Month: March 2017

Something a bit special … to me

I’m thrilled to say that my latest short story, Magic O’Clock, has finally been given its own place on my ‘I wrote that’ bookshelf.

Now available for pre-order, it will go on sale on May 7th (my mum’s birthday, as it’s dedicated to her) and is intended to be a story of hope for  those who live – or have lived – with loved ones affected by dementia.

It has received very positive feedback already, hence the reason for me putting it out there in its own right.

Here are a few comments to date:

“Very evocative in conjuring image of ancient story-tellers gathered around a fireside. Might serve to engage other children who’ve thought of their fathers as such and faced similar difficult circumstances.”

“most certainly a piece of writing that many others could understand and identify with and might help others facing dealing with dementia in their families cope better. A generous and compelling piece of writing that could offer some beauty and hope among the difficulties faced.”

“Fine writing and a piece that just needs to find the right publishing home for other readers to appreciate.”

Here’s the summary:

Archie Royle is a kind, funny, gentle man.
He’s also my dad. My storyteller. My hero.

Except he doesn’t remember my face any more.
His world, these days, doesn’t include me or his family.

Life may have changed for him, but he hasn’t given up on life.
Not at all.
It’s just different.

Dad still tells his stories, albeit for a new audience.
He makes people smile and chuckle. As he always did.

He’s a fighter, a survivor and maybe sometimes too clever for his own good! He’ll surprise you. I can assure you of that.

Welcome to Magic O’Clock, where time is irrelevant and hope is unlimited.

This story is purely fictional, but the emotions are all too real.

If you’d care to read Archie’s story, then you can do so by clicking here and selecting your preferred bookstore.

Alternatively, if you’re a dedicated Amazon client, this universal link will take you to your own country site.

Thank you for reading 🙂

 

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What to read next?

It’s a constant dilemma. You just finish a book. There’s a gaping hole in your life that not even chocolates can fill- although you’ve tried, haven’t you? You need a new book to read and your Kindle is chock full of titles, but you can’t decide.

Do you try a new genre? Maybe give those vampires another go. (Nah, Not even going there!) So, you’re sticking with the mystery, thriller, suspense categories? Cool, I totally get it, too.

How about a new author? Yeah, that could work, but which one?

  • Do you pick the latest bestseller? The  one everyone is raving about? Probably not – you’d rather make up your own mind, right? Some of those bestsellers have been real humdingers, haven’t they? And not in a good way.
  • So, an indie author, then? Great idea.
    • And now what? Are you going to ask for recommendations? Oh, lordy, lordy – you’ll be flooded with ‘buy my book’ appeals.
    • how about checking out the book clubs? See what they’re reading. That could work. Oh, but you cancelled your membership because they never picked anything you liked. Darn it.
    • have you considered the library? yeah, I know it’s a bus ride from here and closes at two, but might be worth investigating. okay, another time, then.
      • Where does that leave you? You’re joking, right? You’re going to pick a random book from your Kindle, aren’t you? So, the point of this was what? You only buy books from Indie authors anyway? You know what? Me too!

When in doubt, Kindle knows best 🙂

 

Blogging from A to Z

I love this challenge.

I did it a few years ago before I started writing fiction – but now I’m going to combine the two.

It starts on April 1st and runs each day of the month, excluding Sundays.

So, 26 days = 26 posts

 

 

 

My theme is going to be my next book: Courting Danger (that’s ‘C’ covered anyway) and it will include character profiles, photos of settings, issues covered in the story and few others that I’ve yet to work out. (X,Y & Z are being particularly stubborn right now, but there’s time to get creative yet.)

Well, I’m off to plan my posts. See you next week 🙂

When someone really ‘gets’ your book: WOW, WOW & more WOW

I love getting a new review for one of my books (I only have two, so don’t want to seem boastful). And, while it’s so heartwarming to see those five stars jump out the screen at you, it’s equally as gut-wrenching to see that the reader didn’t enjoy your story.
Now, none of us expect to please everyone – and nor should we, so we shrug off the not-so-glowing reviews and focus on the positive ones that make us able to write more.
That is, until the moment comes when a reader totally ‘gets’ your story. That delicious treat has just happened for me with Lacey’s Law. And, I’m on cloud nine, wrapped in a silver lining watching unicorns gambol over a rainbow. (Too much? Ah, you get my drift – I am one very happy bunny).

