Writing with Curtis Deeter

Good morning writers! It’s that time again, and I have to say I’m thrilled for you to meet Curtis Deeter. He has become a good friend and great support for myself when it comes to my writing. But, if you have yet to read some of the projects he’s been working on, you’ll want to stick around. Let’s dive right in.

My name is Curtis Deeter. I have been writing for as long as I can remember and still have a lot of my work from when I was in grade school (it’s awful, but quite entertaining). I got my first degree in creative writing, but never took advantage of 14639847_999552906820767_7220031749638218970_nthe mentors or resources available to me. I am now almost done with a graduate degree in geography and planning. Yeah, don’t ask. I’m not quite sure how I ended up there, either.

Thanks for joining us today! Could you tell us what you believe makes a great story? A great story is a story that doesn’t feel like a story. Some of my favorite books and shorts have engaged me so deeply I forget I’m reading. If that happens, I think you’ve won as a writer.

I couldn’t agree more. Would you say certain authors have impacted your writing? If so, who are they? Neil Gaiman. Douglass Adams. Terry Pratchett. In no particular order, either. Gaiman for being a master storyteller, Adams for being hilariously inventive, and Pratchett for being a great satirist and fantasy writer. This list could be thirty pages long, but I’ll just stick with them.

Wonderful. Do you mind telling us a little bit about your current WIP? Currently, I have a few projects I’m working on. I have finished the rough draft of my first book, Morning Blood in Mio, along with the initial revision. Set in a small town in Michigan, the book follows a clumsy, would-be detective, his near-mute sidekick Bob, and two honeymooners who can’t seem to avoid trouble wherever they go. The piece is a satire and a murder mystery with a few surprises along the way. It is a lot of fun to write because pretty much anything goes. I’ve laughed working on it and I’ve cried working on it (mostly from laughing). I have a lot of ideas of things I would like to add to it as well. I will be drafting the second book, Chasing Rapture, next month.

Wow, you sure are keeping busy. Congratulations on finishing your first book by the way! It sounds amazing. What do you do when you aren’t writing? School. A lot of school. I am also planning on opening a literature-themed pizza place and bookshop in the city I live in called The Cheesy Reader. I am really excited about it. Owning a restaurant has been as big a passion and dream for me as being a writer. I figured why not combine the two? And downtown doesn’t have a bookstore or a specialty pizza place. Economic development is starting to happen at a fast pace and the next two years or so are the perfect time to take the plunge and risk every penny I have. Ha.

What a fantastic idea. Good luck to you! If you could spend the day with one of your characters from your book, who would it be and why? Um, well they are all kind of idiots. I would probably get into trouble with any of them. Chase Cross, the detective, is the worst of the bunch, but not by much. Bob, his sidekick, is quiet and pretty much clueless about everything and anything. The deputy and Sheriff Brown aren’t the greatest cops in the world, but they care deeply about their town. The honeymooners are borderline dangerous. I’d probably want to spend the day with the statues at the shrine, the Three Jesuses and the Three Marys. Yes, they are characters, too, but only at night. It’s a bit complicated and I’m still working out the details. They are quite entertaining.

I can’t wait to read your novel. It sounds so intriguing. Is your book a standalone or a part of a series or trilogy? It’s part of a trilogy. The second book is a post-apocalyptic satire that takes place after the rapture. And the third book is a sort of restructuring of society. In my mind, they get increasingly political as the story progresses.

Great! Would you mind sharing an excerpt of your novel with us? 

Morning Blood in Mio

Chapter One: Runaway Woody

And for the first time in one hundred and thirty-four years, on the Sabbath day, Mio, Michigan celebrated not the life and accomplishments of the Lord and Savior, but mourned the bloodless, premature deaths of the eldest couple in town. Their bodies hung loosely from the top of the Our Lady of the Woods Shrine, a staple of the town connected to the Catholic church. Someone maneuvered them, mid-rigamortis, into a very obscene position much like the midnight rendezvous of their Dachshund and the neighbor’s Yorky. A Devil’s joke. David and Mary Stillman still loved each other after fifty years. Even in death.

The people looked on as the sheriff scratched her head. She tried to workout the best action to take. They quickly realized no one owned a ladder tall enough to reach the lovingly dead couple. The cherry picker on the town’s only firetruck had lurched to a halt well before reaching the apex of the Shrine. The driver backed up through the crowd with his tail between his legs.

“Now what?”

Sheriff Grace continued to scratch what her head. Not knowing what to do, Deputy Lawson mimicked her. She never steered him wrong. He squinted hard to get the dumbfounded motion down just right.

A newcomer arrived on the scene. A shrill and elongated scream announced her presence to everyone in the crowd. Members of the congregation tried to hold her back.

“Why don’t you go console the loon, kid,” Sheriff Grace suggested. At that very moment, a solitary loon flew over head towards Mio Dam Pond. Even the birds knew something was wrong. Watch them long enough and you will too. 

“But, ma’am,” the deputy said, averting his attention back to his superior. “I can’t fly and I’d have to say that the loon looks quite content up there all on its own.”

“Not the damned bird, you idiot. The young woman causing a riot.” She pointed in the general direction of a tall blond woman wearing matching blue pajamas. Streaks of tears ran down her plump cheeks.

“Right, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am.”

A couple of burly men, employees of one of the local tourist traps, were doing their best to hold the blonde back. She kicked and scratched and bit at them. They struggled to hold on, clearly needing authoritative assistance.

The deputy jumped into obedient, if not sluggish, action. Sheriff Grace continued her gawking and head scratching along with the rest of the crowd. In all her years with the Mio Police Department, she never imagined such a gruesome crime possible. She had a hell of a time getting all of the children away. Before she joined the force, a couple of young men had been murdered over a game of pool. It was an open and shut case. She never thought twice about something like it happening again. And on her watch, nonetheless. Nothing open and shut about the poor Stillmans. No sir.

Why did I skip my second cup of coffee this morning? Sheriff Grace thought. She longed deeply for her second cup. She longed even deeper to be back at the bar nursing a stiff cup of whiskey. Sheriff Grace heard the calming voice of the deputy, even over the rabble. The kid might have been a blundering buffoon, but he sure had a knack for making people feel better in uncomfortable situations. Sheriff Grace just felt, well, equally uncomfortable.

“Miss, my heart goes out to you. Really, it does,” he said.

“We’re gonna’ do everything we can to ease your pains and sufferings. That I promise you.”

“Of course, Miss, justice will be swift, but now we need to pay our utmost respects to your dear grandparents and I need to make sure you’re gonna’ be okay.”

