Sunday, 16 December 2012

Winner, winner - Chicken dinner

I have some winners for you.  All winners were picked using random.org
 
The four winners of the cookbook are
Stephanie Andrassy
Gale Nelson
Kim Griffin
Brittany Carrigan
 
The winner of the plaque and Guatamalen worry doll
Sandra Oliver
(yes this was a random draw)
by the way, nobody got Reid's name right
 
The winner of naming a character in my upcoming novel Forever Screaming
Kathy Fuierer
Kathy has now named the RCMP Facial Reconstructionist, Cassandra Michaels
 
I thank everyone for checking out my blog and entering contests.  It was a lot of fun.  I can't wait for the New Years one coming up in January.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Holiday Blog Hop

I'm so excited.  This is my first blog hop and I have really been looking forward to it.  There are a lot of great authors involved with great novels.  Enter the giveaways...but also really look at their books.  We all work so hard.  This is a great chance for us to give back to the readers and for others to give back to all of the authors at the same time.
 
 
I'm offering a few prizes so read through and then enter to win one, two, or all of the prizes. 
Good luck!
Once you are done entering my contests click HERE to return to the Hop
 
My first novel is Red Island
The mystery/suspense/thriller is the first in the Sgt. Reid Series
Sgt. Reid of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
hunts Prince Edward Island, Canada's first serial killer
 
PRIZE #1
Cookbook of my favorite recipes, tips I've learned from working in restaurants, and little stories of the crazy industry.  Four copies of this prize to be won.
Once you do any (or all) of them send me an email with Holiday Hop in the subject line
redislandnovel@gmail.com
 
1. Follow me on Twitter = 1 entry
 
2. Like Red Island's Facebook Page = 1 entry
 
3. Like my author page on Facebook = 1 entry

4. Subscribe to my new website = 1 entry

If you've already done these tell some friends to do the same and then send me an email.
 
PRIZE #2
Inspirational coaster and Guatemalan Worry Doll
The stone coaster helps keep your coffee warm or can be used as a plaque
The worry doll pouch goes under your pillow to help with nightmares
Red Island gave me nightmares so hopefully this helps with yours.

To Enter:
Sgt. Reid never lets anyone know his first name.  Can you guess what it is?
To eliminate some names read Red Island as Cpl. Eckhart guesses a lot through its pages

 
Type your guess below in the comments
all those that guess get 1 entry for the Prize #2
all those that guess correctly get an extra entry in all draws
 
PRIZE #3
Name a Character in book 2 of the Sgt. Reid Series, Forever Screaming, out Autumn 2013
 
Purchase Red Island to find out the name of the PEI town Reid and Marilyn drive through at the beginning of Chapter 29 then email the answer HERE
 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Review: Post Parcel

Post Parcel is the second book by Indie writer, Kate Kulig.  I enjoyed her first book, Bloody Murder, but this second effort was a whole lot better.  There were actual moments while reading this story that I thought, "ooooo the plot thickens."  I wasn't planning on reading this right after reading the first book.  I thought I would check out the first couple of pages just to see how it was and I was hooked.  I had to read on.

In Post Parcel - Zofia at the Bloody Murder Bookstore gets a UPS delivery of a steamer trunk with a body inside wrapped in plastic.  (I won't make the COD joke)  "It's a considerate thriller that wraps his or her bodies in plastic."

The book flows excellently taking the reader along with Zo, Michael, Feliz, and a cast of characters through the streets of New Orleans.  I wanted to climb into a chair with a bug cup of bitter chicory coffee, a Po'boy sandwich, crank up the Harry Connick jr.(my New Orleans favorite), and read the book from start to finish.

I can't wait for the next book in the Bloody Murder series.

5 Stars out of 5

Memorable quotes:
"Reality outdoes the imagination every time."
"A geek and a laptop.  It's a beautiful thing."
"It's a lot easier to sell someone on a new author if you have his or her earliest work."

Jerry looked at Michael.  "What have you done with Zo?"
Michael returned the level gave.  "Would you like the list chronologically or shall I start from her toes?"

Post Parcel on Amazon

Monday, 22 October 2012

Interview with No More Wasted Time author Beverly Preston

I had the great joy of interviewing author of the book, No More Wasted Time, Beverly Preston.  Her book,  The only bad part is that I didn't get to go to her home town of Las Vegas.

Welcome Beverly.
Hi Lorne!  Thanks so much for having me.

LO:  Tell me something about yourself and your book, No More Wasted Time.
BP:  I've been a Domestic Enineer, aka mom and wife, for twenty years.  In January, I published my debute novel, No More Wasted Time.  It's been a busy year!  No More Wasted Time has nearly 50,000 downloads and has been ranked #1 in Travel on Amazon for six months.  I recently, last week, completed my second manuscripts and books two and three are plotted out.  The second book in the series will be published early 2013.

LO:  How much of your novel is drawn from real life?
BP:  I definitely write in my own voice.  I draw inspiration from friends, relatives, and I live in Las Vegas which makes for fantastic people watching.  I was lucky enough to travel to Bora Bora a few years ago.  Greece and Tuscany are on my bucket list.  (No More Wasted Time takes place in Las Vegas and Bora Bora)

LO:  From a previous conversation I remember you telling me that you wrote the fourth book before writing the second...I was wondering why?
BP:  Sheer dumb luck, Lorne!  I removed the epilogue from No More Wasted Time right before publishing, realizing it set me up for an entire series about the Mathews/Clemmins Family.  I began writing the next story in my imagination, but quickly realized that I had a big info/back story dump.  So by removing the epilogue and back story it created basic plots for all four books in the series.

