Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Angels Among Us

Hello Boys and Girls,
Well, as you may have noticed, I sometimes feel the need to post something more personal than just "writing" related stuff; although, if you've read any of my writing, you'll know there's always something "personal" in it.  Anyhow, this is one of the times I need to inject some reality into my world of fiction.  I'm copying this post straight from my Facebook page, so if you've already read it and the accompanying link, you can stop now.

Here, I'll ask you to jump to my daughter's blog and read the awful true story of two kittens tossed from a speeding truck.  Go to www.sarabarnardbooks.com  I think anyone who hurts children or animals should be bound and gagged and turned over to me for twenty-four hours.  They would never hurt another one.  (Yes, I've given it some thought.)

Karma & Francis...hanging in there
I also wanted to add this about my son-in-law, Sara's hubby.  He jumped out first to save the kittens. He's the Drill Sergeant with the three Purple Hearts from Afghanistan. He's also the one raising a family of 6 on a soldier's pay. Do they have $600 extra for this vet bill? Nope. But did that stop them from saving the kittens anyway?  Again, nope. So, thanks Jerry.  It seems as if you (and Sara) are still giving even though you're home now.  

By the way, Sara, if you ever need a pen name for one of your novels, how about Angel?

Afterthought: Was the driver of the gray truck evil or ignorant?  What do you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday May 27, 2012

Welcome to another installment of Six Sentence Sunday.  Still taking scenes from my upcoming Contemporary Romance, All for Love.  (Due out September 22, 2012)  Last week the sentences were from the scene where Liz first encountered the intriguing guy who dashed through their volleyball game without stopping.  This week’s scene is immediately after:

            We all flopped down, exhausted.  I looked around for the smiling boy who’d saved my game, but he was nowhere to be seen. 
            “Who was that?” I asked the group at large.
            Boyd cocked an eyebrow at me.  “Quinn Rose,” he said.  “Chick chasing him was Delilah, his girlfriend.”

Okay, that does it for this week.  Thanks for visiting!  More to come next week.  To check out other author’s Six—go here: 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview with amazing author, Carolyn Arnold

Carolyn Arnold

Hello Everyone,
Here’s a treat for all you crime fiction lovers – an interview with bestselling crime fiction/thriller author Carolyn Arnold.

Hi Carolyn, thanks for letting me probe your psyche. . .

To begin, please give us a brief summary of your books,  and tell us what makes each one unique.

TIES THAT BIND and JUSTIFIED are both part of the growing Madison Knight series.  The series is designed as a stand-alone, which means you can read these books out of order and still pick up on the series' characters and storyline.

Major Crimes Detective Madison Knight, fueled by determination to find justice for the victims, is a strong, independent female amidst a career dominated by men.  If you love a strong protagonist lead, I invite you to meet Madison for yourself.

In TIES THAT BIND, meet Madison Knight as she and partner must pull together to stop a potential serial killer.

In JUSTIFIED, the 2nd in the series, see the softer side of Madison Knight as she's assigned to a case on Christmas Eve.

ELEVEN is a thriller that follows new FBI agent Brandon Fisher on his first case.  Working in the shadow of Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper of the Behavioral Analysis Unit his career seemed set. But when the team is called to a small rural town where the remains of ten victims are found in an underground bunker, buried in an unusual way, Brandon knows he'll never return to his normal life.

With one empty grave, and the case touching close to home, he fears he's become the target of a psychotic serial killer who wants to make him number eleven. Only thing is, everything Brandon thinks he knows is far from the truth.

And, in answer to your question as to what makes each one unique, it is the characters.

At the age of 34, Madison Knight knows she wasn’t destined to be a cop, coming from generations of those who served before her. She isn’t holding on to a childhood trauma for which she seeks retribution. In fact, she’s probably a poor candidate for a Major Crimes Detective with her distaste for the sight of blood. But she pushes herself beyond it because she wanted a purpose to her life as opposed to just making it through it.

She didn’t want to be part of the cookie-cutter mold with family and kids – even though she came close once. The once being enough to seal the fact she didn’t need a man, and given time and opportunity any man would cheat. Instead, she was left with a broken heart and her belief there was someone special out there for everyone was shattered.

In ELEVEN, the reader follows along with a new FBI agent.  So many books focus on an experienced lead. 

You’re so prolific. How do you fit it all in?

I balance a full time day job with full-time hours devoted to my writing, editing, marketing and networking.

What do you like to do when you are not working/writing?

