Thursday, February 25, 2010

Authorsday - Rhobin L. Courtright

Today Robin Lee visits and answers some pointed questions. Ouch!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? At one point when my husband was living in Missouri for a new job, while I was stuck in Colorado Springs with children while the lease on the house ran out and the kids finished the school year. Long evenings led to some horrible stories that gradually led to a desire to write.
How long have you been writing? About fifteen years. I was slow starting, as I had to learn the story telling process, relearn grammar, and learn to keep a schedule. I’m still not very good at the last item.
How did you pick the genre you write in? I loved reading all genres, but scifi and fantasy drew me when I started to write.
Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? No seat of the pants for me, I’m a dedicated plotter, although strange unexpected things take place during the actual writing.
What drew you to the subject of Stone House Farm? I wanted to try a different genre and I wanted to write about places I knew and loved.
Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it? All the time. Some things I want to know are just not written down anywhere, or not in an easily understood format.
What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it? My first novel was Rogue’s Rules but it developed out of a combination of ideas that are now part of the whole trilogy, which includes Loser’s Game and Devil’s Due.
What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew? Editing is never done, but sometimes you have to let it go or you’ll never finish.
How many rejections have you received? Lots, but I’ve never kept count, I suspect because my heroines and heroes don’t follow the prescribed rules for each genre, many publishers aren’t interested.
What was the best writing advice someone gave you? Hmm. I do not think anyone has ever given me good advice, strange sympathetic looks, yes, but no good advice.
What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? It was not advice, but a comment. If you are not published in print, you aren’t really published. I learned how wrong this belittling comment was.
Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book? I hadn’t submitted anywhere in a long time and saw an e-publisher was looking for science fiction and fantasy submissions.
If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be? Did you enjoy the story?
Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know? Hmm… my life is such an open book so this is a hard question. I suppose that my beliefs are not necessarily traditional, but very strong.
If you have a day job, what is it? My writing led directly to a job teaching writing at a local community college.
Describe your book. Amanda is a woman beleaguered by the effects of a bad marriage, a woman who loves her home, her family, and her heritage, all which are threatened by unscrupulous people.
What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing? I’ve been told I’m very good at world building, which covers setting, but I think my characters are my best strengths: strong people, both good and bad… or else crazy.
What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it? Keeping the plot moving and aggressive is my weakness. Plotting helps overcome my tendency to want to dawdle in certain scenes.
What’s your writing schedule? I try to write at least 500 words a day whenever I find a few free minutes. That’s besides marketing and promotion efforts.
What’s your favorite quote? Only the educated are free ~ Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, AD 55–AD 135
What authors do you admire? Dorothy Dunnet, she wrote some brilliant, elaborate and accurate historical novels set in the Renaissance world post Henry VIII.
What three things would you want with you on a desert island? Food, electricity, and an Internet connection.
What is your favorite word? Try.
What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go? The Louvre.
What other time period besides your own would you like to experience? I know too much about history and how people actually lived to want to live in any other time except my own.
What’s your favorite food? Homemade bread.
What’s your favorite thing about your book? Can’t answer that because I like the characters, the setting and the action; all of it!
What do you do when you are not writing? Garden, read, teach, paint, putts around, walk, marathon cook and occasionally clean house.
Who is your greatest cheerleader? My sister and my partner.
What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t? Speak Russian.
What is your favorite writing reference book and why? The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. It helps define the hero’s journey, which is one method I use in writing.
What is the one thing your hero would do that you wouldn’t?
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Amanda’s house.
Who is your favorite character in your book? Amanda and Buck, the dog.
Where do you write? My desk. No one else should sit in that chair.
What was the hardest scene to write? The house fire scene and the one at the casino.
What was your favorite scene to write? The visit to the barn while the stars were shinning.

You are welcome to make up your own questions if you like also. Anything you think will illuminate what you want your readers to know.

Author Bio: Rhobin always enjoyed reading, especially science fiction and fantasy, but the last thing she thought about was writing a novel until characters and situations started evolving in her mind. Finishing a story always amazes her. A native of Michigan, she left home and lived in Colorado and Missouri before returning to settle in a small Northern Michigan community. Snowy winters permit plenty of writing time. Besides writing she draws, paints and gardens in the summer. She tries to share her passions with anyone willing to listen.

Book Blurb:
When everything you have is at stake, how can you afford love?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Bonnie Hearn Hill -Prize!

Brownies are the word of the day. I have this thing, that I can't make brownies. My kids will say the same thing. Can't do it. I can make many things more complicated, but not brownies. But here's a recipe from author of Aries Rising, Bonnie Hearn Hill. And she's giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter.


1 8-oz. package cream cheese
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 6 oz pkg. of the best chocolate chips you can find

1 ½ cup unsifted flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp. salt
½ cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp.vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
1 Tbs. vinegar

Blend cream cheese, sugar, egg and salt. Beat until well blended. Then add chocolate chips. Set aside.

Blend together flour, cocoa, salt, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, water and vinegar. Batter will be thin, but don’t panic. It’s supposed to be. Pour into greased 8-inch square pan.

Add first mixture in spoonfuls and swirl through batter with knife. Bake 50-60 min at 350. Cool for two hours, then cut into squares. These babies are dense, and they need time to settle.

In ARIES RISING, these are the brownies Logan gives her cranky, food-loving Taurus English teacher, Mr. Franklin (Frankenstein).

First of the Star Crossed Series from Running Press/Perseus Books

When Terra Bella Beach student Logan McRae discovers Fearless Astrology, all she wants is to win a writing fellowship for the summer to Monterey, and maybe catch the interest of Nathan, the senior she’s kissed only once. He seems more interested in Geneva, the tall, blond Libra editor of the school newspaper—until Logan uses some Leo-pleasing flattery on him. Nathan seems to be coming around, but Logan still has to convince Mr. Franklin, her gruff Taurus English teacher, that she deserves the fellowship.

Frankenstein says she doesn’t put enough of herself in her writing. She tries to appeal to him with homemade brownies. That falls flat, but her opportunity presents itself when the Gears, a group of boys causing mischief at school, streaks her friend Chili’s backyard while Logan, Chili, and Paige, are in the spa.

The Gears also paint nasty things about the Capricorn journalism teacher, Ms. Snider, on the wall at school. Logan decides to identify them using astrology. Frankenstein is intrigued.