The bits and pieces of the conversation that were audible over the murmur of the crowd reassured Sheriff Grace. How effectively the deputy calmed the young woman, she could only speculate, but one thing was for sure: Mio would be in good hands when and if she ever decided to retire.

The deputy grinned at the sheriff and shot her a confident thumbs up. He embraced the blonde Ms. Stillman, offered one last condolence, and trotted back over to his partner.

“Well?”

“Well what?” the sheriff said.

“Did you see that? Man, I’m good… I mean, er, ma’am.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. She gonna be okay? I can’t afford any more distractions while I’m trying to sort things out.”

“She’s okay, sir. Upset, of course, but a strong woman that one.”

Before the sheriff responded, the sound of tires squealed around the corner from highway M33 and onto 8th Street. A beat up, powder blue station wagon barreled towards the church. The rising sun reflected off of wooden side panels. A cloud of cigar smoke seeped out from cracked windows.

Time in Mio, Michigan stood still.

Young Ms. Stillman’s eyes widened, her jaw dropped halfway to the ground. She quivered in her striped, matching PJs. The deputy’s stupid grin contorted into something horrifying. He planned an exit strategy, but only got as far as covering his eyes with his hands. Sheriff Grace removed her sunglasses and pointed dumbly at the station wagon. The crowd, mesmerized, held their collective breath and pointed even more dumbly.

Mr. and Mrs. Stillman continued to be dead.

Time sped up. As did the powdered blue station wagon. It sped up and lost control, jumping the curb and plowing into the center of the Our Lady of the Woods shrine. Mr. and Mrs. Stillman slid off of their perch and landed with a thud on the roof of the vehicle. The engine sputtered. Smoke came from its exhaust and from Sheriff Grace’s ears. Was this really happening in his town? On God’s day, of all days?

A chubby man wearing a gray, hand-me-down suit flung open the driver side door and stepped out. A avalanche of cans and empty Mountain Dew bottles slid out after him. All eyes watched, as eyes are want to do. He cracked his neck to each side and twisted the kinks out of his hips. He noticed the townspeople for the first time and beamed a bright smile their way. The congregation beamed smiles back before they realized what it was they just witnessed.

The sheriff and the deputy drew their pistols in unison. The chubby man averted his attention their way, but the smile never left his face.

“Hi,” he said, “Name’s Chase Cross. I’m here to solve the, um…” he turned around and saw the two bodies piled on the roof of his car. He pointed at them. “That.”

Thank you so much for sharing! What a great excerpt.

For those wishing to follow Curtis Deeter, head over to his Facebook Author page to show your support by clicking here.

Thanks to Curtis for being such a good sport and allowing me to interview him, and to everyone reading this.

Happy writing everyone.

Chatting with Faye Rogan

Ah! Fall is here, or if you live in the Great White North like I do, it’s winter. So, on that note, I encourage you to pull up a seat, grab a hot drink and join me today in interviewing Faye Rogan, author of Seeing The Truth. 

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Faye Rogan, originally from Buxton, Derbyshire, in the picturesque Peak District of England, is now an expat living in Dalyan. She has lived in Turkey for the last fifteen years, initially working at Bilkent Laboratory & International School in Ankara until she had to give up her position as the Elementary School Principal due to ill health.

She speaks fluent Turkish and immerses herself in Turkish culture, enjoying an authentic life in a traditional village. She feels lucky to be living the dream in this little piece of paradise.

It was her love for a Turkish man which led her to write her debut novel “Seeing the Truth”. While the novel is a work of fiction, it is based on her own experiences of a challenging relationship where the differing cultures, language barrier and religion were a constant struggle.

A keen reader of all types of fiction, she had never come across a romance novel that explored the stereotypical relationships between British women and Turkish men. Through her own experience and needing a winter project to keep her occupied in a very quiet, out of season Dalyan, “Seeing the Truth” was born.

 

Welcome, Faye! And thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you. Could you tell us a little bit about your novel, Seeing The Truth?

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My debut novel, ‘Seeing the Truth’ is a love story set in Turkey.

While on holiday in Marmaris, Kaye Knowles, meets Vedat Erdem, a Kurdish cotton farmer from the south east of Turkey. Their holiday romance soon becomes an all-consuming love affair.

Blinded by love, Kaye struggles with the language barrier, cultural differences and family objections as life takes her on an emotional rollercoaster of joy, heartbreak, hope and disappointment.

As she explores the delights of Turkey, her world comes crashing down when she finds out that their relationship is built on a foundation of lies and deceit.

The cover of your novel is beautiful. Could you tell us where we could find a copy of it? I self -published my book on Amazon, using Createspace for the paperback version and Kindle Direct Publishing for the eBook.

Perfect! Why did you opt to self-publish rather than go down the traditional route? I decided to self -publish as the traditional publishing route takes time, with no guarantee of a contract at the end and I was not prepared with wait or waste any more time getting it on the market.

How long did it take for you to write, Seeing The Truth? I didn’t work on it continuously. I spent from Nov-Mar for 3 years writing it. It began as a project to keep me occupied during the very quiet winters here.

What inspired you to write your novel? Relationships between British women & Turkish men are very common and having experienced such a relationship I decided that a story which detailed the challenges and emotional hardships these relationships endure had not been told. Also I knew there would be a large target audience of women who had been in similar situations and it would be of interest to the many tourists who visit Turkey looking for a good holiday read.

Ah, your book sounds lovely. What do you believe makes a great story? When the reader emotionally identifies with one or more of the characters and joins in with their journey. You need to tantalise the reader and make them laugh, cry, worry, feel the pain and make them feel they are in that world.

I couldn’t agree more. Do you find that you have a specific writing style? No – in fact one of the main problems I had with my book was unifying the style. I had written the story from the 2 different perspectives of the 2 main characters, one serious & the other lighter and more humorous. Rewriting one to match the other was a struggle!

I always like to throw in a little fun question in my interviews. So, if you and another fictional character were stranded on a island, who would it be and why? I’m a hopeless romantic so it would have to be Mark Darcy from ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ – intelligent, romantic, good-looking, cultured. If I’m going to be stranded with someone let it be someone who is good eye candy!

Oh, I love Bridget Jones. Before we wrap things up, would you mind sharing an excerpt of your novel with us? 

