Monday, June 19, 2017

AUTHOR, MICHAEL PARKER




It is my pleasure to introduce Michael Parker, who is my guest blogger this week. He resides in the United Kingdom where he enjoys the art of writing. He is the author of many books which are thrillers. Leave a comment or question and you may well win the ebook of "Where the Wicked Dwell."





            Where the Wicked Dwell

As a stand-alone author, my stories are of different time zones and periods. I have set my books in places like Alaska (1968), Scotland (1943), British East Africa (1898), USA, Germany, and so on. But as a thriller writer publishing on Amazon and other digital platforms, I know I am competing against those writers who use the same character throughout their books, and successfully too. So what made me bring Marcus Blake back in my last novel, Where the Wicked Dwell?” Conceding defeat? Maybe. But if I am to succeed in my genre, and hope readers will like my work, I need to hang on the series character’s coat tails and hope it increases my visibility and sales.

So what’ the book about? Well, first of all, Marcus Blake appeared in my thriller, A Covert War, along with Sir Giles Cavendish, head of M16. Marcus owns a security agency in London, which is more of a hobby than a serious attempt to succeed in business. He is financially independent and not too efficient when it comes to running his business. His secretary, Vereen, is a single mother, on benefits, and works part time for him. One day, Sir Giles turns up at the agency and asks Marcus to investigate the apparent suicide of a British Cabinet minister. He believes the minister was murdered, despite the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Marcus is never afraid to put himself in harm’s way when facing problems or adversaries. He is tough, fearless, and survives
Mainly on gut instinct. As he delves further into the minister’s death, he begins to uncover the faceless figures who wield power in positions of influence in the establishment, and are involved in illegal, genetic engineering and who practice the Satanic arts. Marcus soon finds himself on the run from the police as a murder suspect, but doesn’t give up his pursuit of the men he believes murdered the cabinet minister.

Sir Giles Cavendish (no longer head of M16) features throughout the book as Marcus calls on his help from time to time, but Cavendish’s role is a little more sinister and Marcus begins to doubt his mentor’s reliability.

Marcus’s secretary works as a barmaid at a nightclub in London, moonlighting for cash, where the owner, Winston Abelard, casts his eyes in her direction. Abelard is Haitian, a crook, and a member of the Satanic group responsible for the minister’s death. He pursues Vereen using hypnotism, aiming to bring her to complete submission to his will, and eventual coupling on a Satanic altar.

The title of the book popped into my head as I tried the usual of what to call it. Although we all know about the evil around us, we rarely see or hear of the quiet, sinister people who populate our lives, but wield unquestionable power.

The hunt to find the real culprits behind the minister’s murder takes Marcus into places he would never venture, into a dead village, a priest hole deep beneath an old church, and the evil presence of Dr. Chee.


To date I have had eleven novels published, nine of them traditionally. And although I call myself a thriller writer, I have also penned a romance, Past Imperfect. When I presented that to my publisher, I thought she would turn it down, but she didn’t; she liked it. I don’t have the eBook rights to that yet, so I cannot promote it with price reductions. All my titles are available on Amazon and other digital platforms, and can be seen at my website: www.michaelparkerbooks.com.

Two of my books have also been published in North America by Harlequin Books.








Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SHORT, SHORT STORIES



I love the idea to create a short story using a very limited number of words. Nicola Auckland (https://nicolaauckland.com/author/nicolaauckland/) often has one of only six words based on a certain prompt word. Recently the prompt word was FUNNY. My entry was She yelled at Lookout Mountain, "Lookout."

Here are some short stories written by me of 20 words or less on any subject.

     1. He sailed around the lake, dark clouds blew in. An angel in the clouds guided him back to port safely.


    2. "You have cancer." Tears filled her eyes. Surgery and chemo were treatments. "You are cured." Joy filled her eyes.

 
    3. The tall grass swayed in the wind. A heron dove in the lake and caught a fish in his bill.


    4. The ladies' mouths talked non-stop. Empty. Gossip. Unkind. One asked, "Would we say this if Jesus were standing here?"


