Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Seventh Issue

 


The Magnificent Seven. That’s what jumped to mind when I realized this is the seventh issue of the newsletter.  My efforts continue to share a little bit about the writing process each month, along with news on current projects or new releases and have a quick chat with another author. Of course, there must be music. Otherwise, what’s the point?

 

Writing

Conducting research is an essential part to creating a good story. I don’t know everything. Never claimed to. What’s been helpful for me is understanding the different ways to conduct research. Nowadays anyone can use a search engine on the computer and gather information. That’s something I’ll use often to grab a quick detail that fits in with the story.

There’s also the library. I’ve utilized public and college libraries and their knowledgeable staff to help sift through the countless reams of data. A tip of the hat to those dedicated librarians.

But my favorite method comes from finding and interviewing someone with expertise that’s pertinent to my project.  Sometimes it’s a referral. Often it’s someone I’ve met during the course of my days in a different capacity.  Years ago I met Lee, a scientist with the Michigan State Police crime lab. She became a great source of information and even connected me with others in the lab to get answers about weapons, lifting fingerprints from waterlogged corpses and more.

One of the most memorable interviews was Holly, a young lady who worked out frequently at the same gym I went to. She even taught many aerobics classes.  While working on “Vanishing Act”, Book Two in the Jamie Richmond series, I wanted some details on different classes. Holly agreed to meet for coffee and fill me in. For the most part, it was just a friendly conversation, until Holly mentioned a new type of class she was teaching: pole dancing.  She explained how it’s a great form of exercise and it was gaining in popularity at the time.  I was floored.  Of course, that ended up in the book.




Asking questions can lead you to first-hand information. And that’s a lot more interesting than trudging through a lot of internet sites.

Work in Progress

In addition to working on the latest Chene mystery, I’ve been spending some time promoting. It’s all part of the business of writing.  In addition to my efforts with social media posts, I was able to schedule two interviews with radio podcasts.  One will be on Impact Radio from Detroit and the other will be on The Writer’s Podcast out of Australia. As soon as these air, I’ll post links on the blog and social media.





 

Author Interview

One of the contributing authors to the “Magic & Mischief” anthology is VK Tritschler. I enjoyed her story “Vital Impetus” so much that I couldn’t wait to bring her to your attention.  

 



Where are you from? 

I am a Kiwiadian (as my brother once labelled us) as my parents are from Canada and New Zealand giving us citizenship for both. I was raised largely in New Zealand, with frequent visits to our Canadian relations until my teenage years where I started my love of independent travel with a trip to Germany. After high school I tripped the world for about six years, and now I am residing in Australia.

What’s your ‘someday’ or dream vacation spot and why?
I have so many I could fill a book with them. My favourite thing in the world is to travel somewhere and get to know it as the locals know it. There is something magical about getting insiders tips on the best places nearby and they never disappoint me.

What’s your favorite thing to do for relaxation?
Long walks on a beach are a fan favourite for Australia. In New Zealand it would be fishing with my Dad, or finding a walking track through the forest. But nothing says to me relaxation like a warm fire, a book to read, and a nice wine to sip.


How long have you been writing?
In the writing world I am a relative new-comer. I started my first ever novel five years ago, and since then I was hooked. When we moved to Australia I joined the local writing group, who are both an amazing set of authors and an amazing support group, and the rest (as they say) is history. Despite the hectic world of managing my life and my writing, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
 


Is there a particular genre that you write?  Or more than one?  What led you to there?

There is a little secret I must admit here – I want to be a version of Nora Roberts. Not because of her writing style or technique (although I have read and enjoyed many of her books), but rather because she is an author who writes what she wants, when she wants and in whatever genre she wants. I want to be that. Inspiration for me isn’t a niche market, it’s a field of opportunities. I want to be able to explore them all.

What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? 

I have gone from classical tones to modern twists and back again throughout my life. I loved Jane Austen for her romance, Charles Dickens for his descriptions, Nick Hornby for his dark humor, Maeve Blanchey for her lyrical tales and Charlene Harris for her excitement. Together they make for a great read every time.

What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
To believe in myself, dedicate my time appropriately to the amount of results I expect to get and never give up. It’s too easy to get distracted, saddened, upset or angry along the writing process. Focus, attention and tenacity become the largest part of an author’s toolkit and a key to being a successful writer. You can’t become a world class ballerina without getting some blisters, and you can’t become a world class writer without getting some bad reviews. But the results can become beautiful.

