Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: October 2018 Version

It's October already. Fall is here though the weather this week is more like late August style. Looking forward to cooler nights. It's also the first Wednesday which means IWSG monthly blog fun. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, we're all able to be part of this supportive group. Find the entire list here and join us in reading some terrific blogs today.

Best wishes to all who have entered the latest anthology contest. There are so many terrific writers in this group that I'm glad I don't have to make decisions about what stories are selected.

The IWSG question of the month:

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I know many writers have been helped through a difficult time by writing. That is not me. When some major event occurs in my life, I don't write. Writing is a job to me. One I love and enjoy, but it's not where I go as an emotional outlet. 

The first book in my newest space opera romance series is now available on Amazon. The Alien and the Teacher has me very excited to be writing about space again. The second book in the series is on its second set of revisions and the third is started. Adventure in the stars with a bit of romance.

On clear nights in the darkest places, approximately 3,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. The Old Farmers Almanac

On the personal front, my granddaughter is a real joy. She learns new words every day. We dance to music a few times per day. Play chase outside. Go on at least one field trip per week. (State museum last week) Do the shopping and cleaning. Go to library reading class once per week. And that doesn't count all the reading and playing with toys we do. You'd think I'd be exhausted, but she energizes me. Grandma has to keep up.

"Children have more need of models than of critics." Joseph Joubert

Poldark is back on PBS. It started its 4th season last Sunday. The show gives an insight to the plight of the poor and the callousness of the rich and landed in England in the years post-American Revolution.

None of the new shows have caught my interest totally. I watched the new Magnum, because who isn't curious to see how anyone can replace Tom Selleck? It's okay so far. Watched the first Manifest and tuned out in the middle of the second episode. Lot of mystery but it was moving too slow for me. The Gifted is back and again, it's okay. I'll stick with it for a while.

Any new shows catch your interest? I'm looking for recommendations. Is your writing every a comfort or is like me, the job? Signs of fall in your neck of the woods?







Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bill Peschel: The Casebook of Twain and Holmes

The Casebook of Twain and Holmes by Bill Peschel

Part One: Something for Readers

While writing the seven stories in “The Casebook of Twain and Holmes,” I read a lot of works by and about Samuel Clemens. I read his speeches, his travel books, his memoirs, his sketches, and his short stories. There were also several books about him by his friends and even the family’s maid. From them I drew the pieces that I put together to form the man in the stories.

Here are a few of those personal pieces:

1. Mark Twain was his penname. The flesh-and-blood man was Sam Clemens, and his personality was very different from the humorist.

2. Clemens loved to tell stories. There was nothing he liked better than to sit with friend and talk about whatever came across their collective minds. He also had what appeared to be a bottomless fund of stories to draw upon.

3. When dining with his family, his interest in telling a story was so intense that he would get up and walk around the table, as if he needed to be in motion all the time.

4. He was not above stretching the truth until it was unrecognizable. One favorite story was of the Mark Twain imposter who toured Australia. When he fell ill, the state’s governor-general visited the fraud, and when he died, he was given a grand funeral. No such person existed, a fact confirmed by checking the database of Australian newspapers online.

5. Sam loved to smoke cigars, up to three dozen in a day. If a cigar wasn’t available, a corncob pipe would do. “I never regarded myself as an excessive smoker,” he told a reporter. “I never smoke when I am asleep, and I do not smoke more than one cigar at a time.”

6. He rarely read novels. He preferred nonfiction. He rarely read novels, and those he did seemed to infuriate him. Of Jane Austen: “I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Of James Fenimore Cooper: “Cooper hadn’t any more invention than a horse; and I don’t mean a high-class horse, either; I mean a clothes-horse.” Of Oliver Goldsmith’s “The Vicar of Wakefield”:  “A singular book. Not a sincere line in it, and not a character that invites respect; a book which is one long waste-pipe discharge of goody-goody puerilities and dreary moralities; a book which is full of pathos which revolts, and humor which grieves the heart.” And Rudyard Kipling: “[He] did measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote.”

7. Reports of his volcanic temper are accurate. One morning, in the bathroom next to his bedroom, he became upset at the buttons popping off his freshly laundered shirts, and flung each one out the window of his Hartford home. He grew so enraged that he followed them with the rest of his shirts, then the collars, all the while cussing a blue streak.