Logan is Aquarius with a Pisces Moon. Pretty mellow, but her Aires Rising gives her some Fire. She decides to put it to work to get what she wants. With the fellowship—and Nathan—hanging in the balance, she resolves to trap the Gears on the night she is certain that they will strike again. It is a risky scheme that involves Calypso, a dress mannequin that the girls have dressed up to resemble Logan.

What Logan has failed to see in the stars is someone with a more deadly motive. Then suddenly, the stakes increase, and there’s more at risk than any of the threats by the Gears.

Monday, February 22, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - W. S. Gager

W.S. Gager shares with a us part of her new release, A Case of Infatuation.

Here is the exerpt from Chapter 2 of the book:

A woman’s hand jutted off the front porch. The rest of the body was concealed behind the white railing. The long fingers were as smooth and well manicured like a hand model on a photo shoot. It didn’t fit the neighborhood. My instincts went into overdrive telling me this was an even bigger story. I pulled a small digital camera from my leather coat pocket and snapped some shots. Reporters and cameras weren’t supposed to mix. The digital photos easily shot in low-light without a flash helped me later to vividly describe a crime scene. Most reporters couldn’t be bothered to take photos, but I was different. The photos rarely graced the printed page but were invaluable to me during the writing phase. I also used them to create follow-up articles giving rehashed information a fresh spin.
Detective Dennis Flaherty came out the front door and caught me replacing the camera in my pocket. Frowning he approached, stepping wide of the visible hand and grimacing.
“No photos.” His voice was stern but the Irish detective knew I wouldn’t print anything that would hurt a police case.
“Whatcha got, Dennis?”
“Who’s the skirt?” he asked, nodding to my appendage whose skin glowed in the morbid scene of strobe lights.
I shrugged nonchalantly. “An intern they’ve stuck me with for the night. Nothing big.” I gave him a look that said give me a minute.
I turned to Patrenka. “Why don’t you make yourself useful and interview the neighbors? See if you can get some info on the kind of people who lived here.”
Her eyes flashed and I saw a glimmer of her temper. She shrugged, smiled flirtatiously at the detective and left. No stomping, no voiced recriminations. Nothing. I had to admire that.
I turned back to Dennis. “So what do we have?”
“Follow me,” he said. Dennis and I had worked dozens of cases over the years and knew each other’s limitations. His mission was to solve crimes. I had pointed him in the right direction on a couple high-profile cases that resulted in his latest rank advancement. We’d developed an easy banter and helped each other through the years. We were friends as much as two people on opposite sides of the fence could be. I followed him back up the porch steps and got a good look at the woman’s body attached to the hand hanging off the porch. Boy, what a looker! Perfect blonde locks I doubted were natural, but were as close as you could get out of a professional’s bottle.

Crime Beat Reporter Mitch Malone's rules are simple: He never lets the blood and guts he covers bother him. He always works alone. And he hates kids. Mitch breaks all three rules when he unwittingly agrees to smuggle a potential witness out of a suburban Michigan home while police investigate a mob-style hit that's left two dead bodies. Mitch sends his intern (a real hottie, but nonetheless an interloper) to interview neighbors, hoping to throw her off, but when he finds the pint-sized survivor the killer overlooked, he decides she might be helpful. When the FBI accuses him of the murder, Mitch goes into hiding with the bombshell intern who doesn't talk and the precocious preschooler. Mitch works his contacts to regain his freedom from his roommates only to find they each hold keys to a bizarre story of disappearances, terrorists and the perfect hamburger recipe.Review“Great combination of gritty prose and sparkling dialogue along with a most intriguing and unusual plot makes W. S. Gager's debut crime novel a true page-turner. Highly recommended!”
F. M. Meredith, author of No Sanctuary

“I loved the characters in this book, particularly protagonist Mitch Malone. He's a reporter who manages to not only get mixed up in the crime he's reporting, but manages to implicate himself as well. Mitch is an unlikely hero, but one I rooted for until the end. The plot was intriguing, a murder mystery with a child witness nobody knows about and who Mitch ends up taking care of. If he can figure out what the child knows, he might just solve the mystery. An extremely entertaining novel that was difficult to put down, and great first book by W.S. Gager.
Holli Castillo, author of Gumbo Justice

Author BioW.S. Gager has lived in West Michigan for most of her life except for stints early in her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Now she enjoys creating villains instead of crossing police lines to get the story. She teaches English at a local college and is a soccer chauffeur for her children. During her driving time she spins webs of intrigue for Mitch Malone's next crime-solving adventure.

Contact Information Available At
Website: http://www.barnes/
Facebook keyword: wsgager Robbins’ Booklist, Greenville
ISBN: 978-1-892343 Country Squire Pharmacy, Fremont
Barnes & Noble, Norton Shores &
Grand Rapids area stores
Schuyler’s Books, Grand RapidsLinks to buy the book: Amazon: and NOble: Tree Press: GagerA Case of Infatuation-Now Available the book today:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Authorsday -John Desjarlais

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My third grade teacher mimeographed my first story, “A Present for Polly,” about my dog Polly giving away a beloved Christmas toy to a stray. I suppose it all started there. I became more serious in junior high and high school, where I worked for the school newspaper and literary magazine.

How did you pick the genre you write in?

When I worked as a scriptwriter for a multimedia company in the 1980s, I produced a documentary on the history of Western Christianity and became fascinated by the Irish monastic movement. These artistic, scholarly monks saved civilization at a time when barbarians were burning their way through Europe. Saint Columba of Iona was especially interesting – a hot-headed warrior and poet with Second Sight who went to war over a disputed manuscript and, in remorse over the thousands slain, exiled himself among the Picts of Scotland where he dueled the druids, miracles versus magic. So his fictionalized biography, The Throne of Tara, was my first novel. I learned about relics along the way and the rich trade in them (and battles over them) in the Middle Ages and that became the basis for book 2, Relics. I’d begun researching a third historical wherein Aristotle, the Father of Logic, would solve a crime. But I learned this had already been done (and well) by a British writer not long ago. So I fancied a classics professor who was familiar with Aristotle’s writing and who would apply Aristotelian logic to solving a crime that defied reason. That’s how BLEEDER began, a story of a stigmatic priest who bleeds to death on Good Friday. I always enjoyed reading mysteries and now I’m hooked on writing them.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I plot less as I go along in my career. I need some sort of skeleton at the beginning (pardon the mystery image) on which to hang some initial premises and characters and ideas. I do ‘clustering’ and make up charts. I have the opening and ending in view – though these change and intensify late in the game. The broad and terrifying middle is where I can only go so far as the headlights reveal a road on a foggy night. I don’t ask ‘what happens next’ but I follow the decisions of the main characters. With my current work-in-progress, a sequel to BLEEDER titled VIPER, the plot depends heavily on a police investigation. Since those procedures tend to be rather methodical, I can follow its course and expand where I need to do so for reversals and surprises.

