Monday, August 21, 2017

Money-wise, Writing Is Often Iffy. So, Why Write? l Evy Journey @eholychair

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Someone once said the urge to write is born.  I know people who write volumes of journals that hardly anyone but they and someone close to them ever read.  They are driven by those words. 
Writing is not exactly what you do if you want an adrenaline rush. While it’s an adventure, it is a solitary one and mostly of the mind and, often, also the soul (or spirit or whatever you call that nonmaterial sum total of who you are). And it can be punishing in its own way if you want to push it further than your hard drive—from nights glued to your computer, to months of editing, revising, and proofing, to the ego-busting heartbreak of rejection letters—all before you see your words in print. 
You may actually wonder why anyone would go through all that, particularly because monetary returns are usually iffy unless you’re a salaried writer or a fiction writer with a large following. Or you’re a celebrity or someone who’s gotten media attention for doing something notorious or crazy.
Or, unless you’ve written erotica.
But people write books for reasons other than money. Just ask memoirists for whom the need to get rid or at least make sense of psychological baggage finds expression in words on paper. Writing about a painful experience is cathartic. Even the process of turning your draft into a work worthy of publishing and sharing with a broader audience can help heal your psyche. More detached from the experience, you see it in a different light, changing your perspective and teaching you a useful lesson.
But you don’t have to spill your guts in a memoir. You could write fiction. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple says writing is
“a matter of necessity and that you write to save your life is really true and so far it’s been a very sturdy ladder out of the pit.”
Writing can and does heal. In fact, Writing Therapy joins Music and Art Therapies in the arsenal of psychotherapy/counseling techniques that professionals use.
After spending my first six years with my grandmother in a quiet house full of books, I returned to live with my parents and three rambunctious brothers. To cope with feeling out of place, I wrote my thoughts and feelings in a notebook. Nowadays, I think I’ve finally matured and I’m reasonably comfortable with myself.  I write, not out of psychological pain. Instead, I write about what fascinates me: exploring what it means to love, mostly from a heroine’s viewpoint. But you cannot take loving outside the context of a how you live your life. So, ultimately, my stories are about life, about real issues women and men face.
I love this particular quote from Ray Bradbury:
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
Evy Journey, 2015 SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist (since she was nine years old), and a flâneuse (feminine form of flâneur). Her pretensions to being a flâneuse means she wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. She’s visited Paris, even lived there a few times as a transient; that is, she stayed from two to six months.
She's a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales.
In a previous life, armed with a Ph.D. and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded  the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.

Evy’s latest book is the contemporary women’s fiction, Hello, My Love.



About the Book:

Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Pages: 317
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

In this modern-day tale inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, bright, beautiful law student Elise Halverson looks forward to a promising career. Falling in love is low in her priorities.
Well-known playboy Greg Thorpe is engaged to be married when he meets Elise. He finds her so unlike the women he used to date and he’s deeply intrigued. Distrusting the image she has of him, Elise avoids him.
But Elise’s parents invite Greg to their frequent dinner parties. There, Greg and Elise butt heads. She’s surprised to find that, behind his rich playboy persona, he’s intelligent and engaging.
The night before his wedding, they give in to their mutual attraction. Although Elise expects nothing more from that night, Greg is in for trouble. His jilted fiancée strikes back, intent on revenge.
Two years later Greg and Elise get a second chance but they find that the way to their happy-ever-after is not so easy.
At the core of this women’s fiction is a literary and realistic romance spiced with a twist of mystery. Hello My Love is Book 1 in the series Between Two Worlds, a family saga about three strong women.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Got a Light? | Greg Messel @gregmessel

12:00 AM 0 Comments

A trip back in time to the 1950s world of my novels, "Last of the Seals," “Deadly Plunge,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Fog City Strangler,” “Shadows In The Fog,”  “Cable Car Mystery,”and now my new novel “San Francisco Nights,”  is full of reminders how much the world has changed.

One of the most obvious changes involves the social mores surrounding smoking. In all of the Sam Slater books, the characters rarely have five minutes of conversation before they start lighting up. 

My main female character, Amelia, even tries to light a cigarette while she’s on a wind swept water taxi going out to Alcatraz. I’ve been out on San Francisco Bay on a boat to Alcatraz. You can hardly stand up straight because of the wind, let alone light a cigarette. 

