Category Archives: Thursday Redux

Thursday Redux: Author Celia Breslin

Celia Breslin is revisting my blog today with a favorite post which first appeared here last year during my October Goosebumps special. (Thought this would be a good day to decorate my blog for Halloween) Celia writes Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance at Champagne Books. She’s one of those authors I’ll be able to say “I knew her when …”I’ve read and LOVE all her books. Can’t wait to get my hands on her new one—Destiny—and share a review here. Why not buy the first two books in the award-winning Tranquilli series to be ready for the new release.

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Fun facts not in my bio: Joss Whedon rules–The Cabin In The Woods is my current, favorite movie, and I’ve been known to walk around tossing out movie quotes from it. I’m not a morning person, so don’t talk to me before 8AM, unless you’re my trainer and we’re kicking serious exercise butt! Other random tidbits… Love Asian food, especially Thai and Japanese. Cinnamon addict. I have a tattoo I designed myself.

I originally wrote this post to honor my grandmother. She inspired my writer’s journey with the many stories she told me throughout my childhood. It was originally posted during Halloween month because what better way to celebrate this fun holiday than with a spooky story? Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

I grew up listening to my Irish grandmother’s stories about the Fae, including her encounter with a Banshee in her cellar when she was a teenager. Of her many stories, this is my favorite.

Bumped by the Banshee

By Celia Breslin

(Based on actual events as recounted by her grandmother)

I lived in a large two-story house with my parents, sister and grandmother. It was a cold, winter evening, nothing special or out of the ordinary. The family dined together, then my sister and I cleaned up while our parents and grandmother drank tea. We joined them at the dining table to do our homework, but my grandmother said she was tired and went upstairs to bed. My parents followed shortly after that, but my father paused on the landing.

“Maeve, it’s going to be a cold night. Fetch us some coal, please.”

I abandoned my homework, grabbed the empty coal bucket from the kitchen, and went down into the cellar. I filled my bucket and returned to the stairs. I had one foot on the first step when the temperature in the cellar, already cold, dropped dramatically. Chills ran down my back. Behind me, someone moaned.

But how could that be? I was alone…

Terror rooted me to the spot. The keening grew louder. I dropped my bucket and covered my ears. A cold wind bumped against my back. I stumbled forward as the shrieking wind rushed over me and up the stairs.

But how could that be? The cellar had no windows…

Above me, the cellar door slammed shut. The sound broke me from my stupor. I screamed and ran from the cellar, through the kitchen and dining room, up the stairs to my room. My parents and sister found me under my bed, shaking like a puppy lost in a snowstorm.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” They asked me, while pulling me from my hiding place.

“I heard the Banshee wail.”

We stared at each other in silence, all of us reaching the same conclusion moments later. We hurried to my grandmother’s room.

She was dead.

Copyright 2013, Celia Breslin. No part of this family story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical without permission from the author. Rita Bay has my permission. 🙂

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Destiny

Urban Fantasy with Romantic Elements from Champagne Books

November 3, 2014 (available now for pre-order!)

Vampires, love, mayhem…all in a day’s work for Carina.

Picture of a fast moving cars at nightIn HAVEN, San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli survives a vicious attack by her vampire family’s longtime archenemies. Several weeks later, as she struggles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt, supervillain Dixon resurfaces and kidnaps two of her best friends. To save them, Carina must comply with the evil bastard’s unusual demands. The kicker? She must tell no one what she is up to.

Meanwhile, she has a new dance club to open for the preternatural community, a fated soul mate acting secretive and distant, and a sexy, new, undead friend who’d love to take Alexander’s place in her heart and bed.

Blackmailed, betrayed, tempted…sometimes destiny has a wicked sense of humor.

Buy Links AMAZON / ALLROMANCEEBOOKS

Author Page Links CHAMPAGNE / AMAZON / GOODREADS

Celia’s Social Media Links WEBPAGE / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST

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Thursday Redux with Melissa Keir

My Thursday Redux guest today is Melissa Keir who is published with Secret Cravings Publishing, as well as being self-published. Melissa writes contemporary, small town romances. Her Melissa’s Wilders Sisters series takes place in her hometown of Amherst, Ohio and features five girls who left Amherst only to return to care for their ailing father. Her other stories feature small towns, blended families, and happily ever afters. From September through June, Melissa teaches children and shares her passion for writing and math with them. You can also hear Melissa’s Morning After Movie Reviews on a local Michigan radio station each Monday morning. I loved her Redux post, having enjoyed a similar relationship with my grandmother. Check out Melissa’s Redux post and her contribution to the Wilders Sisters series.

This post I originally wrote in 2009 after cooking my grandmother’s favorite recipe. My mother has been gone for over fifteen years yet she still remains in my memory. I remember the day I was cooking, wanting to call her to ask her a question. Her death hit me hard again. My grandmother, her mother, had been my best friend when I was a teenager. I rode my bike to her house when mom and I butted heads. Yet she also died shortly after my high school graduation, never knowing my children…never having that close relationship with them that I had with her. Needing to get my feelings down, I wrote this post and shared it with my family and friends on my blog. Now each time I make this recipe or the other family recipes I feel like they are there with me.