    5. The iced tea was soothing and cold. The sun was hot. My fan cooled my face.


    6. Bocelli's tenor voice soothed my soul. I soared up to the heavens and floated with the angels.


    7. Best inventions are zippers, paper clips, pencils/erasers, computers, & i-phones. Life is so-o-o-o much easier.


    8. Baked bread, orange blossoms, roses, and apple pies are the best smells. Life is more beautiful because of them.


    9. They held hands. Their eyes locked deeply. Words of love exchanged. Their locked lips were a perfect fit.


    10. The father stood at attention. He removed his hat and saluted. Old Glory waved in the wind.


        Now, please share some of your short, short stories. I would love to read them.

                                                      Thank you for stopping by. 
Available on Amazon

Monday, June 5, 2017

CAROLE P. ROMAN INTERVIEW



I am pleased to welcome, Carole P. Roman to this week's blog. She is an accomplished and award winning children's author. Please leave a comment or ask Carole a question.


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 


I always wanted to be a writer. I am an avid reader, and my life has dotted with books that filled my imagination. Writing has been a natural outcome from my love of reading.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

I can write while I have a conversation with someone. Which is funny, because I can’t talk while I watch television.
Are there unique challenges in writing children’s books? 

You have to keep it entertaining for two audiences, the adult readers sharing the books with the child who keeps requesting, “Read it again!.”
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? 

I learned that I am good at marketing. I enjoy that part of this business. I now have two radio talk shows and a magazine. This enterprise diversified. 
What do you think makes a good story?

I love anything that makes someone close a book, and the story stays with them. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, it’s great when a reader continues to share what they’ve read.
Where do you get your ideas for your books? 


Most happen as life occurs. The kids will say something, and an event will occur. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis was inspired by a conversation with my grandson when he decided he wanted to steal the natural wonder and bring it to New York. Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag was born from a conversation about how we keep taking on responsibilities until we are overburdened. Children are watching; is that what we are teaching the next generation?
What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I work full-time in a family business. I read and review books for many different sites. I am launching a magazine and have two radio talk shows; Let’s Say Hello to our Neighbors and Navigating Indieworld. The first is a show based on my non-fiction series If You Were Me and Lived in…. The second show is a talk show about the book I co-authored about marketing self-published books. 
I am busy with my grandchildren, children, and husband, as well.
What books have most influenced your life? 

The Source by James Michener. It made me realize everything develops for a reason. To Kill a Mockingbird and ShoGun, these are the books that made me want to write. They were entertainment at its finest. 
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

I’m 62, and I don’t have to retire. I can do anything I would like to and that there are no limits (within reason, I’m not climbing Mount Everest!)  This year I have won over twenty awards, my books have been on the best-seller list, and Forbes did two articles about me.  
Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Get into a good discussion group on BookWorks or Goodreads and ask questions!  Speak to other writers and learn to promote yourself. If you take the time to write something, take the time to make sure it gets read.

Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag - Excerpt:
Chapter 1
Susannah woke up in the morning. She knew it was morning because the sky was a lovely ice blue with a line of orange and pink where the sun was slowing rising over the ridge of the mountaintops. She looked out her window and saw a beautiful star. It was a bright point in the sky, just over the highest hill. She held out her hand on the windowsill, measuring the distance of the star with her fingers. It was almost a full hand span away from the horizon.
Susannah stretched and hopped out of bed. Her unfinished homework was on the floor. She looked at the ten math questions, shrugging. She had answered two of them before she gave up, last night. She stared at the raspberry carpet peeking through the tear in the paper. She had erased the answer so hard on the third example; she rubbed a hole right through the paper. Third grade was proving to be a lot harder than she thought. She peered guiltily around, then using her toe, she pushed it under her bookbag.
Susannah gazed in the mirror. She flared her small nose to make it look bigger. It made her skin turn pink clashing with her orange freckles. Her blond hair curled too much to make her happy. She pulled it into a tight ponytail, taming the wild waves. 
Her mother called for her to hurry. Mom was always rushing. Between her job and all the things she needed to do every day, her mother never seemed to have much time. Mom sold houses. She was always running to either see a house, take someone to see a house, or sit with them while they bought the house. 
Mom’s eyes were always on the clock in the kitchen. It was as if their whole life revolved around that big clock. Its oversized ornate hands dictated whether breakfast would be rushed, or if dinner would be meatloaf and with a mountain of mashed potatoes or a quick pizza from Phil’s. 
Susannah could hear it’s loud ticking, every minute making her mother more frantic. That old clock could determine what kind of day Susannah was going to have, and from the sound of her mother’s voice, it was not going to be a good one.
That clock decided a lot in my life, she grumbled to herself. Susannah dressed, not caring if her shirt didn’t quite match her pants. Mom yelled again, this time sounding loud and impatient.  
Susannah picked up her backpack; the homework lay slightly crushed on the carpeted floor. 