Sam Slater’s cigarette case actually saves his life during a shooting in “Shadows In The Fog.” He quips to Amelia, “who says cigarettes are bad for your health.”

When I began my career in the corporate world in the 1970s, I remember conference rooms being smoke filled with ash tray spilling over with cigarette butts and ashes.
I remember the smoking sections on airplanes. I recall that being in the last row of the non smoking section was pretty much the same as sitting in the smoking section. 

Flight attendants still warn you on airplane flights to not smoke in the  bathrooms. That warning is about 35 years old now.

Today smokers must huddle around the doorways of office buildings to grab a cigarette outside. There are enclosed rooms at airports for smokers. That's fine with me but it has been a monumental change.  

In today’s business world it would be considered appalling if in the middle of an office, someone lit up a cigarette. 

In the 1950s, smoking was even more pronounced. My grandparents were both chain smokers and I remember as a child or a teenager, that you could actually see smoke rolling out the front door when you entered their house. I was exposed to massive amounts of second hand smoke for years. 

My grandparents are long gone but when I picture them in my mind’s eye, they are holding a cigarette.  

In my mystery novels set in the 1950s, everyone smokes and virtually non stop.  They are constantly lighting up--even baseball players like Sam Slater. 

The biggest baseball stars of the day—Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and it goes on and on—all lit up as soon as they got to the clubhouse. I found a magazine ad featuring the great Jackie Robinson. He’s holding a baseball bat in his right hand and a carton of Chesterfield cigarettes in his left hand. The ad copy says “Take my tip—smoke Chesterfield…much milder. Jackie Robinson.”

Babe Ruth, who died later of cancer, advertised Old Gold cigarettes. Babe took the “blindfold cigarette test” and picked Old Gold. The Babe said there’s “not a cough in a carload.”

Sophisticated, glamorous San Franciscans of the 1950s, like Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan nearly always had a cigarette in their hands. Watch movies from the 1950s or 1960s to witness how it was just part the persona of the attractive, urbane persona. When you view an old “Tonight Show” you’ll see Johnny Carson smoke one cigarette after another with guests like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. 

Sinatra hawked Chesterfields as well. His ad tag line asks “like your pleasure big?” Frank says Chesterfields offer “man-size satisfaction.”

When Amelia barely escapes some murderous bad guys in “Cable Car Mystery” she tries to calm her nerves by lighting a cigarette but her hands are shaking so badly from the ordeal she can’t do so. 

I’ve watched vintage cigarette commercials which played on television in the 1950s. They are funny but somewhat disturbing when you look back on them with our knowledge about the impact on health from cigarettes. 

I found a hilarious magazine ad showing future President but then actor, Ronald Reagan with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He is filling out gift cards on Christmas presents which are all cartons of Chesterfields. Behind him is a Christmas wreath and in the foreground is a big pack of Chesterfield cigarettes. The ad copy says “I’m sending Chesterfields to all my friends. That’s the merriest Christmas any smoker can have—Chesterfield mildness plus no unpleasant after-taste.” 

Brands like Kool and Newport touted the soothing effect on a raw throat from their filtered cigarettes. There is a famous ad for Camel’s cigarettes which includes the tag line “According to a recent Nationwide survey: More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.”  

When Sam and Amelia visit Dr. John O’Dell in an earlier book in the mystery series, “San Francisco Secrets”, the first thing the medical doctor offers the couple is a cigarette.  At their first meeting, Sam asks the doctor if cigarettes are bad for your health. 
Dr. O’Dell advises Sam “there are benefits of smoking as long as you don’t overdo it. I think smoking filtered cigarettes like these Winstons helps,” the doctor says. “It cuts down on the irritation to the throat.  Smoking actually releases a couple of chemicals in the brain, which relieves tension and helps you experience pleasure.”

The doctor also tells Sam that smoking can aid in weight loss and releases chemicals in the brain which are similar to the sensation that you experience when you kiss a pretty woman.

The doctor’s advice is the common thinking of the times and the narrative from the tobacco companies.  Dr. O’Dell tries to convince Sam that smoking a cigarette is almost as pleasurable as kissing Amelia. Sam’s not buying that argument. 

