in a lovingly detailed 1855 New York City.

Nathaniel Hood is the most powerful wizard in New York City.  As the appointed Watchmage, Nathaniel is tasked with

The Watchmage of Old New York  Cover Art

The Watchmage of Old New York

regulating, protecting, and providing justice to the overwhelming mass of magical creatures immigrating to New York.

When an obscenely wealthy couple’s baby is stolen, Hood suspects mystical involvement.  Read on as the Watchmage plumbs the depths of the magical underworld that lies beneath the “streets paved with gold.”

And that’s just the first story arc…read on for goblin terrorists, Sidhe mobsters, cruel mages, and a colorful cast of heroes, villains, and every day New Yorkers in one of the most tumultuous times in the city’s history

“The Watchmage of Old New York”
from JukePop Serials (FREE)

Excerpt from “Song of Simon”

Liam was crying. Simon crawled over to him and saw that the boy’s arm was broken.

“Come on, buddy, we gotta keep moving,” Simon said. “It’s only a half mile or so. Let’s go.”

Liam found his way to his feet through the sobs. Ommar cut the horses free, and they ran screaming into the woods.

Cover Art Song of Simon by C. A. Sanders

Song of Simon by C. A. Sanders

“Damn, I was hoping we could ride those. Simon, you run ahead as fast as you can. I’ll catch up with Liam.”

Simon nodded, and took off down the dirt road. His side ached from his wound. He had never seen so much blood, so many bodies butchered, and the smell–sickly sweet, coppery and everywhere.

About a quarter mile from the cave, a sentry stopped Simon. Before the sentry—a newly-bearded youth named Shain—could question Simon, the young man from Westchester (just North of the City) threw himself onto the surprised sentry.

“The farm’s attacked…everyone’s dead…Ratlings…they…oh god!”

Shain’s face turned to chalk at the news. He slowly, with jittering fingers, pulled the horn from his belt and blew three staccato notes. He was quickly answered by three notes from the cavern’s opening.

“Can you keep running?” Shain asked.

Simon nodded.

“Let’s g—”

From far in the woods, a deep note rumbled from what must have been a huge horn. Simon and Shain looked at each other and ran for the safety of the caverns.

The Order of the Burning Spear had come.

Buy links:
“Song of Simon,”
from Damnation Books.
from Amazon.
from Barnes & Noble

Contact Info:

Twitter: @CraigASanders

Thank you Craig for being my guest and I hope to see you here again.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.


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Fiction Friday – Paved with Good Intentions

Hello Readers and Welcome to Fiction Friday.

Fiction Friday – Paved with Good Intentions


Last week I posted a very short scene.  A Simple Scene.  I re-wrote the scene, yesterday and hid it in a reply.

I am a neglectful writer, filled with good intentions.  I’ve heard the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I am not at all sure what that means. But I love to research… let me look it up..


The intention to engage in good acts often fails. It points up the principle that there is no merit in good intentions unless they are acted on.

From The Phrase Finder

photo of a laptop printer and USB drives

My Jumble of Writerly Stuff

Okay, that is out of the way.  I am going to tell you what is holding me up on my not so current writing project.

  • It is an old project and the files are scattered between at least two laptops, my SkyDrive and probably 3 USB discs.
  • While reading and arranging scenes I get sidetracked by characters who may deserve their own books.

And —

  • The work involved in gathering files, sorting and copying scenes seems TOO complicated, like a hoarder’s home, I don’t really know where to start.

I would like to hear about your ‘writing process.’  Don’t be shy, leave a comment.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Thank you for visiting and don’t touch anything sharp.


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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Alistair Cross

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Alistair Cross.

Pull up a chair and turn on some ominous music.


1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

I think word of mouth is my favorite. If you write a good book and you can get a few people to read it, it’s fun to watch them tell their friends, families, Facebook contacts, etc. I also think it’s effective to print some postcards with the buy links included on them, and pass them around.

2. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

Beautiful Monster is published through Damnation Books, a publisher I’m very pleased with. They have a great team of editors and cover art designers, and they’ve been wonderful about marketing this book.

3. What do you have under your bed?

(I actually got up and looked… but I didn’t want to!) Let’s see… a few cat toys… and the yellow highlighter I spent an hour looking for a few days ago! Thanks, Sally!

(I aim to please and get you to exercise.)

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

Somewhere in the middle. I like to have a basic roadmap, but not so much instruction that there’s no freedom to take a surprise left turn now and then.

5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I’ve never had luck with critique groups. I tried, but it just wasn’t my thing. I write alone but I have a couple close friends I discuss things with.


6. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?


Most of my ideas come to me, oddly, when I am writing. This is convenient because I have files that I can add to on my computer. Occasionally, an idea hits me in the shower or just as I’m teetering on the edge of consciousness at night. I have a file in my phone that I’m always adding things to. People accuse me of texting too much but nine times out of ten, I’m not texting anyone. I’m recording ideas.

7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I use Microsoft Word… and whatever I can get my hands on otherwise.



Alistair Cross Photo

Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross was born in a small town in the western United States.

He grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of 8, began writing his own stories. In 2012, his first novel, a collaborative effort called Beautiful Monster, was published by Damnation Books, LLC. under the pseudonym Jared S. Anderson.

Alistair is now hard at play on several other works, including a macabre little project with acclaimed horror novelist Tamara Thorne.

His influences include, but are not limited to, the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Tamara Thorne, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty.

Email, FB, Twitter links or addresses here…


Twitter: @crossalistair


Facebook Fan Page


Beautiful Monster cover art

Beautiful Monster


What happens when the man of your dreams becomes your worst nightmare? College student Brenna Carlson has fallen madly in love with the new man in her life, Sterling Bronson. When she awakens, naked and chained in Sterling’s basement, his deviant plans for her become clear. Brenna must choose between playing along with his savage game, or risking her life to escape.

Buy Link(s)

Damnation Books:

Barnes & Noble:




Beautiful Monster cover art

Beautiful Monster

“The officer smiled and there was something about it that I didn’t like. I sized him up. Despite the thickness of his neck, I was confident that I could get a good enough hold to crush his windpipe if I had to. He held my gaze a few seconds and then pulled a photograph from the folder in front of him. In the picture, Number Six smiled back at me in a slutty red dress. She held a puppy toward the camera as if trying to make sure the photographer could see its entire face.

“We’re pretty sure you know who this is,” said Latham, his strange smirk still set in place.”

Beautiful Monster is available at:

Damnation Books:

Barnes & Noble:


Contact Alistair at:


Twitter: @crossalistair


Facebook Fan Page


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Fiction Friday – A Simple Scene

Welcome to Fiction Friday – A Simple Scene

Using less than 250 words I am giving you a setting, characters and a hint that something is wrong.  Please leave comments.

Where are the characters hanging out?

Who are they?

What are they doing?

What is the mood of the scene?

You are welcome leave comments.  Let me know where it unravels, where you become lost or what just doesn’t work for you.  You may even use your comment space to suggest edits or even re-write the scene.

A Simple Scene

“Has anybody seen Maggie?” Georgia unshouldered her backpack.  It slid down her leg and thudded at her feet.

Mark stared dumbly and shrugged an ‘I don’t know’ before turning back to his gadget.

