Monday, April 18, 2016

Write What You Know?

Do I write what I know? Usually I have some knowledge of what I write about, but not enough, because my ideas seldom match my life experiences. So I don't write what I know, I write about what interests me.

I'm revising a new novel, Home Free, and the main character's little brother has Diabetes. I did have a student with Diabetes, and a teacher had to check her blood sugar level while she was at school, but that's been some time ago. I've forgotten the details, details that have to be accurate or it'll upset my readers.

In the novel, the family's house is foreclosed. Do I know anything about foreclosure? No. I had to go online and research it. The internet is an invaluable resource for writers. There's also a scene in a pawn shop. I've never set foot inside a pawn shop, but I have some critique partners who have, and they were quick to point out what didn't sound authentic in that chapter. Another thread in this story is a campground, and since I've camped for years, I do have firsthand knowledge on that topic.  

For me, writing is exploring ideas, feelings, and universal truths. When I get an idea for a story, of course it's partly based on my own experiences, I think all stories start there. But writers have to expand on those ideas, and to accomplish this, we have to do research.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

   #Eggcerpt Exchange with author, Pamela Thibodeaux 


                           Welcome, Pamela!

             
                    Lori’Redemption (short story spin-off of                                          Tempered Fire)
                                     
Blurb: 
 Lori Strickland (introduced in Tempered Fire) has always been known as her father's "wild child" with no desire to change until she meets ex-bull-rider-turned-preacher Rafe Judson. Her attempts to change her wanton ways come to naught until she realizes redemption only comes with true repentance.

Excerpt: 

     Lori headed toward Recluse, Wyoming after another round of rodeos where the cash and prizes vaulted her to the next level of achievement. She hadn’t thought of Rafe in months. Hadn’t allowed herself to think of him, and wouldn’t indulge in useless fantasies now.
    She’d made peace with the fact she was nothing more than a bad seed and there was no way around it. Oh she tried to be good. She stayed out of the bars for weeks on end, attended the prayer services before or after each rodeo when available, even visited with a group of supposedly devout believers who traveled a state-wide circuit within the national itinerary, but nothing seemed to help or make an impact on her life. Nor had she found the support she’d hoped, only judgment and criticism. Answers to her questions only incited debates until she was scorned for her doubt and unbelief or shunned completely. Maverick was right when he said there was no in between and since she couldn’t succeed at being good, Lori figured she’d be bad.          
     Just as she had all of her life.
     More than once she thought about calling Stanley or Amber or even Lexie for counsel, but was too ashamed to admit the total mess her life was in. She even considered quitting. Just give up and go home. But she was too close to making pro status, too close to the culmination of the dream that began in her heart nearly four years ago.
     A dream she once thought came as a directive from God.
     Now, she knew better.
     God didn’t give success to losers; the devil lured them into it then left them to their own devices no matter how hard they tried to be good. Besides, even at her best, there was no way she’d ever be good enough for a preacher.

Character Interview Questions: Lori Strickland

1. Nickname: My very best friend calls me Lars, but other than that I don’t have a nickname…Unless you consider I’ve always been known as Roy Strickland’s “wild child.”

2. Job: No real job. I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with my life. Until I do though, I am currently a barrel racer competing on an amateur level.

3. Currently residing in... My hometown of Bandera, TX. There’s not much to do here, nothing I haven’t done hundreds, maybe thousands of times and I hate the repressive atmosphere of small town living, loathe every moment stuck in this place.

4. Worst fear or nightmare: That I’ll never meet ‘Mr. Right’…someone who loves and adores me, who I can love and adore back. I have only met one man like that in my life and, although he and his wife are about the best, possibly only true friends I have, I hope to find someone like him someday.

5. Wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between? I guess by the world’s standards I’m wealthy. My father owns a successful ranch in Bandera and I’ve never wanted for anything–materially at least. But wealth and riches are measured in so many more ways than money…and in those ways I am blessed but far from ‘wealthy.’ 

Book Purchase Links:
Print-Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NNji1m

Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Thanks for being on my blog, Pamela!






Friday, March 4, 2016

#Eggcerpt Exchange with author Carmen Stefanescu



My guest today is Carmen Stefanescu, author of                                          Shadows of the Past
                               Welcome, Carmen!


Blurb:

Anne's relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.

The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world--one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil's vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve's soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?

A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.


The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

Excerpt: 

The peal of the church bells from the abbey tower startled Genevieve. The sound added to her mounting anxiety.
The massive abbey loomed over the stone paved path.  All the nuns were at evening mass.  With a bit of luck her disappearance would go unnoticed for a few more hours. The Abbess would assume she was cleaning the toilets as ordered.

