An apology

LiveLeak-dot-com-6e532174e4a2-i_apologize_card4.jpg.resized

I went to the doctor on June 18, expecting to come home with a handful of prescription oral antibiotics then go right back to work. Instead, I was whisked away and promptly admitted to the local hospital, repeatedly reassured that it was the fastest cure for the cellulitis that afflicted my legs. That might have been true in theory, but in actuality, the  diuretics they gave me along with the antibiotics caused my kidneys to start to fail. They’d already been attacked by Lupus and didn’t have far to go. Soooooooo current treatment was suspended in favor of Plan B. Start dialysis.

Now here it is August and it’s really been a bumpy road. Dialysis is no more fun than it was the first time, but it is needed and tolerable. Physical therapy has been grueling and I’m still enduring it three times a week.

Keeping up with my work was still a high priority during those weeks, as it is now, so some things slipped to the side, this blog being one of them. I didn’t intend to neglect it, or the wonderful authors who often share guest posts here. I simply ran out of hours and fell sadly behind. I ask that you accept my apology and continue to be patient as I get things moving here again. I promise to share some wonderful new authors and book news with you in coming weeks!

 

PJ

Who’s been a Bad Boy? by Lise McClendon

LiseThere are many ways to skin a cat – and promote your writing. One popular way is to create a limited edition box set and price it so low that you’re almost giving it away. The point is to get it into digital readers, not to make money. You can box up your own novels, by series or whatever theme you can conjure up, but joining with other authors can really ease the promotion burden. The idea is that cross-pollination of readers will grow all gardens. You bloom, I bloom, we all bloom with a bigger readership.

 

A few months ago I was asked to join five other authors to put together a box set. My invitation came through an English writer I knew mostly through social media. I had read her book, written about it, became Facebook friends, corresponded, and even met her last year at Bouchercon, the big mystery convention. But I didn’t know the other authors at all, two Americans, a Brit, and an Irish writer.

 

My English friend, Helen Smith, writes comic mysteries and a lot more. Having read her books, and gotten the invitation, I knew we would be compatible. The other authors write a little comedy, a little romance, a little mystery. The theme of the box set was to be “British Bad Boys,” and encompassed humor, mystery, and romance. I had in mind to use my thriller, PLAN X, about a British professor in Montana who is badly injured in a campus explosion.  The story revolves around policewoman and Iraq vet, Cody Byrne, who is tasked to find the professor’s next of kin. The mission turns out harder than it should be, and gets a little twisted when it’s discovered the professor asked several colleagues to hide old documents that look suspiciously like a lost Shakespeare play. Lots of thrills, intrigue, murder, and MI5.

 

But comedy? Funny stuff? Hmmm. I love to laugh but wasn’t sure this novel fit the bill. To their credit the authors only asked: “There’s sarcasm, right?” Well, I thought, I certainly hope so. What’s life or fiction without a little snark? I was in.

 

Several of the authors had been in sets together before and knew the ropes. They had a formatter and cover designer lined up. The six of us discussed the design of the cover, and the sexy quotient of the bad boy on the cover. Our ring-leader, Florida author Barbara Silkstone, kept us up to date and on task.

 

The box set went into production.  Some of us wrote original stories. All of us wrote blurbs. We okayed the cover and sent it all into the formatter. BRITISH-BAD-BOYS-Box-Set-KOBOAnd voila! The box set of British Bad Boys sprung on the world on Easter. So happy to be in the talented company of Helen Smith, Barbara Silkstone, Gerry McCullough, Anne R. Allen, and Sibel Hodge.

 

The e-book box set is just 99 cents. Pocket change! We hope readers are tempted by the bargain. The box set will be available through the summer only. That’s key, the limited time edition. Most of us are also selling our novels or stories individually but we hope this exposure to more readers will help all our novels get more readers. Because that’s what it’s all about, right?

  • • •

 

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/britishbadboys

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/british-bad-boys-barbara-silkstone/1121689967?ean=2940151581530

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/british-bad-boys-1

Shop at an independent bookstore that sells KOBO e-books,

like Mysterious Galaxy: http://www.mystgalaxy.com/ebook/1230000341172

Partnering in writing by Janet Lynn

BW Janet Bill 01Someone once came up with the following equation for successfully completing a novel: Butt + chair = book.  After publishing eight novels I can attest to the truthfulness of this equation! Though a simple formula, it is the best way to get a novel competed.

My husband, Will Zeilinger, also a published author and I joined “talents” and wrote a 1950’s noir murder mystery…Slivers of Glass. Noir is something I always wanted to write but couldn’t  figure out how to get into a guy’s head effectively. When I mentioned this to my husband he said, “So let’s do one together.” Hence this partnership began.