 

Chapter 1 

Karabulut, South-East Turkey, 

December 1968 

The pains had come on suddenly while she swept the yard outside. The recent rain had made puddles on the uneven ground and she swept the water away from the house so that visitors could get to the door without splashing through the dirty water. The baby was due but the pains had taken her by surprise. She gasped and doubled over as the first pain stabbed in her abdomen. She dropped the besom broom and held her stomach, panting to regain her breath. The pain subsided and she straightened up, looking to see whether anyone was watching. One of their workers, busy repairing the tractor at the far end of the yard, was unaware of her predicament. She did not attract his attention and was glad he was distracted by his chore.

Having regained her composure she picked up the broom and continued to sweep the water, hoping that the pains would not begin in earnest. She had been present while her older sister had given birth so knew what to expect. The memories of the still-born baby and then the death of her sister from a massive haemorrhage made her shiver and she prayed to Allah that she and her baby would survive.

The entrance to the house cleared of water, she propped the broom against the wall, slipped off her shoes and went into the house. She went to the kitchen, took a glass from the wooden cupboard on the wall and filled it with water from the large, plastic drum in the corner. She sipped the cold water and sat down on the rickety wooden chair by the sink. Should she send the worker to fetch her mother? Her husband would be home soon, but giving birth was women’s work and he would be no help to her.

As she wondered what to do, there was a sound at the door and she heard her husband kicking off his shoes and entering the narrow hallway between the kitchen and the front door. At the door, he had put slippers on his feet so she was unable to hear his footsteps, but watched the doorway expectantly. He smiled as he saw her and she glowed. He was fifteen years her senior and, at thirty years of age, he carried the weight of grief at losing his wife and first child so tragically. She had been flattered when he had asked her parents for permission to marry her, their younger daughter, after their loss. She had known him all her life and had admired him from afar, never dreaming that one day she would become his wife.

She got up from her chair and went to the stove to heat water to make him some tea. She knew what he expected and was happy to oblige. He took her place on the chair and asked her how she was. She smiled and said that she was fine. She reached into the cupboard for a tea glass and grimaced as another pain caught her by surprise. He noticed her look of discomfort and told her to sit down. She shook her head and carried on making the tea. Another pain, more severe than the last, gripped her body and she staggered back from the sink. Sweat appeared on her brow and she began to tremble.

Looking concerned, he took her arm to lead her to the chair. As she sat down heavily, the chair wobbled and she altered her balance to steady it. He left the kitchen abruptly, went to the door and shouted, ‘Musa, run to Zehra hanim’s house and tell her the baby’s on its way. She’ll know what to do.’

As the pains became more frequent, the girl made her way along the corridor to their bedroom. She lay down on the mattress on the floor, trying to stay calm, despite the panic welling in her. She hoped the labour would not be long and silently prayed to Allah to give her strength.

She was devoutly religious and read the Koran at intervals throughout the day, gaining comfort from the words and vowing to be a good Muslim. She hoped that her mother would bring food for the evening meal as she had not had time to prepare anything. Her husband would not be pleased if a hot meal was not laid before him.

Her mother arrived thirty minutes later, bearing a basket full of food, towels and soap. Her mother had the reputation of being a good cook and her guvec, a lamb stew and vegetables, was much praised by visitors to her home. She immediately took out a clay cooking pot from the basket and laid it on the stove in the kitchen. Her son-in-law could smell the aroma of cooked lamb and smiled in anticipation of a tasty meal. He went to the living room, where a tablecloth was laid on the carpeted floor and sat down on a floor cushion. His mother-in-law brought in the food and they exchanged nervous glances. Both of them were remembering a similar situation just over two years ago and hoping the outcome of this one would be happy and not end in tears like the last.

Over the course of the next few hours, the family and close neighbours gathered to give support in the living room of the single storey, mud-brick house, waiting for news. They sat huddled on cushions on the carpet covering the earth floor, sipping tea in small, tulip-shaped glasses, trying to keep warm against the chilly winter air. A coal fire had been lit but provided little heat. Women brought food: cooked dishes, fruit, cheese, olives, bread and an array of biscuits and desserts. Men came to calm the fears of the anxious father-to-be and kept him amused with funny stories and discussions on local affairs. They knew that if the baby was a boy, he would be promised in marriage to the daughter of the Aga, the village headman, in the neighbouring village, who had been born last year. It was to be an important alliance between two powerful families and would give added status to the both families. Their land adjoined and in future years it would be possible to merge all the land to form one huge empire.

In the larger of the two bedrooms, the young girl gripped her mother’s hand as she tensed for the next contraction. Her face was bathed in sweat, she fought the urge to scream. The light from the oil lamp was dim and the room had become airless and rank. The experienced midwife issued orders, while her mother uttered words of encouragement and comfort.

Eventually, the girl felt the urge to push and guided by her mother, her mother-in-law and a neighbour who was experienced in birthing, mustered all her energy and pushed with all her might. There was a loud squelch and the baby was out.

‘It’s a boy!’ exclaimed her mother in delight.

The baby’s first cry was heard by those gathered in the living room and the father-to-be rushed to the corridor. The bedroom door opened and his mother-in-law poked her head round and shouted,

‘Praise be to Allah, it’s a boy!’

Feeling immense relief and joy, the father ran back to announce the arrival of his son and received congratulations. He knew the future of the family lay in the hands of this newborn child and prayed that they would all be safe from harm.

Thank you so much for sharing! Your novel sounds delightful, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. 

For anyone wishing to follow Faye Rogan, please click on the social media links below.

www.twitter.com/fayerogan101

www.facebook.com/FayeRoganAuthor

And to purchase her book, Seeing The Truth, please click here.

 

Happy Writing!

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- A Review

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I love Harry Potter. Always have, always will. So, when I caught wind of another Harry Potter book being released, I was more than excited. You see, while I enjoy fantasy, there are a lot of books in this genre that fail to grasp or even hold my attention from start to finish. Not with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. This series has managed to reel me in and hold on to me long after reading them a first time.

I will admit, after reading mixed reviews from other readers, and knowing full well that this book was written as a script rather than a novel, I made sure to not set the bar too high in terms of my expectations, and to go into it with an open mind. I’ve been a part of productions, and read my fair share of scripts so I found it easy to fall into the rhythm of the book, and I believe it helped me read through it and not come out the other end feeling disappointed. In fact, I am so bloody eager to watch the play, I can barely contain my excitement. I can only hope the production goes world-wide so I am given the opportunity to see it on-stage.

As you can probably tell, I loved this eighth book. Yes, I will admit that I missed the descriptions of the magical world in which they are depicted in a novel setting, and the emotions that each character felt after the dialogue, but found it easy enough to fill in those gaps with my imagination and knowledge of the world from previous books. JK Rowling did a wonderful job with the dialogue in the sense that you could still pull out the emotion each character felt, despite it not being written as a novel. Now, with that being said, can you imagine how amazing this book would be if it were written as a novel? I’m certain I would be suffering from a worse case of Post Potter Depression than I currently am.