For my short literary fiction, there’s no plotting at all. It comes out all at once.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

You won't believe how many times you'll read your own book in the proofing process. You do want it to be perfect and avoid typos and such. But what tedious work. Promotion and marketing are harder than writing the book, more time-consuming, and potentially a real hindrance to writing. 15 years ago, my publishers invested in my titles with advertising, solicitation of reviews and other things. We've all heard how little publishers are putting into marketing these days, backing only their top-sellers who don't need much publicity anyway. The business side of writing, the selling side, is a real challenge. There's always something you could be doing, and this can bite into the work you like most - writing.

How many rejections have you received?

Dozens. And I’m sure my last agent received a bunch I never knew about. It’s especially painful when an editor asks to see the full manuscript, having seen a partial and a synopsis, showing high interest. Then the manuscript returns in the mail many weeks later looking beat-up and exhausted. You print a fresh copy and send it out to the next person on the list.

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?

I was participating in an online writers’ conference where an acquisitions editor for a small house, Sophia Institute Press, gave a presentation on genre fiction. Her company was launching a new imprint for genre work and actively seeking manuscripts, especially mysteries with a spiritual angle. I pitched BLEEDER to her immediately. She asked for the first three chapters and a synopsis and contacted me two days later asking to see the full manuscript. In a week she offered a contract.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you? What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?

The best: “A half-finished book is no book at all; finish it.” --Ernest Hemingway

The worst: “Start with short stories before trying a novel.” They are simply too different.

Describe your book.

BLEEDER is a contemporary amateur-sleuth mystery that examines ‘higher mysteries.’ I received a gracious blurb from thriller author Tom Grace this week: "BLEEDER is an intelligent, deftly written mystery that offers a skillful blend of reason and faith. John Desjarlais skillfully combines a wounded scholar, a stigmatic priest, and Aristotle himself in a fascinating tale."

Who is your favorite character in your book?

A minor character -- Selena de la Cruz, the Latina insurance agent. As soon as she walked onto the stage with those heels, that attitude, and a 69 Dodge Charger, I knew she had a story of her own. She’s the protagonist of the sequel. So now I have to think like a second-generation Mexican-American woman. I’m researching Mexican-American families, holidays, food, music, customs, Catholicism and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Aztec mythology, dichos (proverbs) – sheesh, the works. I subscribed to Latina magazine to get some insights. I’m passing my work by a Latina writer who is checking the Spanish as well as the accuracy and fairness of the cultural and gender treatment. So far, so good. I asked my wife if I could get a vintage Charger like Selena’s so I could experience what it’s like to drive one full-throttle on country roads. She said that if I learn to fix it, I can buy it. Hmmm…the community college where I teach has an auto repair program...

Author Bio:

A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his second historical novel, Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection. Bleeder (Sophia Institute Press 2009) is his first mystery. A member of The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Contemporary Authors, Who's Who in Entertainment, and Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

Book Blurb:

A stigmatic priest bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Aristotle scholar Reed Stubblefield needs to know. After all, police say he’s the prime suspect. And not everybody in this small town wants the mystery solved…

Investigate Higher Mysteries

Got RELICS?A medieval thriller/romancesee the video trailer at

BLEEDER: a mysteryA miracle? Or bloody murder?see the video trailer at


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - M.E. Kemp

A warm welcome to M.E. Kemp today author of Death of a Bawdy Belle with a yummy chocolate cake recipe.

M. E. Kemp was born in Oxford, MA, the town her ancestors settled in 1713, although family roots go back to Salem in 1636. Because of a strong sense of family history Kemp decided to write a series set in Colonial America with two nosy Puritans as detectives. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with husband Jack and two kitties but she frequently travels back to her hometown where her family still reside in the family home


3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsn baking powder
1 tsn baking soda
1/4 tsn salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (mix in 1/4 tsn vinegar to make buttermilk)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsn vegetable oil
1 tsn vanilla
1/2 cup hot strong black coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 inch pan with oil/spray and line pan with a circle of waxed paper. Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with mixer for 2 mins. – Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (Mixture will be thin.) Pour batter into pan and bake until center is firm, 30 – 35 mins. Cool in pan for 10 mins.; remove from pan, peel off paper backing and cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar when cool. (Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.)

Book Blurb: When the beautiful Arabella Edwards, mistress of the Royal Secretary of the Provinces, is found as an extra corpse hanging from the Salem gallows it’s up to wealthy widow Hetty Henry and young minister Creasy Cotton to comb through a host of suspects – Arabella shared her favors – and to uncover a clever killer while themselves escaping from the witchcraft hysteria of Salem, 1692.

Monday, February 15, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Sandra Parshall

Mystery writer Sandra Parshall joins me today with an exerpt of Broken Places, her newest.

Broken Places
Third in the Rachel Goddard series
by Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen Press
February 2010

Summer is deadly in the mountains of Virginia. When a husband and wife, veterans of the 1960s War on Poverty, are murdered in Mason County, Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger and veterinarian Rachel Goddard are swept into a maelstrom of lies that stretches far into the past and threatens their own future together. An old friend of Rachel’s, a famous cartoonist with a past of his own, is the prime suspect. The dead couple’s daughter is Tom’s old girlfriend, less concerned with solving her parents’ murders than with forcing Rachel’s secrets into the spotlight. As the killer targets Rachel, she and Tom must decide whether they can still trust each other–or anyone else around them.

Sandra Parshall is a native southerner who now lives in the Washington, DC area. She is also the author of The Heat of the Moon, which won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and Disturbing the Dead.