 

Tell us about your latest work:

My latest book is The Risky Business of Romance, set right here in South Australia.




Disillusioned and suffering severe anxiety from the Christchurch earthquakes, Samantha Morgan is on the hunt for a rich husband and a quiet life to save her sanity. She moves to Port Victor a town with the highest per capita millionaires, in the sweeping South Australian countryside. There she meets Max who doesn't meet her strict criteria, and she is torn between her attraction for him and her goals for herself.

Max is enjoying farming and keeping a low profile in his small town and has no intention of taking over the family's expansive business ventures. But when his parents hire the beautiful but complicated Samantha to uncover a potential fraudster, he might be the only one who can rescue her. With Samantha getting kidnapped time is running out.

 How did you decide on your story plot?   

This story was inspired partly by my own experience as someone who went through the Christchurch earthquakes, but also as a new person to this region it gave me a chance to describe what it was like to move here and an outsider’s view on the local community in a fun and exciting way. I wanted to give back to the wonderful people here for their acceptance of us into their world and their lives and this seemed like a fun way to do that.


Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’?  

Definitely not by the book on this one I’m afraid. I always have more than one book I am writing at the same time, I hardly ever plot them out, and I can go from writing zero words a week to ten thousand depending on my mood. Is it the easiest way to write? Absolutely not. But I do love a good adventure story and my writing is just another adventure for me.

Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written? What makes it special? 

I love the scene where Samantha and Max head off to a secluded beach together for a picnic. When we first moved here, our family would have Sunday Explorers Day each weekend where we would pack up the car with some food and go to find a new beach to explore. With hundreds of them within a short drive, each with fabulous things such as swimming holes, golden beaches, dolphins and crystal clear water it seemed like heaven to us. It’s still one of my favourite past-times five years later!

 

You can find out more about VK on the links below.

www.vktritschler.com

www.facebook.com/vktritschler

www.twitter.com/vktritschler

www.goodreads.com/vktritschler

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FZL8CZQ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-risky-business-of-romance

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-risky-business-of-romance-vk-tritschler/1137491464

Itunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1527882999

 

Music

I can’t work in silence.  It’s not my style.  Whether, writing, driving or preparing for the classes I teach, music is always playing.

Lately John Mellencamp has been on the rotation a lot.  A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, his catalog of hits are always entertaining.

 


Here’s my top five from Mellencamp.

Cherry Bomb           https://youtu.be/KF0gsbQKhD8

Hurts So Good         https://youtu.be/g_9rnnkRX0g

Authority Song        https://youtu.be/wsEwK69LXjQ

Small Town             https://youtu.be/gsj6FxNckKY

Pink Houses            https://youtu.be/bB4FD5VkHak

 

 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Small World


Every once in a while, I’m reminded that the world we share is always changing. While we’re all scattered across the globe, technology has a way of bringing us closer.  Families and friends reside in different parts of the country. Some are in different countries. Yet with a click of a button, we can connect with the phone or computer and share our lives.

Proof of that can be found in “Don’t Mess With the Gods”, the novella that I wrote with Elle Nina Castle. We live in different hemispheres, have never met in person, yet collaborated on this story thanks to the wonders of technology. I can’t imagine accomplishing this by mailing pages back and forth through the postal service.



And sometimes, you bump into a person who has crossed many of the same paths that you have. It’s a wonder that you haven’t actually met face to face, especially in the days before the pandemic struck.

That occurred for me just last week.

Melissa from Inkspell Publishing had a new release and suggested the author contact me, since we’re both from the Detroit area.  By the way, Melissa and I  attended the same private college in Ann Arbor.  We were in different years and different programs, but that’s another connection.

So Kate MacInnis reached out.  We traded a few texts and shared some details.  Turns out we both worked as freelance reporters for the Oakland Press.  Kate did a lot of features. I wrote a mixture of hard news articles, features and a few editorials. This was a second job for us, a way to polish our writing skills and bring in a little extra income.

I’m not a big fan of coincidence. But connections are real. Interactions like this just confirm that it’s truly a small world. 

Which of course, might just end up in a story.




Here’s a bit about Kate’s new release.