Ah, the 1950s, when you could knock down a steak dinner, light up an after dinner cigarette and not feel a bit guilty. Not a calorie count or a trace of guilt in sight. Ignorance is bliss I guess. 

About the Author

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is "San Francisco Nights" which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Shadows In The Fog," "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty." For a more detailed summary of Greg's novels go to 

Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel "Dreams That Never Were" which is not part of the mystery series.



About the Book:

Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 232
Genre: Mystery / Suspense

The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her.  Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world. 

Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit. 

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


Monday, August 14, 2017

When was the last time you actually had a conversation around the dinner table? l Jason Reid @jasonreidauthor

12:00 AM 0 Comments

When was the last time you had an actual conversation with your family around the dinner table, without the distraction of the television or any other form of technology?

In today’s technology-driven world finding time to stop and enjoy real, in-person conversations with our loved ones is becoming less of a priority and more of an inconvenient task. Like any family, our individual schedules keep us constantly on the go, passing each other as we run in and out of the front door. I travel a couple of nights out of every week, my wife and 4 kids have busy lives and their own individual obligations—it is easy to find ourselves disconnected from each other. Starting to sound a little familiar?

Dinner Conversations is a book that contains my personal collection of conversations that happened roughly over a five-year period, mainly between my kids, wife, and I around our dinner table. I know what you’re thinking and before you start glancing towards the top corner for the “x”—let’s get personal for a minute, shall we…

My name is Jason, I have four children, a wonderful wife of 24 years, a successful career and have absolutely NO filter. Every family has that one person who says exactly what pops into their head, always without hesitation and in my family that ONE person is yours truly. I use my own personal “trial and error” approach to parenting, cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I’m turning 50 this year and like most guys my age--I figure things out the old fashion way. I don’t read manuals. Typically, I find myself trying unusual ways of putting things together, taking different paths and swearing more frequently no that I have teenagers, which I find clears the head and helps a great deal with the thought process.
Two of the most important pieces of my unique parenting style are:

If I am home, we are all sitting down to a family dinner (except on date nights that is just for my wife and I).

Dinner should be fun, we should all laugh and not be afraid to speak our minds.

In Short, the collection of conversations and hysterical moments a family has and laughs about privately, I have put together for you to laugh, enjoy and possibly even find some of the unique conversations relatable. I invite you to take a break from the serious page turners and chapters that seem to go on for weeks, because you are in the constant process of finding where you left off. Take a break from raising your own kids and just have a good laugh at how I raised mine. The only thing bigger than my college tuition bills will likely be the therapy bills that I will be paying for down the road, so feel free to go ahead and pick up a few copies of the book to share the laughs with your own friends and family : ) profits from this book will be applied to one of the following:
-Family Therapy Jar
-College tuition bills (Did I mention I had FOUR kids?)
-The 18+ years of alcohol consumption my wife and I will surely need to get them all graduated and still maintain some degree of sanity.

If you’re still here and have made it this far, I hope that you enjoy reading Dinner Conversations and the raw glimpse of our family’s most hysterical conversations and moments over the years.

Grab a seat, a drink and as always enjoy the conversations.

All the Best,
Jason Reid

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook @DinnerConversations for new conversations, family updates and to also share your own dinner conversations with us!

About the Author

Jason Reid is an entrepreneur by trade and a dad by passion. He currently lives in Murrieta, California with his wonderful wife and amazing four children. Over the years he has written numerous business books, a novel, and children’s The Protector Bug book series.

His latest book is the humor/family/parenting book, Dinner Conversations.



About the Book:

Author: Jason Reid
Publisher: Createspace/Reid Group
Pages: 348
Genre: Humor / Family / Parenting

“You are going to LAUGH! You are going to then wonder if these conversations actually happened. You are going to wonder what kind of guy would actually say these things to his family.”

The answer is simple—yes, these conversations did actually happen. They occurred over a period of roughly 5 years, mainly at my dinner table.  I took them verbatim and posted them on Facebook so that all my friends could get a good laugh.
I must be honest with you, some of you will are going to laugh and say things like “…that sounds like something I would say or want to say” others are going to think that I am a horrible parent.  I am ok with either thought process.
What I hope is that after laughing, scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with Jay Reid, you realize that you need to create more of your own Dinner Conversations.  
Please join me @ to read more and post your own.” 


