Book Tour and #Giveaway Crosswind by Lynne Cantwell

TOUR-BANNER---CROSSWIND

Today I’m hosting the book that blasted across the web not too long ago. Once again I’m happy to showcase

CROSSWIND

BY

LYNNE CANTWELL

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Crosswinds-600-jpgCrosswind (Land, Sea, Ski: Book 1)

Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods’ return. As conflict eases around the world, attention — and money — has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.

But the former ruling class – the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system — are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.

The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods’ peace will not be destroyed.

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Crosswind
Genre – Urban Fantasy
Pages – approx 275 (68K words)
Published November 20th – Amazon 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, “I could do that.” The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book, illustrated by the author, about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master’s degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited.

I had the chance to ask Lynne a few things to spice up this tour and give some inside information on the woman behind the author. So here’s the result of this little ‘get together’.

Hi Lynne,  welcome and thanks for taking the time to do this in this busy time. The one question I want to ask you Lynne is … *drumroll*

If you could only speak the truth for the rest of your life which persons would you avoid?

My employers. I wouldn’t want to blurt out the wrong thing on a day when I hadn’t had enough sleep. And I would pretty much have to stay off Facebook.

And I presented her with a little This or That

Fountain pen or ballpoint: Ballpoint. I dislike the sound of the nib scratching along the paper. And fountain pens always leave those tell-tale smudges on your fingers.

Blue or black: Hmm. I suppose very dark blue is not an option…? Blue is my favorite color, so I’ll have to go with that.

Paper or vellum/parchment: How old a woman do you take me for? 😀 Paper, please. Although vellum has its place in certain applications – fancy invitations, for instance. Which I never receive. Not that I’m bitter. Um, let’s move on…

Letter or email: Email, sadly. Letters are more fun to write and receive, but I’m hooked on immediacy.

Abbreviations or the words: Abbreviations, apparently. My editor commented on all the acronyms I put in the Crosswind. But this is D.C.! That’s how we talk here!

Show or tell: Show. Much more effective. Even when writing backstory, showing (i.e., including the character’s feelings at the time, or having him/her relive them) is much better than just a straight narrative.

Adverb or show: Again, show. Although I’m less against the use of adverbs in fiction than I was when I was writing radio news copy, where both adjectives and adverbs were pretty much verboten.

Dialogue or narrative: Dialogue, as long as it sounds like an actual conversation. If you find yourself writing, “As you know, Stan…” then you’re not writing an actual conversation. Because as you know, Stan, nobody actually talks that way.

Series or stand-alone: Hmm. Either/or. I do like series, or I wouldn’t write them. But sometimes a single book is just perfect. (And it’s a mistake to split a single book into two or even three bloated movies, not that I have any particular movie trilogies in mind here.)

Novel or short stories: Novel, for sure. When I’m reading, I like to immerse myself in the world for a long period of time.

If you want to know more about Lynne, she’s been a featured author on here. Read the full interview here and discover what she told me about …, or you can find out more about her on:

TWITTER @LynneCntwell | FACEBOOK | BLOG | GOODREADS | AMAZON 

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Do not forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

You could win:

a DREAM PILLOW from the American Indian Museum store + A signed paperback, another signed paperback and a $10 Amazon GC

Featured Author – Carolyne Steele

?????????????????Today Carolyne Steele is a guest on my blog. I promised her to go easy, so I’ll not grill her but just slow roast for a change. 🙂

Hi Carolyn, thank you for stopping by my blog today. I’d like to get started by asking you a few personal questions so that we can get a feel of the person behind the author. If that’s okay with you?

Hey, I’m a memoirist, we love talking about ourselves it’s cheaper than therapy.

Given the choice where would you rather live, the UK or Canada? Flat land or mountains?

Definitely Canada, I fell in love with the place very fast and hankered after being a Canadian for years before it happened. I mean no disrespect to England by this, I think some of us just have to leave our roots to feel truly alive, just as others of us have to return to them. As for plains or mountains, I don’t mind, just so long as there’s a vastness about either.

Another choice question. An action packed, or a quiet life?

Oh, difficult, I love both. I’m as happy dealing with drama and crisis as I am sitting about with some sewing and a cozy play on the radio. My perfect life alternates between both, which is pretty much the way I have it organised these days.

Would you say you are a socially engaged person, or do you generally shy away from society?

mugshotcompressedI’m getting more antisocial as I age, but that might just be lack of stamina. After 5 years running a B&B and having people in my face 24/7 (and not always nice people) I went very introverted for a while. That’s actually one of the reasons I went off to drive for a living, but that wore off after a few years and I can bear company again.

Well, that wasn’t too bad, or was it?

Relatively painless, thank you Lucy.

I’m glad to hear that. 🙂 But since you’ve come here to talk about your work, can you tell us the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Trucking in English, it’s part of a series about being a Brit abroad.

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Did you have difficulty coming up with this title?

