Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mayra Calvani and Frederico,The Mouse Violinist

They say the publishing world is a small universe. I've found this to be true. Those who stick around become familiar to each other. Names chime memory bells and when we're all together for a conference, the number of familiar faces grows tenfold. Mayra Calvani is one of those people for me. She is a generous, wonderful person who often reviews books for upcoming authors, seemingly out of the blue. She did this for me, for my novel, My Biker Bodyguard. Her review was one of the first I got when I started out and I've never forgotten this.

When I recently joined Virtual Blog Tour (VBT) Writer's on the Move, I discovered Mayra was a member there, to my delight. Turns out, she's just had a fabulous kid's book published. Well, I was thrilled to return her favor and offered to reveiw the book. Today, I'm dedicating my blog to her and the book, Frederico The Mouse Vilonist. Please enjoy this very special post! ;)

Frederico is a little mouse with a big dream: he wants to become a violinist. Each day he watches as Stradivari makes his famous violins. Each night, he sneaks into the workshop to play. But the violins are too big! Then, unbeknown to Frederico, Stradivari sees him playing and begins carving a tiny device. Could it be a famous Strad especially for Frederico?
Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, teaches the parts of the violin to beginner players and entertains them with a fun, educational story about a little mouse that lives in Antonio Stradivari’s workshop. Activities at the end of the book included.

“A little mouse transports us into Antonio Stradivari’s magical workshop…Frederico conveys to us his love for the violin, while he introduces us to this marvelous instrument. Lovely tribute to a genius, whose exceptional instruments have delighted us for 300 years!”—Dorina Raileanu, violin teacher, author of the Dorina Violin Method

“Frederico’s story is adorable and touching. I’m sure it will entertain many children, teach them a few things about the violin—and who knows, perhaps even give them the desire to learn to play!”—Francine Engels, Suzuki violin teacher

My Review:
Frederico the Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani is a delightful story. I expected a fun read, but instead, found an enjoyable and educational story. Calvani hits that magical note where learning becomes exciting. The mouse is adorable as he discovers every part of the violin and when the famous Stradivari creates a gift just for our favorite furry friend, the reader feels the mouse’s joy. This is a book for the keeper shelf. Frederico the Mouse will become every young violinist’s favorite book and become the inspiration for others to play a violin of their own.

About the author:
Mayra Calvani is an award-winning author for children and adults. Her love for the violin has inspired her to pen multiple violin stories for children, among them The Magic Violin and the forthcoming, The Doll Violinist. Visit her website at www.mayrassecretbookcase.com. You may also contact her at mayra.calvani@gmail.com.

Frederico, the Mouse Violinist
By Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by K.C. Snider
Guardian Angel Publishing
Available on Amazon, B&N, Powells, and most online retailers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Extreme Hauntings #3-Detour 2 Death

Hello all my readers! :) I've got a special sneak preview of Detour 2 Death to share with you. Enjoy the read!

Book #1: DFF: Dead Friends Forever
Book #2: School's Out 4-Ever
Book #3: Detour 2 Death

Chapter One

In her dreams, Kaylee walked a vast landscape of twisted trees and red sand. The wind pulled at her hair and filled every crease of exposed skin with grit. She squinted toward the familiar squeak of tortured, metal wheels. Davey. Her best friend suffered in this place, his wheelchair melded to his lower half. From one dune to the next, the wind took every sound in a different direction. He could be anywhere.

Up ahead, beyond a swirling veil of dust, the sound came again. A dark shadow, close to the ground, crawled toward her. She sprinted to his side. Davey’s dirty, sweaty hair stuck to his forehead. With hands covered in tattered cloth, he pulled himself across the hot sand. A black twisted tree dipped its dead branches toward them.

Sun beat on her, drawing sweat from her scalp. He saw her and brightened with a short-lived smile. She dropped to her knees and cupped his face. As her hands touched him, he turned to ash. The wind made him a cremation snowfall, spreading him in every direction, far beyond her reach. Ash blackened her hands. Davey covered her trembling fingers and landed on her eyelashes. She blinked, scrambling to gather the burnt tissues together, to make him whole, to heal him.

Too late, Reason, the small voice in the back of her mind, said. He’s gone and it’s all your fault. You left him there and now he’s dead.

Her sobs built, one on top of the other. Not Davey. Never Davey. Hands fisted, she pounded the dirt, her tears turning the sand to mud. She turned her face to the sky and screamed.

The panic from her dream followed her awake. Her pulse thundered. Where was she?

"Jesus," Vincent said. "You nearly gave me a heart attack. You okay?"

“Sorry.” The screams left her throat raw. She rode in a truck, a semi, with Vincent, the driver who picked her up back in Duluth. Her mouth tasted of the false heat blowing from the semi's vents. The dash lights illuminated the night-dark cab. Snowflakes blew vertically into the windshield.

"Bad dreams, huh?" His attention remained on the road, hands tight on the wheel. “Weather’s pickin’ up out there. I’m a good listener, though, if you feel the need to talk it out of your system.”

Kaylee shook her head. The winter coat she wore belonged to a dying woman. Now she really was a thief, a criminal, a crook. All the stuff they said about her, thought about her, came true. Before all this angel and demon business, she had been a law-abiding citizen. Maybe not the best or most popular, but definitely a girl with a future. The ghosts robbed her of that. Only one blessing might make up for it all. If she could help Davey, save him somehow, then this would all be worth the sacrifices.

She unzipped the jacket. What happened back at the girl's reform school couldn't possibly have happened just a few hours ago. Time felt suspended, as if the real world existed beyond a sheer pane of glass. Even Vincent, smelling of wet winter wool and French fries, could be a ghost if she didn’t know how freaky those things were.

“You sure you don’t want to talk?” He glanced at her then, his baseball cap popped back on his head to show warm eyes.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“I don’t know about that. I was young once. Though I wasn’t a girl, but I can guess it’s something we all have to deal with now and again.”

Uh, she didn’t think so.

“C’mon, it’ll pass the time.”

She sighed. “I dreamed about a friend of mine. He’s…was in trouble and I couldn’t help him. I got there too late.”

“Now what wouldn’t I believe about that? Everyone has someone they wish they could have helped. I’m sure your friend knows you will do what you can to help him.”

“I hope so,” she whispered. A sign read Marsden five miles ahead. They were almost there. She straightened in her seat, watching out the window. “I don’t know what I would do without him.”

“Oh, so he’s more than just a friend?”

“No, no. Not at all. Just friends. We grew up next door to each other, is all. It’s not like that. He’s in a wheelchair.”

“So you don’t like guys in wheelchairs?” He softened the question with a sideways grin.

“That’s not what I mean.” She smiled. “We’re just friends.”

“Yep, that’s what they all say.”

She chuffed. “Really, we are. Just friends.”

“Whatever you say, kiddo. See, passed the time just fine, didn’t it?” Vince flipped on his blinker and eased toward the freeway exit. A blue sign with a white H flashed past. "Won't be long now. Just a few blocks up the road. I'm sure your ma will be happy to see you. But you gotta promise me, no more hitching. A pretty girl like you could end up dead or worse."

"I promise." Unsure if Vince would be as eager to give her a ride to see a boy, she had lied and told him her mother was in the hospital. Back in Duluth, she knew when he would exit the freeway to get gas, knew he would take her to Marsden Memorial, knew Fate or Destiny or God, or whatever had its fingers in her life, sent him for her. She knew this the same way she knew things about people she loved, people she didn’t know…people who were dead. Psychic or witch or descended from angels, she couldn’t tell for sure one way or another. She only knew Davey needed her.

