Monday, October 31, 2016

Take Five and Meet Author Mitzi Flyte

Happy Halloween. I'm so pleased to introduce Mitzi Flyte. 
Check out where her author picture was taken. Very cool.  
But first, read on so you know a bit more about Mitzi, she's fascinating.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Mitzi Flyte.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Guardian’s Prophecy.

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, L.A., I’ve been looking forward to this.
I wrote The Guardian’s Prophecy to attempt to dispel some myths about wolves. And if there were false myths about wolves, then the myths about werewolves would have to change.

I found some Celtic folktales that talked about werewolves as guardians, especially for travelers. I’d read about St. Brendan’s voyage. I’d also read about some odd ancient Celtic type inscriptions on the east coast. I just put that together with Kate being a scientist studying the effects of climate change on mammals.

Have you been a lifelong reader of paranormal romance  What are some the first books you remember reading?

Ah, there you have me. I’m 69 years old and I’ve been a life-long reader of everything and anything. When I started reading what we call “chapter books” today, I read Poe (of course), Ellery Queen, Mary Roberts Rineheart, Agatha Christie, anything. I started going to the library when I was 8; it was one of two air-conditioned places in our small town. By 12 I was delving into the adult section and the librarians would raise eyebrows but would still give me the books. By then I was into Phyllis Whitney and Nora Lofts, gothic romances. By the time the genre “paranormal romance” was labeled, I’d gravitated to that, too.

What do you do to rev your creative juices?

Actually, I meditate almost daily and if I’ve come to a stumbling block in a story, I go to sleep thinking about it. Usually by the time I wake up I have an idea of where to go…or not go.

To you what makes a great romance hero or heroine?

Heroine: I do like a “kick-ass” heroine who can fight her own battles. I’m writing a paranormal mystery series about a middle-aged widow who has to do that…and has no idea how to do. It will be the Elizabeth Peacock and… mysteries. But, I have to add that my heroines need a soft side and need to know when and how to use that softer side. Sometimes the “when and how” become part of the conflict.

Hero: You know, I hate to say this (maybe you’ll get comments…but that’s cool) but I’m getting tired of the naked 6-pack abs on book covers. Just as women are not all curvy with long, flowing hair, not all heroes are chiseled sculptures.

I would love to see and read more romances with “real” people…but maybe that’s my age showing.

You’re having a dinner party.  What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up?     Why?

I would love to have Yeote, my villain (air quotes here). What a fascinating man he was. I had no idea that I was going to have a villain follow his love through centuries but all of a sudden Yeote stood before me, his hands on hips, looking at me with his dark stare. “Write my story!” I couldn’t NOT write him.

And then there’s Jackson Devlin, based on all the TV “reality adventure show” frontmen. I’ve been toying with the idea of continuing the story, with Jackson as the anti-hero in the sequel.

I would love to see any of my characters, even the “mob” guy. I love hearing more about their motivation. And I would love them all interacting together over pasta and wine.

Give us a brief summary of The Guardian’s Prophecy:
The Guardian’s Prophecy combines Celtic mythology and Native American beliefs with the problems of climate change. The heroine is a zoologist who has established a wolf preserve and who studies how changes in the climate affects mammals. Unfortunately murders by a possible large wolf-like mammal have started in the town near the preserve and she receives a Cease and Desist order for her preserve. A new professor appears on the scene and even rents a cabin on the preserve’s land. He’s supposedly writing a book on Native American beliefs, but Kate, although attracted to him, begins to believe he may be part of the murders.


In the picture, I'm on South Cadbury Castle, thought to be Camelot.
Mitzi Flyte began writing when she was twelve and that year her first short story was rejected by Family Circle magazine. Yep, it was so long ago that Family Circle was publishing short stories. Through nursing school, working as an RN, marriage, having her wonderful daughter, and divorce, Mitzi continued to write. She’s been published in short story anthologies, nonfiction, and poetry. She married the love of her life (also a writer) at 64 (love has no age limit). She now lives in southeastern PA, in an old stone house (she’s looking for the ghosts) full of antiques in the middle of corn and soy bean fields (she’s also looking for Bigfoot) with her love, her daughter, a dopey dog and various cats.