LO:  Do you anticipate a lot of changes in book 4 after writing the second?
BP:  No.  Crossing fingers, but no.  Each book is about Tess' grown children.

LO:  Are you going to release them close to each other?
BP:  All four books will be published by the end of 2013.

LO:  Are you able to give us any clues to the second book?  Title, plot, etc.
BP:  I can tell you that book two is the story of Shayla Clemmins and I'm leaning toward the title Shayla's Story.  The third book in the series is about Tracy Mathews.  Book four is titled The Perfect Someday and it's the story of the very spicy JC Mathews.

LO:  I'm a chef so I have to ask, what do you like to eat or snack on while writing?
BP:  Apples with peanut butter, cashew clusters and chocolate.

LO:  If your main character Tess were to come knocking on your door, where in your home town of Las Vegas would you go?  What would you do and what do you think you would talk about?
BP:  We would hit Starbucks on the way up to Red Rock, where we would go hiking for the afternoon, assuming it wasn't the middle of July.  Then the Yard House Restaurant at the Red Rock Hotel for tasty food, great beer, and some good old rock-n-roll while chatting about...life!

LO:  My 10 year old son read the first two pages of my novel and told me it was pretty good (best review ever) and then he tried getting his Grade 5 teacher to go online and buy a copy.  What do your children think of your book?
BP:  I have four kids ages 22, 19, 19 and 12.  My nineteen year old daughter is my biggest cheerleader and helped me a lot with the writing process, including final edits.  My youngest daugher gives her teachers, if we know them, my book for teacher appreciation day.  Wrapped in a brown bag of course.

LO:  Does your husband read your writing?
BP:  He is not a big reader, unless it's a set of house plans, but he has read my book and LOVD it!  He tells all of his friends to get it for their wives and...well, I'll just leave it at that.

LO:  My wife has a copy of your book so we will see what happens.

Click here to check out Beverly's novel No More Wasted Time


After losing her husband to a sudden heart attack, Tess Mathews escapes to Bora Bora to lay her husband and sorrow to rest. What she doesn’t expect is a new beginning.
Tom Clemmins is an A-list actor whose life revolves around work and an onslaught of women. He travels to Bora Bora for a much-needed break. Tom has a few ideas of how he’ll enjoy his vacation, but love isn’t one of them. Until he sees Tess.
Reserving a private shark-feeding excursion to scatter her husband’s ashes into the lagoon, Tess is furious when Mr. Hollywood bribes his way onto the boat, leaving her no other choice but to share the boat ride.
Tess is torn between tremendous guilt and zealous lust when their boat ride turns into a week full of romance and desire neither thought imaginable. Utterly smitten with a woman for the first time in his life, Tom casts his commitment phobia aside and whisks Tess off to Malibu where he introduces her as his “girlfriend” on the red carpet.
As the paparazzi besiege, can Tess survive the media blitz that ensues in order to find her second chance at love?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Review of BLOODY MURDER by Kate Kulig

Okay so I'm trying my hand at this reviewing other novels thing.  If you know me intimately you know that I was never a fan of reading.  Pretty stupid for a guy who wanted to be a writer since he was 10.  In school I moronically (my new word - it'll catch on) prided myself on getting through English class without reading the actual books we were studying.  I have since read most of those books...Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Slaughter House 5 and so on.

Since becoming a published Indie writer I have decided to read Indie authors and give some reviews.  I'm starting with those that have reviewed my novel.  So for my first official review....Bloody Murder by Kate Kulig.


Bloody Murder is the definition of a cozy mystery.  It is not action packed and there is no gore, but you quickly start to care about the main character, Zo, and you want to stick around.  It made me want to curl up in a chair and read on to unravel the mysteries in this woman’s life.  Zo owns a mystery book store titled, of course, Bloody Murder in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  That is the one city in the world I would like to go to so I thank Kate Kulig for taking me there.

I don’t judge books by their covers, but I do judge books by their opening lines.  “I’ve never seen a crime scene contaminated by muffins before,” had me hooked.  I also then have to give bonus marks to someone who uses the line, "Nothing comes between me and good food."

Now I will say that the first half of the novel is slow.  You learn about Zo and all of the characters that work in and out of her Bloody Murder bookstore, you learn about her ill-fated career in journalism and the sadness she had from her tragic family life.  But you are also witness to her growing relationship with Michael.  As you round the halfway mark you have to keep reading to find out what happens.

I’m really looking forward to reading Kate Kulig’s second novel in this series, Post Parcel, to find out what else happens to Zo and her friends.
 
4 stars out of 5
 
(There are formatting errors and some spelling missteps much like the ones I have in Red Island.  Seeing as I have the same mistakes there isn't much I can say about it.)

For my next review I will be reading Assaulted Souls by William Blackwell (a PEI writer)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Stop Blocking Your Path

I used to teach Martial Arts.  It seems like so long ago, but it is still there in my memories.  I mostly taught children and one of my favorite things to do was to sit them all down and have a Zen lesson.  We would talk about all sorts of things.  In my view martial arts was more about learning a lesson inside than learning how to do a jump sidekick five feet in the air.  Though I did that to.

My favorite lesson was one I got from a book written by none other than Chuck Norris.  As soon as you stop laughing you can remember that God rested on the seventh day because Chuck Norris gave him permission.  Ha!

The lesson was this:
A man had to travel over a mountain to get to the village on the far side.  As he started it was a wide path, but as he walked the path up the mountain got thinner and thinner.  On his left side of the path was the cliff going straight up.  On his right the path dropped off and went straight down.  The man felt a weakness in his knees.  He continued walking as the path got thinner. 