If JK Rowling ever decided to make this into a full-fledged novel, I would pick it up in a heart beat and read it from cover to cover in a day like I did with this one. Because it is written as a script, it makes for a quick and easy read. I enjoyed reading about our well-loved trio(Harry, Ron, Hermione) in their later years as parents, and their struggles with the relationships they have with their children. I grew up with Harry Potter, easily relating to the characters back then, and found myself able to relate to them again as an adult who has children as well. I enjoyed that familiarity.

 

Overall, this book gets 5 stars from me. Would I rather see it written as a novel? Absolutely! But that doesn’t take away from my choice of rating it with 5 stars. I would highly recommend this story to anyone. As long as one keeps in mind that this book is a script, and therefore dialogue heavy with no flowery descriptions, relying on your imagination, I’m sure anyone would enjoy it as well.

Promise- An unconventional short love story

 

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Good Afternoon!

So, awhile back( in September 2015), I had an idea for a short romance story, but unlike most romance or love stories, this one broke conventional standards and I worried whether or not it would be received well. It sat unfinished for a couple of months while I worked on my first draft of Rising from Ashes, but I did complete it by the end of 2015. Since then, it has been sitting, waiting to see the light of day, waiting to be recognized by someone who can appreciate a heart-felt love story that may not meet today’s romance guidelines. Sure, it may seem silly  for me to feel anxiety over it, but romance is such a heavily criticized genre that for me to put this piece out into the public’s eye has been nothing short of nerve-wracking.

With that being said, I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a home for my short story, Promise. Like my beta readers who found nothing but kind and positive things to say about my story, Romantic Shorts felt the same and expressed an interest in publishing it on their online digest of romance reads. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic! Yes, I’m writing to have my works published one day, but more importantly, I’m writing for my own enjoyment, and to share my works with others. I have been wishing desperately for this piece to be shared with even a small corner of the internet because it is a piece that is different, a piece that has such depth, and means so much to me.

 

If you’re interested in reading my realistic fiction/contemporary romance short story, Promise, please click here . I can only hope that at least one person enjoys it. It is a piece that I am truly proud of, and is close to my heart and I hope I am able to move any individual who reads it. Thank you for all of your support!

 

Happy Writing Everyone!

Words with Lucie Guerre

Wow! It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over. My summer has been rather busy lately, and therefore I’ve been MIA for awhile, but I’m happy to announce my next interview with the talented, and lovely writer, Lucie Guerre. Check out what she has to say about writing and her latest novel.

11227946_1626849417527596_4550760228864193332_nHi Lucie! Thanks so much for joining us today. Could you tell us about your WIP? Currently, my work-in-progress is an urban fantasy novel. 

Aisling McHale’s dreams are beginning to seem too real. When ordinary objects from her dreams start appearing in her real life, she doesn’t pay it much attention. One day, an innocent paperback from the second-hand bookstore causes her to doubt everything she has known. This book on dreams and their secret meanings call all of her current thoughts into question. As she delves into the sudden appearance of these objects, her dreams and reality intermingle and violently collide. As she tries to make sense of her world, she finds her long-time friends and new-found acquaintances clash over how best to handle these life-altering events. Who truly has her best interests in mind? As her life spirals into chaos, demons she didn’t even know existed from her past reemerge and ultimately shape what happens to Aisling in this world and the other.

Sounds intriguing! I would definitely love to read this book. How much time do you devote to writing your novel? I usually devote about two or three hours a night to it. It’s not always easy for me to find time to set aside for writing my novel because I am also in school, planning my wedding, and working a full-time job.

Impressive. You are one busy gal. What inspired you to write your novel? Where do you get most of your ideas from? This particular novel has been on my mind in some form or another for over five years. I have been fascinated by dreams and the subconscious since I was about twelve, and I kept a dream journal on and off again since then. One night, I had a particularly interesting dream, which inspired one of the dream sequences in the novel, and I began writing the first draft of it. Since then, it has undergone many changes and many drafts. Most of my ideas come from dreams or just random thoughts. I often people-watch and get ideas from the people I observe. I also find music to serve as a huge inspiration. Some songs have inspired entire novels or short stories.

Ooo! I love listening to music while writing. What genre do you write in, and do you wish to expand into writing others? I am currently writing an urban fantasy novel, and this is actually a departure from what I usually write. Typically, I write realistic fiction; however, this story has nagged me over and over, begging to be written. So, finally, I sat down and began plugging away at it. I would love to return to realistic fiction and expand into poetry at some point. Poetry has always been a catharsis for me, whereas, fiction is an escape from reality.

How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing stories since I was seven years old. I began to take my writing seriously as a craft when I was about twelve. My mother had a friend who really encouraged me to get my hands on all sorts of books and read, so that I could write better stories. A few years later, when I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to have an English teacher who saw the potential in me and offered me extra help in creative writing. He and I would get together as often as we could, and he would give me mini-lessons in creative writing. 

IslandThat’s amazing to have such wonderful people who encouraged and supported you. If you and a fictional character were stranded on an island, who would it be, and why? Oh man, I always hate these kinds of questions. I guess Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies because while we may squabble over why all the rum’s gone, we would at least be getting off that desert island quicker than most. Otherwise, if it was just for pure conversational value, I would pick Dean Moriarty from On the Road because that character always seemed to have the best stories, and sure, it’s possible that he has no real useful skills on how to get us off the desert island, but at least it would be interesting listening to his stories.

Great choices! Do you have a famous author, living or dead, that you would like to meet? And if so, why? I have to choose just one? There are a bunch of authors I would love to meet, but I guess if I had to narrow it down to just one author I would choose Simon van Booy. His writing is absolutely breathtaking. He could write about a bowl of soup, yet it would be the most poetic writing you will have read all day. I would love to pick his brain apart and learn how he crafts such exquisite sentences time and time again.

What is your favorite part about writing? I absolutely love creating worlds and characters. For me, it’s a form of escape. I can forget about what’s going on in reality for a little bit and submerge myself into this pretend world where I am the god of this universe, and I can exert control on these characters. It’s fun for me to immerse myself in this world I am creating. For me, it’s like watching a movie or reading a book. I am so caught up in what I am doing that I forget everything around me. Another fun part of writing is the moment when someone reads something I have written, whether it’s a poem, a novel, or a short story, and falls in love with my words, my story, or my characters. To me, that is an exciting and a favorite part, to have won over someone else and made them fall in love with some aspect of my writing. It’s such a cool feeling!