Just because you haven’t seen a ghost, it doesn’t mean they aren’t around. You can’t see germs either, but you know they exist everywhere. Besides, everybody has a ghost story or unexplained experience—yet no one wants to admit that they believe in spirits.

What if your life was turned upside down and you suddenly had the ability to see, hear and communicate with those on the other side? How would you handle the situation?

Distant Heart Sounds takes a look at what Morgan Cutler encounters after an unexpected near-death-experience leaves her with psychic abilities. As a 40-ish, skeptical, heard-it-all-before, metro Detroit emergency center nurse, Morgan believes she has seen just about everything in her 20+ years on the job, but then one day, she feels someone she cannot see.

The new Morgan opens herself to a relationship with a hunky doctor at the emergency center, who has some psychic ability as well. Romance, humor, mystery, and being connected to others bring peace and joy into her life.
But what happens when Morgan witnesses the evil inside one man’s heart? Some secrets are better left unseen.

Excerpt 
Morgan crossed the room and grabbed the baseball bat from her bedroom closet and placed it on her shoulder in a “batter up” gesture. She stepped into the dark hall outside the bedroom where a glow from the first floor of the house gave off enough light to flood the stairs. She frowned at the intense smell of freshly baked bread and rich food that made her mouth water since she could neither cook nor bake. At the top of the staircase, she crouched with her back against the wall and planted one bare foot on the first step as she leaned closer to the banister.

With the bat now cradled on her lap, she peered downstairs. In the foyer below, she counted more than thirty people gathered in the entry, library, and living room of her small home. She was sure she didn’t even know that many people. The lights blazed as the revelers laughed, ate hors d’oeuvres from silver platters, smoked cigarettes, stood around the shiny black piano as they sang Cole Porter tunes, and clinked champagne glasses filled to the brim. Several people made toasts for good luck and great health. One gentleman spilled the bubbly liquid with a flourish onto the shiny marble floor as he tried to hit the target of another gentleman who lay there with his mouth wide open. A few couples snuggled into corners while others danced, shimmied, and vied for attention. Everyone was dressed in black and white silks and satins with dazzling jewels and long strings of pearls.

“I don’t own a piano,” Morgan said out loud. “And my house doesn’t have marble floors.”

Buy Links:

Music today comes from Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

THE AUGUST ISSUE





The Sixth Issue!  Halfway through a year.  While I continue to write the occasional blog posts, the newsletter covers a number of topics related to writing, in one form or another. This month I’ll discuss settings, a current work in progress, an interview with an author of many talents and music. For what is life without music? Too damn quiet for me.

WRITING

There are three cardinal rules when it comes to real estate. Location, location, location. You can say the same thing about writing fiction. Where the story occurs can have an impact on your readers, particularly if it’s a well-known city. If you’re creating a fictional place, that’s fine, but you need to include some details that will help the readers relate to it and picture where the action is going on.  

Nearly all of my stories take place in the metropolitan Detroit area, known for years as The Motor City or Motown.  This stretches out beyond the city limits to the suburbs that make up Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties with a population of nearly 4 million.  There are seedy inner city neighborhoods and just miles away you can find posh suburbs with multi-million dollar mansions.  

Often I’ll use landmarks or events that readers can recognize, popping up in any of my tales. Comerica Park, Ford Field, The Fox Theater, The Whitney, Belle Isle, The Elwood Bar and Grill and others have all shared a page or two.  

If you’re writing about a real city, you’d better make sure you have your details straight.  Detroit is about 600 feet above sea level and there are no significant hills in the area. There is a street named Mt. Elliot and a suburb named Mount Clemens, but that’s it.  Detroit has professional sports teams, a diverse ethnic population and several casinos.  But no mountains!

Don’t forget the food. When you’re describing your setting, there’s gotta be some local cuisine that readers can almost taste. Detroit has many ethnics restaurants. Whether it’s Greek salads and lamb kabobs, sushi, gourmet meals, seafood, pizza or Coney Island hotdogs from Lafayette, you can find it in Motown.


Settings can play a key role.  As does the time. Is it a current day story? Something set a hundred years in the past, or a hundred in the future. Primarily my stories take place in a contemporary time frame. There may be traces of history in my novels, but I haven’t tackled going into the future. 

Yet.

