A Poem by Daniel Kemp

A While ago I read this in a twittering by Daniel Kemp and it struck me as one of those tweets you remember among the slush easily skimmed over.

Daniel Kemp

Take your petty criticism

Take away your disdain.

Live your life removed from me,

As I quickly forget your name.

***

Daniel Kemp is the author of 

THE DESOLATE GARDEN

Cover Desolate Garden

AMAZON

Guest Blogger – TD McKinnon To Be or Not To Be An Author

To Be Or Not To Be An Author

Can I, indeed can any of us, afford to be an author? We, each of us, come to writing for our own reasons; or at least think we do, and at varying times in our lives we finally get to it (the writing). There are those who come to it early in life never to waver from the path, but… let not those lucky few feel superior.

I, of course, speak only for myself but I’m sure there will be a host of you who concur; those who, like me, knew from an early age that inherently you were a writer, but somehow life didn’t seem conducive to following the writerly way as you were pulled this way and that: appeasing parents, peers, lovers, partners, family obligations, financial commitments, and so on and on… However for the rest of your life, until picking up the quill so to speak, you were haunted by the narratives that crawl and scutter around the canyons of your mind, where lurks your vast imagination, spilling forth at times in inappropriate form and place until, that is, you give that imagination an avenue of expression; elsewise go mad…er.

Some of you will not be surprised when I say that many writers write only for themselves, their outpourings never seeing the light of day. This is a great pity, if for no other reason than those writers will probably never reach their full potential: honing any craft is a process that is generally helped, not by practice only but, by perfect practice, and nothing encourages perfect practice like the possibility of exposure to scrutiny.

Some may say, and I must admit to having acquiesced at times, that there are far too many so called writers on the scene flooding the market now, because ePublising makes the act of publishing so amenable. The standard of material that does come to light varies considerably, and that’s acceptable; not everyone is a Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway, McKinnon, Tolstoy or Twain. The only thing I have to say about that part of the equation is, ‘If you are going to ePublish, make damn sure it is the best product you’ve got.’

Gone are the days, if indeed they ever were for ninety percent of the writerly community, of being picked up by one of the ‘Big Six’, or is it five or four now? What does it really matter, like the Pacific Islanders endangered by rising sea levels, the publishing establishments of yester year are scrambling for positions in a disappearing landscape.

By the time you have penned your masterpiece (we won’t talk about how many hours, months and years that may take), had it vetted, with all the editing and prepublication costs that incurs, and gone through whatever publishing trip you buy into; even ePublishing – assuming you do everything yourself and it goes off without a hitch – is going to cost you in ‘time spent’. Also, regardless of which publishing trail you follow (whether you are an independent or not) the major part of the marketing (more time and money) is your responsibility.

Unless you are a well-established, best-selling author with lucrative film deals pending, one way or another, in varying degrees of time, money and energy, it is going to cost you. So, my initial question, ‘Can I afford to be an author?’ is a pertinent one. The answer for me is simple, I cannot afford not to be an author; on it my sanity depends!

SoThere

 

Can you?

By T.D. McKinnon

 

Featured Author – Mark Combs

4854_1175106300983_6411029_nToday the featured author is a man that has proven he has things to say we all like to read. Let’s welcome Mark Combs.

Hi Mark, thanks for taking the time to drop by and take the time to answer my questions. I’d like to start with a few personal questions, if that’s okay with you?

Absolutely.

Great! Thanks, brace yourself because here we go. 🙂 Given the choice, would you drive around in a car, or take a bike ride?

Depends. If I need to run a quick errand, I’ll drive. However, I love the freedom that being on my bicycle brings, so if I am looking to unwind or clear my head, I’ll hop on my bike and go. Twenty or thirty miles is usually enough for me to get my head straight. I recently got a new Trek road bike, but haven’t been on it much because of cold, windy, shitty Indiana weather.

What came first? The love for crime thrillers or the degree?

