Category Archives: Authors

People ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Barbie:

People are part of your life. They come and go in your life all the time. Some people are part of your life forever and some for a short period of time. People are funny human beings with different characteristics that make you love them or not like them so much at all. Sometimes you can chose to have people in your life and other times you don’t get that option.

In you’re opinion you are lucky to get the opportunity to work from home and not have to meet people face to face on a daily basis. Others might disagree, but you have a tendency to tell people exactly what you think (you are working on this and doing a good job, but still have a long ways to go).  You think a lot of people are a few cans short of a six pack.

This challenge has brought many new people into your life and it’s a blessing to be able to learn about so many new things and the opportunity to visit new cultures, fresh ideas and different opinions. You would like to mention some people (old pals and some new faces too).

Our smiling Janet is taking us on a round trip through San Francisco.
Curious Cathy is sketching us pictures and sharing Looney Tunes cart☺☺ns.
John single-handedly is counting down the top 40.
Tamara always has a fresh new perspective to ponder.

How could I forget Karen where I can always go home to Maine?
Iain shares the background of characters from his State Trilogy.
Pradeep is taking us through Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore.
Arlee (founder of A-Z) taking us for a river ride.


There are so many more people to mention and should but then it wouldn’t be short and sweet. Make sure you visit the master list and pick a category you wouldn’t normally look at. Go see what they are up to. Make a nice comment! You have more people to meet, so what are you waiting for.

Cheers,

Well folks we only have two weeks to go.  How is everyone doing?  Are you planning to keep at it after the challenge is over?  I for one definitely want to keep writing.  It brings me such joy.  We still have the After Survey, Reflections and then the Road Trip…that will be fun.

 

Survivor

 

 

Completely forgot about the Reflections part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  Now that April is over the writing on a daily basis doesn’t seem as important as it was while keeping up with the challenge.  I wish we could do it all year. Or maybe do a monthly check in. I’d like to say thank you to all of my readers who followed my daily posts for the April blogging challenge.  It was nice to have the support and encouragement and I appreciate every one of you.  For me it was nice to check off another year √!  This makes six for me. 

 

I was quite surprised to see that there were only 510 bloggers who signed up.  WOW … I kept thinking there was something wrong with my excel sheet every time I opened it to jump over to visit someone’s blog.  It’s a shame there was not more of a turn out.  Maybe next year. Maybe we should plug the challenge all year long?  

 

I know I’m going to try to blog more and keep visiting more of the people from the list.  I’m also going to try to recruit people from my own blog to come next year.  We should all try to do same. It is hard to promote someone else, especially when we want the attention ourselves. It’s a great big world out there and blogging on a personal level has become lost in the commercialization and advertisement and propaganda.

 

If you need some fancy artwork for your web or anything check out  Jeremy Hawkins.  He did all the artwork for the challenge and he has a  Neat Shop — Very Cool Stuff

 

Stay real folks and stay safe. 

Wicked Ways of the Wandering




An Apt Pupil once told me that A Good Marriage was the ticket to The Bazar of Bad Dreams. Blockade Billy tried to find hope in a Bag of Bones, but his wife Carrie left her Children of the Corn for dog, Cujo to eat during the Cycle of the Werewolf. Through a Cat’s Eye there is a Cell just beyond Desperation. Delores Claiborne may have been in Different Seasons of her life when she fell asleep under a Dreamcatcher and woke up in Duma Key. Fortunately Everything’s Eventual and at the End of Watch it’s Finders Keepers.

At Four Past Midnight From a Buick 8 they will find Full Dark No Stars and Gerald’s Game plays out at the Hotel at the End of the Road. No one leaves happy and everyone leaves their Hearts in Atlantis. It will cause Insomnia Just After Sunset and trust me, it’s no Joyland. Not King’s, but LT’s Theory on Pets that is the real Lisey’s Story. The Lawnmower Man is just another one of The Langoliers. Misery doesn’t come without Mr. Mercedes and he’s driving in Maximum Overdrive.

Nona thinks she wants Needful Things but it’s just a bunch of Nightmares & Dreamscapes The Outsider told her she would have if she visited Pet Sematary. She signed up for Quitter’s Inc. and thought The fifth Quarter would bring Revival but she met Rose Madder who was just another Sleeping Beauty. The Shining Skeleton Crew took The Stand and in The Institute The Girl who Love Tom Gordon is standing alone at The Dark Tower. The Dead Zone is not really dead but The Eyes of the Dragon will haunt The Dark Half if there is anything left.

By the time Uncle Otto’s Truck comes to take us Under the Dome Umney’s Last Case of  the American Vampire will be the Word Processor of the Gods and the Woman in the Room will cast everyone out to The Wastelands.

Just a fun little trot through one of my favorite author’s tales. Do you know who it is? I could not come up with a title for K. Can you? X, Y, and Z doesn’t count because those days have not played out yet.



Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Tame The Tongue

 

Remember the old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Too many times I’ve said something and then wished I hadn’t. Open mouth, insert foot. Most times it’s been both feet. Words are something you can never take back. Once they are spoken they are out there for the duration of whenever that other person decides to let it go. Sometimes they never do.

We should use our words to encourage and motivate, build up and praise, compliment and applaud one another. How many times do we take the opportunity to say “hey good job on that project you completed”, or “wow that’s a nice coat you’re wearing today” or even just “thanks for being here today”? In my workplace it’s hardly ever. (Not that they can see a smile or a coat I’m wearing, but that is just an example.) More times than not people are complaining about having to be at work, or the weather, or the customers, or each other…and we work from home!

I can’t say I haven’t had my share of tongue flapping. Proof is in my earlier blogs. I could flap my jaws like nobody’s business. James 3:8 No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. I’ve grown a lot in my last twelve years of blogging. I cannot say it’s been an easy road. Wisdom comes with experience and if we don’t learn from past mistakes, we are not growing at all. 

People always have an opinion. Opinions are different than words. We are all entitled to our own opinion. What some people do is take their opinions and convolute them into something that they believe is truth. Sometimes those truths are not real and people who spread these words hurt other people.