“Susannah!” her mother hollered.“I don’t have time for this today! I expect you to be down here on time.” 
Susannah tucked the paper in her backpack between her folders. She eyed the green folder, satisfied the paper was hidden. She was sure no one would see it. Maybe she should show it to her mom; she thought guiltily as she dragged her book bag from the room.
Susannah paused, laying her backpack down on the floor and reached in to pull out the uncompleted math homework.
I should talk to Mom about that. She said to herself. 
“Susannah Maya Logan!”  Mom sounded harried. “I don’t have time!”
Oh, the middle name, Susannah thought. She means business.
Susannah shoved the paper back quickly. “I’m coming,” she called as she bounded down the steps.

Carole P. Roman's Bio:
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, IAN Award, Moonbeam Award 2014, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Shelf Media Outstanding Series Award, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013. 




Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series If You Were Me and Lived in... that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.

Carole P. Roman links and social media:










Sunday, June 4, 2017

OUTSHINING CHALLENGES

A challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow; to become a better person; to be a positive example to others.


The book, "Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir" shares how I met and continue to meet the challenge of the disease: cancer.

In it I write about the healthy ways I have always met difficulties in my life. Abuse, divorce, alcoholic parents, untimely deaths and cancer have been my biggest challenges.

Here are just a few ways I cope with adversity: I believe in the power of faith, which for me is God and his Son, Jesus. Part of my  faith is to do daily meditation (deep prayer) and asking for guidance, support, and forgiveness.

I also try to utilize the power of positive thinking and surrounding myself with positive people and events.

Journaling has been a part of my life since a preteen. I wrote poems, short stories, a novel, and daily wrote in my diary or notebook. I never told anyone about my writing until I was diagnosed with cancer. I finally trusted a friend who I knew would not ridicule my writing and shared my cancer journal. Her words, "You must get this published" changed my life and opened me to the world I had always dreamed about...being an author.

Do not let the words "ovarian cancer memoir" stop you from reading this book. Though you will learn about ovarian cancer which is in itself very important, you will learn healthy ways to cope with whatever challenges you might be facing or will someday face. "...the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you will outshine any..." difficulty, disease, stress, or mental, physical, spiritual challenge.

Here is a brief excerpt: 
     Dad taught me to be strong and resourceful. Now I needed to embrace those qualities not as a cancer victim, but as a survivor. I prayed for strength and wisdom while I faced cancer and all that came with it. That day, I went a long way on my journey of acceptance toward my soon-to-be baldness. It was not easy, and I knew it all due to my vanity, which was a life lesson. I was not as strong as Athena or Janice...but they were role models and inspirations to me. I wanted someday to be bald and proud of it.
                                 "There's an answer to the suffering you see, and though
                                 it isn't easy, it's still as simple as you and me."  (Author unknown)




I am celebrating my ninth year of surviving this cancer so I have a gift for each of you:
My book in ebook format is free on June 5 & 6 at goo.gl/K9x33h.

OR I will send you a signed paperback copy for just $3.00 to cover postage. Send $3.00 to PayPal and email me your address at kareningalls1941@gmail.com.

Reviews: 
Kathy writes: I love this book. It is very clear and well written. I am dealing with chemo now so I found the book very encouraging.
Karen writes with a very positive outlook and sincerity even when she is communicating about her difficult days, the fear and sadness.

I bought the book from Amazon and chose to have it sent directly from the author. It came very quickly and included a special personal note from Karen.

I highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with any type of serious health issue.

Gwen writes: A book of harsh beauty, OUTSHINE takes the reader through the horrors of advanced ovarian cancer to the blessings of hope, faith and modern medicine. Ingalls writes gracefully and eloquently about how she faced her diagnosis, sharing details both frightening and sorrowful. This is a book for anyone with cancer and anyone who loves someone with cancer. Isn't that all of us?

                                       THANK YOU!

Monday, May 29, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW, ERICA GRAHAM





I am pleased to welcome author, Erica Graham as my guest this week. She is a speech-language pathologist, and author of a book series titled "Talking Tales." These books are designed to help with speech development, and each one centers on one core sound in the English language.








