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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki

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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki – 4 Stars

“The Lives We Fear” by Dan Otsuki is an engaging collection of horror short stories that will leave you wanting even more. Each story could easily be adapted into a script for episodic television. The dialog-rich tales lend themselves to other media for sure.

Each story explores a particular fear, both real and imagined. Whether it be monsters or loss or real-life people that we are afraid of.

The common and recurring theme throughout this book challenges the characters to show us what they would really do in a fearful situation. The depth and realism will keep readers hooked through to the end.

The well-developed characters could easily be in a modern-day “Twilight Zone”-like series on AMC or HBO. In particular “Mister Jackson Monroe” and “Keepers” lend themselves to a small screen treatment. The use of profanity would be not only allowed but also welcomed on these cable networks.

Any of these tales could be lengthened with additional scenes and rewritten as a full-length novel. We can only hope that this is to come from this promising new author.

The fears suggested in the book’s title range from fear of fatherhood to fear of the apocalypse. A creepy bed and breakfast and fear of being alone are also topics covered here.

One story doesn’t deal with fear as much as it presents a scenario of how children could come to beat a man, to death,  for seemingly no reason. In this case fear is transferred from the characters to the reader. It raises the stakes from playing with imaginary monsters to going after an innocent, but real, live human. It presents a commentary on how conditioned we are from being bombarded with a lifetime of violent games and stories. Some of us erroneously believe that there are no real consequences to our actions. A thrill killing becomes just something to do for fun or to see what would happen.

In all, this collection will please fans of the genre. The way that each tale is set in modern times with realistic and believable characters makes it a good read.

This collection of eight short stories evokes shades of both Stephen King and “The Twilight Zone” as well. No doubt these are some of the young author’s influences. Still an undergraduate studying in Washington State, we hope to see much more from him.

 

 

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Fear. From childhood it is instilled in all to fear monsters, ghosts, and other terrors within the realm of the unknown. As adults, we easily forget about the boogeyman who lurked under our bed or in the shadows of a dark corner. Our grown-up fears take on an even more disturbing twist that frequently mingles with reality.

What happens when the things we really fear—the things we can’t bare to lose—invade our lives? The truest form of the human condition is exposed. Whether rational, or irrational, survival—at any cost—becomes paramount, morals be damned. The Lives We Fear is a compilation of short stories that examines these chilling and very plausible scenarios: what does one do when the people one loves are endangered? When life spirals from beyond one’s control? Or, even when one’s humanity is in jeopardy?

From lost loves, to lost friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and even getting caught amidst seemingly innocent mistakes, these stories examine just what keeps us up at night and what preoccupies our nightmares when we finally sleep, because it’s not always our own demise that forces us to shiver.

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AboutTheAuthor

Born on October 14, 1993, Dan Otsuki grew up an only child. As his early life found him a good thirty minutes or more away from kindergarten and preschool friends, Dan found solace in action figures and Legos, making up his own narrative of their lives and adventures. Starting in high school, and inspired by authors like Stephen King and media like The Twilight Zone, the Mass Effect video game series, and a plethora of horror films, Dan began to pursue his passion for writing. Since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington—where Dan currently lives as he works on his undergraduate degree—Dan has found a passion for religious studies in addition to English and creative writing. He currently works at Diversions Cafe on the Puget Sound campus, and spends much of his free time engrossed with all kinds of movies with his close friends.