Example: Terry and Toni work the same shift on the same team. Every day Toni clocks in fifteen minutes later than Terry. Terry starts noticing this and decides to clock in fifteen minutes later than his scheduled time. Later that week Terry’s boss comes to him and asks him to stay fifteen minutes over to make up for coming in late the day before. Terry is pissed. Instead of asking questions to find out if there is an underlying reason why he had to make up his time but his teammate Toni never does, he starts spreading rumors about Toni and why she comes in late every day. The rumors he spreads are false and hurtful to not only Toni but Toni’s family.  What Terry didn’t realize was Toni only took a 45 minute lunch to allow her that extra fifteen minutes in the morning to take her children to daycare.”

It’s just a silly made up example, but those types of things happen every single day. People make stuff up about someone they don’t know anything about and rumors start to fly. Look at politics. I’ll be honest , I don’t. My favorite author started making his views about politics known, and quite honestly, I think it’s disgusting. I feel bad for all of the people who are in politics and I pray for them…both sides.  They have it hard. I know we are entitled to having our own opinion, but if it involves putting someone else down, keep it to yourself. Tame that little beast in your mouth.

Take the time to build up, encourage, compliment. All good things. That’s what the world needs more of.   Galatians 5:16, 22 Walk then in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of your flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.

That’s all for today my friends…. until next time.

Cheers!


Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Digby’s Treasure

Digby’s Treasure

The house sat vacant for five years before it was auctioned off to the highest bidder. A “fixer-upper”. By dropping a few thousand dollars into the place, house-flipper entrepreneur Jackson Tinkerton knew he’d make double, probably triple the profit when he resold the place. The little house wasn’t much to look at on the outside. It was a little cottage with a white picket fence that needed major repairs. That was an easy fix.  People in this area liked quaint and rustic. It would be the Taj Ma ‘Hal of Little Pine Hill. Tourists came from all over to spend a week or two in this north-eastern mountain village.

It wasn’t a week after Jackson purchased the new project home when he noticed a difference in his health. He felt better than he’d ever felt before. He didn’t’ think much of it at first, because the excitement of a new project always got the adrenaline pumping and an adrenaline rush was a natural high that always made a person feel good. He figured the clean fresh air of the mountain village played a part into it as well. It wasn’t the normal smoggy air he was used to inhaling from the city. But there was something about this place that was different. There was an aurora about it that made him feel different, better, more alive than he had ever felt before.

The following week when he met with his real estate broker he realized that feeling he’d been having wasn’t imagination, but real. She told him he needed to look in the mirror. Jackson saw the same person he’d been looking at for the last 56 years, until Nora held the August Top House Flipper centerfold beside his face. Although the photo was more than three years old, Jackson noticed a considerable difference in his appearance. The crow’s feet that had positioned themselves next to his eyes had faded to almost non-existence. The deep crease in his forehead, the one his mother always told him would stick on his brow if he kept frowning, was gone. By the way, your mother is always right. But most noticeable was the salt and pepper hair had changed completely back to pepper, without washing the gray out of his hair.

Jackson stared into the eyes of his 36-year-old self. How was that possible? He recapped his actions over the past month from what he ate, how he exercised (never), what he drank (too much), and there was nothing he did any different. The only thing different in his life was the flip.

(To be continued)

Inspirational Interruptions

Interruption

We’ve all experienced an obstacle during an activity we’ve engaged in. Interruptions come in all shapes and sizes. Important and trivial. A phone call, a knock at the door, a storm disrupting electrical service. We have no control over the interruptions we may face on any given day.

Sometimes I forget how interruptions can be blessings in disguise. Then I remember the woman who couldn’t make to work on time because her car wouldn’t start so  she had to call the towing company. She found out later that day that there was a terrible accident at an intersection at the exact time that she normally passed through on her way to work.

I’m reminded of the family who missed their planned vacation because one of the children came down with the flu and they had to postpone the trip. A horrendous fire gutted out the whole hotel where the family was scheduled to stay, killing several guests in the hotel.

These are extreme examples of interruptions. Did you know that Lee Child was interrupted at the grocery store on several occasions being asked by  short women if he could reach a product on a high shelf? Those interruptions helped create the name Jack Reacher.

We can choose how we react to a hindrance. Too many times we consider an interruption a bad thing instead of accepting it as an opportunity. Choosing the way we react changes the situation, hence changing the way we feel.

My cat just interrupted my keyboard and deleted half of my post before I had it saved. Now I’m going to learn how to skin a cat (just kidding). How can you use your interruption to be something positive?

The Challenge

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Gizzard & Guts

Gizzard & Guts

I thought this would be an appropriate title for today’s post. Please accept this shout out to all of my fellow bloggers who are partaking in this challenge. We as writers use our gizzard to grind our ideas, our thoughts and ponderings. We take to heart what other people say, or worse, what people don’t say about our offerings. It takes guts to share with the world what we think or don’t think. Everyone has an opinion and more people are quick to tell you what they think about your opinion, yet they have not shared one of their own.

This is the second year in the A-Z Challenge and I love it. I love reading my fellow writers posts and being a part of this community. Sometimes I forget to leave a comment (I know that’s part of the challenge so let me apologize for reading without commenting).

When I first started putting my thoughts and ideas out for others to read it was very hard to take the criticism. Most of the criticism came from people I knew and it hurt deeply. Too many times I wanted to give up and delete all of my pages, blogs, etc. But every time I came to the moment of “are you sure you want to delete?”,  a comment would show up thanking me for the inspiration or the laugh or the encouragement. It would change my mind and I would continue sharing my thoughts and ideas. You see writing for me is like therapy. I have to do it. It isn’t so much sharing but the physical act of writing is something necessary to my spiritual being. If I can help someone or encourage someone, I tag that as a bonus.

When I published my first book, I was so excited and I thought I’m going be the next Stephen King. Ha ha ha. Too funny seeing how it’s not even the same genre. But dreams are good and that was my ultimate goal: to get published. For a spell, I misinterpreted getting published with getting rich and getting famous. I was quickly elucidated as to what the difference was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of my accomplishments with the books even though they don’t make any money. That wasn’t the point… the point was having a goal and achieving it. Not to mention everything I learned in the research of writing them.

These blog posts are entertainment for me and my readers. I enjoy what I do and I will continue to do it as long as I come up with ideas. I hope you will continue to do so as well, be it writing, reading or whatever your goal may be. If you work hard enough at it, you can achieve it. It just takes a little Gizzard and Guts.