Fear skittered through Genevieve when she turned away from the abbey towards the path leading to town. Nothing stirred.  She hesitated.  Evil emanated from the forest surrounding the abbey. With a shiver, she leaned against the solid oak gates that flanked the abbey's main path. They had hidden her from detection for the past couple of hours, but how much longer would she be safe?

The mountain shadows grew thicker and closer.

She moved her weight from one leg to the other. They ached from so much standing, but she lacked the strength to return to the gardener's cottage and wait for Andrew's arrival as planned. Genevieve closed her tired eyes. The image of old Ryan, slumped dead in his chair in his cubicle, caught life in her mind and made her whole body ripple with fear.

She'd rather wait for Andrew here, outside.

Had he forgotten his promise? What if something terrible befell him during the last three days, or he had changed his mind? Why should he risk all for an ordinary nun?

Had his folks talked him into giving her up, made him see reason? Helping her out of her predicament meant a huge risk for him -- losing his family, his friends and his position among his peers. His words echoed in her mind. "I will risk everything for you, even life, if necessary."
* * * *

"Anne, Anne, wake up. Wake up, please," the insistent voice whispered next to her ear.  The touch of a hand, on her shoulder, startled Anne.

She opened her eyes, still half between sleep and reality. Her gaze stopped on a stranger, a woman, by her side.

The moon's pale face, the only light, filtered through a small gap in the tent's entrance; yet the stranger's whole body emanated a kind of soft ray, a yellowish halo making her figure and face easy to discern.

A long, dark robe, similar to those worn by nuns in monasteries centuries ago, covered her body. No traditional headdress covered the woman's red hair, which fell loosely over her shoulders in long, heavy tendrils and continued down her chest and back.

Anne stood up and studied the intruder with open curiosity. The stranger’s wax pale face looked corpse like. Anne opened her mouth to ask her who she was. She looked Anne straight in the eyes, placed her forefinger on her lips and whispered, "Hush, come. Follow me."

Anne's eyes widened.

The woman, moving away from the sleeping bag, appeared to glide above the ground. Her bare feet didn't make a sound.

As if hypnotized, Anne followed the illuminated silhouette heading into the forest, without questioning her own actions.

An onrush of sensations unfamiliar to her followed. Dizziness and a malevolent feeling of unreality suffocated her. The presence of evil, creeping up and enveloping her, became almost palpable. Her throat turned dry, and she gasped for air.

Author bio:


            Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
            Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. 
She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.
Shadows of the Past, paranormal/light romance/light mystery/light horror was released at the end of 2012 by Wild Child publishing, USA.

Carmen Stefanescu's Links:

Character interview -Genevieve

1. Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable Miss...

"Genevieve. My name is Genevieve, but Sister Clementa, the Abbess,  and some of her followers call me The witch."

2. Tell me, Genevieve, where are you living?

Genevieve ( a small sigh escapes her lips. Then she shrugs) "Well, for the moment I reside at St. Mary’s Abbey. On top of a mountain in Britain, in the...cursed forest."

3.  Do you have any schooling?

Genevieve  (nods and pats and invisible crease of her dress) "Kind  Old Bertha, who took care of me after my family perished, taught me to read and write. Not only English but also Latin. And, most important, she taught me how to prepare healing potions from plants and herbs. Perhaps that’s why the Abbess hates me so much. A peasant girl of the 13th century is dangerous if she knows more than her superiors, I think."

4. What are your worst fears or nightmare?

Genevieve (throws a shy look around her. She shivers and her voice is small) "I fear the cursed forest. This forest is responsible for what happened to my family. My father’s odd behavior, the death of my siblings. All the evil that lurks in it.
My nightmare - the Abbess, sister Clementa, who threatens me all the time with sending me to the stake. I can’t understand why she wants me out of the way."

5.  Is it anything that you secretly desire?

Genevieve (blushes and wrings her hands. Then she looks me directly in the eyes. Her voice is strong now. ) "To become Andrew’s wife and grow a family. If his family agrees....If the Abbess lets me go... If God  forgives me for giving up being a nun.....If I escape alive from the forest.... If....”

Purchase Links:

Wild Child Publishing

Amazon
All Romance
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadowsofthepast-1013184-140.html

Barnes & Noble

Thanks, Carmen for being on my blog!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

#Eggcerpt Exchange with author Tracey Clark




       My guest today is Tracey Clark, author of "Shocking Finds" A Finder's Keepers Novel 
                       
Welcome Tracey!