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Book Excerpt

It felt like a movie: the extras standing in the background, overacting their sense of excitement, or sorrow, or terror; the sound seeming to distort, as though the editors wanted the shot to drown out the world, make the audience focus on what just happened, to give them the sense of how important and terrible what they just saw was. There was blood, too, and not the cheap stuff they get for bad indie films, but the kind that looks real as it spreads through the victim’s clothing like a cancer, then falls with the body. The victim, bless his role, should get an award for his performance—bags dropped to the ground, chest and shoulders shuddering from the impact as he fell with a gasp and nothing more. The shooter should at least be nominated for something, his face cold enough to cut himself from the scene, as though he could see it all unfold as a bystander. Maybe he’s the director. If so, he knows exactly what he’s doing—no ad-libbing. The victim falls, and the boys in the editing room know exactly how to work slow-motion, milk it. They really want the audience to see him fall, his head smacking the pavement, and the red wine in one of his bags falling out and cracking open and mixing with the blood around his head and that spilling from his chest (they’ll call it a symbol for a halo). The audience will cringe, maybe shriek, but after the climax, the falling resolution will leave them feeling satisfied, like that was bound to happen. Peaceful. Because a movie isn’t real. Even those “based on real events” aren’t really real. It’s just a bunch of actors, sets, props, directions—but none of it’s real.
Daniel swayed back and forth, gun trembling in his hands. He wished it was a movie. In the movies, it always works out for the good guy. Right? Wasn’t he the good guy? Wasn’t he? It sure wasn’t Jackson. Jackson’s dead.
Dead.
Really dead. Not like the movies.

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The author is giving away e-copies of THE LIVES WE FEAR for 4 winners of the Rafflecopter.

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Review – Facade Unveiling the Masquerade by J. Kahele

Review - Facade Unveiling the Masquerade

Review – Facade – Unveiling the Masquerade by J Kahele

“Facade – Unveiling the Masquerade” by J Kahele is more than just another romance novel. It is a thriller full of intrigue. Favorite characters Liam and Ally both return in this second book of the acclaimed series.
Liam Sheldon, the book’s protagonist, takes a job in Maryland, referred to as the “Maryland Project.” Soon he finds himself returning to Chicago to testify against his old flame, Kate. In doing so he realizes how strong his feelings are for Ally.
Liam carries an old faded Polaroid photo of Ally and himself out for a night on the town. In addition, a very personal love note accompanies the image from the one he truly loves.
A driven man, full of life and sexual desire, has his target in his sights and will stop at nothing to get her.
Even with all of his recent business success, Liam realizes that there are certain things even money cannot buy. A meeting at a restaurant outside the courthouse confirms his strong feelings for her. Ally tries to convince herself that he is no good for he, but to no avail.
Liam’s ex, Kate, is on trial for the attempted murder and kidnapping of Ally. Is she guilty or criminally insane? Her antics and stalking of Ally are very suspect in this story.
As impulsive as he is driven, Liam often treats himself to a life of luxury. By fully indulging in all the trappings of wealth that a successful career can bring, he truly does “live large.”
His best friend and “bro” Stark makes a great buddy character for Liam and he is never far from the action. The two play well off of each other and even provide some nice comic relief that helps connect the story together as we move along the hero’s journey.
But he is as generous with gifts as he is as a lover when it comes to Ally. The scenes involving their interactions are engaging and well written.
Will he claim her as his prize in the end? You must read this one to find out. we can only hope it all works out in the end.
If you enjoyed the “Mine” trilogy, you should definitely check out the “Facade” books. The ending is satisfying and the author does a great job in creating a set of bookend scenes around this story. And hopefully we are now set up for more to come in this series.

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When Liam Sheldon is summoned to Chicago, to testify for the prosecution against Kate, and is again reunited with Ally, he realizes he can no longer hold back his feelings for her and his want to be with her, takes over his complete existence.

He reveals to Ally that he has made a terrible mistake, leaving her, that he loves her and asks her to take him back. But Ally is reluctant, afraid he will break her heart again.

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AboutTheAuthorI am a married mother of three teenage girls and live in south eastern Michigan. I have one flaw that could rightly be considered the worst flaw possible. I procrastinate constantly, which gets me into a little more trouble than I like, especially with my girls. I love to swim, ride horses, relax to a good book and spend time with my family. Writing has helped me to calm down the very hectic life I have and release the scattered thoughts that often run through my head,(no I don’t hear voices), but I do envision characters of my books, when I see people interacting around me. That’s pretty much sums up my life!

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After months of hard work and dedication, the Maryland project was finally ready for sale. With over five hundred business owners bidding for the new improved company, Liam sat in on negotiations for weeks before finally choosing a buyer.

The project not only proved to be the most profitable one, but it also defined his company as one of the most sought-after investment companies in the world. His email constantly swarmed with potential customers begging for him to buy them out.