“How ‘bout you, Nate?  Linda?” Georgia slid down the wall and came to a sitting crouch next to her pack.  “Damn it. What is the first rule?”

“Always leave a note on the board.” Mark said in a tired monotone still working at the jumble of wires with tweezers and a small melting machine that looked like the offspring of a glue gun and soldering iron.

“Why do we always need to leave a note?” Georgia was ramping up to a lecture. She waited for the next response.

The library remained silent.

“Come on Georgia, we aren’t children.” Linda said as she gathered her pack.  “I’ll look for her while I’m on watch, but I don’t think she left.  At least not for ‘out there.’”

“I think she went up to the Historical room.  I don’t know what she does, but it keeps her from going bat shit.”  Nate said from the meeting room.  “I’ve got some food from the back room of the Café up the street. I suspect we’ll all feel better if we eat something.”

“I’ll go up and check on Maggie if you’ll please go eat something.”

Georgia stood up and retrieved her pack.  “Come on Mike, take a break, let’s see what Nate scrounged up for us.”


If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Thank you again for coming to Writerly Wednesday and please visit again.

Don’t touch anything sharp.


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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes James Dorr

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes James Dorr

Let’s give a big, belated Writerly Wednesday Welcome to James Dorr author of The Tears of Isis.


  1. 1.    What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?


Recently one that was fun involved a sale to the anthology Bizarro Bizarro.  The guidelines requested a synopsis but, noting that a synopsis of a bizarro story is probably impossible anyway, offered instead three reasons why the editor probably wouldn’t like it (e.g., it was shorter than his preferred length, was a reprint, . . .) and six why he might (it was non-linear, was about a guy who once wanted to be a dentist’s hygienist, had lots of birds in it. . . .).  The story was accepted and, in fact, one reviewer on Amazon said it was his favorite story in the book.


  1. 2.    What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?


My current collection is The Tears of Isis from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and was by invitation from publisher Max Booth III who also, at my request, wrote the introduction.  PMMP is a new publisher (mine is their first single-author collection) which suggested they would be lean and hungry from a marketing perspective without much of an existing backlist to draw attention away from my book, but I also had had a couple of short stories in anthologies Max had edited (notably Zombie Jesus and Other True Stories from Dark Moon Books) and liked his work, both in his approach and in the end product.  But most of all, other than a requirement that it be at least 60.000 words long, I had a completely free hand in selecting and ordering the stories that would go in it, to try to present a book with a theme about art and destruction, beauty and death, in a way that has (hopefully) added up to a whole that is more than its individual parts.


  1. 3.    What do you have under your bed?


A box of old DVD/VCR parts (mainly for the cables); a bathroom scale; sometimes, the cat.


  1. 4.    Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?


I’m not convinced there’s really necessarily that much difference.  That is, when I was first writing I would often sketch out an informal outline, mark places where elements would have to appear (think of clues, for example, in a mystery), etc., whereas now I’m more apt to just choose a beginning and just write from there (though, in fairness, my original idea will usually also have given me an idea of how it will end).   But what does that mean other than that I’ve become sufficiently used to the process that what I once did on a conscious level is still being done, but unconsciously now?


  1. 5.    Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?


The actual writing is a private process for me – in fact, that relates to the idea of art bringing with it destruction in The Tears of Isis, in this case to the artist him- or herself in that the creative process of necessity (to me, at least) requires an amount of self-isolation.  In the visual arts the model, even if someone the painter or sculptor loves, becomes an object at least while the process is going on.  Similarly in writing the subject, whether a character or a thing, is something observed and analyzed, as if being tested in a laboratory.


That said, however, once a story or poem is done, I do have a writing group I can present it to for critiquing.  But that is still something after the fact, and its appeal to me may be as much in socializing with fellow creators as in improving the creation (note again the objectifying language) itself.


  1. 6.    When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them? 


Ideas don’t come easy.  I have to wrestle for them with the muse (perhaps this is why some of my work is quirky, in that I may have to go with ideas more imaginative writers would discard for better ones).  That having been said, though, when an idea comes, I then need to think about what kind of character or characters will go with it – the “who” with the “what,” because stories are ultimately about people (or people-substitutes:  vampires, aliens, robots, gods) – and where or what the setting will be.  That will be the start:  a being (protagonist) is in a situation (setting) and has a problem (motivation).  The story proceeds from there.


  1. 7.    What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?


I use WordStar 6.0, a good keyboard-oriented word processor from I don’t know how long back, for drafting a story, then translate it to Word (preferably into .rtf) for submitting.  I usually print a copy out first to edit by hand as well as proofread (I also will sometimes read parts out loud to check the flow).  Sometimes with short work, especially poems, I may do the first draft itself by hand (ink on newspaper margin or envelope back?) before transcribing it to the computer.





Head shot photo of James Dorr

James Door

James Dorr combines the charm of a gentleman born in the US South with the wiles of a near-New York City upbringing, the canniness of a one-time New England resident, and the guile of an outwardly stolid Midwesterner.  Or so he says.  It is known that he was born in Florida, grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Massachusetts, and currently lives in Indiana where he also harbors a cat named Wednesday.  He is a short story writer and poet working mainly in dark fantasy and horror with forays into science fiction and mystery, and has previously worked as a technical writer for an academic computing center, associate editor on a city magazine, a nonfiction freelance writer, and a semi-professional Renaissance musician.  In addition to three prose collections and one of poetry, Dorr has had nearly 400 appearances in publications ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Yellow Bat Review.









Cover Art for Head shot photo of James Dorr

Head shot photo of James Dorr

Art and creation, Medusa and creatures of the sea, blood-drinking with or without foreign entanglement, musical instruments fashioned from bone, Cinderella and sleeping beauties, women who keep pets, insects and UFOs, ghouls as servants and restless undead.  And Isis herself as both weeping mother and vulture-winged icon of death and destruction.  These are among the subjects that inspire the seventeen stories (plus opening poem) in The Tears of Isis, my latest collection published last May (2013) by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Citing the book’s blurb, “the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney spoke of art as ‘making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature,’” and so in The Tears of Isis I hope will be found both the beauty that Sidney and others admired, and also the grotesque, the strange and bizarre.


Buy Link(s)


Barnes & Noble




And he’d had a vision of what it had looked like.  How she’d described it.  The webworms long passed on, but the apple and pear and cherry trees lying shattered.  The truck crops still withered.  The land all in brownness, like some distant desert.  Like the grain circle their father had claimed to have seen that day so long ago, except that this “landing” had covered acres.

And now he saw, also, the memory they both shared.  The night on the mountain, the winding highway scarcely ten miles away from where they now stood.  Their father’s voice droning on, filling the car as they drove east to where they would spend their vacation, keeping to back roads because their father felt the Interstates ruined the scenery,

His voice.  The moths outside.  His stories of other sightings than his and their mother’s, some involving actual creatures that flew in the saucers.  The Flatwoods Monster in 1952, here in these mountains, in Braxton County.  The 1961 encounter in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, of Barney and Betty Hill.  The Pascagoula Creatures of 1973, in Mississippi . . .

His and Marina’s trying to sleep, not wanting to listen.  The woods, dark, on either side of their privately lit double tunnel, seeming to close in . . .