I couldn’t agree more. Would you be willing to share an excerpt of your novel with us? 

A low, loud rumble resounded throughout New Amhurst, but this time, Aisling was certain it wasn’t thunder. Her eyes darted around as she struggled to find the source of the sound. A deafening crack ripped through the air. She screamed as the buildings on Morgan Street collapsed, yet her terrified shriek died in her throat before any sound came out. Flames climbed high into the pale blue sky, rocketing past the tops of skyscrapers, above high-rises. Whips of orange and red burnt through the air. The fiery ropes slashed through Aisling’s vision as around her, buildings collapsed. Smoldering black smoke billowed where buildings once stood.

A shattered piano ruptured into a thousand pieces, its keys scattered like split teeth. Splintered staircases gave way. Fractured furniture burst as though it were made of sticks and cotton swabs. Tables caved in on themselves, and faucets exploded, water soaring up like volatile fountains. Bodies seemed to plummet from unspeakable heights. Each body slammed into the pavement, colliding to the ground with a wet smack.

Instead of looking up at skyscrapers and high-rises, Aisling stared at piles of smashed bricks and ruined stones cluttering the ground. Knickknacks of people’s lives wailed through the air. Picture frames whistled into the open skies and hurtled to the ground. Lamps crushed into pieces as they fell from top floors of apartment complexes. Copy machines slammed to the streets, crushing the asphalt as they toppled from office buildings. Television sets fired ricochets of broken glass, wires, and shattered circuit boards.

Aisling’s mouth hung open, and she could have sworn she screamed. Instead, the only noise coming out of her mouth was a barely audible rush of breath. Finally, after minutes of silence, she bellowed. The screech was primal; it was desperate, heart-breaking. When she looked beside her for comfort, it seemed as though the woman was being torn from Aisling’s side.

Unseen forces yanked the woman down Morgan Street in the midst of the chaos, where paper and paperweights alike tumbled from buildings that were mere frameworks of what they once were. Toilets exploded, water spilling over the rims, and buildings buckled in misshapen forms of steel from the heat of the fires as flames blazed higher. The woman somehow was pulled away from Aisling. As cardboard boxes crumpled on the street beside her, art projects, school assignments, expense reports, bills, all eddied into the air jettisoned by the pandemonium surrounding the woman. In desperation, the woman clawed at the air. The woman’s harsh shrieks filled the air, earsplitting and intense. It sounded as though the woman were being flayed alive, and Aisling flung her hands over her ears and sobbed. She winced as fat tears rolled down her cheeks.

What Aisling saw next overwhelmed her trust in her own senses. Redwood trees burst from the ground and split the pavement. The ground rumbled underneath her, and the asphalt broke apart as though being crushed by jackhammers. The trees towered over Aisling, and fear surged through her chest. Adrenaline felt as though it were rushing through her heart and expanding outward. She took several breaths to gather herself, but each breath felt shallow and only served to make her heart pound faster and harder.

The panic settled deep within the base of her lungs as her breath escaped in raspy wheezes. Her heart leapt into her throat and banged against her vocal cords. Its quick staccato measured in time with her fear. Her legs wobbled beneath her as she stood. She pressed her hand into the redwood, its bark rough underneath her touch. The wind picked up around her as unsettling as it was during the storm.

Aisling stood, her legs locked and stiff, yet they still felt as though they were made of rubber. A hard wind blew its final gust. She trembled as the leaves on the redwood rustled. A pure white feather floated to her feet. In the distance, broken glass jingled as it fell from splintered window frames. On its own, the sound harkened memories of wind chimes and light breezes, but when associating it with the tragedies that fell upon Morgan Street that day, it only called to mind sadness and the lives lost.

Brilliant! You can find Lucie’s social media links below. Go ahead and show her some love and support. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to interview her, and I appreciate her participation. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Happy writing.

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Debuting ‘The Whole Trying Thing’ with L.M. Langley

Romance, is there anything sweeter? I am happy to present to you another romance author who recently published her first book, The Whole Trying Thing. Take a peek below to find out what this wonderful author has to say about writing, and publishing.

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Hi! I’ve been writing since I was really small and went to school for it. I live in Florida, but I’ve been all over. I would love to say something quirky about pets here but I’m super allergic.

It is my understanding that you have recently published a new romance novel. Could you tell us what it is about?

The Whole Trying Thing

Lucas has always let things happen to him. Even meeting Issam, the gorgeous young man who just happens to be wealthy and totally into him, just kind of happens. But Lucas’s long-term crush on his best-friend, Nick, keeps him from fully committing to Issam.

Believing he’ll never have a chance with Nick, Lucas tells himself everything is fine. Except Nick starts dating Issam’s sister, and Lucas can’t quite hide his jealousy.

When a personal crisis causes Nick and Lucas to seek solace with each other, everything finally falls apart, and it’s up to Nick to pick up the pieces.

Awesome! Are you currently working on any other projects? My recently finished WIP is a speculative fiction romance. Kind of. I don’t really adhere to genre standard so it’s probably going to end up published as a literary fiction novel – if it finds a home at all!
I’m also working on a game right now. (Check at the bottom of the page to play this game, L.M. Langley has created.)

When publishing ‘The Whole Trying Thing’, did you decide to self-publish or publish it through traditional means? I chose to go traditional, with a smaller press ( Ninestar Press). They actually liked my pitch on #pit2pub and I sent them the novel about a month after that.

Thats fantastic! I’ve heard great things about #pit2pub. Would you consider yourself a pantser or a outliner? A little of both. Pantsing at first to get a feel for it, then if I like it enough to write it properly, I’ll make a rough outline. It’s rare that I write it down though.

What would you say is the most challenging part so far when it comes to writing your novel? Well, it really depends. But I think the running thread amongst all of everyone’s work is the crippling self-doubt or the idea that you’re just pretending to be a writer.

Ah, self-doubt. As artists, we are all too aware of this. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? Write. Write a lot. Writing is a skill and you can only get better at it. Talent isn’t real. You wouldn’t expect to pick a viola and be good at it, so you really shouldn’t expect to pick up a pen and suddenly be a masterful writer.

Perfect advice. What do you do to get over writer’s block?
Low intensity cardio. If that doesn’t work, an entire bottle of rose. So far so good.

If you ran a book club, what would they be reading and why?
That’s such a hard question! Right now, I’m reading Motherhood by Lindsey Williams. So I guess we’d be reading that.

Lovely. What are your future projects? Right now, I am working on a time travel romance, and putting the finishing touches on a speculative fiction m/m. After that, who knows? 