I’m a homebody for the most part, but also love doing new things at times.  I love getting away to Toronto, and seeing Broadway plays and I enjoy fine dining.  Around home, I love settling down with a good movie, or a good book, with a glass of red wine (okay maybe more than one glass). 

Hah! Who is your favorite author of all time?  In other words, who accompanies that glass (or three) of red wine?

If I were to pick one alone, it would be David Baldacci.  He has a way of tapping into the lives of powerful men, and making you understand their motivations—ethical or not.  He has a way of providing details to the reader, which form a strong connection to the characters in the book.  He’s helped me in my writing journey because I realize how important it is to take the time to “flesh out” characters.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m actually reading about four indie books right now, as well as a David Baldacci novel.  I don’t like to disclose the books I’m reading until I’m finished and post reviews, though.

You sound like me, I’m always in the middle of several books at once.  So, what are you writing at the moment?

At the moment, my project is edits on SACRIFICE, the third in The Madison Knight series.  It’s slated for release summer this year, with the latest deadline in mind being the start of July.

Describe your writing routine.  Do you have any special rituals such as a certain type of music playing or anything like that?

Usually when I’m writing, I love first thing in the morning.  I don’t normally play any music when I’m writing...I have recently started to do so with the editing process (the house can be so quiet sometimes).  And let’s not forget coffee.   I need coffee.

Yes, coffee, and lots of it!  I know you help out other authors all the time.  What is the philosophy behind this?

It’s part of who I am.  I love supporting my fellow authors, as they have, and do support me as well.  We are really a community in my mind, a brotherhood of sorts.  As far as I’m concerned we’re stronger as a group.  We can’t view our fellow authors as our competition.  As a friend of mine has been quoted as saying many times, “there is room for all of us to succeed.” 

I love that idea.  The older I get, the less competitive I become.  Do you have any tips for other writers?  Or those who want to write?

I know I’m not the first to say this, and I won’t be the last, but write every day.  If you are finished with a writing project, still keep with busy with other writing processes, such as editing, or if you’re schedule is tight, write regular posts for your blog.

The other thing is, never give up.  Keep strong.  Accept the fact that you’ll have your low moments, and move on.

I agree wholeheartedly.  Now, just for fun, (and because I like weird stuff), tell us the funniest, scariest, or strangest thing that ever happened to you. . .

Well, you may appreciate this, Ann, as you’re a paranormal author, but in the planning stages of ELEVEN when I was still brainstorming the basic plot, I swear I saw the killer right in front of me.  Yes, I realize that sounds creepy, and I know it freaked me out at the time. 

I was out for dinner with my husband and we were talking about the book.  I still hadn’t completely pegged the killer, his background or the motivation yet.  Then I swear I “saw” him...just standing in the restaurant.  He was there and then gone.  (I was drinking some wine, but probably still could have driven at this point.)

I also had vivid nightmares during the early stages of ELEVEN as well.  So if you’re in for a dark novel, pick it up!  Humor and lighter moments are also essential to balance out the dark elements in this novel, and you’ll find all that in there too.

Oooh, you’re right, I love it!  Manifestation of a character . . . cue the Twilight Zone soundtrack.  Thanks so much for being here, Carolyn, and for all the things you do to support the rest of us.

Okay, folks, to wrap it up, here’s a recap on this amazing author:

Carolyn Arnold is the author of several novels in various genres.  Her mystery novels Ties That Bind and Justified have reached best seller status on Amazon United States for Kindle.  Her FBI thriller Eleven released November 2011, and made it on The Miami Books Examiner's “Top 12 Fiction Books of 2011” list.  She currently lives with her husband and two beagles in a city near the well-known Canadian center, Toronto.

Where to connect with Carolyn online:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday May 13, 2012

Hello again,


Here are Six more sentences from my contemporary romance which is still under the working title "How Long Does it Take (to fall out of love)?" It is slated for publication September 22, 2012.  

This scene takes place right after the second explosion at the plastics plant.  The two friends, Liz and Veronica, were having lunch at a sidewalk cafe not too far away.  They had just leapt to their feet to see what they could see after the first explosion.  Then the second one occurred.  Liz is the narrator:

My head grazed a table as I fell.  I sensed the concrete rushing up to meet me, but there was no pain; instead, silence engulfed me like deep water.  Everything slowed.  After a moment, I became aware that my knees were bleeding inside my new white Capri’s; spackles of blood were seeping through.  That’s when I spotted Ronnie crawling across the blistered sidewalk toward me.  Her face was dotted with red like a Botox-party nightmare. 

