Welcome to my last Q & A for 2022. I’m thrilled to be ending the year out with a bang with Colleen Chesebro here today talking about her brand new release – Fairies, Myths & Magic – A Winter Celebration, book II. Colleen wanted this book out just in time for the winter solstice, which makes it extra enjoyable to read during the festive season. Colleen is an author, poet, and recently began her publishing business – Unicorn Cats Publishing.
An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction.
In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft Poetry.com by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.
Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch.
In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books.
Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.
In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.
From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.
Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.
Celebrate the Landvættir
each Yule, we pay homage to the land spirits,
Landvættir—guardians of the terra firma earth, air, fire, and water jointly bound as one
where the ley lines converge strength and energy exist in a parallel space, winter-worn bronzed leaves on barren trees
watchers of the truth
birth, life, death, and rebirth, earth magic abounds
I’ve been so busy lately, but when I have spare time, I like to crochet with thread. I make old fashioned doilies. Just like I count syllables in my poetry, I count stitches in my crochet!
This is a photo of a doily I crocheted as a gift for a friend. Working with my hands as always been something I enjoyed.
D.G. – You are multi-talented Colleen. That’s beautiful. .💜
Where do your book ideas grow from?
It seems I always have a book idea rolling around in my mind. Most of the time, something pops into my mind and I’m off to write down the idea, so I don’t forget it. I have a notebook full of ideas! The notes app on my iPhone is full of ideas too. If I don’t write them down… they’re gone!
Writing poetry and short stories is something I enjoy. Not long ago for one of my #TankaTuesday poetry challenges on Word Craft Poetry, our prompt was to choose a color. The next thing I knew, I’d written a poem about the throat chakra featuring the color, blue.
the blue throat chakra… a nexus to the divine blue hues of heaven serene, calm, tranquility found in a blue sky, slow down, make time to be still listen to your voice
obey the stillness within blue the color of pure mind uncluttered by thoughts in silence, one can perceive blue—the purest mind open wide… the throat chakra your seat of creativeness
From that single poem, I birthed the idea to write a book called Chakra Poetry. See how easy it is to be inspired?
D.G. – I think many of us have that same syndrome – forgetting great ideas shortly after they arrive, lol. Yes, writing down is essential. 🙂
Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?
I find inspiration everywhere but most often I’m motivated by other poets. One day, during one of my poetry challenges, another poet asked me about the difference between the Japanese poetry forms: zappai and haiku. I didn’t know the answer. Well, that lit a fire under me to find more!
I love to research, so off I went. I had to learn everything I could about these two Japanese forms. In fact, I’ll take this a step further and add senryu poetry to it. My next non-fiction book will be called “Haiku Craft: haiku, senryu, & zappai.” Of course, this is a tentative title and can always change. My main objective will be to take a deep dive into these forms by showing examples and creating some poetry of my own to use as examples.
I’ve also been playing with the idea of a book called Tarot Poetry. I think it would be fun to research each tarot card and write poetry inspired by the different cards. I like the blend of non-fiction and poetry. I will need to find a tarot card artist who is willing to allow me to use their tarot card images (with permission). Much of what is found on the card is what characterizes the meaning.
I won’t share all my secrets because I like to have a few things left to dazzle my readers.
D.G. – Oh! I love that idea about writing about Tarot cards! 🙂
What’s your opinion on self-publishing?
Self-publishing was a dirty word for many years. However, it’s been my experience that self-published books are as good as those published by major publishers. I’m a self-published author, and proud of it!
I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, the Amazon sharing program. I think I pay $9.00 a month to borrow novels from any author who participates in the program on Amazon.com. What I read; I review. The author gets paid a stipend for the number of pages read. In fact, some months, I make more on the stipends than I do in book sale royalties.
So, it came as a shock when I found the likes of Dean Koontz and other well-known authors participating in the KU program. These authors have publishing contracts, and they are competing with self-published authors for the same stipends! Suddenly, self-publishing doesn’t look all that bad, does it? Seriously, if you’re an author you should be listing your books in the KU program. It’s another revenue stream.
To make self-publishing easier, I founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to help poets and authors publish their books. One reason I undertook this mission was because of the font licensing, which is a huge concern for authors and bloggers. If you self-publish your book using Word, you could face issues with font licensing. Read: Font Copyright Laws for Books: Your Print Book Could be in Violation
I use the Atticus publishing program recommended by Kindlepreneur for manuscript preparation. The fonts are owned by the program. They continue to research different licensing options to protect all our authors as well as ensure everything is safely and legally handled through Atticus.
I also offer affordable book cover options using Canva-Pro. Canva has an extensive selection of fonts. When you subscribe to their Pro plan you are covered under their licensing for fonts.
I believe self-publishing will continue to be the wave of the future. The big publishing houses won’t even read your manuscript unless you are famous. If you can get picked up by a small press, that’s wonderful news. Write ON!
D.G. – Thank you for sharing that all with us Colleen. I would have to guess that many self-published authors aren’t aware about the copyright laws of publishing from Word.
Special thanks to Debby for her friendship and support. I appreciate you! 💜
November is promotion month here at my blog; and I’m kicking off this week with my dear friend, author/blogger, podcaster, and short story writer extraordinaire, Sally Cronin. Sally is a staunch supporter and promoter of so many writer’s books and blogs. I am also fortunate to be one of Sally’s ongoing guest writers with various columns I write for her on her blog – currently, my spiritual awareness series. My friend Sally tirelessly promotes others and barely a peep from her on the socials about her own new book – Variety is the Spice of Life – A blend of poetry and prose. So I’m happy to share Sally’s book here today along with a little Q & A.
I know most of you here are familiar with Sally and her Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, but she hasn’t been featured here for a while, so today I’m thrilled to have her over and share some more interesting tidbits about Sally and her writing. Enjoy!
Sally Cronin is the author of sixteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fifteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities on her blog and across her social media. The Smorgasbord Bookshelf
Variety is the Spice of Life is a collection of poetry and short stories about relationships with others, including pets and animals inhabiting the world around us. The connection with others brings love and friendship, excitement and sometimes surprises, danger, mystery and sometimes the unexpected.
The poetry explores human nature, the fears, desires, expectations and achievements. Nature offers a wonderful opportunity to observe animals both domesticated and wild. Even in a back garden you can observe a wide variety of creatures and the daily challenges to survive a harsh environment.
The short stories introduces you to a healer whose gift comes with danger, a neighbour determined to protect a friend, a woman on the run, an old couple whose love has endured, an elderly retired teacher who faces a life changing accident, a secret that has been carried for over 70 years and a village who must unite as they face devastating news.
Welcome back to my blog Sal. Thrilled to have you over today and share your good news!
Thank you so much Debby for inviting me over to chat and to share the news about my latest release.
What inspired you to Write this book?
I love writing and over the course of a year I will jot down poetry, sometimes participate in a blog challenge, or an idea will come to me when I am doing tapestry or listening to music. These days I have to write things as they come to me, otherwise they might get lost if I leave it too long. It is the same with short stories, and I throw them down in a rough draft on the computer whilst the muse is with me and then go back and refurbish them down the line.