To start with yes, but then I was trying to find a title for a blog. I had a drunken chat with a pal via Facebook one night and we came up with Trucking in English as a holding title for what were going to be my online musings from the cab as I drove long haul. Once the name had stuck, it seemed an ideal title for the eventual book.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I’ve thought this over a great deal, ever since my first book came out. People tell me nobody reads memoir and I could sell more by pretending that what happens to me is fiction. They’re probably right and I did consider making the third book in my emigration trilogy into a Bridget Jones type novel but so much would be lost. The problem with real life is that it’s always more outrageous and weird than you can get away with in fiction. I learned that back when I was driving ambulances, we’d occasionally send a really wacky story to a TV series about paramedics and they’d invariably reply that it was too unbelievable to put in a script. So, I’m sticking to non-fiction for now. Even if nobody reads memoir, I want the stories out there in all their mad and messy glory because I love the bizarreness of real life. Everything in the tale of what happens when a middle-aged Englishwoman takes it into her head to drive 18-wheelers across America is true, as will be the next and oddly frightening story of trying to run a Canadian B&B. If I were to put the fires, floods, drugs, prostitutes and life sentences for 1st degree murder into a novel about a B&B, people would rightly call it far-fetched.

It does sounds like a fantastic novel! 🙂

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

A Snoopy dance of glee and a gin and tonic. Spot of fiction there for once, that would be how it went if I ever realised at the time that it was right, generally I have to be yelled at by my fiercest critic. This is my son and since I instituted a ‘rule of three’ when he was growing up he has turned it round on me. I refused to say anything more than three times back when the conversations were about treats and homework; now he refuses to say, ‘Yes it’s fine now!’ more than three times.

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

I have the typical British reserve when it comes to blowing one’s own trumpet and find marketing very difficult. I try to engage with readers and authors and be a person with things to say other than ‘buy my book’, hence I love to join in with blogs such as yours. I write for The Displaced Nation as well as Indies Unlimited and try to be useful and helpful as well as amusing, but as far as actual book marketing goes I struggle to find direct ways that work. Beyond leaving sneaky bookmarks here and there, and an annual Facebook ad at Christmas all about how Trucking in English would be an ideal gift for the driver in your life, I flounder a little. I do see a little spike in sales after I’ve contributed a guest post somewhere, so I try to do as many of those as possible. The subjects of my books aren’t necessarily of immediate appeal but it looks as though readers will risk a download if they enjoy my take on the world.

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

The joy of new food is probably most constant. Whether I like it or I don’t (and don’t get me started on Poutine) I am fascinated by the way food changes as you move around, not just the world but within one country. My travel writing began with strange things on menus and it’s remained a theme. I love the way you can drive, say, from the Canadian border to Florida and know how far south you are by what’s on offer to eat. I don’t want to eat biscuits and gravy, or grits, but I love the troubling images they conjure up in my British mind when I read about them.

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

So many favourites, it’s hard to choose, but here’s a dish that has become one of my new Canadian Christmas traditions. My son and I made it for our first Christmas away from home, mainly because the job I had at that time (and the subject of my first book) was caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s. Living with this lady, stovetop cooking was kinda dangerous but we wanted to have a festive vegetable dish of some sort. We made this braised red cabbage in the oven and it came to represent the fun of starting over in a new life. Now I make it every year to go with the turkey. As a bonus, once the leftovers have been in the fridge overnight, it turns into a sort of chutney for cold meat sandwiches.

Braised Red Cabbage

picture found on Foodnetwork.com

Layer shredded red cabbage and chopped red onion in an ovenproof dish, add chopped apples if you like. Sprinkle each layer with a little chopped garlic, some ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, a spoonful of brown sugar and some salt and pepper. There can be quantities involved but it’s just as easy to stick in a bit more of what you like and a bit less of what you don’t. Finally, dollop over about 3 tablespoons of wine vinegar and dot the top with butter. Cover and bake in a slow oven for 2-3 hours, stirring once or twice. Additional bonus, you can make it the day before and then just reheat when you are up to your ears in relatives and trimmings.

Sounds delish, and I will prepare that one this crapmas.

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!

Ah, that’s an easy one for me, since I divide my life in half. I go off and have adventures for a while, during which time I make a few notes but don’t necessarily ‘write’. Then when I think I have a bookful, or when I collapse with exhaustion, whichever comes first, I stop and turn the mayhem into a book. So, if I didn’t write today, clearly I was having a tiring adventure instead.

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. 🙂

I only became a writer because I once tried to be a stand-up comic and failed miserably. I could get whole roomfuls of people smiling inwardly and producing the occasional polite titter, which was obviously pretty mediocre as stand-up goes. Then one day I was reading a great book on the bus and smiling to myself. I tittered out loud and looked around embarrassed to see if anyone thought I was mad. When I heard myself recommended the book saying, ‘I even laughed out loud on the bus,’ it hit me that a reader’s titter is a triumph!