That's it for today!  Hope you enjoyed it.  See ya next Sunday.  If you would like to participate in Six Sentence Sunday, or if you would like to read other author's excerpts, go to http://www.sixsunday.com/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interview with author, Sara Barnard

Hello everyone,
Time for another author interview: It’s a good thing there’s no such thing as a nepotism rule in writing.  For those of you who don’t already know, let me introduce you to my wonderful daughter, Sara  Barnard.

Good morning, Missimoo (you don't mind if I call you that in public, do you? heh heh), 
obviously, I know a little about your everyday life.  How about telling our readers about it?

My everyday life really varies day-to-day depending on if anyone has doctor/dental/eye/vet appointments, if my husband is off work or in cycle (he is a Drill Sergeant), or if it is a weekend or weekday.  But there are a few common threads that run through each and every day.  I have four children: ages 7,5, almost 3, and newly 1 and of course they need to be fed, bathed, and loved on every day.  We have three dogs, two cats (one we adopted and one who adopted us), eleven Easter-egger chickens, and one horse.  Then there is the cooking (I usually suggest eating out), the cleaning (which is never all the way finished), and the laundry.  The laundry itself is epic at my house.  Then I have my job as a courthouse reporter for Courthouse News Service that takes me over the Red River into Texas a couple of times a week.  Oh yeah, and I write, too.

Speaking of the writing, tell us about your nonfiction book.  I understand the first graders loved hearing you read from it the other day . . .

Yes, they seemed to enjoy it!  The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants features an interesting Oklahoma plant for each letter of the alphabet.  It’s available in both digital and print on my website: www.sarabarnardbooks.com and at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/7t5rl85  Each chapter features a full color professional photograph of the plant, the plant’s history, what makes it interesting, hunting tips, and insightful backcountry wisdom that can always come in handy in the bush.  There are three appendices, an index of where each plant is found, a map of Oklahoma counties, and a bibliography.  The majority of the pictures were graciously donated by Joe Marcus from Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas, too, so they are high-quality images.

What made you want to write a book like this?

The outdoors are an integral part of who I am.  Before I had kids, I spent my time working toward my history degree during the off-season and during the summers, I would volunteer with the Student Conservation Association (www.the-sca.org).  This took me out and about from Alaska to New Mexico and turned out to be some of the most influential experiences of my life.  Now that I have four little Sooners of my own, the importance of instilling a love of nature in them has become very significant.  So I wrote this book to encourage all children to get out in nature, find some funny-looking and weird-sounding plants, and find themselves in the process!

Why did you self-publish it?  I happen to know that you have an agent and a publisher for both your historical romance (5 Prince Publishing) and for your shorter fiction (Cool Well Press) . . .

The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants was being considered by a publisher who promised to publish it in hardcover and full color.  Well by the time we got around to signing the contract, terms had changed to my book being published in black and white with four pictures grouped together per page.  Then, I would have had to buy 100 copies of my own book myself in addition to doing my own marketing.  I figured that I could publish it myself in full color with it formatted how I wanted – one picture per chapter as opposed to a cluster of pictures at the end of the book.  And since I would be doing all of my own marketing anyway, this just seemed more feasible.  One of the most important reasons I chose to self publish, though, is to have The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants ready for distribution in time for summer.  Which it is!    

With all of your other responsibilities, how do you ever find time to write anything?

Writing keeps me from going crazy.  Sometimes after a particularly stressful day, disappearing into another time and place via my computer screen and MS WORD as the portal, I can get lost in circa-Civil War times somewhere along the Mississippi River with Charlotte Adamsland (the heroine of my book A Heart on Hold), outwit Yankee defectors in the company of Harriet Tubman, and fall in love with my one and only all over again.  I love being able to experience cultures I might never otherwise have the pleasure of exploring, like the persecuted Hungarian Gypsy tribe that another of my A Heart on Hold characters, Minerva Dika, hails from.  The best part is, I can do all this from the comfort of my computer chair after the kids are asleep!   

When is A Heart on Hold, (historical romance) going to be published?  Also, tell us where the idea for it originated.  Did you dream of sparkling soldiers on the field of battle?