. . . when it rose before them.  Glowing, pulsing, as big as a football field.  Up, from a notch between two ridge lines, it straddled the highway, seemingly missing them only by inches as it passed overhead.

Jarring them with its sound.

Shrill.  Ululating. 

The car’s front wheels twisting—their father battling to stay on the road.

And then the second one louder still, after he and Marina had left the wreck site, still in a daze, climbing the eastern slope—more memory came back—thinking somehow it might help to find out where the first of the huge, glowing disks had come from.

Both of them screaming . . .


(From “Waxworms,” The Tears of Isis, pp. 116-117)



Buy Link(s)


Barnes & Noble



Thank You James Dorr for being my Writerly Wednesday Guest this week and thank you for your patience.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Thank you again for coming to Writerly Wednesday and please visit again.

Don’t touch anything sharp.





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Writerly Wednesday Presents Michelle Howard

Writerly Wednesday Presents Michelle Howard author of Honor Bound.


1.   What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

I’m not good at marketing. Its probably my biggest challenge but I will say that I think having a blog is a good tool. Readers can see what’s up with you, what you’re working on and check out your backlist.

2.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

I decided to Self-Publish because an author friend emailed me to try writing. She self-published and it just seemed a natural progression. While I’d love to have a press behind me to do the dreaded marketing, I do enjoy making the choices myself on things like the cover and which direction I want my stories to take.

3.   What do you have under your bed?

LOL, good question. A pair of heels from work this week and a notepad where I scribble ideas.

4.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

Alas, I’m a pantser. I’ve only been writing for a year and I really wanted to be this well thought out plotter but my brains all over the place and I’m flying by the denim.

5.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I tend to write in a bubble unless I get stuck. I have a good group of friends who let me pick their brains and my sister’s always great to bounce ideas with.

6.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

So far I haven’t had a shortage of ideas. If anything I try to turn it off so I can focus on what’s on my plate.

7.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I use spiral notebooks, legal pad, my laptop and word is my favorite program.


Michelle Howard enjoys a crazy life that involves wild kids, a loud dog, and a husband who tolerates the madness.  Like many authors, she’s dreamed of writing since reading her first romance novel many years ago.  She loves paranormal and contemporary romances and is a fan of the classic romances, such as Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood.

Michelle’s novel Pack Justice (as yet unreleased), placed first in the paranormal category of the 2013 Duel on the Delta hosted by River City Romance Writers. Her published novels No Reason to Run  and Honor Bound are currently available.

Michelle is a member of Romance Writers of America and Maryland Romance Writers. She loves to hear from readers.

Feel free to keep in touch!

Email: michellehowardwrites(at)
Twitter: @mhowardwrites


Cover art for Honor Bound

Honor Bound

To save her people, Mikayla S’Apul has only two options: Become a prize in the upcoming battle or take control of her fate. When a worn journal falls into her hands revealing the secrets of a legendary group of warriors, Mikayla realizes it holds the answer to her dilemma. A marriage of convenience is the only way to protect the Raasa people.

Overlord Vaan Galip is the commander of the Warlord army tasked with protecting Kabanians and bringing peace to his lands. Betrayed by one of his own, joining with Mikayla S’Apul would provide her people with protection while giving him the opportunity for vengeance. Falling for the Raasa female was never part of his plans.

When a common enemy threatens, Vaan and Mikayla learn the true depth of what it means to be bound not only by marriage but by honor


         Another sharp nod was all she managed. He cursed and moved too fast for her to anticipate. The War Lord had Miki in his hold, an arm clamped around her waist and raised his dagger to her throat. “I owe you thanks for my life but if you lie, I will slay you where you stand, Raasa.”

            Fear danced through her. With a shaky breath, she spit out, “Mikayla S’Apul. My name is Mikayla S’Apul.” She wouldn’t accept the continued insult of referring to her by her race. If he killed her, he would know her name.

            He eased his hold marginally and Miki breathed deep. His masculine scent filled her nostrils but did not stop the racing of her pulse. “Will I die from the venom you placed in my mouth?” He asked.

            Miki couldn’t help but to flush. For some reason, the mouth to mouth transfer sounded worse with his phrasing. “No. It is different.”

            He turned her, the blade never wavering. Her back met his chest and he lowered his head along side hers to speak. Warm breath stroked her ear. “I know of the Raasa means of defense and I would have you vow that you have not poisoned my men or I.”

            “I vow that I have not.” She hissed suddenly angry at his accusations. “I seek to save you in exchange for your help.” She struggled in his grip but his hold held firm and the blade bit deeper into her flesh. Miki froze. Would he actually kill her?

 Buy Link for Honor Bound

Thank you Michelle Howard for being my guest this week.  Come back next week and see who is in the spotlight.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Alisha Costanzo

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Alisha Costanzo author of Blood Phoenix: Rebirth.


Interview with Alisha Costanzo, author of Blood Phoenix: Rebirth.


1.         What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

Giveaways. Before I published my novel, I posted two version of my cover and asked my followers to vote on which cover they liked best, one of which won a free copy and others won memorabilia. This helped the views on my pages and started conversations with friends and potential readers, which is my second favorite part of the job—the first remains talking to my characters.

2.         What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

I decided to Self Publish because I had more creative control, and I reap more benefits from my work. I also got to create connections and help other freelance artists, like my editor, Joe Martin, and my cover designer, Cathrine Langwagen, both of whom are wonderfully talented.

3.         What do you have under your bed?

Since I’m married, most of it is my husband’s, or that’s what I tell myself. A few of my favorite items are my Daddy boots, which I don’t so much need in Oklahoma like I needed them in Plattsburgh, NY; my mace, which is this thick wooden bat with metal spikes imbedded into it; and my 12-guage. I’m only slightly paranoid.

4.         Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

Big time pantser, although I am trying my hand at plotting, which worked well for the last draft I finished. It’s important to be both. I need to know where my characters are headed, but a lot of what happens on the way surprises me as much as it does everyone else.

5.         Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

My actual writing takes place in my own little world, although I can generally put my bubble up anywhere. But depending on the story, I’ve used varied activities and friends for developmental reasons. My childhood friend Becky, who inspired one of the characters in Blood Phoenix: Rebirth, chats with me online when I’m stuck. I love her demented brain, and she loves playing make-believe with me. After our conversations, I gain a better understanding of my world, my characters, and my plots.

I also role-play online, which isn’t the Dungeon and Dragons kind. Another friend of mine, Laura, and I create character profiles and drive them into interactions. This type of writing and creation is completely different than drafting a novel, yet not really. I can never completely predict how the scene we play will go, how her character will react to mine, or what type of plot she has cooked up. I love this type of writing because I get to know the characters by playing them live for an audience. And later, I can refer back to the scenes.

And finally, once I’ve done the majority of work on my novels, I send them to my friends for honest feedback. It’s hard to find people who will be honest about my work, and I appreciate it because that’s the type of friend I am—honest yet constructive.

6.         When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

Right now, ideas like to come while I’m grading papers, which is extremely inconvenient. But they come whenever they feel like it, really. They don’t have a routine or anything. However, I have finally bought myself a notebook to carry around with me rather than scraps of papers or napkins like I’ve used before. I once used a paper placemat at a restaurant after I’d worked a craft show with my mother in PA. I also keep a pen and paper on my headboard for the middle of the night. And occasionally, I still write on the back of my hand for lack of anywhere else to write. But when I can’t take note, I try my hardest not to worry over it, the idea will either come back or it will move on to someone else. Elizabeth Gilbert has a great TED talk about tapping into the muse that I feel akin to.