The Challenge

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Retaliation

 jack

Typically when someone says something bad about me I fight back in retaliation. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not a POS, nor, did I claim any military honor. Although I have an asshole, I’m not an asshole, I’m not a dirty gutter trash whore and I’ll pass on sucking stagnant water through a dead insurgents pee hole. I’m not a smelly pirate hooker living on Whore Island (quite frankly I didn’t know there was such a place). I am simply a sinner saved by grace.

You-cant-handle-the-truth

Today I take the blame. I didn’t realize that even though a picture was given to me, I still needed permission from the person who took the picture to use the picture, even if I did alter it and add clip art. For those of you who don’t know I’ve been trying to reconcile relationships with these people for years. What’s even funnier, is it took these scholars a little over nine months to take notice that I used a picture they gave me. The book has gone through a lot.

Blackhorse 2015 Cover Art        Blackhorse Kindle          front cover

What I find the most frustrating is people who haven’t followed my blogs for the past eight years, suddenly have an opinion on what I can or cannot write or post. I am hurt by the people who are mutual friends of me and the person on FB who owns this tirade thread of BS who didn’t defend me. I also find it demeaning that people who have not even purchased my book can post reviews on Amazon about what they think. Someone had a comment about me lying about the cover. I didn’t lie, I did create the art on the cover. I didn’t say anything at all about the photo. And as far as believing what’s inside the book, “Hey idiot, it is a work of fiction!”

jack-nicholson

So while this drama was all fun and exciting, you people up there on the side hill can wallow in the glory of your lackey friends while my book is on temporary hiatus with Amazon. You have no idea how to write a book and what you’ve done is strengthened my sales. All this controversy has made more people interested in Crackerberries Anderson. This is funny, that’s what this is…. Trust me, the book will return and the sales will sky-rocket. So I guess I should just say ‘thank you’.

 

 

 

Trip

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It was the Storm of the Century
when Delores Claiborne
played Gerald’s Game
while suffering Insomnia.
The Tommyknockers
grew Thinner at Four Past Midnight
in Desperation when The Regulators
showed up for the Night Shift.
Rose Madder and her sister,
Carrie looked through
The Eyes of the Dragon and while
traveling through The Wastelands
they met The Talisman who
told them of The Dark Half.
Cujo led the way through the Pet Semetary
where Christine was in Maximum Overdrive
having Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
Everything’s Eventual and Needful Things
will give you Misery unless you take The Stand
and work with The Skeleton Crew
while walking The Green Mile.
Lisey’s Story was a big Bag of Bones left at
The Dark Tower until The Drawing of the Three
would Danse Macabre when
they reconciled at Salem’s Lot.
The Gunslinger turned Different Seasons
into a Creepshow when he locked the Firestarter
in the Cell and Blaze took over the Dreamcatcher.
Then The Shining Children of the Corn were left
in The Dead Zone to die
by The Cycle of the Werewolf
with Hearts in Atlantis.

Writing a Novel isn’t so Novel

typewrite

Novel – and inventive prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals with human experience through a connected sequences of events. New and not resembling something formerly known or used; original or striking especially in conception or style.

Writing a novel used to be just that — original. Now it seems everyone talks about writing a novel, everyone wants to write a novel, and a select few have actually written a novel. There’s nothing novel about writing a novel anymore. Everyone is doing it. It really is true that there is nothing new under the sun. If you can dream it, the chances are, it’s already been done. Your only hope is to come up with an innovative way to make it sound (or I guess I should say read) more appealing than the last person.

If writing a novel is your dream, your goal in life, your wish, your secret desire, do it. Write it. Don’t talk about it, just do it. Don’t ever give up. Don’t listen to what other people tell you. If your heart is in it, do it. You will write that novel.

If publishing that novel is your dream, your goal in life, your wish, your secret desire, do it. But before you publish it, do your homework. Research the markets of where the genre you write will fit best. Do not go with the first offer that comes along. Research and know what is available out there.

If you cannot find a publisher that meets your dream, your goal in life, your wish, or your secret desire, you can always self-publish. This is one way a lot of unknown authors get their name out there. Just keep in mind that self-publishing also mean self-promotion. If you don’t have time to self-promote hopefully you have a huge following of friends and family that will buy your book, and help promote it.

Don’t take reviews personally. Not everyone likes the kind of reading material you like, and therefore not everyone is going to like the material you write. Someone may read your novel with the hopes of one thing happening, and they become disappointed because it did not meet their expectations. This causes them to write a bad review. That doesn’t mean your story is bad, it just means that person was not satisfied with something they were expecting to read. Same is true with positive reviews. Don’t let these go to your head. Sometimes a five-star review comes from an obligatory read.

Finally, know what your goal is before you set out to write the “All-American-Best-Seller” that’s going to be on the New York Times Best Seller List. Is that the goal? Is the goal to just write the novel? Is the goal to be published? Is the goal to make a lot of money? (If that’s the goal, you better stop right now). Truly, it doesn’t matter what your goal is, just as long as you set one, so that you know what you are working toward in the long run.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your butt in gear and write that novel!

Be sure to check out some of the other great bloggers taking part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

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Been Blog Slacking?

APRIL-CALENDAR [2015]

So I admit I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately. I’ve left it in my daughter’s hand to inspire me with a picture on a daily basis so I could write something, anything.

Well now that she has her own blog Robyn Ann Photos  and we share a blog: The Write Photo, it hasn’t left me much time for blogging here, my recipe blog Crackerberries  or my poetry blog Yellow Dot.

TALK ABOUT PROPAGANDIZING MYSELF!

WOW, I am sorry about that and please forgive me for all that because I really wanted to share that I’m very excited about the upcoming challenge for the month of April.

BLOGGING FROM A-Z

Themes will be revealed on Monday. I did not sign up with a theme. I’m giving myself a little slack. I figured I will wing it with this being my first year in the challenge, and see where A — through — Z takes me.  I can’t wait. It’s very exciting.  If you want to join in the fun, there’s still time.  Get yourself signed up.

 SIGN UP FOR THE A-Z CHALLENGE

 And read the instructions first… I didn’t and ended up signing up twice.  Oopsies.  But if you have been slacking on your blog, here’s your chance to get back into the swingy-dingy of things. And I’m sure there will be so many good things to read…. I’m so looking forward to the month of April!