Suddenly he saw another man come around the corner of the path on the way down.  Both men stopped in front of each other.  They looked one way and then the other.  The first man knew there was no way to get around the second.  He turned around and began walking back down.  He felt calmer.  The path got wider.  He quickly looked over his shoulder expecting to see the other man, but he wasn't there.

The first man stopped and turned around.  Where was he?  He shrugged his shoulders and started walking back up the mountain.  His knees started feeling funny and the path got thinner.  Suddenly the second man rounded a corner.  The two of them stood before each other with no way to get around each other.  The first man looked at the second's face.  It was oddly familliar.  He rubbed his eyes and realised the man standing before him was himself.  There was no second man.  There was only the first.  The light dawned inside his mind and he realised the only thing getting in his way of getting up over the mountain was himself.

Moral:
Everyone...writers, artists, cooks, bookkeepers, housewives...have to get out of their own way.  I had the fear of putting my own book out there.  I tried sending books to publishers and thought, I'll do more someday.  Someday.  The only thing getting in your way of doing anything is your own head.  How many people have I heard complain about not having a better job?  How many times have I asked them if they sent out a resume and they said no?  Just as many.

You are the only one who can do what you need to do.  If you want to have a published book you have to do the work.  You have to do the writing.  You have to get the editing done.  You have to be the one to either send you manuscript out to publishers or get it published on Amazon or Smashwords or Kobo or whatever.  You have to be the one to advertise it and get your name out there.

See, Chuck Norris is one smart mother!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Blogging

When I write a new blog for my page I think of the movie Pump up the Volume.  Christian Slater plays a guy who just moved to a new area so he doesn't really know anyone.  Instead of walking up to someone he talks on the radio, mostly about sex and masturbation with a few deep thoughts thrown in, and at first he doesn't think he has any listeners but then it turns out he does....that's how I feel about my blog.  I have 27 followers but does anyone know it's here?  Did anyone miss me while I didn't have internet?

Anyway, in case there is that one person out there...I'm back now and should have Internet for a little while so hopefully we can see how far I can bring this blog.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Interview: Cheryl Bradshaw

I have the great honor today of talking with mystery/thriller writer Cheryl Bradshaw author of the Sloane Monroe Series.


Thank you for joining us Cheryl.  Why don’t you tell us something about yourself, where you are from, and what you do (besides writing of course)

I grew up in California; I’m from the town I talk about in I Have a Secret.  I got married a few years ago and moved to Wyoming which has been a major adjustment for me.  But I am learning to like it here, little by little, and will be starting a new series set in Wyoming in 2013. 

When I am not writing and chasing after kids, I like to travel.  Over the next two months I’ll be going to Alaska and Hawaii.  I love historical locations.  I’m a big fan of Abraham Lincoln, so I’ve been to his birth place and childhood home, etc.  As a side note, I almost bought a framed (and certified) strand of his hair a couple months ago for $900, but I decided that might seem a bit too obsessive. 
 
Do you regret not buying it? 
 
Sometimes.


I personally am reading your Sloane Monroe series of books. Book #4 in the series, Stranger in Town, is soon coming out. What is this one about?

Stranger in Town begins with a little girl getting kidnapped.  This is followed by another kidnapping several months later.  Sloane is hired to track down the kidnapper when the case goes cold.


In Sinnerman you go noticeably darker, even the cover is darker than the other brightly colored ones, do you think Sloane will ever be in a dark story line again?

Sinnerman was the easiest book for me to write.  I finished it in four months.  Thrillers are probably more my style than mysteries (for whatever reason it’s easy for me to write the “dark stuff”), but I enjoy writing in both genres, and I anticipate going back and forth between the two as I continue writing.  I might even veer off the path and dabble in a ghost story or two.

Black Diamond Death was the first novel I ever wrote, and I was trying to find my voice.  It wasn’t until I wrote Sinnerman that I got more comfortable with my writing style.  Over the last month I have revised Black Diamond Death and anticipate publishing the second edition in September.  I am also redoing the cover.  It’s amazing what we learn as we go.  Since publishing my first novel, I have a new editor, formatter, and cover artist. 


A lot of writer’s base their main characters on one or more real people. Mine, for instance is supposed to look like Bosco from the show Third Watch but is also based on Bayliss from Homicide, myself, and a real officer I interviewed for the part….who is Sloane Monroe?

I can’t point my finger at any one influence and say they are Sloane.  I suppose in ways she has some of my qualities (some of my relatives are convinced she IS me), but she is a lot different as well.  She has a fear of commitment, is codependent, and has had a lot of life experiences I can’t relate to.  It was fun to dream Sloane up and put her on paper.  I enjoy seeing her evolve; she becomes more unique and more of her own person as time goes on. 


You help other Indie Writer’s to connect with each other and connect with audiences…why?

When I first started, I didn’t know anyone, except a few traditionally pubbed authors, so I created Indie Writers Unite.  I also created a blog for writers.  There’s so much to learn when you are just starting out, and I wanted to pass the information on to all the newbie writers out there who aren’t sure what they are doing at first.  The industry is constantly changing, and there are a lot of things to keep up with.  I believe we all need to help each other out as much as possible. 


What is the greatest part about being an independent writer?

Being indie published is perfect for my OCD!  I love being in control of things like what the cover looks like and when my books come out, etc.  But I don’t just look at myself like I’m independent.  I’m an author.  I have a publicist.  I’ve considered signing with a publisher, and maybe one day I will.  It all comes down to making sure it’s the right fit for me at the right time.  I see all authors the same way, no matter how they are published.  A good book is a good book.


What is the worst part about being an independent writer?