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Food Has a Memory

 Food has a memory, for good and for bad. We can remember certain foods that were important to us as children or food that made us sick. One time when I was ten years old, my father thought I should try some shrimp. He didn’t believe me when I said that I didn’t like it, but forced me to try it and watched me run to the bathroom like a mouse with a cat on my tail, to get sick. That memory stays with me today and shrimp will never cross my lips.

There are foods that are a part of tradition. My family makes a sauerkraut soup for our Christmas Eve celebration. It takes two to three days to make this recipe with the smell of sauerkraut wafting through the house. We are also known for our dilly bean recipe which is nothing more than pickled green beans. This too was a production of momentous proportion each summer after the green beans came in!

Today for some odd reason, I decided to make German Kuchen. This was a recipe which came from my mom’s side of the family. I remember vividly her, my aunt and grandmother making dozens of these delicious coffee cakes in my grandmother’s small kitchen. It was given to my mom from her grandmother who came over from Switzerland to live among the shores of Lake Erie. Pulling out the recipe, I noticed my scribbles on the old recipe card that my mom gave me. I was trying to decipher the magic code for a recipe that my mom knew by heart.

After a quick trip to the grocery store for ingredients, with recipe in hand, I was ready to begin. Like any good recipe, there are tweaks that have been done to it over the years. My mom used to use cake yeast, but I use bread yeast dissolved in warm milk. The recipe calls for one or two eggs. How do I know which is the correct amount? Do I split it and put in one and half? Mixing the sugar, butter and eggs into a nice blend was easy. But then I got to the next stage, where it became truly challenging for me. I wasn’t sure what my mom meant by a stiff batter. Was that like pizza dough or more like cake batter? All I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call my mom or grandmother to ask them! They would know the secret to the scribbles on the recipe card so that I could become a part of the generations of Jones women who made this delicious dessert.

At this point, I feel the weight of generations on my shoulders. Will I be good enough? Can I carry on the traditions of my family for the next generation? Will my children have the fond memories of cooking with me to look back on when they have children of their own? I took a chance with the batter and went for something in between pizza dough and cake batter. Then I had to let it rise, and rise again. All the while, I am trying to channel my family members who can help me with this problem. I can’t call my mom and just ask her because she died over 15 years ago.

Parents are not supposed to die. They are the superheroes of every child. The “person” who can do no wrong and make all hurts go away with just one kiss. No one ever imagines a day when they will be without a parent-your father who will help you with your car, or a mother who knows just what to add to her secret recipe, yet we do have to go on without them here beside us. I thought I had accepted this fact until I tried to make her family recipe. Then I was back to being a kid wanting her mother to help her make things all better.

Food can make you closer to your family as you enjoy a treat and think back to yesteryear, remembering the laughter and deliciousness of the meal prepared with your family. Today I wanted that closeness, that bond with my mom. Making the Kuchen was hard for me because I wanted to make her proud and do it just like she always did. As I pulled the pans out of the oven, my son asked about them and after the explanation of what they were, he remarked that they smelled good. Tears formed in my eyes. Yes, maybe they will remember these days when they are older with children of their own. Maybe the memory of the Kuchen and my mom and grandmother will live on!

DividerBar428x25 Cowboy Up Book Bundle- The Heartsong Cowboy

Contemporary Western Self published, Sept 2014

About the series:  D’Ann Lindun contacted me and five other authors with the idea of writing a cowboy story for a book bundle. Each author took the idea in their own way and wrote captivating stories which showcase the uniqueness of cowboys. My story- The Heartsong Cowboy- is inspired by a real life event.

CowboyUpGroupBundleSeven men as tough as the west…Seven women who know how to…

Cowboy Up

A boxed set of seven romantic novellas by seven award-winning authors experienced with writing about the men of the West.

The Heartsong Cowboy blurb:

Can two people, one horse and the power of love cure a little girl?

Angela French blames herself for her daughter’s lack of voice. Determined to do anything to correct the situation, she seeks out Jake Kyncade, the owner of The Heartsong Ranch.

Jake Kyncade hides his own sorrows behind his no-nonsense demeanor. Helping children becomes one way to correct his past. Using equine therapy, he sets out to make a difference.

Can Jake help Angela’s dreams come true or will Jake’s past bring more heartache? Will love save them all?

Buy the Series: AMAZON

Melissa’s Buy Link:  AMAZON

Melissa’s Media Links:  WEBPAGE / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / FACEBOOK2 / BLOG

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Thursday Redux with Nikki Andrews

My Thursday Redux guest today is Nikki Andrews, a multi-published author as well as my editor extraordinaire. She shares a humorous character interview with Maculato a canine featured in Framed that will make you want to hit that buy link.. A blurb, excerpt, and buy links follow the interview.

Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author Nikki Andrews, who brings Mac (short for Maculato), from Framed, a current release from The Wild Rose Press. This interview first appeared on Wild Women Authors in November of 2012, and has been updated.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhere are you from?