As they passed through downtown Marsden, familiar stores appeared strange in the falling snow at this time of night. They passed Madame Maggie's with the large neon hand hanging dark in the window. They passed Schmidt’s jewelry and the library. The hospital loomed large and bright beyond the darkened buildings.

Davey, I’m almost there. Hang on.

“Your town sure rolls up the sidewalk early.”

“Not much to do around here. Mom says it’s better that way. Less chance a kid can get into trouble.” If she only knew, Kaylee thought.

The semi's engine grunted as Vincent switched gears. Kaylee imagined glass storefronts shattering from the vibration. Everything remained in tact, and Vince pulled to a stop at the back of the hospital’s parking lot. The engine settled down to a distinctive grumble.

"Zip up. It's toasty in here, but out there, you'll catch your death." Vince nodded to the blowing snow. "Your ma wouldn't want you getting sick just on account of her."

Kaylee zipped the coat. "Thank you for the ride."

"My pleasure," Vince said, sticking out his hand.

She took his hand. The world tilted and images flickered high speed across her inner eye. A porch with a rocking chair, overgrown willows on a dirt road, a fish swimming in river water, skinned knees and tanned legs, a red bike with a rusted fender, all of this came on the sensation of old fashioned goodness. As she let go, an indefinable shadow clouded the warmth of those images. She put her hand on the door. She didn’t understand fully why she did a lot of things lately and this was another of those times. Kaylee said, “You’re a good guy, Vincent. Don’t let anything change that."

He grinned a little sheepishly. "Will do. You take care, kid. I don't want to see your face on the side of a milk carton one day. Keep that promise, okay?"

“Okay.” She opened the door and hopped down. She waved and slammed the door, stepping backward and burying her hands inside the deep pockets. The difference in temperature was startling. The semi rumbled back into gear and wobbled toward the exit. She faced the hospital, the six floors of glass and concrete and brick. In the whirling snow and whistling wind, the building seemed shrouded with foreboding. Any second now she expected to hear a ghoulish voice tell her to turn back, turn back before it’s too late. A line from some movie, she thought, about a girl beginning a journey into an unknown, dangerous labyrinth.

Kaylee stepped across the snow banks and headed for the emergency entrance to the hospital. She grimaced against the wind-driven flakes and kept her eye on the red emergency sign. How would she get inside? The last time she was there, after a mishap on her skateboard, a security guard manned the entrance and nurses worked a reception desk. They weren’t going to let her just walk inside, would they? Maybe they would.

Whatever messed up her whole life had a plan of its own. If that thing wanted her to get to Davey, somehow, someway, she would get into the hospital before he…got too sick. Her throat swelled closed a little, thinking of him in her nightmare. He suffered so much, but worse, he suffered all alone. Everyone might think they knew what it meant to be in a wheelchair, even she could try to understand, yet no one could know unless they had to live that way.

The doors opened as she approached. The vents between the outer doors and the inner doors blasted her face with heated air and she smelled that hot, desert place once more. Her ears burned from the change in temperature. A video camera, mounted in the corner, blinked a red light at her. She furtively glanced into the lens, realizing too late she should have hid her face. How long did she have before they knew she left Duluth? They could already be looking for her. If they put out one of those Amber Alert things, Vincent would let the police know where she was. Funny, she didn’t mind him giving her up as much as she minded upsetting him once he found out she lied.

That was the problem with good guys. They made you feel guilty if you weren’t as good as they were. Thinking about being bad, what would they do once they found out she skipped out on her sentence? The court ordered her to attend Barclay Hall. That made her a real outlaw, didn’t it? On the lam and she just turned fifteen.

To her surprise, the emergency room was deserted. No patients waited to be seen and no one manned the front desk. She strolled right on in, like they put out the red carpet just for her. Looking left to right for any oncoming security guards, her hyper-awareness picked up absolutely nothing. No sounds, no voices, not even a ringing phone. Her sneakers squeaked on the tile floors as she scurried down the hall and into the rest of the hospital. She peered around corners, growing more frightened by the minute. Where did everyone go?

When Davey first got sick, they put him in the pediatric wing with all the little kids. Since he had the same doctor, he must be in the same place. Near the elevator, she heard voices, finally and dashed for the sign marking the stairs. Part terrified they would catch her before she got to Davey, and part relieved this wasn’t some sort of alternate dimension, she hurried up the stairs.
On the second floor, the lights were all so low, that unless someone looked directly for her, she blended into the shadows. The dying woman's boring grey coat helped. If she wore red or leopard print or something wild like that, they would spot her for sure.

On the right floor and in the right place, she only needed to find Davey's room. She paused, inhaled deeply, and reeled out that sense, that little thread she could send out into the world when she concentrated. She pushed it down the hall, searching for Davey’s essence. Nothing down there. She turned the opposite way. Nothing again.

This is stupid, she thought, who do I think I am? Super Psychic Woman to the rescue? Maybe she needed to be locked up in her dad’s loony bin. She opened her eyes as a familiar sense slid in and out of her notice, the way a fleeting scent gives the expectation of a seeing the person who wears the cologne. She closed her eyes again and aimed that thread in the same direction. There. She knew then, absolutely knew with complete certainty that he was in the third room from the end.

Just in view of the nurse’s station.

Kaylee took a silent breath and braced herself. She started down the hall, moving slow and keeping her eye on the end of the counter. If a nurse came into view, she would freeze. If the nurse looked like she might head toward Kaylee, she would duck into the nearest room, hope the patient inside would stay fast asleep, and she wouldn't have to worry about freaking out some sick kid.

Her back to the wall, she slid closer to Davey's room. Halfway there, at an open door, movement inside the room caught her eye. Something shifted in the darkness, something furtive and not particularly human. Her lungs froze and her heart skipped a beat. Eyes wide, she held absolutely still and waited for the movement to repeat itself. When nothing happened, she exhaled—and saw her breath form in the air.

Not good. Not good. Not good at all.

By sheer force, she managed to sidestep away, her stare intent on where the potential threat came from. In her experience, ghosts were the least of her worries. The things that trapped them here, on earth, were far more frightening. Demons and monsters loved to keep a spirit at unrest. She couldn't risk getting distracted by the thing in this room when Davey needed her so badly.

Kaylee came for Davey, not some stranger. Fate, or whoever, owed her this much. She did what they expected of her, to her own detriment. She freed the ghost girl Isabelle and defeated the demon Asmodeus. She freed the ghost children at Barclay Hall and defeated the monster feeding on their souls. Her turn to use whatever power she had inside her, to help someone she…

Loved. Love, just say it, Reason, said in that practical manner. Reason didn't play games and shot holes in every theory Kaylee tried to trick herself into believing. Her father, Sir Shrinks-a-lot, would have called it her conscience. To her, it was just Reason. The practical part of her mind that didn't pussy-foot around.

So okay, yeah, she loved Davey. Did she love him like a brother, though? At seven, she once promised to marry him when they grew up. He thought it was sort of gross and from then on, they were just friends. Only lately, it didn't feel like that. Not since his voice deepened and he got taller than her. When he stood for those few moments between transferring from his wheelchair to another seat, his height amazed her. They used to see eye-to-eye, now it was more like eye-to-chin.