People warned us that it would tarnish our marriage. They insisted it wouldn’t work. Concerned, we took a business approach and set rules of professionalism, respect and overall patience.

Here are some things we did to make it work:

  1. Meetings We set regular meetings and met weekly or monthly depending on where we were in the manuscript and PR. We made sure we had a definite beginning and end time for all meetings.
  2. Agenda Our meetings ALWAYS included an agenda to keep the discussions on track, review our deadlines, and where the book should be at each point in the journey.
  3. Respect difference of opinions. It’s important to check your ego at the door when meeting about the book or project. No one on the team is 100% right or wrong at all times. Find a medium you can agree to.
  4. A sense of humor Laughter can decrease anxiety when self doubt hits. Like brainstorming, it’d difficult to do it by yourself or with a pet!
  5. And the most important things, we agreed and practiced the above equation.

The result-SLIVERS OF GLASS and a wonderful partnering experience for the both of us.  And by the way, we are still married!!

website: http://www.janetlynnauthor.com

Ambrosiaphoto

A very popular dessert in the 1950’s, served at the famous Coconut Grove Night Club in Los Angeles. The “Grove” was known for its great cuisine. The Coconut Grove is featured in one of the scenes in Slivers of Glass, a Noir murder Mystery.

 

Ingredients

2 oranges or tangerines

Sugar

2 bananas

Shredded coconut, unsweetened

 

Direction

Peel the oranges or tangerines, pull the pieces apart; cut the pieces across the middle. Peel the bananas and cut them into thin slices.

Cover the bottom of the bowl with orange pieces. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of sugar over the oranges (depending on the sweetness of the oranges/tangerines). Put some banana slices on oranges, and then sprinkle a little coconut over bananas.

Do the same thing for the next layer, first the oranges, sugar, bananas and coconut. Make more layers, using all the fruit.

Sprinkle coconut on top. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 1 hour. Serves 3-4

 

Slivers of Glass

By

Janet Elizabeth LynnSlivers_of_Glass_sml_cover

And

Will Zeilinger

 

Summary

Southern California 1955: the summer Disneyland opened, but even “The Happiest Place on Earth” couldn’t hide the smell of dirty cops, corruption and murder.

The body of a woman thought to be killed three years earlier is found behind a theater in Hollywood.  Movie stuntman Skylar Drake, a former LAPD detective, is dragged into the investigation. He can make no sense of the crime until he discovers a dirty underworld and unearths deep-seated… greed.

The hunt takes Drake to places he’d never expect.  He’s anxious to close this case and get back to his business in L.A., but he’s constantly haunted by the memory of his wife and young daughter, killed in a mysterious house fire.

With more than enough dirty cops, politicians and crime bosses to go around, Drake can trust no one including Martin Card, the cop assigned to work with him.

Buy link: website:

website: www.janetlynnauthor.com

www.willzeilingerauthor.com

 

Excerpt

There were a dozen other things I could’ve been doing besides standing in line at the drug store listening to Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” piped in overhead.  Though, it was a treat to watch the cashier move behind the counter in her form-fitting white smock. I shook my head and plopped a tube of Pepsodent and a couple of toothbrushes on the pharmacy counter.

She looked up and said, “That will be seventy-five cents, Mr. Drake.”

I dug in my pocket and dropped three quarters in her hand, “Thank you, Miss Abernathy.” She placed my items in a small white paper bag and folded over the top. “Here you are, and quit calling me that.  My name is Emily. Anyway, this should keep you smiling brightly. I only wish I could see yours sometime.”

In all the times I’ve walked to this drug store, I couldn’t remember a day she didn’t smile at me. Too bad there was a ‘y’ at the end of Emily’s name. Women with names like Sandy, Cathy or Abby were bad luck. Those ‘y’  women were always trouble and it would be dangerous to get mixed up with another one now.

“Thanks,” I tipped my hat, “When I have something to smile about, I might just show you.” I knew Emily pretty well since this place was only a couple of blocks from my apartment, an apartment I lived in because a fire took my home along with my beautiful wife Claire and Ellen my little girl.

