Monday, November 19, 2018

Diane Burton: One Red Shoe

Please welcome my friend and successful author, Diane Burton. She has an interesting origin tale on how her book came about.

Thanks so much, Susan, for inviting me to your blog and asking me to tell your readers how my story came about.

One Red Shoe started as a writing exercise during a writers’ meeting. We were given a prompt—someone was running toward you at a train station—then wrote for a half hour. The first thing that popped in my mind was: the man running toward her in the subway station wore one red shoe. From there, my imagination took over.

I began writing that story back in the late 1990s. It went through many revisions. In 2004, while at a writers’ conference, I talked some friends into riding the NYC subway with me to check out a research point. I’m not sure how many times I submitted the story to editors and contests with mixed results. Finally, it was contracted with The Wild Rose Press in 2013. This August, my rights were returned and, after more revisions, I self-published it last month. After almost twenty years, One Red Shoe is how I envisioned it. My point? Never give up on a story you believe in.

It Happened One Night meets Knight and Day
When elementary teacher Daria Mason left Iowa for a writers’ conference in New York City, she didn’t expect to come home with a wounded spy. Daria’s life in Small Town, USA is too predictable. She fears turning into a spinster living out her days with four old bachelor brothers. Determined to change, she won’t go into her thirties the same person who let life pass her by. She just wishes she was as strong as the kick-butt heroine in her stories.
Sam Jozwiak works for a shadow agency that gathers intel vital to U.S. security. From the moment he steals digital files from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassin finds him. Only because the assassin’s sidekick is such a klutz does Sam escape. With intel too hot to trust to even encrypted email and those two hot on his trail, Sam arrives at a rendezvous in NYC to find his contact is a no-show. Then, the assassins arrive. He’s hit twice by ricochets from the unaware klutz. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from a tourist.
When Daria races through a restroom, she belatedly realizes someone else is there—a bleeding man. Back home, her farm is a veritable menagerie with the injured cats, dogs, and birds she’s rescued. She can’t turn away from a wounded man, especially when she suspects he’s in law enforcement like her brother. She’ll patch him up and be one her way. He asks for help getting him out of the building. She agrees, but that’s it. He needs medical help. Okay, she’ll get him to a doctor and that’s all. She can’t miss the chance the next morning to present her story to an editor. But when Sam is too weak to go on, she sacrifices the opportunity.
Thus, begins a road trip that takes them from NY to Iowa with the assassins right behind them. Daria proves she is stronger than she thinks. When Sam’s plans keep falling through, she takes charge and keeps him safe. Over five days of close quarters and intimacies shared in the dark, she falls in love with him. They finally get Sam’s intel to the right people, the bad guys are arrested and Sam returns to his old life, leaving Daria with a broken heart.
The old Daria would have given up. The new Daria goes after what she wants. She will rescue Sam from himself. It just takes longer to convince him she’s the best thing that’s ever come into his life.

One Red Shoe is available at:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.

For more info about Diane and her books, visit her website:

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Have you ever been inspired to make a novel out of a short story or simple writing exercise? Do you have a story that your worked on for years until you polished it into what you believed it could be? Anyone else wondering how cold Diane and her family are in Western Michigan?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Skye Kingsbury: The Dictionary of Flowers and Gems