Find Mitzi:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mental Can Openers and Writer's Hash ~ Writer's Rings and the Paragraph Parallels

Brad Leach is with us again to turn around our brains 
and look at writing in a new direction.

            I’ve always been susceptible to a unique phrase or description.  I’m impacted by the kind of sentence that freezes you for a moment and makes you say, “Oh wow.  I wish I’d written that.”  I wondered if turning a creative phrase was something you were born with, or could it be learned?  Like football or gymnastics.
            Reader’s Digest used to feature a column called, “Towards more Picturesque Speech.”  It was a collection of such creative expressions.  I clipped some of these and collected phrases from books; then I started using them as my writing gymnasium.  How?

            I first used Neil Boyd’s phrase, “He had a mind like a French horn.”  How clever, I thought, to compare a brain to an orchestra instrument.  I wondered, could I come up with something that clever?  So I tried to think of one.  Nothing. 
            Then I broke the problem into smaller pieces.  “What if I changed only one of the elements?  The instrument?  He had a mind like a tuba?  She had a mind like a piccolo or a Stradivarius?  Interesting.”
            Now, what if I changed more than one element?  Not a mind, but a body.  Not a French horn, but an upright base.  “He had a body like an upright base or base fiddle?”  Base fiddle is kind of country sounding, so how about, “He looked like a base fiddle in bib overalls.” 

            Or, “She had the shape of a violin.”  Violins are strung tight, of course, so work that in.  “She may have had the body of a violin, but her mind was strung too tight.”
            Could we use cars instead of instruments?  Could she have a Ferrari body?  Could he have a Volkswagen mind?  “Hers was a Maserati mind trapped in a discussion full of school zones and red lights.”  Or, “Her faith stripped his mental gears.”  You could choose baking or hospitals or movies, any collection of things or ideas.
            To work with your story, try matching your setting or some aspect of the characters or plot.  If your setting is a ranch, try, “His mind is like a lariat.”  Cowboys rope things so, “His mind was a lariat that he tossed at any mystery he found.  And she was his mystery.”  Or compare his drive and passion to horses, or his hopes with saddles. 
            Heroine’s a dancer?  Compare her appearance to a stage, her career to a dance, her loves  to backdrops that are raised and lowered, etc.  A wounded librarian?  Library or book binding references.  Murder on a boat?  Use maritime references.
            This may seem awkward, but allow yourself to try – and fail.  Remember, you’re only looking for a gem or two among dozens of attempts.  Try it with a favorite phrase or cliché.  Allow your mind to make jumps. 
            For instance, “He scared the daylights out of me.”  Cliché.  I’ll choose a ranch theme.  I thought of cowboys fixing fences, so follow my thoughts here: “He scared the split railed fence out of me” (doesn’t work)... “He could scare a split rail fence” (a little better)... “So scary he could split rails” (more active)... “He would scare barbed wire” (different fence)... “His stare would straighten barbed wire” (better - now use a thesaurus for stronger words)... His steely glare would strip the barb right off the wire and he was staring at me” (Ah!)...  See how you can play?  One doesn’t work?  Try another.
            With a little workout each day on the ‘writer’s rings’ and the ‘paragraph parallels’ you will begin to score with some new verbal ‘iron cross’ or a clever ‘dismount’ expression that nails a perfect 10 into the reader’s mind.  Sprinkle these judiciously into your novel to give your reader that “Oh wow, I wish I’d written that” moment.
~ Brad

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Five Secrets From Canadian Author Madelle Morgan's New Book: Caught On Camera

Today we get to meet Madelle Morgan who hails from up north, Canada. And she's studied screenwriting...which, as you all know, is one of my major passions! Check out the title, Caught On Camera. And read Secret 1. (Well, read all of them.) 
That is a super cool idea.

Giveaway: Enter to win one of 5 ebooks. One lucky winner in the US, Canada or the UK will receive a Muskoka T-shirt. Subscribe at between October 26th and midnight EDT, November 13. Winners will be randomly selected by a third party, and will be announced in a blog post emailed from Madelle.