This is how I ended up with nearly 40 poems and 8 short stories. For the last ten years the tag line for my blog Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, has been Variety is the Spice of Life, so I decided it was time to make that the headline rather than the afterthought.
D.G. – Sal, you and I, once again, with the same working system. My musings go right into a Word doc or forever lost! ❤
What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?
I would find it difficult to fully measure the impact being part of the blogging community has made to my life. The first day I began blogging was during the last few months of my mother’s life. I had been living with her full time for two years and had given up my work as a nutritional therapist and my radio and television commitments as she required round the clock care.
I don’t regret that in any way, but it did suddenly shrink my world with a loss of contact with others in the real sense. I had to focus all my physical and emotional efforts on keeping my mother well and in her own home, which was very important to her. To be honest, that was important to me too, as I really didn’t think she would be happy in a care home. At that point my husband David, who had been looking after his father for the last year joined us and that made a huge difference, but I still felt isolated and cut off from the world.
I was reading a blog online one day and realized that I had a lot of health articles that I had published individually, and in a couple of books, that might be of interest to others. I also had my first collection of short stories that I could share. I came up with a couple of names for my blog over the next year and dabbled with a few posts before finally settling on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine in early 2012.
During the last months of my mother’s life, blogging offered me the opportunity to get back out in to the world in a virtual sense at least, and it gave me a huge boost. I began to make connections, chat to people about their lives and swapping stories, it opened the universe back up to me. It provided an outlet for what I have always loved doing, which is writing and telling stories. It also went a long way to reducing the personal pressure that had been building up steadily over the previous two or three years.
To be honest, I probably work as hard at blogging as I did any of my full-time jobs, and I don’t mind in the slightest. I began promoting books for other authors eight years ago in a more organized way and this introduced me to the amazingly generous writing community we are part of today.
I get far more back than I give in terms of support, and this was particularly so during the pandemic, when we were house bound and without the physical connections we all need so badly.
I have gained so much from blogging and apart from the companionship, friendship and support it has also increased my confidence in my own writing, encouraged me to return to poetry and to push myself out of the comfort zone we create as we get older. It is so important to be mentally engaged and participating in the world, even when it is a virtual environment.
It is something I plan on doing until the last possible moment. I would love to be doing this at 100 but might need a little medicinal tequila to keep it up lol.
D.G. – I am certainly with you on the gratefulness of our writer friends and blogging community. I know well of what you speak in dire times of loneliness when being a caregiver. If it weren’t for you and this wonderful community, I shudder to think where I’d be now. And lol on the tequila my Margarita, cohort pal. 🙂
How has writing changed your life?
I had written poems and short stories from a very early age, but without any intention of sharing them to a wider audience.
My first book was never intended to be published, as it began as a journal to record my weight loss in my early forties, and a way to explore why I had become morbidly obese. When I lost 150lbs in 18 months it had a profound impact on my life and health. I had studied nutrition over a two year period in an effort to understand my body and its needs. Then, having developed my own successful eating programme, I wanted to share that with others.
When the manuscript was finished I approached a well-known agent here in Ireland where we were living at the time in the late 1990s. I was running a health food shop and dietary advisory centre, and felt confident that the book was now comprehensive enough to help others lose their weight. My agent approached 7 established publishers in the UK and all said the book was great, but I was an unknown author, and they didn’t feel I would attract the media attention for this book. Also they were concerned that I would only have the one book and would therefore not be profitable in the long run.
That pushed me into self-publishing this book and the following novel Just an Odd Job Girl with Trafford publishing in Canada. I did the promotion for the first book without the benefit of the Internet in those days and with press releases and leg work managed to get some national and local coverage.
David had not only formatted my books, but was also doing so for other authors and we formed Moyhill Publishing in 2004 which gave both of us an opportunity to take full advantage of the emerging self-publishing market. I had taken my books back from Trafford in 2002 and we reformatted them for print and as soon as eBooks became available in that format too. David took care of the technical side and I worked with our authors on their book launches and promotions.
Writing that first book did change my life and sent me in a direction I never imagined I would take. It led to a career on radio and online television. This current book is the 16th and I have a sequel to Size Matters coming out in the New Year 2023 with a couple more in process. After that, who knows but I am looking forward to finding out.
I have no idea where I would be if I had not taken the plunge with my writing, but I have no doubt my life would not be so fulfilled as it is today.
D.G. – No doubts your health articles are very informative. And you are so blessed to have David – not only as a loving husband, but a best friend, and great help for your publishing. 🙂
Do you agree with the general consensus that writers are loners?
The act of writing does tend to be solitary that’s true, but to be creative does require interaction with the world and other people.
I notice that many of the writers in our community are relatively late starters as far as writing their blogs and books is concerned. This usually means that they have experience of the world, relationships both personal and work related, and have come to know themselves well.
Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, it requires a depth of understanding about life, to make it resonate with the reader. Even fantasy authors need to have a good understanding of human nature, even if they are creating fabulous alternative universes.
I don’t believe you can be creative within a vacuum. So being a loner does not necessarily serve a writer well. Solitude on the other matter, when in the process of writing a book, is something to be treasured. But then being able to obtain feedback, support and the confidence it needs to publish that book, requires other people, such as those in our writing community, in blog world and on social media.
I suspect more than one of us is now more inclined to isolate from large crowds, public transport, plane travel and other tight spaces where others gather. I am certainly wearing my mask when I am in a crowded area, although I notice more people smiling with their eyes, nodding to each other and being more courteous than before. That has to be a good thing.
And it is hard to be a loner when part of our writing community. It seems you only have to be missing for a day or two for someone to come knocking on your virtual window and asking what’s going on. As it should be, and I am very grateful for it.
D.G. – I absolutely agree Sally. Writing is a solo invent, but engagement, support, and community are such a big part of our writing world.
I have selected one of the poems to share from the collection
to sing a lullaby you must first consider preferences of the baby waiting
perhaps a jolly song aimed to make them chortle to wave their hands around with glee happy
maybe slow and gentle soothing a fractious mood or the soreness of teething gums tearful
deep toned to reassure those fearing the shadows now allayed by a father’s voice safety
language a foreign tongue but words that mothers sing to babies all around the world loving.
I was thrilled to be invited over to Christy Birmingham- Reyes’s blog recently. Christy runs an empowering blog for women – When Women Inspire. When she asked me to be her guest and talk about why I wanted to start a podcast on grief, I jumped at the chance and was honored to be invited.
D.G. Kaye is well-known as a nonfiction writer and memoir author, with several books to her name, including Meno-What? and Words We Carry. Now, she is taking on a new project. D.G. Kaye launches the podcast Grief – The Real Talk. I reached out to this talented woman to talk about the podcast, which has aired two episodes already. Below is our interview. Read on to discover why she created it, what she hopes listeners will gain, and more.
Can you please tell us why you started a podcast on this particular topic?
Thanks for asking Christy. After losing the love of my life, my husband, last year, my grief has been overwhelming – many days, I didn’t even care to go on.
I not only lost my husband, my best friend and soulmate, but it was during COVID lockdowns, which added to my trauma with all the seclusion at a very bad time for a griever to be on her own. With no live grief groups open to join, other than online groups, which were not doing it for me, and after reading a plethora of books on grief and everything related to the afterlife, I couldn’t find a place where I felt I belonged.