Part Two: Something for Writers

The thing I learned about Mark Twain from reading his works is that his style was original. I never got the impression that he spoke boiler-plate English. He didn’t use a phrase that had been engraved on the readers’ minds so often that another iteration of it would leave an impression. Nor has time turned his phrases rote. People may quote him, but they do not imitate him.

Twain also saw his profession as a trade, not an art. He was a worker, and pen and paper were his tools. This can be seen in the writing advice he left behind. They emphasize the practical side of the writing profession, as seen in these quotes:

“Let us guess that whenever we read a sentence & like it, we unconsciously store it away in our model-chamber; & it goes, with the myriad of its fellows, to the building, brick by brick, of the eventual edifice which we call our style.”

“Read it aloud. I may be wrong, still it is my conviction that one cannot get out of finely wrought literature all that is in it by reading it mutely.”

Part Three: Book Blurb and Buy Links

Beloved Humorist. Best-Selling Author. ... Consulting Detective.

Now it can be told: Mark Twain’s adventures with Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Mycroft, and Irene Adler.

As part of his autobiography, Samuel Clemens dictated seven stories that he later ordered burned. Discovered at a Pennsylvania farm auction and edited by Pulitzer-Prize winning editor, Bill Peschel, they uncover the Mark Twain nobody knew: who interfered in a marriage proposal, organized a boxing scam, and went grave-robbing. A Twain who also caroused with a young John H. Watson in San Francisco’s Chinatown; needed Holmes’ help with a blackmail plot; tangled with Mycroft Holmes and kidnappers in Morocco; and ran up against Irene Adler and a vengeful German officer in Heidelberg.

Most of these stories — four featuring Holmes, and one each with Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and Irene Adler — appeared in the 223B Casebook series collecting Sherlockian parodies and pastiches. These tales are now available in this exclusive complete edition from the Peschel Press.





Part Four: Short bio and media links

Bill Peschel is a former journalist who shares a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. He lives with his family and animal menagerie in Hershey, where the air really does smell like chocolate.

The author of “Writers Gone Wild” (Penguin), he publishes through Peschel Press the 223B Casebook Series of Sherlockian parodies and pastiches and annotated editions of Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Whose Body?” and Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” and “The Secret Adversary.” An interest in Victorian crime led to the republication of three books on the William Palmer poisoning case.

Bill Peschel’s Links






Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: September

September already and it still feels like summer out with heat index in the 100's. Whew! But it is the first Wednesday and time for IWSG, that magnificent group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and growing every day. Please visit other participants in this monthly blog hop where we share failures, successes, advice, and ask for help. You can find it all at IWSG and the list of members is here.

Optional question this month:
What publishing path did you take, and why?

I sought the traditional path to being published. The first few years, I submitted manuscripts to agents, editors, and entered a few contests. I used to keep those rejections, but it became a fire hazard. The entire time, I continued to work on my next book and attend conferences and join writing groups to improve my craft. There was so much I didn't know at the start. I eventually found a small press that I am still with, New Concepts Publishing, who publishes my romance novels. But along the way, I've had three different small presses go out of business while I was under contract with them. One of them gave no regard to their authors and RWA went to court for us and got our rights back where they were tied up in a bankruptcy case. Not pretty. I had another mid-sized publisher who decided they were going to change direction and they dropped over half their authors. I had three fantasy novels under contract with them at the time.

I'm still working on a fantasy novel that I intend to pitch to the big traditional houses and an agent or twelve, but it's a long way from ready. The path to publication is sometimes frustrating and is seldom a reaping of huge financial benefits. But as long as I enjoy writing, I'm going to keep at it. My most recent novel, The Alien and the Teacher, is the first in a new series of space opera romance. Getting this cool cover helps me to forget the frustrations. It is only available from my publisher at this time.

Anne R. Allen had this interesting post related to today's question. 9 Pieces of Bad Advice for New Writers

Some trivia from The Old Farmer's Almanac because I like Factiods.

At least 182 moons, including those around dwarf planets, are known to exist in our solar system.

A group of flies is called a business.