Hi Madelle, introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi L.A., thanks for having me on your blog.  Like Rachel in Caught on Camera, I have a lifelong love of Hollywood films and TV shows. I've studied screenwriting techniques and crafted the book’s three act structure and plot based on the madcap Hollywood romantic comedies you know and love. This is the book for movie-lovers!

Please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Caught on Camera or you, but will after today! 
1) There’s a SOUNDTRACK in Caught on Camera, Book 1 in the Hollywood in Muskoka series! Actually, the ebook has a playlist with links to YouTube videos. I took this approach because, first, I love music, and second, many people are reading on smartphones or tablets with wi-fi and Internet access. Also, a recent survey said millions of people listen to music on YouTube because it’s free. 

I had a lot of fun selecting songs to reflect the storyline. It’s a Cinderella-themed story, so I linked to “The Work Song” from the Disney movie Cinderella. Who hasn’t watched that movie? Some of playlist songs are nostalgic, but others are by new, award-winning artists, including Eva Avila, an awesome talent who won Canadian Idol.

2) The playlist includes a link to the Victoria’s Secret video of Seal and Heidi Klum singing the hit “Wedding Day”. Heidi Klum’s sparkly, tight short dress inspired the dress Rachel borrows from the bride, a former model, to wear to the wedding rehearsal dinner.

3) The CHAPTER TITLES in Caught on Camera are spoofs of actual movie titles. Rom-com fans will recognize the movies that these chapter titles reference: “Pretty Women”, “Gone with the Police Dog”, “There’s Something about Rachel”—you get the picture.

4) There are TELEVISION REFERENCES too. Batman is of course, a fan-favorite in recent movies, but readers may remember the campy 1960s Batman television series. Batman’s sidekick Robin was famous for his exclamations in the form of “Holy —, Batman!”  There’s even a list of Robin’s expressions on Wikipedia.

Caught on Camera’s hero Mickey is a huge fan of those Batman reruns, and puts his own spin on Robin’s exclamations.

5) TITAN, the retired German shepherd police service dog in Caught on Camera, is inspired by a real, enormous dog who retired from a police force in Canada and now lives with my sister. Titan is featured in Sex and the Screenwriter, Book 2 in the series, coming in 2017.

Caught on Camera is a New Adult romantic comedy with a playlist!

To achieve her dream of working on Hollywood film sets, star struck chambermaid Rachel Lehmann needs $35,000 for film school tuition by the end of the summer. When she’s asked to stand in for a missing bridesmaid at a movie star’s wedding and pretend to be the bride's cousin, it’s her big chance to secretly take photos of celebrities and sell them to the entertainment media! Then Mickey, one of the groomsmen, sweeps her off her feet.

Mickey McNichol, talent agent to the stars, believes everyone in show business is out for what they can get. When he falls for the bride’s "cousin", he thinks he’s finally met a beautiful woman he can trust. But if Rachel betrays the wedding party, Mickey will ensure she never works in Hollywood.

Caught on Camera is $0.99 or £0.99 for a limited time on:
Amazon |Kobo |iBooks |

Canadian author Madelle Morgan set this novel in the District of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, named by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their top 20 Best of the World Must-see Places. She also wrote Diamond Hunter, a romantic suspense about diamond smuggling set at a northern mine—a hot romance that heats up the arctic.

Find Madelle:
Website |Facebook |Goodreads

Monday, October 17, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Cozy Mystery Author Lois Winston and her new book: Literally Dead

Lois Winston has been a favorite author of mine and she really supports her author friends.  I'm pleased to have her and her latest release with us today.

Hi Lois, please introduce yourself to our readers.

Thanks for having me as a repeat guest on your blog, L.A. I love playing the “What if?” game. It’s how I come up with characters and plots for my books. Many of my stories are based on people and things I’ve either observed or read about in the news, but I like to put a unique spin on them.

For instance, a few years ago I binge-watched all the Thin Man movies after I stumbled upon one while channel surfing. I loved the chemistry that William Powell and Myrna Loy were able to achieve in their portrayal of Nick and Nora Charles. At the time I was toying with the idea of starting a new amateur sleuth series. However, I prefer to write female-centric books. So I wondered, what if I created characters similar to Nick and Nora but had my “Nora” character as the amateur sleuth?