Once she got into his hospital room, he didn't look very big at all. He seemed shrunken somehow, like they drained him out and left just a husk. His damp hair fell back from his forehead and his olive skin looked deathly. His dark brows and heavy lashes were black slashes on a pale face. His lips were papery, cracked. A small light above his bed burned low.

Kaylee eased the door closed behind her, holding the handle to keep the snick of full closure barely audible. Walking carefully, she went around his bed. Another bed, this one against the far wall, sat empty, to her relief. The last time he had been in the hospital, a burned boy who whimpered and cried all the time shared a room with him. The pitiful mewling always made her feel guilty about how good it felt to leave that sound behind.

Davey breathed so quietly, she barely detected the rise and fall of his chest. His hands lay limp at his sides. His upper arms and shoulders were broad, tapering to a slender waist that ended in slimmer legs. Even with physical therapy, the muscles of his legs had atrophied. From the waist up, however, he was built—mostly from all the effort it took to negotiate a world with a wheelchair. She wished the strength in his upper body meant he would be okay.

Just be okay, Davey. Just be okay.

She gently touched his hand and watched for any sign her cool fingers registered on him, any twitch, any awakening, but he lay unmoving. Though the fear of what she might discover made her shake all over, she sent out that probing thing. She snapped her hand away, stumbling backward. Tears pricked her eyes and she covered her mouth with a trembling hand.

He isn’t there.

Davey had checked out, gone away, left the shell of himself behind and fled the scene. Her heart thudded heavier and heavier against her ribs. This wasn’t like with the head mistress of Barclay Hall, where she couldn't get any sort of read at all. This time, she felt no remnants of a personality she knew as well as her own.

A black void filled Davey, so cold and horrible, the iciness left her breathless.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chillin' with Martin Bartloff

Please welcome Martin Bartloff to my blog :)

House of Fear

Although you’re not really in the mood, you decide to turn on the radio or television. Turn on a couple more lights in the house ‘cause your friends just left and you find yourself all alone at home. Nobody else is there and you just have to kill a few hours before your parents or brother comes home.

You’re trying to watch TV, but your skin begins to prickle and your heart beats a few extra beats than it should. You pretend everything is just fine, however it’s not. You listen past the sound of the radio, and you hear a strange noise coming from somewhere downstairs. Your chest throbs and a cold shiver creeps up your spine.

You know you’re not completely by yourself at home because something is watching you and you’re not just imagining this. You wish you could tell somebody, but what would be the use, they’ll just think you’re a scared little kid and probably, by the time somebody gets home, you’re way too relieved to give it any more thought. You just don’t want to think about it anymore. Not ever again.

You guessed it!! I’m a firm believer of ghosts, spirits and whatever else creeps in the dark or hovers between the heavens and earth. What sets me apart from the average scaredy pants is that I could take a walk in a cemetery in the middle of the night or walk down a dark alley and neither would bother me. But, I remember coming home in the dark from a friend’s house while my mom and my brother went off to visit Grandma for a couple of hours and I would NOT go in the house. You may understand now why there are a few scenes in Torn From Normal where Andy is running out of the house.

Many of my fears and feelings as a teenager end up in my writings and my very next YA novel will entail many more clues to my childhood. I grew up living in two old houses. We moved to the second when I was nine. The house was haunted and even today, when I travel to Germany and drive by the old place, it spooks me out and I wonder what the owner might go through. Much like Andy I ran out of that house, one time even in the brought daylight.

I’d love to hear your scary-house stories and I hope I encouraged you enough to share some with me. I will stop back in through the night and share some of mine. Be aware though, when you hear the things that happen to me, you will know for certain that ghosts exist.

Martin H. Bartloff, born and raised in Werl, Germany adapted quickly when he immigrated to the United States in August of 1991. Being the youngest of five brothers, he ventured out to explore the United States after he finished trade school back home.

Martin worked hard for a few years, trying to establish dreams and goals he had since childhood. After a few years of hard work in the United States Martin opened his first own automotive business.

A decade later Martin decided he wasn’t challenged enough and turned to writing fiction novels. His debut novel, “Torn From Normal” was released in December of 2009. Martin’s next YA novel is already in the making.

Thank you so very much for sharing, Martin! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The No Holds Barred Nancy Holzner

So excited to have Nancy Holzner with us today. I'm nearly finished with Deadtown and it's awesome!

Nancy Holzner is the author of the Deadtown urban fantasy series. Hellforged, the second book in the series, releases Decmber 28.

When a mysterious plague hit Boston, turning two thousand of its residents into sentient zombies, the quarantine zone became Deadtown, home (by law) to Boston's paranormals. It's also home to Victory Vaughn, a shapeshifter who kills other
people's personal demons for a living. In Deadtown, Vicky does battle with the Hellion who killed her father. In Hellforged, Vicky struggles to protect her friends and prevent a long-lost relative from unleashing an ancient power more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she's encountered before.

You can read the first chapter of Deadtown here and the first chapter of Hellforged here.

What Is Urban Fantasy, Anyway?

Back in 2006, when I began the novel that would become Deadtown, I thought I had a clear idea of what urban fantasy was. If anyone had asked me, I would've said that an urban fantasy is a gritty action/adventure story set in a recognizable contemporary (or near-future) city, incorporating paranormal elements such as vampires, werewolves, and magic. Simple enough.

Except “simple enough” often leads to oversimplification. The first urban fantasy novels I encountered—Laurell K. Hamilton's early Anita Blake novels, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, and Kim Harrison's Hollows series—all fit that definition well enough. But as I expanded my reading in the genre, I fo
und great books that didn't quite fit my simple definition. Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels are set in a small town, not a big city. MaryJanice Davidson's Queen Betsy series has a strong chick-lit feel. Jeaniene Frost, Anya Bast, Yasmine Galenorn, and other authors bring in a strong romance element.

The more I read, the more I came to see urban fantasy as a dynamic genre that's always pushing its own envelope. Because it's so diverse, it appeals to readers of many other genres: fans of mystery, thrillers, romance, chick lit, and horror can all find something they'll like in urban fantasy. And because the genre keeps evolving, it doesn't get stale.

Recently, the genres of horror and romance have had a strong effect on urban fantasy. The influence of horror has led to some edgier, darker-tinged urban fantasy novels, including such series as Signs of the Zodiac (Vicki Pettersson), Downside Ghosts (Stacia Kane), and Twenty Palaces (Harry Connelly). Some readers say that urban fantasy and paranormal romance have become the same thing, but I still draw a line between these two genres. The way I see it, urban fantasy's primary focus is on fighting the bad guys or averting disaster, while paranormal romance gives equal or greater weight to the protagonist's love life. But even when romance isn't the primary focus, urban fantasy often has a touch of romance—as it should, since relationships are part of a well-rounded character's life.

Having a sense of the different genres and subgenres is helpful when you walk into a bookstore looking for something new to try. If you know you like romance or mystery, for example, you know which section you want to browse. But genre is a guide, not a straitjacket. These days, when I open an urban fantasy novel I want paranormal elements and a fast-moving plot with high stakes. The other genre elements that an author brings to the mix is what keeps urban fantasy fresh.