I have a less kind name for a group of flies. Living in the country with horses and goats living nearby, flies bring a little too much business to my house.

Back full time watching the granddaughter now that school has started. I'd need twenty pages to tell you how fun and amazing she is. Never thought I'd be one of those grandparents, but here I am.

Has your path to publishing been a smooth sail? Ever get some really bad writing advice? Flies getting in your business in your neck of the woods?




Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: August 2018

Yes, it's August! We suffered the wettest July on record here in Pennsylvania. If you followed the national news about flooding in central PA, you probably saw some pictures of my hometown, including the infamous one of the groundhog clinging to the top of the fence. I'm ready for some drying time, Mother Nature. The local news announced last night that July, 2018 was the wettest month ever recorded for our area.

I'm honored to be a co-host for this month's IWSG blog hop. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this terrific group and all the people who help keep it going. You can find all the participants on this list. Try and visit some new folks today.

I'm sharing co-hosting duties with some terrific bloggers. Thank you, Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, and Lee Lowery.

This month's optional question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I would say don't wait. If you have a story inside you that you want to share, write it. Don't wait until the kids are older and you have time. Don't wait until you take one more class or attend one more conference. Butt in chair and write. Right now.

I'd like to thank the bloggers who hosted me for my mini-tour to promote the release to Exile's Savage Lady. I also want to thank my faithful followers who stopped into to comment on my various stops. You guys are the  best. If you missed any posts and would like to science up a little, here's the list.

The Whole Shebang What science subjects did I research for the Survivors of the Apocalypse Series?
Christine Rains  What is minimal viable population for humans?
Write With Fey  How a pandemic could end the world.
Paranormal Romantics Where would you want to spend the apocalypse?
Diane Burton  The Domed City. Can it save mankind?

Let me close this post with some wisdom from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

If an average man never shaved, his beard would grow to be about thirty feet long in his lifetime.

A group of goldfinches is called a charm. (Lots of these pretty birds around my abode.)

Waste not fresh tears over old griefs. Euripedes.

Do you have some good advice to those starting out in the writing business? What's the longest beard you've ever seen? Are you dry where you are, or suffering like us with more rain this week?





Friday, July 27, 2018

Tempting Friendship by Patricia Josephine

I'd like to welcome Patricia Josephine to my blog today. I love it when I learn the characters in a book are based on actual people. Take it away, Patricia.


Real Life Inspirations in Tempting Friendship

When it comes to my writing, I enjoy slipping little details from my real life into the story. It may be a name for a character mentioned in passing or somewhere the main character went that I’ve been to. They’re like little Easter eggs that people in my life may recognize. Here are seven that I slipped into Tempting Friendship.

Gerry the beer snob.
Okay, so my husband isn’t exactly a beer snob, but he likes to try different beers and judge them. He would get along with Gerry great because they could discuss the different flavors of beer and he could trust Gerry to give him a good recommendation. Also, it’s a joke between hubby and I that any spilled alcohol is alcohol abuse.

Grand Taqua Falls
GT Falls is a mash up of Grand Rapids, where I have family, and Tahquamenon Falls which is a huge waterfall and tourist trap near me. Other things in GT Falls that I pulled from real life is 28th Boulevard. There’s a street in Grand Rapids called 28th Street and it’s so busy that any construction has to be done at night. My grandma used to live on Hazel Street, and my last job was on Spruce Street.
The Crown’s Inn
The restaurant is based on one I worked at called Weber’s Rustic Inn, but Adira’s office is based on the office at my last job, Penny’s Kitchen. It was tiny and cramped with a filing cabinet that had stuff piled on it.
Rum and Light Coke
No, I’ve never heard of a customer saying this, but working in restaurants since I was 18 I have heard some pretty weird requests. Like the fish tastes too fishy. That did actually happen. Cajun spice is too spicy. A friend once asked for pasta primavera without the veggies. That’s the point of the dish. Otherwise, you’re just having alfredo. Then there’s the customers who order an item and when you bring it out say, “I didn’t order that.” That one happened a lot.
Quinn and Gerry wanting to kick customers out.
That happened to me a lot during summer time. Restaurants are crazy busy where I live then because of tourists, and after four hours of non-stop cooking, you just want them all to GO AWAY. More than once I begged waitresses to make it stop or to lock the door. If I was cranky, I’d swear about customers.
Keane not wanting to no-show.
You know what really sucks? When your coworker doesn’t show up for their freaking shift! Yeah, there’s a reason Keane doesn’t do it because I’ve had it happen to me countless times and would never dream of doing it to another person. You’d think this would just happen with slackers, but no, I once had a professionally trained chef no-show.
Quinn and Keane
I had real people in mind when I was imagining them. Youtubers, Liana Kerzer and Jeff Holiday where kind of who I pictured when writing. Of course, when it came to the cover, I couldn’t find a model with long dread locks and no shirt, so I had to make do.