Work in Progress

My latest effort is the third book in the Jefferson Chene series.  I haven’t come up with a working title that captures the mind yet, but that usually crops up along the way.  This story picks up about a month after the Morrissey homicide from “Your Turn to Die” has been solved.  Chene and the squad are drawn into investigating a cold case from fifteen years ago.  What started out as a missing persons case evolves into a homicide.  The squad is racing against a deadline.  There’s also tension from other departments and the FBI to add a little pressure.

At 48,000 words, the story is moving along fairly well. But this is the first draft and who knows how many twists and turns can develop. Since I don’t use an outline, I’ll just keep plugging away and see where Chene and the squad lead me.

More to follow.

Author Interview

It is my pleasure to bring KG Fletcher to the party. This delightful writer has many talents, including a dynamic singing voice and a love of the theater.  How she finds time to pursue all of these interests, raise a family and write continues to amaze me.

Welcome, KG!




Where are you from? 
Atlanta, GA

What’s your ‘someday’ or dream vacation spot and why?
 I’ve always loved the beach. Would love to live on the East Coast shores of Florida someday – it’s my “happy place.”

What’s your favorite thing to do for relaxation?
Read books. Watch romantic movies or rom-coms.

Any favorite hobbies?
I love to cook with my husband – sipping wine and listening to music as we go.

How long have you been writing?
All of my life. I was a singer/songwriter in Nashville. I’ve written drama sketches for elementary schools and churches. It wasn’t until 2015 that I wrote my first romance novel.

Are you able to write full time or do you also have a job/career?
 I’m a full-time indie artist. I am in a National Tour as a backup singer & also have my own cabaret show. I bring my laptop everywhere we go. I’m always writing on trains, planes, automobiles, backstage, hotel rooms, etc.

Is there a particular genre that you write?  Or more than one?  What led you to there?
I write Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense.

Do you use friends or family as characters in your work?
Absolutely.

What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? 
Nora Roberts, LaVyrle Spencer, Sandra Brown – any kind of romance paperback I could get my hands on, really.

Has anyone in your life influenced you or encouraged you to pursue your interests of writing? (teacher, family member, friend)
 Friends and family, definitely. My husband and sons are my biggest encouragers. #frathouse

What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
 I LOVE editing! I love cleaning up my rough draft when it’s finished, then sending it off to my editor. When I get her email back with her edits, I’m giddy with excitement and love going in again and making more changes. I don’t particularly enjoy the marketing part of this business. It’s a time/money suck, but imperative if you want to make any money.

What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? 
Blurb writing. I’m getting better, but I would love to nail a blurb the first time.

Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?  (Food, drink, silence, noise, location, scented candles)
 I prefer to write in total silence, but I live in a frat-house full of noisy guys. Classical or instrumental music is my go-to. I can’t listen to music with lyrics because I am also a song writer. I get caught up in the lyrics and story which totally takes away from my writing.

Is there a common theme or item that appears in each of your work?
Sweet and steamy, and of course, a happily-ever-after. I am also big on imagery. My readers often comment how they feel like they are in the setting or can taste the food I’m describing.  
 
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? 
The author community is AMAZING! I am not afraid to reach out and ask questions. Nine times out of ten, the author will kindly respond. I’ve made dozens of author friends who support my releases and even share on their social media or newsletters.

Tell us about your latest work: 
I am currently working on Book Four in my Reigning Hearts Series. The title is, “I’ll See You Again.” This is my first book with a Scottish rock and roll hero – my readers are VERY excited.



She plans happily-ever-afters. He sings about them. But will their star-struck connection last?

As a small town wedding planner, Nicky Sinclair craves true love and decadent cakes. But her world is rocked when a famous Scottish musician shows her the kind of affection she’s only dreamt about.  Except just as their hearts are humming in tune, she receives terrifying news and finds herself caught in the headlines.

On the brink of superstardom, Reid Macpherson pours all his energy into his band. But after showing up at a small town bar to test out his latest song, the last thing he expected was to fall for a gorgeous local who has no idea who he is. So when he realizes he has feelings for her, he invites her to New York City for the kick-off of his first world tour.

After Nicky learns devastating news that’s hit the airwaves, emotions run high and she fears Mac will leave her and return to Scotland forever. And Mac worries with Nicky left behind, his voice will forever be silenced, the love they shared nothing but a lingering lyric in one of his hit songs.

Will the harmonious couple see each other again, or have they uttered their final goodbye? 