We would love it if you shared an excerpt from you book, ‘The Whole Trying Thing.’
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were seeing someone,” Nick says. It’s two o’clock in the morning, and we are sitting on his roof, right outside his bedroom. We are not supposed to do this. His parents would be upset.

“I’m telling you now,” I say.

I finish the beer and wait for him to hand me another one. He does without a word. He’s wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts. Nick likes stars. Sometimes, he says he is going to study astrology when his dad is out of earshot.

“What’s she like?”

I haven’t planned for this question. I have planned for ‘When are you going to introduce us; Is she hot; Does she go to our school; Do I know her?’ and other variations, but not this.

“Older,” I say. “Twenty-three.”

“Damn,” Nick says. “That’s awesome. What else?”

I take a deep breath. “Well, it’s a…His name is Issam,” I say.

“Oh,” Nick replies. “Okay.”

The sky spins. I wonder if he’s going to say anything else.

“You know I’ll always support you no matter what, right?”

I smile. “Yes. I know that.”

Our hands are really close to each other.

“He’s my manager,” I say. “At work.”

“Yeah,” he says. “I figured that out when you said he’s your manager.”

My smile broadens. “He’s really smart. Going to school for political science and statistics.”

“That’s cool,” he says. “What does he look like? When do I get to meet him?”

I take my wallet out of my back pocket and take a folded picture out. It’s dark, so he leans in to see it as I unfold it.

In the picture, Issam and I are standing together outside, next to some sort of sculpture. Sylvia stands to his right, her arms folded over her chest, her long red hair in a ponytail behind her.

“That’s him,” I say. “And that’s his sister. Her friend took the picture.”

He grabs it out of my hand and slides himself toward the window, edging it open with his foot. He looks at the picture under the light.

“Fuck,” he says. “He’s—his sister is white.”

I laugh. “Yeah, I know.”

“She’s hot,” he says. “They both are.”

“She’s annoying,” I reply. I’ve been dying to talk to Nick about him for a while, but I feel like an idiot for not liking that he’s turning the conversation to Syl. Still, I know it could be worse, so I’m just going to talk about whatever he wants to talk about. “But nice. Issam is always saying she needs to get laid.”

“He’s her older brother,” he says, cocking his head.

“He’s the loose cannon,” I reply. “His parents say they want him to keep an eye on his little sister, but I think they want her to spy on him.”

“Does she?”

“Probably,” I say, shrugging. “If that’s all I had to do to live in an apartment that nice, I definitely would.”

“You don’t have siblings,” Nick says. “You don’t know what it’s like.”

“Probably,” I say again and shrug. The alarm on my watch starts to go off. It’s 2:17 A.M.

Nick goes into his bedroom for something. I silence the alarm.

He comes out with another six-pack in his hands and sets it between us while crouching and then sits down. “A toast,” he says. He takes a can out, opens it, and holds it up high.

“Yes,” I say. “Happy birthday, dude.”

“To my birthday,” he says. “And to your boyfriend.”

Great excerpt! Thanks for the sneak peek, and answering all of my questions! For anyone interested in purchasing a copy of The Whole Trying Thing, click here. If you would like to play the game mentioned in the interview, click here. And to follow L.M. Langley on any of her current social media sites, they are listed below.

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Happy writing everyone!

 

Secrets with A.B. Penner

I was recently interviewed by Dana Louise Provo where we talk about my book, Rising from Ashes, and writing! It would mean the world if you took a moment to go check it out. 😀 This is simply a wonderful process to be a part of in working my way up to becoming a published author. Thanks for all of the love and support!!

Dana Louise Provo

A.B. Penner is writer, dreamer, and lover of all music and nature. She currently resides in abpennerCanada with her husband, and two spirited daughters. Prior to fulfilling the role of a domestic goddess, she worked in the mental health field. She can always be found reading or writing, finding enjoyment in her passion for running and yoga, and spending time with her family.

I’m so happy to have been given the chance to interview A.B. Penner! She is charming with a unique voice and a creative imagination. I’m honored to have her as a friend!

A. B., can you tell us about your upcoming book? Rising from Ashes is a New Adult/Contemporary Romance.

Charlie Ray hasn’t always had an easy life. Born to a mother of addiction and abandoned by her father, Charlie continuously faces a life of self-preservation amidst the physical and emotional abuse she endures daily.

 When Emerson…

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An interview with romance author, Dana Louise Provo

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a hopeless romantic. It was no surprise that romance became my favourite genre to read and write in, so imagine how excited I get when I meet other romance author’s. Dana Louise Provo, author of romantic suspense novel, Bleeding Hearts( release date- August 25/2016), allowed me to interview her, and I have to say, I couldn’t be anymore thrilled. She is such a wonderful person, and a amazing writer, and if you read on below, I can assure you won’t be in the least bit disappointed.

 

13555895_10206253655531526_490744913_oTell us a little bit about yourself. I have always loved books and read everything from young adult fantasy to adult historical romances. I have so many hobbies it’s hard to count them all. You can often find me at renaissance fairs, the movies, baking or hanging out with my husband. I also love an assortment of chocolate, coffee, and teas. When I’m not reading or writing my next novel, I can be found at the barn, riding my horses and getting ready for competition. I live with my husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

How long have you been writing for? I’ve only been writing for about three or four years after convincing myself and getting pressured into writing my own story. I don’t know how I managed without it for so many years.

Writing is a wonderful feeling, I agree! Which author’s have had the most impact on your writing? Everyone has a different style of writing and no two authors that I’ve read are the same. They each give me something to look forward to when I write my own stories. Some of my favorite authors include C.C. Hunter, Lucie Ulrich, Lisa Shea, Sarra Cannon, and Natasha Preston.

I love Natasha Preston too. So, you currently have a release date set for your new novel, Bleeding Hearts, which is coming out August 25/2016. Could you tell a little bit about it?

Bleeding Hearts is a new adult, romantic suspense novel about a young woman learning her mistakes with love and strangers. 13556057_10206253655211518_918617138_o

Blurb: Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to finding that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

Your book sounds amazing! Did you decide to publish it through a traditional publisher, or are you self-publishing your novel? I chose to go the traditional route because it was something I always wanted. Writing is hard and I didn’t want to be completely responsible for everything that goes into publishing. Now that I have chosen the traditional route in publishing, I wouldn’t ever go to self-publish. I’m having too much fun. 13616387_10206253654691505_1517448748_o

I agree, self-publishing is a lot work, and I’m thrilled you found a company who is bringing your book to life. Speaking of life, finish this sentence: Life is too short to… not live. Do what you want and do it without regret. Some of my top bucket list items are getting fulfilled this year and it’s only the beginning.