I’ve always known this story would appeal to a limited audience. From day one, my beta readers had such varied opinions on it. They told me they couldn’t root for Lacey, that she was too unlikable and not the ‘heroine’ people would want to read about.

I don’t know about you, but that just made my resolve to tell her story all the stronger. Maybe there’s more than a touch of me in Lacey, too. Well, hell yeah, I know there is.

Anyway, the review I received yesterday showed me that there are readers who understand her, who will grow to like her, even love her. Isn’t part of telling a story about showing how a character can change, develop, grow as a person according to the situations and issues they face? Lacey is not as bad as she’s painted. In fact, she’s a funny, loyal, fair and trusting woman (hmm, did I say she was a bit like me? – ah, well, maybe .. or maybe not 🙂 )

Here’s the review – and there are extra bonus points for this reviewer for spotting the sarcastic thread too. You know, some people mistook that element too!

“Lacey’s Law” is a refreshing, rather humorous story about one friend taking her long-awaited chance at revenge on another. Lacey and Carla have been friends since college, so what could Carla possibly do that was so evil that Lacey felt the need to carefully plan and organize her revenge, which involved Carla’s husband? Before you judge the protagonist for her machinations, she has quite a story to tell you, and after that the events start taking a completely different turn…
I really enjoyed reading about Lacey’s escapades, and the more I got to know her, the more I felt for her and soon even rooted for her plan to come to fruition. The irony, which interlaces quite a few of Lacey’s inner monologues made me chuckle on several occasions, and soon somehow, someway this sarcastic and yet incredibly lovable heroine wormed her way into my heart, and I couldn’t help but cheer for her in her grand finale.
A perfect read for all lovers of chick-lit genre. Definitely a five star story.

Pretty awesome, right?

So, for all you writers out there, take note. The time will come when a reader will ‘get’ your book, and when it does … Hands off the unicorn, he’s mine!

By the way, if you want to read Lacey’s story, knowing now what you do, then here’s the link.

Thanks for dropping by.

Featured Author – Bob Spearman

It’s that time again, and this month the featured author of Mystery Authors international is Bob Spearman.

shrimpin-goldHis latest book is Shrimpin’ Gold.

And just looking at that cover makes me want to dive right in. But, if that’s not enough, check out the blurb.

In good seasons and bad, small family-owned shrimping operations have survived in the Carolinas. Harlin Dodd, a third generation shrimper on Shem Creek, faces the demise of a business started by his grandfather. Long time loyal first mate, Joe Ladson, struggles to pay his wife’s medical bills. Their old shrimp boat is beyond repair. Shrimp are scarce. But just as the financial dilemmas of both families seem insurmountable, their shrimp nets bring up a treasure chest filled with gold. With this prize, their troubles really begin. When pirates return for their lost gold, Joe is tortured, and Harlin’s daughter is kidnapped. Harlin must trade himself to save his daughter. Storms, pirates, gold, and ghostly illusions, all set in historical Charleston, make the shrimpers’ struggle an exciting Lowcountry tale.

Sounds exciting, right? So, we asked Bob what drove him to write this story.

“The motivation to write this book was, in part, to highlight the life of the local shrimper family and their struggle to survive the current economic tsunami that attacks their business. In the Carolinas, this business spans generations of local families who know no other way to live. The concept to tell the story of this struggle and yet give the main characters a hope for survival popped in my head while sitting on the beach. I was watching a slow moving shrimp trawler offshore as he plowed his way home to Shem Creek. What if they pulled up a net of Spanish gold?

I’ve lived most of my life in the Charleston area. Local family and friends have all enjoyed the privilege of easy access to fresh fish, shrimp, and oysters sold along the creeks of the Lowcountry. One of the most popular landmarks for fresh seafood is Shem Creek. This creek, home to numerous shrimp boats that line its shores, feeds into the Charleston harbor. It has been an icon for the Lowcountry, a favorite haunt for painters and photographers, and a magnet for restaurants and bars. With fuel prices up and the competition from Asian shrimp farms, living has been difficult for the families who have toiled at this labor for generations. Life is changing for the shrimper. Bringing awareness to this situation and the potential to help were paramount to this story. If the shrimp boats leave, the creek will lose the allure, and will become just a muddy creek.