There’s still a stigma attached to it, which I hope will change one day.  I understand why though, to a degree.  We’ve seen a wave of writers publishing books without an editor, a cover artist, a formatter, and things that make the writer look legitimate in the eyes of the reader.  I’m hoping this will change in the future.


Do you have any regrets about going this direction with your writing or your books?

I’ve never regretted publishing this way. 


I’m a chef so I have to ask – what do you like to eat and/or snack on while writing?

I don’t usually eat while I’m writing, but I almost always have a cup of tea nearby.  Sometimes two.  I’m a tea fanatic.  If I were to have a snack, it would be dark chocolate of some kind, preferably chocolate mousse or a frosted brownie.  But since I am keen on keeping my girlish figure, I usually just go with the tea!  Of course, if you were to send me some cookies or brownies, Lorne, rest assured I’d eat them while writing.
 
I'll work on that.


If Sloane Monroe were to come for a visit for an evening, what would the two of you do?

Probably something practical like dinner and a movie.  If I was playing the role of Maddie, however, I’d try and get Sloane to do something she’d most likely regret in the morning. 


What do you think you two would talk about?

Sloane’s life is always complicated.  The conversation would either be about the case she’s working on, or her love life. 


What is the one thing you enjoy about writing?

I express myself better through writing than I do in normal conversations with people.  I’m a very private person.  It takes years for people to get to know me on a personal level.  But when I write, I don’t care what I say.  There’s a kind of freedom I get from writing that I can’t get any other way.   


When can we look forward to Stranger in Town being out?

Fall 2012.  I’m hoping for October, but it might be November. 

 
For updates on Cheryl and her books:

Blog for readers:  http://cherylbradshawbooks.blogspot.com

Blog for writers:  http://pimpyourbooks.blogspot.com

Web:  http://cherylbradshaw.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/CherylBradshawBooks

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/cherylbradshaw


 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Emotional Guest Blog

Sending out guest blogs is so much fun.  Not only is it a marketing tool but other people who wouldn't normally see my blog get to see just how crazy I am.  This blog post is about writing emotion and has a little snipit of Red Island.  It is the scene which has scared me every time I take a shower.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The History of a Young Adult


YA
YA
Young Adult
YA
YA
Why, eh? (Sorry, Canadian joke.)
Vampires, ooooo I love vampires.
No way, werewolves so hot.

I got a haircut the other day and saw a whole lot of grey so maybe I missed whenever vampires and werewolves got sexy.  My daughter even has a T shirt that says, “Princess?  I’d rather be a vampire.”  What?  She’d rather be undead sucking the blood out of people and watching her entire family die as she lives on?  When I was her age…did I just say that?  Anyway, I didn’t want to be a vampire.  I wanted to be Maverick in Top Gun. 

To me vampires are Bram Stokers Dracula and Anne Rice’s Lestat.  What is it Lestat says, “God kills indiscriminantly, and so shall we.”  They grab whomever they chose and drain their blood until they are dead.  Werewolves attack without thought or discretion and kill.  My novel is a suspense thriller about a serial killer.  In my mind loving a vampire or werewolf is not much different than having a crush on serial killers like Ted Bundy or Dahmer or Gacy.

Okay, I will stop that there.  I know that YA novels are not ALL about vampires and werewolves…right?  I must have been in a comma the past few years because I didn’t realise how big the YA genre was.  I knew there was this wizard dude and I read most of those books but then these glittering vampires showed up and some girl up in a tree with a bow.  I didn’t read the vampire one but I do plan on reading Hunger Games.  This Young Adult thing is huge.  You go out on the internet thingy looking for boog blogs and 9 out of 10 are going to be YA.  When the hell did this happen?

I decided to do my research…

When I was my kids age, which is 10 and 12, I can’t remember there being a  Young Adult category.  Is it a new thing then?  Nope.  I had the Hardy Boys and I knew about Nancy Drew but apparently this genre started way back in the 1800’s.  A lot of classic novels fall in this genre.  The Swiss Family Robinson (1812), Alice in Wonderland (1865), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Anne of Green Gables (1908).  Some say, however, that the YA genre didn’t really start until 1951 when The Catcher in the Rye was published.  Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Lord of the Flies, The Narnia series, and so on, and so on.  Oh, I can’t forget The Outsiders.  Basically the Young Adult novel has been around for quite some time.  Most of them had nothing to do with vampires.

I could be wrong, but to me the modern though of YA novels is that they have to have something to do with vampires or magic or fantasy.  Truth is they don’t.  A YA novel is defined as a book written for and marketed to adolescence between the ages of 12 and 19.  The protagonist is usually someone within that age range as opposed to an adult.  The unique thing that YA novels have is that they can pretty much cross over with just about every genre there is.  And the books are not strictly for Young Adults.  As long as the books are well written everyone can find enjoyment in them.

YA is a giant entity in the book work.  Is it getting saturated?  Is there still room for more?  My kids have always wanted me to write them into a story somehow.  If you can't beat them-join them.  The following is something that puts my old Hardy Boys books with my kids and involves something I wrote on an earlier post called Ideas Everywhere:


“Kib shubud all dremy.”

“Weev chim adone, Pawnee whats im.” 

There was heat and smells.  His body was itchy.  Where was he?

A lone man walked.  His boots hit the black highway dispersing the heat haze that hung above its surface.  Faded and torn jeans clung to his sweaty legs.  A belt buckle made of white bone seemed to glow in the sun and heat.  He walked like a man with a path to follow.  Each step had a purpose.  A white shirt, strategically stained with sweat, was open showing the muscles of his stomach and chest.  A brown suede jacket hung from his hand like a dead animal.  The hot afternoon sun touched his tanned skin in waves of immense heat that never seemed to stop. 