As I turned to leave, I winked at the two little old ladies behind me.  They stepped back and stared as if I’d just sneezed in their faces. I turned and waved goodbye to Emily only to see her pointing behind me in horror. I followed her gaze and saw a dark green car hurtling toward us – right through the huge windows at the front of the store! The gigantic crash at my back sent shelves, boxes and cans hurtling in our direction. I turned around as glass, smoke and debris seemed to explode in a cloud around us. At that moment my training from the Marine Corps took over. I instinctively swept up the two ladies and Emily and pushed them to the back of the store. The other customers ran screaming out the huge opening where the storefront windows used to be. I shielded the women against the back wall with my body all the while knowing that my weight could suffocate them, but what else could I do? The ceiling could come down on us at any moment. I held them against the wall while listening to my heart pound.  Slowly the tinkle of glass subsided and I released them. Tiny slivers of glass and wood had embedded themselves in my sweater and trousers. “You’d better be careful,” One of the little old women chirped, “Your backside looks like a pin cushion.  Best not to sit down for a while.”

 

Bio:

JANET ELIZABETH LYNN was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until she was 12 years old. Her family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of Southern California.

Janet has always wanted to write and made it a quest to write a novel. Ten years later, with much blood and sweat, her first murder mystery novel, South of the Pier, was published in 2011. She has since written seven more mysteries. Miss Lynn has traveled to the far reaches of the planet for work and for pleasure, collecting wonderful memories, new found friends and a large basket of shampoo and conditioner samples from hotels.

At one time Janet was an Entertainment Editor for a newspaper in Southern California.

Contact info:

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4-KRRAbyUA

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/janet.lynn.5477

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=nav_responsive_tab_home

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanetLynn4

Blog: http://janetelizabethlynnauthor.blogspot.com/

e-mail: janet_lynn51@yahoo.com

website: http://www.janetlynnauthor.com

 

WILL ZEILINGER  has been writing for over twelve years. During that time, he took novel writing classes and joined writer’s groups, but what has helped the most are published authors who mentor, encourage, critique  and listen to him while he continued to learn the craft.  At the time of this writing, Will has published three novels (Ebooks.) The Naked Groom,  Something’s Cooking at Dove Acres, and The Final Checkpoint (also in print).

As a youth he lived overseas with his family. As an adult he traveled the world. Will lives in Southern California with his wife Janet Elizabeth Lynn, who is also an author. Will says that finding time to write while life happens is a challenge.

 

Contact info:

Twitter:  @Will_Zeilinger

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/wzeilinger

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/william-zeilinger/15/48/9a7/

website: http://www.willzeilingerauthor.com

blog: http://www.booksbywilzeilinger.blogspot.com

The Great American Novel by Robin Tidwell

That’s the goal of every author, right? But sometimes we get distracted.

Back in, oh, 1997, I got my first computer, a hand-me-down from my sister. I couldn’t even get online with that thing, but I kept trying. Finally, familyphotoknowing I wanted to write a book, my husband bought me a used machine and I learned how to operate it—even went to some message boards and met a few people that I still keep in touch with.

But no book was written.

I outgrew that computer pretty quickly, and snagged a brand new, custom-built job—still no book. Over the next ten years, I thought about that Great American Novel, but I didn’t actually start putting pen to paper, so to speak, until 2005.

Oh, happy day! My husband was thrilled, kept the kids away, took over the cooking and cleaning. And I wrote.

A whopping 1000 words.

I mentioned distractions, right? Well, we had five kids between us, and I ran our various businesses, and then I went back to college. Again. And I kept upgrading my computer system, and wow, have things changed or what?

But still no book.

Recycled coverOne night, January 31, 2012, to be exact, I had a dream. The next morning, and over the next six months, I wrote a book; dystopian fiction—REDUCED. That was followed by REUSED, RECYCLED, and, coming in March 2015, God willing and the creek don’t rise (actually, rising creeks are a hazard around here), REPEAT will be, um, released.

Still no Great American Novel.

I found the file today. It was under “book.doc.” Nice, huh? As an author and publisher, I have many, many files with the word “book” in them. Many. It took me a 30 solid minutes of searching and clicking. But it’s there—all 1000 words.

Wow. Only 80,000 or so to go . . .

After I read it, and managed not to cringe, much, I remembered that I’d introduced a few more characters—so where did they go?? Fortunately, they had unique names, old-fashioned ones, so I searched again. Found another file: book (autosaved).doc.

Impressive, yes? I really need to give this at least a working title . . .

Maybe it’s right that things turned out like this. Maybe I needed all those years to gain more experience, more skill. Maybe I’ll get it written. Soon. Ish.

It’s epic—in the truest sense of the meaning of that word—twists, turns, parallels, flashbacks; it covers five generations of women in one family. History, love, war. And after finding that second file, well, I’m up to nearly 3000 words.

I might even be able to keep some of them.