Read a Good Book?

book review
Read a good book lately? I did. Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips. I loved it. A factual story with a blend of fiction. Kept my attention on every page. I loved it so much that when I finished it, I was disappointed. You know that feeling you get after finishing a good book? It feels like your best friend moved away.

I wrote a review and rated it. A short review that doesn’t give away any of the details. In my own defense I will say I need to practice writing better reviews. But in all honesty I think if you want to know the details, read the book.

After that I went to read what other people had to say about the novel. I was extremely offended and sort of pissed off. Granted I only read ten reviews, but only one of the ten shared the same enthusiasm as me about the book. In fact a lot of the poor reviews were done by people who didn’t even take the time to finish reading the book. “Quit reading”. What the hell is that? I say if you are going to take the time to spew your negativity about something, at least have the common courtesy and decency to read the whole book. Otherwise I say, keep your opinion to yourself.

Chapter 7- The Salt-Water Killings

 

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Brianna Pike and her husband moved from Hemet, California to the east coast in the late nineties. Although she had lived in California all her life, for some reason she felt New England beckoned her. When she met Tom the store manager of Wal-Mart was making a very big deal of the situation. Tom saved Brianna a lot of embarrassment by discreetly talking with the manager and the police officers. She still had to go through being booked and the mug-shot session and fingerprinting down at the station. She also would be on probation for the next year, but Tom saved her the humiliation of being handcuffed and taken away like a criminal. It wasn’t the first time she was in trouble with the law. She had been caught shoplifting at other places but this was the first time she had actually been booked for the crime. It wasn’t that she couldn’t afford the items. It was an addiction. It was a game to her to see if she could do it without getting caught. It made the adrenaline flow inside her, and getting caught was more intense than the excitement of getting away with it. Now her record and fingerprints were in the system for the world to know.

When she found out that Tom was from Maine, she knew it was fate. The desire to move east summoned her even more. It would be a place to start over. To stop the steeling and do something different with her life. Tom, a truck driver, was able to get a transfer to a New England trucking company. Brianna took correspondent courses to get her real estate license for Maine and New Hampshire, and they found a quaint cape in the town of Camp Eaton. She had been working for the Tidwell Company in South Portland for about three years when she first heard the story of the Salt-Water Killer.

It was just after lunch when Brianna punched in the code for the lock at 221 East Atlantic Avenue. She remembered looking at the house when she and Tom first moved to Camp Eaton. She was kind of surprised it hadn’t sold yet. It was a cute little cottage, but not big enough if children were part of the package. She and Tom were planning to have children at some point in their lives, but hadn’t gotten around to it.

The dust bunnies floated through the air in the afternoon sunshine. She wrote herself a note to have the Merry-Maids come in and do a quick once-over sweep and dust. She pulled open the drapes that gave view to the harbor and the jetty, and smiled, pleased the tide was in. It was so much prettier when those ugly mud flats were covered with water, and the scent of fish wasn’t quite as strong. The white caps crashed against the stone wall that crept out into the Atlantic Ocean.

John and Martha Beckett pulled in the yard right on time. Brianna loved new clients who actually showed up when they said they were going to. John and Martha’s credit checked out very well in the low seven hundred score. Not many people fell into that category these days. That was a huge plus when it came to commission. More times than not, people would come to view a house, and not even have the preliminary paperwork done. There were more these days who were no-credit, no-shows, and didn’t even bother to call to cancel. She hated that aspect of selling real estate. When she found what looked like a good prospect to sell to, she did all she could to make her sales pitch a winner.

“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Beckett?” She offered her right hand. “I’m Brianna Pike. Nice to meet both of you.”

Mr. Beckett shook her hand, Mrs. Beckett did not. This struck Brianna oddly, but she brushed it off. Maybe Mrs. Beckett was shy, or maybe she was just in a mood. Women were funny that way, and that was one thing Brianna learned quickly in the business of real estate. Go for the one that is interested, but try not to ignore the other. Don’t let the detached one discourage your sales pitch either.

“We’ll start with the kitchen. Would either of you like coffee or a soda? It’ll only take a minute, I have a Keurig in the kitchen.” She always brought the Keurig with whenever she was showing a house. It usually impressed her clients when they could have whatever flavor coffee they wanted while pondering thoughts of signing a 30-year mortgage contract. She also was an avid coffee drinker and liked that every cup was fresh, never that sludge that typically came from the bottom of a coffee pot.

She guided them towards the kitchen. “Unless you have any questions?”

“I have a question,” Mrs. Beckett said, still standing just inside the front door.

“Marti, come on, we talked about this.” John put a hand on her shoulder.

Marti pulled away from her husband. “Tell me, Ms. Pike, what do you know about Sheila Nelson?”

Brianna looked at Mr. Beckett, and back to Mrs. Beckett inquisitively. “Should I know Sheila Nelson?” She looked at the notes on the clip board of the house.

“You don’t know anything about her?” Mrs. Beckett’s question was more like an interrogation. She scoffed and walked over to the bay window, arms crossed over her nonexistent chest.

“That’s enough, Marti.” Mr. Beckett put a hand on his wife. “I’m sorry Ms. Pike, you’ll have to excuse my wife.”

“Do you know Sike Nukpana?” She pressed.

“Marti, enough.”

“I’m really sorry, but I don’t know who you’re talking about or why I should know these people.”

“Well, maybe you should have done your homework before you decided to sell this house. Why do you think all these houses along here are for sale?” She pointed up the street.

It was true, there were four or five houses just on East Street alone that were for sale. Not unusual for a small town. A lot of times families would live in little compounds together. When one family decided to move, a lot of time the rest would pack up, and follow suit. But, it wasn’t the case for these houses. None of the residents were related. Brianna did know that, because she had the names of the other homeowners as well as the agents who were handling the sales. Sometimes agents would barter with each other to get sales, so they all took turns at showing the houses to their clientage.

“It’s my understanding that the quarry has a lot of people upset, and that is the reason they have decided to sell.” Brianna reviewed her notes on the house. “Am I missing something?”

“No, you’re not. That is why all of these houses are going so cheap. Most of the people have been here for years and having the traffic, not to mention the dirt and dust from the quarry have people packing up and leaving. They tried to fight it, but more people want the revenue than the neighborhood.” Mr. Beckett had done his research.