Oh, and finally, in Charleston, we have fun with pirates and the ghost of these characters from days gone by. Adding a little of that flavor to this story is like the hot sauce on shrimp; not necessary but it sure spices it up.”

And if that whet your appetite, here’s a snippet to further tantalise your taste-buds 🙂

“Joe sat on his front porch in his favorite spindle-backed rocking chair. He studied the movements of two brilliant red Cardinals as they chased bugs along a jasmine-covered fence. A cool breeze carried the sweet scent of the jasmine blossoms across the porch. When the breeze stiffened, a squeaky windmill propeller, in his flower garden, waggled around in uneven circles.

His gaze drifted from the birds to the empty rocker next to him, and he sighed. A Carolina Wren, hidden high in the oak tree canopy, tweeted a familiar tune. He looked up and gained solace with the chorus of sounds that nature offered.

As a boy, he had climbed in these oak trees and tossed a baseball with his dad beside the jasmine fence. He had fished the saltwater creeks near his property with his grandfather, his father, and his son. He had rocked on this porch and watched the stars with Cora Lee when they were both in high school.

This lowcountry haven embellished his soul, it was a part of him and impossible to dissect; it gave him peace. He knew he could not leave this place and survive. He knew if he did leave, the smell of pluff mud and the sounds of sea birds would haunt him until he returned.

For now, the empty chair reminded him of what might be lost, the missing complement to his soul, like the song to a bird or the smell to a jasmine blossom. Through the years, each Sunday after church, they ate noon dinner together, and then Joe and Cora Lee enjoyed this simple pleasure of sitting on the porch. They rocked content with what the afternoon offered, blue sky, clouds, or rain. He could no more live happy without her than he could survive without the marshes or the sea.”

If you want to check this out, head over to Amazon and grab your copy.

To follow Bob and his other stories you can find his website here,  or go to Facebook, Twitter  or his Amazon author page. 

About the Author:

Writing on the beaches of South Carolina has proven a productive environment for this author, and on a breezy, warm afternoon, you may find him sitting on the sand under an umbrella. His favorite Carolina haunts are Edisto Beach, the Isle of Palms shoreline, or on an isolated stretch of Pawleys Island. The relative solitude, the breath of salt air, and the rhythm of the sea provide inspiration for plot lines based in the Carolina Lowcountry.

Bob Spearman grew up in rural South Carolina and now lives with his wife, Barbara, in Mount Pleasant. Although a son of this area, he has lived in Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Utah while working as an engineer. After moving back to Charleston, he started writing fiction as a hobby. He works with several local writer groups, has written three novels, and several short stories. He is currently working on his fourth novel. He is a graduate of The Citadel and holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas.

Other books also available are:

turf-and-surf

Turf & Surf

Every year they build more hotels, more roads, more restaurants, more golf courses, more everything to attract tourists… Locals grow more dissatisfied each year. Some sell and move to another yet undiscovered paradise, some grow old and despondent. Some get mad.
A popular beach haven hides some dirty secrets in Bob Spearman’s thrilling debut novel, Turf and Surf.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has long been known as a go-to tourist destination. But beneath the sunny exterior lies a dark power struggle between locals, summer workers, tourists, and drug dealing gangsters.

Among them is Bo Jr., a young man whose dreams of paradise quickly turn into a nightmare when he stumbles across a mob-owned bar and is soon recruited as a hit-man-in-training.

Meanwhile, best friends Edna and Evelyn navigate the perilous world of romance while their landlords, the volatile Eddie Rondell and his meek wife, Vera, have their own ideas about how the town should be ru

Events converge to a dangerous day of reckoning as a serial kidnapper terrorizes summer workers and a new drug gang attempts to make a claim of their own. With a corrupt police force in charge, does Myrtle Beach have any chance of surviving as a family beach resort?

and hard-roadHard Road

After her daughter’s tragic death, Laurel Peterson jumped in front of a truck, but her attempt at suicide failed. She was left on the side of the road with broken legs and a broken soul. The truck driver stopped to help. Hank Blevins, a veteran of savage fighting in Afghanistan, looked into her eyes and oddly found someone he could understand.