I’m in Nikki’s murder mystery Framed. I’m the most important character because I catch the bad guy!

What is Framed about?

It’s about how my human, Elsie, and her friends at the Brush & Bevel gallery figure out who really killed artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham. It’s kind of complicated for a dog to understand, but I get to help.

What made you choose bird hunting as a profession/career?

I was born to it. I’m a German short-haired pointer. Hunting is in my genes, and my wonderful human, Elsie, has helped me develop my talent.

Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with bird hunting or do something different? 

I like hunting birds. It’s fun to get out in an open field and flush them into the air. I love to catch their scent and watch them fly away. I like hunting in the woods, too, except for having to get groomed for ticks afterwards. But—please don’t tell Elsie—what I really love is chasing frogs. They’re so funny and you can never tell which way they’ll jump. I could chase frogs all day long!

What is your biggest fear?

Getting separated from my human or lost in the woods. Sometimes I run off after a bird, but I always know where Elsie is, even if I don’t come right away when she calls.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain. He’s so smart, and he gets to ride in a real race car. His people love him so much. And he even comes back to life as a human! I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet, but someday I’d like to try it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

“Find a bird, Mac!”

DSC_3292 (3)To Nikki:  Which writer or character, from either books or movies, has had a major impact on your writing?

Must I limit it to one? I go back to Tony Hillerman again and again for the sheer beauty of his writing. Although it is as spare as the land he describes, he packs more emotion into it than many more florid writers. Dick Francis’s novels are a joy to read because of the research he blends so seamlessly into them. Not only do you get to solve the mystery, you have the pleasure of learning about a different trade or career. I try to bring a little of both Hillerman and Francis into my writing.

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept?

I worked as a picture framer for nine years and I loved it. Almost all my research springs from that experience. I should state right here that although I collected many stories and character sketches from my time at the art gallery, the people in my book are most definitely not  real-life transplants. At most, the staff, vendors and customers served as inspirations for my fictional people. No artists were harmed in the writing of this novel.

I was very lucky in my research. When UPS did not have the lost and found policy I imagined, I searched out an independent courier to learn about her trade. She was very helpful, as were the police chief I talked to and my contacts in journalism. To my gratified surprise, I wasn’t so far off base that I had to make major changes in the book.

Blurb

When a long-lost painting turns up at Brush & Bevel, a decade-old mystery is reawakened. What really happened to artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham? Was it a murder-suicide, as the police proclaim, or was it something far more sinister?

Gallery owner Ginny Brent and her loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, each take a different path to unravel the mystery. Together, their discoveries start to form a cohesive whole. But as they get closer to the solution, they discover to their horror that art is not the only thing that can be framed.

Excerpt

“Were they lovers?”

Jenna asked, wide-eyed. “You always hear that about artists and their models.” Then she blushed.

“Oh, no! Jerry never had any interest in her as a woman.”

“But they died,” Jenna prompted, absorbed in the story.

Ginny nodded. “Ten years ago last winter. They went missing during a snowstorm. The police went nuts trying to find them. At first, everyone assumed they had just run off together, but it wasn’t like that. Mike, her husband, really stirred things up, insisting something had happened. He forced the cops to look into it.

“It took the authorities about three weeks to find them. A hunter came across them in the snow.” She looked rather sick. “The coyotes had been at the bodies, but it looked like he killed her and then himself. Mike moved out west and never came back.”

She sighed and returned to the present. “All of which means you may have a gold mine on your hands, Jenna. Let us clean it up, verify it is what I think it is. There may even be a signature under all the grease and smoke. Would you feel better if we came up with an agreement about what happens then?”

Sue and Elsie excused themselves and went to the workshop down the stairs from the gallery. “I’d forgotten he killed himself,” Sue said.

“Don’t you believe it,” Elsie replied. “Jerry wouldn’t hurt a fly. That was no murder/suicide. It was a double murder.”

Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release?

My original publisher was L&L Dreamspell. I was very happy with the results at Dreamspell, but sadly, they went out of business after the death of one of the owners. The Wild Rose Press graciously stepped up and republished Framed after doing a new edit and creating a new cover. Framed is still the same story, but it has been improved.

TWRP is an independent publisher with a terrific reputation and has won many awards for its work. I’m thrilled to be one of their authors. Because of the unusual circumstances of my book and several others from L&L Dreamspell, the query to release period was somewhat shortened. TWRP’s policy is to release a book no later than one year after contract. From what I’ve seen, the process normally takes about nine months. The editing was thorough and the new cover is clean and enticing.

To learn more about Nikki and the stories she creates go to: www.nikkiandrewsbooks.com and http://www.scrivenersriver.blogspot.com

To purchase Framed in print or ebook, go to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00HJEHFV2 or Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=5515

 Thank you for dropping by, Nikki. Best of luck with Framed.