The degree came first. I was a sophomore at Indiana University majoring in Biology. Well, calculus, a requirement for my major, kicked my ass not once, but twice. I decided that it was time for a major change, so, at the urging of my friend Mike, I changed to Criminal Justice. That turned out to be a whole lot easier.

I started reading a lot of true crime books when I lived in the Chicago area in the early 1990s. Back then, it was mostly stuff about the mafia. I really developed a taste for crime thrillers in 2003, when I started commuting an hour and a half each way to and from work. I started listening to a lot of audiobooks, and soon “discovered” two authors who are among my favorites today: John Sandford and James Lee Burke. Sandford is a great writer of dialogue and a great storey teller. Burke takes crime fiction into the realm of literary fiction.

If you could ask Stephen King a question, what would that be? About grammar, or fiction?

In his memoir On Writing, King says that stories are found things, like fossils waiting to be uncovered. I would ask him to sell me on this theory, because I’m not sure I buy it. Maybe I just haven’t expanded my mind to the point where I am able to discover stories in my head that have always been there.

Your dog, the Damn Dog (if the readers want to know where that comes from they can ask you in a comment, will that work for you?), is he a house companion, or do you like to take him for long walks?

Damn Dog is my wife’s name for our dog, a BIG Siberian Husky. He’s a year old, so he’s still got a lot of puppy left in him. He spends a lot of time running around in the back yard, but also spends a lot of time in the house. He’s really good-natured, but is still very clumsy. He knocks a lot of stuff over, including our granddaughter, much to my wife’s chagrin. He also tends to chew on things he shouldn’t. We take him for walks (or rather, he takes us for walks). My youngest daughter Riley likes to let him pull her around the block on her Ripstik, which is basically a skateboard with only two wheels.

What would be a good reason to take a long walk?

To clear my head.

There, that wasn’t too painful, was it? But it’s not why you are here, you are here to talk about your work, aren’t you?

Let’s not waste anymore time but tell me what the title of the book is you would like to talk about?

I am currently working on expanding one of my unpublished short stories into a novel. The title of the novel will be Lyrical. I won’t say what the title of the short story is because it would give too much away. The book centers on a series of killings that seem to be based on lyrics from classic rock songs.

Sounds intriguing! Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Not at all, though I hated giving up the original title of the short story.

What will you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to books?

I don’t have any books or stories published yet, but I do have a blog casualmisanthrope.wordpress.com, and I have been able to generate some momentum on Facebook and Twitter. Initially, I plan to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing, so social media will continue to play a prominent role in promoting my work.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

I could eat pizza every day. My wife can’t. Therefore, we only have pizza maybe once a month.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

I have a world-class chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can’t share the recipe because my wife and daughters plan to open a bakery in a few years, but I’d love to send you some cookies.

Oh! Double chocolate-chip, perhaps? Nom! 

Gif found on Chickennuggetgirl’s blog

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

There are days I don’t write, particularly if we are doing some sort of family outing, but generally, I put something on the page every day.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

My life is really pretty boring, but here are a couple of tidbits you may find amusing:

  • I have a bit of a crush on Flo, the Progressive Insurance lady. There’s something about her that really turns my dials!
  • I cry every time I watch Forrest Gump, when Jenny dies.
  • I have an intense dislike for country music, but I could listen to Willie Nelson all day.
  • I once got bitten on the finger by a salmon. It took 3 weeks’ worth of antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
  • My wife was 17 and I was 23 when we started dating. We’ve been married for 21 years.
  • In 1999, my employer made me take a tact and diplomacy training. 

Thanks for sharing all this with us Mark. Do remember to come back when you have a release to celebrate and for now, off you go, back to your writing and reviewing cave!