“Shelia Nelson was raped!” Mrs. Beckett huffed. “And then as if that wasn’t enough after he finished doing his business with her, he slit her throat and then tied her body to the buoy out there where the mud flats start just before the lighthouse.” Mrs. Beckett pointed out the bay window.

“What? That’s horrible.”

“Alright, I think we’ve taken up enough of your time. Obviously my wife is not ready to take advantage of the low price this house is selling for.” Mr. Beckett directed his wife to the door.

“But wait, I don’t understand.” Brianna, flabbergasted, didn’t know what to say, or ask.

“The Salt-Water Killer. You should have known about that before coming down here telling people what a great deal they are getting you should be telling them how a young girl lost her life on the beach out there and then as if it weren’t enough that she was brutally raped by an older man, he tied her body to a buoy as if he were showing off his kill.” Mrs. Beckett literally spit the words out of her mouth.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Pike, that we have wasted your time.” Before she could ask any more questions the Beckett’s were in their car, backing out of the drive-way.

 

 

The Salt-Water Killings is currently in proofing stages and should be available later this year.

Kildare

Kildare

Kildare is the sister of the popular Kilroy graffiti from the fifties.  She is being introduced as the new icon for “READ MY STUFF” … I’ll tell you why.

I don’t know how many writers groups and forums I have been a part of throughout the years. I realize we, as writers, all experience a lot of the same things.  The people we think we are the closest to (other than our spouse or significant other) are typically not supportive, and don’t take the time to read what we write.  They don’t have time, they don’t care what we have to say, they have eight million excuses. I’m sure you’ve heard them all.

It’s been a long process because I’ve been writing for years, okay decades.  I’ve written letters, emails, books, newsletters, brochures, greeting cards, and essays. You name it I’ve written it.  All that happy horseshit usually doesn’t even amount to an acknowledgement from “the people we think we are the closest to” most of the time.  But I’ve figure out how to get them to notice and take interest in what we write.  Once you compose a letter and include some fabricated BS … such as, I found out that my sister had a different father than me.  It was a secret that my aunt spent a year in an insane asylum for killing her first husband so that she didn’t have to go to prison.  My grandfather owed the mafia huge amounts of money for betting on the horses, so he had to sell off the family land that was supposed to be divided among all the heirs. My uncle married his niece, and they have children that are a few cans shy of a six-pack.

Once you take the time to point out some of these real life (fabricated) situations and mail it to the whole family, they begin to wonder if it’s really true, because, you know, fabrication all comes from a little truth anyways.  At that point everyone wants to purchase your book(s) and read what you have written. They are afraid you might have put something about them in it and they want to make sure you didn’t portray them in a bad light (which I always do).  So, get on board with Kildare and let everyone she was here… or there. Somewhere!

Cheers! ♥

Being Successful as a Writer

Being A Successful Writer

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I lost my way for a short time. I got involved in the social media thing … you know the Facebook novel promotions and that sort of thing that ‘people in the business’ say is what you need to do. Quite frankly, I think ‘people in the business’ are full of shit. They want you to think they know what they are talking about. But if they are so good at telling you how to sell books, how come they aren’t selling their own? Why are they writing articles on “HOW TO DO IT.”? How come there are so many authors turned into publishers? I don’t really think a good publisher can also be a good author and vice-versa. Just my opinion. Personally, I think when that is done, someone is looking for a way to make more money because they suck at being an author or they suck at being a publisher… they can’t be good at both. It’s not a job you can multi-task well.  They’re in it for the wrong reasons.

Those book promo sites on Facebook are people doing the same thing. Sell the book. It might get one or two sales, but that’s not the place you want to put your time and effort into promoting and selling your books. I thought I had to do what everyone else was doing because “they said” that’s what you have to do to be successful. I can tell you right now, I’ve been doing this writing thing for a lot of years. If you ask me if I think I’m successful at it, my answer would be, “Yes, I’m very successful at it. I’ve written millions.”

Does that mean I’m successful at making money at writing my millions? Well, not exactly. That’s a whole new nonfiction novel — which I don’t do. You see, the way I figure it, there is success in writing and there is success in making money. So far as I can tell, the two don’t really go together, unless, of course, you are Stephen King. I like to tell people I’m not in it for the money. But that’s kind of a lie because who doesn’t want to make money? It would be a sweet gig if I could make a lot of money doing what I love to do. Right now that doesn’t seem to be the case, but I’m too old to find a new hobby as so many people like to refer to my addiction that I have with writing.

Seriously though, I’m in it because … well if I don’t write I get really moody and sometimes I need to do it to vent. It’s almost like an addiction to, say, cigarettes. I can use that as an example because I quit that habit – in fact next month will make eight years. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve slipped up quite a few times since then and had me a clove cigar every now and again. I will probably continue to slip up every once in a while, but I don’t have that nagging desire to go have a smoke every hour or so like I did for 22 years. Now writing, that nagging desire is there even in my sleep. I do some of my best writing in my sleep. I don’t think I could ever give it up. I’ve tried, but it just keeps coming back to haunt me. I have to get those ideas and thoughts down.

So I have published a few books and am working on a new novel and a holiday cookbook. I’m also looking for new innovative ways to promote my writing. That’s the hard part of the business. In a few days I’ll see that some of the followers on social media will suddenly be doing the same thing with a holiday cookbook or something to that effect. If you are good at what you do, people are going to try to duplicate you. The way to find out if you’re successful is when you look around and see others copying what you do … this means they are watching you. This means you are good at doing what you do. It’s like that saying on the Mike’s Hard Lemonade label, “If you’re gonna be original you can count on being copied.”

Not that I’m original, there is nothing new under the sun. I just look for innovative ways to make old shit look like new shit. When people copy you, accept it as a compliment and move on to the next task at hand. People can write about the same topic as you, but they can’t write like you. You are an original writer and no one can take that away from you. Do what you do and don’t worry about anything else. If you were meant to be successful at making money, you will make lots of money. If you were meant to be successful at writing, you will write a lot. If you were meant to be successful at making lots of money from writing, well you have one hell of a talent!