How do you define urban fantasy? Has your definition of the genre changed over time?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Wiley Jen Wylie

Today I'm turning the blog over to a really awesome lady! :)

Thanks to Jenny for hosting me on her most wonderful blog! She has asked me to share my inspiration for my upcoming titles, so here goes...

Jump -Official Release date Dec 15 2010 (Available now for pre-order at All Romance)

If you were told to jump off of a bridge would you? Perhaps it would depend on who was doing the asking. Our heroine has spunk, a sense of humor, however suffers from an extreme case of inappropriate clothing. When things take a turn from dangerous to worse what will she do when fantasy becomes reality? Warning: May include hot leather clad men, singing and demons.

My short story Jump I wrote in just a couple of days. The idea came after I'd been talking to my parents on the phone, and gotten a few lectures. :) Though “If someone asked you to jump off a bridge would you?” wasn't one of them, for some reason that phrase popped into my head and the story was born. I was in a rather silly, sarcastic mood at the time, which lent to the humorous aspects of the story.

The Forgotten Echo-Release date March 1 2011

Sometimes death is only the beginning…After a bad day Cassy is surprised to find her self shot, an innocent bystander in a drive by shooting. Bleeding to death in an empty parking lot she knows she is going die. What she doesn’t expect is the arrival of a strange, yet gorgeous, man who tells her he can keep her from passing on in return for being his forever. In desperation she agrees but afterwards she is beyond dismayed to discover she has died. To make matters worse the stranger has disappeared. Her spirit wanders, afraid and alone until she meets another like her and she discovers she’s not a ghost at all but something much more.

This short story was also written in just two days. Day one I wrote over 7500 words. The idea for this story came from the line of a song and grew from there. While writing this story I did some of my back and forth writing, starting with once scene and then building around it. Luckily this works for me! :) The title for this one has changed quite a bit over time, but I am quite happy with it now!
My debut novel Sweet Light due out in 2011 was actually written quite a few years ago. It is the first book I finished (and didn't lose to a computer crash!) Sweet Light and its sequel, Dark Madness, were originally one book. When I decided to give getting it published a go I realized the word count was way too high, so I cut it in half. The story has changed quite a bit over years of edits and more edits. I honestly don't remember how I originally got the idea. I am quite a romantic, so the love stories certainly stemmed from there. I'm also a pessimist, and that is why things rarely go right for my poor characters! An interesting side note, my favourite character Dric didn't even exist in the first version. He came to me in a dream and demanded to be added.

For the most part no matter where my initial idea comes from, something said, a song or whatever, before I write the scene appears in my head first, like a movie. Sometimes I'll let it stew for a while until it seems just right, and then will let my fingers fly.

Visit Jen at her website or at her blog.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Amazing Vivian Zabel

Hello everyone,

Please welcome my guest today, the award-winning author Vivian Zabel. She is the author of Stolen, an emotionally charged, fictionalized account about the kidnapping of her two grandchildren.

"Based on a true story, Zabel conveys much of the agony and utter despair that is evoked from having a father steal his children from their mother." Karen Cioffi

When troubles and tragedies steal the joy and happiness from life,
a person has two choices: to rebuild and find a way to continue living or to give up.
Torri faces adversity after adversity and finds a way to reconstruct her life.
However, when the most drastic tragedy hits,
she doesn't know if she can continue or not.

The inspiration for Stolen came from the fear, frustration, and pain caused by two of my grandchildren being taken by their father. For over 12 years, we didn’t know where they were, if they were all right, even if they lived or not. Very scary.
I couldn’t make the book nonfiction because some details would open me up for lawsuits, breaches between people dear to me, or hurt someone else. The events and details I did use were ones that allowed the despair and heartache to show as well as the helplessness, without causing more problems. Some details were true: such as the scribbles on the wall, dreaming one or both the children were hurt, running to check beds which were still empty, etc. I kept journals where I wrote messages to the kids for about the first six or seven years. I can’t find them now, and I do wish I could. Also we had stacks of Christmas presents put back for them for the first five years. We finally began to give those presents to Faris’ and Yameen’s nephew and nieces. However, I still have the huge stuffed lion the two loved to use for a pillow.

In February 2007, I opened an email and read, “I think you’re my grandmother.” Finally, we knew the two lived.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with my blog, Vivian. Thank you too, for the opportunity to be entered into your contest:
3 Contests For Bloggers:
1. The host with the most comments from different visitors will receive a hard copy ARC.
2. Send Vivian an email with a possible ending to the novel and two winners will receive an ARC.
3. Anyone not hosting a blog stop but who promotes the novel will have a chance to win an ARC. (ARC means Advance Reader Copy). Just email Vivian with the url to the promotion.Email Vivian at vivian@viviangilbertzabel.com Note: Winners of hard copy ARCs must have a U.S. address. Anyone outside the U.S. who wins will receive a PDF ARC.
I wish you all the very best, Vivian!


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Ever Inspirational Sean Hayden

Everyone, please give Sean Hayden a great big warm welcome!

by Sean Hayden

Everyone who’s a writer, a reader, or one of the multitudes of gluttons for punishment who work in publishing will tell you that writing books is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. What they never take into consideration is that without that 1% to spark the fire, all the perspiration in the world won’t get that novel planned, written, and published. I consider inspiration to be the pilot light on the stove of writing. Try bakin’ brownies without one. All you’ll end up with is goop.

Inspiration can come in many forms. What most people forget is that in writing you need two inspirations. Before you even need to consider finding an inspiration for a story, you need to find that one thing most important to you that will inspire you to write. Most people will tell you it’s because they have a story to tell. This is true to an extent, but every person in the world has a story to tell. So set that one aside and think about why exactly do you want to be a writer? Do you want fame? Do you want fortune? Do the words starving artist mean anything to you? Next time you meat an author, ask them what their day job is. If they answer author, congratulations! You’ve just met one of the .01%!

Now I know what you’re thinking. Okay, Mr. Smartypants, what inspired you to write? C’mon, I’m right, that’s what you were thinking. The truth is, I DON’T FRIGGIN KNOW! HA! I do know one thing, it wasn’t any ONE thing. I write for several reasons, and to list them all would take more megabits than I’m allotted for this post. So tell you what, I’ll give you my TOP INSPIRATIONS for being an author. Deal?

1. I’ve read sooo many books and after closing the cover thought, “Damn, I could do better than that. So I wanted to prove it to myself.

2. My kids telling people I am an author. Probably the best feeling in the world.

3. Hope. Anybody who tells you they don’t want to be famous is a friggin liar! I wanna be famous, but I just have realistic expectations.

4. My parents. Mom, Dad, I’m a fiberoptic engineer. Mom, Dad, I wrote a book and it’s being published. Which conversation do you think made them more proud?

5. Wanting to hold it in my hands. (My book you perv)
Okay, that about covers the inspirations for writing, let’s move on shall we?

Where do inspirations for stories come from? Are you DAFT? LOOK AROUND YOU! No, seriously. Look around you. Stories, and I mean every stinking genre of books out on the market, can be inspired by the strangest of things at the strangest of times. Think about it. You’re walking down the street licking a strawberry and vanilla ice cream cone when lo and behold! You almost step on a grasshopper. What if that grasshopper wasn’t a grasshopper? What if that grasshopper was really an automaton specifically created by your arch-nemesis Doctor Von Ricktenstein sent to steal your formula for Nutty Nougat Bars? HMMMMM? “What If’s” are the greatest inspirations you will EVER find.