7.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I use Word predominately, but I use note cards for plotting, notebooks for character sheets, and I have folders on my computer for each character and each world. The white board is useful for reverse outlining and restructuring plot—since I write satirically, this process helps me pinpoint places to poke at pop culture.


 Alisha Costanzo head shot

Alisha Costanzo


Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. Book two, Blood Phoenix: Claimed, is undergoing serious edits for its 2014 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.


Email:; FB:;  Twitter:  or @AlishaCostanzo;



Cover art Blood Phoenix: Rebirth by Alisha Costanzo

Blood Phoenix: Rebirth by Alisha Costanzo


Before she ran into a compelling stranger on the busy streets of NYC, before she knew the truth about her father, before she died, Ria was just a normal girl, trying to make ends meet.

Now with an unhelpful six-thousand-year-old mentor, she wished someone had written a handbook on how to be undead. But small details, like how to drink blood without killing, why she wakes up in the middle of the day, and how to juggle two paranormal men, are near pointless when the scary Wicked Witch of Watertown has given her a week to report to the training facility. Better yet, she’s popped up on the collection list for the Assetato and the king of the were-lions. Can Ria survive long enough to come head-to-head with a ten-thousand-year-old vampire?

Buy Links:


Include Cover graphic.  Send as attachment.




And there sat the mirror, high on the wall attached to a yellowing medicine cabinet. I inched forward until I stood at the threshold of seeing myself. This would be a final reality check, wouldn’t it? If I had no reflection, what other proof did I need? Which method should I use? Test the water with my fingertips or jump all in?

My gaze lost focus on the corner of the offending mirror, and I pushed myself in front of the reflective glass as a whole, gaze adverted. With a heave of my chest, I looked. The shock made my heart hammer. A creature stood there with pale skin, a red stained mouth, and bay leaf eyes. She didn’t have blemishes, lines, or even pores. She looked like the porcelain masks Grammie used to hang on the walls by their bright red and yellow ribbons. I waggled my fingers toward the woman reflected at me, and her fingers waggled back. Laughter filled the small master bath. I combed my hands through my rough, ruby curls and twirled in front of the vanity.

I had a reflection. God, he was being good to me. This meant I couldn’t be a vampire, right?

But my smile halted my short-lived relief. My canines were larger and sharper and deadly, yet they didn’t seem like vamp-fangs. I caressed one with a fingertip, smooth and hard like ceramic, and the point had no trouble slicing open my skin. A bubble of blood pooled precariously before my flesh fused back together. But my finger slipped into my mouth out of habit.

A knock sounded at the locked door, and James spoke. “Having trouble?”

“Yeah. I taste like a goddamn pastry. And I have a reflection. What am I supposed to do with that in the middle of this crazy shit of a mess?” Serves me right for paying such close attention to popular media and those sparkly, night-walking Prince Charmings with their weak human love interests. News flash. Girl here. Now, what the fuck was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to be Princess Peach or Princess Leia?

James’ laughter eased through the cracks of the door. And I slammed my fist against it to get him to stop. My body buzzed when I looked in the mirror again. A weak female didn’t stare back at me.

“Tell me I’m not sparkly, at least. I’d rather be the glow in the dark kind of vampire if I’ve got to be one.” My fingers pulled at my red curls again. I appreciated whatever trick made me seem a tad bit prettier.


Buy Links:




Twitter:  or @AlishaCostanzo


Thank you Alisha for being my guest this week.  Come back next week and see who is in the spotlight.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Michael Thal

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Michael Thal author of Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback.

Each week a different author is a guest at Writerly Wednesday.  If you are interested in being a guest, submission guidelines are accessible on this site.


1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale? 

I really enjoy book-signing parties. After my first two novels, The Legend of Koolura and Goodbye Tchaikovsky, published a week apart in 2012 by two different publishers, my daughter Channie hosted a book-signing party in her home for me. About 60 people showed and I was so busy my hand started to cramp up. Two months ago I had a second party for Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. This time we held the party in my home with equal results.

2. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

I have two publishers, but my favorite is Solstice Publishing. Solstice is a hands-on publisher keeping close ties with their writers. They make sure their books appear on websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many others. My Koolura Series can even be found on websites in Europe. Also, they have a Facebook page where they provide up-to date information and give their writers the opportunity to give feedback.

3. What do you have under your bed?

This morning I noticed a few dust bunnies. But if you’re referring to my next book, I’m currently working on the third book in the Koolura series, Koolura and the Mayans. Koolura is a middle grade child with extraordinary psychic powers. In the first book she begins to learn about them as she fights a stalker bent on her destruction. In the second book Koolura finds herself at a sleep-away camp in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara. After her first night’s stay, she wakes up powerless. What happened to her abilities and what’s with the weird boys and all those pranks? In the third book, Koolura attends her father’s wedding with BFF Leila, visits a Mayan ruin, and finds herself transported back in time.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

All my books are plotted out. However, as the plot moves forward, I find myself making changes and going off course following the lead of the characters.

5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

After I complete a chapter I get feedback from my writing group, The San Fernando Valley Critters. We meet once a month.

6. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

The idea for Goodbye Tchaikovsky, a novel about a violin virtuoso who becomes deaf on his 12th birthday, came to me after I experienced a devastating hearing loss at the age of 44. By the time I turned 50 my right ear was completely deaf and my left close behind. I was curious how I would have responded to losing my hearing if I was a teen. My Koolura books were inspired by my daughters.

7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

First, I take notes with paper and pencil. I usually draft my chapters that way, too. Then I rewrite capturing my ideas on Microsoft Word with my iMac.

Head Shot of Michael Thal

Michael Thal


Michael L. Thal, an accomplished freelancer, is the author of The Legend of Koolura and Goodbye Tchaikovsky. He has written and published over eighty articles for magazines and newspapers including Highlights for Children, The Los Angeles Times, and San Diego Family Magazine. You can learn more about him at

Michael lives in Sherman Oaks, CA. He’s the proud father of two adult daughters, Channie and Koren, and the grandfather of Arielle and Shaye.




Examiner Column:


Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback

Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback

Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback

Koolura has the ability to teleport, levitate, heal, and even fly. At Camp Saddleback Koolura wakes up drained and powerless. Who has stolen her psychic powers?

As Koolura searches for the truth about her power loss, she and the Chumash Girls have to deal with pranksters ruining their cabin and destroying their summer. Campers plan revenge but problems escalate as lives are threatened. Will Koolura and the Chumash Girls solve the mystery at Camp Saddleback?

Buy Link(s)


Barnes & Nobel



Koolura padded into the empty bathroom. With no one in sight, she hooked her mind around the bar of soap three feet away willing it to float toward her. But nothing happened. She focused on the faucet over the sink to turn it on, but no water appeared. Panic filled her mind.

What’s the matter? I was able to do it last night.

Koolura tried to float, but remained anchored to the bathroom floor as if lead filled her PJ’s.