Labor Day Weekend Deals

 

Blackhorse LDP

 

Labor Day Weekend 2015 Satellite Dunyasha collides with asteroid FF-13. All of the New England states plus some of Canada are affected by an electro-magnetic pulse. NASA knows nothing about the satellite — or so they say, which happens to be Russian owned. Sergeant First Class Jon Hunter is on a mission but Captain Carlin is bound and determined to keep his part in the situation a secret.

Blackhorse 2015 is Crackerberries premiere novel. A military thriller with many controversial topics bedded inside. Read this book with a clear mind because there are many situations and several characters. Soldier training isn’t what it used to be. While reading this controversial story about conspiracy, racketeering, and treason going on within the United States Military, you won’t want to miss anything the government is covering up.

Here’s what people are saying about Blackhorse 2015:

… ideal for all readers to discover that all is not discernible in the government, like the military.

 

This is one of those books that doesn’t shy away from controversy. The characters are all well-drawn and bring you into their world and experiences. The author is exceedingly knowledgeable about the military and its application in this story is well-crafted.

 

This book will make your little hairs stand up on your arms.

 

The author does an amazing off beat way of revealing the plot one view-point at a time. As it unfolds you come to understand how the government can so easily manipulate us all.

 

A book that will stand on its own in a field with Clancy, Sanford and Patterson

 

…the suspense and political intrigue was such a draw that my filter bleeped out the language as I read. An appropriate story line for the current times and governmental cover ups that seem to be exploding in the news even faster than in the Bush-era.

 

In Blackhorse 2015, the author Crackerberries tackles this inner sanctum with the authority of someone who’s watched it all up close. She doesn’t give the reader any reassurance. Dark deeds are exacerbated by dark motives. And personal grudges are added into the stew of clandestine goings-on at a base on a Pacific island – the very existence of which is enough to make us worry.

 

When I read the synopsis of the story I was intrigued. This book certainly has its place in today’s history. If you think our government doesn’t have a lot of “things” going on that we will never know about your head is in the sand. This is Crackerberries story of one cover up that is highly possible today.

 

Every day, we hear of government cover ups that seem implausible and yet, they happen. The sub-plots add an element of humor which serve to highlight the darkness.

 

Just click on the book, add to cart and apply discount code TEBA75A4 for 25% off the printed version. Blackhorse Kindle

 

The F-U-N in Book Marketing

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I’ve been limiting my time on social media lately because I’m trying to put more effort into writing instead of socializing. The infamous they say you have to socialize to create book sales. You need relationships to earn sales. That is how you market your book, or so “they” say.

That doesn’t make any sense to me. I buy books all the time from authors I sometimes have never even heard of, let alone have a relationship with.

My thought is this about relationships: I don’t want someone to read my books because they feel sorry for me. I want people to read my books because they are good. I don’t think creating a relationship is going to change whether the book is good or not. Plus with relationships, you get into the whole thing where people think they know who you are and then they start thinking they know who your fictional characters are in real life. It’s a whole big spiral snowball of crap.

So I’ve been doing some research on other ways to market my book…not just social media. Free too. I’m finding a lot of avenues. I’ll let you know how they pan out.

 

 

Cheers

Red Flags

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Red Flags

So you are ready to publish your book that you’ve work hard on. You are ready to make that dream become a reality. Let me share with you some of the things I learned with getting my first book published. They have been hard lessons to digest. For someone who has had the dream of becoming a published author for the last 35 years or more, when the contract came via email you can imagine the excitement I felt. Even though I posed very articulated questions and received vague responses, I just figured it would work itself out in the end. It didn’t matter that all of my questions weren’t answered. No big deal, the biggest thing was getting that book published. That is what every author wants when we first set out.

About Editing:

So the process began. First the book went to an editor. She sent it back to me for my approval three days later. Her comments were indistinct, and I really had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for. I asked. She responded with ‘click on the check mark if you agree. If you don’t, add a comment and we will discuss’. She also pointed out that the edits weren’t that much, mostly compound words. I wrote the book, the publisher liked it so much they wanted to publish it, what could possibly be wrong with it? Not to mention that the editor told me the edits ‘weren’t that much’. That being said, I approved what the editor changed and posed that needed to be changed. I signed off and it was forwarded back to the publisher.

So the process continued.

About Publishing:

The publisher found some serious errors that she would have expected to be corrected in editing.

{Out of curiosity, I asked what was expected of the editor. I had never been through this before, I didn’t know.}

This was the publisher’s response:

What we expect of our editors is this:
1. Manuscript review and recommendations to ensure logical development of content.
2. Substantive editing to determine what should be added, developed, or deleted to enhance the structure, completeness, and tone of the manuscript. If there had been major revisions required, your editor would have to have contacted me before those could proceed.
3. Copy-editing to eliminate incorrect or unclear grammar, word choice, factual inconsistencies, syntax, and inconsistent style.
4. Editors are necessary to making sure a book is the best that it can be. You certainly don’t want the embarrassment of a reviewer pointing out the bad grammar, misspellings, and missing punctuation. So, don’t argue with the editor. Don’t tell them that they don’t know their job and have to listen to you.

She asked for my feedback on how the editing went with the editor. And she wanted me to be honest. What was I supposed to say? I wrote the perfect book. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.  She pointed out a whole list of things she saw while proofreading my book to give the reasons why. Normally, she doesn’t proofread books, but her proofreaders were all busy, and she doesn’t like to see books sitting around, so she was doing that until they were free.

What to expect from the proofreader.

Once the editor is done. Proofreaders are vitally important, to catch the things your editor missed. They are very good at what they do. So, give your proofreader the time to painstakingly read your book, word by word and then line by line. You’d be amazed at all the little things they catch.

After she finished with all that she found wrong and corrected, she attached a copy of my manuscript for my final review. I needed to take my time going through the book, correcting anything I found wrong, paying particular attention to the items that she mentioned. One reason is these kinds of errors can get bad reviews and lose you readers and fans. So she told me. The second reason is that the publisher recently implemented a new policy regarding making changes or correcting errors to books once they’re published. They no longer do this due to abuse by a few authors in the past. If something is missed, which by should have been caught in editing and proofreading plus your final review, we can do nothing about that.