I didn’t dream of sparkling soldiers, but sparkling vampires sort of did have a hand in the birth of A Heart on Hold.  Well, Stephenie Meyer did.  My husband was deployed and I was back in my hometown with three little kids when my dear friend, Rochelle, dragged my depressed self off the couch and to the theatre.  We saw Eclipse.  I hadn’t jumped on the Twilight bandwagon with the rest of the world, but I was a regular Twihard by the time the movie was over.  On the way home, Rochelle mentioned that Stephenie Meyer was a housewife with four kids and she still managed to write the Twilight Saga.  Inspired, I started on A Heart on Hold that very night.

Will there be a sequel?

Yes, book two is A Heart Broken and book three is A Heart at Home.  I think readers will enjoy the adventures of Sanderson and Charlotte as they face adventure and adversity in the reconstructive years of our country.  I wish I could tell you what happens … so I will tell you this.  Murphy’s Law is alive and well in The Everlasting Heart series and if it was faced by families in the 19th century, most likely Sanderson and Charlotte will battle it head on.

Tell us about your upcoming story in Campfire Tales.  Isn’t it based on a real event?

Desperado is an Old West ghost story set in modern times.  While on a family camping trip, Shelby responds to her mother’s “true” ghost story with skepticism and through her own folly, unwittingly revives the old legend … only now the ancient curse is centered on her!  Desperado is based on a wooden mallet my great-grandma purchased at a garage sale in Lamesa, TX twenty years ago.  On the way home to Odessa, TX, we were examining the mallet and she somehow managed to gash her finger on it.  The funny part was that the Eagles song, Desperado, was playing on every station … except the country station, which was playing Clint Black’s cover of Desperado.  Gives me chills to remember it.  When my great-grandma bonked herself somehow and got a bloody nose, we decided to put the mallet back in the box.  My aunt has it today and swears that weird stuff happens whenever she brings it out.     

Who is your favorite author? And why?

I have a few.  Larry McMurtry will always be a cut above the rest in my eyes, I have been reading him since I was eleven and Lonesome Dove is more than just a book and movie … it is more of a Utopian society in which I wish I lived.  Lucia St. Clair Robson’s Ride the Wind was, and is, like a breath of fresh air.  Her work really inspires me and makes me wonder if that old Marty Robbins song, El Paso City, is true.  But my all time favorite author would have to be Ann Swann, my mommy. 

Awww.  That’s so sweet (but I don’t believe it, I’ve seen your dog-eared copy of Lonesome Dove—you read that thing until it literally fell apart!). 

To finish up … what one tip would you give to an aspiring writer?

Embrace the synopsis and query letter!  Seize and throttle them!  The one thing I learned on my own is that after writing many, many drafts of a query letter and synopsis for A Heart on Hold, I not only knew my book and plot better, but I felt that I had turned a page in my writing career.  Mastering these essential pieces really gave me the confidence I’d been lacking.

Thank you for sharing with us, Sara! I can’t wait to hold these books in my hands.  I’m very proud of you.

Once again, here are the links to order the books, or just to contact Sara. (She loves to talk LOL).
The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants
It’s available in both digital and print at: www.sarabarnardbooks.com and at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/7t5rl85 

A Heart on Hold will be published in September, 2012 by 5 Prince Publishing.  Sara will post an update when it comes out.

Campfire Tales will be published in October, 2012.  We will both post links for that when it comes out!

Here are the links to contact Sara:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sara.barnard6

Kiss those grandbabies for me!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 5-6-12

            Welcome to another installment of Six Sentence Sunday.  Today is a follow-up to last week's entry: the beginning of my new Contemporary Romance which is still going by the working title: How Long Does it Take to Fall Out of Love, or as I jokingly refer to it: HLDITTFOOL   Don't worry, I have a much shorter title in mind, just waiting on edits before making it official.
             Last week, Liz and Ronnie, best friends since their college days, were having lunch at a sidewalk cafe when the plastics plant exploded.  Today, we get Liz's impression of the scene:

             Up and down the street people poured onto the sidewalks, pointing southward.  I saw a great pillar of black smoke billowing from the place where there should have been only tall towers, slim columns, and fat boilers.  Inside the smoke, orange flames licked at the edges of the deceptively serene noontime sky.
           I shaded my eyes and looked away.  It was too much, too surreal.  On the ground, dozens of black smudges caught my eye, grackles knocked out of the air by the concussive blast; the smaller gray spots were undoubtedly sparrows.

That's it for today!  See ya next Sunday.  If you would like to participate in Six Sentence Sunday, simply go to http://www.sixsunday.com/