Therefore I should be writing my version of the world down, not trying to win over comedy clubs with it.

What else? I once got drunk with Terry Jones from the Monty Python team, 

I’ve made a rabble-rousing speech in the UK House of Commons, I have a tattoo of a maple leaf on my bum, I jumped out of a plane at the age of 39 and met the love of my life at 54. One of those isn’t true. (Yip, the tattoo is really a bear.) And, finally, Trucking in English really is an ideal Christmas gift for the driver in your life.

Hahaha, those are a few great ‘dirty’ secrets. Thanks for sharing Carolyn. Now let me tell the readers to find you online at:

Featured Author – DV Berkom

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Today DV Berkom joins me on my blog to be questioned to the third degree. 🙂

Hi D, great to have you on my blog today. I’d like to get started by asking you a few personal questions so that we can get a feel of the person behind the author. If that’s okay with you?

Absolutely. I’m an open book.

Great,that means I won’t have to use my truth serum. Let’s not waste any time and get started then.

I know you are a literate woman, but given the choice what would you rather read, a sit down, dig in and don’t put aside mystery or an action packed spy novel?

Definitely an action packed spy novel. I enjoy a good mystery now and then, but I prefer more of a fast-paced, heart-pounding kind of read. Writing a book is enough mystery for me–especially trying to keep all the sub plots and characters and past plots straight, making sure there are no plot holes or inaccuracies, keeping the tension building throughout, etc. When I read, I want action!

Another choice question. Live on a boat, or on dry land with no water even near?

Most definitely on a boat. I grew up in the Midwest and although there were a gazillion lakes to choose from, it was still landlocked. I tried living in Arizona, and yes, it’s gorgeous and I love the place, but I realized I need to be close to a large body of water, preferably an ocean. After dozens of moves trying to find a place that fit, I finally found a home when I moved to the west coast. Prior to that, my favorite place to live was on a sailboat in Mexico. That experience was formative, to say the least, and started me on my quest for the perfect place to call home.

Being well educated (I know you have a BA in Political Science) do you ever find it pleasurable to watch/read mindless entertainment?

Define mindless 🙂 . But seriously, you have to give your brain a rest or it does it for you. My favorite ‘mindless’ stuff is along the lines of most of the shows on television. I avoid watching crime shows when I’m writing a novel, as I’d hate to have the inaccuracies that are (always) in them filter into my subconscious and then into my writing. It’s hard enough keeping your facts straight. I find a good comedy works wonders to keep me from being too serious.

It does! There’s too many people forgetting how healthy a good belly laugh is, and not only for the mind. Well, that wasn’t too bad, or was it?

Wait—that was it? Aren’t you going to ask me about that time in the Mexican cantina with the cute windsurfer…er, well, maybe not.

What! That was you? Best not mention that again. Hahahahaha.

But you’ve come here to talk about your work, so can you tell us the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Sure. The name of the book is Yucatan Dead. It’s the sixth in the Kate Jones Thriller Series, but you don’t have to read the others to enjoy it. The series deals with the fallout of a bad decision Kate made in her twenties when she took off for the border with a pack full of stolen money from the ruthless leader of a Mexican drug cartel. In Yucatan Dead Kate’s offered the chance to fight back. Here’s the description:

DVBerkom_YucatanDead_333x500

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She was a dangerous man’s lover…now she’s his dangerous enemy.

For Kate Jones, being on the run from her former lover–the vicious leader of a Mexican drug cartel–was never going to be easy. But with a new identity, a new lover, and a new life in Arizona, she was beginning to believe she’d made it through the worst.Then, in an act of twisted revenge, Kate’s kidnapped and imprisoned by her deadly enemy, his intention to force her to pay back the money she stole before he kills her.

Fate intervenes and she finds herself working against the cartels deep in the Yucatan with a group of off-the-grid commandos. From peaceful northern Arizona to the steamy jungles of Mexico, Kate Jones must decide for herself if she’ll continue to run…

…or turn and fight the evil that pursues her.

Did you have difficulty coming up with this title?

Actually, no. It’s a line from a scene in the book and when I wrote it, I knew it was the one: “I’ll give you a worst-case scenario. Yucatan Kate is going to be Yucatan dead.” I am having a heck of a time with the one I’m working on, though. Once I’m finished with the book if I haven’t figured out the title I’ll open it up to my writing group and do some brainstorming.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

Not a chance. I write what I write because I love to read those kinds of books. I’ve been extremely fortunate in that some people like to read what I write. If there comes a time that no one is buying or reading my books, I’d still write the story in my head. On the other hand, if I woke up one morning inspired to write something completely different, then yeah, I’d write it, whatever the genre. But conform to the market, nope. I’m afraid I’m not built that way. Probably make a ton more money, but it is what it is.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

I usually save the celebration for when I finish the final draft. Then it’s a glass or two of good champagne with my best friend. If I celebrated each little victory, I’d probably still be writing Bad Spirits and awfully drunk.