He should be ecstatic, proud that he had finally accomplished the one feat he strived for—success. But the triumphant prosperity was bittersweet. Selling out his heart to a life of loneliness was not worth the price.
Sitting at his desk, he glanced fondly at the Polaroid, snapped by a photographer when he traveled with Ally to New York to see the play Les Miserables. He frowned as he saw the dingy yellow cast surround the fading picture, a common consequence of the cheap film. His lip quirked up on one side slightly as her reflection caught his eye, her shiny dark hair framing her face elegantly, bringing attention to the gold flecks in her amber eyes. She is so beautiful.

Even after eight months, his heart still ached for her every breathing moment.
Sliding his hand into his suit coat pocket, he pulled out the folded paper that he carried with the Polaroid everywhere he went. It was his reminder of a happier time, the only thing that helped him make it through each agonizing day without her.

A lump began to form in his throat as he carefully unfolded the note she had left him the morning after they had made love for the first time. It read:
Liam,

I wanted to thank you for an unbelievable night. I know it may be a one-time thing, and I don’t expect more. But I need you to know that it was very special to me and a night I will always remember.
Ally xoxo

Memories instantly flooded his mind: her invisible scent tingling through his nose; her smile playing tricks on his eyes as he envisioned her staring down at him.
“Ally,” he muttered, and instantly the vision disappeared. The illusion devastated him and he grunted, squeezing his eyes closed tightly as a soaring fleet of mixed emotions shot through his head, making him restless and shaky. God, I miss her!

The guilt and regret still lay heavy on his heart, igniting the suffering and agony that seemed to haunt him since he had left Chicago. Breathlessly he grabbed the sides of his head, yanking at his hair, attempting to quote his mantra, the one that made him better, stronger—but  the words dissipated from his mind and only visions of Ally and the last time he saw her lingered behind his eyelids.

Her eyes—those beautiful eyes, glazed with hurt and pain that he had cast upon her, after he selfishly shattered his promise to never break her heart.
“We were no good for each other,” he mumbled under his breath. But even as the words floated out of his mouth, he knew there was no real truth to them.

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Review – The Tramp by Sarah Wathen

Review - The Tramp by Sarah Wathen
Review – The Tramp by Sarah Wathen

The Tramp (The Bound Chronicles, #1) by Sarah Wathen

“The Tramp” by Sarah Wathen comes from a true artist. The author, a classically trained painter and fine artist, created a true work of beauty. As the first book of “The Bound Chronicles,” it creates a world  you will want to see a lot more of in the future.
“The Tramp” is a story of two young and innocent children, John and Candy. After Candy saved him from a dog attack, they become fast friends. John repays the favor soon thereafter creating a strong bond between them.
Buffalo Square and Shirley County are rich and memorable places, steeped in history. Established in 1927, during Prohibition and between the wars, the town seems like a simpler place and an oasis from a tumultuous world.
As you read on, you soon realize that the town is not as quiet and quaint as it seems. The story is actually more paranormal and suspenseful. There are elements of horror and more to this mysterious place. It is a must read for all suspense lovers as it truly keeps you guessing about what is coming next.

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AboutTheAuthor

An artist turned author, Sarah Wathen is a storyteller by trade and a painter at heart. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, then completed graduate studies in Fine Art at Parson’s School of Design in New York City. Her first step into the world of independent publishing was as an illustrator, and Sarah quickly realized she wanted to write her own books rather than illustrate others. That reinvention came as no surprise to family and friends, who remember her as a child always ready to turn a tale. Hours spent under the backyard stairs with her sister—dreaming up imaginary friends with outlandish names like Afisha and Pekins, and designing social networks called the Plant Club and the Tutu Group—were recorded and illustrated, too. Copies still exist under lock and key!

Sarah currently resides in Florida and runs the indie label, LayerCake Productions. Look for her first novel, a paranormal mystery due for release in April 2015: The Tramp, Book One of the Bound Chronicles.

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Email: layercakeproductionsllc@gmail.com

Twitter: @SWathen_Author

Facebook: SarahLWathen

Tumblr: swathen.tumblr.com

Instagram: sarah.wathen

Wattpad: SarahWathen

Medium: @sarahwathen

More on LayerCake Productions: www.layercakeproductions.com

Mother’s Day Event – Author Donna Friess

Join Us for Our Mother’s Day Event! Bring Your Mothers, Daughters & Sisters!