I know, I’m crazy, but now you get it don’t you? Uh huh. I thought so.

I’ve written several books, have several more around the midpoint range, and several short stories, and I can tell you, the inspirations for them came from the simplest of daily routines.
The other thing that REALLY works for me is lying in bed. Yep. Bed. Loves me some sleep, but lying in bed just before you fall asleep, staring up at the dimly lit ceiling, and letting your mind wander is a DANGEROUS THING. Dangerous, and frigging awesome for getting not only inspirations for stories, but also running in tangents. If I have my character do this, then this will happen, but WHAT IF they do this instead? See?

My point (yes, I have one) is let your mind wander. Question EVERYTHING. Look for the WHAT IF’s in everything. Pick your child up from school and ask yourself, WHAT IF this school is really a top secret government institution for testing psychic ability enhancing curriculum and pharmaceuticals? Next time you’re in the pet store buying a briny shrimp and a chocolate tipped starfish ask yourself, WHAT IF these are really aquatic sea creatures, but rather fiberoptic camera enhanced bionic sea creatures planted by aliens to study day to day human behavioral patterns? If you start doing this everywhere, you will find the fodder for endless stories, countless novels, or end up wearing a white jacket with extra longs sleeves that cuff in the back.

Born in the suburbs of Chicago, he moved to the frigid arctic climes of south east Florida as a small child. The son of a fireman and a proofreader (that’s what they had before spellcheck) he fell in love with reading at a young age. When he hit the age of 35 he wrote his first novel, an urban fantasy about vampires and demons entitled Origins. Unsatisfied with one novel, he penned the sequel Deceptions and both titles of the Demonkin Series will be available from Echelon Press soon.

Get More Sean Here:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Author in ICU-Please Tell a Friend

Today I have important news. For the holidays, author, teacher, husband, and father of two wonderful girls, D.M. Anderson is in the ICU. I was honored to be the editor of his book, Killer Cows. This isn't just your run of the mill author, he's a man who cares very deeply about others. Even while he's been ill, he's promoted the ebook version of Killer Cows. Not because he wants a new car or large screen television. No, he wants the ebook version to sell widely because he's donating 100% of the royalties to the Boland family. Their son, Jeremiah, has a tumor attached to his carotid artery and needs risky surgery.

If ever there was a person who needed our support, it's this author. When you purchase either an ebook copy, or a print copy of Killer Cows, you'll not just be getting a great read, but you'll be helping one of two very deserving people and the people who love them. They say it is the season of giving, and I believe we can really make a difference.

To purchase either ebook or print copy of Killer Cows, visit this link: http://astore.amazon.com/echelonpressp-20/detail/B003CT33LY

Thank you for reading!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

And now for some Chummy Fun :)

This is a short story I wrote a few years back. I thought it might be sort of cool to share my writing here as I haven't in a very long time. So, here's my short story:)


College chums, college pals, maybe cold blooded killers. They come for him, intruding without warning to wrestle him from his dorm room. Trash bag ties bind his wrists, and visions of putrid green dumpsters fill his head. They pull a sham over his head, pull a scam on him, he thinks. His glasses fall and break, leaving a distorted view of the plaid inside the sham. Laughing and cussing they take him from his dorm room into the chill of an autumn night.

The rumble of the car, the squeal of tires and delight. Bouncing and jerking inside the back seat as they go round and round. Teeth snapping down on his tongue as his heart explodes.

thud-thump thud-thump.

Glistening copper fills his mouth. Jimbo, he thinks it’s Jimbo, shoves a whisky bottle beneath the sham, scam, sham. It’s a prank? he asks himself as he drinks the whiskey, burning the tender hole in his tongue.

Hands grabbing him, shoving him onto pavement. Asphalt peels the flesh from his knee and he shouts at the pain. He tries to speak, but they push, giggling and snarling all at once. He falls to his back, and the sham comes off. Blurry ghosts and Mike’s red Trans Am glowing like a grinning demon, doors open like the beast’s wings.

The black sky hangs low as he crawls away, bound hands thudding on the pavement, unable to suck in air to form a sound. They follow, taunting him.

He yearns to flee his pals, to run. He makes it to his knees, glaring at his indistinct hands folded together, straining at the ties. He imagines clubbing them to escape. They kick him. He sprawls, skinning his chin on the concrete, bloodying his nose. He hawks and spits blood to hide a whimper.

It has to be a sham, to be a scam, to be a prank, he thinks as their laughter turns vicious, tearing the air with monster teeth and gargoyle claws. They shout names, swimming toward him like ravenous sharks, after their chum. Pals, peers, when did he become their prey?

In the foggy distance he sees the end of the concrete. Cold blackness shimmers, but beyond it, the lights of salvation. Smelling blood, the sharks advance, throwing the whiskey bottle. It explodes with a pop and glass shreds the skin on his arm. He hobbles to his feet and runs, favoring his bruised knee. His heart beats in rhythm with his flapping feet.

thud-thump thud-thump

They shout behind him, telling him to stop, to come back. His mind cannot focus any more than his eyes can see.

The concrete disappears, and the whooshing air surprises him. He is falling, falling, falling. The lights of salvation aren’t there, only a new pavement, rushing up to great him. It slams into him with the force of an angry steel anvil. His teeth disintegrate and, blood fills his eyes, washing the light crimson…the light.

Atop the parking garage, the sharks finally move like the reanimated dead, head’s hanging. They go back to the Trans Am, folding inside like rubber dolls, and close the doors.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Inferior and Superior People Prt. 5

We've reached the end of the week's look at my debate on Gauging Inferior and Superior People. The first four parts precede this post.

Paraphrased: Associating with undesirable people can harm our reputation in society and in the workplace.

My response: There ARE certain lines one wouldn't cross, but on the other hand, I don't limit my friendships to only those society deem as "worthy" enough to be respected. As far as I'm aware, in the U.S., one cannot be terminated because the boss doesn't like who you hang out with in your private life. Sure, it likely does happen, but it would be an illegal termination (discrimination) and would therefore, be on the shoulders of the one terminated to bring about a lawsuit. (Too few people actually sue on these issues however, which brings about blatant power monopoloies by the discrimantors in our society--but that's another issue.)

What I think we're forgetting, however, is the biblical mandate that we are to go amongst the 'sinners' and love them like our neighbors, expose them to the word of God, and live an exemplary life.

If we continue to discriminate against others because we think (rightly or wrongly) simple interaction with them will bring about negative consequences, then we are furthering the very societal norms that Jesus would have us fight against. Aren't we?

Paraphrased: Worry serves no purpose and anxiety can be harmful.

My response: I believe worry is a natural human emotion that, when used in a healthy manner, can helpfully indicate what needs our attention the most.

I worry that my child will get hit by a car (a reality) and I therefore, pay extra attention when they are near the street. This is healthy.

Worry about those things which we have no power over (such as what another person is nourishing themselves with) is unhealthy because it allows us to take on responsibilities that are not our own.

Helping others to find more positive nourishment is not the same as *owning* another person's health--and therefore *worrying* about their health. We can simply love, understand, and communicate to the best of our abilities our desire to see that other healthy. Our 'healthy' worry then, would be to ensure we are encouraging the 'positive' to the best of our abilities.