Sounds like that could be a good book too. 🙂

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

I’ve found that good reviews and running a sale now and then work well, but really, the best marketing in the world is word of mouth from satisfied readers. If I didn’t have that, I doubt my books would sell half as well as they do.

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

Tequila. Don’t ask. 🙂

Hahahaha, okay, if you insist. Can you tell me instead what your favourite dish is and can you give me the recipe?

I’ve been enamored of late with the wild mushrooms available here in the pacific northwest like chanterelles and matsutakis, so a good chicken and chanterelle dish with garlic mashed potatoes, or sliced grilled matsutaki mushrooms with lemon-soy dipping sauce. The lemon-soy dipping sauce is just that: equal parts lemon juice and soy sauce, but the chanterelle concoction is my sweetie’s who’s an ex-chef, so if I told you the recipe I’d have to kill you…

Bugger! But I can come up with my own variation on the theme. 🙂 Click here if you want to see my chicken and chanterelle dish.

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!

I was snorkeling in the Caribbean and didn’t have a waterproof laptop?

Sounds plausible enough. 🙂 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. 🙂

I’ve been extremely fortunate in finding great contacts who have the experience and expertise in the things I write about. Every time I write a book I find out how much I don’t know. I can’t tell you how many times serendipity has struck and someone appears with the knowledge I lack.

For example, before I began writing Bad Spirits (the first book in the Kate Jones series) I didn’t know much about the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) other than what I’d seen on television and in the movies and could look up online. Through asking a really stupid question on an online forum about prison time for one of my characters I met a retired DEA supervisor who took pity on me and has become my go-to source for information on the DEA and the drug cartels and how the various law enforcement agencies work together on both sides of the border. Without his knowledge and help my books wouldn’t be half as realistic and error-free (any errors or omissions having to do with guns, explosives, or anything remotely resembling law enforcement operations are all mine).

The same goes for the Leine Basso novels. A good friend of mine and her husband are retired detectives from Los Angeles and they’ve been invaluable in keeping the books true to life. I’ve interviewed other law enforcement personnel, soldiers, trainers, SEALs, you name it—along with some folks that I probably shouldn’t have. For me, learning what these people do and how they’d handle hypotheticals is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a writer.

I’m glad you are one of the authors who does her homework. Thank you for being here and giving us the chance to get to know you a bit. If you ever want to come back with more news, or just to chat about something (you could be a Guest Blogger) holler and I’ll find you a spot.

I’d like to ask the readers at this point if they ever get put off when they read a book and tiny details aren’t right, or do you just ignore them and read on?

As a treat I’d like to offer the readers a sample of the book and wonder if after reading that they are curious enough to go and get it?