    

 

JOIN US FOR OUR OWN

DR. DONNA FRIESS’ PROGRAM

GET HAPPY: SIX LIFE CHANGING HABITS

WOMANSAGE CONNECTS MAY 12TH

 

Psychologist Donna Friess will inspire and share with us Six Life Changing Happiness Habits!

Her poignant story of being forced to take legal action to stop her father from abusing his four year-old granddaughter, reached 50 million people worldwide.

With appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and others, her autobiography, Cry the Darkness, became a best seller, printed in seven languages.

As an advocate for women and children, Donna is highly aware of the serious issues women face.

Her gripping debut novel, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest shines a light on some of those issues.

It recently placed in The Pacific Rim International Festival of  Books.

Signed copies will be available for $12.  GREAT GIFT IDEA.  All proceeds will help fund our philanthropies.  Donna has donated her cost of the books to Womansage.

 

Special pricing for Spring 2015 & Fall 2014 Transition Ladies.

To learn more about Donna, to listen to her podcast on KUCI, and to register for this event go to our website www.womansage.org

 

When: Tuesday, May 12th

5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  

Where: At the beautiful newly remodeled Center Club
650 Town Center Dr.
Costa Mesa, CA

Please note special meal requests cannot be honored at the dinner, but must be made in advance toinfo@womansage.org

Reservation deadline is
noon Friday, May 8.

 

Cover Reveal – The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest by Donna Friess

Take a Look at The Stunning Cover of

The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest

by Donna Friess

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Title: The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest

Author: Donna Friess

Genre: Women’s Fiction > Contemporary Women >Domestic Life >Parenting & Relationships > Adoption

Unraveling of Shelby Forrest

 

“As someone who has adopted children, I found this emotionally charged, complex first novel, written by award winning author, Donna Friess, draws you in immediately and holds you in its’ thrall from the first page to the last. The author explores the grief, guilt and pain of giving up a baby for adoption and the secrets that can tear apart a marriage.” Leanne A., CA

 

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“There are surprises and tears, smiles and laughter, when I finished the story I was asking for more. The characters are complex and the story delivers the harrowing and heart-wrenching story of so many women that have had to make these impossible decisions. It is a must read for any parent.” -Micki Harris, CA

 

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 Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”  –  Donna L. Friess, Ph.D.

 

Excerpt for Cover Reveal - The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest

“We see the gentler side of humanity here. The message of both hope and love was inspiring. I LOVED this book.” Kriss M., CA

 “Written with love and warmth, the book draws you in and keeps you eager to learn the outcome, which is satisfying, yet surprising.” Catherine M., Florida

 

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About the Author

Donna Friess’ story of being forced to take legal action to stop her father from continuing to sexually abuse his four year-old granddaughter, reached 50 million people worldwide. With appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and others, her autobiography, Cry the Darkness, (1993 Health Communications), became a best seller, printed in seven languages. Dr. Friess  She is an expert in recovery from trauma. She has authored six books, and is a member TTAC (Technical Training and Advisory Consortium) through the Office of Victims of Crime, U.S. Justice Dept., she was nominated for the American President’s Service Award.
DSC_3262Donna L. Friess, Ph.D.

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Review – Across the Pond by Michael McCormick

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Across The Pond by Michael McCormick is the story of a young American who fights for his country during the war in Vietnam, only to be rejected when he returns home. The author, based the book on his personal experience as an infantry squad leader who served in combat. In the foreword for the book, author Ron Kovic wrote, “This little book grips the reader from the very beginning and does not let go.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Michael McCormick is the author of Across The Pond. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps just out of high school at the age of 17. Soon after, he found himself in battle in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. He was nearly killed on several occasions, but managed to survive and return home at age 19. After the war, Michael earned his B.A. in psychology and his M.A. in clinical psychology. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife Gina. You can contact him at: mikemccormick49@ymail.com.