{Pointed out to me after the contract was signed. Red flag!}

Again, I will mention I wrote the book, the publisher liked it so much they wanted to publish it, what could possibly be wrong with it? She said she finished with all that she found wrong (...proofreaders are vitally important, to catch the things your editor missed) and corrected, and attached a final copy. What else could possibly be wrong?

There was plenty. I found several mistakes and corrections that were said to have been made that were not made. If you take the time to read my book, Blackhorse 2015, I can assure you if you are looking, and even if you are not, you will find several errors that were missed in the steps that were supposed to have been taken. {My fault?}

About Promotion:
What kind of marketing/promotion will the publishing company do?

The publishing company promotes the work of our authors on Facebook and Twitter daily/weekly. Not every author is promoted every day.

{Would you like to know how many times my book has been promoted by the publisher on Facebook since it released on June 9th? Once. I found Twitter to be a waste of time so I deleted my account so I don’t know if it gets promoted there. Quite frankly I believe this publisher leaves all of the promoting up to the author unless for some reason it’s going to promote their company. Red flag?}

About Royalties:

Our statements are done on the 20th of the month. {I didn’t get my statement until the 29th of the month. Red flag.}

I questioned the report.

10% of what we were paid was the $-.– that was put in your statement.

The contract I signed:

Print Books: “Ten percent (10%) of the retail selling price of each copy sold. Books are not guaranteed to go into Print”
“20% for sales up to 300 books”

{I know … very misleading…is it 10% or is it 20% for the first 300? Red flag}

“We drafted new contracts in April to make that all more clear. If you would like a new contract we would be happy to send you one.” {Really? After I already signed the first one? Red flag}

“Your book is listed at $–.–, which is set by (blank company). We can’t raise or lower that price.”
{I recently self-published a couple of books with (blank company) and found this statement very misleading. Red flag.}

“Either you trust us, or you don’t. We aren’t here to screw you over. But, if you feel we are, you are welcome to request your rights back.”

“The only way to guarantee you know exactly how many have sold is if you had access to the accounts. For obvious reasons, we do not allow this for our authors…”

{If a bank can do it with millions of customers, why can’t a publisher do it for a few hundred authors? BIG ASS RED FLAG!}

“If you still don’t understand, email me. This is not something we will discuss further in group.”

“That’s the cold hard truth. If you can’t let go and trust your publisher then you need to put your stories on a blog or try self-publishing.”

“The only place in the contract where it states retail sales is with print books. While that is a typographical error, we will honor it.” {It was their typographical error shouldn’t they honor it?}

I don’t mean this to be a “bash the publisher” post. I am telling it like it is. The trust issue was pointed out to me more times that I care to mention. {Red, red, red flag!} I wish I took the time to read things more clearly and wasn’t so gun-ho to hurry up and get my book published. It is just a warning to you: the writer, the author, the next New York Times best seller. Be aware of what you are signing on to. If it’s not black and white ask. If it’s still not clear, ask again. Don’t make the mistakes I made. I’m sharing this with you because I know there are people out there wanting to publish their books. There are people out there who will take advantage of your naivety and inexperience. Publishers are out there to make money, not to make you the next best seller. They don’t care that you have busted your butt for the last two years on writing your book. They want to make money. Heed the warnings. Research everything you can, and most importantly, listen to your heart. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are, it probably is.

1. What would you do?
2. Has this ever happened to you?
3. How would or did you react?
4. Do you have any other suggestions for future authors?

I would love to hear your comments.

The Review Process

The Review Process

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The best thing you can do for an author after you have read their book is a review. This not only helps potential buyers but it gives feedback to the author about what promising fans like or dislike about their writing.

You can write an easy quick review or take your time and be more meticulous. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you do it. A review based on the star rating system might be something like this:

• Five stars would be for a novel that is simply an outstanding piece of work.

• Four stars would indicate that the piece is excellent but certain adjustments would make it better.

• Three stars is an average piece of work. It’s okay, take it or leave it — not bad, not great.

• Two stars would indicate the writing could be good, but there are a lot of loop holes in the story and some major adjustments need to be made.

• One star is a major revision — why bother even making the effort?

Now this is just my opinion to how the rating system could be used. Other people may have different ideas. You could even try including your rating system in your review. Feel free to copy and paste mine, if you like.

It is helpful to say what you liked about the story as well as what you disliked about the story. I am telling you this from experience. When I first started writing reviews I was not a published author so I didn’t realize how important they were.

The most important thing about writing your review is to be honest. That is the best gift you can give back to an author.

Now for starters go get yourself a copy something new you haven’t read, (Crackerberries Books) read it and practice your review technique on Amazon!

 

Cheers.

10 Lessons

10 Lessons I Learned After Getting Published

Improve your writing. I won’t lie to you. It has been a long road for me. That was what I thought I was going to do when I joined F-Story, a place for writers to improve their writing technique. I can’t argue the fact that I did improve my vocabulary in the four short months I spent on F-Story. I learned some punctuation and verb usage as well, but nothing that E.B. White or an English book couldn’t teach me.

What is the draw? Post a piece of writing and immediately get writing critique from other members. This is good, because isn’t that what all writers want? We want honest feedback about our writing. Is it good or is it bad? Could I really get an honest opinion with suggestions on how to make my writing better? I was hooked, and for less than ten bucks a month I could post two pieces of writing a day and get at least two or three reviews and comments about my work.

Within three weeks of being a member on the site, I had an exploding profile, and I was rising within the ranks. The excellent rating was awesome, and the five, and often six stars fit real well with my exploding status, as well as stroking my oversensitive ego. I was on top of the world, and my writing was outstanding.

Do I need to mention what a fool idiot I was? It didn’t take long to find out that everyone on the site who would put the time and effort into reading to make the F-Story monopoly money to promote their work would share the same exploding status as me. It all depended on how much time and effort you wanted to put into writing reviews.

It didn’t take me long to realize after I gave a meticulous review most people didn’t really want my recommendations and balked at the thought of receiving anything less than five stars. I wanted to give the writers good, honest feedback about the piece that I was reading. I found that I was spending six to eight hours, and sometimes even more than that, a day to read poems and stories for fellow writers to give my honest detailed review. This cut way into my writing time. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I fell into that 5-star rating for a spell, too. Please don’t tell me my piece of work is anything less than excellent.