I’d also read many clinical books as well as self-help and memoirs from people going through the same journey sharing their grief stories. It was the stories told from the heart which I found some solace in.
I realized that there wasn’t enough ‘real talk’ going on with people who live this journey, and I felt that being around same people left me feeling with a sort of kinship – people who could understand and relate to what we grievers actually go through – a look behind the lens so to speak.
So as a memoir writer myself, I felt there was a vacant space for this topic, and so I wanted to open up a new space where I could speak raw and real and share my observations and incidents that I’ve endured and endure in my own new life of living as one from two, and that perhaps there are others who may feel they can feel this kinship and have a place to share their own thoughts and feelings.
I am so sorry for your loss. What is your hope that listeners will gain from this podcast?
I hope my listeners will feel a sense of comfort as I did from reading and hearing stories from others by my sharing my own observations and experiences in my grief journey and what feels like everything becoming new to us when we lose a loved one that we were closely connected to. Everything changes.
Our identities change, our life plans, our habits, even the people that were once in our lives seem to change. I feel there’s a need for a place for us grievers to commune.
Who is Grief – The Real Talk the right podcast for?
My podcast is for people who travel the journey of grief, seeking some solace to be around like-minded people who know the journey, as well as for anyone who knows a griever and would like some insights as to what we go through on a daily basis when we lose someone close to us. I’m speaking as one of those grievers, not someone with a PHD giving clinical explanations about all the lonely things we can expect to go through, from the voice of one who is going through it and knows the pain.
It’s for anyone who has loved and lost someone and desires a place of listening to someone who knows the struggle. It’s a place where I talk about things that bring us down, things we find hard to accept, and those times when we feel we can’t go on, but also, I talk about why we must go on and share some of the things that I’m doing to try to help move forward – especially when we sometimes have no desire to. . . please hop over to Christy’s blog to say hi and continue reading.
Welcome to my September Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring, friend and author Trish Power who writes under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Her recent release, Means to Deceive, a psychological thriller, which I’ve read and reviewed, is her latest release.
Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.
Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.
Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.
Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.
Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother. But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.
As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build. She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?
When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts. Who can she trust?
Gwen has a dark secret of her own. Can she even trust herself?
Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.
Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.
Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing married principal and spreads gossip.
Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?
Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.
Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.
A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.
If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.
Let’s Welcome Alex and get to know a little more about her.
Hi, Debby! I’ll begin by thanking you from the heart for for this great opportunity to share something about myself and my writing with all of your followers.
D.G. – I’m thrilled to have you over Trish. ❤
Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit that helps you with your writing?
I suspect my whole life is a bit quirky!
There are several practical things I do to try and keep the words coming. For instance, I have a small pile of paper on my desk that has only been used on one side. I fold each sheet in half, blank side outermost, and when a new idea comes to me when the flow is going well, I grab one of these pieces of paper, scribble the idea down and then forget about it to stop it intruding. When I’ve written myself to a standstill, I come back to peruse the idea and decide what to do with it.
In a similar vein, some of my best ideas come to me in the night. Sadly, come the morning I’d remember I’d had a wonderful line or brilliant way to tie-in a new section but had forgotten the details! Turning on the light to write them down certainly meant that I remembered them, but didn’t make for a great night’s sleep for me or my husband… Now, I have a similar stack of used paper on my bedside table with a pencil resting on top of it. When an idea surfaces, I write it down in the dark. Quite often, I’ll have several different things occur to me and I have to try to recall how far down the page I’d reached with the last comment. It doesn’t always work and it’s well nigh impossible to untangle two or more lines of writing scrawled on top of each other.
The ‘half asleep writing’ frequently extricates me from a tricky dilemma I’ve written myself into. My other method is to go into the garden and do some weeding. There’s plenty of weeding to be done and so I never run out of material! There’s something about mindlessly pulling stuff out of the ground that sets the subconscious free to untangle things.
D.G. – Lol Trish, I had to laugh because I use a similar method. When I’m writing and following thought and think of something else I want to add, I add it in the margin – don’t forget, I write longhand. As for night thoughts and not wanting to disturb, you could open your Kindle and use the backlight to shine upon your paper without disturbing hubby. That may work better. Tip: I keep my Kindle on low light at night so it doesn’t keep me wide awake when reading late at night.
Do you find your writing is geared towards a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write?
Frequently, my writing is driven by a need to share experiences that concern me. That does sound self-indulgent and “worthy”, but it’s what was behind many of the short stories for magazines that I wrote when the children were tiny. I wrote about peer pressure, domestic abuse, inequalities – that sort of thing. There were others that I wrote simply for fun and they were well-received, too, but those were a pleasure to write and there wasn’t that driving need to pen them.
My first novel, Someone Close to Home, was written because I’d been visiting family and friends in the generation above me in a variety of care homes and what I saw was so upsetting I found myself crying at one point, not in sorrow but in rage. This book crossed so many genre boundaries it was a nightmare to categorise. I decided that my next book would sit nicely withing a recognized niche. It was a romantic suspense/psychological thriller about a young woman damaged by guilt from the past who found herself in increasing danger from someone in the community. Means to Deceive was started when the first book was being sorted for publication. But… … it was the end of 2015 and the situation in our health service was bothering me. Our NHS has been a gold standard model throughout the world, but parts of it were being hived off to private companies and the core of it wasn’t being maintained. So, I stopped the second book and went off on another social grouse! This was Acts of Convenience, but it had to be shelved for several years because my mother developed two different forms of dementia that made writing impossible. When I did get back to it, I ended up with another published book that didn’t sit nicely in a category. So I dug out Means to Deceive again.
D.G. – No doubts our connection is kindred spirits. We are both people bothered by social injustice. Although I say it out loud in nonfiction, you work those issues beautifully into your fiction.
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?
Well, after that last answer, I’m sure you can guess my response!
Someone Close to Home was written in the first person because I wanted readers to be able to identify with the situation where you leave your home and all the possessions you’ve acquired over your lifetime and end up in one cramped room totally dependent on the goodness of others. Most of the staff I came across on my visits were absolutely brilliant, but all it takes is someone who treats you like a commodity – or worse – to turn it into a nightmare. I’ve had so many people write to me about their shared experiences that I know this situation isn’t restricted to the UK. I wrote about residents who were unable to feed themselves, having their food left on the tray in front of them only for it to be removed untouched by someone (tutting) later. That resonated far too often with people. The concerns I’d classify as abuse were also horribly familiar to others.
Acts of Convenience takes the central character Cassie from 2017 to 2055. She’s a nurse and she and the family are at the sharp end of the consequences of expedient legislation made by successive governments. It reflects my concerns about cutting funding for the treatment of the elderly and chronically sick, working conditions, the exploitation of our information and privacy by unscrupulous companies, the manipulation of media, our exposure to foreign hacking – loads of things that concern me! Because Cassie eventually joins a group to expose the corruption she’s witnessing, the book begins as social description and ends as a thriller. I was so unsure of it as a format, I haven’t tried to market it but I’ve had some terrific responses from people and may decide to do so some promotion in the future.