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REVIEW

Across the Pond: An emotional story of a young soldier in the Vietnam War

“Across the Pond” by Michael McCormick is not just another book about the Vietnam War. The author puts us in the shoes of Shawn McBride, known as Mac, an enlisted man in the U.S. Marine Corps. We get a first-hand account of what it was like to actually be there.

Not enough has been written in book form about this particular war, as very few, if any, veterans are willing to tell their tale. Students of all ages could benefit greatly from this short readable story.

Heart-wrenching moments when a soldier cannot tell if a boy is just a child or Vietcong, are almost unbearable. And some of the violence and inhumanity are hard to take. But, this is a story that needs to be told and is well worth the read.

The book begins in the heat of war in Vietnam and takes us through the first chapters detailing what happens to Mac. A quick flashback to the family farm reminds the reader of how simple life can be. As dangerous as farm work is, it is a world away from the jungles and rice paddies of the front.

Mac was a driven young man and yearned to get out into the world. So much so that he signed up with the Marines just for a chance to “cross the pond,” known as the Pacific Ocean and do his part in Vietnam.

Anyone with a father, grandfather, brother, or other loved one who served in Vietnam would enjoy this book.

The background of the author adds much weight to this tale. Like the protagonist, he also served in Vietnam and hailed from rural Ohio. Michael McCormick also earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star Medal at the ripe old age of nineteen upon returning home.

All this is packed into an easily readable 54 pages. The tale will make the reader experience a range of emotions, but likely reduce any feeling person to tears by the end.

McCormick literally takes us to hell and back in this book. Readers will live and breathe this war as a shared nightmare. The detailed storytelling puts a genuine human touch on the events that occurred, making this a very important read.

QUOTES

“I think war is a crime, if you don’t believe me, ask the infantry, ask the dead.”

“With this work, McCormick takes his place among the other important chroniclers of this period.”

“Sean McBride had survived his war in Vietnam. At the age of nineteen, he was about to be decorated with the Silver Star Medal, the third highest military award for gallantry in action.”

“His experience in war had shaped his thinking in unique ways. He knew he was different from other men.”

 

GIVEAWAY

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The author is giving away a paperback copy of ACROSS THE POND to one winner of the Rafflecopter.
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Cover Reveal – The Tramp by Sarah Wathen

Take a Look at the Beautiful Cover for The Tramp

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TitleThe Tramp (The Bound Chronicles Book 1)
 
GenreMystery, Thriller &Suspense  > Supernatural > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban 
 
Author: Sarah Wathen
 
Cover: Sarah Wathen
 
Release DateApril 13, 2015
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Book Description

When John was seven, he found Candy dancing in the neighboring yard wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini and red rain galoshes, splashing and dancing and singing at the top of her lungs. She saved his throat from getting ripped out by her grandma’s guard dog. Good thing she did, too. It was John who raised the alarm that day, when the man who smiled with his mouth but not his eyes drove off with Candy in a cloud of dust. The police stopped whatever might have happened next in a seedy motel—a place Candy doesn’t dare remember. John rescued her, creating a bond between two friends strong enough to awaken…something.

Years later, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. John discovers disturbing symbols from the ancient tribes indigenous to the area in his history textbook, in a local cave system, and in his very dreams. Candy uncovers a family history that is more colorful than she knew. If shades of black are colorful.
If only the two friends could foresee the danger looming before them. For another something, one much more dangerous than the first, is waking up to continue the cycle.Murder forces everyone out of sunny valley torpor, and Candy realizes that more than acquaintance connects her with the killer. When a corpse is found, gutted as if for ritual, she knows that whatever evil has overtaken her hometown is moving forward. She will have to exorcise the haunting herself—though she has no idea how—and she will need John’s predestined help to do it. Candy will have to face the memories of that seedy motel room first. At least she finally understands the power she never knew she had—a link to her departed mother and a line of healers shrouded in pre-history.