I’ll See You Again is the fourth book in a series of standalone contemporary romance novels. If you like steamy opposites-attract stories, and heart-wrenching feels, then you’ll adore KG Fletcher’s rock star romance.

Buy I’ll See You Again for a ballad of loyalty and longing today! 

How did you decide on your story plot? 
 Because this is book four in the series, I chose a likeable character from the series and created her own story. Her name is Nicky and she’s a successful wedding planner in the small fictional town of Cold Creek, NY.

Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’?
I am DEFINITELY a “pantster” – I write by the seat of my pants. I have a BFA in Theatre, so character development is very important to me. When I’m writing, my imaginary friends are constantly talking to me and taking me down roads I didn’t see coming! I know it sounds odd, but I usually start out with an idea and let the characters take me on the journey. 

Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written? What makes it special? 
Gosh, I have several. My favorite scenes are those I know are gonna make the reader gasp or cry. In Book One of my Reigning Hearts Series, RUN TO THE SEA, there is a scene on the beach inspired by the movie, “Somewhere in Time.” It’s very emotional with lots of feels. In Book One of my Southern Promises Series, GEORGIA CLAY, there is a scene where my heroine is frantic to get to the Grand Ole Opry stage for her famous singer/songwriter boyfriend’s show and ends up hitching a ride on a Harley with an older guy. When he leaves the scene, his license plate reveals something my readers LOVED! Gotta read the book to find out, LOL!

How about sharing a little taste of this story?
This is an excerpt from my upcoming Scottish rock star romance, “I’ll See You Again” 

  “Start at the beginning, when you left with Mr. Macpherson after the show Saturday night,” Amber insisted, pouring her another shot, filling it to the rim. Her perfect brow knitted in a ‘v’ in the space between her eyes.
   Nicky swallowed in an offhand nod. “Well, we ended up at my place. He spent the night…”
   “Oh, boy!” Amber interrupted, her face lighting up with glee.
   “No... nothing happened. We just… slept together – you know, as in sleep. Nothing else.”
   “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Amber sarcastically replied, tilting her blonde head as if flabbergasted by her admission. “You mean to tell me, you had a legitimate rock star in your bed, and you didn’t…”
    “Amber, please!” she shushed, swiping at her eyes with a napkin she’d pulled out of the holder. Amber hushed in dismay, crossing her arms and unable to hide her scowl. Nicky sighed, ready to press forward. “We spent the entire day together yesterday, canoeing and exploring Bannerman Island. Then we ended up back at his hotel.”
    Amber’s lips curled up to one side in a cajoling smile, and she seemed to relax. “Go on. What happened at the hotel? Did you spend the night there?”
     Nicky shook her head. “No. We ended up at my place again. We got up early and took a horse to the east meadow to watch the sunrise.”
   “Dammit, Nick!” Amber stomped, like a spoiled child. “Did you close the deal with the hot-Scot or not?”


Pre-order TODAY! Available August 26.
I’ll See You Again
Reigning Hearts ~ Book Four by KG Fletcher
(A Scottish rock star, standalone opposites-attract romance)
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!









The Singing Author - Audio/Video: https://www.kgfletcherauthor.com/audiovideo.html



YouTube Channel with book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxD4r0_mOYWWiVmlT_JSSdg


 Music

A lot of variety over the last few weeks, thanks to Spotify and Pandora.  Pat Benatar’s voice keeps popping up. With a list of top ten songs, platinum and gold albums, she’s been nominated this year for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Here’s my top five favorites.



Hit Me With Your Best Shot:  https://youtu.be/0JRgHol94Xc
Love is a Battlefield: https://youtu.be/IGVZOLV9SPo



Sunday, August 2, 2020

Technology and The Dinosaur


Anyone who knows me understands that I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to technology. Yes, I use a laptop computer. And a few years ago, I broke down and got a smartphone, with the idea being that it would be helpful at book events when I could utilize a device and accept credit cards.  As a music junkie, I’ve often got Pandora or another streaming service engaged.  I’ve gotten accustomed to video calls from family and friends.


But recently, with the onslaught of the pandemic in late March, I had to start using video conferences to teach the remainder of the winter semester. I’ve never been one that likes being in front of a camera, but it was necessary to get the job done.  As the virus continues to be a problem, it’s had a huge impact on social gatherings. So I, like so many others have been utilizing video conference calls! Ye Gods!  An old friend once told me “You have the perfect face for radio.”  I couldn’t argue with that. In fact, I readily agreed.
 