In similar vein, I realized that my romantic suspense/psychological thriller, Means to Deceive, was becoming hijacked by my concerns about social media and so I made a conscious decision to nip that in the bud and stay within the traditional genre. Instead, I’ve transferred my concerns about the abuse of social media into a novella called The Bubble Reputation which I’m polishing at the moment to get it ready for publication.
D.G. – I am looking forward to eventually reading your two other books, which currently are resting on my reader. As you pointed out the content, and had previously warned me of the content, and due to the too much I myself have witnessed with my husband’s frequent hospital visits, I’m not yet ready to read such content. But I am looking forward to your new, upcoming book!
What’s your favourite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?
My mode of writing has evolved through the years. When I was six, I wrote with a stubby pencil in an exercise book. The pencil was replaced with one of those “new-fangled” biros when I was a bit older.
The short stories for magazines were hand written in a big notebook and then transferred to my portable typewriter to send for publication. Typing then was considerably tougher than it is today! For a start, you had to properly jab the keys to get the letters to hit the paper. There was also the dismay when you reached the last line of a page and made a mistake. I never feltI could send a copy with the offending error blotted out in that bright “Bay Watch teeth white” corrector, and so I’d roll another page in place and take it from the top again.
We bought a secondhand electric typewriter in an auction and it was so touch sensitive, I’d written a whole line of “T”s before I managed to add the “h” and “e” of the first word. It was so easy to use but it didn’t remove the irritation of making mistakes. Writing by hand was less frustrating.
Then we come to computers. Oh my! To be able to correct errors was a delight in itself, but it’s also blessedly easy to move things around, change vocabulary, check for overused words and insert new material that improves a section.
When mapping out a novel, I always start with a pen and paper because it’s easier to brainstorm that way, but for the actual text it has to be my trusty laptop.
(Here I must add a caveat: when saving my precious work at the end of the day, I add the current date to the title. This prevents me uploading an older version or, worse, overwriting one. Learn from my bitter experience!)
D.G. – So nice to learn that you too write longhand, even to start. As you know, I’m a dinosaur who writes her books, reviews and blogs in longhand first. Lol. And thanks for your last tip, adding the date. Don’t get me started how many times I found myself creating new copies with edits. Oye! ❤
How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?
Overwhelming doesn’t come close!
I’m from that generation that was castigated for “blowing their own trumpet”. I find it really hard to sell from that point of view alone.
I’m only on Facebook. (I tried to get to grips with Twitter but reading the guides to it were like wading through molasses in concrete boots.) Everyone who knows me also knows what an eejit I am when it comes to Facebook. I feel anxious every time I have dealings with the site (daily) because I don’t know if I’m following etiquette correctly or posting where I should. I could do with someone to go through it with me in short sentences composed of simple one-syllable words. An example of my stupidity is that I haven’t had any notifications for at least four days. I wondered if everyone was on holiday (!). When I dug deeper today, I discovered hundreds of posts, some of which were important. I’ve been on the help site but, despite thinking I’m fairly competent in the English language, I still don’t understand what’s going on – or what on earth a push post is.
It’s also a source of shame to me that I don’t have my own blog where I can post other people’s reviews. I don’t know how you do it and still find the time to exist. Our three children and seven grandchildren all live within a few miles of us and can drop in any time (still socially distanced) in our garden. They fill my days with delight. I also have several health issues that mean that when things are bad I need to slope off to bed. These are my excuses, but I know that others who manage blogs have families, full-time jobs and other commitments.
My admiration and unbounded gratitude go to people like you, Debby, who give me the oxygen of publicity in a form that I can handle. Well, to be honest, I’m not handling it -you are! It must take considerable time and trouble to organize this promotion for me and I can’t stress how much I appreciate it, particularly as I know you have your own writing projects on the go.
Sally Cronin is also a tireless promoter of authors which must cut considerably into her own writing time. Diana Wallace Peach is yet another terrific writer who goes out of her way to review and boost those of us without big publishing companies behind us. There’s really too many supportive people to list here but I have to give another shout-out to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore who give me a nudge when there’s a review about me on Facebook that I’ve missed, and who post those same reviews for me. I really do need that Facebook lesson!
D.G. – First, don’t beat yourself up about ‘fakebook’ (as I prefer to call it, lol). They are forever changing their set up. Most of us don’t get our notifications until days or weeks later. They have taken away all the easy ways for us authors to navigate our pages. I, along with several author friends have discussed this and have given up posting on our author pages, or our author pages, period. We are a supportive community, and I so appreciate the sharing and help from others when I too need it. I will second what you said about Sally. As for me, I’ve been a multi-tasker all my life and spent a lot of time learning the tediousness (Is that a word?) of social media. But trust me, I, along with others, have certainly had our share of technical blog issues. I am grateful to have Colleen Chesebro as a Sister/Friend who always comes to my rescue when things get out of control. It does take a village sometimes. I love promoting other authors and giving back, so it’s worth the work for me. ❤
It was a pleasure having you here today Trish. I do hope readers will check out your addictive books.
Excerpt from Means to Deceive
The blisters have burst and some of them are seeping blood. I’d been so desperate to obliterate the obscene writing that I’d worked through the pain but now the sensation is making itself known and I suck my lower lip between my teeth and clamp down on it.
Ben speaks quietly. ‘I didn’t appreciate the extent of the damage. This must hurt like the devil.’
I shake my head and release my lip. ‘It’s just a few blisters.’
‘Well, let’s get some antiseptic onto them and then see about covering them up. I’ll try to be as gentle as I can.’
He opens an antiseptic wipe and dabs my damaged palm. For someone with such large hands he has a remarkably light touch.
‘I’m afraid some of this is down to me.’ He continues dabbing at my palm which is now on fire. ‘That shower will have softened the skin allowing things to get this bad.’
I shake my head. I’m trying to keep the pain hidden and don’t trust my voice. He picks up the cream and applies a coating that quickly brings the fire down to a smoulder and then he fixes a clean white dressing in place.
‘Right. Time to do the other one.’
He takes my left hand and studies it. Mine is pale and tiny in comparison with his.
‘These don’t look so bad. They’re still raw but they’re not bleeding.’ He starts to dab at them. ‘I think you’ll get away with some plasters on these.’
I say nothing, watching as his hands continue to work methodically and efficiently. There’s something soothing, almost mesmerising, about the process and it comes as a surprise when he announces, ‘There. I think that’ll do.’
‘Thanks. You were right. It was quicker and easier this way.’ I don’t know what else to say and that familiar gaucheness overcomes me. ‘You’ve obviously done this sort of thing before.’
‘I’ve a younger sister who was always getting herself into scrapes.’ His mouth tightens into a straight line and he busies himself putting things back into the green tin.
The kitchen door opens and Claire bustles through. ‘Right. Well, that’s me finished, Gwen.’ She notices the two of us sitting together and adds, ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise you had your young man here.’
Our response is instant and she simply nods and carries on as normal. ‘Well, your grandmother’s comfy. She wouldn’t have a shower but she’s had a good wash, eaten most of her breakfast and she’s watching TV now.’ She heads for the door and turns to add, ‘Don’t forget she has an appointment with Dr Kumari at 4.30 this afternoon.’
A groan escapes me. ‘Thanks, Claire. It’d gone completely out of my mind.’