I wanted my sleuth to march to the tune of a slightly off-kilter drummer, though. So I made her a little bit ditzy (think Gracie Allen from the old 1950’s Burns & Allen sitcom) with a unique personality and sense of humor.

Gracie Elliott is a once-successful fabric designer who’s lost her job and her pension but not her penchant for designer handbags and footwear. She’s bound and determined to find a new career that will provide her with the kind of income she once earned.

In Definitely Dead, the first book in my Empty Nest Mystery series, Gracie starts a business as a wing-woman for the senior set. In Literally Dead, my newest release, she’s hoping to become a successful romance author. Husband Blake, a college professor, works hard at keeping Gracie grounded, not an easy task once Gracie begins tripping over dead bodies and feels obliged to find the killers.

As I hauled myself up the first set of steps, that old adage about the road to hell being paved with good intentions popped into my head. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, especially given all the alcohol I’d consumed over the course of the evening.
By the time I reached the first landing, my heart pounded and my pulse raced. Jeez! Was I ever out of shape! I leaned up against the wall to catch my breath and wondered how many calories I’d burned climbing one flight of stairs. Probably nowhere near the number of calories in a frozen margarita. While I waited for my heart to slow down to normal, I pulled out my iPhone to ask Siri, only to discover I had no cell service in the stairwell.
I slipped my phone back inside my clutch bag. At least five minutes passed before I’d regained enough energy to continue. Grabbing hold of the railing, I inhaled a deep breath of fortitude and started my ascent up the next flight. No matter the number of calories, I was burning more than if I copped out and took the elevator the remainder of the way.
Halfway up the third set of stairs I heard what sounded like the fire door slamming open against the concrete-block wall of the stairwell. A split second later a bloodcurdling scream echoed above me. I looked up to find a billowing mass of tie-dyed rainbow chiffon plummeting toward me. As I flattened myself against the wall, Lovinia Darling’s body landed with a bone-shattering thud at my feet.
I didn’t need a degree in forensics to know Lovinia Darling was dead. The top half of her body sprawled upside-down on the steps in front of me, her lower half splayed across the landing above. Dull, lifeless eyes stared up at me. Blood flowed from a large gash in her skull where her head had hit the metal edge of the concrete step and dripped toward me. I quickly descended two steps to avoid the spatter.
My entire body shook as realization hit me. If I’d rested a second less on the landing earlier, Lovinia would have fallen directly on top of me, most likely killing us both.
I’d already come too close to death once this year, thanks to Sidney Mandelbaum. Once was more than one time too many, but did the universe take my needs into consideration? I stared at Lovinia. Apparently not.
I fought to keep my legs from collapsing under me. I knew I had to move. My phone didn’t work in the stairwell. Holding onto the railing for dear life, I inched my way back down the stairs to the floor below.
Once in the corridor, I crumbled into a heap on the floor. This particular corridor was in mid-remodel, the carpet already pulled up but new flooring not yet laid. I was too freaked out and tired to care about the plaster dust and assorted yuck covering the bare concrete and the damage it might do to my favorite little black dress. I fumbled for my phone, and with unsteady hands, managed to call 911.

Amazon | Kobo  | iTunes 

The Blurb:
Literally Dead
An Empty Nest Mystery, Book 2

After her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.

With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.

Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Find Lois:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring CJ Matthew's New Book: A Major Seduction

For this author spotlight I bring you new-to-me author CJ Matthew.  I can't wait to read it, I love my visit to on to see what that matters.

Hi, L.A.. Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. A Major Seduction, my first contemporary romance, was written in 2008. Set in Tokyo, where I lived for several years, it’s about the eldest sister raised in an air force family, like I was. The book won the Virginia Romance Writers Fool for Love contest. Now, in honor of a milestone birthday, I’m releasing it on October 14th as book 1 of the Colonel’s Daughters quintet.

As the airport security line slowed, Kari’s cell phone rang somewhere deep in an out-of-reach pocket. The tote bag shoulder strap took another dive and abruptly stopped its fall with a heavy jolt on her elbow. What was it with this bag? Now, with every movement, the bulky monster bumped into her knee.