Broken Places will be available in simultaneous hardcover, trade paperback, e-book and audio editions and can be purchased directly from the publisher or through any bookseller that carries mysteries.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Broken Places by Sandra Parshall

“You okay?” Holly crouched beside Rachel, her eyes wide with alarm. “Did somebody shoot at you?”

“Get back in the car,” Rachel said. “Call Tom.”

“You call him.” Holly stood. “Come on. We need to leave here right now.”

Rachel scanned the woods as she rose, trying to pick out the light blue of Taylor’s shirt in the forest of green and brown. He could be lying on the ground, bleeding to death. “I think somebody shot Cam Taylor,” she said. “I have to see if I can help him.”

“No!” Holly gripped Rachel’s arm with both hands and tried to pull her away. “You’re not goin’ in there with somebody that’s got a gun!”

Rachel twisted her arm free. “Whoever did it is gone.”

“You don’t know that. You can’t be—”

“Go back to the car. Call Tom. Right now!”

Rachel set off into the woods.

The tree canopy closed over her, shutting out the sun. She stuffed her sunglasses into her shirt pocket and pushed on. Slapping aside drooping vines, stumbling over fallen tree branches, she felt like a walking target.
He’s gone. The shooter’s gone.
Please, God, let him be gone.

Why hadn’t she listened to Holly? She didn’t even like Cam Taylor. It was nuts to risk her safety for him.

He’s hurt, he needs me.

She found Taylor on the ground under an oak tree. He’d collapsed at an odd angle, coming to rest with his right leg twisted under him, his left arm flung over his face. Blood soaked the front of his shirt.
Feeling exposed and vulnerable, Rachel pivoted in a circle, searching for movement. She saw no one lurking in the woods, no sign anyone else had been there except for a path of trampled vegetation leading away .
Rachel bent over Taylor, but the stench of blood and feces and urine made her gag and draw back. Flies already buzzed over the body, drawn by the odors. Rachel waved them away. They didn’t disperse, but rose to circle above Cam Taylor, waiting, like tiny planes in a holding pattern.
If there was any chance he was alive, that she could help him, she had to try. Holding her breath, Rachel knelt beside him. Pressing her fingertips to one side of his neck, then the other, she searched for a pulse.

He felt warm to her touch, as warm as life, and as still as death.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Authorsday - Autumn Jordon

Today I put Autumn Jordon in the hotseat.

She talks about her weaknesses. Please join me in welcoming her.

Author Bio: Autumn Jordon: This 2009 Golden Heart Finalist, is a quiet nut with a reputation for finding trouble. AJ lives with her husband along the Appalachian Trail in northeast Pennsylvania. Crafting stories has always been part of her life, as her four children will confirm. When not working at the family business and not writing, she enjoys her friends, not housework or pulling weeds. She loves meeting new people and making new friends.

Book Blurb:
Isobel Trinidad is her own woman. No man was going to rope her to a humdrum life of housewife and take away her dreams of becoming the National Barrel Champion like her father had done to her mother. Her mind is set, until a handsome Yankee comes to town and upsets everything she has believed.

Arson brings State Fire Marshal Warner Keyson to Wayback, but a wildfire of a woman stops him in his tracks. Intrigued by Issy’s fire, he contrives ways to keep her close while conducting his investigation. What they create, which neither of them bargained for, is the blaze of a lifetime.

1. What is your brainstorming process for a new book?

First, Chris, thank you for inviting me to your place. I think you’re going to love Warner, my hero in Obsessed BY Wildfire. He’s a yummy fire marshal. (Chris says: Ya know my weakness for firefighters!)

Now, my process is whacky! It’s totally different than anyone else’s, as far as I know. I tend to come up with first lines. I get all excited over that first line. I’m like a kid standing in front of the candy wall at Wegman’s. My mind reels with possibilities for the hook and I get this picture of who has had the thought or made the statement. Then I play what if, developing the basic GMC of that character. Soon I have a first scene.

Next, I’ll free write maybe two or three chapters where I’ll flesh out a few other characters. Then, I’ll stop and write a synopsis. I know I need a HEA since I write romantic suspense, so I’ll plot out points which will lead the story through twists and turns finally ending with a heroine and hero triumphing over evil and in love.

2. Can you explain your typical work week day?

I do work fifty plus hours a week at a fulltime position but since we’re talking writing, I write every day. Monday through Friday, my day begins at six. After, sending husband out the door, I write for an hour and then I’m off to work. Saturday and Sundays, I’ll write at different times depending on my family’s schedule. During the evenings, I’ll work on editing and the business side of my writing career. Since my actual writing time is limited to about fifteen hours a week, I try to stay focus on putting crap on paper. Remember I edit at night so I fix the crap then.

3. You recently had a book release. Could tell us a little about it?

Yes, I did. Obsessed By Wildfire released from The Wild Rose Press on January 27. The story is a light, fun, sexy contemporary western, with suspense elements of course. I had a ball writing it. Below is the blurb for Obsessed By Wildfire.

Here’s an exerpt:

The sight of the Yankee looming over her, his muscular forearms crossed across his broad chest, his jaw working, set Isabelle back a step. She couldn’t see his eyes through his sunglasses, but she knew they were probably the same stormy blue she remembered from last night, challenging her.

“What do you want?”

“I have a few words to say to you.”

“Then say em’.”

“You’re really full of yourself, lady. If you’ll recall, I told you two things last night. First, I’m here on important business. And second, if you want more of what went on between us then you’re going to have to find me.”

“Then why did you call me?”

“I didn’t.”

Her eyes darted toward the restaurant behind him. A blue gingham curtain dropped back into place. Heat crawled up her neck. Damn. Just as she feared. The biggest gossips in the whole damn town were watching and talking about what happened between her and Warner last night at the Blue Bug and what was going on between them now. Mentally she scratched out Chicky’s name from her hit list and substituted Ray-Ray’s.

“When I called for the cab a man answered. I guess he was the dispatcher or owner. I didn’t know you worked for the cab company. I thought you worked for—” Warner’s lips sealed and he shifted his stance.

“You thought I worked for who?”

“I thought you had something to do with horses and the rodeo.”

“I do. I’m a barrel racer, and I am the cab company.”

“Oh. I see. Well, if you don’t feel comfortable servicing me, I guess I can go back inside and ask one of the locals for a ride. Maybe that Ray-Ray guy.”

