Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Looking for My 1000th follower

I'm looking for 12 more people to follow me on Twitter.

I will give the thousandth and some of those near one thousand, also.
Come on. Give it a try.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Baseball tonight

We had a power outage last night. Thank goodness for generator. Saved a fridge and a stand-alone freezer of food.
Sleeping was hot without a fan.
Several branches were down this morning, but none on our property thankfully.
Tonight is baseball.
Atlantic League play with fireworks afterwards. This is such a fun family event for us. You can take MLB. I'll take the baseball in my back yard. Not as expensive and we're home in half an hour.
And now I think I'll take a nap before tonight's festivities.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Authorsday this week

Thanks for stopping by anyway.
I was in and out of DMV this morning in less than 10 minutes. The ladies were so nice. I even got to pick which picture from my license.
This is a far cry from the crabby old lady who used to occupy another DMV which shall remain nameless. Her lipstick was on her lips and around her lips. I guess that was to make her lips seem bigger.
My husband has an odd signature. (long story). She once demanded that he sign his check so she could read it. He argued that if he didn't sign it with his signature the bank wouldn't cash it.
She was not amused.

I work for my local hospital. I schedule people for CPR classes among other things. I had someone leave me a message and she marked it private and priority. Really, people, it's CPR we're teaching. We're not giving anything out free. We're not performing CPR. And just because you let your card expire does not make it my problem.

BTW, I'm looking for authors to host on Thursday in August. I only have one lined up. Contact me at if you are interested.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Authorsday - Jennie Helderman

Today I welcome Jennie Helderman to by my guest. I put her under the microscope to see what secrets of hers she will give up.

Jennie Helderman was born into a story-telling family in north Alabama too long ago and she’ll never have time to write all the stories swimming in her head, like when her cousin died and his wife had the Mrs. and the burial policy but the one-legged woman had the body. Or about driving her mother and a coconut cake to the family reunion in a cow pasture in south Alabama.
1. How long have you been writing?

All my life and I'm not saying how long that is. I wrote and produced a play when I was ten. My playmates and I threaded a wire through an old Army blanket and strung it over the garage for a curtain and the neighbors sat on lawn chairs in the driveway. One was the society editor for the local paper, so the play got a review---a good one, if I remember.

2. What drew you to write The Sycamore Tree?

I was working with Rick Bragg on a magazine article---1500 words and a two-week deadline---when I stumbled onto the story. The 1500 words grew to 90,000 and two weeks expanded to four years.

3. Describe your book.

The book tells the story of Ginger, who escaped the isolation and poverty of a cabin hidden in the woods, and Mike, who abused her and would do it all over again. It's something like living in The Glass Castle while Sleeping With the Enemy.

Abuse takes many forms; it's not all physical. Even poverty can be abuse when it allows one person to control another. Ginger had no money, not even to buy sanitary pads. While she was ripping up rags to use, Mike bought a Jet Ski. With his disability check. He controlled the money, the mail, Ginger's hair. And then he claimed to control Ginger's access to God.

There's loss, betrayal, redemption, even humor. But the book is really about the legacy of abuse and bringing it to an end. It can end. People can change. The book offers hope and a happy ending. Ginger is amazing. She came out of the woods and into the court system, now a polished professional woman.

4. What do I want the reader to come away with after reading the book?
A deep feeling for the people in the book. Over and above anything about abuse, loss and control, I'd like the reader to be touched by these people, and that includes Mike. Ginger believes there's something inside each of us—a piece of humanity, a soul, something---that gives us hope and allows us to change. I'd like the reader to glimpse that piece of humanity in Ginger and Mike and perhaps in all of us.
5. The book raises lots of issues about men, women, beliefs, etc. Talk about one of them.
I'll jump on the most controversial, and the most timely, the role religion plays. Wrap religion around an issue and it takes on a double whammy. Religion has power and power can control. Doesn't have to but it can. And abuse is about control.
Do faiths that teach women to be submissive foster abuse? You bet, in my opinion. Just look at the Mideast for the most extreme examples. But what about in the U.S.? Yes again, but less now than in the past. Women used to promise to love and obey in the wedding ceremony. Some churches counsel women to stay in an abusive marriage and pray harder. I say double-time it to a safe place and then say a prayer of thanks for getting out.
6. Were you ever afraid when you were with Mike?
I'd hate to see what would happen if Mike couldn't have his cigarettes and coffee, but no, I was never afraid of him. I was careful to meet with him in public places at first, like the Waffle House. But its rattles and clangs drove us to quieter and more private places. He was never threatening with me. I never felt uncomfortable. Maybe I should have. But I never met with him that someone didn't know where I was and when to start looking for me.
7. Your book doesn't have a publisher yet. What are its prospects?
Everybody out there, please cross your fingers. Right now two agents are looking it over. One had already read the first chapters and he asked for it all. But doors that crack open can slam shut. I'm no stranger to rejections and if/when they come, I'll ship it out again. It will see print. I can't say when, but it will.
8. What comes next?
A tummy tuck, if I push John Grisham aside taking my money to the bank. As for my next book, I left a historical novel on the back burner to write The Sycamore Tree, so back to that. But the book I'm waiting to write is about family and funerals. Like driving my mother and a coconut cake to a family reunion in a cow pasture in south Alabama. Or, the funeral of my cousin who was having an affair with a one-legged woman. When he died, his wife had the Mrs. title and the burial insurance but the one-legged woman had the body. I can't tell the end yet. Still a few funerals away from airing the family dirty laundry.
9. What would you like to learn that you haven't?
To speak Spanish.
10. What place that you haven't visited would you like to go?
Somewhere tourists don't go. I like to get off the beaten path. I'm fortunate that I've been lots of places. And I've always liked to walk when I traveled. I learned why a few years ago. I walked 125 miles across northern Spain on the camino de Santiago de Compestella. Planting my feet on the soil connects me in a very solid and spiritual way with the earth and the people. Seeing a place at eye level is different from looking out a car or tour bus window. On the camino, I felt the connection reach back to all the pilgrims who walked that path over the past 1300 years, a very real sensation of history, purpose and continuity. It was a good feeling and I treasure it.
Unlike Shirley MacLaine, who wrote a book about walking the same paths, I didn't meet or have sex with Charlemagne. A man that old? Come on.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