Stunned, Koolura thought, Oh my God, what’s the matter with me? I lost my powers.


Koolura 1 Amazon:

Koolura 2 Amazon:

Goodbye Tchaikovsky:


Book Trailers:




Thank you Michael for being my guest this week.  Come back next week and see who is in the spotlight.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Don’t touch anything sharp.


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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Barbara Winkes

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Barbara Winkes.

Lesbian fiction with high drama and happy endings



1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

I like blog hops and guest blogs–those give you an opportunity to talk about subjects and causes dear to your heart and, at the same time, connect with readers and other authors. It’s a win-win situation.

2. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to
Self Publish?

I love working with the dedicated and talented team at Eternal Press. It’s been a dream come true from the first “accepted for publication” email, and I’m happy to announce that there’ll be two more titles for which I’ve already signed, and more in the works.

3. What do you have under your bed?

There is nothing under my bed. With everything going on in my head and on paper during the day, I need a clutter-free zone to sleep. Although…I still have weird dreams pretty often. The characters don’t always respect these boundaries.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

Since making the transition to writing full-time, and being published, I’ve become more of a plotter. I still like to leave some room, so at some point, the characters will say or do something that surprises me. A good outline can help the writing process. Last NaNoWriMo, it helped me reach over 70K words.

5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups,
writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I have a few beta readers, not related in any way, to make sure I’ve had some feedback before the story goes off to acquisition.

6. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

At all times–reading, watching TV, in the shower or in a restaurant. Or during the hours of the day I sit at the computer writing. I had a notebook with me on the last vacation I opened every now and then, and we came home with half a story.

7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other
tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on
fogged bathroom mirrors?

I work either with a word.doc, or a pen and a notebook, index cards to plan the upcoming projects and the year in general. I like a bit of color-coding in my work, must be due to the synesthesia.


“Lesbian fiction with high drama and happy endings”Barbara Winkes, a psychologist/trauma counselor, left her native Germany to live with her wife in Québec City. Her debut novel “Autumn Leaves” and the follow-up, “Winter Storm”, published by Eternal Press, tell the love story between two women in a small town, where neighbors take an interest in the life of others.
The standalone thriller “Secrets” followed November 2013.
Part three of the romance series, Spring Fever, is coming 2014.FB

cover art Secrets

Secrets by Barbara Winkes


To save your life…would you trust a stranger with your secret? Disillusioned with the direction her life is going, Marsha Taylor wants to get away, to find out what’s left of her dreams. Picking up a hitchhiker along the way wasn’t her intention, but Jessie, a woman with troubles of her own, is hard to resist.A mishap on the road forces them to make a stop in a small town called Diamond Lake. Residents are on edge since a brutal murder happened in the area not long ago. Everyone has their secrets…some of them are deadly.

Buy Link(s)

Eternal Press:


Sophie couldn’t sleep. Part of that was her own fault, a coffee late in the evening, reading articles about the murder online, checking her usual sources. She stayed in the chat room for a while, but there was no answer from her partner in crime-solving.

When she’d driven into Wilson, the air was already heavier and more humid, the sky darkening. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Clad in only a shirt and panties, she got up, walking into her daughter’s room. Laura was fast asleep. She’d slept through a thunderstorm before, unlike her mother who jerked awake at the slightest sound. Sophie went back to her own bedroom, flinching when the lightning bolt cut through the black night sky. There was no breeze to cool down the stuffy air inside these walls. The storm was still far away, and she wished for her colleagues of the night shift that they wouldn’t have to go out. Normally, even annoying teenagers would like to stay in during weather like this. They weren’t the only ones out there though.

There was someone who had slashed the women’s tires today. In Wilson, it was another hectic night for the locals and the federal agents in search of a brutal killer. Sophie felt exhausted, and useless. She thought of Mark who was so determined to rise through the ranks. If she hadn’t been so eager to get out of Wilson, she might be working with the Feds now. Alice had gone to the same high school, a few years before Sophie, so she hadn’t known her. Still, this was another thing they had in common, she and the victim. Her thoughts kept circling around her.

Alice had been eager to get out of Wilson as well. She had left for college and never looked back–until the killer found her.

The water Sophie had gotten herself earlier had gone stale in the plastic bottle. She took a sip, frowning. She needed to get up in a little over five hours, no point in torturing herself with thoughts of Hamel’s last moments. She wasn’t going to make a contribution by falling asleep at her desk tomorrow.

Buy Links again and contact links again as well.

Eternal Press:


Buy links to other titles:
Autumn Leaves:
Winter Storm:
(lesbian romance series)

Thank you Barbara.  I hope you’ll come back and share your upcoming releases with us.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Come back next week and don’t touch anything sharp!

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Fiction Friday – Know your Enemy

Fiction Friday – Know your Enemy….

This Fiction Friday topic is about Knowing your Enemy.

Definition of antagonist in English:


Syllabification: an·tag·o·nist

Pronunciation: /an?tag?nist



  • 1a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary:he turned to confront his antagonist’

Your Protagonist is only as well rounded as your Antagonist.

What does your antagonist want?  What scares him?  Is there something he would never do, even if his life depended on it?  What does he dream about?  Who does he love?  Are his parents living nearby?

Everything you consider when building your main character should be considered when you are fleshing out your bad guy.

If you haven’t done this, open a file for your antagonist and start asking him questions.  One very good way to learn about him is to ask him what he thinks is going on.  Do this at various points during your first draft.  He will surprise you.

Knowing your enemy is key to motivation.


While you are exploring your bad guy go ahead and push him to his limits.  Make him do that thing he’d rather die than do.

The notes you make on your antagonist may never see your final draft but I am sure your story will be better for having taken the time to know him.

Till next week – don’t touch anything sharp!

All Fiction Friday Posts can be found at .

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Brantwijn Serrah

 Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Brantwijn Serrah author of Lotus Petals.


1.   What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale? I think the blog tour, which I booked with Sparkle Book Tours, was my favorite task. It involved creating lots of “special features”, behind-the-scenes peeks, and doing lots of author interviews.  Within the first few days, I had some great reviews on Amazon, as well!

2.   What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish? I publish with Breathless Press, an e-book publisher of erotica.  I was drawn to them because of the variety of genres they accept and represent, from traditional sweet romance to paranormal erotica to “diablo delights”. Once I’d signed on with them, I received consistent support and encouragement from other BP authors, editors and staff; we communicate through a Facebook group and share resources, ideas, and good news. They’re really a welcoming and dynamic publisher.

3.   What do you have under your bed? My kitten, Mika. It’s her favorite place. Also quite a few socks, which are a favorite “treasure” spirited away by my other cat, Schala.

4.   Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing? I usually write by the seat of my pants, but there’s a little plotting that occurs beforehand. I don’t do outlines but I usually envision scenes for a while before its time to actually write them out.

5.   Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process? I think critique groups and writing buddies are essential. I don’t think any author should keep themselves totally isolated.

6.   When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them? Ideas most often come to me when I’m listening to music. So when I get an idea that comes tied to a song, I usually put the song on repeat while the idea takes shape around it.

7.      What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors? I like Microsoft Word, but I also use pencils and journals, as well as my Kindle, when I’m writing on the go.