Laurel’s husband, Jack Peterson, a well know business man from Charleston’s high society, had refused to accept mental illness in his family, and would not allow her to seek medical attention for her depression. Prior to her suicide, the dilemma drove her to alcohol, divorce, and a life on the street.

Her future appeared hopeless with nowhere to go and no one to care. Due to the untenable rift with her abusive husband, few options were available. But while Laurel recovered from her injuries, Hank is compelled to visit her in the hospital. They build a relationship of mutual support by sharing the tragic stories of their flawed lives. With the developing friendship, Hank offers Laurel a place to live until she finds a better alternative.

Hank had served two years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and now works for a moving company as a condition of his parole. The company’s manager, Bubba Jaborski, and Hank’s parole officer, conspire to force paroled convicts to deliver drugs or return to jail. The violent and threatening activities of his boss and co-workers put Hank in dire straits as he struggles to live a good life.

When Hank finally reveals to Laurel that he had spent time in prison, she leaves and returns to a nightmarish existence with her husband in their South of Broad home. Driven by the belief that her existence diminished his reputation and position in society, Jack taunts and threatens her. The abuse and lack of proper medication push Laurel back to depression, alcohol, and finally a psychotic episode that almost kills her. She calls Hank and gets a lawyer to help with a divorce.

Jack and his long time business partner have a failing commercial development. To avoid bankruptcy they join forces with Hank’s boss, Bubba, to launder drug money as an investment to save their business. This perilous arrangement leads to big problems with an international crime syndicate and a dangerous confrontation for Hank.

With all of these troubles, Hank struggles to be a good citizen, and to become Laurel’s savior, but needs a champion of his own to survive the complex minefield at work. How will these two survive the odds? Will love find a way?

***

So much to choose from, you’ll agree. Happy reading everyone.

And, to Bob, keep on writing those stories with your own, very unique ‘flavor’ 🙂

It’s challenge time.

Spring has sprung here and with it the need for new stories, or rather offshoots of current ones 🙂

Starting next Wednesday, March 15 the season of writing challenges begins.

First up – the 100 day Novel writing challenge – where the aim is to complete a first and second draft by June 23rd. 

I’m hoping to complete the first draft of a subplot “The Stolen Countess” by then. It’s the first case for the Blackleaf Agency girls and I’m outlining it right now. Yes … you read that right – I – as in me – am OUTLINING right now. That has to be some kind of first, right?

Then April sees the first Camp NanoWrimo of 2017

– where I’ll be working on the second subplot, “Finding Eva” which deals with the girls from Blackleaf helping out a friend in need. (I can’t say any more as this story begins in my next release – Courting Danger – and I don’t want to spoil the surprise)

 

The two stories will merge to form a complete novel, the working title being “Heirlooms & Heiresses”, which is likely to released around next Christmas / New Year.

On top of these, the Writer’s Games open for registration on March 15th too, and I expect to spend my weekends in May/June scribbling away for those.

All in all, a few hectic months of writing new stories, developing new plots and investigating new genres with the Games.

It’s going to be fun! (I think 🙂 )

 

Finding Eva – my Camp Nano project

With the edits of Courting Danger underway, the story moves on and Finding Eva finding-evawill be my Camp NaNo project for April.

This story follows a personal path for the new investigators and runs parallel to their first ‘paid’ assignment as the newly-formed Blackleaf Agency.

Juggling the setting up of a new business and the need to find clients is no mean feat. Yet, they cannot turn their friend down and promise to do everything they can to find baby Eva.

No sooner do they set to work than their first ‘real’ case also adds itself to their workload. Their struggle to keep everyone happy is compounded further still when the background to the case reveals it’s more than a simple theft.

When a painting is stolen from the safe of a guest at a local hotel, Raven & Fern are charged with tracking it down.

Their investigations into The Stolen Countess stolensoon uncover a fractured family tree, a will written under duress and clues linking the painting back to the notorious WWII art thefts during Nazi-occupied Europe.

Have they taken on too much?

Will friendship triumph over business?

Head or heart?