Kari stopped. Bending over to dig for her phone, she followed the “New York, New York” ringtone. “Damn it,” she whispered.

“Need some help?” A deep voice rumbled from somewhere close. She glanced up. Way up. And stared. The man…gorgeous. A magazine model? Maybe not with that blond hair cut extremely short. Uh-oh. Possibly the first strike against him. He looked military.

As an air force brat, she knew how frequently men with domineering and controlling traits joined the service. Her own mother had been hard-pressed to cope with her dad, the Colonel’s, overpowering personality. Since Kari was determined not to follow in Mom’s footsteps, she simply avoided men in uniform.

Still, she had to admire the man’s strong chin and classically handsome features. Her gaze slid down to broad shoulders, trim waist, then stalled. Darted back up. Whoa, his eyes were the exact color of warm chocolate.

Wait…here was half a strike. His eyes were framed by impossibly long lashes. Unfair, wasted on a male.

He met her gaze, smiled, and said, “Could I help with the bag while you find your phone?”
Her heart cart-wheeled. As his smile grew, a deep dimple appeared in each cheek, punctuating his full lips. Wow, a tall, helpful man with sexy dimples. Her phone quit ringing. Kari felt the telltale warmth of a blush spread across her neck and up her face.

Locating her cell, she shook her head at her tall neighbor. “Thanks. I’ve got it now.” Seeing the picture of her baby sister, Deborah, on the screen, Kari punched Recall.

Since the hunk behind her only scored one and a half strikes, she surreptitiously completed her inventory and reached her verdict: the man was a total hottie. But what about the drastic buzz cut? If it wasn’t military, he might be law enforcement. Not worth the risk.

Sales Links: 
Amazon | Kobo  |  Nook 

The Blurb:
Kari Phillips has sworn off alpha men, thanks to a childhood spent raising four sisters while her dad served in the air force and her mom was unable to cope with his deployments. Vowing never to follow in her mom’s footsteps, Kari has become a driven, successful attorney. On her way to Tokyo to rescue her best friend’s wedding, she meets a cocky F-15 pilot headed to the same ceremony. When he finagles a seat next to her on the flight, she vows if he gives her any grief, she’ll shove him out of the emergency exit without a parachute.

Major Steve Shorner, a patriotic warrior fulfilling his lifelong dream as a fighter pilot, is finding it tough to live down a couple of practical jokes. Before he heads to Tokyo to be his buddy’s best man, Steve’s commander assigns him to a no-win project in Japan, and links the outcome to Steve’s tryout for the Thunderbirds, the AF’s elite demo team. But after a chance meeting with a beautiful redhead at the airport, Steve acquires a new goal—convince the sexy, workaholic lawyer to bend her rule against military men.

CJ Matthew grew up in an Air Force family traveling and living all over the US and around the world. It proved to be the perfect experience for gathering ideas and material for future books. And for meeting real life heroes and heroines in uniforms and flight-suits. She spent her high school and university years in California, which inspired her love of marine life, and the Pacific Ocean.

The newest series, titled The Colonel’s Daughters, is a quintet with each book featuring one of the five sister’s story. Born in different countries around the world, when each of the daughters happens to return to her country of birth, she’s meets her true love and is forced to confront her destiny. Book 1, A Major Seduction is the oldest sister Kari’s book and takes place at an air force wedding in Tokyo. 

CJ’s paranormal romantic suspense series, Dolphin Shore Shifters, is now at five books. The series features a pod of dolphins living in the Santa Barbara channel off the coast of California, who are capable of shifting to human form. While posing as real humans, the dolphins work, through their oceanic conservation corporation, Save Blue Water, to protect their oceans at any cost.

Her next series, The Paladin Group, launched with Deadly Reboot. The books are in the romantic suspense genre, set in a small southern town, and starring  wounded air force veterans, men and women warriors turned civilian attorneys and investigators determined to continue their rescue work.

A member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and Kiss of Death, CJ lives and writes near a lake in the woods northeast of Atlanta. When she isn't writing or reading romances, CJ spends time with her two grown children, their spouses, a brilliant grandson and a feisty cat named Max.

Schedule permitting, CJ loves to travel, to discover new favorite places and to meet new friends in both the US and around the world.