Author Bio:

When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to Lotus Petals, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm, and hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at She can also be found on Facebook at, on Google+, or on Twitter as @brantwijn.

Blurb for Lotus Petals

Lotus Pedals by Brantwijn Serrah cover art

Lotus Pedals by Brantwijn Serrah

Rhiannon Donovan, daughter to the vampire Queen, would rather die than be made a bride to a demon Lord. Aijyn, courtesan to the undead Daimyo of Kansai, can think of nothing more horrifying than his promise of eternal life.  In the halls of the Blood Lotus Temple, the two women struggle against the chains of their fate, and find a solace in each other that could mean freedom for them both… or might cost each of them their lives.

Buy Links:

Breathless Press:





Rhiannon pulled Aijyn closer, and lowered herself over the wound to kiss it a second time. The warm arousal intensified, and Aijyn caught her breath as her body awoke to the sensation, nipples stiffening under the soft silk of her kimono.

“Here,” Rhiannon whispered, reaching up to brush the dark strands of hair from Aijyn’s shoulder, revealing the tiny, neat scars of bites past. Scars that would never heal the way the vampire’s did, white little lines and half-moons, memories of Gohachiro’s affections.

“Doesn’t the daimyo give you pain…” Rhiannon said, following their contours with light but deliberate pressure.

“…so he may turn it into pleasure?”

“Rhiannon-sama…” Aijyn murmured vaguely. One hand had dropped into her lap; the other rested on the vampire’s warm, lean arm. Strange awareness filled her: the touch stirred up the first bloom of eagerness in her loins and the pit of her belly.

“Pain is what we are, courtesan. Pain, hunger, pleasure, death. We are the undead. I am just over half a century old, more than twice your age, and I have been Sölva’s for longer than you have been alive. There are scars you will never see, all over my body: the marks of her fangs, of her whip, the cut of her blade, the pierce of steel needles. And every one of them sings when she touches me, screams when she hurts me…and it is ecstasy.”


Aijyn realized with some dread she had made a mistake. The vampire’s touch brushed against her, terribly light, terribly fleeting, but her voice…soft, beautiful, rich, like strong liquor.

Rhiannon’s hand came to rest on the back of Aijyn’s neck. She gently pulled the courtesan closer, resting forehead-to-forehead and searching deep into Aijyn’s wide, dark eyes.

“You do this for him, too?” she whispered. “You…perform anma for him? You touch his body with such delicate affection?”

“Yes,” Aijyn whispered.

“And does it make him want to fuck?

Before she could think better of it, Aijyn lifted up a hand and slapped her.

The strike was not a hard one. At least, to Rhiannon it would not have been hard. Aijyn’s palm stung as though she had struck it against solid rock, and she quickly pressed it in her other hand, hissing with pain.

Rhiannon did not strike back. She remained perfectly still, her expression unchanging. After a moment, once Aijyn had collected herself, the vampire leaned closer and pressed her mouth against Aijyn’s own.

“It makes me want to fuck,” she said. Then she stood, one smooth, languid motion, and retreated to her coffin to at last submit to her daytime sleep.


Buy Links:

Breathless Press:




Thank you for being my guest at Writerly Wednesday.  Come back next week and visit with another Writer.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Nate McQueen

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Nate McQueen.


1.      What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?
Usually, simply discussing the book with someone leads to interest. However, I’m not the best at selling myself to a reader but I know others who are great at making the novel look intriguing and worth the money. Also doing readings and seeing people want to buy your book are also very rewarding. They’ve heard your work and are intrigued enough to buy a copy. That is probably the most satisfying means of marketing. There is the downside that they may hate the book after they’ve read it but, at the moment, you have a glimpse of hope.
2.      What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?
I actually went both routes in publishing my novel. My dad and I created City Hill Publishing and released my book under that label. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing but we continue to learn and discover new ways to promote our books and those sort of aspects. It is rather fun following a book from idea to paperback and, most importantly, I have creative control on pretty much every aspect of my books content and design.
3.      What do you have under your bed?
Dust, junk, probably kid’s toys. A diaper or two from my 3 month old. When you have three children, your house really isn’t yours anymore. It becomes a storage unit sort of situation.
4.      Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
I plot but it usually never goes the way I planned it. Characters change course and the events change along with the characters so I am often left with fragments of my original idea. Writing is a maddening experience sometimes. Not a great hobby for the obsessively-compulsive organizer.
5.      Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?
Opinions are invaluable. Especially from different types of readers. My wife is my main critic and her advice, good and bad, improves my work and allows me to see things I am blind to while writing. Especially on the empathetic levels. I’ve heard that you are to write for one person and not for a multitude so I try to take that approach. Your writing is never going to appease everyone. A Nicholas Sparks fan would hate Kurt Vonnegut and vice-a-versa. It simply is a matter of subjectivity. I try to let a variety of people read drafts just to find common issues I may have overlooked.
6.      When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
To be honest, I am not a diligent note taker when it comes to ideas. I have a tiny notebook but I rarely keep it with me. I jot down stuff in there when it comes to me but, most the time, it is scribbled on business cards or bulletins or shopping lists. Ideas come whenever. I haven’t noticed a pattern or specific task that generates ideas. It is sporadic. Another maddening aspect of writing.

  7.    What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I have a PC so it is Microsoft Word for me. My professor in college always handwrites his work and fills notebooks with words. Honestly, I could never do that. Between handcramps and the hours spent trying to decipher the hieroglyphics of my own handwriting, it just isn’t worth it. Some will argue the act of writing aids in the creative process and that may be true. But I manage with my fingertips.
I know about the handwriting er penmanship, mine is so bad I ask others what they think I wrote.
N T McQueen head shot

N T McQueen

N.T. McQueen is the author of the novel, Between Lions and Lambs, and the children’s book, Moses Jones and the Case of the Missing Sneaker. He received his MA in Creative Writing from CSU-Sacramento under the direction of Douglas Rice. He has won two Bazzanella Literary Awards and his work has appeared in issues of the Calaveras Station, Burning Daylight, and Eleven to Seven. He lives in Northern California with his wife and three children.

Twitter: @NTMcQ
Between Lions and Lambs cover art

Between Lions and Lambs

Ezekiel Clemens is the worlds most notable evangelist. At his side is Gerald Lambough, who serves as janitor in hiding the sinful secrets of this righteous man. On the day of one of their largest televised meetings, the two encounter a mysterious stranger that rattles their teetering lives and sends them both on a journey of revelation and repentance where dark secrets are revealed, faith is tested, and lives are forever altered. Simple yet complex, Between Lions and Lambs is a compelling and provocative examination of the fallibility of man and the necessity of truth, questioning religions purpose and those who use it. A story that speaks to both religious and irreligious with profound insight and veracity till the last page.