“Whetar we dogin witt de grrr?”

“Frog ter, haw haw ho haw.”

What was going on?

Sweat ran down his face, grew pregnant on a hard jaw line and dropped only to be evaporated into the hot breathless air before reaching the black asphalt.  His sandy brown hair fell almost to his shoulders and was drenched in perspiration.  Tiny droplets fell and joined the others in the fabric of his shirt.  Blue eyes squinted and looked forward. 

Stretched out on either side of the long highway was a sand crusted desert.  Cactus plants took whatever liquid they could get from the scorched sandy earth.  Rocks were scattered about as if play pieces from a child’s game abandoned and forgotten.  There was nothing close by with the promise of shade.  The trees were sparse and leafless.  The only wind was hotter than the air.  Perched on a sign, too faded to read, a black raven called out.

“Kid.”

Somewhere amongst the rocks there was a rattling.  His tongue teased his cracked lips.  He was a lone man.  He walked alone through the valley of death and indeed, he feared no evil.

“Kid, eh, quit your damn noises.”  The words came through the juicy smacking of gum.

Wylie blinked.  He thought about raising his hand to wipe something wet from his mouth, but neither hand would move.  Why wouldn’t they move?  His wrists burned.  They were attached to each other.  Tied?  Taped?  Heat from a vent pointed directly at his face blasted hot air against his face. 

Where was he?  What was happening?

He closed his eyes and squeezed his lids tight then tried to open them and focus.  There were only pieces of things.  Nothing made sense.  A key chain made of beads rattled off a steering column.  A woman’s voice sang a country song about independence.

Jordann liked to sing.  Jordann?

A collection of air fresheners hung from the rear-view mirror.  A dozen or so pine trees of dark and light green, yellow, blue, and white, a red maple leaf, a brown pine cone with a big green leaf, and one of the Tasmanian Devil from old Looney Tunes cartoons had all done their job at some point in time.  A new orange pine tree with the word coconut written on it was trying.  The first smell Wylie got was stale sweat and cheese crackers.

He was covered from the neck down by a tan wool blanket.  It had green stripes on it.  It made his skin itch.  He could tell his hands were tied together.  He couldn’t separate his ankles from each other.  His head felt like it was spinning.  There was something wet and sticky on the side of his face along with a throbbing.  He had to close his eyes again.  Where was he going?  What were they going to do to him?  Where was his sister, Jordann?

He had to remember how he got there.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Indie Writer's

It says right up there that I have this blog to not only put myself out there but to also help out other Indie Authors.  I haven't really done much of that last part, so I am now on the lookout for anyone who wants to write a guest blog or put a short sample of their writing or come up with a goofy limeric or talk about what annoys them...it doesn't even have to be Indie writer's.  I support traditionally published writer's as well or those who haven't published a thing.

I might be picky about who I accept blog enteries from, and may put more emphasis on suspense thrillers but anything goes.  Drop me a line and we will see whats what.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ooops

My Dad hated it when I said oops.  I am saying it again.  I, like many authors, really wanted to put my novel out there.  A few people had read it and gone over it so I figured how many errors could there be.  According to the latest reviewer 103.

Even with those he gave me 3 stars so that's something.

In responseto this I am going to stop promoting Red Island for now and get it edited.  I still have some guest blog posts, interviews, and reviews coming out so I can only hope for the best.

I appologize to anyone having to deal with my slack assed education.  I take the blame for that one to.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Those Wonderful Experiences


I am a fiction writer, a fiction author.  The lose translation of that sentence is…I lie a lot and write it all down for others to read.  Yes fiction writers are big fat liars, liars with their pants on fire.  I’m pretty sure JK Rowling never flew on a broom, nobody is a real vampire, have fought zombies, and I didn’t kill all those women that died in Red Island.  I have an alibi.  However, a lot of fiction is based on the experiences of the writer.

Without life experiences life and writing can be pretty boring.  The top rule in writing has always been “write what you know.”  As fiction writers we have to bend this rule.  We have to look around the fuzzy edges and bend the truth.  I am pretty certain that nobody has been on alien planets, but look around the main events and you will find reality.  A writer’s experiences are what they can put within the confines of the fiction.

To write with a grain of truth you have to have life experiences.  There is very little I would ever say no to trying once.  The other day we were watching Fear Factor on television.  The contestants had to spin a wheel and would either have to get a tattoo, get their heads shaved, or be tear gassed.  All I could think of was, “cool all the scenes I could write.”  I could describe the emotions that go with shaving your head, the way the electric razor vibrates against your skull.  I could write about the pain of the tattoo needle going into your skin, whether the pain gets worse or goes numb.  And best of all I could find a character to put into a room of tear gas:  the fire in the eyes, the taste of the smoke when you can’t hold your breath any more, smoke burns down your throat making you cough and spit.  Oh what I could write.

Think of all of the things you have ever done in your lifetime and what you could write about.  As I’ve said in other blogs, it is the fine details that makes a story real.  Think of all the things you’ve done, make a list, and all that you can write about.  I’ll start,

Worked in a federal prison alongside murderers, drug dealers, and abusers
Been lost in the Rocky Mountains
Been lost in the Northwestern Ontario forest
Had search and rescue training
Seen a body pulled from a pond and pulled rapidly to a waiting ambulance
Seen a high speed car chase in Montreal
Been in a high speed car chase
Shoplifted a chocolate bar
Been in a fight
Rolled a car upside down
Been in a plane, on a boat
Taste tested blue cheese dressing every time I made it over one summer (I hate cheese)
Saw a maggot army on the charge
Got married on the ocean floor
Been inside a castle
Been inside a septic tank
Different sexual encounters
Dealing with my children

Stephen King said in On Writing that other peoples jobs can be interesting to people who have never done that job.  Think of all the jobs you have ever had.  My turn again:

Logger
Worked a beer gardens
Security guard at a hospital, parking lot, construction area, airport, strike area, etc.
Convenience store clerk
Call center
Reporter
Writer
Delivered newspapers in the rural area
Worked as a cook/sous chef/chef in different types of restaurants

You can put in all the tiny details that make up a story.  Red Island is a suspense thriller so all of those tiny characters that come in and out can somehow have experiences that I once had.  Even just taking an experience and writing about it, remembering the smells and sounds and tastes, can be a good exercise to work on your writing.