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About the Author

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Sarah Wathen is an artist turned author. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, and received her Master’s in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design in New York City. If Florida was where she discovered her passion, New York was the place she found her voice. “Writing a book was my obvious next step, once I realized I’d been trying to tell stories with pictures for years,” she says about transitioning from visual artist to novelist. “Painting with words is even more fun than painting with oil.” Sarah lives in Florida with her husband, son, and at least a dozen imaginary friends from her novels. A painter at heart, her books incorporate art judicially, both in narrative content and supporting materials. Her characters are derived from the people and places that have influenced her own life—at least one beloved pet makes it into every book—but the stories they live will take you places you have never imagined, and won’t want to leave.
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GUEST BLOG POST by Debra Pickett

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 Writing, for Busy People

We’re all busy.  It’s almost a competition these days, talking about how much you have going on and how little sleep you get.

So, if you’re living life and working a job and raising a family, adding something else to the mix – like, say, writing a book – might seem impossible.  And, sometimes, it’s true: there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  But, for a lot of us, a lot of the time, we can find that little bit of extra energy and focus to devote to a creative project if we make it a priority to do so.

I’m incredibly lucky to have honed my writing skills as a newspaper reporter with a daily deadline.  There is nothing better for building the muscles you need to write quickly (and, eventually, maybe even well) than the simple necessity created by the blank screen in front of you and the ticking clock over your shoulder.  The thing you learn this way is that, like so much in life, the key to writing is to just do it.  You just have to get words on the page.  They don’t have to be perfect.  They don’t even have to be good.  But they have to be there.  You have to have a place to start.  As a reporter, I’d start with my notes.  If I couldn’t think of anything better to write, I’d begin by just transcribing the handwritten scribbles from my spiral-bound reporter’s notebook, typing them out and reading them back to myself as they appeared on the screen.  Inevitably, a phrase or a quote or a really interesting fact would reveal itself and I would know I had something.  Anchoring my hopes on that single scrap, I’d bite my lip and start really writing.

Today, as a novelist, I try to apply that same method to writing fiction.  Almost everything I do begins with longhand notes – ideas, observations, snippets of overheard conversations – that I jot down in a little composition book that’s always in my bag.  That way, when I find the time to actually sit down at my computer to really work on my manuscript, I always have a place to start.  I begin by just typing my notes.  Sometimes, the best I can do with them is to find “homes” for them within my very detailed outline.  (I use Storymill software for maintaining a database of scenes, keeping a plot timeline and tracking details of my characters’ lives.  There are lots of tools out there to buy or make that can help you do the same.)  Other times, I can take some little moment and begin to craft it into an entire scene.  Either way, when I do sit down at my computer for writing time, I still hold myself to a deadline: I will work on this until 5:30. 

For me, planning and measuring out my writing time is essential to being productive.  I keep a ridiculously detailed calendar that includes my work commitments, my kids’ activities, personal appointments, social plans, my husband’s travel schedule, dedicated blocks of time for running and exercise and even the two TV shows that I consider to be required viewing (The Good Wife and Parenthood).  When I have a realistic and comprehensive view of how my time will be used in a given week, I then identify a couple of blocks of time that I can take for writing.  These precious hours need to come when the rest of my family is occupied and when I’m not completely exhausted.  Some weeks, I can only manage to find 90 minutes like this.  That’s not a lot, but it’s not zero, either.

As I said, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a chance, in my journalism career, to develop the kind of discipline it takes to write when you have very limited time.  For those who haven’t had that chance, I think there are a few ways to cultivate the same mindset and skills.

First – and, in my experience, this was the very hardest thing – you have to give yourself permission to do this.  Writing a novel and having it published was a lifelong goal for me; truly, what I’d dreamed of doing since I was a little girl.  But, somehow, on a daily basis, other things always seemed more important.  I was either working a job (first as a journalist and then as a media consultant) or building my business (the legal PR firm I now run) or taking care of my kids or spending time with my husband or managing our house or running or cooking or cleaning up …. Well, you get the picture.  The idea of walking away from any of that in order to work on a creative hobby like writing felt just utterly selfish to me.  I have 3 kids less than 3 years apart in age.  There were several brutally sleep deprived early years when I simply could not fathom having “alone time” or “me time” that did not involve also getting the groceries.  Still, at a certain point, something clicked with me and I recognized that I was really losing myself in all those responsibilities.  I needed to write creatively again to find myself.  And, ultimately, I believe that my family is better off for having me happy, fulfilled and (not least) a role model for following your dreams and ambitions.