Max flatly refuses to travel.

Find CJ:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Five Secrets From Multi-published Inspirational Author Amanda Cabot

Today I'm honored to bring you five secrets from multi-published author Amanda Cabot. I've got to tell you, it's always a pleasure to have Amanda here.  

Hi, Amanda, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about The Rails to Love Romance Collection or you, but will after today!

Thanks for having me, L.A.  Who would have thought that a woman who majored in French would wind up with a career in Information Technology that demanded 60- to 80-hour work weeks and turned her into a frequent flyer? Who would have thought that the same woman would become a romance writer?  Who would have thought that a dear friend’s death would change her writing career from the secular to the inspirational market?  This is one of those cases where truth is stranger than fiction, because I’m that woman.  

1) Many novella collections are the result of an editor choosing a concept, then sending a “call-out” for stories.  This one was different.  My agent assembled the authors and presented all nine stories as part of a packaged deal.

2) The idea of a railroad theme was Kim Vogel Sawyer’s.  I loved it for a couple reasons, one of which being that I knew we’d get some wonderful cover art.  We did.

3) The first version of the cover had a number on the front of the train.  There was only one problem: it was a mirror image.  Thanks to the wonders of photo editing software, the number is gone.

4) Although my story, “The Depot Bride,” includes actual events from the construction of the Union Pacific railroad depot in Cheyenne, the basic concept – a commemorative book – is fictional.

5) Readers who’ve read my first two Cheyenne-set novellas will recognize some familiar characters in this one.

Can a cattle baron's daughter who's practically betrothed to another man and a struggling writer who fears he has nothing to offer her find happiness as they create a commemorative book to celebrate the creation of the new Union Pacific depot in Cheyenne?

Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel?

Buy Links: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book Distributors

Find Amanda:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Friday, October 7, 2016

Mental Can Openers and Writer's Hash: Calliope Goes Coach and Gets Mugged

Calliope Goes Coach and Gets Mugged

           Many writers start with high energy and expectations.  Me?  I expected the nine muses to jet in, first class, and cover me with their “creativity glitter” until I glowed.  Then, each having anointed a typing finger, I’d approach the artist’s grotto.  I’d wait for that perfect moment to manifest.  And in that consecrated instant when I enter the artist’s sanctum, hands lifted in a cross between a surgeon and a high priest, they’d break out in arias.  The aureole of inspiration crowning me, a papal quiescence would waft over the room like incense.  The royal “We” would approach the waiting dais and settle over the “ark of the keyboard.”  The world, hushed and trembling, would await those first brilliant and enlightened words.  By page two, readers’ tears have formed and hearts are crying out...  “More, give us more.”  (This Walter Mitty moment brought to you by Tide; the detergent that cares.)
            Eight months later, it’s force yourself up at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m.  Unshaven in a torn tee-shirt and a dog-chewed pair of slippers, I shuffle into the kitchen.  With a cup of yesterday’s nuked coffee, complete with creamer marching south faster than an outflanked confederate regiment, I drag myself to the keyboard because I can’t put off the deadline any longer.  I’d gladly welcome inspiration – only now Calliope looks like she was mugged and drugged in an L.A. bus depot.  And the last time inspiration was sighted, she was holding a number card and being photographed face-on and profile, for a “Wanted” poster.
            Oh.  But first, the writer’s mandatory, and near-pointless, post on Facebook to alert the 13 people left who haven’t de-friended me that I’m still breathing – and typing on the 10th attempt to stitch together and give life to some corpse of a story.  And I mustn’t forget to acknowledge that two-star reviewer that says he or she would have given it one star, but they got the book for free. 
            Yeah, that book.  The one the crowds would cry out for and weep over.  Months out, it’s sold a whopping 37 copies.  After banking fees, you’re sitting atop of 56 cool American simoleons.  All the money you need to live on – if you only live another three days and let the dogs starve.  Every writer’s been there and felt that. 
            So, how do you hustle up the energy, drive, and optimism to hit the pages again?  Here’s one secret I gleaned from the old expression that’s floated around gyms and workout centers for years.
            “You don’t work out because you have energy. You work out because you want energy.”  I’ve found it’s true.  Whenever someone suggests I go work out (how dare they), I resist.  I think immediately of the effort and pain, sweat and strain.  But as I get into the workout, joints loosen up, endorphins kick in, and I start feeling better.  Why mention this?  Do I think writers who are flabby need more physical exercise?  NO COMMENT.  But I have found a variant of the above bromide to also be true of writing.
            “The artistic mood doesn’t cause you to write.  You write to get into the artistic mood.”  This works in the sense that I don’t expect to feel inspired and creative to start writing.  I start writing and often, the magic flows – somewhat.  And like physical exercise, a warm-up helps.  I do small descriptions or snippets of dialogue that might fit into my story.  Or I might take another writer’s description of a face or a setting and change it a little.  Then more.  Soon I’m churning away at something new.  The writing muscles have warmed up.
            Then I approach the story.  Perhaps not the inspired priest.  But no longer feeling like “the bone even a starving dog buried” either.  So, how do you motivate yourself when your muse gets mugged?  What’s your CPR for motivation?