 

What is your favourite part about writing? The beginning and the end. I love starting a new project and seeing where I’m going with it. And the ending is also so satisfying to finally finish the first draft. Then you get to go back to the beginning to start editing.

What a great answer! If you and another fictional character were stranded on an island, who would it be and why? From Bleeding Hearts, probably Isaac Signorelli, because he was in the military and grew up with a house full of brothers and sisters. I think he would be my best bet at surviving, both emotionally and physically. But if I could choose anyone from any of my books, I would choose Cole from my young adult fantasy titled Under The Willow Tree. Cole lives on an island himself, and already knows what needs to be done to survive without any help.

What inspired you to write your novel? And where do you get your idea’s from? Oh, gosh, this may sound strange. Lol. My husband just moved into our new apartment last year and one of the units lives a state trooper, so my first thought was, if I’m ever alone and someone tries to break in or harm me, I can run to the trooper’s home. Then came thoughts of serial killers. So, basically this book was inspired by moving into my new place. As for where I get my ideas, some of them are from experiences while others are simply made up.

13599535_10206253655611528_1713350112_nWhat do you believe makes a great story? I really love romances in the books I read. I’m not talking about the whole book focusing on a love story, but I think a little love interest goes a long way.

I wholeheartedly agree. Do you have any WIP you are currently writing? I am working on my young adult sci-fi titled Whisper. And I will be working on the second book in the Bleeding Hearts series then when those are all done I want to work on a new adult contemporary romance.

Fabulous! Would you mind sharing an excerpt from your work? My hand trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms tremble as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn’t move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.

We’re at a stalemate.

A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I’m a just another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.

Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.  13578803_10206253653531476_1814606603_n

“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it’s no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.

“Why are you doing this?” I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I’m wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.

“It’ll be over soon, sweetheart.” His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs. The salty mixture of sweat and tears run down the side of my face.

13582304_10206253655571527_1411416529_oWow! This is brilliant. I cannot wait for Bleeding Hearts to hit the shelves, and for those of you who may have forgotten, Dana’s book will be released August 25/2016. Thank you so much, Dana, for partaking in today’s interview. I wish you the best of luck in all of your writing endeavours, and I encourage readers and writers alike to check out her social media followings below, and support her. Thanks to everyone for stopping by! 

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Introducing Vicki B. Williamson

 

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Vicki B Williamson lives in Montana with her husband, Mark and their Golden Retriever, Ripley. Finding Poppies is her first novel.

A DEBUT THRILLER THAT WILL SURPRISE YOU AT EVERY TURN… Ellen Thompson is a regular gal. She’s devoted her life to working at a museum surrounded by wondrous art. But after finding a murdered body and a mysterious clue, Ellen is flung into a frantic search for a stolen treasure. She must utilize all her fearless courage and intellect along with a natural psychic  sensitivity to avoid pitfalls, follow hidden signs, and avoid becoming another victim. Along the way she meets up with handsome Detective James Russell who aids her in the hunt. Will they conquer the perils and solve the riddle?

 

Vicki, your novel, Finding Poppies, sounds intriguing. Could you please tell us a little bit about your current project? I’m currently working on a sequel to my first novel, Finding Poppies. We pick up with my main character, Ellen Thompson, a year later. She’s dealing with her feelings about her adventures and finds herself pulled into another mystery.

That’s wonderful! Did you decide to self-publish your novel, or go the traditional route? I published my first novel in February of this year. I self-published and boy was it a learning process! I really didn’t give it any thought – to self-publish or not. I think it’s a great opportunity open to authors and I took it.

I agree, it is a great opportunity for authors. Where did you find your inspiration for Finding Poppies I was messing around and writing with a friend. Getting prompts and creating papers. I’d taken an on-line course which talked about plot and character, etc. One day I was getting ready for work and Ellen Thompson presented herself to me – tall, dark haired, loves art… I knew I wanted her to have a mystery and a hunt and so I researched lost art. When I saw Van Gogh’s masterpiece, Poppy Flowers, was stolen in 2010 I knew I’d found my hook.

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What do you believe makes a great story? To create a world that pulls the reader into it. One of the greatest compliments I’ve had is when someone tells me they thought they’d give my book a try and when they looked up it was hours later.

That is a great compliment. Would you consider yourself a pantser or an outliner? Total pantser! My writing is very organic and often I feel like I’m just following the characters and documenting their days. In fact, a plot twist in my first novel was a surprise to me. I didn’t know it until I wrote it.

I love allowing the characters to pull me through the story as I write. Those surprises are exciting, for sure! How long did it take you to write, Finding Poppies? And do you devote a certain amount of time to writing? I finished my first draft of my first novel in five months. It took another eight or so to have it go live. This second one is taking a little longer since it’s broken up with not only the publishing of Finding Poppies, but the marketing as well – which is very time and thought consuming. I don’t have a certain amount of time I devote to writing. Some days it’s none and some it’s a lot.

Wow! Five months. I am envious. Is there an author who has had a significant impact on your writing? Steven King – his book On Writing is fantastic. Also, Ann Lamott and her book Bird by Bird. I live by her saying of ‘Shitty first drafts’.

What book(s) would you recommend to a book club? I belong to a book club, secretary second year running, and we’re reading a classic this month. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Each month a different gal selects the book. It’s a great way to read something you might not choose for yourself.

We would love it if you could share an excerpt of your work with us. 

Adrien stands next to me at the rail and I feel anticipation stream off him and it makes me edgy. I reach forward to grab the rail and hold on tight as we round the bend in the river and the Buddha comes into sight.

“Wow . . .” I sigh. The crowd on the boat makes a small motion forward as if they’re being pulled toward the Buddha. I look up and up. It’s immense, hard really to describe something so large and how small and insignificant it makes us. The Buddha sits on a cliff face that is about 20 feet tall depending on the depth of the river. From there he rises 223 feet. The Buddha was carved sitting with his hands on his legs. His bare feet stick out from his garments and they’re almost as tall as a man, five or so people could sit on a toe nail. The front of the Buddha is encircled with tourists. They’re moving like a swarm of insects, to the other side to begin the climb up a set of stairs that mirror the ones we saw coming in. There are hundreds of people on or near him. As they climb the stairs, they pass near his head and ear on his right side.

“We’ll have to go inland and get a closer look.” I lean toward Adrien and whisper but I feel I’ve entered a church. I can’t rip my gaze from the Buddha’s face. He’s magnificent. His hair is fashioned in hundreds of small coils and his eyes are slightly squinted.