Second, it’s important to be realistic and clear about your goals and priorities.  Sit down and honestly assess the amount of time you can devote to writing.  For most of us, there is some amount of “lost” time we can reclaim for things that are important to us: the time we spend zoned out on the Internet or in front of the TV or flipping through magazines.  It’s important, though, to recognize that you do need some of this down time, just to give your brain a break.  For most of us, a plan to write for three hours each night after the kids go to be just isn’t going to work.  If writing is important to you, try to start by finding 1 or 2 hours a week to devote to it.  Maybe it will be your lunch break one day a week or maybe you’ll declare one night a week as “pizza night” and use the recovered cooking time for your project instead.  Or maybe you’ll escape to a coffeehouse on Sunday afternoon.  The point is: find some time and start there.

Third and finally, finding some kind of external accountability for being productive in your writing is key.  Whether you sign up for a course, join a writing group with weekly meetings, or try something totally off the wall, like NaNoWriMo, having other people invested in your work, and waiting to see what you produce, is a tremendous motivator.  If these options feel too social, you might also find an online forum or a personal writing coach, with whom you can agree on a schedule to deliver a certain number of words (of any quality) or a certain amount of time to devote to your project.

 

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Guest Post By Author Bernadette Y. Connor

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Guest Post by Author Bernadette Y. Connor

PRESSING ON

 The one confession I have heard over and over from authors as I moved around the country is, “I hate doing book signings and personal appearances.”  One in particular labeled it, “The horse and pony show.”  We all know writing is something we do primarily in seclusion.  Why?  Because other people walk through our creative flow, pulling and dragging our juice through the house for one reason or another that has nothing to do with our process.  Retrieving the flow is next to impossible.  Most times, we have to wait for another cycle that may not even come close to the real meat of our original thoughts, and our creative voice changes. (Writers know what I mean by that.)

I am only speaking for myself here, and you can feel free to add your thoughts later; but, I am a diagnosed agoraphobic who has a major battle with my own psych to make every personal appearance.  Getting out of my pajamas, bathing and combing my hair to talk to real people face-to-face is one of the most intimidating things I do.  Not because I can’t speak or answer questions without sounding like I need to be committed immediately, but because I simply am not inclined to do it.  However, once I get started . . . someone might be sorry.  I have lots of opinions.

This piece is being offered because I understand your plight.  We write to communicate our thoughts to others and we really want them to read them.  In order to do that, we have to do all of the advertising things that bore us to tears.  Yes.  Repeating yourself irritates you.  Yes.  You will have to do it over and over because people tend to ask the same questions about your work.  Yes.  They will challenge you about characters you created, and you will wonder how on earth they could possibly know that.  Don’t argue . . . God has the same issue.  Learn to nod and say, “Really?”  If someone asks a question you haven’t been asked already, while welcomed, it might throw you for a loop.  If you’re fast on your feet you can respond coherently.  If not, you might make a faux pas.  The truth is it won’t be the end of the world either way.  In case you did not know it, people expect writers to be a bit quirky (You know . . . spending all of that time alone).  So, don’t be afraid to throw your shoulders back and speak up.  Have you heard some of the things actors say?  You can’t sound any stranger than some of them.  They actually depend on you to tell them what to say.  Go figure.

Anyway, promotion of your work is a necessary evil you have to conquer intermittently to share your gift with the world.  Reveal yourself.  Let others do as much for you as you can get away with, but press on.  It might cost a few bucks, but it’s worth it in the long run.  Let them help point you out.  Diamonds and gold in a hole are worthless.

 

Bernadette Y. Connor

Author

“He’s Mine!”

 

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Reviews

“He’s Mine! is a gripping tale of love, dysfunctional relationships, deceit, passion, infidelity and unrequited love.  Bernadette Connor writes unapologetic, in your face prose with her searing human touch.  Connor’s seventh novel is a must-read and will keep you guessing about the fate of Patrice Mays and Miles Alexander, until the last page.”

–         Thelma Balfour, author of Black Love Signs and Black Sun Signs (Touchtone/Simon & Schuster)

 

“Using passion and intrigue as her thread, Ms. Connor has woven a fascinating story. HE’S MINE! is a tale you’ll remember long after you turn the last page!”