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How to Make Your Characters Believable l Peter Thompson @pthompsonbooks

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Have you ever finished a good book, closed the cover and then felt a sense of loss? Does it sometimes feel like a friend or family member has moved away when the story is over? I feel that way sometimes. And when I do, I know that the author did a great job of creating the characters. These characters weren’t just a collection of character traits, and descriptions. They were real, living, breathing people whose live mattered. Setting, plot and pacing are all essential elements in any good story. But the one thing that really makes a story come alive, is having realistic, memorable characters.

Writing compelling fiction is like a magic trick. It is an illusion. Readers are reading words on a page, but when it all comes together, it clicks, and the world seems real. Like with magicians, there are some tricks to the craft which can help you round out your characters, and make them real. In my new novel, Summer on Earth, my two main characters are a young boy, and a space alien stranded on Earth. These characters are so different, and for the story to work, I needed to make them, as well as the other characters, feel real. In Booklist’s review, they said, “The unique, fablelike story with gentle charm and strongly drawn characters - human and otherwise - will satisfy with its quiet aura of resilience and hopefulness.”

Here are a few things that I do with my writing that helps to breathe life into my characters.

·        Physical description and identifying characteristics – When you first introduce a character in a story, you describe them. Personally, I believe that less is more. Rather than giving a very detailed rundown of how the character looks, I give a brief physical description, and let the reader fill in the rest with their own imagination. The character is revealed more by their actions, what they do and what they say.
·        Give them a goal – Every character, even minor ones, should have a goal in the story. What is the one thing they want more than anything else in the world? What drives and motivates them? If you know what your characters want, that determines how they will act, and that makes them more real.
·        Emotion – This is the secret sauce. As humans, we identify and respond to emotions. If someone smiles at us, we smile back. If someone around us is in a bad mood, that can be contagious. The same thing goes with your characters. If they lack emotion, they come off as flat. When you give them real emotions, we identify with that and they will seem more authentic.
·        Everyone is the hero in their own movie – It’s easy to make your hero likable, but in the villain or antagonists mind, they are the hero. From the view of your story, they might be evil and nasty and stupid, but not in their own mind. While writing, think of what the world looks like from each character’s perspective. It will add depth and fullness to your characters.
·        Dialogue – What your characters say to each other is a way to move the story forward, to reveal information the reader needs to know, and a great way to reveal who that character really is. Everyone talks differently. They use different vocabulary, different phrases and everyone has their own vocal tics. A professor will talk differently than a cowboy, and a teenager will speak differently than a young mother. The way your characters talk will let you know if they have power, or not, their level of education, how they feel about the person they are talking with, their level of confidence and so much more. This can be a great way to build a character who is memorable.

These are just a few things that work for me. Think of your characters as real people and they will take on their own life on the page.

About the Author
Peter Thompson grew up in Illinois, and lives near Chicago. He remembers how excited he was when the first astronaut stepped on to the moon. He has had an appreciation of space, and all its possibilities ever since. His love of children’s books developed while reading to his three sons. His first novel, Living Proof, was a thriller published by Berkeley Books. Summer on Earth is his first book for younger readers. It will be released in August of this year.



About the Book:

The night that eleven-year-old Grady Johnson looked out his window and wished upon a shooting star, his life changed forever.

Grady, his Ma, and younger sister Luanne are having a hard summer. Dad has died and the family
isn’t the same. Though Ma is trying her best, Grady knows they don’t have enough money to get by.

The shooting star he saw was a space craft plunging to Earth, and landing at the back of their farm. Extraterrestrial engineer Ralwil Turth has one goal, to fix his power drive and go back home. But things don’t go as planned. Stuck in human form, he gets to know Grady and his family as he works on their farm. He starts to learn about what it means to be human, and the exotic charms of this planet like the taste of potatoes, and how amazing bugs are.