And while I have, as yet, no title, and no synopsis, it does have a genre: family friction. No, that’s not a typo. It’s a new genre—and this may be the first book categorized as such. You can thank my mother . . . she knows!

 

RTidwellRobin’s writing career began at the age of eight, when her grandmother insisted she read Gone with the Wind before taking her to see the movie. gwtwInspired by Margaret Mitchell, she began scribbling little booklets of stories, and was the editor of her elementary school newspaper and a columnist in high school. She submitted a short story to Seventeen magazine and was promptly rejected, but still keeps a copy of the manuscript in her desk.

Robin has worked as a snack bar cook, a salad prepper, a camp counselor, a waitress, a receptionist, a housekeeper, a freelancer, an editor, and an employment consultant and manager. She’s also been in car sales, skin care sales, cookware sales, advertising sales, and MLM. She’s owned and operated an entrepreneurial conglomerate, a cleaning service, an old-time photography studio, a bookstore, and a publishing house.

Six years ago, Robin and her husband Dennis moved back to St. Louis, after many years in Columbia, Sedalia, Colorado Springs, Durango, and Granbury and Tolar, Texas. They live with their youngest son, a dog, a cat, and a new puppy. www.robintidwell.com

Website URL:  http://www.RobinTidwell.com

Blog URL:  RobinTidwell.Wordpress.com

Margaret Mandel’s baseball and writing

It’s the beginning of November and, sad to say, the end of baseball season. I’m a Yankee fan and those in the know about baseball, understand that the Yanks didn’t do so well this year. But that’s sports for you, some years you’re on top and some years you are not.

 

PHOTO1

 

A few years ago while taking a break from my writer’s life my husband and I went to Japan and being baseball fans we got tickets to a game between the Tokyo Giants and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. The stadium named Tokyo Dome is affectionately referred to The Egg. It is really quite large and I guess it resembles an egg.

 

PHOTO2

 

There is an impressive covered ramp that encircles the stadium.

 

PHOTO3

 

And there is a charming park in the back of the baseball stadium. It’s a small park, and is as precious looking as any garden you would see throughout Japan. From the ramp you can look down onto the park and watch fat golden koi swimming about in the pond.

 

PHOTO4

 

One of the fun things about going to The Egg is visiting the arcade that was built next to the stadium.

 

PHOTO5

 

There is a rollercoaster, a Ferris Wheel and an energetic, noisy arcade.

 

PHOTO6

 

The rules in Japanese baseball are pretty much the same as here in the USA. But there is a different feeling once inside the stadium. Noodles, sushi, and bento boxes are on display for sale everywhere. There are some hotdogs and hamburgers stands, but the traditional Japanese fare seems to be the preferred food at these games.

 

During half time orange mascots appear on the field to entertain the people in the stadium.

 

There is lots of chanting, and evidently these chanters are pretty competitive, too. Some enthusiasts write chants, print them up and hand out copies at the game so that others will join in at the appropriate moment. Some people get airtime with the stadium loudspeaker to teach the game-goers a verse.

 

 

PHOTO7

 

Not only is the food different in the stadium, but also the way beverages are sold is unlike how we do it here in the USA. Pretty young female venders walk through the crowd with kegs of beer and soda strapped to their backs. They’ll pour a foamy draft beer right there for you in the stands. And they sell sake and whisky along with wasabi nibbles.

 

Also, no one gets up while one of the teams is up at bat. Everyone waits until the end of an inning before they quickly carry out their own bento boxes, or the empty soda and beer containers. Not one scrap of trash is left on the floor.

 

There was a family sitting next to us. They had three very exuberant young boys, one of who spilled a full glass of soda on the floor that trickled down the steps. The people in front of us reported this to the maintenance department and someone came immediately to sop up the spill.

 

PHOTO8

 

At night when the baseball game is over, you walk out of the stadium, and the noise, the lights from the arcade and rides makes you feel like you stepped out into a party.

 

PHOTO9

 

I’ll leave you with a short chant that was translated by someone sitting next to us at the game. It was a specific chant to encourage a pitcher, not exactly a haiku but it was to the point.