–         B. Berry, author of Clothesline Blues and Cold Crazy(series)

 

“Love, murder and mayhem.  It is a love story after all!”

–         Lori Bryant Woolridge, Emmy winner and author of Can’t Help The Way That I Feel

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About The Author

Bernadette Y. Connor is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born at home in a one-room apartment in North Philadelphia; the fourth of five children. To help her family financially, she sang rhythm and blues in many of the local nightclubs until she graduated from Dobbins Vocational Area High School in 1969 and was hired as a secretary by Sun Oil Company.

Bernadette’s first love was music, but she found herself writing poetry. Some of her earliest writings were published in SCLC monthly magazine. Both singing and writing had to take a back burner to caring for her family, butmidnight often found her doodling. A divorced mother of three, Bernadette saw that all of her children graduated from college.

Bernadette found her niche’ at AT&T as a communications technician. With the merger came a lay-off and she saw as an opportunity to begin a new career, but that was put on hold by a series of medical problems and finally the devastation of the brutal murder of her eldest son on Christmas Eve of 1991. Her zest for life, travel and adventure were nearly extinguished. However, Bernadette’s thoughts slowly returned to writing.

The literary fire was stoked by reacquainting herself with her earlier poems. Bernadette embarked on yet another adventure. She wrote a simple love story called “Finally” that opened the gate to an avalanche of works . . . 13 novels and 7 screenplays. Bernadette’s published debut novel, “Damaged!”, the first psychological thriller ever written and published by an African American garnered her a spot in “Who’s Who In America 2004”. Publishers Weekly dubbed her the “genre-crossing writer” and she loves the distinction.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/HES-MINE-Bernadette-Y-Connor-ebook/dp/B00MSXFQEW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1422475607&sr=1-1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bernadetteyconnor/info?tab=page_info

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/226340.Bernadette_Y_Connor

Book Tour Schedule: http://www.elitebookpromotions.com/book-tours/

Author Spotlight – Gary L. Smith

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Tell me a little about yourself and your background? 

 I come from a background of 30+ years of technical and business operations management.  I’ve run multi-location companies with up to $80M in sales and 250 employees.  I didn’t really get into education until I was in college.  I trained as an engineer and excelled at technical writing.

My writing style today is conversational.  My goal is to inspire future achievers by wrapping the elements of business success in stories that make it easy to remember and apply key principles.  I also use my technical writing skills to create easy, step by step systems for people to follow.

Which writers inspire you?  I have been inspired by writers and speakers like Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Jim Rohn, and Tony Robbins.  I appreciate their styles and have learned a great deal from them.

What was your life like before becoming an author?

 I was a successful business owner.  I started writing blog posts and then moved into writing books.  I just completed my third publication.  My goal in all of my writing is to share my knowledge and experience with a broader audience.

When did you decide to become a writer? 

I considered being an author for many years, but finally made the commitment in 2009.  I wrote blog posts for about 4 years and published my first two books in 2013, and another book in October of 2014.

Why do you write?

 I write to share my knowledge and experience and to help develop the next generation of personal and business leaders in the world.

So, what have you written? /*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest/

I have written two weekly blogs, one on personal development and one on business success, for the past five years.  I’ve also been a guest blogger on several websites, including YourPayHub.com.  I’ve published three books:

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The Customer Conundrum: 9 Crucial Steps for Winning Customers and Outsmarting Your Competition

Shepherd Book

 

The Shepherd and the Princess: 7 Keys to Conquering the Goliaths in Your Life

 

Achieving Unusual Greatness: Timeless Lessons from the Trail Already Blazed

 Where people can buy or see them? 

 At my website

Amazon

LULU

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How do you market your book?

 Through my website, via social media, and through trade shows

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? What do you do to get book reviews?

 I get books reviews by asking.  Initially, I offered a free copy of the book to anyone who would agree to write a review.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Realize that it’s a lot of hard work.  Writing takes time, it takes focus, and it takes project management skills if you are going to produce a worthwhile product.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
  • How can readers discover more about you and your work?
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  • Soundcloud.com: soundcloud.com/optechs