Yes--unnecessary anxiety after-the-fact is not healthy and can lead to physical illness beyond the emotional and mental burden. The anxiety itself, however, is a natural human emotion, one that alerts us to the work that needs doing, perhaps using all or some of the methods you used above.

Either way, worry (or concern) and anxiety can never be eradicated from our lives. I disagree that they are "negative" and used in a healthy way, can promote even more positivity in our lives.

Without the worry or anxiety, however, we wouldn't be alerted to the need to take those necessary steps to prevent a misfortune. I think what Jesus was talking about are those instances where we have no power over the situation.

Such as: Worry that I might lose everything in a natural disaster will not keep a natural disaster from happening (an illogical worry/anxiety that Jesus said we shouldn't engage in) but worrying that I will be prepared for such an event will lead me to take necessary steps to prevent as much misfortune as possible. (Food and water supplies, insurance coverage, etc.)

This ended my part of the discussion. I found it very interesting to put into words what I believed. I hope you've found it interesting as well!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Inferior and Superior People Prt. 4

Part 4 of our ongoing review of my debate about Gauging Inferior and Superior People:

Paraphrased: We don't need to be invited to assess one's negative or positive qualities.

My Response: I would say that we do need to be invited to *assess* those qualities, however. What our focus should be, what we should be assessing, is how we wish to respond to any observable quality displayed by another.

Our focus, however, should not be on the other--it is to be on ourselves. If our focus is "gauging" others, such as the title of this thread states, then our focus is not on ourselves, where it needs to be. Connecting with others, on a personal level, is based on how vulnerable we allow ourselves to be with them. How vulnerable we are comfortable with, depends on our own self-assessment and self-acceptance. And thusly, the extent of our own vulnerability will either be abused, or appreciated, depending on the other's ability to be vulnerable with us.

In either case, learning where another person is coming from can't be learned if we don't know where we are coming from. If we are coming from a position of "evaluation" or "gauging" another, then we are not coming from vulnerability and therefore, cannot expect another to make themselves vulnerable to us.

Paraphrased: Jesus taught appreciation of positives and awareness of negatives, as well as detachment. As in a car accident, it's important to know who's to blame and who isn't.

My Response: *Appreciation* and *awareness* are not the same as "interpreting" positives and negatives, however. Discerning between the positive and the negative also has its pitfalls. We see man steal bread (a negative) and interpret it as a sin. We see the same man take his child necessary food to continue living (a positive,) and we see the greater sin of a society that would allow a child to starve when bread is available. Without the second knowledge, however, our discernment is incomplete and our interpretation flawed.

Detachment, however, is a loaded word. I'm having difficulty finding meaningful ways in which detachment could be implemented, let alone how Jesus may have wanted us to use this tool of separation.

I agree that we can intuit much, once we begin to become attune to the 'vibes' or the 'body language' of others and have dedicated ourselves to the observation of others in an intelligent way for the sake of 'reading' those around us. However, I would caution that any such intuitiveness, to be free of false beliefs in our own superiority, must be tempered with the knowledge that we can rarely ever know another beyond the external manifestations of their interior.

Once we recognize that when it comes to interpreting another person, we will almost always be wrong if we attempt a deep evaluation on minimal information, no matter how adept we become at that interpretation, then we have cultivated the necessary humbleness within ourselves to avoid the pitfalls of 'judgement' and inflated superiority.

"God never gives you a burden you cannot bear." I believe that, and therefore, my questioning wasn't so much along the lines of "why me?" as it was: "What am I supposed to DO with this?"

I don't believe it's so much about blame--recognizing the "at-fault" entity in any given situation is VITAL to correctly interpreting cause and effect--but more about what we are to DO with said information.

For me, my personal experiences, engendered in me an obsessive desire to understand the people and the world around me. I believed that if I could understand why people did what they did, then I would be able to move 'past' all that happened. I learned very quickly that while I can trace the development of behaviors in a human being back through each life-altering instance in their life--I could never fully comprehend why one person turns out "normal" and another person becomes "deviant."

Therefore, I relinquished any thought I had of *control* over the world and instead, focused on what, in the end, is most important:

My impact on the world around me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gauging Inferior and Superior People Prt. 3

We continue the week with the third part of my conversation on Gauging Inferior and Superior People.

Paraphrased: If a person has a mind of their own and the ability to use it, then it's acceptable to allow his assessment of himself to influence our assessment of him. Jesus did his best to cultivate righteousness (superior qualities) where He could.

My Response: And WHO would you say *doesn't* have a mind of their own? Which person would you "assess" to be mindless? Which persons would you say don't have the ability of discernment?

This is what is unavoidable once we give ourselves the power to begin assessing "inferior" and "superior" traits in others uninvited. This is negative and is, indeed, a subtle way of feeding ego. There is nothing "humble" about declaring other people are mindless and incapable of discernment.

Was that really what [Jesus] was doing? Was he really trying to empower others into believing they were superior? Or was he attempting to show them, through His love, that prostitutes and 'undesirables' were worthy people, that they had self-worth, that His father loved them and believed them valuable, and that they should love themselves just as much and refrain from doing anything harmful to themselves?

Wasn't this precisely the reason why He went amongst the most egregious "sinners"? So that they might know self-love?

Wasn't His business here on earth to show people how to live with love for one another? Didn't He come to share God's will that they give up the "stoning" of women and the like and learn to love their neighbor? Sharing the value of love WAS his business. He didn't come to teach us to "assess" one another and "evaluate" who is superior or inferior so that we might disengage from one another.

He came to show us that we need not fear mingling with sinners (through His actions) but that we are to love one another as God loves us.

Paraphrased: The accuracy of an interpretation depends on the skills of the interpreter. Intuition also plays a large part in the assessment of others.

My Response: I would add that the quality of the interpretation is also dependent on their motivation, their own self-awareness, and their knowledge of humanity in general. Intuitiveness can be faulty if the lens applied is dirty--or complicated by the log in our own eye.

Yet I would also suggest that there are many who would assess the behavior of another based on a hypothetical "what would I do" that can often lead to a false assessment as well. Which brings in objectivity and the impossibility of accuracy other than when it comes to ones own self.

Simply because I was able to find a way to lay to rest the traumas I have experienced and move through those life-altering episodes, does not mean that another will have found *a* solution, let alone the same one(s) I have. While our experiences may be parallel, the uniqueness of each individual doesn't allow a one-size-fits-all solution, as I'm sure you're aware.

It is not so much the aspects that deal with each individual's internal spiritual journey that I have taken issue with. It is the belief that one has the *ability* to assess another person accurately, either to the negative or the positive.

Nourishment: In cultures that rely on insects for protein, they find ways to make what would be repulsive to others, a positive in their lives. I don't believe that we have sole control over the 'nutrition' in our lives. Yes, we can make positive choices, but negatives will always have their effect on us. We are 'porous' that way, absorbing the world around us.

As to adaptation: While I agree that adaptation is part of survival, we are much more than merely survivalists. I believe that within each one of us is the power to exert our own selves into any environment, both for greater or lesser 'good' or 'evil.'

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inferior and Superior People Prt. 2

This week I'm sharing an exchange I had a few years back about Gauging Inferior and Superior People. This is part 2.

While it's often impossible to avoid undesirable (inferior) people, such as in the workplace, it's best to limit any association with such people as possible.