We travel along in front of the cliff face when out of the side of my vision I see, sense really, an object afloat in the water next to the cliff face. It disappears as the waves move, then appears again. It’s . . . it can’t be. It looks like . . .

“A lotus?

“Adrien, do you see the lotus next to the cliff?”

“What?” Adrien looks at me as if his attention had to be physically pulled.

He scans the area of the Buddha, searching left and right.

“No Adrien.” I say and point, peering down the length of my arm. “Down at the water’s edge.”

“What, Ellen? I don’t see anything.”

I watch the lotus float happily in the water. Can’t he see it? I see the lotus plain as day, in fact, it has a slight glow.

“You did say a lotus? Where do you see it?”

Adrien swings his head left and right and is a bit frantic in an attempt to locate the flower.

“It’s ok, Adrien.” I say to him and pat his arm gently. I leave my hand on his shoulder and pick up one foot to pull off a boot. Then I reverse my stance and pull off the other boot.

“What are you doing, Ellen?” He stares intently at me. I break the contact and lean over to pick up the boots.

“Don’t lose these, they’re my favorites and it took me forever to break them in.” I hand the boots to him and he takes them into his arms.

“Ellen . . .”

I unzip and remove my jacket and hand it to him. He takes it gingerly. He looks me up and down as if he wants to say something.

“Leap of faith, right Adrien?” I say and put my hand on the rail to vault over the side.

As I hit the water, I gasp. It’s cold. Really cold. The people behind me, on the ferry rush to the edge of the deck. They all babble in amazement. I’m pretty amazed myself. I glance back and up at the boat and amidst the local folk I locate Adrien. His eyes are enormous in his pale face and he has a death grip on my belongings. I spin back toward the cliff face and begin to swim. I’m a pretty good swimmer and not that far out but with the pull of the rivers I’m already tiring. As the water crests, I see the lotus and then I lose sight of it when I drop into a swell. I know what direction I’m going, though, I have a 223 foot Buddha towering over me to guide my way. As I near the cliff, people look over the edge. Between the people on the ferries and the people at the Buddha, I have quite the audience.

The water has zero visibility. Its muddy brown and has an unpleasant smell — like sludge and fish. The exertion of swimming isn’t warming me and my fingers and feet are numb. My breath comes in little gasps; this is nothing like swimming laps in an indoor pool.

In a few more feet, I’m close enough to see the lotus. I’m torn between being glad it’s still there and wishing it wasn’t. If it was my imagination, I could be pulled on board, warmed and maybe go home. This close the lotus is exquisite. It’s larger than it should be, pearly in color and as before, it emits a gentle glow. As I maneuver within arm’s reach, it drops below the surface as if pulled by a string.

“What the…?” I mutter softly looking around.

Moving to where the lotus was, I make out an illumination under the surface. It’s murky in the brown gunk and though I can’t see the flower, I’m sure its creating the light. Uncertain, I glance at the ferry. It’s quite far away now. Treading water, I spin toward where the lotus was and look down at the light. With a deep breath, I dive after the flower.

 

Thanks for chatting with me, Vicki. It was a pleasure to get to know you and learn more about your books. If you would like to purchase Vicki B. Williamson’s novel, Finding Poppies, you can do so by clicking here. You can also follow Vicki on her Facebook page here as well.

Happy Monday Everyone!  

 

An author interview- Frank Peter Oliver

It’s Friday, folks, and I bring with it another interview with a talented writer, Frank Peter Oliver. Let’s get started!

We would all love to hear about your current WIP. Could you tell us a little bit about it, please? It is a Middle Grade Realistic Fiction novel about an eccentric and very lonely 13-year-old girl who is sent for counseling, after her Dad overhears her long verbal conversations with her deceased mother.

This sounds interesting. How long have you been working on it? I started in August, 2015, and wrote a 12,000-word rough draft in two weeks.  It is currently at a high 60,700 words (editing in progress).  I usually devote as many as 20-25 hours each week to research or typing (new scenes or rewriting/editing).

Do you find you have a writing routine you like to follow?  I seem to write better when I feel silly or angry (no kidding).  I think they call it letting go…

Writing has a way of being cathartic for many, indeed. Would you say you’re more of a pantser or an outliner? Pantser, but I keep an eye on the word count (a bit high right now, though they say MG novels are trending longer this year than the traditional high end of 55,000).

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing your novel?  The opening line – 18 tries and it still isn’t right…

I completely understand that. Getting started is always challenging. Could you tell us what inspired you to write your novel, and where you get your ideas from? I wrote a series of 4 nature-themed picture books in 2014 (unpublished), but I also live in an area that is being slowly developed which bothers me to no end.  My main character’s ongoing heartache is fearing her favorite dairy farm cow pasture will be sold for development (“green earth” is very important to her).

Which famous author, living or dead, would you want to meet, and why? Living in Florida most of my life, I’d have to say Ernest Hemmingway.  I once belonged to the same club as one of his old friends, who was also a good friend of Marjorie Rawlings. 

That’s neat! If you ran a book club, what would they be reading and why? They’d be reading Little House on the Prairie – I have always liked country/farm/rural themed stories, past or present.

Ah, great choice. Is your book a standalone or apart of a series? Originally, it was to be a 3-book series, but just recently I decided that a 2-book project would work much better.

If you ever experience writer’s block, what do you do to get over it? For me, it’s more discouragement than block – it gets better after a day or two, though sometimes my guardian angel nags me (pest) to get back to work.  I guess God knows it’s not a waste of time.

I agree, it is definitely not a waste of time. Below is a short excerpt that Frank Peter Oliver offered to share with us. Be sure to give it a read.

“Right now I feel like the girl in Van Gogh’s Girl in the Woods, except he’d have to call me girl lost in the hallway.”

Dad, are you there?  Are you sure I’m lost in the right building?  Is the therapy lady in 403 or 303?  403 is a dentist.  I could hear the drill when I opened the 403 door.  Scary.  The lady at the window asked if I needed something.  I told her no thanks, I have all my teeth.  So I closed the door and went to the elevator and pressed 3.   Now I’m lost on 3.  Dad, you can keep my allowance for the next 2 months, well, for this month, if we can go home right now.

Thanks so much for participating in this interview, Frank. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and I look forward to the day your novel is published. Good luck in your writing endeavours.

You will find Frank’s Facebook page here, and his Twitter page here. Be sure to click on the links and show your support. Thanks!

Have a great weekend, everyone!