Chapter 1

The stench of decay rose from the unforgiving mattress as I shifted to a sitting position. My breath caught as sharp pain lanced through my body from the effort. I ran my hands over my torso, checking for injuries.
Good, no blood.
The watery gray light from a high window covered in metal bars illuminated the block walls that formed my prison. Musty air gave way to a whiff of mold and mildew, reminding me of an old flooded cellar. The thugs who brought me here had masks over their faces and smelled of stale cerveza and garlic, a familiar and unwelcome aroma.
Judging by what I saw in the short trip from the cargo van to the hulking concrete building, I was somewhere in the tropics. Dieffenbachia and philodendron grew in wild profusion while aggressive vines climbed stately royal palms, choking the life out of them. The air oozed damp.
How the hell did you wind up here, Kate? Abduction wasn’t an entirely foreign event in my life, it’s just that it hadn’t happened in a while. Groggy from drugs and a vomit-inducing flight tied up in the back of a Cessna, pictures of a woman with short, blonde hair and familiar green eyes skated through my mind. Tired and disoriented, I couldn’t catch and hold the images to remember her name.
That didn’t stop the incipient panic sliding up my throat.
Footsteps broke through the fog in my brain and a curious cockroach I’d been watching disappeared through a hole in the bricks. I wished I could make myself that small and follow it, but it appeared my fairy godmother had taken the day off.
Not that she would have been much help. Hell, if changing my name, address, daily routines, and hair color didn’t make me disappear, then nothing would.
The sound of a key springing the lock echoed through the room. The door’s hinges creaked and I tensed, waiting to see who or what would emerge, working to combat the fear slithering up my spine. I tried to take a deep breath but couldn’t.
Hyperventilating is annoying that way.
Sunlight blazed into the room as the silhouette of a man stepped through the doorway.
“Vamanos.”
The word came out as a deep grunt and matched the man who uttered it. Short and stocky with a deep scowl and no neck, his suave demeanor told me he probably wasn’t the resort director.
Although, the AK-47 in his hands might have been the clincher.
I rolled off the bed and limped out the door in front of him. The rough handling I’d received on the way to wherever I now found myself hadn’t exactly helped with my beauty regimen. It’s not like there’d been padding in the cargo area of the plane, which I could have used about half-way into the trip when we hit heavy turbulence. I could’ve also used an airsick bag, but that’s beside the point. Kidnappers R Us wasn’t known for their customer service.
It was early morning, judging by the sound of the birds and the lack of mosquitoes. Even though the sodden air clung to my clothes, the day’s heat hadn’t yet bullied its way through the relative coolness. We crunched along a gravel path, neither of us speaking. Palm trees dotted the landscape, interspersed with out-of-control tropical plants. The shriek of a howler monkey serrated the air. A couple of low block buildings with red tile roofs peeked through the vegetation.
We rounded a bend in the path and came upon a concrete drive lined with palms nestled in terracotta pots leading to a huge Spanish-style hacienda. The kind where an old colonial family had decided to recycle the current occupant’s building material for their own, whether a sacred temple or an ancient marketplace. The massive veranda spread across the entire front of the hacienda. Gleaming white marble steps climbed upward to meet an open doorway flanked by two wrought-iron chandeliers. Every few feet, a security camera dotted the roofline.
Evidently, this was the home of a wealthy and paranoid family. Judging by my guard’s use of Spanish and the surrounding vegetation we were somewhere in Latin America. My heart did a half-gainer into my stomach, wiping out any semblance of denial from which I might have been working. January in Siberia would have been preferable.
“Move.”
My talkative guard prodded me up the steps with his machine gun and I complied, hands cold and sweating, my heart racing past us, not waiting for me to catch up. I wondered how long I’d been unconscious from the drugs. By the taste in my mouth and the emptiness of my stomach, I’d guess quite a while.
We reached the top of the stairs and continued through a breezeway to an ornately carved desk with matching chair. A computer monitor rested on its surface, alongside a telephone and radio. Several more security cameras rested atop the ancient bricks in strategic locations.
“Stop,” he muttered as he keyed the mike. “We’re here,” he growled into the radio.
We waited in silence. His raspy breathing, too loud against the worn white bricks of the terrace walls, grated on my already frazzled nerves. A fly buzzed my face, trying to land; I slapped it away. My guard stiffened and repositioned his gun.
I decided to restrict sudden movements.
The radio crackled and a disembodied voice ordered us to proceed. The guard pushed me to the right, down another set of steps that opened onto a lush inner courtyard surrounded by a walkway. In one corner stood a three-tier fountain flanked by royal palms and verdant vegetation. Two peacocks strutted nearby, jabbing at the ground for insects. Parrots and cockatoos created a riot of sound that ricocheted through the courtyard and out into the dense jungle surrounding us.
We turned right along the walkway and continued until we came to another section of the sprawling home that jutted out like the short end of an ‘L’. Framed by large windows and even larger foliage, the French doors reflected the two of us as we approached, making it difficult to see inside. An armed guard dressed in dull green military fatigues stood to one side. His eyes flicked over me once before he snapped back to attention. We stopped and waited.
Memories from a few days ago decided at that precise moment to come flooding back.
Cole.

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DV Berkom can be followed, befriended, and kept under surveillance at:

 FacebookTwitter, her website, blog, on Pinterest, and her Amazon Author Pages in the US and UK.

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I have read and reviewed this book. Loved it and will read it again at some point in time.

If you are  curious to my opinion click here. Have you read it, or any other book by this author, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Featured Author – Melissa Bowersock

e-me2-24-13-leanToday Melissa Bowersock is my guest. She will tell us some about her, writing, and her books.

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for stopping by to answer a few questions of mine. I’m curious about the person behind the author, so I’d like to start with some personal questions if that’s okay with you?

Absolutely. At least then you’ll know I’m not a robot.

Okay! 🙂 Let’s not waste any time then and tell us, given the choice, would you rather live in the desert, or on a mountain?

Tough question. I have lived at both kinds of locations (Flagstaff, AZ at 6,000 feet; Tucson, AZ in the Sonoran desert) and both have their good and bad qualities. I have always tended to run cold, so when I’m in a cold location, I’m REALLY cold. Plus, I love being outside and I find that the cold, rain and snow in a mountain location curtail that more than the heat of the summer. All things considered, I guess I have to say desert. The desert has a rare beauty that not everyone enjoys, which is fine by me, since I love solitude.

I know you have a dog, but do you take long walks with it or is it more of a general companion, or even a guard dog? What I’m really asking is do you like the great outdoors, or are you more a comfy indoor type of woman?

As I said above, I love being outdoors; I have to have that connection in my life. My favorite places on the planet are the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, just because of the overwhelming open space and beauty. I have always considered those wild, desolate places to be my cathedrals. Comfort indoors has its advantages, but nothing beats standing on high ground watching a thunderstorm approach or facing into a strong, wild wind. That’s pure bliss to me.