What inspired you to write your first book?

When children are learning to speak, they first observe how words sound. This helps them develop an understanding of speech sounds as they learn to talk. Many times when we are working on encouraging speech development or correcting speech sounds, speech-language pathologists will use word lists. However, many parents report difficulty finding time or difficulty getting their children to attend to word lists at home. I wanted to combine my knowledge as a speech-language pathologist with my love for writing to create a fun way for children and their caregivers to work on speech development and promote literacy. I also wanted to ensure that these books contained fun story lines that could be enjoyed by children who are not working on their speech. Each book targets a specific speech sound in the English language.


Were there any special challenges in writing for children? Is there a specific age group that your books are intended for?
        
         The greatest challenge is creating a story with a purpose that is also
engaging. Each of my books is geared toward a specific sound in the English language. Since different sounds develop at various ages, I have written each book to be appropriate for the ages in which that sound typically develops. Therefore, my books range from birth-8 years.


What books have most influenced your life?

Wow, this is a challenging question. I cannot pick just one or even a couple of books that have influenced my life. There were many books, especially during my high school and college years that allowed me to escape reality at some very needed times.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There have been quite a few independent authors that I have enjoyed reading books from recently. Once again, this is a difficult question to narrow down since there have been so many. Since I am a children’s author, I try to feature new and interesting children’s books on my Facebook author page.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Sometimes I come up with a story idea that I believe will excite young readers. Before proceeding with publishing a book, I always refer my books to a test audience of children and adults. I sometimes find that ideas I liked are not as entertaining to my readers and have learned the importance of beta readers in the publishing process.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

The ideas for my books often come at the least expected times. A book can be inspired by anything from a conversation, to playing with my children, to a random thought at a random time. I always carry a notebook and pen with me because I never know when a new idea will pop in my head.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I always start writing and illustrating sessions with a cup of hot tea which often serves as more of a prop. Especially when the stars align and my creative juices are flowing.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The biggest fear that many new authors have is the fear of how others will respond to their books, or even worse, not respond at all. I can completely relate to this fear. In fact, this was the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome when releasing my books. My advice to new authors is this. It is scary to not have a firm knowledge of how your books will be received, but it is even scarier to never discover what they could be and who they could reach. Keep writing!

What book are you introducing to us today? How did you come up with the title?
        
My most recent release is Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble. This story was inspired while my children and I were outside coloring with sidewalk chalk. One of them asked me to draw a puppy and as I finished the last lines, the idea for Puppy’s Bubble was born. Unlike my other books, Puppy’s Bubble focuses on multiple sounds. These are the earliest occurring sounds in the English language and promote babbling and early words.


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Do not leave your illustrations sitting out when a toddler is nearby; especially when that toddler has access to crayons.

Please share an excerpt from the book.

This is the intro for the book. This book targets ages 0-3 and children who are learning early words and sounds.

“When Puppy woke up from a nap, he saw a bubble.
Puppy hopped up.  The bubble was gone. Where did the bubble go?”



Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble Blurb:

When Puppy wakes up from a nap, he sees a bubble. When it disappears, Puppy begins his long journey to find the missing bubble. Will Puppy find the bubble, or has it vanished forever? This engaging story is a fun way to read to little ones while promoting babbling, early words and language skills. It provides over 90 examples of some of the earliest developing sounds in their most common word positions including "p", "b", "m", "n", "d" and "h". This book also includes tips for encouraging speech development.

An excellent way of helping children improve on their speech development, and the manner in which it is done is fun, interactive, and refreshingly original. -Readers' Favorite


Links:

   Website:
     talkingtalesbooks.com

   Facebook:

   Goodreads: 

   Amazon:


Monday, May 22, 2017

AUTHOR, NANCY QUINN



Nancy Quinn is my guest author this week who has an eclectic and interesting background. She is not only an author, but also an internationally known wildlife artist. She has always had a love of animals and nature and has worked as a conservation law enforcement officer and volunteers at a wildlife rehabilitation center where she brings birds and reptiles into schools to educate children of all ages.


What inspired you to write your first book?  