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Thursday Redux: Author Kimber Vale Visits

Liquid Silver Books author Kimber Vale is this Thursday’s Redux guest. Kimber writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the storyDividerBar428x25

Hi, everyone! I’m Kimber Vale and I am so happy to be here today to share an old post from my blog (http://www.kimbervale.me). This is slightly revised (because I double-dog dare you to go back and reread something you wrote two years ago and not change a thing. Impossible!), and the original was posted on June, 15th 2012.

Who Here has Screwed the Pooch?

I’m wondering about weird phrases today.

It’s raining cats and dogs. Or maybe it’s colder than a witch’s titty. Oh, how the worm has turned, probably because it was a piece of cake.

What got me thinking of these odd sayings, you ask? Well, for some reason, “screwed the pooch” recently came up in conversation and I got stuck analyzing it:

How is the term “screwed the pooch” at all socially acceptable? Who started it and why didn’t the first person to use it get slammed by everyone within hearing distance? It just doesn’t make sense. Why? For the love of Pete, WHY?!

As an author, I know that basically all publishers forbid animal love. While the erotica industry is largely accepting of most forms of snoo-snoo, bestiality is pretty much a standard no-go everywhere you look. People getting kinky with pets? Hard stop. With good reason, I might add.

I do love to pet my pussy, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never “screwed the pooch.” I won’t even allow a dog to lick me, to be honest. Grosses me out. I know damn well where that tongue’s been and I don’t want any part of it.

And they say the human mouth is the dirtiest. My personal jury is still out on that. I’ll let you know the final verdict once the zombocalypse hits.

So, what other asinine phrases can you think of? I revel in imagining “great balls of fire,” and “for the love of Pete,” especially since I know a very conservative Pete. How about “holy shit?” I can’t help but picture a priest in an outhouse for some reason. These are all well-known, oft-used expressions. But why?

What if we change it up the next time we’re in pleasant company? Will the revised versions have the same effect? Are my new phrases better or worse?

My best buddy just messed up royally, but I say, “Oh, man! You just made sweet love to a dog!”

“Huge flaming testicles! That kid is driving me insane!”

“Oh, for the sake of being largely enamored with my husband’s unattractive coworker.”

“Well, priest in an outhouse, this is a garbage poker hand.”

Actually, I could get on board with the flaming testicles. But really, where the hell do we come up with this excrement? The English language is walnuts. Someone pass me the flippin’ raisins ’cause I’m gonna start mixing it up in everyday speech just to see if I can start some new idiotic idioms.

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Hard Act to Follow

An MM Contemporary Romance from Liquid Silver Books (August, 2014)

Note: Hard Act to Follow is book three of Kimber’s “Shooting Stars” series but is a standalone book. If you like friends-to-lovers, fabulously flamboyant twinks, or big, burly overprotective buddies, this could be the book for you.

hardacttofollowKyrie is an actor with a physical aversion to telling lies, a one-eyed cat, and horrible taste in men. His ex-brother-in-law and best friend, Greg, harbors a secret crush he can’t shake. After denying his feelings for Kyrie for too long, Greg finally gives in to desire one drunken night. Come the morning, the facts get twisted. Kyrie pretends he doesn’t remember a thing—a lie that eats him alive—and Greg can’t stop thinking about how he screwed up the best thing in his life.

Before they can clear the air, Kyrie follows his dreams to New York City, but could he also be running away?

A mistake from Kyrie’s past detonates their silence, and Greg is forced to confront the man he loves. Is their new truth strong enough to support a relationship, or are they doomed to crumble under old fears? Their friendship could evolve into something a million times stronger, but maybe Kyrie’s act is just too hard for Greg to follow.

Buy Link: Liquid Silver Books / Amazon

Social Media Links Webpage / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Email: kimbervale@ hotmail.com

Author Page Links Liquid Silver Books / Amazon / Goodreads

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Thursday Redux with Jude Johnson

new author pic Jude Johnson, an author who is multi-published in several genres, is the Thursday Redux contributor today. Jude writes historical nonfiction, historical fiction, contemporary romance, and children’s stories. Her publishers include Champagne Books, 7DS Books, Open Books Press, and Scorched Hawk Press. She reports: “I believe in living the Renaissance life: Develop a myriad of hobbies, interests, and skills to cram as much life as possible into our short time on this plane of existence. Yes, I’ve kept my day job. *wink, wink*”

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My post was originally published on 17 March 2014 in honor of World Down Syndrome Awareness Day (http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/)

This darling boy is the son of a very dear friend. Sara, an Arizona-born cowgirl embodies all the finest qualities of ranch gals. She trains horses with a gentle hand, teaches and counsels children, and hardly says a bad word about anyone. The worst I ever heard her say about a former boyfriend is, “He was not a very nice boy.” Her husband Marty is also a kind man, takes all sorts of teasing from her friends (like me) with good humor, and has a great heart.

So when they had their first child, a boy who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, their friends weren’t sure how to respond. Everyone wants a perfectly healthy child. Everyone usually assumes two great people will have a great baby. Guess what? They have. [Photo by The Bug’s Dad, Martin.]

