By Meira Pentermann
Anguish of the soul is either the lit fuse of destruction or the launching pad for personal triumph. Meira Pentermann’s novel Celtic Sister is a powerful struggle with both. Amy Richardson finds herself in an abusive marriage where a push down the stairs and subsequent miscarriage serve as the catalyst for seeking a way out. However, her road to true suffering begins soon after with a whisky bottle and a yearbook, and a nagging question of “Who is Emma Foster?” and “What happened to her?”
Review – The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters
Mitch Wilde was a smart-ass and a jokester, but he knew his eyes weren’t deceiving him when he saw some strange things in Outlaw River, Oregon. And for a while he kept them to himself.
The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters is a suspenseful excursion through an X-files and Ancient Aliens genre with a few surprises thrown in. His retinue of characters are familiar, comfortable, and engaging beginning with the protagonist, Mitch Wilde, an active and young at heart middle-ager, and his wife, Mabey, who is his attractive, well-liked, common sense counterpart. Jack (Mitch’s close friend since high school) has a near death experience at a neighborhood barbecue and begins behaving oddly in the aftermath. In the backdrop is an eccentric and sage-like neighbor, Jasper, who keeps to himself, but has connected with Mitch and eventually confides some enlightening details of his own.
After a bike-ride spill in the woods, Mitch believes the cause to be an errant arrow nicking his shoulder which sets him off balance both literally and figuratively. The arrow mishap is not so unusual except for the Native American Indian on a white horse he observes across the river who seems to be watching him, and then disappears. When the strange arrow seems to dissolve, later the dots are connected when local Native Americans seem, too, to dissolve into thin air without explanation.
As Mitch and his partner in crime, Jasper, attempt to sort out all of the peculiar events that unfold, other members of the community become more fearful. Walters finally poises the reader on the brink of answers when the two men investigate in stealthy fashion the government-restricted Crater Lake where earlier Mitch recorded alien beings on his camera. A harrowing rescue and an urgency to return to Outlaw River drive the final thrilling scene toward a much anticipated sequel!
Who of us, at one time or another, hasn’t wondered if we’re alone in the universe? Mitch Wilde never had until a failed attempt at pulling an arrow out of his best friend Jack’s shoulder began a string of strange and unexpected events in the small Pacific Northwest Town of Outlaw River.
When Native Americans start vanishing throughout the country and re-appearing in strange places on horseback, Mitch is challenged in ways he never dreamed. In addition, who are the uninvited strangers ransacking some of their homes? Added to this, Jack has taken to odd nocturnal treks. The local sheriff releases hostility he has held against Mitch since high school and something—nobody wants to call them UFOs—has just crashed into several surrounding lakes.
Can Mitch keep himself out of jail? Can Mitch figure out what the strange entities emerging from the lake are and why? Can Mitch protect the beautiful life he and his wife Mabey worked so hard to create? Finally, can Mitch help his eccentric neighbor save the residents of Outlaw River before it’s too late?
Mike Walters and his debut novel, The Outlaw River Wilde, sprung from an idea while watching Ancient Aliens on the History channel. He intertwines his love of Native American culture and a passion for the Pacific Northwest, primarily his birth state of Oregon. Mike sat down one day and started writing. The characters and story were revealed each and every day he wrote.
“Every session was as if I were reading something new myself for the first time. It was a blast seeing what would happen next. This is why I enjoyed writing this novel so much. ”
Mike is a Director of Marketing & Product at Auto-Graphics, Inc. based in Ontario, CA. That’s California, not Canada. A-G makes software for Libraries, primarily public. So on your visit to the library, when you sit down to search for a book this is the software that A-G makes.
“I am very fortunate to work in an industry that has a meaningful impact on society. It makes going to work each and every day enjoyable. I mean who doesn’t think we need, and who doesn’t love, libraries?”
Mike learned photography as a freshman in high school and later took the passion and used it as a photographer in the United States Air Force. He loves to ride bicycles in SoCal year around, volunteers in Los Angeles at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue taking photos of the beautiful dogs, and has a passion for Micro-brews, particularly Porters and Stouts. You will frequently find him sampling, with his son Alexander, at Claremont Craft Ales, a personal favorite — or one of the many fine breweries in and around Claremont, CA. Mike is currently at work on the follow up to The Outlaw River Wilde, which will be titled – Still Wilde in the Outlaw River. The book should be out later this year or early 2016.