I found the support and interest of people who wanted to hear about our rather atypical life, inspiring.  Friends and family seemed to enjoy my perspective on our unusual adventures and often suggested I write a book. I didn’t think I could write; I already had a career as a wildlife artist, but the idea of becoming an author appealed to me.  Since all of my dreams and goals have been well out of my comfort zone, the more I thought about it, the more willing I was to step out of it again and give it my best effort.     

What books have most influenced your life?  

I think most every book I have ever read has influenced me on some level, either positively or negatively.  My love of reading and my favorite authors did inspire me to want to someday be included among them. I adore the James Herriot series and Nancy Drew mysteries, which I still read with my daughters.  Being from a law enforcement and investigation background, I enjoy solving a good mystery, and am always on the lookout for a new one.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

My editor will tell you it is the mechanics of punctuation!  I tend to focus on the clarity and structure of my ideas when I am writing.  Being and artist, I want to paint a picture with words, so I am intent on creating a visual image in my initial drafts.  After I have finished making what I have seen in my mind flow onto the keyboard, I have to go back and edit the words and punctuation very carefully.  Otherwise, the reader may become lost trying to follow my train of thought.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

I still like to sit in my favorite chair by the window and use a spiral notebook to make an outline and hand written notes to refer to when writing my manuscripts.  I know it isn’t as efficient as using the computer, but since I sit in front of a monitor all day, I look forward to any chance to gather my thoughts and write with a gel pen while gazing upon the mountain peaks from my picture window. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?  

I would have to say the amount of time it takes for the book to reach production.  Once the book is written, it requires months to properly edit and reedit it, and to find photos or art to compliment the manuscript.  Then one must choose a cover design, look at formatting and presentation, and a host of other decisions that are needed before it goes to print and is available on the book store shelves.  And then, there is marketing…

What do you think makes a good story? 

It requires a subject that has general appeal, good continuity, and engaging details that bring the reader along and make them feel part of the experience in the story.  I believe these qualities apply to both fiction and non-fiction as well.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?  

My ideas come from our true life experiences, so I sift through our life and decide which ones would most entertain and inspire readers. 

What book are you introducing to us today?  

Go West, Young Woman! is the true story of the first five years of my family’s modern day pioneer adventure.  Honestly, have you ever found a cougar on your swing set or a moose in your driveway?  We were a military family.  When my husband retired, we left Washington, D.C., to live what we thought would be a “calmer” existence in rural Montana.  We were surprised at just how unprepared we were for the challenges ahead, both comical and adventurous.  The humor of our early encounters with cattle and local customs only masked more ominous confrontations we would share with predators and the natural elements.  I like to think we discovered the true meaning of the “code of the West,” a concept we believe has not entirely vanished from the American way of life.  I am currently writing the sequel, which will cover approximately the next five years of our story.

How did you come up with the title?  It’s the title of the first chapter in the book and encompasses the whole premise of the story.  My publisher, Hellgate Press, suggested we use it as the title of the book.  I thought it was a great idea because it invokes a feeling of adventure, hope, and a new start in life.  Along with occasional humor, these are the themes in every vignette in the book, which is how I composed it – as a series of often connected short stories tied together chronologically to maintain continuity.  This is my nod to the influences of James Herriot and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from reading your book?

I hope they remember it was fun and uplifting; that my book is about hope and perseverance, with the idea that living a personal dream is achievable, whatever it may be. 

Please share an excerpt from the book.  


"It looks like a modern-day covered wagon,” I quipped as I examined the heavy blue tarp that covered the back of our new pickup truck, a gunmetal grey Ford F250. Underneath, were stacked my husband’s tools, along with other basic necessities we would need for our new life in Montana. They filled the eight-foot bed, and overflowed into the U-Haul trailer his mother had managed to secure for us. It was the last one available in the tri-state area, and thanks to her dogged efforts, we acquired it, instead of one of the thousands of graduating seniors who were disgorging this same week from nearby Florida State University.

As we hurried about, checking the lashings one last time before we departed, I scanned the scene. It was a bright and beautiful spring day, and the sun glinting off of the metal body contrasted sharply with the shimmering tarp. Colorful as it was, I tried to imagine it was not unlike the prairie schooners of the pioneer stories I loved reading in my childhood. The idea that I too was moving west was like a dream finally come true. But it had started as a nightmare...


My thanks to Ms. Quinn for sharing about herself as an author and her journey in publishing her first book. Please leave a comment or ask a question. I know she would love to hear from you.