~ Brad


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Five Secrets From Jacquie Rogers

Today I have the joy of revealing the secrets of a new-to-me author Jacquie Rogers.  
I love her secrets and I hope you will as well.

Jacquie Rogers hails from Owyhee County, where most of her stories are set.  She first had a Shetland pony (spawn of the devil) and rode all over the foothills of the Owyhees looking for bad guys and longhorns.  She never found any, but did come up with lots of story ideas. 

She and her readers had a blast at Silver City in June, 2016, a city that is full of history and has no electricity.  Everyone had a great time and Jacquie may have another event in 2017, just for the fun of it.

As for writing, Jacquie writes western historical romance, traditional westerns, non-traditional westerns, and fantasy romance.  Join her newsletter, the Pickle Barrel Gazette, at her website.

Hi, Jacquie, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Hot Work in Fry Pan Gulch or you, but will after today!

1) Honey Beaulieu popped into my mind in 1998, but it took me 18 years to get around to her story, which miffed her considerably.

2) Honey’s ambidextrous, as am I, and can shoot well right-handed or left-handed.  Honey can shoot a little better left-handed because she’s primarily a southpaw.  I shoot better right-handed because I see better out of my right eye.

3) I’ve owned several horses but never had either a mule or a donkey.  Honey has both a mule and a donkey (Pickles and Honey), each of which has quite a few personality quirks.  Pickles is a thoroughbred racing mule and rather picky about who rides him.  Sassy is a happy little donkey and loves to wear her bonnet that matches Honey’s bonnet.

4) In the interest of research, I dragged my beleaguered husband to several historic brothels.  The most intriguing were in Wallace, Idaho, which closed in the late 1980s, and Pendleton, Oregon, which is now a hotel.  Yes, we stayed there.  Both brothels were interesting and the Tasty Chicken Emporium in Fry Pan Gulch is a combination of the two, plus a hint of the Bucket of Blood in Virginia City, Nevada.

5) I was raised on a dairy farm in Owyhee County, so a country girl through and through, but Honey was raised in the Tasty Chicken in Fry Pan Gulch, so riding, camping, and all that outdoorsy stuff is new to her.  However, she’s more adventurous and resourceful than I am, so she can handle it.  Usually.

Gritty! Funny! It's Honey Beaulieu!

She's bold
Honey Beaulieu grew up in her mama's whorehouse, the Tasty Chicken, which serves up the finest food, whiskey, and women in Wyoming Territory, but Honey takes after her crack shot Pa—and she doesn't back down from anyone or any danged thing.

She's brash
Determined not to make her living on her back, Honey does her best to keep the peace in Fry Pan Gulch, but a deputy’s salary won't buy her a home. Once she's adopted by a donkey and then a pickle-eating mule, she sets out to collect a bounty on one of the town's annoyances.

She's got brass
The owlhoot leads her on a dangerous chase. Can Honey persevere despite a wise-cracking ghost who manages to disappear when she needs him, and a handsome U.S. deputy marshal who doesn’t seem at all put off that she’s so scrawny?

Don’t miss this rollicking ride into the Old West—get your copy of Hot Work in Fry Pan Gulch today!

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