Ralwil grows to care for Grady and his family. On a trip to town, he realizes that money is what matters to humans, and is the cause of the family’s trouble. That night, he uses his technology to combine a twenty-dollar bill with an oak twig. Over the next week this grows to a towering tree, every leaf a twenty-dollar bill. This, Ralwil is sure, will solve all the family’s problems.

But the family’s wealth raises suspicion in this small town, and this soon leads to more trouble. With the family’s fate, and Ralwil’s life, on the line, Grady has to find the courage to help his family and save his friend.

Summer on Earth blends humor, adventure and poignancy to create an unforgettable story about finding home.


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Back Story: Dreamers, Take Action! by Nikkie Pryce @IAmNickiePryce

12:00 AM 0 Comments

I remember going through stages in my life where I had no money; I was broken in spirit and mind. One day I realized in order to make more money and live the life I wanted, I had to start with myself.I started reading tons of self-help books, prayed more and did affirmation exercises to lift my self-esteem. It was time to see growth. If you are ready to challenge yourself and start seeing better results from your creative ideas, then this book is for you. Dreamers, Take Action! is an actionable blueprint for creating the life you want. This book is equipped with steps and daily challenges that I’ve taken to change a few needed things. I've joined new networks with successful people, I am finishing projects that I’ve started, and I am walking through open doors of lucrative opportunities, all by following one simple step.

That step is taking action.

Follow me into this journey as I vulnerably explain the road I took to get to where I am.
Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to work diligently to finish what you’ve started.

I trust that you’re ready to take that leap of faith.

The book came from my own personal journey of taking action. I would make so many excuses to why I couldn’t go after my dreams with massive action. The reality was I didn’t feel ready and I feared of how big this could be. I remember one day realizing that enough was enough. I always dreamt about being an author and doing speaking engagements all around the world and now I have the opportunity to do so. This book is for the dreamer. It’s for the person who has huge goals and dreams and needs an extra push. The biggest inspiration came from wanting to see other dreamers make it. We can do this if we truly put our minds to it. I vulnerably share my experiences because I needed to meet the dreamer exactly where they are.

I was once there as well. I didn’t want this to be a “fluff-feel good piece.” I wanted this to mean something to the dreamer. I wanted the dreamer to remove every excuse as to why they couldn't be all that their hearts desired.

To purchase Dreamers, Take Action please visit

Connect with us on social media @DreamersTakeAction

About the Author

Nikkie Pryce is focused on inspiring and motivating people to put action behind their dreams.
Being in the media industry and working directly with the public, she has experience pushing people past their own created limitations. 

She has earned the title of "self-love influencer" through her organization, The I AM Community.
The community is comprised of dreamers who encourage self-love and self-awareness, starting with “I AM” affirmations. 

What all started as a simple journey to finding her own self-love became a phenomenon of connections and solid relationships.

A highly-recommended motivational speaker, Nikkie speaks publicly at corporate conferences, non-profit organizations, women’s retreats, youth girl groups, schools, and church functions.
Her latest book is the self-help, Dreamers, Take Action!



About the Book:

Author: Nikkie Pryce
Publisher: Opportune Publishing
Pages: 118
Genre: Self-help / Self-improvement / Self-motivation

I remember going through stages in my life where I had no money; I was broken in spirit and mind.

One day I realized in order to make more money and live the life I wanted, I had to start with myself.

I started reading tons of self-help books, prayed more and did affirmation exercises to lift my self-esteem. It was time to see growth.

If you are ready to challenge yourself and start seeing better results from your creative ideas, then this book is for you.

Dreamers, Take Action! is an actionable blueprint for creating the life you want.

This book is equipped with steps and daily challenges that I’ve taken to change a few needed things. 

I've joined new networks with successful people, I’m finishing projects that I’ve started, and I am walking through open doors of lucrative opportunities, all by following one simple step.

That step is taking action.

Follow me into this journey as I vulnerably explain the road I took to get to where I am.

Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to work diligently to finish what you’ve started.

I trust that you’re ready to take that leap of faith.



Friday, July 28, 2017

Back Story: When the Sky Falls l Joseph Bendoski

12:00 AM 0 Comments

People Want More than just Stories

If you’re the kind of person who read my book and now has gone digging through the internet to find out more, to see if buried deep beyond the first three pages of Google you can find something else I’ve done, something else I’ve written then it has brought you here. I assume a few things about you; one you enjoy research, because you had to do some to find this. Two, that you love to get more than just a story from the things you read. You want stories that changed the way you see the world, the way you understand, stories that open your mind through science and history. That is my favorite kind of story, but I find they are just too far and few to satisfy me, so I’ve started to write my own.