Gunther exited the Shack and slid into the city’s white Crown Vic cruiser. He pounded the dashboard with his right hand and cursed. He looked into the rearview mirror and was ashamed at what he saw. Gunther hated Wilde. He allowed the anger to flow. It kept potential tears at bay. He steadied his shaking hand putting the key in the ignition. The sheriff pounded the dashboard one more time for a final release.
He started the engine and backed the cruiser out. There was a screech as a car came to a skidding stop inches from his rear bumper. He shot a hateful stare at the driver in his rearview even though he was at fault. Gunther peeled his teary eyes from the mirror, placed the car in Drive, and pressed the accelerator with his highly polished police-issued black loafers.
He rubbed his forehead with the back of a still-shaking hand while looking up and down the street. He didn’t see Wilde’s Jeep so he flipped on the car’s blue and red emergency lights and aimed toward the mayor’s office.
Gunther plowed the police car into his private parking spot in front of City Hall. Outlaw River’s sheriff was immediately cleared through the security scanners and made a beeline for Mayor Jenkins’ office on the second floor.
When he surged through the outer office door he was greeted by Jenkins’s secretary, Trudy, greeted him. “Good morning, Sheriff. Mayor Jenkins is on the phone. Please wait a moment. I’ll let him know you’re here.”
Gunther grunted some utterance of disrespect and disdain, brushed past the elderly woman, barking, “He’s expecting me, Trudy, and won’t mind.”
The secretary jumped up from her seat and got close on the sheriff’s heels. She normally just rolled her eyes when he passed, but this time she was letting Gunther know this was her domain.
He didn’t slow or pause. Gunther pushed his way into the mayor’s office. He felt the damn secretary’s breath on the back of his neck, where the hair still stood in shame and anger over Mitch Wilde.
Jenkins was, indeed, on the phone. He was hanging up as Gunther entered. “Mayor Jenkins, I am so sorry, I tried to tell the sheriff that you were on the phone, but he barged right in.”
“It’s okay, Trudy, I’m done. Put my calls on hold for the next few minutes and please close the door behind you.”
“Yes, Mayor.” Trudy gave the door a satisfactory slam behind her.
“Jesus, Bob, you can’t barge in here like that. The sky better be falling. What the hell is going on?”
Gunther paced back and forth in front of Jenkins’s desk. Jenkins walked around the desk and sat on the edge. “Sit down, Gunther, and tell me what the hell is going on.”
Gunther swigged his foamy latte and sat in one of the chairs facing Jenkins. “That goddamn Wilde is pissing me off again. I want to make the asshole pay.”
“For high school still? I told you, it’s time to get over whatever happened. It was what, twenty-five years ago? Move on already, Bob. Jesus!”
“Yeah, whatever. He is just so damn arrogant. He threatened me at the Coffee Shack a few minutes ago.”
“Got up in my face and told me he was going to kick my ass if I didn’t back off.”
“Back off. Why would he say that?”
“He accused me of busting the taillight on his Jeep. Said he would gladly spend some time in jail for kicking my ass. Something along those lines.” Gunther took another drink of his latte with a steadier hand. He was finally calming down a bit. Just being in Jenkins’ presence had a soothing effect on him. He seemed to be the only one who understood him and cared about him.
Truth of the matter, Gunther knew deep down the mayor didn’t really care that much about him. He knew the relationship was more convenience for the mayor and staying on the sheriff’s good side made sense. One time the mayor had admitted the uniformed turned him on. Gunther set those thoughts aside hoping someday the mayor would genuinely care for him. He didn’t have many other options in this damn straight-laced little town.
“Well, if he really threatened you, go arrest him. You can’t let people get away with that.”
“Oh, he’d be out in less than an hour. There weren’t any witnesses.”
“If it’s that bad, make it inconvenient for him for a couple of hours, perhaps he’ll get the picture and ‘back-off’ as you want. First, tell me something before you go down this road. Did you break his light? Does this have anything to do with you shouting at him at the Shack the other day?”
Gunther stared out the window and didn’t respond.
The author is giving away paperback copies (INTERNATIONAL) to 5 winners of the Rafflecopter.
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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.