As for dogs, they are heartfelt companions, teachers, and friends. As far as I am concerned, dogs are the embodiment of all the qualities we humans would do well to emulate: loving, trusting, loyal, long-suffering, playful and intelligent. Having a close connection with a dog is unlike any other relationship we humans can have, and anyone who has never experienced that has no idea what riches they are missing.

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There has been a mention of an award; which award and why, when did you win? And how did that make you feel?

med-Marciacover-frontMy first non-fiction book, Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan, was awarded a medal for biography by the Military Writers Society of America last year. This is the story of my aunt, who was an Army nurse and prisoner-of-war during WWII. It was extremely gratifying to have the book recognized in such a way, especially since the MWSA gets tons of entries for its book awards every year. On the heels of this, I was asked by a TV producer in Madison, WI (my aunt was from WI) if they could feature my book in a documentary on the military history of Wisconsin, another unexpected honor. And just this year, the book was awarded an honorable mention by the Great Midwest Book Festival. This book was a very personal labor of love and I wrote it less for the general public than as a tribute to my aunt, so I’ve been very pleased that it’s touched so many people.

That wasn’t too bad, or was it?

Not bad at all. We writers tend to live in our heads, and our stories can be very real to us but may not connect with the public. It’s always gratifying when we see that our readers “get” our stories; makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Since you’ve come here to talk about your work, can you tell us the title of the book you would like to talk about?

My latest book is Stone’s Ghost, a modern ghost story. It’s not the scary, horror type, but a rather gentle story about love and loss and friendship, mistakes and their consequences, and redemption. Matthew Stone, the main character, becomes friends with a female ghost who haunts the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and their friendship becomes the bond and the means by which they each confront and deal with their own inner demons.

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Did you have difficulty coming up with this title?

I did, actually. I didn’t have any ideas for the title until I got very close to the end of the book. I actually had a different last name for Matt, but finally decided that Stone was very fitting for him, as well as echoing the stone in the old bridge. The title alludes to the fact that Janie, the ghost, belongs to Matt as well as the bridge.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I was disappointed in Amazon when I set the categories for Stone’s Ghost as fiction, ghost (I can only choose 2 categories). When the book comes up, the string of categories read out as literature & fiction> genre fiction> horror> then ghosts. Needless to say, that’s not a good fit for my book. I would much rather see it as literature & fiction> paranormal> ghosts. I don’t want to class it as a paranormal romance, since the romance is not between Matt and Janie and I don’t want to give my readers unrealistic expectations. Categorizing the book in the right genre is important to reach the readers, but it can be a tough call if the book spans genres or doesn’t follow the prescribed notion of a certain genre. I would only consider changing the genre if it was still a good fit; my goal is to market it in such a way that the reader has a good understanding of what the story’s about so they don’t come into it with expectations that don’t match up. I don’t think there’s anything worse that starting a new book with high hopes, only to find out the story isn’t what you thought it was going to be.

You are so right about that! And it is tough to find to right genres on the Amazon store, but I take your answer to mean you wouldn’t rewrite either to make it fit into a popular genre.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

In this particular book, it wasn’t a chapter or a paragraph, but the ending. No pressure, right? I had an ending in mind from the start, and I actually thought it was a good wrap-up to the whole story, but when I got to the end, it didn’t sit right. I had to stew on it for a while and then delete the very last bit, go back a couple pages and re-read and then let the ending flow out of that instead of trying to twist the story around to meet my original ending. When I wrote it out, I knew it was working and I knew it was perfect—and it wasn’t like anything I had planned. But when something fits like that, you can feel it; it’s like that sigh, that very contented exhale of breath after you’ve watched an extremely satisfying movie or closed the cover on an excellent book. The only thing I did to celebrate was tell some Facebook friends in a very tight-knit writers’ group, because I knew they would understand exactly what I was talking about.

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

I do everything I can to get my name and my books out there for the public to see. I blog several times a month and am a regular contributor to Indies Unlimited, which means I get frequent coverage there. I submit my books for review at popular review sites, and I ask for author interviews (like this) whenever possible. I run 99-cent specials on my e-books on notable occasions (a new book launch, my birthday, etc.) and will even do a free promo from time to time. I appear at local book festivals, accept speaking engagements at libraries or book clubs, and of course am active on Facebook and Twitter. All of this helps to keep my name out there, but I would say the biggest buzz is generated by the review sites. Many of these are major influencers, so getting a mention there is gold.

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

Food always comes up in books, but there’s nothing I use with any consistency. In life, yes—I have distinct favorites. I love Mexican food and could easily eat it three or four or five nights a week. My mainstay while writing is jawbreakers. I have to be careful and measure them out, though, because it’s easy while writing to just keep popping them into my mouth until they’re gone.

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

enchiladas

Picture from Better Home&Garden

The best dish I make is pork enchiladas. I cook the pork in the crock pot with spices, then shred it when it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. The aroma from the crock pot fills the house all day long and is to die for. Yes, I can give you the recipe.