The Dictionary of Flowers and Gems by Skye Kingsbury Part One: Something for Readers “The Dictionary of Flowers and Gemstones” contains specialized lists on subjects such as love and affection, friendship, courtship, and refusal. This list covers beauty: Amaryllis: Radiant beauty, Worth beyond beauty Cherry Blossom: Beauty, Female power, “Life is beautiful but transient” (Japan), Sexuality (China) Daisy: Beauty, Loyal love, Patience, Purity, Simplicity, Iris: A message promising love, Beauty, Faith, Majesty, “My compliments”, Perfection, Valor, Wisdom Jasmine: Beauty, Elegance, Friendliness, Grace, Sensuality Lily: Charm against evil, Death of a loved one, Female beauty and sexual attractiveness, Fertility, Majesty, Purity, Wealth Lily, Orange: “I burn for you”, “There’s a flame in my heart” Lily, Pink: “You are pretty” Lily, Tiger: Pride, Riches Lily, White: “It’s heavenly to be with you”, Majesty, Modesty, Perfect beauty, Purity Lily, Yellow: Fun, “I am walking on air”, Happiness Orchid: Beauty, Love, Many children, Mature charm, Refinement, Thoughtfulness Snowdrop: Beauty of spirit, Consolation, Hopefulness, New beginnings Violet: Faithfulness, “I return your love”, Modesty, Sweet beauty Water Lily: Beauty, Enlightenment, Love, Mental purity, Mystic powers, Purity of heart Part Two: Something for Writers I am both a writer and an artist, and quite often I like to include flowers in my work—I often choose the flower(s) with the meanings that fit the best. But I kept finding myself having to search not only multiple books, but also the internet to find a flower with the meaning that I wanted. This led to the creation of “The Dictionary of Flowers & Gemstones.” I use it in my own works now that it's complete, and it has its own place in my shelf of resources. That’s the lesson I learned: If you can't find the resource that you need, make it yourself. You don't have to settle for the half-done books when you can write the complete one yourself. It might be a lot of work, but you won't be digging through thirty texts for the information anymore. Part Three: Book Blurb and Buy Links Sunflowers for health and lavender for chastity; chrysanthemums for wealth and bachelor’s buttons for celibacy. For every emotion and feeling, the Victorians used flowers, bushes, and trees to express it. Not just love, attraction, and desire, but also doubt, indifference, slander, and cruelty. They created beautiful bouquets and tussie mussies to express their connection to the natural world and also their emotions — not all of them pleasant — to each other. We’re rediscovering this bygone way to communicate our deepest thoughts and emotions and “A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems” can help. We’ve taken over 2,000 plants, supplied their scientific name, and arranged them from Aaron’s Beard ([Hypericum calycinum]: Invincibility, Protection) to Zinnia, yellow ([Zinnia]: Daily remembrance, Remembrance). We also sorted the plants according to emotions, from Abandonment to Zeal. Finally, we created specialty lists to cover emotions such as courtship, love and affection, beauty, and refusal, making it easier to create themed bouquets and gardens. A bonus section lists more than 400 gems and crystals and their associated powers and benefits. See which ones strengthen the chakras, encourage feelings of peace and calmness, radiate love, and fortify your self-confidence. “A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems” provides an easy-to-use reference for all practitioners of the floral and gemstone arts. Amazon Amazon Kindle Kobo Apple Part Four: Short bio and media links My name is Skye, and no, it’s not my real name, but it’s the one I go by more often than not. If you’ve noticed that it’s somewhat familiar, it’s probably because you’ve stumbled across my Twitter or Tumblr, Earth_Fire_Skye. If not, then don’t worry too much about it. I’m twenty-one, though not for long if the passage of time has anything to say about that, and I enjoy many hobbies, which range from reading and writing, to drawing and crocheting random stuff. Currently, I live in a town in somewhat southern Pennsylvania with my dog and cat who I love very much, even if they do have the tendency of driving me nuts. Skye Kingsbury’s Link Peschel Press

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: November 2018 Episode

It's time for the first Wednesday monthly IWSG blog hop. Thanks to all the hard working people behind IWSG and especially to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the whole awesome group. Please visit the website and find the entire IWSG list of hop participants.

Each month there is a voluntary question participants can answer if they'd like.

How has your creativity evolved since you began writing?

Not sure I have an answer to that, but I'm interested in reading what other people say to this query. I would say that I've evolved a lot as a reader. I read across more genres than I did when I first started. I also am a pickier reader and buyer of books.

This past two weeks have had some ups and downs for me as a writer. Big downer was my third quarter royalties report. Ouch! Not buying that Rolls Royce yet. But then, I received a contract for my second book in my Star Ship Refugees series and then!!! two days later my publisher sent me a contract for the third book that isn't even written yet. I've never received a contract before the work is completed before. I'm thanking my small but mighty publisher, New Concepts, for their confidence in me. If you go look, you'll see my newest cover first and foremost on the publisher's homepage. Despite the low earnings, I'm plowing forward.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

One of my writer friends shared this post listing a number of writing contests covering the next few months. Maybe you can find one that interests you, and many of them are free entry.

The end of Daylight Savings Time always seems like the start of winter to me. I do get a lot of writing done in the winter, but I hate the cold. You're probably tired of hearing that. I do enjoy the scent of numerous fireplaces at work as it cools down, and the fresh air on a frosty morning.

The nose can distinguish between a trillion different smells.   The Old Farmer's Almanac

Speaking of the Old Farmer, I've been shopping for my 2019 planner. Still haven't found one I like better than my trusty Old Farmers Planner so you might be graced with lots more tidbits from it next year. Hope some of them make you smile.

"You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes." Douglas Malloch

Do you have a discerning nose? Has being a writer helped you be more creative? Do you love or hate Daylight Savings Time?