What I didn’t write about Sky Fall Events

This idea is best explained in the creation of the chapter headings in the first place. As I began to
write the story, I realized that there was just too much to explain to fully present the idea of a Sky Fall Event. It was an ocean of exposition. I fit as much into the story as I could, but then I created the headings as a way to provide even more information for the readers, and I could write in a way that didn’t have to relate to the narrative directly. The headings are matched to chapters, or set to come after certain chapters as a way to dive deeper into ideas and explain more history and science. But as for the question at hand.
There is a lot that was left out. I sifted through for the very best of history and science, but there are only so many chapters in the book. The missing pieces will be revealed in the sequel and prequel that I’m working on right now.
As stated in the book, when the series is finished I will compile and write The Nature of Sky Fall Events. The headings have done more than that though, they’ve changed the way I write. I think I will make it a permanent part of my style to use science, and historical headings to support the ideas I write about.

What I want to Ask the Reader

What did you think of the idea of ‘Sky Fall Events’, and the presentation of persuasion in the media in general? Will it change the way you watch the news or read news posts and papers?

I feel my greatest weakness is my characters. What would you do to make them better? More appealing, more memorable, more relatable?

In writing my own post, I wonder what questions I would ask and author like myself if I were to meet them. The first is “what did you leave out?”

About the Author

Joe Bendoski studied psychology in college and was fascinated by all the insights it provided into human behavior, only to realize most the information never reach people, and when it did, rarely was it in a form that allowed for practical application. He started writing non-fiction, but soon came to understand how few people read that genre and began the difficult transition into fiction writing. His non-fiction works include; the Chemistry of Attraction and the Language of Emotion. 

He worked as the head writer for the television show ‘Saved by Grace.’ After being frustrated with comments like "make this scene cheaper," "What's my motivation?", and "Do we need this scene?" he decided to go in to literature.

His latest book is the thriller/espionage/conspiracy/historical novel, When the Sky Falls.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back Story: Rebel Song by Amanda J. Clay @amandajclay

7:00 AM 0 Comments

One of the questions all writer’s undoubtedly receive is “where do you get your inspiration?” Sometimes there is a great lightbulb moment—a tragedy, a blessing, a unique childhood—that breathes life into an idea. For Rebel Song, I attribute it to a childhood obsession with tragic love stories, with fantasy tales of kings and queens, with gallant heroes sacrificing all.

When I describe the plot of Rebel Song to people, but tell them it’s contemporary, they often say, “Wait, it’s about a princess and a rebellion and star-crossed love? Sounds a little Medieval.” And it does sound like a plot of old. But it’s also a reality of today...Let me explain a bit of history about its inspiration.

The very first incarnation of Rebel Song came about 22 years ago—no joke! When I was 12—possibly suffering some unrequited love of my own—I actually wrote this short book about a princess who falls in love with a spy from another country and she betrays her kingdom for him. In the end she jumps off a cliff and kills herself so in retrospect it wasn’t a very uplifting story (I was a strange 12 year old, I admit). But I never forgot that tale and I’ve maintained this affinity for the star-crossed lovers since. 

So fast forward a couple decades. I’m in Madrid, Spain, reading about the turmoil of Spain’s 20th century—from a monarchy to a dictator to back to a monarchy. And I realized that, while it’s strange to the Americans, royalty is alive and well in much of Europe. Additionally, many countries in Europe have undergone rebellions, dictators, civil war and more in the last fifty years alone. Sometimes there’s even a juicy love story thrown in there. I was fascinated by the history there and I suddenly knew I had to bring Rogan and Elyra’s story to life in a fresh new way. 

And while the story is set in “modern-day,” I admit, the specific time period for the story is purposefully a little vague because I’m trying to avoid talking about real world events—it’s hard to talk about 20th century Europe and not discuss post WWII Communism, for example. I want the Rogan and Elyra’s story to just exist within itself and for the reader to not have to think about the outside world. 