Have experiences, observe life, get back to writing.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Courage of a Father to Learn from a Child

It's amazing how you go through your life trying to teach your children all those life lessons that your father taught you growing up:  be polite, clean up your messes, look both ways before crossing the street, don't spit or piss into the wind...and then one day you realise those very kids are the ones teaching you the lessons.

My two kids are basic opposites.  My daughter is 12 and at the stage where she has to deal with hormones and her body and how people react to her body.  her worst trait is that she is shy and afraid of everything.  I was just like that when I was, I was about to write her age but really I was like that from age 11 and have been struggling to get out of being like that ever since.  For my 21st birthday my parents wanted to take me out to a restaurant but I fought with my father because I was too frightened to go to a crowded restaurant.  LShopping Malls at Christmas give me panic attacks.  At 24 I started working as a security guard and got into a full blown shouting match with a parking attendant.  For a few years I was able to talk to people, but had trouble going up to strangers and saying hi.  Over the past few ears I have been getting better, but only when I ssaw how terrified my dauther is of going anywhere and doing anything have I started busting out of my own box.

My son is 10 and fearless.  When I was his age I was getting ready to climb into my turtle shell and hide out.  For him you offer a chance to do something new and he jumps to the front of the line.  he can run into a brand new community pool and make friends within seconds.  When he was 4 he held large cockroaches in his hands at a zoo.  Now he would probably try riding a lion.

An overnight trip to a campground with a youth group came up and my son said, "Okay," before the question was asked.  My daughter said, "no."  Somehow we convinced her to go.  When the time came to get on the bus my son jumped up the stairs.  My daughter needed a push and then sat by the window crying hoping we would pull her out.  When they got back the next day she tried to keep a blank sad face as she talked about all the things she did.

And the lesson is...sometimes you have to do things that scare you or make you feel uncomfortable in order to have new experiences and blossom.  I'm worried that my daughter could end up like me and be afraid of things for a long time.  Writers tend to be loners.  They sit in their little corners of the world giving the voices in their heads a medium to get the writers message out.  They lack the courage to go out and talk to strangers or try new experiences.  It is not their fault really.  With all the people in their heads, who has time for reality?

I probably know more writers who are too afraid to take the next step from being a writer to being a published author than I do of actual published authors.  so many are worried about the rejection or getting bad reviews or not selling any books.  "I want to be a published author, but the manuscript isn't long enough...its not ready yet...blah blah"  If you never take the plunge you never get rejected, but you won't get accepted either.  No great 5 star reviews, no selling your story and getting it out there just a pile of paper taking up space.  Mailing off your manuscript is terrifying and you have to be patient, but like my son, sometimes you just have to take the leap.  For me, I have been sending off stories for almost as long as I have been writing.  I've had some rejection and some acceptance.  The bad part about publishing  online is that so many out there are doing it and it takes time to get your book and name out there.  It's a courageous battle we all must take.  for me I am still afraid, but I try being like my son more and more and hope my daughter will, in her own time, find her own courage.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Guest Bloggin' & Interviewin'

The world of an Indie Author is a crazy spiral of Twitter posts, Guest Blogs and Interviews.  This week I am featured twice.  The first is an interview of literary questions if I were stranded on a desert island with a library.  The second is a post I wrote about how the body fuels the mind.  How to fight writers block you should get up off a chair and go do something.  It's all a matter of getting my name out there.  The secret is that I'm having a ball doing it.



Saturday, 21 July 2012

IWU Blog Tour: Melissa Smith


It’s a big day for my blog.  I’m hosting my first blog tour and interviewing my first guest writer to my blog. 

With us today is Melissa Smith author of such books as Cloud Nine, Thunderhead, Fear’s Embrace, and Jealousy’s Rage.  Welcome Melissa and happy birthday.


Tell us a little about your book?

Well, let's see...I have six available, so let me decide... ummm...maybe... Ahh hell. I think we'll go with Jealousy's Rage :) It's a paranormal romance about the gods of Olympus and Atlantis.

What inspired you to write this story?

I've always been intrigued by Atlantis, and while watching an episode of the Twilight Zone had a spark of an idea and ran with it!

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The creativity and the exploration. I love seeing what's around the next corner :)

What do you like least about writing?

Ugh, the waiting on my editor...she takes so long! LOL, I know she's a necessary step, but do I hate the wait!

What type of atmosphere do you like to write in?   ex:  at a coffee show with a lot of noise, in a closet with loud music etc.

Heehee ;) I write in the living room on my laptop. I have a nice big desk that I only occasionally use. It's just so much nicer to be with my family when I'm writing.

If you and your main character were to meet what would you do?  What do you think you would talk about?

Awe man, I would have to kick out his knees and jump on top of him! Talk? Pfft! There would be no talking! LOL

Do you have any writing superstitions?

Nope.

What advice would you give a first time writer?

To just sit down and write.