Official Release Day – A Second Chance in Paradise by Tom Winton

I’m honoured to be the blog that Tom Winton’s has chosen to showcase his new release. So I won’t waste any time but get right to the point and present

Second Chance Ebook
***
A Second Chance in Paradise

Long Island salesman Sonny Raines has had it. He’s sick and tired of living in a world where wrong always wins over right. Then, on his thirty-ninth birthday, when he loses his job and comes home to the most devastating shock of his life, that’s it. He’s dropping out.

With nothing left to lose, and little in his pocket, Sonny chucks it all and drives his aging van fifteen-hundred miles to the lower reaches of the Florida Keys. All he wants is to get over his recent losses and simplify his hectic life, and that’s exactly what he thinks he’s doing when he settles on a paradisiacal speck of an island known as Wrecker’s Key. While surrounded by the warm aquamarine waters of two tropical oceans, he not only falls in love with the key but also establishes a close bond with the free-spirited locals who call it home.

But all isn’t blue skies, swaying palms, and coconut oil on Wrecker’s Key. There’s trouble wafting in the warm breezes that caress the island. Although Sonny certainly isn’t looking for romance, he finds himself falling for his next door neighbor. Ex-model Julie Albright just may be the kindest, most beautiful woman to ever grace his eyes, but there’s a snag. She has a small physical flaw that, no matter how hard he tries, Sonny can’t overlook. And his feelings are no secret to Julie. She can read them, and they weigh as heavy on her heart as they do on his. Then things get even worse. One night, under the cover of darkness, danger drifts up the deep, silent currents from the lower keys—serious danger—life and death danger. And Sonny Raines finds himself right in the middle of it.

And if that wasn’t enough, I have an excerpt for you to make you want even more! Believe me after reading the following bit, you will click one of the links below and get your copy of the book. 🙂