She knew he used the word servicing to needle her. She’d be damn if he was going to get her riled in front of the whole damn town. “No. Mr. Warner. I have no problem servicing you. Let’s go.”

4. Did you have to do special research if the novel?

Actually, I did. Isobel is a barrel racer. I have some experience barrel racing myself, but not at Issy’s level. I contacted several female champion barrel racers and they were wonderful in answering my questions and revealing their experiences while racing. I was fun talking to them and afterwards I wanted to climb back into the saddle and beat the clock myself.

If you liked to see the trailer I made for OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE, here is the link:

Buy Obssesed By Wildfire:

5. What was the hardest scene to write?

The sex scene. When my editor said she thought I could erotica, I said, “Ah, No.” I love sexual tension but writing the dancing between the sheets scene is really hard for me.

6. What was your favorite scene to write?

The scene where Warner thinks Issy is being trampled by her horse. I was laughing so hard. I could just see my dear husband acting the same way. Big fearless hero afraid of a horse.

7. What do you consider strengths in terms of writing?

Hooks. I love hooks. As first lines, at the end of paragraphs and of course, at the end of chapters. I’ll tweak and tweak until I get that perfect line.

8. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

Expressing the deep emotions of the characters. I’m an introvert. I tend to keep things to myself, so it’s really heard to ask my characters to open up and reveal their souls, but we’re working towards doing just that. I’ve taken Margie Lawson’s class on Empowering Characters Emotions and that has that fault on the run.

9. How many rejections have you received?

Quite a few. You can’t get published unless you submit. Hey, rejections are part of the business. You have to keep in mind when receiving a rejection it’s not personal. Even though it feels that way. Your work might not be accepted for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of work.

My advice, read for feedback. If there is none, trash it and move on. If there is feedback, take a good hard look at it. Editors and agents don’t have time to comment on every query. If there is feedback on yours, enjoy, that editor or agent saw something in your writing or story. Follow the feedback and resubmit.

10. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
“You’re a good writer, believe in yourself.” Debra Mullins
“Write what you’re passionate about.” Caridad Pineiro
“Quit your whining and write.” Kasey Michaels

All great advice which made me a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. My GH entry, now titled EVIL’S WITNESS will released on June 18, 2010 from The Wild Rose Press.

Author Bio: Autumn Jordon: This 2009 Golden Heart Finalist, is a quiet nut with a reputation for finding trouble. AJ lives with her husband along the Appalachian Trail in northeast Pennsylvania. Crafting stories has always been part of her life, as her four children will confirm. When not working at the family business and not writing, she enjoys her friends, not housework or pulling weeds. She loves meeting new people and making new friends.

Book Blurb:
Isobel Trinidad is her own woman. No man was going to rope her to a humdrum life of housewife and take away her dreams of becoming the National Barrel Champion like her father had done to her mother. Her mind is set, until a handsome Yankee comes to town and upsets everything she has believed.

Arson brings State Fire Marshal Warner Keyson to Wayback, but a wildfire of a woman stops him in his tracks. Intrigued by Issy’s fire, he contrives ways to keep her close while conducting his investigation. What they create, which neither of them bargained for, is the blaze of a lifetime.

Contact Info:
Facebook as Autumn Jordon
Twitter @AJordon
MySpace as Autumn Jordon

Now, my turn. Since I bared my soul. What are your weakness and what are you doing to overcome them?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Maryann Miller


1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. pork sausage (mild)
1 onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
3 toes of garlic (more if you are a garlic lover – chopped fine or pressed)
3 lg. cans crushed tomatoes
1 lg. can tomato paste
2 cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 can green chilies
3 tsp chili powder
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tblsp. sugar

Brown meat with crushed garlic, onions and peppers. Cook until vegetables are soft. Drain. Add tomatoes, beans, and tomato paste, then add seasonings. Simmer, stirring often, for at least an hour.

When I was a child, this chili was made every Sunday and that was the one day of the week that the “cook” took the rest of the day off and we were free to eat a bowl whenever we were hungry. Some of us liked to eat it spread generously over an open-faced hamburger bun. We called it a chili burger.

I thought of those great, lazy Sunday afternoons when Jenny in One Small Victory needed some “comfort food” for her children. What better than a bowl of Gringo Chili.

One Small Victory Blurb:
Life can change in just an instant. That's the harsh reality that Jenny Jasik faces when her son is killed in an automobile accident, but never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect to be working undercover as a member of a drug task force. She is, after all, just a Mom. But don’t discount what a mother can do when the safety of her children is at stake.

Maryann Millers professional experience includes magazine and newspaper work on a national and regional level. The Rosen Publishing Group has released nine of her nonfiction books including the award-winning, COPING WITH WEAPONS AND VIOLENCE In School and On Your Streets. In addition to One Small Victory, she has two other books published. Play It Again, Sam is a “second time around” romance, and Friends Forever is a young adult novel on Kindle. Open Season, the first book in a mystery series featuring two women homicide detectives in Dallas, will be released in hardcover December 2010.

Maryann Miller
One Small Victory
See the book trailer here:
Web site:

Monday, February 8, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Teresa Burrell

Today I welcome Tee Burrell with an excerpt from The Advocate.

“If I knew he were dead, maybe then I could let go.” Sabre Brown’s fingers slid up and down the side of her styrofoam cup as she and her best friend, Bob, walked away from the coffee cart in front of the Juvenile Division of the San Diego Superior Court.
He put his arm around her tiny waist and pulled her closer to him. “I know how much you miss him.”
“Not knowing is the worst part. You’d think after five years, I’d quit expecting him to return.” She sighed and her voice softened. “The last time I talked to him, he called to wish me a happy birthday. He called me the night before because his plane was leaving early in the morning and he didn’t want to wake me. I teased him about growing up, since waking me in the middle of the night would generally bring him great pleasure.”
They stood in silence for a moment. Then Sabre turned to Bob. “You’re a lot like him; you know…the same crazy sense of humor, only you’re less of a prankster. Once he came to my office with silly putty or something hanging out of his nose, like a booger.” Sabre swallowed and cleared her throat. “I don’t know what I’d have done without you the past few years. You make it a little easier, you know.” She glanced at her watch.
“We have a few minutes yet before the vultures start to circle,” Bob said. “By the way, Happy Birthday.”
She attempted a smile. “You remembered.”
“Sure, kid. I couldn’t forget such an important day.”
“I wish I could.”
“I know.” He slipped his arm in hers. “We better get into court.” They walked arm in arm past the metal detector just as a teenage boy placed his belt on the conveyor and then grabbed for his baggy pants as they fell to his knees, displaying his Taz boxer shorts and his warthog tattoo. They chuckled as they entered the crowded hallway.
“I need to talk to my ‘methamphetamine gazelle’ over there,” Bob nodded his head toward a woman with stringy, uncombed hair framing a face with skin spread over her bones with no apparent flesh in between. Her missing teeth added a slight whistle to her high pitched voice. She paced up and down the short hallway, rubbing her hands together and complaining to anyone who would listen.