Melissa's Blog

Melissa on Facebook

Melissa on Twitter

Melissa's Books on Amazon

Melissa's Books on Barnes and Noble

Friday, 20 July 2012

5 Questions with Me

Check out this one.  I answered 5 questions having to do with writing.

My Guest Blog 2

Did you get a chance to check out my guest blog about my love for cop shows?  Why not???

Whats Happening

On Facebook I'm a member in the group Indie Writers Unite and with them I am part of a blog tour so coming up on July 22 I will be posting an interview with Melissa Smith author of Jealousy's Rage.

I'm also starting a Facebook group Canadian Indie Authors to bring together Canadian writers so they can discuss what is going on in the Canadian Indie world.

Coming up is also a discussion between myself and Sgt. Reid, the main character of Red Island.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Superstitious

I've always been told baseball players are superstitious.  They would wear the same pair of socks during a winning streak or putting their pants on left leg first then right.  Silly superstitious ball players.

I would never do anything that silly.  Okay, sure I never sscratch an itch on my right palm because that is the hand you get money with and I always scratch the left palm because that is the hand you give money with.  And I might try to get everything to equal my lucky number 13.  Like my first car's license plate was ABNB 652 (6+5+2=13) but then driving home 22 hours after buying it and an ice storm I put it on its roof so I guess it wasn't that lucky.  But I didn't get hurt so that is.  Ha!  When I say I found any way to make things equal 13 I found the way.  Say your phone number was 942-2945 in the 338 area code I would sit there going through the math until coming up with 3+3+8+9+4+2-9-4-5=13 Tada!

Oh damn, I am superstitious.

Its not my fault.  A lot of writers are superstitious.  Some need to write in the same place, same music playing, wearing a certain hat, etc.  It is all a trick of the mind.  Your brain gets it that you need a Staedtler triplus ball M pen in order to get the same mojo as you had to write your first book in order to write the second.  In a recent writers block stint I thought about what I would have given to be working an evening pizza shift at the Urban Eatery in Charlottetown leaning against the door with my notebook and pen.  The smell of tomato sauce, the heat from the 650 degree brick oven, ahhh.

For a while there I named all of the main character's girlfriends with a name starting with the letter C.  Courtney, Catherine, Casey.  In Red Island Reid's wife is Hillary so no C, but it is a rocky marriage so I guess that makes up for it.  On the other side I always wanted to name a main chracter Clay.  Any story I started witha  Clay never got finished so in my head now it will never get finished.

I also prefer to write either with pen and notebook or with the very same computer which has crashed, been erased, and now has a faulty plug.  When I was looking for an agent I sent out my query 13 times before going Indie.

The trouble with superstitions is that they are in your head.  Your head controls what happens.  Like if you think you can't finish a story when you switch to a Bic pen, you won't.  I'm sure almsot every writer has some sort of superstition.  We are only human after all.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Summer, summer time

So my "day job" is that of a chef at a daycare.  Yes, I said chef!  I'm not a cook.  I make breakfast, lunch, and snack for up to 50 kids and 8 staff 5 days a week.  I get to make my own menu and see what will fly with little kids.  A lot of the kids are from reserves up North so they don't get as exposed to certain foods as everyone else.  For instance I had the kids eating fresh fruit salad including mango and pineapple, tukey breast stuffed with a cranberry raisin sage stuffing, fresh hummus, homemade salad dressings, and homemade granola (no nuts).  Oh and they love tuna casserole, tuna fried rice, and a wicked vegetarian lasagna.

But that's not what I'm blogging about.  Though maybe I should blog some recipes. My job is at the college here helping those with little children better their lives.  Therefore, when the college is closed so is the daycare.  So basically I have been off work for two weeks.

I should be writing my second novel, but it is coming along slowly.  Though I did get some fabulous info from an RCMP facial reconstructionist.  I also don't have internet at home.  Makes things tough for promoting an ebook and getting my name out there.  I'm working my Blackberry overtime.  There are times I get Twitter all over myself.

So those who are fans or friends, be patient.  I promise there will be more blog posts coming soon.  For instance I am interviewing Sgt. Reid, my main character.  Perhaps he will let slip what his first name is.

Back to writing book two.

Friday, 22 June 2012

My Guest Blog

I apparently picked a bad time of year to try and get reviews.  It isn't that people don't want to, but their lists of books they have to read and review is a mile long.  I am a slow reader myself so I can't imagine.  So instead of reviews, or until in some cases, I have done some guest blogs on some other sites.  This one just happens to be my first.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

It's a Bumpy Road Ideas Sometimes Take

I'm going to take a bumpy road to get you where I want to take you, but some things just have to be done.  A while back I wrote a poem about my favorite singer and how his music made me feel.  It was called Chris Isaak Dreams.  A short time after that I started to write a short story called Living Off Chris Isaak Dreams.  It was about a guy who lived his life off of CI's music and the pictures on his CD's.  I wanted something more so I added a little of an actor who seemed to have the same feel.  The title then became, Living Off Chris Isaak Dreams and Ethan Hawke Fantasy.  Long title for a little novella.

The point - in LOCID&EHF the main character, Zeke, owned a cafe called, The Alcrest Cafe.  The title for that came from the name of my aunt's house in southern England.  I told you it was a bumpy road.  The Alcrest was an artisans cafe.  It was a small place where painters, musicians, and writers could hang out and have their work featured for free while sucking back cups of coffee.  A few bumps down the road I was in my second year of culinary and had to design my own restaurant from the ground up.  Ta da, already had the idea.