Other Easter eggs are Geralt is a reference to The Witcher games, as is Witch Hunter 3, GTA, and Street Rage are references to real games.

I hoped you enjoyed learning about the Easter eggs I threw in the story.





At first, Quinn isn’t impressed by Keane. He’s cocky and has sex on the brain. The polar opposite of her. Despite their differences, something blossoms between the two. 

Never one to take things seriously, Keane is an incubus coasting through life without a care. When he meets Quinn, her lack of reaction to him piques his interest. No human has ever been able to resist him. 

As Keane and Quinn struggle to understand what is going on between them, something sinister rocks their world. Young incubi are vanishing, and Keane's friends go missing. Someone is after his kind. When Quinn is kidnapped, Keane must uncover who is behind the abductions and get to her before it's too late.

Buy:

Amazon      Smashwords       Kobo     iTunes    B&N


About the Author

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing.

She writes New Adult under the name Patricia Josephine and Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Social Media Links:
Website:        Twitter           Facebook            Google+                 Newsletter                      Goodreads   

AmazonAuthor Page             Smashwords 


My kids are really picky about their beer so I appreciate a character like Gerry. And people not showing up for work is the worst. Do any of these character remind you of anyone you know? Did you ever recognize a location in a story as somewhere you've been?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Light of Redemption by Natalie Damschroder


Today's Wednesday guest post is my good friend, Natalie Damschroder. Learn a little about how her writing process and how her latest novel came about. After you meet Natalie, please visit me today at Diane Burton's blog where I'm sciencing again. I just invented that word.

Thank you so much, Sue, for having me as your guest today!

This is the release day for my second superhero book, The Light of Redemption. I’m always looking for a twist on common themes or ideas, and for this book, it was a small-town superhero. Most of us know superheroes as fighting crime in big cities, and that was the case in my first book, The Color of Courage. In that book, the twists were that 1) my heroes operated as a team and weren’t anonymous; 2) the heroine’s superpower is seeing emotions rather than something physical.

Something for Readers

I had the title for my new book before I had the story. That is EXTREMELY unusual for me! I struggle with titles. The Color of Courage took me 45 minutes with a thesaurus after the book was completely written and revised. I knew The Light of Redemption would be the second book before I finished writing the first one. I decided to give the light to Harmony Wilde, a librarian in the town of Pilton, Ohio, which exists only in my imagination but right next to the town where I went to college. She uses her ability to manipulate light to help protect the people in her town (mostly from each other). The redemption was a need given to Conn Parsons, one of those big-city superheroes who’s had it rough and has come to town to hide…I mean, retire. His presence blows up Harmony’s life, both figuratively and literally.

Something for Writers

One thing I learned writing this book was to trust myself, and that’s advice I’d give to any writer who might be struggling with a story. I set this aside many times, sometimes deciding I wasn’t coming back to it, for various reasons mostly relating to things out of my control. But my creative center (muse, inspiration, drive, whatever you want to call it) just refused to let me. Whenever I read through the book to re-orient myself, I found it to be much stronger than I remembered. Not lacking room for improvement, of course! :) But ready to be deepened and tightened and fulfilling. I hope the result is that people will be entertained and happy when they finish the last page.

The Light of Redemption

Harmony Wilde is a unique kind of superhero. She operates as Eclipse in a small town in Ohio instead of the big city, on her own instead of on a team, and in near-complete anonymity. For the most part, she’s satisfied with using her ability, manipulating light, to bust drug dealers and prevent drunk drivers—until Conn Parsons comes to town.