My response: This is where you lose me. What "undesirable" people do you mean? Undesirable to *us*? Or to society? And what benefit can we give someone we would 'assess' as 'undesirable' if we were not to engage them to change habits that may be harmful to themselves? And if we should fail in that endeavor, does that mean they are any less deserving or worthy of our kindness? In a way, wouldn't it mean they are even MORE deserving of our kindness because they are the ones who need it the most?

I simply don't understand how it is our right or duty to assess others--since that is something we cannot fully do in a meaningful way with confident results. It is an exercise in futility and I believe largely an inappropriate way to spend our time. How another person is treating themselves is only my business if I'm invited, by that person, to help them. If no invitation is offered, then I am intruding where I have no business going.

Yet you charge us with the duty of assessing other human beings--when what we are presented may be one of those moments where an unusual behavior is being displayed, or perhaps they are going through a personal tragedy or trauma--one we know nothing of.

If you were to be assessed by others based on a time when you were displaying a 'totally out of character' behavior, how accurate would that assessment of you be?

On another note--I don't believe that we behave 'out of character' in the true sense of the word, at any time. Whatever we do, it is within us to do. That is not to say that with self-assessment and study of our goals that we can't work to change an aspect of our character.

There's a world of difference between working WITH a person to better understand them to the best of our abilities, and assessing them uninvited. This leads to the trap of believing we can somehow "know better" than they do about what is best for them. We can never be certain, either, in an independent assessment, if we have assessed another person correctly. Unless the sort of intimate communication necessary to understand another is invited, we really have no business assessing anyone but ourselves.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inferior and Superior People

I used to belong to a lot of "debate" groups a few years back. In one of those groups, a topic was posted about how to gauge "inferior" or "superior" people. Without the other person's permission, I don't feel comfortable sharing their side of the conversation. Because I found the exchange so interesting, I saved the posts to my computer. This week I'll share a few of the parts I authored each day. I will paraphrase the segments I responded to for clarity.

Gauging Inferior and Superior People

Paraphrased: Once we learn how to assess inferior and superior qualities in people, we can choose to disengage from those who are inferior and make room for blessings in our lives.

My response: In essence--what you're saying here is that when one displays qualities others see as 'superior'--we earn respect. When that same person displays qualities other see as "inferior"--we earn their disrespect?

Yet couldn't the very same quality be judged two different ways by different people?

For instance, if one were to stick up for a woman [being discriminated against, the person discriminating against her] would see that as an "inferior" quality--while the woman being discriminated against--would see that as a "superior" quality--right?

So in the end, if others are going to judge one according to their personal views on life--don't we simply owe it to ourselves to be true to who we are, our values, and what we deem important?

I believe in MLK's words that we all have intrinsic worth. None of us are inferior to the next person. Each human being is innately human.

Paraphrased: We must be thoughtful about the food we put into our bodies, just as we must be thoughtful about what we feed our minds to protect our fundamental well-being. An inferior person feeds his ego and should be avoided.

My response: I believe that ignorance on any subject is not something we should seek, no matter how appalling that subject is. For instance, I find child abuse of any sort hard to stomach--but to ignore it in order to try to protect my "fundamental well-being" would be rather selfish, and I'm sure you can agree that being 'selfish' is not a quality anyone should try to attain.

I would consider it a great misfortune to live a life where I believe anyone is inferior. I would consider it a great misfortune to segregate myself away from ANY human being and what I can learn from each and every person.

One would miss the blessing of learning how superior those deemed 'inferior' actually are, one would miss the blessing of learning that our judgments on others is often proven wrong by intimate knowledge of that other. One would miss the blessing of learning about our own strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I can think of no true blessing one gains from ostracizing others from our lives.

I think that we have little control over how some may view us. Sure, there are ways to make ourselves clear and to behave in a way one would assume would be considered 'respectable' by the society we interact in--however, that doesn't mean people within that society don't bring their own mindset to the table.

Globally, we can see how certain expected traits within any given culture are taboo in others. For instance, I know in some cultures it's expected that you will be asked to divulge how much money you have--while in others (mine) it is considered the height of rudeness.

Should I judge that other, from another culture, by my own cultural standards? Or do I do that based on what is normal for them? Of course I would choose the latter, but there are many who would choose the former in my culture. In my culture, some believe if you don't speak our language or swear allegiance to our way of life, you don't belong here. (I disagree.) Yet in many other places in the world, that's not the case at all and views such as those would be seen as odd--to say it nicely ;)

So, perspective and culture plays a large factor in how one's behavior/views are judged. To me, there is no way that we can be human and *never* be in the position where someone won't judge our quality as being inferior or superior. The judges are just as fallible (human) as those they judge.

Striving to be superior by defining inferiority, in my opinion, is a monumental waste of our energy. What we should be striving for, I believe, is understanding and knowledge because it affords us the stronger possibility that we can adhere to our values in any given situation.

The one truism that I have encountered in my life is that people always surprise me. Just when I think I know a person, can predict how they may respond in a given situation, they do something completely out of the blue that shocks me.

I think the most one can do is assess themselves and how they do respond, how they wish they responded, or how they would not want to respond.

(More Tomorrow)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Snowing here...

This is a picture of Molly Eddie took in '08, but I think she's a doll, so I used this one :) I'm writing today, listening to some great music, and having some wonderful coffee. I'm expecting to have a great day that ends with Dexter and The Walking Dead. Very cool! :)

5 Fun but True things about me:

1) I heard over the phone that a friend's grandchildren had head lice. Over the phone, mind you, and I've been lucky enough to have never had head lice, but now my head itches.

2) I love a slice of white bread folded over peanutbutter and a tall glass of ice cold milk with my spaghetti far more than I like garlic bread.

3) I don't like buffets because I feel strange carrying my plate through a room full of strangers.

4) I love the smell of Elmers glue and crayons--they remind me of my childhood.

5) When I was young, we were so poor I used to wear bread bags over my socks to keep them dry inside my boots because they weren't "snow proof."

So that's 5 fun facts about me ;) What about you? Any quirks or situations you want to confess to?


Friday, November 12, 2010

To Nano or Not to Nano, That is NOT the Question

Seriously, I don't have a choice. I want Detour 2 Death to debut at Love is Murder and that means I have to have a complete draft by the end of November. So, not only am I going to be getting those 50k words one way or another, I'm gonna go over by around 30K or so. This just has to happen.

At least that's what I keep telling myself. I can do this. I've got two 10K days scheduled with Milli Thornton, so that's 20K (or more) right there. In the meantime, I'm gonna keep plugging away.

On another note, I'm excited to see tonight's episode of Supernatural. I want to watch the brothers get Sam's soul back and give Crowley what he's got coming to him. I'll be honest, I was scared season 6 would be like "jumping the shark" but I'm truly thrilled with the direction the Eric Kripke took with this. Since the series was only planned for 5 seasons, they've done an impressive job of keeping the legend going. For that, you have my heartfelt thanks! Besides, Jensen Ackles is hot! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fear of Writing-The Year I Quit Writing

Today I'm over at Milli Thornton's blog, Fear of Writing. I talk about why, after winning awards and having multiple books published, I decided to quit writing. Leave a comment and I'll send you a copy of Extreme Writing: Crafting the Action Scene.

I look forward to hearing from you all! :)


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Freeing Myself: TV, Movies, and More

What the heck is wrong with me? I have this weird notion that because I'm a writer and an avid reader, that somehow blogging about movies is a big no-no. What's up with that? This is my darn blog, I should blog about what excites me. I love movies and television (my all time favorite is Supernatural) and music and there ain't nuthin' wrong with that!