Please do and let us all enjoy those delish enchiladas!

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!

Easy. Sometimes it’s way harder to get down to writing than it should be. I like to know that I’m going to have a good block of uninterrupted time, as I really immerse myself in my writing, so if I don’t have that, it’s easier to do smaller, less time-consuming things like reading the latest blogs, writing my own posts or guest posts or querying for reviews or interviews. Readers might think that once you’ve finished a book and published it, that you move on the next story (true enough), but the fact is, I keep getting hauled back to the last book, or the one before, for some promotional aspect. Writers today have to divide their time between creating and marketing, but it’s always a balancing act to figure out how much to spend on each.

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 cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. (hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Going back to the subject of being outdoors, my love and fascination with nature’s power can get me in trouble. I love thunderstorms, love lightning, love tornadoes and have a yen to experience all that in the closest possible way. Years ago when my husband and I were camping at Lake Powell on our boat, a thunderstorm came up with massive amounts of lightning. We had a portable (but bulky) VCR unit and camera (this was waaaay before camcorders) and I was determined to get some good video of the lightning. I convinced my husband (usually a much more rational man) to haul all our gear up to the top of nearby ridge so we could film the lightning. As the storm got closer and closer, of course, it became very obvious that we were not in the safest location, being the tallest things on that ridge. Devoted man that he is, though, he stayed beside me until the rain started pelting us and then we both ran back to the boat. I think he still has nightmares about that. I, on the other hand, find myself energized by that kind of power. There’s a part of me that would like to be struck by lightning so I can fully experience it, but of course the rational part of my brain knows that it can do great and lasting damage to the body. It’s probably better that I keep that an unrealized fantasy and just imagine what an epiphany that would be. 

Thank you very much for being here Melissa. Do come back when you feel like it. You’ll always have a home here. 🙂

Featured Author – Rich Meyer

newprofilepic001smallToday the stage is Rich Meyer’s. He loves questions, and so do I. 🙂

Hi Rich, thanks for taking the time to sit (offers him a chair and hides the rope ready to tie him done behind her back) and answer some questions. I promise it won’t hurt and be over in a jiffy.

Hold on, don’t go! The rope is to … to … to tie the lion in the kitchen down before is can come in and eat the chocolate brownies! Here have one.

Let’s not waste anymore time and get started. Is it true you have written over thirty! Thirty! books? Where do you find the time?

Well, it really wasn’t that hard. It’s not like these thirty are full-length novels. While it can take a bit of creativity to keep them interesting, I’ve really only got to write between a hundred and a thousand sentences to get them going.

I’m a long-time trivia player, so my quiz books are merely an extension of that hobby. I’ve got plenty of time, too. I’m disabled (my legs and back are rebelling on me after thirty-five years of preparing myself to play the role of Jabba the Hutt on Broadway), and I got nothing but time. I do a lot o’ reading and writing. Not too much ‘rithmetic, though. I did fail a semester of Algebra in high school.

Ha, that’s easy, I failed that one too. 🙂 What is your favourite thing in life? Eating chocolate, or Mr. Ed? Feel free to digress. 🙂

I could go all sappy here and say it’s spending time with my family (my wife Mona and our menagerie of li’l furballs), or admit my addiction to sweet stuff (oh, you sacrilegiously good Three Musketeers!), but let’s face it: I’m a bibiophile. I like reading. Give me a Hunter S. Thompson book and put a Frank Zappa guitar solo in my earbuds and I’m happy as a bug in a rug. Well, before the delousing, anyway.

I know your children are quite hairy, but after the fourth being that …. Well, different, didn’t you think it became time to try for the bolder kind?

Nope. Don’t care for children. I’m not exactly all here <points to cranium> all of the time, so I really wouldn’t want that sort of responsibility. And since I follow no religion, I’m not honor bound to “be fruitful.”

Personally, I think being a parent is something you should be licensed for BEFORE you’re allowed to play hide-the-sausage, but that’s just me.

I must agree with you on that one, Rich. It would mean a lot less problems, but a lot of social workers would be without a job if that were ever to become a law.  

Okay, I could talk for hours with you on all sorts, but that is not why you are here, is it? So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Well, right now I’ve published my second print book, The Monster Quiz Book. The_Monster_Quiz_Boo_Cover_for_Kindle

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It’s a reformatted and revised version of an earlier e-book of the same title. I just added 200 questions to it and gave it the whole nine yards treatment on CreateSpace. The first movies I ever saw were Valley of the Dragons, Gorgo, and X the Unknown, so I guess technically we can mostly blame the United Kingdom for the way I am today.

Hahaha, those British do know how to get us laughing and questioning things. At least they have that effect on me. What has this effect on you, my dear readers?