Within the last month, I’ve participated in a group promotional effort for the release of “Magic & Mischief” anthology, did a podcast interview and was part of a three panel video discussion of authors for the local public library. You might think I’m enjoying this time in front of the camera.

Yeah, well, you’d be wrong.

But when the opportunity presents itself to promote my work as an author, I’m going to take it.  Rest assured, no casting director from Hollywood is going to be tracking me down.

Here are the links for the recent interviews to introduce the anthology.
Radio Interview
Zoom Group interview short
Long version



During the bit with the library, we were asked to read an excerpt from one of our stories.  So I selected an excerpt from “Your Turn to Die” book two in the Jefferson Chene series.



In this scene, Detective Jefferson Chene is interviewing Valerie Mann. She is the office manager for Kyle Morrissey, who was brutally murdered during a war game of paintball.

“It’s a bad idea to lie to a cop, Valerie. Sooner or later, the truth comes back to bite you in the ass."
Her body jolted as if I’d slapped her. “There may be something in Kyle’s contact list. He didn’t keep business cards. When someone gave him one, he’d put the details on his computer.”
“And you have access to that file?”
“Yes. It’s on the network.”
“Let’s take a look.”
I could have had the Cyber Unit scan the files but there was a chance she’d give me more than just a name and a number. Valerie turned to the computer and pulled the chair closer to the desk as I came around beside her.
“Why did you lie to me?”
She shifted her head just enough to look me in the eye. “I don’t like you.”
“It’s not a popularity contest. I’m trying to figure out who killed your boss.”
“You’re abrasive.”
I shrugged. “If I have to be.”
“Your mother must be so proud.” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm.
“I wouldn’t know. I never met her.”
Valerie opened her mouth to say something, but no words came out. Her cheeks and throat flushed scarlet. She swallowed once and turned her attention to the computer. I watched as she scrolled through a list of files and brought up a folder labeled ‘contacts’.
“So there must be some other reason you lied, other than not liking me.”
“I just don’t see how any of this could help you find his killer.”
I pointed at the computer monitor. Slowly she ran through the list of names. Valerie stopped occasionally to jot down the details for several people listed as attorneys. It was tempting to see if there were any recent emails between them and Morrissey. I was about to ask but figured the Cyber Unit would be able to tell me. We finished with the list. Valerie switched off the computer.
“Want to tell me about the lie?”
She let out a ragged breath. “You’re impossible.”
I rested a hip on the desk. She remained in the big chair. Self-consciously she crossed her legs, then tugged the hem of her skirt down toward her knee. It didn’t cover much. “I’m in no hurry.”
“I thought you were trying to catch a killer.”
“I am. But my boss gets pissed if I do a sloppy job and miss something.”
Valerie folded her hands in her lap. “I have nothing more to say. Unless you have questions related to Mr. Morrissey’s business dealings, I’m going to ask you to leave. We have a number of things to finish up before tomorrow’s services.”
I decided not to push it. She was obviously holding something back. Whether it was pertinent to the case was anyone’s guess. Tucking the papers into my pocket, I pushed away from the desk. Valerie stayed in the chair.
“Good-bye, Sergeant.”
“I’ll see you around, Ms. Mann.”
It obviously wasn’t the response she was hoping for.

Buy Links

Music this week comes from Carlos Santana with one of his best.




Sunday, July 19, 2020

THE JULY ISSUE





The Fifth Issue!  My how time does fly!  While I continue writing the occasional blog posts, this newsletter covers a variety of subjects. This month I’ll talk about creating characters, the release of my latest story, an interview with a talented new author and music. Let’s Rock!

WRITING
Creating great characters is vital to any good story. It’s one of my biggest challenges to develop players in my work that readers can identify with. They need to be able to make a connection with the characters, to care about them, to raise their curiosity to learn if my cast can get beyond the conflict they’re facing. It’s more than just a name and a description. These characters become real people in my imagination.

Years ago I developed a character profile, to help me keep the details straight. One of my most memorable and difficult people is Jefferson Chene.  It took months of tweaking his background to make him someone unique. His name is the starting point. Chene was abandoned at birth. He was found at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Chene Street in Detroit, by two Catholic nuns out for an evening stroll.  When the police arrived to take a report, they inadvertently listed the intersection as the child’s name.