BugThe Bug, as he is lovingly called, is a beautiful, happy boy. He has the best laugh in the world. (Well, second to my son’s baby laugh. That was enchanted music, but I’m biased.) As Bug approaches his first birthday in May, he’s reached those milestones every parent brags about or frets over: lifting his head, rolling over, sitting up, smiling, laughing, wriggling, crawling, getting into things, walking, burbling–oh, and did I mention getting into things?

This is a fortunate child to be born to loving parents who live in a tight-knit community of family and friends. We all know he’ll face more challenges than average as he matures, but he will have a strong support system around him to help him learn to meet each obstacle and deal with it–in his own way and time. He will grow up in a ranching/farming environment, well-acquainted with dogs and horses, where the insane pressure of modern urban life is not as much of a factor as it could be. He’ll face the incredible cruelties other children can inflict, as we all know will happen, but he’ll also be surrounded with acceptance and encouragement in a way few people experience. I have no doubt The Bug will learn to achieve through determination, hard work, and love–just like his folks.

Down Syndrome is trisomy-21, a genetic anomaly of an extra of chromosome 21. Its effects can vary from severe (with multiple organic issues such as heart problems and other organ dysfunctions) to mild, with some facial effects and  slower than average cognitive learning. People born with Down Syndrome can lead rich, productive, independent lives–if given the chance and acceptance. There are more than a few young people with Down Syndrome who have made incredible achievements–way above any average. To learn more, and read about these remarkable men and women, please take a moment to check out The National Down Syndrome Society page.

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Save The Last Dance

A Contemporary Romance from Champagne Books  (April 2014)

save the last dance ecoverABOUT: A trilogy of novellas about Maggie Pearce and the love of her life, English actor John Harrison—how each break the chains of bad relationships through their mutual love of ballroom dance, surmounting obstacles to prove that love does conquer all.

The road to love is rocky for Maggie and John. Both in loveless relationships, they share a passion for dancing, and along the way, for each other. Their attraction could destroy everything they’ve worked for, so when circumstance throws them together again and again, they must choose if it’s better to stay in their loveless relationships or gamble on love.

Save the Last Dance Buy Link 

Media Links: WebpageTwitter Facebook / Email: AuthorJude@comcast.net

Author Pages:   Publisher Page / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Tomorrow, Countdown to Publication

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Thursday Redux: R.J. Hore’s blog on “Some Thoughts on Sequels”

R.J.Hore, a fantasy author at Champagne Books, is my guest at Thursday Redux. He writes what he call the medieval fantasy style for novels like the “Dark Lady” series, and a more mad urban fantasy style for his “Housetrap Chronicles,” a fantasy detective series of novellas. Ron’s hobbies include photography and sailing, along with putting up with a large number of unruly grandchildren and an even more unruly large cat. DividerBar428x25

“Some Thoughts on Sequels” posted to the Writer’s Vineyard website back in June 23rd, 2012 when I was working on two sequels to The Dark Lady. The second novel, Dark Days, came out in March of this year followed by the third and final (probably) novel, Dark Knights which came out in August. 2014.as an ebook.

Some Thoughts on Sequels

 I spent the last few months working on a sequel for my first published novel, The Dark Lady. When I wrote the original book, a sequel was the last thing on my mind. Then I began to wonder what would happen if it sold? Not a problem, the tale was far from finished, so I threw myself into the task. One tiny question kept bubbling in the back of my brain as I worked on volume two, Is this the end, or is there still more? After wrapping up almost 90,000 words I can safely say, looks like there is another Dark one lurking out there.

When I attempted my very first novel, I set out to do a trilogy. I thought that would make it easier to publish. After all, it would prove that I could finish what I started. It is still hiding in my closet. When I finally finished it, I could imagine a whole series based on the characters and setting. I guess I didn’t want to let them go their own way.

Since then, most of my manuscripts start out designed as a single, complete story. But once I type “The End” I start to wonder what else the characters might be up to after I’ve closed the page. Unless you wipe everyone out in some major catastrophe, at least one of your favorites is alive and well and shouting from the page that they want to be heard. How long can you create the magic you felt writing the original story, before it starts to feel stale? Maybe someday I should have another peek at that original trilogy, to see if it is as bad as I thought.

I can see why some writers may become jaded, or worse, bored, while writing a lengthy series. I know that every once in a while I get an itch to write something new. I think writing could turn from a joy, to a job, if you had to tell the same story over and over again. Writers need a challenge, a change of setting, a new villain, an exciting new character you might fall in love with all over again.

When you set down to write a novel, do you think of it as being a single project, or do you suspect/hope there will be room for more of the same?

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Dark Days

High Fantasy Medieval Style Fantasy from Champagne Books/BURST Books (March 2014)

darkdays2 High Res CoverYoung Queen Nefasti’s hold on her throne is tenuous. Her powerful neighbor to the west has declared war, and her other neighbors want something in return for their offered aid, such as her hand in marriage and her kingdom. Assassins lurk in the shadows while handsome suitors try to bribe her with gold and jewels. Her best friend and protector is leaving and one of her favorite ladies-in-waiting is threatening to commit suicide. What else can go wrong for the young monarch?