Buy Link(s):
Though he stood illuminated in white light, he was surrounded by darkness. He gazed into the sea of faces forever expanding into the darkness in front of him; faces and torsos climbing the giant walls and flooding the space of the stadium like a swarm of singing locusts. The fruit of his labor sang before him and he clutched the cross that hung about his neck, concealed under clothes.  After years of travel that took him to four continents, he had experienced a power of insurmountable capacities and his minions bellowed praises in his name with deference for his stature.
The choir sang behind him, bellowing the glory among a score of finely tuned voices of all octaves and styles.  The piano and guitar’s gospel groove energized the song through a melodious engine.
Upon the platform, he stood in his finest black suit, pressed and immaculate with shoes that shone like the idiom claimed. His slick black hair glistened atop his slender frame. The stage was ordained with the most sparkling of golden ornamentation: a large golden cross imbedded with jewels, a pulpit made of dark and glossy wood, banners hung from lights and uttered exclamations of rejoice and exhortations. Fellow ministers stood to his left, clapping out of rhythm, singing, weeping, raising hands and speaking in bizarre tongues; vocally and physically worshipping for all the Lord has done in their lives. The sound seemed to envelope him in a surreal dream. Witnessing in a vision how He is walking and talking alongside them in the garden the song spoke of.
He raised both his hands toward the sky, eyes closed, swaying softly left to right, portraying an absorption of the presence of God. He listened to the crowd’s tangle of voices as if a wave was ebbed and flowed over him. The ministers’ mouths scrambled under some invisible force. The words battled back and forth among choir and crowd in a swell of sounds and moans and invectives. The chorus bobbed and swelled once again as the choir ends in unison with the band’s engine. A great applause propelled toward the stage, the clapping hands bringing a visual life to the great sea before his eyes. He claps as he walks to the decadent podium with the gold crucifix. He placed his skinny hands at either side of the stand; his worn leather Bible displayed before him, marked and tagged with notes for the evening’s sermon. The uproarious applause continued as a man, dressed in modest attire with his wavy brown hair, approached from the side of the stage and comes to his side in the spotlight.
“They’re in place on the bottom floor. Two guys and an old woman,” he says into the preacher’s ear with a grim voice, the warm breath tickling the canal of his ear. “You give the signal and they’ll be ready and then say the diseases and they’ll come up at the right time. Just like we’ve been practicing. We paid them pretty good so they shouldn’t be like the last ones.”
Buy Link(s):

Thank you Nate for being my guest this week.  Come back next week to see my next Writerly Wednesday guest.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Christopher Hudson

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Christopher Hudson.


1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

Honestly, I don’t think I could point to one … I hate marketing, and, either as a result of that … or just because, I may be the world’s worst marketer.

2. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

My original publisher got out of the fiction business … which left me in the cold … no where to go but to self-pub.

 3. What do you have under your bed?

I’m afraid to look.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

Plotter, no wait, pantser … on second thought, plotter … on third thought, I don’t know.

 5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I’m a bubble boy.

 6. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

If I knew, I’d keep a net next to my desk.

7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on, fogged bathroom mirrors?

Mostly, just good ol’ WORD … now and then a paper and pencil if I’m sitting on the beach (sigh).

Head Shot C Hudson

Christopher Hudson

I was born in a log cabin on the edge of the great forest. My childhood was spent helping to maintain the subsistence life style of our humble, but loving, pioneer family. At the end of long days clearing fields and tending livestock, I taught myself to read and write by lamp light.

Eventually I was betrothed to my lovely … and, as it turned out, long-suffering … Cheryl. With our little Jennifer in the crib, I went off to toil under the corporate lash to provide gruel for the family.
Anyway, after spending what seemed like several lifetimes in cubeville … I was mercifully set out to pasture (read terminated) and finally allowed to roam into areas to which I was much more suited and comfortable … like writing and music.
And when I’m not tappity-tappity on the keyboard, I’m playing guitar with On the Loose … which means I either have too many interests OR a complete lack of focus … I don’t know, what was I talking about?
Email, FB, Twitter links or addresses here…



Cover art Headwind

Headwind by Christopher Hudson

If you’re on vacation, fly coach. If you’re on business, fly first-class. If you’re on a mission, fly with Mickey.

Tony Boccaccio is after a bag of cash that he believes is his. Max Burke thinks otherwise and has hired two couriers to take the money to California.
Mickey Soto is a commercial pilot hauling freight and instructing students from a small, Florida airport. Tony hires Mickey and his airplane to go after the couriers. Mickey thought his days of flying illegal cargo were behind him, but the lure of easy money and his policy of ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ cause him to add to his history of poor decisions.
Tony’s cousin, Gina, jumps in to help, and the three of the end up in a desperate cross-crountry race that leads to a West Coast pier and a fateful decision by Tony that impacts their lives in ways that none of them could have foreseen.
A cloud of dust followed the Cadillac as it sped along a country road west of Miami.  The driver winced at every rough patch that threatened to shake the car apart.  A gold chain bounced against his chest under a Hawaiian-print shirt.  In spite of the air-conditioning going full-blast, his olive forehead glistened with perspiration and he ran his hand over it and through dark, slicked back pre-maturely balding hair.
Suddenly he grabbed the wheel with both hands and slammed on the brakes, his sunglasses slipping down his nose as the car skidded to a stop.
He threw the barely stopped vehicle into reverse, throwing a cloud of dust in the opposite direction.  Slamming on the brakes again, he jammed the Caddy back into drive and swung it onto a barely visible two-track.
He eased the car a quarter-mile down the primitive driveway, stopping in front of a gate in a ten-foot high chain-link fence.  A sign proclaimed, Rodriquez BROS. AUTO SALVAGE. He stepped out of the Caddy into the blazing Florida sun, walked to the intercom mounted on the gate and pressed a button.
A barely recognizable, “Yeah?” filtered through the static.
“It’s Tony,” he said just as two snarling Dobermans reached the gate from the inside, barking frantically and pressing at the fence to get at the sweating man.  “Give me a sec to get back in my car before you …”
The gate began to slide open, the dogs nosing at the quickly widening opening.
“Sonofabitch,” Tony yelled as he scrambled back to the car and dove through the open door.
He slammed the door shut as the lead dog reached the car and leaped on the window.  “Christ,” he said, breathing hard and trying to compose himself as the dogs bounced off the car, snarling and snapping.  “Damn mangy hounds.”
He slipped the car into drive and pulled through the gate, flipping off the dogs as they followed, continuing their vicious attack on the car.  Once inside he sped up and watched them in his mirror as they disappeared in the dust.
Bouncing another quarter mile past rusting hulks of cars and piles of parts, he pulled up to a small building, its corrugated tin roof brown and dented and weather-beaten cement-block walls flaking green paint.  Stepping out of the car he shook his head in disbelief at the oppressive heat, but on hearing the dogs gaining ground up the driveway he stepped quickly to the front door.
He stepped inside to blessedly conditioned air. “Thank God,” he said, then walked down a dimly lit hallway to a grease-stained door marked LUNCH ROOM and pushed it open.
The air in the small room was surprisingly fresh, but the sunlight that filtered through dirty windows barely competed with the two bare bulbs that hung from the low ceiling.  Sheldon Isaacs and Vince Jackson sat across from each other at a picnic-style table.  Vince munched a sandwich while Sheldon idly flipped through the channels of a television mounted on a wall on the other side of the room.

Thank you Christopher for being my guest this week.  Come back next week to see my next Writerly Wednesday guest.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Thank you again for coming to Writerly Wednesday and please visit again.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

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More than One Way to Skin a Cat?

Welcome to Fiction Friday Settings.. .

Did you know there is more than one way to skin a cat?

Who wants to skin a cat in the first place?