‘It ain’t surprising, my dear, after all the …er…’ The words drift off and I appreciate her tact but squirm at the knowledge that she’s aware of what’s happened. ‘Well, I’ll leave you to it then.’ She takes another couple of steps and then stops again. ‘Will you be able to get her there? Without your car, I mean?’
I can feel heat flame my face. ‘Yes. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.’
‘There we are then. I’ll see you again on Tuesday. Bye’
Ben hands me the tin and I cross to the dresser and replace it in its drawer. I stand with my back to him, giving myself time to recover from this latest blow. How am I going to get her to the surgery without my car? Can I afford two taxis?
I turn back to Ben. ‘Many thanks for all your help. If there’s anything I can do to repay you, please let me know.’
It’s a dismissal and he knows it. He clicks his fingers at Atticus who chooses to obey him and crosses to his side. But he’s hesitating.
‘What will you do without your car this afternoon?’
‘I’ll get a taxi.’ I’ve made my voice light and assured. ‘It’s not a problem.’
He heads towards the door, Atticus lolloping faithfully at his heels, but he pauses and then comes back. ‘Look, I need to book myself in with a medical centre and I may as well do that today as I have to be in town this afternoon anyway.’
‘No. It’s all right. We’ll manage.’
He runs a hand around the back of his neck. ‘Are you always this obstinate?’
I’m stuck for an answer. Part of me is bristling at the accusation while the rest of me is shouting that his help in this would be a godsend.
‘Gwen, I’m going into town later. It would be no bother at all to give you and your grandmother a lift to the centre. It’s up to you.’
I swallow my pride, audibly. ‘Thank you. It would be a great help.’
He gives a nod of his head. ‘Right. If I come round at about ten past four will that give you long enough?’
‘That would be perfect.’
‘And I’ll come in to the centre on my way back from dropping off some plans at the office, sign up and drop you back home again.’
I open my mouth to protest, notice the humorous challenge in his eyes, and meekly thank him.
Alex’s upcoming book:
Coming soon! – The Bubble Reputation! An unscrupulous editor does a hatchet job on Emmie Hobson, based on weasel words such as ‘our sources say’, ‘an insider confides’ ‘friends disclose’, etc. Social media picks up the baton runs with it, unleashing hateful rhetoric that threatens Emmie and all that she holds dear…
Welcome to my August Q & A. Today I’m happy to introduce and feature, friend and author, Martha Perez. Martha has authored many books and currently writes quite a few series on Kindle Vella. Honestly, I don’t know how she finds the time to put out so many books! Recently, I’ve read two of her books that I’ve reviewed on my Sunday Book Review, her memoir on the loss of her beloved son Rudy in, My Beloved Son, and The Calm and the Storm, a nonfiction inspirational book. Today Martha is sharing her newest release with us, A Little Piece of Me.
Martha Perez was born in raised in Los Angeles, CA. She now lives in West Covina. Martha is a wife, mother, grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters, and dog lover of Toby and Bella. Broken Pieces is her first book; Broken Heart is her second book and is an accomplishment of which she is very proud. Now she has over 25 books. She is a woman with simple tastes. She loves reading books. Martha reads one book a week, and because of this, her love for writing stories was born. She likes taking long walks in the evening to unwind and sipping a glass of her favorite wine Moscato. Martha enjoys going to baseball games, movies, and unknown adventures.
When you think life is calm, a storm comes to wipe away your hopes and dreams. My son, Rudy Andalon, passed away on March 14, 2017. He was the love of my life; I carried him for nine months–280 days, 40 weeks, and raised him to be an amazing young man. No love is more significant than a mother’s love for her child. As I write this, tears of joy and sorrow flow down my cheeks. I miss him so much and his beautiful smile. I’ve written this book to help me and others who lost a child get through the aching pain; and to let you know that you are not alone. This book is a memoir with poems and is very inspirational; with lovely pictures of our family. I’ve searched for answers to why God took my son, and there were none to be found; why good people die young, and the mean ones live on. I know Rudy’s in a place where there’s no pain, just happiness–an angel in Heaven. He leaves behind a mother, father, sister, and two nieces. I will always be brokenhearted, love, and adore my son. God bless him.
My Beloved Son Reviews: Eva Pasco
In the genre of Memoirs/Teen & Young Adult Biography, this book resonates with the grief of losing a son unexpectedly at the age of 37. Told from his mother’s point of view, her heartache and sorrow fill every page. Honesty, candidness, and authenticity also fill every page, painting a realistic picture of family dynamics during Rudy’s childhood. She writes about respecting how a husband and wife handle grief differently in their own way. There are even a couple of chapters where Rudy’s father adds his perspective. Because this story is written by a mother who has experienced a parent’s worst nightmare, the coping strategies mentioned by the author and her husband can be taken to heart. She divulges her daily struggles and resolve to get through one day at a time. Her best advice, regardless of our circumstances in life:
“Time will leave us one day with only memories and you don’t want to be on the side of regret, of not having told someone how much you love them or show how much you care. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s too important than your family and loved ones, everything else can wait.” Moreover, Ms. Perez pays a beautiful tribute to Rudy—undisputedly a beloved son, loyal friend, and upstanding individual I’m grateful to have come across between the pages of her book.
A heart – wrenching personal love story Martha wakes up one morning feeling uneasy. She knows something is wrong. She goes about her normal routine with a nagging feeling that she can’t shake. She feels anxious and distracted. Then, she gets the phone call that is the nightmare of every parent on earth. Her son, Rudy isn’t breathing. Following a page-turning beginning, Martha gives a moment – to – moment account of what happened after that devastating call as well as the days that followed. Here is where her ability as a writer shines. Author Martha Perez bears her shattered heart as she pens this touching love story. Her profound words grab at the reader’s heart, as she expresses her anguish and grief, without hesitation. She tells the reader exactly how she is feeling, how devastating this is to a parent and how she and her husband are handling their son’s untimely death. You cry along with her as you read her deepest thoughts during the first few days and weeks. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has lost a child or a loved one. My soul ached along with the author as she expressed her grief. Martha speaks freely and openly about her loss in a way that every person can relate to. As a lovely bonus, “My Beloved Son” is filled with beautiful poetry, writings of Rudy’s father, and photos of the author’s son and her family scattered within. I give Martha Perez’s book five stars for its beautifully written, honest, and heart – wrenching story of love.
Another Inspirational Book by Martha Perez! This book will help you in so many ways. Due to the number of readers that wanted “The Calm and The Storm” to be available in a book, Martha Perez created, “A Little Piece Of Me”. By adding extra chapters, quotes, photos, and stories of inspiration, you will not be disappointed. It doesn’t matter what you are dealing with, this book will have something in it that will help you along the way. We all have moments where we need to be uplifted. This book will put you in a better mood or keep you in a good mood if you’re in one already! “A Peaceful Promise” is an inspirational book that got a lot of people inspired by Martha Perez. “A Little Piece Of Me” will be a great book for you if inspiration is what you’re looking for. Enjoy!
Let’s get to know more about Martha!