BUY LINK:   CHAMPAGNE

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: WEBPAGE / FACEBOOK

AUTHOR PAGE LINKS: PUBLISHER PAGE / AMAZON

Thank you for sharing, Ron. Tomorrow, Goodbye to Pompeii

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Thursday Redux: Author Elizabeth Fountain

Elizabeth Fountain, author of science fiction, urban fantasy, and magical romances, is the Thursday Redux guest today. Writing is usually a solitary endeavor with few opportunities for interaction with other writers. Often we’re limited to occasional contacts at meetings and conferences. Another opportunity for interaction with other authors is membership in our publisher groups.

Liz is a fellow author at Champagne Book Group, one of my favorites. She writes funny, whimsical stories that have you laughing and thinking at the same time. She is always pleasant and supportive of the other authors. When I did an interview with her recently, I read her bio. Like her stories, Liz isn’t bound by one path to her destination, but she has a fascinating journey arriving there. Check out her website bio and her stories for great reads. Today, Liz shares a whimsical story that reflects her writing style. (Note: We also share an addiction to NANOWRIMO. See below)

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 It took me a long, long, time to choose a post for Rita’s Thursday Redux. The more I read my old pieces, the more lost in the past I became. Each one reminded me of everything that swirled around it in my life at the moment it came into being. Good thing I had a deadline, as it forced me to pick one, finally. I hope you like it.

This post was the result of a writing workshop I took at Richard Hugo House in Seattle, way back in early 2011. The workshop focused on using the conventions of fairy tales to tell all kinds of stories. Perhaps some seeds related to the fables in You, Jane were planted there and then. One exercise instructed us to take a favorite Disney-style tale and “rough it up,” making it into a more classic, adult-style fable. Well, my favorite Disney movie ever is The Jungle Book; here’s the moment where Mowgli meets Baloo, but, well, we’re not in Disneyworld anymore.

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ROUGHING IT UP

One day a bear was out bathing in a stream. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a creature come toward him that he did not recognize as a usual resident of the jungle. This creature was a human child.

The bear sighed. He knew what would happen, having seen other small human cubs wander loose in the jungle.

“Child, where are you going?” he asked the little naked thing.

“I’m running away,” said the human cub.

“You know you’ll be eaten in the jungle,” said the bear.

“Not me,” said the child. “I know how to take care of myself.”

“Do you,” said the bear. He heard wolves howl in the distance and closer by he heard the purr of the tiger.

“Yes I do,” said the child, and growled a pitiful whining sound meant to frighten the other jungle creatures.

“That won’t help you,” said the bear. “Shall I teach you how to protect yourself?”

“Would you?” asked the child.

“Certainly,” said the bear. And without a second thought he ate the human cub.  “You’ll be safe in my stomach,” he said, spitting out the bones into a neat little pile by the side of the stream, and went back to his bath, humming contentedly.

The wolf pack leader came by. “Have you seen a human cub?” he asked. “Yes,” said the bear, and gestured with a claw at the pile of bones. “There he is. “The wolf pack leader shook his great ruff and turned to go back to his pack.

The tiger slinked out of the tall jungle grass. “Did a human cub walk by here?” he asked the bear, who was just getting out of the stream to dry himself off and get ready for his afternoon nap.

“Yes,” said the bear, “I ate him and there are his bones, if you want to pick them over while I sleep.”

“Ah,” said the tiger, and with the swipe of one giant paw he sliced the bear open and ate his entrails, full of delicate human cub flesh as they were. “Now I need a nap,” thought the tiger to himself, and rolled over to sleep in the tall jungle grass.

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You, Jane

An Urban Fantasy – Magical Romance Champagne Book Group (June 2014)

you-jane_300dpiNote: You, Jane was born in my first joyous experience with National Novel Writing Month in November, 2010. The reliance on fables – some a bit dark – certainly found encouragement in the writing workshop that generated my Thursday Redux post.

Jane Margaret Blake’s problem isn’t her drinking. Sure, she’s missing work, and forgetting she’s already fed her cat, who’s getting a little fat. But Jane’s real problem is the reason she drinks: she writes stories that come true and wreak havoc in her life.

In her “fables” animals, people, angels, and the Universe itself conspire to destroy Jane’s last chance to be with her old love, or, just maybe, to bring her into the arms of a new love. Years ago, a fable pushed Jane’s best friend Charlie into marrying another woman. Now another fable shoves Charlie’s little boy in front of an angry dog – or worse, a wicked spirit bent on getting Jane and Charlie to face the truths they’ve spent a lifetime avoiding.

As her drinking and writing spiral out of control, Jane must finally discover how to write her own happy ending.

BUY LINK: AMAZON

SOCIAL MEDIA: WEBPAGE / FACEBOOK / EMAIL: lizfountain64@yahoo.com

AUTHOR PAGES: AMAZON / CHAMPAGNE

Thank you for visiting, Liz.  Tomorrow, More Pompeii

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Thursday Redux: Author Lynn Rae

My guest today is Lynn Rae, an author of contemporary books at Liquid Silver Books. LSB recently published First Choice, Second Choice, the second book in the “Love Around the Corner” series. Lynn will share a bit about herself and the story behind the book.