Blurb:

An act of rebellion, Marin doesn't think that running into the new store in town will hurt anything. Her aunt will never know... right? One car wreck later, her aunt is hospitalized, Marin is forced to spend her twenty-first birthday fighting for her life, and magic - the very thing her aunt has always sworn to be for fools - is real. And so is the irresistible Fae dedicated to Marin's protection.

Kyland has searched Earth-side and all the other realms, looking for a missing Fae child. A child his Queen prophesied would be able to one day save the Fae people from the Danshue, as the evil Fae threat tries to overwhelm the entire Supernatural Community. A child that would know nothing of her blocked gifts, or her Fae heritage waiting to be claimed. A child that has grown into a curvy, delicious morsel he would love to taste

Together Marin and Kyland will fight Fae assassins, overcome betrayals, and if they're lucky ... they will find the Danshue responsible for their plight. That's if Marin doesn't shock him to death with her erratic new gift, and her out of control emotions.

Excerpt: (from chapter two Shocking Finds)

Marin needed answers. Like why had they been targeted? The parking lot hadn’t exactly been lacking for vehicular violence victim contenders. There had been a group of at least four women, standing by their cars, chatting. If there was a target more deserving of vehicular rage, it had definitely been that group of women. They had finished shopping, and courtesy demanded that their parking spots were to be relinquished as soon as possible. Why not them?  
The man—and Marin was only guessing that the driver was a man—had bypassed those without parking lot etiquette and zeroed in on Lindal. If she had continued her slow progress through the parking lot, would Marin be in this horrible room with its beeping monitors and bleached air instead of Lindal.  
Staring down at her aunt’s unmoving form, Marin tried to find a place to rest her hand. She needed to touch her. She needed to know that the only person willing to take her in, after the death of her mother, was really here and still alive.
“They will find him, Lindal. He won't get away with this,” Marin made her vow as quietly as possible, not wanting to disturb Lindal's recovery.
Glancing up to keep tears from falling from her eyes, Marin noticed something swinging off of Lindal's oxygen line. “What the...” It looked like a Barbie doll with wings, perhaps six inches tall. The odd little creature wore a loin cloth and sported some overly obvious male attributes. Was it wrong to be checking out the abs of someone no larger than a child’s toy?
His arms tugged and his muscles bunched as he attempted to make a knot in Lindal's oxygen line. His silver skin tone went beautifully with his tri-colored wings— a mix of light purple, maroon, and gold. The little man didn't seem to realize that Marin was staring at him.  
“Stop,” Marin shouted. Dammit, this was a hospital. She needed to lower her voice. She also needed to go upstairs to the psych ward. Head trauma, shock, or hallucinations something wasn’t right. If she told Lindal about this, her aunt would call her every kind of fool.  
Hallucination or not, she grabbed the little man by the wings, pulled him from Lindal’s oxygen line, and tried to speak more calmly. “What do you think you’re doing?”
She finally had her figment’s attention. A striking, though small, pair of lavender eyes glared at her through overly long sandy brown bangs. On closer inspection, she could see that his hair was actually multicolored. It seemed to go from crystal white sand to bronzed gold.
“Well, answer me. What do you think you're doing?”
“Waiting for you, of course.”
“What are you?” She was losing it. The buzzing in her temples was increasing. And she was now speaking to a figment of her imagination. Yep, she needed to be medicated.  
The creature put its tiny fists on narrow hips. “A Sprite, of course. Don't you know anything? I have my work cut out for me.” Now she was being insulted by her imagination. Great.
“Nope. Too Much,” Marin said and tossed the little man with wings out of the hospital window. She needed coffee. Either that or a large dose of Thorazine. Maybe both.

All About Tracey Clark!!

I am a country-twang gal from the bluegrass state. Kentucky is a hot bed of horses, cave systems, and whiskey. And I love all three. With my pugs and bossy kitty cat, I spend my days writing and working social media. I write with the help of the voices pushing me to create worlds for them to live in. Fantasy Romance, Contemporary Romance, and eventually some cowboys (because cowboys live in a group all their own, yummmm)… These are the genres that I love best. Oil paints, crafts, dealing with Multiple Sclerosis, and writing into the dead of night… this I my life!!!

To Find out more about Tracey here are some links…

Author Page (Main):

Goodreads Author Page:

MS Page:

Facebook Author Page:

Anddddd…. Twitter Page:

Character interview:

Now… without further ado… here is Marin’s yummy man…

Interviewer (bats her eyelashes):  I’m so glad you could find a moment to come and chat with us, Kyland… Can I call you Kyland??