“As soon as I stepped outside I broke into a trot. Passing all the rest of the trailers first then heading up the same narrow road I followed Julie home on the night before, all I could do was think about how she must be reacting right then. I envisioned her staying in her bed alone, thinking. I could see quiet tears making their way down her cheeks. We may have only known each other for twenty-four hours but the mutual attraction we felt – both mental and physical, was undeniable. And it was deep. I knew for sure she really liked me, but there was a lot I didn’t know about Julie Alright.
I had no idea she hadn’t had a semblance of interest in any man since her modeling days ended sixteen years earlier in New York City. Nor did I know that back then she was engaged to Mark Richardson, a very promising young attorney. Mark was about to become the youngest partner ever at Dalrymple, Stockton and Stockton, one of New York’s most prestigious law firms. Julie and Mark had been dating for two years, and they had a big wedding planned for that fall. The ceremony was to be held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by a reception at the Waldorf Astoria. Money was no problem for Mark’s parents and they insisted on buying the grandest wedding available. His father, J. Walter Richardson of Scarsdale and Palm Beach, just happened to be the sole heir of the “American Grains” breakfast cereal fortune.
At that time Julie was one of the big up-and-comers in the modeling world. As a matter of fact, she was just about to cross the threshold to cover-girl fame. But it never happened. One June morning, when she was on her way to the biggest shoot of her career, her sunny future eclipsed totally, and in an instant.
Sitting in the back seat of a Checker cab, she was headed uptown to the world-renowned Clairidge Studios where she was to pose for an upcoming cover of Vogue Magazine. The sun was beginning to shine, but Madison Avenue was still slick from a late morning rain. Julie, who was sitting behind the driver, cranked down the window and held her left hand out in the breeze, drying her freshly applied nail polish. Then, just as the cab was crossing the intersection at 44th street, another cab, heading east, didn’t bother to stop for the red light. The driver of the at fault cab, one Eloi Hernandez, was so toasted on coke he didn’t even notice the light had turned red. Thoughts of stopping never entered his hopped-up mind until after he’d sped into the intersection – and slammed broadside into Julie’s cab. The impact to the driver’s door was so forceful that her driver’s neck snapped so far sideways it literally cracked. The two vehicles then skidded, smacking sideways into each other, crushing four of Julie’s fingers in the process.The driver of Julie’s cab, a Greek immigrant from Astoria Queens, whose name she never learned, was dead by the time the ambulances reached the scene. Julie was rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital where a team of three plastic surgeons performed micro-surgery in an attempt to re-attach her fingers. Her middle and index fingers were salvaged and the nerves regenerated in due time, but her pinky and ring finger were so badly mashed there was no possible way of saving them. Eloi Hernandez did a short stint on Riker’s Island; the Greek was buried out in Queens by his family; and Julie’s potential international fame never materialized. On top of all that, when Mark Richardson found out Julie had lost two fingers, he decided that just maybe he wasn’t ready for marriage after all. After knotting the loose ends of her life together the best Julie could, she returned to Ft. Lauderdale with lost dreams and a broken heart.”
Buy your copy from AMAZON
Read more from this author on Wattpad
006Hello Tom, and thank you for choosing me to host this release day. To give the few who don’t know you a peek of the man behind the author I have a few questions for you.
Sweet or savoury?  Hmmm…that would depend on what kind of mood my stomach was in.
Coffee or tea?  Coffee for sure! Usually I do decaf, but on occasion I take a walk on the wild side and go for the high-octane stuff.
Chocolate or cookies?  That’s a no-brainer. I’d rather eat dark chocolate than breath.
Favourite dish?  I’ve got quite a few, but a seafood platter with piping hot shrimp, scallops, fish, and all that kind of good stuff is right near the top of both my favourite and favorite list. Sorry, Lucy, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw a bit of humor in there.
No worries, it made me chuckle too, but that dish … Oh, boy, I could do with one of those too.
seafood
Mountains or sea?  I’ve spent many thousands of hours fishing in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico—days and nights, but now I’ll take the mountains in a heartbeat. Recently I lived in Maine’s North Woods for five years, and I yearn to move back up there. I absolutely loved living in the woods alone with just my wife, dog, and all the critters.
Staying or moving?  I think my answer to the preceding question also answers this one perfectly.
Organised or go with the flow?  Unfortunately, I’d have to say organized, for the time being. I hate routine and regimentation, but in this busy, busy writing life there are a lot of things that we must get done. If you can’t organize your time you’re going to leave a lot of strings untied, and that can really hurt an author’s progress.
Just don’t forget to let loose every now and then.
dancing brad pit burn after reading
Morning or evening?  Without a doubt, morning is my favorite time. Nothing fills a soul with more hope than a new dawn.
Complain or act?  I usually complain as long as I can. But when it becomes absolutely necessary, I can really kick myself in gear.
Fight or flight?  I’ll come a runnin’ for a cold beer or dinner, but there isn’t much I’m going to run from.
Thank you Tom, and I hope this book will do well on the charts, like all you other work does too. Well deserved If I may add. Do come back if you have more news to share, or just when you have time to write me a guest blog post about any topic close to your heart.

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book Two

Casa de Naomi Book Two - Jacket SM

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

After reading the first book in this series by Paula Rose Michelson the choice to read the second book was easily made. It suffices to say, I made the right choice. This book, like its predecessor did not disappoint. In fact it was hard to put down.

But let’s not spoil your fun by posting my review. Instead I’ll give you a short blurb to entice, but I must stress the fact the full pleasure of reading this book can only come upon you by actually submerging yourself in the world Paula has created.

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book Two

Naomi wants Chaz’s love. Chaz loves Naomi, but will not forgive his wife’s lying to him. The attorney wants Naomi’s estate. The Padre wants the couple to reconcile. Nicco wants to marry Lucinda. Lucinda wants to marry Nicco. Neither will wed until Chaz and Naomi are standing with them when they say their wedding vows. Who will get what they want? Find out when you read the second volume of Paula Rose Michelson’s saga, Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing.

Take a look at the trailer, which I enjoyed watching, and tell me what you think of it.