Did you have a passion for writing as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
My writing and thoughts come from happiness and days of deep sorrow. The only way of life’s profound mysteries and love was by writing it in words, emotions not otherwise addressed. I have always had a passion for writing and reading. My journey in life gave me the tools to be creative with my imagination. I ran wild with it; it was my escape from reality. I remember my teacher always made me read first, and when I would write a story. He made me stand up in front of the class. That was the only time the kids in my class wouldn’t make fun of me or bully me because I was different from them. When you are not anyone’s child, your clothes are dissimilar, and you are not good enough to have groups of friends; so I became a loner. When summer came, most kids went on vacation.
When we returned to school, we had an assignment; to write what we did and where we went for our vacation. When I heard that the kids in my class went and did things that were fun, I felt sad because all I did was clean the house. I sneaked out to play for a couple of hours.
The following day as I had predicted, Mr. Montejano asked me to stand and read in front of the class. My hands were shaking as I held the white piece of paper filled with the words that I have written.. I said my Mom and Dad took me to Hawaii. I had created a make-believe family and used my imagination about how Hawaii looked and what we did. I had everyone’s attention; you could have heard a pin drop. When I finished reading from my paper, everyone clapped, and my teacher gave me an A for my story. He told me that he was very proud of me. He knew I lived with my grandma. He knew my story wasn’t true. He also knew that I had to do my homework at school because I wasn’t allowed at home.
My job at home was cleaning and waxing the floors. My teacher taught me a lot; he understood what I was going through and helped me become more of a great person. I am thankful for his caring and kindness. Yes, I remember the stories I wrote for school. My teacher taught me to believe and told me I would achieve too. Achieving is something you work hard for; it’s a passion you have to reach your goals; go for the stars, climb the highest Mountain. Have faith in yourself and have faith in yourself and everything else will fall in place; that took me a lifetime to believe. Writing is compelling, reading feeds the mind, and my hunger will never stop because I love to write and read.
D.G. – Martha, your story is both heartbreaking and inspirational. I am so glad you had one wonderful teacher who showed you compassion. You are a warrior woman for bringing yourself so far in life. 🧡
Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.
The little girl in me wanders out in the big world. The hills and the park I used to play in made my life blissful. I felt the breeze blowing on my face as my legs moved when I chased the ball as I played; what a lovely day. In my teenage years a boy kissed me with a promise that we would stay together while we were growing up. With life rules, many dreams of hope came true. My spirits are so high I feel as if I can touch the sunny sky. I’m singing a song and laughing with my inner self. Books move me in the way of magic. Adventures take me so far, far, away. I read all genres, and ever since I was a teen, I’ve always loved romance novels.
I was in the third grade and the school was selling books that I had to order. I wanted to buy books so badly. I took the order paper home and ran to my grandmother to ask her to buy some books for me. She told me I had to raise the money myself. I picked my book, “Charlotte’s Web.” I honestly had to order that book with a pencil, making a vast circle around the order form. I focused on selling my soda bottles and helped the lady next door to walk her dog. I even washed a couple of cars to raise money just for that one book. I was ecstatic and read that book over and over again.
That book became my little treasure, and reading it to my granddaughters Mikayla and Caylee was the most beautiful feeling in the whole world. Now, I write all genres. I’m fascinated with books, and everything ensues. I’m delighted to share this little piece of me.
I am all grown up now. I read every day, loving the way the stories make me feel so excellent. Find a book that will take you out of this world; Fiction or Scifi. The books that are based on true stories are endless. However, take a road of magical adventures and get away from the real world for a while.
D.G. – Your love for books spills over in your voracious appetite for such a wide genre of reading Martha. I’m so glad you became a writer. You are an inspiration for so many young writers. 🧡
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?
All my books have a message. My journey took me to a place where I have seen so many good and bad things. I also know people close to me with unhealthy relationships, so I wrote the book Enough Is Enough; about Domestic Violence. I have written different stories so people can understand this is happening to people every day. I was a victim, and many family members were, so this was important. I also volunteered in a shelter in my younger years, so I have seen many women hurt and beaten. Broken Pieces has a lot of my life in it. It’s an intense story about a girl who was being abused and bullied at school. I wanted to share that when I had a book signing, a young man held my hand with urgency and told me his girlfriend was crying right now. She wanted to meet me but got sick and wanted a signed copy.
He said Broken Piece’s story was her life; then he put her on his cell phone. I spoke to her and calmed her to the point that we were laughing. It’s not about the money you make from your books but when you touch the reader because the memories stay with you forever; especially when you have been abused mentally or physically. In some of my books; my imagination ran wild. My inspirational books had many messages, especially in ‘A Little Piece Of Me.”
D.G. – No doubts your writing has touched so many Martha. It is no surprise how the universe has connected us together as friends. I look so forward to reading your new book, along with others of yours I have on my Kindle. 🧡
Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?
I would love to share my projects and ideas for my books. I have been an author for six years, and my goal was to write twenty-five books. Well, I overpassed my dream, and I’m happy to say there will be many more books in the years to come. I have begun to write stories on Kindle Vella. I write episodes until it’s finished; I have twenty stories and am doing well. I have many ideas for more different levels of tales for next year.
I’m writing a novel about Tex Baller, a homicide detective. He is a steak and taters kind of man, a Cowboy who rides the horses in the morning until dusk—no rules and never a fool. You have to have the right tools; and he does. He has no fear; it takes a lot for him to have tears. When Tex Baller loves a woman, it’s forever. It’s a romance with a suspense and thriller feel to it as well. I keep busy loving what I am passionate about, and that’s my writing. I’m a full-time writer, so this is why this is possible for me to write so many books.
D.G. – Wow! Six years and so many books! You are definitely a full on, full time writers! And I envy that you write so many stories on Kindle Vella. As you know, they don’t offer that opportunity to Canadian writers. 🧡
Name some of the influential authors who inspired you to write and why?
I adore reading romance novels. I was that little girl reading Charlotte’s Web with a flashlight under the sheets until my teens; then I started reading romance novels from the library. I read ‘The Other Side of the Mountain’ and many more teen magazines; one of my favorite books is ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. So many authors inspired me to be a writer, and it’s hard to pick just one that I can call my favorite. Here are three that motivated me: Megan Hart because she writes romance stories that are moving with many plots and twists. Sylvia Day writes romance with sexy dialogue, and Kristin Hannah writes stories that are heartfelt with emotions that touch your heart. I love to read their books. They write with such passion and the stories are captivating with each page, and they have me wanting more. They are successful and talented, and I have read all of their books. Of course, Sylvia Day gives a little hot spice in her stories; that is a plus. I always feel like being under sheets with a flashlight reading these fabulous books. I am an avid reader, and if I could read all day, it would be heavenly.