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About Lynn: I make no secret of the fact that I love to shop at thrift stores and garage sales. I have ever since I was a kid, and I still get a thrill whenever I spot a jumble of used goods sitting on a rickety table in someone’s driveway. It’s the idea of finding something wonderful for a thrillingly low price that gets me going. I also like to speculate about the origins of the things being discarded. Was that set of unused china a wedding present? Why would anyone need four sets of crutches? It’s mysteries like this that keep me going as I sort through boxes of mildewed paperbacks and stacks of stained baby bibs in the hopes of discovering that one cool thing I can’t leave behind.

I’m also a generalist when it comes to shopping. I’m usually not looking for anything specifically and my interests change over time. In the past I’ve collected linens, old cookbooks, buttons, and seamed stockings. Right now, I’m interested in Corning blue cornflower cookware, vintage rhinestone jewelry, pewter candlesticks, and tooled leather belts. But my best recent finds were a vintage 1973 mint green telephone in its original box with wiring instructions and a gorgeous Waterford crystal water glass in my pattern. I think that’s why I like thrifting, it’s totally random, nothing is guaranteed, and there are treasures waiting for those who look. Just like life.

About First Choice, Second Choice. One of the plot points in First Choice, Second Chance involves the restoration of a historic statue. That may seem like an odd thing to focus on, but it really resonated with me because it touches on numerous real-life experiences I’ve had. With my background in public history, I’ve served on committees intended to preserve monuments, as well as participated in public sculpture inventories and done research on all sorts of memorials and the people who were determined to create them.

Not only is the art and history interesting, but the way a sculpture or monument works its way into a community’s consciousness can be fascinating. In my book, the sculpture in question has different meanings for different characters. For Emily Fontaine, it’s a chance for her to prove she can handle the responsibility of caring for a prominent landmark and managing a group of volunteers. Paul Ellison is involved because of family obligations; his sister, the mayor, needs his help and he also happens to be related to the subject of the sculpture. For other committee members, the statue has the potential to be a community rallying point, or a target of vandalism.

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First Choice, Second Choice

Liquid Silver Books (July, 2014)

FirstChoiceSecondChanceConscientious Emily Fontaine is on a mission to prove her marketing and public relations skills. When she volunteers to restore a historic statue, she isn’t prepared for her attraction to one of her fellow committee members.

Paul Ellison has stayed out of circulation since his wife’s death, but once he meets Emily, he can’t resist her quiet allure, despite the difference in their age.

When the statue which brought them together is vandalized, and both Paul’s daughter and sister strenuously object to their burgeoning relationship, Paul and Emily realize the sacrifices they’ll have to make for each other. Will Paul have a second chance at love?

Buy Link: AMAZON

Lynn’s Social Media: WEBPAGEFACEBOOK  /   EMAIL: lynnrae@att.net

 Lynn’s Author Pages: LIQUID SILVER / AMAZON 

Thank you for visiting, Lynn. Tomorrow, About Vesuvius.

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Thursday Redux: Ute Carbone & Sweet Lenora

Author Ute Carbone is the featured author today at Thursday Redux. Ute is the author of numerous romantic comedies and a historical series, Sweet Lenora from Champagne Books. Ute is sharing a character interview with Lenora about All Things Returned (Sweet Lenora #3).

DividerBar428x25 Lenora Boudreaux is the heroine of my historical romance series, Sweet Lenora. The interview with her was originally published at A Passion for Romance on April 15 of this year, just after the third novella of the series, All Things Returned, was released

An Interview with Lenora Boudreaux

Tell us about yourself, please.

I am the daughter of a ship builder and the wife of a sea captain. I am, like it or not, defined by those two men, who have loved me best.

What is it that you want, but cannot have? Authors call this the conflict of the story.

My Aunt Louise often accused me of being a willful child. I suppose there is some truth to this. I should like to make my own mark on the world, perhaps to build a ship like Sweet Lenora and sail upon her with Anton as she breaks the record for speed of sail.  Though that is but a dream and I am happy to stand beside Anton, who is my love and my life, and make a home and a family with him. I will do anything to make this happy life a reality.

What’s your internal limitation? Meaning, what is it about you that makes it so you cannot do what it is you need to do during this story?

When Jacob Lowell first approached me with his threats, I should have told my brother and waited for Anton, who had sailed to Seattle, to come home. I decided I could handle it all on my own. Often, I have difficulty in asking for help, I do not like to appear weak or weak minded.

What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?

That the past will catch me in its net and destroy my life with Anton. I never doubt his love for me, but I know he is a man of rash action, and when it comes to my honor, he may well defend it to the death. I could not bear it if anything were to happen to him.

What’s your external complication? In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most.

I fear losing Anton to his sense of honor. Jacob Lowell has dishonored us and Anton will do anything, including challenge Jacob to a duel. I cannot allow him to do anything so rash as throw away his life over such a one as Jacob Lowell..

Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.