So once you have this great novel that you love more than your own mortal soul, what do you do with it?

After I’d finished and perfected Rebel Song to the best of my ability, I had to learn how to publish it! Writers today are living in the best of times. There are more ways than ever to reach millions of hungry readers. But with more choices, it can be daunting to decide the best way to go. I opted to Independently publish and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. It’s a lot of work—no denying that. As an Indie author, you’re responsible for every aspect of the process—from finding the cover design, getting a professional editor, finding beta readers and then doing the marketing. It was a long process, I stumbled a lot, made some mistakes, learned a TON and was excited to do it all again.
The second installment, Rebel Rising, is due out this September and I’m so excited to continue the saga with my readers.

About the Author

Amanda J. Clay is a writing YA and Adult fiction from Dallas, TX. A Northern California native, she had a fantastic time studying English and Journalism at Chico State University and then a very serious time slaving away for a Master’s degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. When she’s not staring at a computer screen, she spends most of her spare time on some new fitness addiction and plotting world adventures.

Her latest book is the young adult novel, Rebel Song.



About the Book:

Author: Amanda J. Clay
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 370
Genre: YA

Caught on opposite sides of a budding civil war, a rebel leader and a modern day princess fight to save their country from a corrupt Minister General in a fictional Central Europe.

The once prosperous European nation of Arelanda has been plagued with poverty and corruption since the failed rebellion tore it apart. Now, rebels stir again in the capital’s underbelly, vowing to depose the monarchy and overturn the unjust government.

Seventeen-year-old Rogan Elwood, son of a rebel leader executed for treason after the first rebellion, has borne a tainted legacy his entire life. As he is pulled deeper into conflict, Rogan must face his calling in the future of the rebel cause—waging his want for peace against his desire for vengeance. Everything changes when he falls for Elyra—modern, idealistic and determined to bring Arelanda a better future. She also just happens to be next in line to the throne—if the corrupt Minister General doesn’t beat her to it.

Caught in the midst of a budding civil war and surrounded by enemies on every side, Elyra and Rogan must fight to save themselves and their country.


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Monday, July 24, 2017

Freda Hansburg’s Five Tips for Crafting Compelling Characters

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As a psychologist and suspense novelist, I’m all about delving into the dark corners of the heart.  What does it take to create characters that are complex, believable, fallible and interesting?  Consider these five strategies.
·        Give them goals.  What do your characters want badly enough to pursue in the face of all the obstacles you’re going to plant in their way?  What does your protagonist believe her goal will bring her?  It’s the quest, usually for something illusory or unattainable, that drives our characters’ stories, protagonist and antagonist alike.

·        Turn them loose.  An intriguing discovery I’ve made as a novelist – and heard from fellow writers – is how our characters surprise us.  Off they go, heading in directions we didn’t anticipate.  They seem to take on lives of their own.  The first time I experienced this (two of my characters started having an affair I hadn’t expected), I feared I’d lost control of the narrative.  Instead, it developed into a nice plot twist.  Over time, I’ve come to welcome
unforeseen character turns, which often move the story forward in exciting ways.

·        Let them fight.   Conflict is a page turner.  Whether it’s a protagonist’s inner struggle or clashes between characters, good stories thrive on the drama of contention.  Look for opportunities to play up these moments, via climactic showdowns and simmering tensions in between.  If you write a single page without a trace of conflict, be concerned.  A whole chapter without conflict?  Revise.

·        Make them suffer.  One of the downsides of caring about our characters is a tendency to want to protect them.  But they must get roughed up on their journeys.  I’m forced to battle my own squeamishness (it really hurt to have my protagonist’s best friend give him a broken nose).  But pile it on we must.  Our protagonists must endure enough adversity and anguish to turn into heroes.  Readers are inspired by characters who survive the storm.   

·        Have them learn.  Our job is to help our protagonists grow, in spite of themselves.  They may start out frightened, clueless, deluded or otherwise blind to what they’re avoiding.  But the arc of their development demands they discover something about themselves, their goals or the world that frees them from their limitations.  Whether they end up triumphant or merely sadder and wiser, their stories must feature transformation.  And then we, the writers, are transformed by telling their stories.  We turn into novelists!