D.G. – Thanks for sharing books that have inspired your fictional stories. Omg, I remember watching The Other Side of The Mountain when I was much younger. All I know, I used up a lot of Kleenex, lol. 🧡
Thanks so much for sharing some of yourself and writing inspiration with us here today Martha. Wishing you much success with your new book! ❣
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?All my books have a message. My journey took me to a place where I have seen so many good and bad things. I also know people close to me with unhealthy relationships, so I wrote the book Enough Is Enough; about Domestic Violence. I have written different stories so people can understand this is happening to people every day. I was a victim, and many family members were, so this was important. I also volunteered in a shelter in my younger years, so I have seen many women hurt and beaten. Broken Pieces has a lot of my life in it. It’s an intense story about a girl who was being abused and bullied at school. I wanted to share that when I had a book signing, a young man held my hand with urgency and told me his girlfriend was crying right now. She wanted to meet me but got sick and wanted a signed copy.He said Broken Piece’s story was her life; then he put her on his cell phone. I spoke to her and calmed her to the point that we were laughing. It’s not about the money you make from your books but when you touch the reader because the memories stay with you forever; especially when you have been abused mentally or physically. In some of my books; my imagination ran wild. My inspirational books had many messages, especially in ‘A Little Piece Of Me.”D.G. – No doubts your writing has touched so many Martha. It is no surprise how the universe has connected us together as friends. I look so forward to reading your new book, along with others of yours I have on my Kindle.Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?I would love to share my projects and ideas for my books. I have been an author for six years, and my goal was to write twenty-five books. Well, I overpassed my dream, and I’m happy to say there will be many more books in the years to come. I have begun to write stories on Kindle Vella. I write episodes until it’s finished; I have twenty stories and am doing well. I have many ideas for more different levels of tales for next year.I’m writing a novel about Tex Baller, a homicide detective. He is a steak and taters kind of man, a Cowboy who rides the horses in the morning until dusk—no rules and never a fool. You have to have the right tools; and he does. He has no fear; it takes a lot for him to have tears. When Tex Baller loves a woman, it’s forever. It’s a romance with a suspense and thriller feel to it as well. I keep busy loving what I am passionate about, and that’s my writing. I’m a full-time writer, so this is why this is possible for me to write so many books.D.G. – Wow! Six years and so many books! You are definitely a full on, full time writers! And I envy that you write so many stories on Kindle Vella. As you know, they don’t offer that opportunity to Canadian writers.
I was recently invited over to Marcia Meara’s – The Write Stuff blog, where she’s been running a fantastic summer series, Ten Things You May Not Know About Me. So many authors and bloggers were featured in this series where we get to know some personal things about each one that we’d never otherwise know. Today I’m sharing my feature, but I also encourage you to visit some other entries in this wonderful series.
#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #D.G.Kaye
I’m sure today’s author needs no introduction for most of you, but just in case there are some new folks reading along, I’m delighted to say that author D. G. Kaye is with us today. Debby is widely known in the blogging/writing world as a memoirist and a writer who generously spreads humor wherever she goes. Please help me give Debby a big welcome this morning. Debby? You’re on!
Thank you so much Marcia, for inviting me to share some of myself here today in your wonderful series – #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe.
1. In high school, I always managed to maintain an over 80 average – despite my one year failing art and gym! Yes, art and gym! How do you fail art and gym? Well, I did. I was the girl in the Janis Ian song – At Seventeen – when choosing sides of basketball, I’d be last pick. I was nowhere near athletic, nor was I interested in sports. My only saving grace was dance segment and health classes which helped bring up my saggy average in that class. I remember getting booted for a class or two when I was caught cutting across the track field instead of running the length of it, hoping I wouldn’t be discovered doing so, to no avail. And don’t even get me started with those ugly blue rompers, sack-like outfits we had to wear. Art was a whole ‘nother thing. I still cannot color in the lines! Even when it comes to my book covers, I have the vision of what I want, but cannot express with drawing anything with my own hands – okay, maybe stick people.
2. Ambidextrous, I am, sort of. A weird mixture of one who writes with her right hand yet does most other things with the left. I also sucked at baseball because I have to wear a glove on my left hand for catching, and must take it off to throw the ball back with my same left, leaving a runner too much time before I could throw back the ball. I have no sports coordination with my right hand. When I attempted in my younger years, to play guitar, that was also strumming with the left hand. It’s complicated.
3. Before I met my husband, I was in an abusive relationship with someone for seven years. I realized it after the first year of living together, but by then I was trapped. I have written much on the subject, but to this day am still petrified of publishing anything about those years, for fears of being sued by my vindictive stalker and abuser.
4. I had many jobs and careers in my younger years. I was never fired, always left on my own volition. My earlier days were working in the fashion industry – selling clothes and doing the buying for some of those stores. I did a lot of temp secretarial in between jobs, and I was an executive secretary to the general manager of one of our downtown hotels for a few years. Before that, I worked for a photography company doing company sales for family portraits. My job took me all over the province of Ontario – with me as the driver. Those were my fearless days. I also became a certified travel agent, not because I wanted to work in an agency, but I’d struck a deal with an agency owner, I’d bring him clients on the side so I could keep my regular job and get my travel perks, commissions and benefits from the agency. I became office manager for an architectural firm, and later for a construction company, and then a real estate company. In my 30s, I went to ‘dealer’ school and became a certified casino dealer for blackjack and poker, then ultimately, became a pit boss. After a few years doing that, I got scouted out to work for a private company doing private parties. I only worked two or three nights a week and made more money (in tips) than I did all week working in a casino. I ultimately met my husband who was a guest of someone I knew at one of those parties. Once my husband moved in with me, he didn’t want me to work anymore. I must admit, it felt weird not working when I’d worked since a teenager.
5. I am an empath and very spiritual and sense when spirits are around me. As of yet, I have not directly sensed my own husband directly around me, but, I have definitely received many signs. I am an empath who can sense spirit by smell and touch and an inner knowing, this makes me clairsentient, clairalient, and claircognizant. I also read souls through looking into eyes, sort of like a human lie and empathy detector. This has never failed to be an alert system for me. Except when I was younger and dismissed what I thought I saw. I rely on my instincts to guide me. My father and my dear aunt come to visit me sometimes. I know when they are around, my body starts to shiver, and I can smell my aunt’s perfume or my father’s cigarette smoke when they appear.
Welcome to my Q & A this month. I’m delighted to be featuring friend and author, D.L. (Denise) Finn here today. Denise is a multi-genre author who writes in the genres of Y.A., poetry, paranormal and memoir. Today we’re going to get to know a bit about Denise and her featured new release – A Voice in the Silence.
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.
Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.
Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.
So great to have you over Denise!
So nice to have you over here today Denise!
Let’s get to know more about Denise!
What’s your favorite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, andwhy?
What I write on, depends on what I’m writing. I love to hand write poetry in a journal. This allows me the freedom to write in the forest, riding on the back of the Harley, in a plane, by the ocean, or even in bed. Later I put it on the computer.
All new ideas are usually jotted down on paper as soon as I wake up or whenever they come to me. Now, if I am away from paper and pen, I will type myself an email with the ideas and then send it on my cellphone.
After I get started on a story, though, I’m at my laptop or computer typing away. I always email current WIP to myself, so I never lose anything.
I have always thought it a good idea to dictate ideas, but speaking the words doesn’t work as well for me as writing them down does.
D.G. – Good idea to email yourself notes. If I’m out and think of an idea I want to write about, I’ll use voice recording on my phone so I don’t forget my great ideas. .😁
If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?
My first choice would be my latest story, A Voice in the Silence. I would love to see that up on a screen. My only concern would be giving a voice to the animals. If that wasn’t done right, it would pull away from the story and end up silly. But there are so many parts that I could see in my mind as I was writing, and I know a viewer could fall in love with not only Drea but the trio of animals. A setting in the forest in a storm could be powerful and beautiful, too.