Chene ends up in an orphanage and is raised in the Catholic school system. As a result, he has trust issues, sporadic experiences with women and difficulty developing and maintaining relationships. A skeptical nature makes him a natural for police work.

THE RELEASE

Well, this was a surprise. When the June issue was done and posted, I figured there was ample time to prepare for the release of “Magic & Mischief” the Inkspell Anthology that contains “Don’t Mess With the Gods” my collaboration with Elle Nina Castle.  A week went by and I got the news. We were going live on July 13! 

In short order a number of the authors were able to get together for a video conference call to talk about our stories.  Radio interviews were conducted, a press release was written and as the great comedian Jackie Gleason would say “And Away We Go!”



There are nine novellas in this big book, over 600 pages if you opt for the print version.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

It is my pleasure this month to introduce you to my writing partner, Elle Nina Castle.  Before we get to know her a bit, it’s only appropriate that I explain how this all came about.  Last September, Elle received a copy of “Why 319?”. After reading it, she wrote a wonderful review. We traded emails occasionally and I caught a glimpse of her talent. She’s got a sharp sense of humor and a fresh perspective on writing.

When I heard about the anthology and the idea of focusing on paranormal stories, I was intrigued. This was not my normal genre. Yet I wanted to try something different.  Somewhere along the line, I pitched the idea of a collaboration to Elle.  Several facts continue to amaze me.

First, Elle agreed to the project.

Second, we’ve never actually met. Elle lives in Australia and I’m in the US. We hadn’t even spoken at that point. It was December when we started writing this tale.

Third, with a combination of emails and Google Docs, we were able to put together the first draft of the story by my self-imposed deadline of March 15. That night, I submitted it to Inkspell for consideration, along with an explanation of the collaboration.

Fourth, on March 16, yes, one day later, we received notice from Melissa at Inkspell that she was accepting the story. One day! One freaking day! This has never happened to me before.

Now that you’ve learned a little background, let’s chat with Elle, who by the way, is a little camera shy.



Where are you from? 
I’m from Mumbai, India but currently live in Australia.

What’s your ‘someday’ or dream vacation spot and why?
My dream vacation spot is Iceland. There’s just something magical about their natural landscapes not to mention the aurora borealis which is eye candy for days. There's a simplistic, minimalistic allure this country.

What’s your favorite thing to do for relaxation?
I’m an avid reader and love to get lost in a story.

Any favorite hobbies?
I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes along with watching Netflix or Amazon Prime and board games! I love listening to music and podcasts too.

How long have you been writing?
A journal has been a constant companion throughout my life, so I'd say a good ten years. A disclaimer – another human being has read none of these words. I’ve recently started writing fiction and it all began in December 2019.

Are you able to write full time or do you also have a job/career?
I believe in dealing with the hand I’ve been given. I work part-time at my university assisting them on a long-term project. I’m a full-time student and I’ve completed 90% of my course. So, my work and studies come first, before I have time to write.

Is there a particular genre that you write?  Or more than one?  What led you to there?
I'm drawn to romance, but I find that there's a mix of paranormal associated with my writing. I believe that it stems from my mindset of finding magic in the mundane. I hope to write a mystery or a thriller novel eventually.

Do you use friends or family as characters in your work?
Yes, sometimes. Everyone is unique, and individual traits stand out. If I’m developing a character and a memory of a friend or family comes up, I'm definitely integrating that trait, emotion or reaction into the story! 

What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? 
Enid Blyton. She was my guiding spirit in the school library as one of my earliest memories of reading are "The Famous Five" and "The Secret Seven" books. Agatha Christie is another who opened the doors to the mystery genre. Val McDermid has made my jaw drop with her psychological thrillers. Jane Austen, who added an intellectual flair in romance and instilled a love for taking note of the natural surroundings and having fictitious boyfriends. Colleen Hoover’s books are full of heart and in the end I often resembled the theatrical expression of drama and comedy.

Has anyone in your life influenced you or encouraged you to pursue your interests of writing? (teacher, family member, friend)
My mum and dad have been incredibly supportive. Mum was the one who picked up my love affair with words in Grade 5, and that encounter is ingrained in my memory. I have to say you because you've always given me encouraging feedback and have patiently answered around one million questions that I keep asking!