So today, I'm gonna start writing about the stuff I'm interested in beyond just what's going on in my writing world—because seriously, who wants to "talk shop" all the time?

First off, I better tell you I have very low-brow tastes when it comes to movies and television. I'm a HUGE horror fan and I don't care what anyone says, I think AMC's new series "The Walking Dead" is awesome. Seriously, who would rather be watching the news (much more horrifying than fiction) or reruns of Bones (and I really like Bones!) I'm enjoying the heck out of this series. SPOILER ALERT: When they walked down the middle of the street covered in guts? I sure as heck wasn't thinking about channel surfing.

Tonight—my program choices are the finale of the Bad Girl's Club (can't wait to see which two roomies show up—and I hope that sneaky Ashley gets the brunt of it all) and the premiere of The Fashion Show with Iman—who sounds like she's going to be as tough and opinionated on the show as she's been in the past.

As far as movies go—I watched Predators last night and thought it was really cool. At first I was like, "The Pianist is gonna play Arnie's role? Huh? Who cast this thing?" But he quickly won me over, as all great actors do! There's a spoiler coming up here, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, don't read the next paragraph:

The part where Adrien Brody's character Royce turns the chameleon trick back on the alien predator by using fire to mask his body heat was truly exciting for both it's action and the intelligence behind that action. Way to go script writers—whoever you may be!

Okay, I'll be blogging about a lot of different stuff from now on. Funny how we don't realize the constraints we put on ourselves sometimes, isn't it?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

My 10K (or more) Day

I'm doing Nanowrimo this year. So far, I haven't had much time to write as I've been busy with my editing work. Today, I'm taking the time to write and have declared for myself a 10K day. Over the course of the day, I'll be updating my blog to let y'all know what my word count is so far--just for fun! :)

So, I'll see y'all in a bit!


Friday, November 05, 2010

An Explanation...

In 2005, Echelon Press published my first book, Stark Knight. Before I was published, I'd written Loving Lillie, Bulletproof Bride, and My Biker Bodyguard as well. Today, I had to put together some information for record-keeping on all the titles I've had published since then. Aside from two of the three I mentioned were written before my first book came out, there are nine other titles Echelon has acquired from me. That's 12 in total. Holy Writing Frenzy Batman! :)

So here they are, in the order they were written, followed by the order they were or will be published:

1) Loving Lillie--never
2) Bulletproof Bride--2nd
3) Stark Knight--1st
4) My Biker Bodyguard--3rd
5) Racing the Moon--10th or 11th
6) Silent Knight--4th
7) The Knight Before (short epilogue to the series)--5th
8) Good Knight--6th
9) DFF: Dead Friends Forever--7th
10) School's Out 4-Ever--8th
11) Redemption--10th or 11th
12) Still Life in Death--12th
13) Detour 2 Death--9th

Now all I have to do is finish my half-completed books: Face the Dark, Born to Run, and Driven to Love. Oh, and there's the series I outlined for the Lockwood Legacy, about 5 sisters who, when they hit puberty, discover they're witches. Their father is a traveling antique's collector and evil beings are always trying to murder, maim, or otherwise harm the girls through cursed objects. Sort of Little Women meets The Craft. Then there's the one I've fully researched, temporarily titled "Lucy Book" about psychic twins, remote viewing, and nanotechnology. So that's what--3 half-completed, 5 outlined, and 1 researched. And we need to add the last 3 in the Extreme Hauntings series--which brings me to a grand total:

12 more books.

Wow. By the time I'm done (five years from now? LOL?) I'll have 25 books published. (Well, 24, because The Knight Before is really a short story.)

So now you know why writers get a funny look on their face when someone says, "Hey, you're a writer. I've got this really cool idea for you...."


Sunday, October 31, 2010

10K Day and Freebie:)

Hey y'all, I'm scheduling a 10K day for next Sunday, Nov. 7th. We'll be participating right here on this blog. I'll make a post in the morning, and you can do your check-ins in the comment section. Don't know what a 10K day is? Here's an article about it from my website: 10K Day. You can use this as part of your NaNoWriMo if you're doing that this November as well.

On to the Freebie! :)

I've been lucky enough to have a great friend, Milli Thornton, put together an ebook for me a few years ago. Extreme Writing: Crafting the Action Scene is a free .pdf book I'm happy to give to anyone who sends me an email at jturner4ATcharterDOTnet with "My Copy" in the subject line.

Have a super Happy Halloween everyone!! :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wholelotta Links

Here's a list of great links y'all might find interesting:

Where to find me on the internet:

My website
Linked In
Good Reads
Manic Readers


Some publishing opportunities with Echelon and Quake:

Echelon is seeking submissions for ALL eBook divisions. Please visit our site for guidelines. http://echelonpress.com

Echelon Explorations is seeking submissions for eBook publication. Guidelines at http://echelonexplorations.com

Echelon Shorts is seeking submissions for eBook publication for all genres.
Deadline for Holiday submissions 11/10/10. Guidelines at http://echelonshorts.com

Quake is seeking submissions for eBook publication for all genres.
Deadline for Quake Holiday Shorts submissions 11/10/10. Guidelines at http://quakeme.com

I'm also a member of WRWA.

Enjoy surfing the web! :)


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Today I've spent the morning on busy-type work. This afternoon, I'm going to put everything aside and really dig into Detour 2 Death. This is turning out to be emotionally wrenching for me. Many of y'all know my father died in February and I find myself drawing from that experience a lot.

Book 3 in the Extreme Hauntings series is set in a hospital. David, the boy-next-door in a wheelchair, has taken a turn for the worse. Kaylee, our heroine, escapes the monsters at her reformatory and hits the road, rushing back home because she's had a premonition that David needs her. When she sneaks into the hospital, she finds her best friend, and blossoming love interest, in a coma and about to die.

The scenes where she's entered his coma-dream, where she's understanding that he's about to die if she can't intervene in some way, are really difficult for me to face. I think this is why I've had such a hard time really getting into the flow of this story. I want to stop, go back and edit, just to avoid what I know will be hard to write. So, today, that all stops. I'm going to punch through my own grief and get this part down, come heck or high water.

If you want to see what led up to this moment, find out why Kaylee was sentenced to a reformatory for girls, you can read the first two books in paperback or on your Kindle.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Huge Wind Storm

Last night we had a big wind storm come through and knock out all of our power. Because it's been so dark and overcast here lately, I didn't get up until almost 7:30! Yikes! I got the kids up and between breakfast, a mad hunt for socks, banging in and out of the bathroom to wash faces, brush hair and teeth, I managed to get everyone ready in about 30 minutes--a world record, I'm sure. I drove them all to school--Molly on the west side was about 20 minutes late, Matthew on the north side was on time (phew!) and Dustin in a whole 'nother town (Kellner) got there about 15 minutes late. Alls well that ends well, I suppose.

I've just got to take some time to get rid of all the goofy blinky red lights. (Even the dishwasher is flashing red lights at me.)

Today, I'm working on editing a novel for Quake and later this evening, I'm putting together more notes for tomorrow's writing marathon. Detour 2 Death is getting really exciting. I love having free reign with reality. Supernatural stuff is always great!

Here's to a nice, quiet, wind-free evening!