Kyland (arms crossed): Kyland will be fine.

Interviewer (lightly chuckles, flipping her hair): Great. Well, it’s great that you could leave the Princess’s side long enough to stop in… as the new bodyguard to Princess de Platadreki, one of the rarely heard about Battle Fae, I’m sure the Fae people would love to know a little bit about you… Tell us about day to day life for a royal’s consort…

Kyland: Pfft… Marin is my mate… we are one of the first known pairs in the Fae community to be soul-mated by the Fae Goddess Lac Mar, and as such, we only have eyes for each other… (Leaning forward, with narrowed eyes)… in fact, the flirtations of other women turn my stomach… the Princess is my everything… She means more to me than my next breath… I work to make sure that she is protected and happy at all times… I also do my best to warn others not to push her buttons, unless they want to trigger one of her power flares, finding themselves shocked by her escaping gift… sadly, as a soul-mated pair, jealousy can be an issue… more for me, than my Minzet… and she is, my sweet one… but then, I find her power flares kind of cute…

Interviewer (straightening jacket and sitting up with perfect posture): umm… That sounds like important work to me… How exactly did you meet the Princess??

Kyland (finally smiles): Marin… I had searched for her for more than twenty years, and was on the verge of giving up all hope… in fact, there were many times over the years that I believed my mission would fail, but I was honor bound to keep looking… before the Queen disappeared, she asked me to give my word that I would continue looking for Marin, no matter how long it took… the Queen said that she had had a vision that a new born baby girl would be ripped away from her mother, that this child would one day mean everything to the Fae people… (huffs and shakes his head) … she forgot to mention that the child in question was her soon to be born baby girl… when I finally found the mysterious Marin, still expecting a child, someone locked away and frightened, I found a mesmerizing woman fighting for her life… 

(Kyland looks over his shoulder as if searching for something… grinning and holding out his hand, he finally locates a blushing Marin just off stage… ducking her head, Marin comes to take his hand, blushing even worse as she is pulled onto his lap)

Interviewer: …. (shuffles through questions) … What goals and hardships do you face… what do you want for the Fae?? I mean… what are your plans to keep the Fae community safe?? to keep the Princess safe??

Kyland (head cocked to the side): I will take out the Danshue, those evil Fae working to take my Minzet from me… they lie in hiding around every corner, but they must be found and removed … there are other criminals in the Fae community, but the Danshue have lost their souls… their crimes have earned them a death sentence… and they will be brought to justice…

Sparks light up on Marin’s hands, but Interviewer merely gets a white
Knuckled grip on her set and continues…

Kyland (pulls Marin close and nuzzles the side of her neck, the sparks disappear ): Marin hates that our lives are so dangerous… and my main goal is to always come back to her… we keep each other safe, working together… though I wish she would stay in the background more, Marin will always jump in to protect the little guy… my job is to make sure she is not harmed when she does…

Interviewer (eyeing Marin’s now spark free hands): One final question and we will let you get back to your new duties as soul mate and bodyguard to the Princess… Can you tell us what fears you are facing in this new chapter of your life???

Kyland: … (Deep Breath…) that someone will get past the wards and shields placed around Marin… that one of the curses surrounding her essence will be tripped while she is too far away for me to save her… that Lindal, the woman pretending to care for Marin as she abused her, will sneak onto Marin’s property with some of her Danshue cohorts, that she will- … (a small explosion blows out all the lights)

Kyland turns Marin to him, kissing her deeply, continuing even after her power flare quiets down…
Interviewer warily pulls herself up off of the floor, where she dove to avoid flying glass…

Interviewer (voice shaky): Alright… I think that’s all we have time for… thanks for stopping by Kyland… Princess…

Purchase links: Buy your copy today!!

Amazon:

Barns & Noble:

Kobo:

Indigo:

Smashwords:

Thanks for being on my blog, Tracey!




Friday, February 26, 2016

Eggcerpt Exchange - Guest author Nathan D. Maki

#EggcerptExchange @NathanDMaki 

 






A War Within, The Healer by Nathan D. Maki

Welcome, Nathan!