What is your favorite aspect of writing? Your least favorite? 
One of my favorite aspect is expanding on the structure or adding another element that magically weaved its way. Building on that initial idea always brings a smile to my face. I have still to discover the least favorite aspect.

What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? 
I'd love to work on being more daring and exploring adjectives to convey my thoughts in a better manner. Also providing the reader with an insight into the mood or tone of the speaker after a dialogue.

Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?  (Food, drink, silence, noise, location, scented candles)
A bottle of water on my left-hand side and windows where I can look at the sky are my must-haves. Music is another one, but it depends on the scene that I'm writing. If it's an intense scene, I like silence. I mostly write in my room and only like to be interrupted by my two adorable pooches!

Is there a common theme or item that appears in your work?  
I've noticed an element of hope that's associated with each story. Nearly all of my characters are driven and very curious about the world that surrounds them.

What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
How much space do we have? Haha! It's my first rodeo, and the main things I've picked up is that there be patient with yourself. Another one is don't be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to the writing communities on various social media channels. They are very supportive and helpful. Feedback can be a powerful tool which can help take your writing to the next level.

Tell us about your latest work:
This is my first published work. "Don't Mess with the Gods" is the second paranormal romance story in the summer anthology "Magic & Mischief". It’s loosely based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and you’ll have to read it to get an idea of the modern twist that’s added.

How did you decide on your story plot?
 I was travelling on a train to work (this was pre COVID-19), and suddenly a random thought crossed my mind of Snow White visiting a psychologist. I shared that with you in an email, and we were unknowingly verbally sparring to develop the plot for our novella. Everything took off from there.

Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’? 
I'd like to think that I'm a hybrid. Most of the times, I have a basic outline which gives me a general sense of the chapter or scene. However, when I start expanding on this, it's more a 'seat of the pants' as I let my imagination take flight. I surprised myself because I had a particular image of myself as a writer.  Writing this short story has been an awakening of sorts, shattering illusions and making me love writing even more.

Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written? What makes it special?
When Solana is at a personal crossroads, and she recollects the advice of her mother. It's a mix of the elements of Solana immersing herself in her natural environment, the thoughts that cloud her mind and the lead-up to a decision. This sets the tone of what happens next in the story. It’s special because there are times when I recall my mother’s advice and it brings a sense of peace and clarity.



Blurb: Two people existing. Leave it to the Greek Gods to help them live a little.

Solana is troubled by a cruel stepmother who takes great pleasure in ridiculing the young woman, separating her from a loving father. As she turns to her friend Imogen for solace and advice, Solana also questions her own sanity when she begins to hear and see the Greek Gods. She reluctantly agrees to meet with Dr. Michael Granger, a psychiatrist whose practice has dabbled in the paranormal occurrence.

Will the Gods revolt at his efforts? Or are there other powers at work here?

Excerpt:
“Relax.”

The music no longer played. This was unusual, since the stereo would continue until he commanded it to stop. There was no power outage, as the dim light in the kitchen was still on.

“Just relax.”

Was he actually hearing a voice out loud, or was it only in his head? Perhaps it was nothing more than the power of suggestion, brought on by Solana’s story. Michael drew in a deep breath and let it out as slowly as possible. To his amazement, an image began to take shape before him. Sparkling brown eyes perched over a narrow, aquiline nose. Dark brown hair cascaded down her shoulders and back. She was curvaceous and long limbed. She seemed to hover just before him, not even an arm’s length away.

“Aphrodite,” he whispered is disbelief.

The head bobbed once in response. He recalled Snow’s comments that this visitor didn’t talk much lately. Now he felt a slight pressure as if invisible hands were stroking his temples, easing his restlessness. This was a new sensation for him. While many of his patients talked about alternative realities and other worlds, he had never experienced anything like this.

“Aphrodite, did Solana send you?”

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Contact:
elleninacastle@gmail.com

MUSIC
While I enjoy many different genres of music, rock and roll tops the list. As far back as I can remember (which is a very, long, time!) the Father of Rock and Roll has always been a favorite.



Chuck Berry’s career spanned more than 50 years and he delighted audiences well into his seventies. Here’s a list of my top five, including one that was released after his death.

Reelin’ & Rockin’: https://youtu.be/ca2jxk6o3Rw
You Never Can Tell:   https://youtu.be/u9l0YBKcGnY
No Particular Place to Go:  https://youtu.be/t6OS_ItMGpc