Conn has been a superhero all over the world. Dissatisfied with the little bit of good she can do in comparison, Harmony asks Conn to train her. He refuses, feeling responsible for superhero and civilian deaths in big-city incidents. He doesn’t want to risk the same thing happening here. But the attraction between them is hard to fight, and so is her determination.

Then small-town problems get bigger, and it looks like both Eclipse and Conn are being targeted by CASE, the Citizens Against Superhero Existence, who are responsible for those city disasters. When her town seems destined to become collateral damage and the stakes get personal, Harmony must tap undeveloped powers and convince Conn to work with her to stop their mutual enemy. The only problem is that when they succeed, it may give Conn the redemption he needs to move on, away from Pilton…and away from Harmony.


About Natalie Damschroder

Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance, with an emphasis on romantic adventure. She has had 25 novels, 7 novellas, and 16 short stories published by several publishers, most recently with Soul Mate Publishing, Entangled Publishing, and Carina Press. She recently debuted her Fusion Series, a young adult paranormal adventure series, with Full Fusion, as NJ Damschroder. Learn more about those books here.


Natalie grew up in Massachusetts, and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, she does freelance editing and project management. She and her husband have two grown daughters, one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.)


 Do titles come easy to you, writers out there? What is your favorite super power? Ever use real towns in your stories?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Cowboy & the Showgirl by Heidi Hormel


It's Wednesday Guest day and I'm thrilled to have multi-published author Heidi Hormel visiting today. Learn a little bit about her book, about her, and maybe some writer's wisdom. 


 Something for Readers

As a child, my family rented a Winnebago and drove from Pennsylvania to Maine and back. This was back in the day when seat belts were just a nuisance and not a safety feature, so my sister and I were able to roam around the RV. I remember that trip fondly (not sure about my siblings) and have always been fascinated by the economy of RVs -- how so much can be fit into such a small space. Maybe that’s why I wanted to force my hero and heroine into sharing an RV (the old-style kind), not those new fangled ones with the TVs, microwaves and the walls that expand. I also attribute my recent fascination with Tiny Homes (it’s all HGTV’s fault ) to the early Winnebago travel. I’ve even thought about moving from my current locale to one of these Hobbit-sized abodes (then I remember I have cats and litter boxes). Still, I do dream of living efficiently and clutter-free in a Tiny Home. What about you? Tiny? Or Windsor Castle? Which is your dream home?

Something for Writers

I recently read the late Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic. (She’s also the author of Practical Magic.) In this book that delves deep into how love shapes our lives, I found this passage that made my little writerly heart sing:

“Writing itself was a magical act in which imagination altered reality and gave form to power.”

Although this next quote isn’t strictly about writing, it still made me shiver with authorial delight:

“‘Anything whole can be broken. … And anything broken can be put back together again. That is the meaning of Abracadabra. I create what I speak.’”

In the case of writers, we create what we write.

Blurb for The Cowboy & the Showgirl

Opposites attract when a bull-riding cowboy gets roped into helping a Vegas showgirl on the run from a marriage in name only.
Val Summers needs to get away from Vegas fast before her almost-bridegroom tracks her down and his missing money. She’s got everything handled until she realizes she’d stowed away in the wrong rodeo cowboy’s RV.
Cisco Santos is a bull rider trying to rebuild his career, not save a damsel in distress, but he’s certainly not going to let some goons take the money out of her hide. On the lam together, they end up stuck in a snowstorm. By the time the snowplows dig them out, they’re a lot more than traveling companions.


Ebooks:


 About Heidi Hormel

A former innkeeper and radio talk show host, Heidi Hormel has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and as a PR flunky before settling happily into penning romances with a wink and a wiggle.

While living in the Snack Food Capital of the World, Heidi has trotted around the globe from forays into Death Valley to stops at Loch Ness in Scotland.

She has published five books in the Angel Crossing, Arizona series with Harlequin Western Romance. To sign up for her newsletter or to read more about her books, visit
or follow on:
 Facebook  and Twitter.

Thanks, Heidi. Any RV people out there? Can you imagine being trapped in a snowstorm in one? Do you know where the Snack Food Capital of the World is located?