Book Blurb

For Sabre Orin Brown, life is good; she has it all…or would have, if only she could solve the mysterious disappearance of her brother. The search for her brother and her career as a juvenile court attorney collide when she defends a nine-year-old whose father will go to any length to obtain custody.

Sabre finds herself immersed in a case with too many unanswered questions. Her quest for the truth takes her coast to coast and five years into the past. Confronted with mysterious clues and strange occurrences, Sabre is threatened by someone wanting to make her suffer the unbearable anguish of losing everything—including her life.

As Sabre’s passion to find the answers intensifies, she discovers a twisted history of desperation, deceit, and revenge. And she discovers how obscure and treacherous the truth can be.


Teresa Burrell has dedicated her life to helping children and their families in both the courtroom and the classroom. As an attorney in San Diego, Burrell maintained a private law practice for twelve years, which specialized in domestic, criminal, and civil cases. Her work in juvenile court focused on representing abused minors and juvenile delinquents. Burrell has received several awards and special recognition from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program for her countless hours of pro bono work with children and their families. Burrell has also enjoyed a satisfying career as a teacher. She has taught children of all ages with diverse backgrounds and special needs. After creating an after-school program that kept kids off the street, she received a community service award. Now in semi-retirement in California, Burrell continues to educate groups about social issues impacting children and write novels, many of which are inspired by actual legal cases. She is embarking on a fifty-state tour in which she will speak about her book and do her part to help deter child abuse. She invites anyone interested in having her speak in their city to contact her directly.

Contact Information

Teresa’s website is She blogs at Her email address is Her books are available online at Amazon (in paperback and on Kindle), Barnes and Noble, Echelon Press, Teresa’s website, Fictionwise, and at local bookstores.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I've been given a gift.

I've been a given a friendship circle.

By Ginger Simpson. Ginger and I met when we were fellow authors at a publishing house that I won't name. She has a loop that I've found wonderful to be a part of. I've found advice, friendship and a place to commiserate. No one minds when you whine and frankly we all need to whine sometimes.

So thank you Ginger and now I must pass this onto five of my friends.

Sadly some of my friends do not have blogs so I can't nominate them. :(.

But I will nominate people who I consider important to me.
Shelly Bryant (my former editor)
No ladies, you must put the friendship circle on your blog and nominate five or your own friends.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

KM Daughters Virtual Tour Stop

I have the pleasure of welcoming KM Daughters to the blog today for one of her virtual book tour stops. She is giving away a prize today! Yeah!

K.M. Daughters, in addition to the autographed copy of AGAINST DOCTOR'S ORDERS for a randomly drawn commentator (as well as the tour host with the most comments), will be giving away charms to randomly drawn commenters-- two sterling Chamilia “Sisters” charms and a Claddagh charm (fitting for a Sullivan Boy) that fit Pandora style bracelets.

1. How many rejections have you received?

1. Three. Well, technically, four.
Jewel Of The Adriatic – we asked permission to “fix” the manuscript and resubmitted to the same Editor. She acquired it after the second submission.
Rose Of The Adriatic – the same Editor, as above, rejected the manuscript, but took the time to line edit, and extended the invitation to resubmit after revision. She acquired it after the second submission.
Reunion For The First Time – partial submission was rejected – twice – by one publisher. We submitted to another publisher and it was acquired at first submission and renamed Past, Present And Forever – our first book.
2. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

What prompts you to give an unknown author a try? Reviews? Blurbs/excerpts?

3. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?

3. Pat enjoys folding laundry and she’s quite good at it. Kathie is an inventive cook and discovers new recipes for both sisters’ families.

4. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

We’re strong in character development and emotional depth. Since we’re a team we’re able to draw upon each other’s strengths as writers. Kathie “hears” her characters and tends to immerse herself in role-play. Pat “sees” the characters and action sequences. Those perspectives blend to create K.M. Daughters’ voice. We’re both sentimental women who live life with deep feeling and gratitude, perhaps in compensating for loss along the way. Hopefully we’re able to convey emotions that touch our Readers’ hearts.
5. What’s your favorite quote?

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me." Erma Bombeck

6. What three things would you want with you on a desert island?

A Kindle, a case of wine and a motorboat.

7. What is your favorite word?


8. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?


9. What’s your favorite thing about your book?

Spending more time with the Sullivan family. The characters are treasured friends.

10. Who is your greatest cheerleader?

Pat is Kathie’s and Kathie is Pat’s. You see why we decided to write together?

): K.M. Daughters is the award-winning sister writing team of Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare. Their penname is dedicated to the memory of their parents, Katherine and Michael Lynch, the “K” and “M” in K.M. Daughters.

Veterinarian Matty Connors’ visions lead her to homicide detective Brian Sullivan again despite her resolve to remain anonymous the past four years. Brian, the reputed ladies man of the family, has yet to give his heart to a woman until Matty lays claim to it. His black-and-white approach to solving crimes doesn’t jibe with Matty’s spooky pronouncements. An unsuccessful search for a murder weapon casts doubt on Matty’s “truths” and threatens their smoldering romance. Is Brian her nightmare slayer and ultimate truth? When the puzzle pieces fall in place for Brian, will it be too late to save Matty?

Buy this book here and here at ">Barnes and Noble.

And also here at ">Amazon.