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Not really. It sorta wrote itself. I mean, the whole book is about monsters … it’s a quiz book … I don’t think Shakespeare had it as easy as that. I mean, “Two Gentlemen of Verona”? Pshaw.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I’m not exactly a conformist. I often tone myself down out of politeness and decorum, but I talk and act in real-life the same way I do on the net. I’ve been working on a couple of novels/novellas, and while one is a pulpy super-hero tale, the other’s more into bizarro fiction. I’m not going to get rich doing this, but it’s something to do and it’s fun. If people like it, cool. If they buy it, cool. If they don’t, I’m not going to get suicidal about it.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

By taking a nap. I was three weeks working on a very short story for an anthology some friends were putting out, but every time I sat down to write, there was one crisis or another that prevented me. If you think your furnace might need repairs, or your car inspection went bad, or if one of your canine pals passes away (R.I.P. Montagoon Marie Meyer), it is VERY hard to be creative. Sure, you can use that frustration in your writing, but you have to have the time to marshal yourself as well. I actually finished the story just last night (as of this writing) and I went to sleep.

Right with that out of the way and to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now. What don’t you like about writing.

Other than the promotional and marketing aspects, I pretty much like everything. The hours are great. The rewards are okay, mentally and often financially. And I get to be me and no one can complain. Because if they do, they’re dead. In my next story, that is.

And writing the middle of a book. I have two or three novels with the beginning and the end finished perfectly. But there’s all that damn exposition and character stuff you have to put in between them. Very annoying.

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

I don’t do a lot right now, really. I occasional post a promo for a book or my book formatting service on a few Facebook pages (where it’s allowed, of course), but I’m not an in-your-face kind of person that way. And when you figure that most of the groups I belong to are made up of writers from various genres or industries (self-publishing, comic books, etc.), I don’t see the point of it – most of them are in the same financial straits as me, and I know I don’t like seeing a lot of spam for books I can’t buy. And really, if a friend wants a copy of one of my e-books, hell, I’d be glad to give it to them. That’s sorta the whole friend thing, ya know?

*I smile expectantly, but don’t say a word.* 

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

Pepsi or Diet Pepsi. Or whatever caffeinated soda happens to be on sale at the Giant. I have an allergy to coffee, so that’s how I get my caffeine. And my ability to cosplay Bouncing Boy. Go ahead and google. I’ll wait. <rimshot>

Click on the image and see why she’s so excited. 🙂

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

Oh jeez. I have so many “favorite” dishes (and things, movies, books, comics, etc.) that it’s hard to settle for just one. I’d have to say I love tabuli more than anything. It’s just so fresh tasting when it’s made correctly (i.e., not by me).

A delish salad with bulghur and tomato.

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!

I could not write yesterday because it was my turn to man the battlements on the main wall of the town! Jinkies! We can’t let the zombie racoons in, woman! Imagine if they had taken over the borough hall! Think about the children!

Hahahaha, yeah, I totally believe that one. 🙂 Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. 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. 🙂

Let’s see … I have been told I am somehow related to the guy who played The Flash on TV. Which would be cool if they remake it, ’cause then I’d have an ‘in’ to be Turtle-Man, the role I was BORN to play. I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille! Err. Sorry. I also once accidentally told Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons & Dragons that his game sucked. In my defense, he was dressed like a normal person and not a high-falooting wizard or anything. I’m also a mutant in the Marvel Comics Universe. And I’ve had my picture taken with both Fee Waybill AND Raymond the Amish Comic. Bow before me in envy, Lucy!

*Which I do, if only for this author’s cunning ways of captivating me with his words. Not to mention the fact he loves questions as much as I do!*

Most of what I do is just for a laugh. I do take most of my work over at Indies Unlimited quite seriously – there are a lot of people, places and websites out there that are preying on neophyte self-published writers. I call them vanity predators instead of publishers. I try to do what I can to root out the really bad ones and warn folks about them.

A self-publisher has have to have both confidence in yourself and a willingness to learn new things. You can save yourself a lot of money by doing some very simple aspects of book publishing process yourself. The one thing you need is INFORMATION! Check things out! Never take ANYTHING at face value! Putting out a book can be very painful, like a root canal, or a fairly pleasurable experience, like when the dentist gives you that wonderful, wonderful nitrous oxide. You as a writer have to take the responsibility to know what is going on and not get captured in the vanity predators’ traps!

<GUMP>And that’s all I have to say about that. </GUMP>

Well, it was very … informative? (laughs) I’m sorry, thanks Rich, you have been a great guest, I’d love to see the back of you, erm, I mean to see you back! Yes, please do come back when you have more news, or just some questions to ask my readers.

Before you run off tell us where we can find your book, and you online.

I am all over the place, but mostly at the following ones:

FacebookFacebook Author PageQuantum Formatting ServiceRich’s Random Reviews and RamblingsA Life of Temporal ConfusionAmazon Author Central, and Indies Unlimited.

My book is available at:

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