Blurb:
How far would you go to free your mother from slavery?
Suzanna ben Ya’ir is a slave to the king of Hatra, the indomitable fortress city. She dreams of escaping the harem and finding her way back to Rome to find her son, but she is held prisoner by the king’s soldiers, towering walls, and untold miles of murderous desert. To escape she must earn coins as a healer among the common folk of the city and join forces with a Hatran guard who secretly loves her. But when the Roman legions arrive to besiege the city, her hope of escape seems more unattainable than ever.
Theudas ben Ya’ir is a fierce warrior and a member of the Roman Emperor’s guard, but he also harbors a deadly secret – he is a Christian. Theudas longs to find his mother and rescue her from slavery, but the Emperor, his legions, and Plautianus – the ruthless leader of the Praetorians – are besieging the city where she is held captive. Now Theudas must break the Roman siege and infiltrate the hostile city, find his mother and help her escape. But doing so will mean committing treason against the Emperor. Will his quest cost Theudas his new-found faith and the life of the woman he loves?
With Suzanna’s life hanging in the balance, can she and Theudas defy the odds and reunite? And if so, can they hope to survive?
Excerpt:
Suzanna wept with shame. She wept for the hope of escape that she knew to be false even as she clung to it. The paltry few coins she managed to save would never be enough to convince a merchant to risk the wrath of the king by smuggling her out of this city and across the wasteland surrounding it. The course of her life stretched out before her, as clear and brutal as the sandy, sun-baked road that led west toward the life she would never see again. She would go from the harem to the scullery as her beauty continued to fade, and finally, long after all color had been bleached from her life, to the grave.
She tried to reach for her faith, fumbled for it with groping fingers. She could brush it, could feel the residual warmth of the fire that once burned in her, but she couldn’t grasp it, couldn’t stir it to life again. Jehovah had forsaken her and so she knelt in a pile of rotting garbage against a filthy stone wall and wept.
Her pain seemed inexhaustible but her tears were not and finally her shuddering shoulders slowed and her sobs subsided. She was leaning against the wall now, her cheek against cold stone. In that moment, Suzanna felt a strange sense of clarity. She had two choices. She could lay here and die, or get up and go on. It was the hardest decision she had ever faced.
In the end, a dying man made the decision for her.
Tonight is the night Binyamin will pass from this world and I must be there to ease that passing. I must be there. I must get up. I must make at least this one last effort.
The heat of the day was fully gone now and she was stiff with cold. She struggled to her feet and stared up at the crooked slice of starry sky above. What time was it? Time had had no meaning while she wept. It could have been minutes or hours. But it was still darkest night. She still had time. She brushed at her the skirt of her tunic in a futile effort to wipe away the muck, then swept a sleeve across her eyes and beneath her nose. Stepping free of the alley she looked around, took her bearings, and started off at a pained shuffle.
Movement worked the cold stiffness from her limbs and she began walking faster as if trying to shake off and leave behind the depression and hopelessness that had threatened to crush her. She had a purpose this night, reason enough to live.
For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. The proverb came, unbidden, to her mind. And along with it came a thought, a feeling, a whisper on the wind. Theudas yet lives. She couldn’t tell where the assurance came from, had no way to prove it as true, and yet she suddenly knew it. Knew it like her own name. She quickened her steps still more.

Where there is life, there is hope.

Purchase Links:



Author Bio:

As a kid, Nathan D. Maki delighted in leaping through the door of historical fiction and into the adventure of the ancient world. In his teens, his love for reading birthed a desire to write and bring history alive for others. Nathan has always been fascinated with the monumental power and enduring achievements of the Roman Empire and its asymmetrical clash with Early Christianity. As a Christian, he is inspired by stories of triumphant faith in the face of persecution, and he hopes these stories will inspire others as well.


Character Interview of Suzanna ben Ya’ir

1. Tell us the date and place of your birth, Suzanna. 

I was born a slave in Rome in AD 161. I was descended from Jewish slaves captured in the Judeo-Roman war a hundred years before.

2. What is your level of schooling or were you self-taught? 

As a child, I learned healing from my master, a Greek physician, and after being sold upon his death I further developed my natural talent through hands-on experience, nursing my master’s wife and other slaves in the household.

3. Who is your Significant other? 

I married a fellow Jewish slave, Luke, and we had a son, Theudas. After Theudas fought our master’s son and Luke defended him, both father and son were sold to be gladiators.

4. Where do you currently reside? 

Luke died in the Coliseum, and I was transported to Parthia and sold into the harem of the king of Hatra, the Parthian desert fortress.

5. What is your job and your most important goal? 
There, with the help of a sympathetic guard, I slipped away at night to nurse the poor, hording the few coins I received in payment in hopes of one day buying passage back to Rome with a caravan.

6. What is your secret desire or fantasy? What is your greatest fear?
My secret dream is to be reunited with my son, while my greatest fear is that I will die alone and forgotten.


Nathan, this sounds like an interesting story. Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog.  

-Brenda