My second close choice would be A Second Chance. Bringing not only an angel to life but her opposite the evildwel who’s a dark creature with red eyes, would make for some interesting viewing. Plus, the spirit, Eddie, who is helping the angel, is a favorite of mine. I could see his famous smirk up on the big screen as he teases a very serious angel, Zelina. Being set in not only a beautiful Bay Area coastal town but in Hawaii would be an amazing backdrop.
In both stories, it’s the other-worldly creatures that I would love to see come to life on a screen.
D.G. – Those scenarios you shared would indeed make good viewing. 😀
Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?
Yes, I weave some of my personal traits into my characters. A few of my dislikes and likes come through, but they also develop their own personalities and likes as I write. Drea and I both love animals. I would take in a stray without question. We are both writers and love family, but her obsession with coffee isn’t mine. I’m a tea drinker.
As for personal experiences, I use my knowledge of riding out a snowstorm or driving in it. I have the same reaction to driving on ice. I avoid it if I can. But if forced to drive in it, my hands are glued to that steering wheel, making it a white-knuckled drive like Drea had.
My belief in the afterlife has become a part of a lot of my stories. I believe in angels, fairies, and ghosts. Bears visit often, and we’ve had trees and branches fall during storms, but I haven’t dealt with a serial killer.
Although I have things in common with some of the characters, they take over and become their own person. One thing is for sure, they are much braver than I am.
D.G. – I’m so captivated by everything afterlife. I look forward to reading more of your books.
Denise is sharing an excerpt from her new release – A Voice in the Silence
A slight breeze wove through the pine trees, making them sway to nature’s song, but Drea and the dog didn’t join in the flowing movement. Instead, they maintained a tense pose, as if studying each other from a safe distance.
Drea made the first slow movement of setting her newspaper down. “Are you lost?” The beautiful brown eyes pulled her in. It was like they could peer into her soul. There was no threat or fear in those eyes as the fluffy dog sat down. Encouraged, Drea stepped back into the garage and grabbed the pink leash and collar still hanging on the wall. The dog watched her every move with a slow tail wag.
A can of dog food she hadn’t donated to the shelter yet caught her eye. “Hungry?” It wagged its tail harder.
She opened the can and shook the smelly chunks onto a white paper plate she kept under the cans. Holding the offering, she moved cautiously to the dog. Using a soft tone and a smile, she kept moving forward. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”
The dog blinked and nodded as if it understood her. The sun fully abandoned the sky, leaving behind the encroaching darkness lit by a half moon. But the sadness that had weighed her down seeped out into the night with each step she took toward the pup. She wished she’d brought a flashlight, but the evening offered its remaining luminescence. Soon she was within a foot of the dog. The posture and build indicated a golden retriever mix like her Lady, but this was a male, and he was beautiful.
“I don’t recognize you. I know all the neighbor’s dogs. You have a home?” The dog blinked and shook his head as her feet crunched through the dry pine needles. The sound reminded her of when Robbie would place bubble wrap on the ground and gleefully jump on it. She would clean them up—tomorrow. As she got closer, the dog’s condition was more apparent. He hadn’t eaten in a while.
“Here, this used to be Lady’s food. I lost her a little while ago.”
He licked his snout as though he understood. Smart dog.
“No collar. Maybe you have a chip.”
She set the food down and backed away. He lunged toward the plate and wiped it clean in seconds, then sat down, licking his chops. She inched her way toward him. Each step toward the mutt brought him closer to her heart, which was beating like she’d run a marathon. She slowly reached out and rubbed his fur. The dog didn’t flinch. In fact, a small sigh escaped him. Drea gently searched for injuries. Other than a small gash on his neck, he appeared healthy and wasn’t afraid.
“You must have someone who loves you. What happened?”
She wished the dog could answer.
A Review for this book:
I loved this story! The author’s imagination was entertaining. The talking animals were endearing, especially how they protected Drea from the evil in the woods. After the death of her husband and her son leaving to live with his horrific wife, Drea felt lost and alone. This all changed when three animals showed up on her doorstep. She needed their companionship, especially when she found out that someone seemed to be killing single women in the area and she was next on his list!
The author did a phenomenal job in keeping the reader guessing who the bad guy was throughout the entire story. Was it the cop with the attitude? Was it her deceased husband’s best friend who just happened to be making the moves on her? Or was it someone else in her life that had it out for her?
With the help of her talking animals and the ghost of her deceased husband, Drea slowly puts the pieces together. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws another loop into the web she weaved!
This is a great story, and I highly recommend it!— Yvi MC
I was recently invited over to Wendy Van Camp’s writing blog- Nowastedink, to share an article on writing. As I have been comtemplating writing my next book (now in very rough draft) in Epistolary writing style, I thought that would be the perfect topic to write about.
Hi Wendy, thanks so much for inviting me over again to your blog. Today I want to talk about writing in Epistolary style. What is epistolary writing? As a nonfiction/memoir writer I’ve been exploring this form of writing for a book I’ve been drafting about grief. I am seriously considering presenting the book in this form.
Epistolary writing is a style that addresses the reader through a diary format (think Bridget Jones’ Diary) or in journal or letter format. In this era of digital life, epistolary writing can also include email and blog post entries, police reports, newspaper articles and transcripts. This style involves the writer speaking directly to another person, expressing the bond in a particular relationship through the content being written, which gives the reader an intimate peek into the writer’s private self and thoughts regarding the person she is writing to, and an inside scoop into that relationship between the writer and the character being spoken to. Journal and diary entries are more contemplative writings, but there is also the method of writing strictly in dialogue. Epistolary writing is in essence writing dialogue from one’s self. It is important that the writer let the reader know to whom they are writing to. Epistolary stories can involve one or more characters the writing conversation is being directed toward.
Often, in this form of writing, the focus is more on evoking emotion, more so than a dialogue driven story. Epistolary writing is also classified as a sort of confessional-like writing, also known as monophonic point of view, letters to one specific character. It is referred as ‘dialogic’ if two people are writing letters, or, ‘polyphonic’ with three or more characters writing and receiving the letters. It is ultimately, a first-person point of view that allows the reader to get inside the writer’s thoughts. It’s a correspondence between characters or to a character. This form is a different take from third person POV where the usual plots and characters are the driving force of the storyline. Instead, the reader gets to understand the character’s interactions through what is implied by the writer.
The word -Epistolary, is derived from the noun – Epistle, which is the Greek word meaning ‘letter’. This is an actual literary genre that pertains to letters written for delivering story through personal messages from the writer to her subject(s). This format can be used as context for a relationship, friendship or even a business relationship between the writer and receiver.
Because this method of writing is a person telling, it can be written in multiple tenses. For example, the writer might go back in time with an entry and bring it up to present to invite in some tension. In most stories in other points of view writing, they are written in the classic, ‘show more, tell less’. This could be challenging to write in epistolary form because there is no narrator building a scene. But description that paints a picture to the reader can still be done. The more ‘real’ a story feels to the reader, the more they will engage in the emotion. Epistolary stories can be written in both fiction or nonfiction. . . Please continue reading at Nowastedink