And drum roll: Complete Review not yet posted, but we garnered Four Stars on RT Book Review:

Authorsday - Penny Warner

Author of How To Host a Killer Party Penny Warner is on the hot seat today.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t plan to be a writer when I grew up. When I was a kid, I placed writers on pedestals—“writers” like Carolyn Keene, “author” of the Nancy Drew series. Larger than life, they seemed as fictional as their characters. Turns out some of them were—like Carolyn Keene. But not my other favorites like E.B. White, A.A. Milne, L. Frank Baum. With authors like that, I found it hard to believe that an ordinary person like me could become a writer. Then, when I was in sixth grade, I got mono and missed two months of school. That’s when my mother handed me a copy of my first Nancy Drew mystery—“Secret in the Old Clock.” It wasn’t long before I became obsessed with the girl sleuth. I started wearing a trench coat, made my own sleuth kit, and wrote my first mystery, “The Mystery of Mr. X.” While Nancy Drew was fiction, she inspired me to follow my passion—and that passion turned out to be writing mysteries.
How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first book over 30 years ago, soon after my first child was born. I’d taken a leaving from teaching and decided to write down parenting tips as I learned them. I sold my first book, HEALTHY SNACKS FOR KIDS, in 1983, and have had over 50 books published since then. I write a lot of non-fiction, such as parenting and child activity books, and am on my second mystery series.
How did you pick the genre you write in?

I love mysteries and read a lot of them as a kid and an adult. I especially loved the copy mysteries that featured strong women sleuths, written by women. When I started writing mysteries, I was given the advice, “Write what you know.” It just so happened that I was looking for a fresh protagonist for my new mystery series and realized this is exactly what I would do—write what I knew…about planning parties. I’d had about a dozen party how-to books published, so it was something I was familiar with.
What drew you to the subject of HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY?

It all started when I was three and had my first real birthday party, around age 5. I got to dress up like a princess, invite all my friends over, open a bunch of presents, and eat chocolate cake decorated with M&Ms. I knew from that point on that parties were my destiny. Trouble was, my birthday only came around once a year, so I had to think up other reasons to party. Now I have to think up plots that have to do with parties.
What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

I wrote two mysteries before I finally sold the third one. I realized I needed an interesting character, setting, and plot, so I chose a deaf reporter who lived in the California Gold country and solved mysteries by running her own weekly newspaper. DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, the first in the series, won a Macavity Award and was nominated for an Agatha Award.
What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

The late Robert B. Parker was once asked about “Writer’s Block.” He replied something to the effect that there’s “no such thing. Can you imagine a plumber getting ‘Plumber’s Block?’” I’m a teacher and I can’t indulge myself in “Teacher’s Block.” The same with writing – I just have to sit down, start typing, and hope that something sticks.

Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?

I was born in Okinawa because my mother and father were there after the war. I “speak” fluent American Sign Language. I’ve driven nothing but “roadsters” all my life (MG Midget, MGA, Miata, now a Mini-Cooper). And I’ve been on TV hundreds of times promoting products related to my books.
Describe your book.

Presley Parker (named after Elvis—her mother was a big fan), was recently downsized at her abnormal psychology teaching job at San Francisco State University. Forced to move from her Marina apartment and find work, she ended up renting a condo on Treasure Island and setting up her new business in an old barracks there. Her mother, once the party queen of San Francisco café society, encouraged her to try the event-planning business, since Pres often helped her mom at various functions. Reluctantly Pres gives it a try, promising herself she’ll donate a percentage of her profits to important causes like the Alzheimer’s Foundation—her mother has early stage Alzheimer’s. After the City’s premiere party planner mysteriously dies, Presley finds herself hired to plan Mayor Davin Green’s “surprise” wedding on notorious Alcatraz—with a “ball-and-chain” theme. But a major party foul occurs when the bride-to-be is later found dead floating in the bay, a victim of poisoned chocolates—and Presley becomes the prime suspect.
What do you do when you are not writing?

Since I majored in partying the first two years at the University of Oregon, I do enjoy hosting themed parties. I teach child development at the college level and love it. I lead workshops at writing conferences. I read a lot, create party invitations and favors, host murder mystery events at libraries, and enjoy my four grandchildren.
What’s next for you?

I’m working on edits for book two in the series, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, in which Presley Parker is planning a Murder Mystery Party at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. And I’m starting book three, HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE, set at the eerie, bizarre Winchester Mystery House. I’ve also just sold my middle grade series that begins with THE SECRET CASE OF CODY JONES. It’s filled with codes and puzzle to solve, along with a mystery.
Author Bio):

Penny Warner has published over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children, including over a dozen party books. Her latest book, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, is the first in a new mystery series. Her books have won national awards, garnered excellent reviews, and have been printed in 14 countries. Her first mystery, DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, in her Connor Westphal series featuring a deaf reporter in the California Gold Country, won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery and was nominated for an Agatha Award. Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award. She and her husband Tom create interactive murder mystery fundraisers for libraries across the country. She can be reached at
Book Blurb:

Mixing fun and fundraising for charities seemed like the perfect job for Presley Parker when she’s suddenly downsized from her position teaching abnormal psychological at the university. Pres is psyched about her first big gig—hosting a “surprise” wedding for the San Francisco Mayor at notorious Alcatraz prison. But the party’s over when the bride bolts faster than an escaping prisoner, and is later found dead floating in the bay, a victim of poisoned chocolates. When Presley becomes prime suspect, she looks to the attractive, mysterious crime scene cleaner Brad Matthews who helps tidy up her tarnished reputation. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, she’ll be exchanging her party dress for prison stripes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Recipe Wednesday Gayle Wigglesworth

Author Gayle Wigglesworth shares her signature recipe. Think cozy. Think a cold winter day, with a good book to look forward to and a dish of fabulous Mac and Cheese bubbling in the oven. This recipe will become a standard for you as it has for everyone who’s tried it. This recipe is right out of my cookbook/family memoir, Gayle’s Legacy. If you like the recipe, check out the book, recently available on Kindle.

Gayle’s Mac and Cheese

If your family and friends think Macaroni and Cheese comes out of the box, they’re in for a surprise. I made this so many times in my younger years that I guess I had stopped making it by the time I joined the Wigglesworth family. Anyway, one day one of us ordered it at a rather posh local restaurant and everyone tried it and then raved about it, so I’ve been making it at home ever since.

Note: Never make just one batch, always make extra for the freezer. Take it from the freezer anytime, put it in a cold oven, add a little milk, and bake for twice as long as the recipe calls for.