I was lucky enough today to start the day where it all started.
Philadelphia. That's where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
And Philly knows how to put on a party.
Wish I could have stayed.
Remember those who have died so that we can stay free.
And speaking of those who have served.
Welcome home Vince!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Authorsday - J.W. Coffey

Welcome author J.W. Coffey to my blog today. A small round of applause please!
Love that cover, J.W.

Here's what I know about J.W
J. W. Coffey is a copyeditor and Book Editor for the site She is also the author of four books. Her latest is A Wager of Blood, published by LBF Books/Lachesis Publishing and available through any online or local bookstore.

And a lovely picture of you. So let's get started on this interview.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in junior high school. I loved to make up stories in my head and watch them play out. I loved to tell stories even then. And Lord knows I was constantly reading. But the actual writing part came in one of my English classes when we were asked to write a fairy tale. A small contest for the class; and I won. That’s when I started writing them all down. That’s when I knew.

How did you pick the genre you write in?
That’s part of my problem. I don’t pick the genre, the story does. I’ve yet to write in the same genre twice. Not because I can’t pick one but because the stories have been so diverse. The first book I wrote was a cross genre of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. The second was just straight historical fiction. The third was horror. The fourth was a short story collection that was all of the above. And the most current work that I’m in the rewrite stage of is a combination of romance/erotica. The story chooses for me. And I follow along.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
A little of both, actually. Writing, to me, is like a road trip. I like to know where I’m going and have a few salient points plotted out—not unlike choosing the routes you’ll take to your destination. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take a side trip or change my mind. I plot but that doesn’t mean I can’t find something that will fit or change the plot a bit.

What drew you to the subject of A Wager of Blood?
Ah yes, my little ghost story that grew. There were a couple of influences for this one. Part of the story came from an episode of Unsolved Mysteries about two women on an elevator in a building on a Civil War battlefield. The door opened onto a haunting of a hospital during the time of the war and was so real that both women were stunned into paralysis, caught in the act of stepping off the elevator. I’ve always been fascinated with that segment, always wondering . . . what would have happened if they’d actually stepped off that elevator in the middle of that? Would they have gone back in time? Would that haunting have just evaporated? What would have happened?

Describe your book.
Wager is my way of answering that question. A supposedly friendly game of dice sets off a murder in a Colonial Inn. By the time all is said and done, four people have burned to death in the inn and a man is left insane. Fast forward to the present day and four friends with a very real tie to that haunted inn . . . the scene of more murders that echo the past. To solve the murders of the past and the present, these friends will have to deal with some very literal and real personal demons. Which includes a haunted room . . . and stepping through the door.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
Best advice was given by Stephen King in his book, On Writing. Words to live by. Paraphrased, apply seat of pants to seat of chair and fingers to keyboard. If you want to be a writer, then sit down and write. Talking about it won’t get it done. Next best piece of advice was given to me at a book signing by Diana Gabaldon. She said—again, paraphrasing—don’t wait for the muse to visit or you’ll be waiting into your next lifetime. Write what you see in your head, don’t worry about being linear or grammatically correct—that’s what the rewrites are for. Just tell the story.

What’s your writing schedule?
Unfortunately, I have a day job—for now, she said with extreme confidence—which rather hinders my dream of writing full time. But I try to write at least an hour or so a day. And I do a great deal of writing on the weekend. You’d be surprised how much you can get done that way. I wrote Wager by hand at work during my breaks and lunch. I managed to get 5 – 6 typewritten pages done a day. And that was an hour and a half a day.

Where do you like to write? How do you set the scene?
I prefer to write at home where I can sit in my jammies and drink coffee or burn incense if I so choose. But that doesn’t always happen. I carry a notebook around with me to write in, for plot things, dialogue things, or story. And as far as setting the scene, it really depends. With my first book, The Savior, I played John Denver’s Farewell, Andromeda CD on a loop. With The Brothers Campbell, I had to have complete silence. But I do recommend turning the TV off. Major distraction there.

What authors do you admire?
Quite a few. Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, J. K. Rowling, John Jakes, Lorrieann
Russell—all write great stories with real characters that live and breathe in the
stories. They write books that keep me spellbound and unable to put the books

What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
I’ve never really felt a part of the time I live in. If I could go back, it would be to the Italian Renaissance or Tudor England, Scotland, and Ireland. I’ve always feel akin to that period and those places.

It all began with an innocent game of dice. Before the night was over, four people were dead and a man was driven insane by his greed. The Thornton Inn is haunted by the sins of the past. One by one, four friends will face their demons . . . from the past to the present. Because when you dice with the devil, every toss is A Wager of Blood.

Thanks for stopping by today J.W.