About the Author

Freda Hansburg is a psychologist and Tell On You is her debut trade thriller.  She self-published the suspense novel Shrink Rapt and co-authored two self-help books, PeopleSmart – a best-seller translated into ten languages – and Working PeopleSmart.  Freda lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she is working on her next novel and her Pickleball game.

Her latest book is the thriller, Tell On You.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Kimberly Fisk Talks About Her Path to Publication

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Hello!!  Thank you for having me here today.  I love connecting with other writers and readers so this is a true treat!!
I think the question I’m asked most often is how did I get published.  Or, what was my path to publication.  How I wish I could tell you I was handed the secret map and by following it step by step, it led me straight to where I wanted to be.  Alas, no.  Sorry.  But through my pursuit of that ever seemingly elusive goal of receiving “The Call,” I did pick up a few tidbits of wisdom that were of
great benefit.  I hope they will help you, too!
·        Write.  Sounds so obvious, right?  But while many of us dream of being a published author we fail to do the one thing we must: write.  It’s not pretty or glamorous for the most part; it’s a lot of hours sitting in front of your computer or laptop or notepad mining for the right words.  It’s a lot of hours spent crafting a story that might never sell.  Scary stuff there!  But here’s the rub: if you don’t write it, the publisher can’t come.  (Terrible spin on the Field of Dreams quote but I’m sure you get the idea.)  And if your book never sells?  You will still have accomplished two incredible things: YOU WROTE A BOOK!  How awesome is that?!  And two, by writing that book, you learned so much about the writing process.
·        Read.  Again, sounds obvious.  But reading is a key element to writing.  Reading keeps your pulse on what is selling; it also helps teach you the art of writing.  What the author did right…what didn’t work as well for you.  Character development.  Pacing.  And the list goes on and on.  And don’t just read in the genre you aspire to publish in.  Read voracious.  Read everything.  Read fiction blockbusters, the how-to write books.  The classics.  Before I sold, I read every current debut I could get my hands on.  Gobbled them up as fast as I could.  Those debut books grabbed an agent and/or editor and sold for a reason.  I wanted to know why. 
·        Invest in your dream.  Invest not only your time (which is extremely valuable) but also invest your hard earned dollars.  I know this bit of advice is difficult for a lot of us moms to wrap our heads around—spend money on ourselves even if we don’t see an immediate return—but it wasn’t until I started doing just that that I started to see positive progress.  By my taking my dream seriously enough to spend money on it, my family began to realize just how important it was.  My writing wasn’t just a fun hobby—but a serious pursuit of a dream.  Another benefit of plunking down those dollars for a workshop or conference or how-to book?  I was going to get the biggest bang for my buck.  The notes I took were college worthy if I do say so myself and the connections I made with other writers just like me has been invaluable throughout the years.  Also, don’t forget that there are a lot of ways to obtain these resources for discounted rates.  Many times you can volunteer at a conference that will reduce your fees or you can buy the workshop tapes from the conference and save the cost of travel and other costs.
·        Another important step in this path to publication is to learn the value of feedback and revisions.  For this step we need to develop a thicker skin.  It’s very easy to get attached to our “baby” and not want to hear that anything is wrong with it, but we all know the truth: almost everything can be made better through revisions/re-envisioning/rethinking.  But (and this is a big but) chose your beta readers/critique partners well.  I count myself extremely fortunate that I landed with three amazing writers early in my writing days.  They were (and are) instrumental to my success.
·        So now that you’ve written and revised a book, honed your craft through reading books and attending workshops and conferences, you are itching to send it out to the world.  Or at least a publishing professional who can get your dream in front of readers.  Even among my group of writer friends there is an ongoing debate as to whether you should get an agent or not.  My advice—GET AN AGENT.  But like with all the steps along the way, research, research, research to find that perfect match for you.

While this is in no means a complete list, I hope it helps you fulfill your dream of becoming a published author just as it did for me.  And if you have tips you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note through my website ( or FB (  Connecting with other writers and readers is one of the best gifts this career has given me.

About the Author

A past recipient of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Award, Kimberly Fisk is the bestselling author of Lake Magic. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, and too many four-legged critters to count.
Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Boardwalk Summer.




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