 

Concentrate

Pitch that ball

Make that player strike at plate!

~~~

MargretMendelFishKickerMediumMargaret Mendel lives in New York City and is a past board member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, NYC. FishKickercoverShe has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence. Many of her short stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies and this year she published a novel, FISH KICKER. She has just finished a novel, PUSHING WATER, a story based in Vietnam in the years 1938 through 1941, and she has competed a short story collection. For more than twenty years, she worked in the mental health field, though now she devotes herself to writing full time. She is an avid photographer and not only drags a laptop, but a Nikon D7000 camera wherever she goes. Read more about Margaret on her blog at: http://www.pushingtime.com/home/

Two Are Sometimes Better Than One By Maryann Miller

HeadsshotfromCadilacsigningOther than parenting, I can’t think of anything else that is more difficult for two people to share than one writing project.  But when it’s done right, when everything works’ the results are amazing.

 

When I first met Margaret Sutton, and we decided to write a book together, all I could think of was “The Odd Couple.” Not that either of us matched the personality types of Felix and Oscar, but we certainly were as opposite as opposite could get. How could a humor columnist who was known as the Erma Bombeck of Plano, Texas and an entrepreneur whose writing credentials included invoices, business letters, and a single sale to Ellery Queen’s Mystery magazine turn out anything even remotely appealing to fans of hard-boiled crime fiction?

 

Finding our way from that brash beginning to the publication of Doubletake, a police procedural featuring a female homicide detective, was a most interesting journey. I juggled five young children and a weekly deadline at the newspaper. Margaret juggled a manufacturing business and a busy social life. But somehow we made it.

 

The first thing we realized was how much research we needed to do. Collectively, we knew zip about law enforcement – speeding tickets not withstanding – and we had no clue how the criminal mind works. Honest, we didn’t. We were lucky in that we both had connections to people in law enforcement, and those people were happy to help us get it right.  Police officers really do hate it when authors don’t get it right.

 

After an initial period of research and outlining the story, we each chose sections to write. Usually, that was determined by who came up with the original idea for that part of the plot, and I was sometimes amazed at how effortless that process could be. Our plan was to meet once a week and trade chapters. We each would then add our touch to the other’s work, hoping the end result would be a smooth blend.

 

Margaret was the epitome of tact when she read my first attempt to get into the killer’s mind. It was… well, how should I put this…so nice. But what did she expect from a mom? She put the pages down and suggested that perhaps the killer wouldn’t be thinking in terms of “Gosh, Golly, Gee.” Maybe he’d go for something with a little harder edge. When I told her I didn’t know about harder edges, she took me out back and made me use words I’d never even heard before. She made me say them over and over until they could come out without making me stammer or blush.

 

When collaborating, it really helps to have a sense of humor. When egos tended to get a bit sensitive, we found laughing beat arguing and Margaret took that to heart. It became a personal challenge to come up with a bigger and better practical joke to play on me the next time I came to her office to work. Don’t even ask me about the fake puke on the stack of manuscript pages I’d spent weeks typing. (Yes, this all started long before computers and printers.)

 

A writing partnership that is a complement of talents is a real gift. In the two years we worked on Doubletake, I noticed that Margaret’s strengths bolstered my weaknesses and my strengths bolstered hers. Each of us brought something unique and special to the process and, now reading through the book, I’m never sure where one of us left off writing and the other began. I couldn’t look at a chapter and tell you specifically who wrote which section. I may know who started a chapter. Margaret does have a wonderful way of setting up memorable secondary characters-the introduction of the irascible Dr. Davis is uniquely hers-but beyond that, the lines blur; which is a very good thing. Even though quilts play a central part in the plot, I’d hate to think the book resembled one.

 

BOOK BLURB:

Two brutal murders rock the quiet community of Twin Lakes, Texas, and Detective Barbara Hobkins must catch the killer before becoming the target of Doubletake. First published under the pen-name Sutton Miller, the book has been revised and updated and re-released as an e-book and paperback.  “You’ll hate to put this one down until you have read that last word. Highly recommended by a satisfied reader, and I’m looking forward to the next book by this author. Enjoy.” Anne K. Edwards

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Maryann Miller won her first writing award at age twelve with a short story in the Detroit News Scholastic Writing Awards Contest and continues to garner recognition for her short stories, books, and screenplays. She lives in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas, where she also loves to play on stage.

 

Margaret Sutton has headed several unique businesses in the Dallas area. These included the production of home decorating items and a custom-design carpet sculpting business. Sutton has placed short stories in several mystery magazines such as Ellery Queen Magazine. A resident of Texas, Sutton shares her home with a pet monkey and considers herself  “Willie’s Mom”.

 

Buy Links for Doubletake

 

http://www.amazon.com/Doubletake-Maryann-Miller-ebook/dp/B00J4YI8DE/

 

Paperback  http://www.amazon.com/Doubletake-Maryann-Miller/dp/1495498174/

 

You can find out more about Maryann and her other books at her Amazon Author Page  * Website   * Blog   and follow her on Facebook   and Twitter   Margaret likes to remain more of a mystery.