The Alcrest:  an artisans cafe, is still not a reality and I am not sure if it will ever be one, but it is a nice thought.  Wood tables of all different shapes and sizes, a section with couche
s separated from the main room by a wall of hanging window frames connected by hooks, cups and mugs that don't match because they were bought at yard sales, a small fire place, a small stage for singer/songwriter Saturdays, local artists work on the walls, poems and quotes everywhere, and homestyle food plated in an upscale way.  It smells of wood and coffee.  Did I mention Writer's Circle Wednesday where all writers meet to discuss writing, read their work, have their work read, and free promotion?

Bump up the road about six months later and I got asked to submit a short story for a tiny magazine some poet friends were putting out.  LOCID&EHF was too long.  Hell, the title was too long.  The magazine was called The Core and was just this little thing printed on paper at someones work after the boss was gone for the day.  To me the core of any story is the character.  You follow them through everything.  So, I wrote a short story about every character I ever wrote, and could remember, meeting up at The Alcrest to play poker.  The outer tables had people you couldn't really see because they were unfinished from stories that never found an ending.  At the main table were those characters with fully fleshed out stories.  And in the shadowy corner was this guy with a black covered notebook and Bic pen.  (you ever try writing yourself into a story? weird)

What is the point of this bumpy road?  Well, to be honest this blog was aobut how life imitates art.  It was supposed to be the idea of The Alcrest in a story put me on the honor roll in college.  I was thirty-two so it was a big deal.  However, just as the idea went from a poem to a short story to a novella to a project to a completely different short story and the name of my aunts house went to a fictional restaurant in a story to one in a project to my own catering biz - ideas change.  What you start out thinking is not always what you end up with.  When starting a story I try never to think about the ending.  If I know the ending at the beginning there isn't much of a reason for me to write.  I may know what roads I am going to try to take and what vehicle I'll be in, but I really don't want to know where I am going until I arrive.  The journey for a writer and a reader is the fun part.

Whew, theres a fun use of metaphore.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Ideas Everywhere

Since publishing Red Island as an ebook the number one question I have been asked is, "where do you get this stuff from?"  In case you don't know Red Island is about an RCMP sergeant chasing a serial killer.  The part people are curious about, and a bit timid, is that it also looks at the life of a serial killer starting from 8 years old and going up to where he is this monster terrifying the tiny Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.  So the real question is, "are you secretly a serial killer?"  Pfft, no.  But I can tell you where ideas come from....Everywhere.

I was writing a scene that first introduced Sgt. Reid's wife and I needed a name.  Though the character looks nothing like the actress Hillary Swank, we were watching a movie she stared in.  Boom!  Reid's wife became Hillary.  Ideas come out of the air.  You see a leaf blowing across the sidewalk in front of you and get an idea about a story of a woman on an automn day.  I think I read that J.K. Rowling got the idea for Harry Potter by being on a train and in her mind she saw him walk by.  Sometimes you have to struggle for a while searching for ideas and other times they come to you.  A TV show, a news report, a word someone says.  For Red Island I needed something to connect all of the victims together...I saw a beautiful girl with a black and white tattoo of a rose on the back of her shoulder...Boom!  All the victims would have a tattoo on the back of their shoulder, when the killer was younger a girl with a tattoo in the same place completely destroyed him.  Tada!
For weeks I walked through a parking lot and saw this car with a dozen or so air freshners hanging from its rearview mirror.  I was writing a short fantasy story about a cult leader so I thought a little about Stephen King's The Stand and came up with something I think is really good.



A lone man walked.  His boots hit the black highway dispersing the heat haze that hung above its surface.  Faded and torn jeans clung to his sweaty legs.  A belt buckle made of white bone seemed to glow in the sun and heat.  He walked like a man with a path to follow.  Each step had a purpose.  A white shirt, strategically stained with sweat, was open showing the muscles of his stomach and chest.  A brown suede jacket hung from his hand like a dead animal.  The hot afternoon sun touched his tanned skin in waves of immense heat that never seemed to stop.  Sweat ran down his face, grew pregnant on a hard jaw line and dropped only to be evaporated into the hot breathless air before reaching the black asphalt.  His sandy brown hair fell almost to his shoulders and was drenched in perspiration.  Tiny droplets fell and joined the others in the fabric of his shirt.  Blue eyes squinted and looked forward. 

Stretched out on either side of the long highway was a Southwestern American desert.  Cacti took whatever liquid they could get from the scorched sandy earth.  Rocks were scattered about as if play pieces from a child’s game abandoned and forgotten.  There was nothing close by with the promise of shade.  The trees were sparse and leafless.  The only wind was hotter than the air.  Perched on a sign, too faded to read, a black raven called out his name.  Somewhere amongst the rocks there was a rattling.  His tongue teased his cracked lips.  He was a lone man.  He walked alone through the valley of death and indeed, he feared no evil.

“Pony, eh, you alright man?”  The words came through the juicy smacking of gum.

Pony Rayne blinked.  The back of his hand wiped drool from his cheek.  The passenger heat vent was pointed directly at his face blowing hot air against him.  He looked outside the pick-up truck at the once grassy ditch going by now covered in a dusting of snow.  A key chain made of beads rattled off the steering column.  A woman’s voice sang a country song about independence and being a strong woman.  A collection of air fresheners hung from the rear-view mirror.  A dozen or so pine trees of dark and light green, yellow, blue, and white, a red maple leaf, a brown pine cone with a big green leaf, and one of the Tasmanian Devil from old Looney Tunes cartoons had all done their job at some time.  A new orange pine tree with the word coconut written on it was trying.  The first smell Pony got was stale sweat and cheese crackers.

“You were making noises in your sleep,”

Ideas. You never really know where they come from. You just get a slap in the face and give praise. "Mornin' Mr. Writer. Write me now!"