Instead of coming up with a quick bit of Flash Fiction for Fiction Friday I thought I’d talk about places.

If you are like me, your partner or spouse is the main wage earner in the family and this allows you some free time to write.  But it doesn’t necessarily give you a budget that allows world travel.

I like to stick to places I’ve seen when I write a novel but when I include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or the Texas School Book Repository in my anthology “If Walls Could Talk,” I did a little online research.


You can google and google earth just about everything and get a 3 D/360 view.  Give this a try if your internet connection allows.

Another way to get information is by calling a tourist agency in the city or place you are about to use as a setting.  The kind people who work at these agencies will send you a snail mail packet with just about everything you never knew you’d use.  Thank them and credit them somewhere in you work.

A third way to get to know a place is to go through newspaper archives online from the area you are using.  This gives you a good idea of political issues, crime, growth and the nitty gritty of more things you didn’t think you’d use.  When you can, go ahead and e-subscribe to the newspaper nearest your setting.

Come back next Friday to see if I give you a flash or a tip…

Don’t touch anything sharp!

If I Should Die & Milk Carton People available at your favorite e-tailer for your favorite e-reader.

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February 5, 2014 · 1:59 pm

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Timothy Fleming

Welcome back to Writerly Wednesday.

On the First Wednesday of February and the first Writerly Wednesday post of 2014 Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Timothy Fleming.

Writerly Wednesday posts consist of an Interview followed by a bio, blurb and excerpt.  You will also see buy links.  While you are purchasing Timothy’s book add one of mine to your cart.


1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?

I have an elderly neighbor who can’t get around well. After a recent snowstorm I offered to shovel her drive. We got to talking, and I told her about my book. A few days later her daughter showed up at my door with a newly purchased copy of The President’s Mortician for me to sign. It was a birthday gift for her mother.

2. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?

It took courage to publish The President’s Mortician, because it is a dangerous book. While some of the narrative is fictional, the parts dealing directly with the assassination of JFK are factual. I name the real plotters, shooters, and accessories before and after the fact. And I reveal explosive new evidence that flies in the face of the historical lies our government has foisted on us for 50 years. Lots of publishers backed away from my book before Neverland Publishing took it on.

3. What do you have under your bed?

A notebook. Often I awake from a dream (or a nightmare) with ideas that need to be jotted down before I lose them.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?

More of a plotter. I have a working outline in my head at all times.

5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups,writing buddies or other companionship during the process?

I’m a loner. Like Hemingway said, “Writing is easy. Just sit down by yourself at a typewriter and bleed.”

6. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?

Ideas come to me all the time. Some of them warrant my attention; others fade away. When I’m stuck, music inspires me. I prefer classical–Ravel, Satie, and other French composers are my favorites.

7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?

I use anything that is handy. I once wrote down an idea on an envelope in my car while stopped at a traffic light. I use MS Word, but I’m not married to it.


Timothy Flemming Head Shot

Timothy Fleming

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Tim Fleming is a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  He has worked as a writer, editor, and college English instructor.  His published stories include works across several genres.  His first historical novel, Murder Of An American Nazi, was published in 2008.  “The Barefoot Hero,” a 2010 work of literary fiction, was published in the award-winning short story anthology, Writers On The Wrong Side Of The Road.   His screenplay, Boats Against The Current, won top honors at the Skyfest Film Festival in 2011.  His  short story, “Back To Lopez Island,” was published in 2012 in The Speed Of Dark, a horror anthology.  It won the Reader’s Favorite International Bronze Award in 2013.  Fleming’s latest work is The President’s Mortician, A Story Of How And Why JFK’s Murder Was Executed And Covered Up.

Fleming has researched the Kennedy assassination for decades.  He has read most of the hundreds of books published on the topic; he has reviewed thousands of documents released through the Freedom of Information Act; and he has interviewed scores of witnesses.  He even lived in Dallas for a period of time, taking a part-time job in between college semesters, just to have access to primary sources.  The evidence he uncovered indicated that a conspiracy took the life of JFK, but there were unresolved questions about how and why the cover-up endured so long.  Despite all the years of research, he was unable to reconcile the fundamental contradictions inherent in the medical evidence of the case, until he stumbled upon a witness who clarified the contradictions in JFK’s wounds.

The President's Mortician book cover

The President’s Mortician

In any murder investigation, the victim’s body tells the story of how the crime took place.  In the case of murder by gunshot, the bullet holes on the dead body will indicate, among other things, trajectory and direction of the shots.  But JFK’s wounds appeared one way in Dallas and another way in Washington DC just six hours after the shooting.  The Parkland doctors saw evidence of frontal entry, meaning Oswald could not have done the shooting because he was in a building behind the President at the time of the assassination.  But the Bethesda Naval Hospital autopsy doctors saw evidence of rear entry, meaning Oswald could have done the shooting.  Which group of doctors was right?  Fleming did not know until he talked to the daughter of the man who altered JFK’s wounds after the president’s corpse left Parkland and before it arrived at Bethesda.  The eponymous mortician was a master at reconstructing and altering dead bodies to disguise the true manner of death.  And he had sinister ties to U.S. intelligence and Air Force officers.  His name was John Liggett, and he was the surreptitious mortician to the 35th President.

Buy Link 

Blurb from Amazon

Largely unknown to history, John Liggett was one of the most macabre and gruesome figures of the 20th century. A skilled undertaker and body reconstructionist, he was also a contract killer with furtive intelligence connections. Liggett’s actions on November 22, 1963, speak to the sinister role he may have played in helping plotters cover up the true nature of President John F. Kennedy’s murder. But Liggett’s secret work is not done. One summer night young Conrad “Con” Reese, Jr., while peeping in his neighbor’s window, witnesses the horrifying murder of Nancy Weirshellen. Nancy’s husband, Ed, is wrongly convicted of the murder, and, though Con knows Ed is not the murderer, ashamed of his actions on that night, he does not come forward to tell his story to authorities. As he grows older, Con feels deep remorse for allowing an innocent man to be convicted of murder, and he retains a clear image of the real murderer in his memory. With the help of a journalist friend, Durrell “Abbie” Monroe, Con learns that Liggett has suspicious connections to the JFK assassination and was also Nancy Weirshellen’s murderer. Ed escapes custody, aided by Con and Abbie. The friends reveal the identity of Nancy’s murderer to Ed, thus sending him on a deadly search for Liggett. Interwoven with riveting facts and enthralling historical fiction, The President’s Mortician reveals the true nature of the plot to kill our nation’s 35th president, and how that deed was covered up in the most diabolical and clever way imaginable

Author contact information:

Follow on Twitter @tpfleming

Thank you Timothy for being my guest this week.  Come back next week to see my next Writerly Wednesday guest.

If I Should Die and Milk Carton People by Sally Franklin Christie are available at your favorite book-seller in print and e-formats for your favorite e-reader.

Thank you again for coming to Writerly Wednesday and please visit again.

Don’t touch anything sharp.




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Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Year after year, month after month, I complain that Montana has two seasons.  Winter and July.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

If a Picture is worth a thousand words then let me share a few photos.

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I included a photo of my eco-sphere.  My previous one lived over 7 years.  No food or water needed.  All I provide is room temperature and light.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

1 Comment

February 4, 2014 · 9:36 am