Anton. Aye, he is tall and dark and fearless. Some call him a scoundrel, I know better. He can be so tender that it makes my heart swell to think on it. I have found in him a love for all my days.

What would that person say about you?

He would no doubt tell you he loves me with all his heart. I know it is true. And he might add that I can be stubborn, which is also true. Thus far, he has forgiven me my stubbornness .

What is your family like?

My heart belongs to Anton, with whom I build my life. My brother Edward is a good man, and his wife Meifeng is the sister of my heart. My father was Robert Brewer, half of the famous Brewer Brothers shipping enterprise. He built many a clipper ship and taught me the trade as well. My Uncle John, the other half of Brewer’s, I have no use for. He is a man given to nefarious practices and will do anything to gain wealth.

What special skills do you rely on?

I should like, very much, to use the ship building skills my father taught me, but as of yet have not had the opportunity.

If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?

The very man who has shown up in this story, Jacob Lowell, and has caused such trouble for Anton and myself.

Are you happy with the way your story ended? Why or why not?

Yes, this part of the story ends well. Though the tale is not yet finished.

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All Things Returned (Sweet Lenora #3)

all things returned ebookUteAnton and Lenora Boudreaux have settled into an idyllic cottage overlooking San Francisco Bay. They’ve left trouble behind them and found happily ever after—family, friends, and a business that has every expectation of being successful. Until the Willow sails into port. The captain of Willow, Jacob Lowell, is privy to secrets that threaten Lenora’s reputation and Anton’s life. When Anton sails to Seattle on a business enterprise, Jacob tries to blackmail Lenora, threatening to expose all he knows and forces her to make decisions that will test her love of Anton and her life with him.

BOOK BUY LINKS: SMASHWORDS  / CHAMPAGNE

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

WEBPAGE / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST

Email: utecarbone@gmail.com

AUTHOR PAGES

CHAMPAGNEAMAZON /  TURQUOISE MORNING PRESS BOOKSTORE 

Thank you for visiting, Ute. Learn more about Ute, the series, and Lenora HERE.

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Thursday Redux: Keith Wayne McCoy’s Meet Jess Bennett

Keith Wayne McCoy is my first guest on Thursday Redux , where my favorite authors share their favorite posts. “Meet Jess Bennett” was first published by Keith as a character interview on fantasy author Olga Godim’s Blog on March 10th, 2014.

Meet Jess Bennett, a 78 years old protagonist of The Travelers, an urban fantasy novel by Keith Wayne McCoy.

1. Tell me a little about yourself—your name, profession, where you live, do you have a family, the usual.

My name is Jess Bennett and I am 78 years old. I was born and raised in a flat in London, England. World War II gave me an American GI named James to fall in love with and marry. After the war, we left England and my mother for New York on the ship of our destiny, the QUEEN MARY. We left Southampton with only each other but arrived in New York as a family after a North Atlantic encounter with an otherworldly, desperate mother and her two small children. My life began on that voyage.

2. What happened to you, so you ended up in this crazy adventure the novel talks about?

We began a life in southern Illinois in Jim’s ancestral Victorian farmhouse. It was heaven on earth, and I had never been happier. But when we lost our children just nine months apart, I fell off the path of the living and descended into the deathly world of bitterness and hostility. Losing just one of them would have been pain enough but both was simply too much, like a double amputation. My marriage disintegrated and despair leveled any hope of a normal existence and I became a recluse. Now, decades later, this young black filmmaker has brought Jim and I together again for a final reunion with that poor mother who has returned to shut doors all older mortals contemplate.

3. What is your biggest regret?

I lost the love of my life. I am happy Jim remarried but I absolutely hate his second wife because she has my man. I’ve never been with another man but have no one to blame for losing him except myself. I actually freed him because I knew I would never be the same. It was the hardest choice I’ve ever made, brave I tell myself, but it was necessary. But this young man has given me this final chance to find my way after all these decades and all I need before I die is to see that woman.

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Book

The Travelers

In 1947, the Queen Mary transmits a message which is intercepted by extraterrestrial intelligence. This errant radio signal serves as a beacon for a North Atlantic encounter between James and Jess Bennett, a GI and his war bride, and an otherworldly, desperate mother and her two small children.

In the present day, Guy Turner, a melancholy, black filmmaker, finds himself at the center of a supernatural mystery after a haunting prelude with the now elderly mother in a corridor aboard the retired liner in Long Beach, California. Standing at the edge of eternity, the old woman and the Bennetts have the complex task of setting certain aspects of the past in order as the doors to their lives are closing.

Guy is thrust into an unexpected and unwanted voyage of self-discovery as he is solely enjoined to bring the three together one last time.

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Thank you for visiting, Keith. The buy info and links for The Travelers and Keith’s webpage and social media contacts are listed below:

Buy The Travelers at any of these sites: Amazon  / Barnes & Noble / Champagne Book Group

Note:  Visit Keith Wayne McCoy’s blog at  http://www.keithwaynemccoy.com where he shares some of his magnificent collection of Queen Mary memorabilia. Rita

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