What you need:

1 pound elbow macaroni boiled 20 minutes until tender, then drained (Add salt and little oil to the water before boiling)
1 pound of your favorite cheese, approximately 3 cups grated (Dave’s favorite is Vermont Cheddar but feel free to mix cheeses with compatible flavors. In fact, I use 2 cups Vermont Cheddar plus 1 cup Monterey Jack because that’s perfect.)
2 cups low fat sour cream
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
½ cup skim milk (approximate)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

How to assemble:

While the macaroni is boiling, grate the cheese
In a large bowl mix the sour cream, milk, cheese, onion and salt and pepper.
When macaroni is drained, add it to the cheese mixture and stir well. (If mixture is dry add more milk)
Pour into baking containers, pre sprayed with Pam.
Bake at 350◦ for 45 to 60 minutes, it should be bubbly and the top brown and crispy.


This is good as a main course with a big green salad and a vegetable (feeds 4 to 5) or it goes very well as a side dish with a main course (serves 6 to 7).

If freezing this dish for another day, do it before you bake it.


This also can be layered with slices of ham.

My sister Connie pours a large can of stewed tomatoes over the dish after it comes out of the oven and before she serves it. I would be shot if I did that to my family, but I have served stewed tomatoes with it and tried spooning them over my serving. It was delicious.

Click here:

Gayle Wigglesworth wrote her cookbook when she moved from California to Texas leaving her family behind. They immediately wailed, “Who is going to cook the family dinners?” She suggested they do it, and wrote this cook book to help them. The first edition was published at Kinko’s but it was such a hit and so many friends wanted copies she brought out a second edition with additional favorite recipes that the first one missed. Now she and her husband go back to California for the holidays and the kids put on the big dinners for them.

Gayle started writing early in life but she wasn’t successful in getting published until after she retired from her senior executive position at a major bank. She now has published five traditional Claire Gulliver Mysteries, featuring a travel book store owner who in her travels somehow becomes embroiled in murder.
Gayle’s books are about normal likeable people who by a quirk of fate get involved in mysteries.

Soon her sixth mystery, Mud to Ashes, will be available. This stand-alone book features a middle aged woman who becomes an empty nester. In order to rebuild a life she moves to a California coastal town to learn to be a potter, only to become involved in murder.

Visit her website to learn more about her, and her books. Join her fan page on Face book and follow her.

Monday, February 1, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - L.S. Caldwell

L.S. Caldwell author of the Anna Mae Mysteries, shares an excerpt of The Golden Treasure.

Chapter One
Thunder rumbled in the distance. Heat lightening crackled in the swirling sky above jolting my already raw nerves. I wanted to jump up into the air, but my feet refused to move. Raul Garcia, my best friend from sixth grade, dragged me forward into the schoolyard. My eight-year-old brother Malcolm trudged beside me. None of us wanted school to start yet, summer had seemed far too short. I noticed that Raul’s normal smile drooped a bit too.
“It won’t be so bad this year,” Raul said. “I won’t let Pit Bull hurt you. You’ll see. I’m stronger and bigger.”
“Yeah, right,” I said.
I peered down at my new pink sneakers with red shoelaces. Dust and dirt clung to the white rubber edges. I loitered in the yard, wishing school was over and we were on our way home. A thin, whistling wind blew across my cheeks, cooling them from the last oppressive heat of summer.
“Anna Mae, look out!”
Malcolm’s trembling voice broke through my daydreaming. He shoved some old gnarled rotten thing under my nose. My eyes watered. I sneezed and looked down.
“Yuk! What is it?”
Raul pushed his stolid body between us. He picked up the offensive object from Malcolm’s palm and held it up in front of his eyes.
The breeze whipped through the schoolyard. Swings swung forward and crashed backwards, their chains interlocking. Loose papers skimmed the ground. The tin garbage can fell to the ground, banging against the packed dirt and loose stones. Two raindrops fell and bounced off my nose. I looked up and gasped.
Floating in mid air, a large black, disembodied manacled fist blocked our path. It appeared from out of nowhere. Malcolm ducked and hid behind me.
“I don’t believe it’s really there,” Raul said
He stepped out in front of me and raised his own puny fists. The root fell from his hands. The black fist hovered in sight, but out of reach. I know, because Raul jumped into the air, swinging at it.
“Anna Mae…”
Malcolm’s voice ripped through my mind. I inched backwards and grabbed his arm.
I followed his pointing finger. The root crept forward; its tendrils waving. It reminded me of the sacred roots that Granma Zora used in her mojos. The root mimicked the movements of its counterpart overhead. What I wanted to know was where the rest of its body was.

Short Blurb About Me:Sometimes I think about my life and look back at the path that brought me to this place and time. As a child, I was very lonely, knowing few people well and even fewer could I call friends. I did not excel in academics. In fact, to the contrary, I resisted school and failed to push myself either socially or academically. I attended college, but never completed my degree.Life led me, as I was not at the time really leading my life, into an early, unhappy marriage resulting in the birth of a lovely son who I soon began raising as a single parent. Drifting through life, trying to make a living as best I could, struggling with health issues, I began writing. I’ve written four books and seen three of them published.I have had some success in marketing my past books, but mostly, I have enjoyed the rewards that writing brings. The craft has seen me through difficult times by allowing me to sort through issues as I transfer my thoughts to the page. My latest book will be released in the fall of 2008 – the first book in a series - The Anna Mae Mysteries – The Golden Treasure. I wanted to write a book that would inspire girls to do more with their ‘tween and teen lives than use cosmetics, wear short skirts, and get pregnant. I wanted girls to recognize that there's a world out there and that they should aim for the top just like the boys do.All of this has led me to a place in my life, thanks in part to my husband whom I married in 1989, where I can reach for the stars myself. I have overcome the odds, grown as a person, and am surrounded by friends - all of which gave me the courage and determination to create my own radio station – Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio. PIVTR, started in 2005, has grown tremendously through lots of hard work, terrific co-workers, great partners and my own sense of self worth, a hard earned state of mind. It’s my way of giving back to those who have been there for me – from our fine military to the many authors who have supported my efforts to the great audience who keeps me going. We're now reaching thousands of listeners in hundreds of countries around the globe.Now, I know the anything is possible, and I have the highest hopes and expectations for the success of my Anna Mae Mystery series and the growth of PIVTR. Thank you all.