I met some people, just like the ones anyone meets in social network forums. A lot of nice friendly people and even bonded and formed personal relationships, so I thought. The thing that I was trying not to do was to treat F-Story – a serious writing forum  like every other social network where everyone wants to be your friend. I tried to treat it like a job. My bad.

I don’t care what anyone tells you and what anyone says about internet forums and social networks. We are people and it is our inherent nature to care about ourselves and what we ourselves want to accomplish in life. People will tell you they are your friend and how great you are and suddenly you fall under the Machiavellian of people, which I did. I believed what people told me, and I trusted people I had never met in person.

After four months of playing the game of rising in the ranks of F-Story, letting my housework, bills, and physical relationships slide, and not really doing any writing, I finally realized it was a bad addiction. A very bad addiction. Almost like a drug addiction. The whole thing came to light when I read a poem of a concept I had shared with one of my F-Story friends who took the idea and wrote it in their own words, and rose higher in the ranks than me.

So here I am again, playing with social media and sharing with friends. Forgetting the lessons I learned at F-Story. But the big difference is I’m published. I can now say I have published a novel and I am an author. It has been my life long goal and a huge accomplishment for me because it has been my dream forever. As with any goals being accomplished, the time is right for new goals to be set.

These are some of the things I have learned and I would like to share them with you who are trying to become published. These are important things to keep in mind when you are setting your goals. So important that I’m going to remember them while I’m setting my new goals.

Top ten things I learned from getting my first novel published.

1. Do not let people tell you what is best for you and your book. Only you know this.

2. Take your time and proof, proof, proof. Have friends, relatives, and co-workers read your book for typos and context errors. No matter how many times you try to proof the book on your own, YOU will miss mistakes.

3. Research, research, research. There is a boat-load of information out there and no one is going to give it to you for free. But if you look hard enough, you can find it for free.

4. Be patient.

5. Promote yourself as well as your book. Don’t expect that just because you have a lot of friends and family they are going to promote you and your book for you. They are not.

6. If you make a mistake, brush it off, learn from it, don’t do it again.

7. Just because someone else has more experience in the world of publishing and writing than you do doesn’t mean they are better than you. Anyone can write a book, and anyone can publish a book. But only good story tellers can write a book well.

8. Have confidence in yourself and in your writing. If you are you are writing because you enjoy writing, it will show in your work. If you are doing it to make money, get over yourself.

9. Set a schedule and stick to it. Write every day. The only way to make yourself better at something is to do it. (Perfect practice makes perfect.)

10. Do not become enthralled with social media. Use it to promote yourself and your book and leave it at that.

Above all like what you do, like yourself and don’t let others try to tell you how you can do it better. If they’re so smart tell them to write their own book.

My new novel The Salt-Water Killings is in the works.

Salt Water Red

Books by Crackerberries

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Blackhorse 2015

A regime of conspiracy, racketeering, and treason within the United States Military. The US Military is no longer what it used to be. After supervising military intelligence on Blue Duck Island Army Base, Sergeant First Class Jon Hunter is less than a month away from retiring to his hometown of Winston-Wisdom. Before he can enjoy his plans of fishing and skiing Sergeant Hunter has one more mission.

 

coming-soon       BookCoverPreview

Flowers for Elizabeth (under review)

A mother and daughter’s rocky relationship is put to the test in this poignant tale. Find out what happens when the grandmother babysits for young Elizabeth. She just wanted to help her G’ammy in the garden.

 

BookCoverImage

Mildred the Strawberry Moose

What happens when a group of forest animals come together and help a fellow member in need?  Find out in this whimsical children’s bedtime story. Filled with pictures and lots of favorite forest creatures.

BookCoverPreview (5)                                        coming-soon

Canning with Crackerberries

The best thing about walking into a kitchen is the smell coming from the pot on the stove. Here you’ll find a collection of old-time canning and preserving recipes from pickles to jams.

 

If you are interested in any of these books, just click on the book and you will be directed to the appropriate online purchasing page.

Cheers.

Fabulous Fiction Fridays — W.H.Matlack

 Q-1AhAmY

 Ebook cover - WTR                          Noir Town Full Cover Art

Today we are sitting down with W.H. Matlack, Solstice Publishing Author of Waiting to Run.  He agreed to be interviewed for Friday’s Fabulous Fiction Author.  He only has a short bit of time because Mowry has a routine and he will be expecting Mr. Matlack to take care of the feline duties at the office.

ME: Mr. M. would you be so kind to tell us about your latest book?

W.H. Matlack: Waiting to Run is a suspense thriller that brings in elements from the JFK assassination conspiracy theories. It features a young lady who becomes a very powerful, although reluctant, witch who must fight the deadly ghost of Lee Harvey Oswald. Her power is based on manipulating Quantum states and Dark Energy in a Holographic Universe. She is aided by the ghost of Dorothy Kilgallen, who was the last person to interview Jack Ruby before his death. The very fate of the universe itself lies in her hands. Thank God it’s only fiction.

ME: Wow, you can say that again. Although, so many books and theories have been written about the JFK conspiracy it’s hard to know what is real and what is not, if you know what I mean.  So what can we expect from you in the future?

W.H. Matlack:  More suspense thrillers based on real scientific theories. I might try a ghost story at some point. I like the idea of scaring people before they turn out the lights.

ME:  I don’t know about anyone else, but those are my favorite books to read.  So how do we find out about you and your books?

W.H. Matlack: I’m published by Solstice Publishing, and my books are available on their site as well as on Amazon. Go to http://amzn.to/1jwSMgq for Noir Town, my mystery, and http://is.gd/tJoW1Y for Waiting to Run, my suspense thriller.

ME: How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

W.H. Matlack: Like most authors, little bits of my real life show up, but they are almost always heavily covered in fiction – to avoid law suits, mainly.

ME:  Ha ha, that’s funny. No writer wants a law suit do they?  When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first book?

W.H. Matlack: I’ve always written short stories, and I even published a line of comic books, but it was fellow author, Andy MacRae who encouraged me to turn to novels. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I’ve put out two of them, so…

ME: So keep the momentum going right?  I hear ya.  Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?

W.H. Matlack: Depending on how much effort I have to put into the plot, it can range from six months to a full year.

ME:  That makes sense. Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?

W.H. Matlack: I maintain actual business hours. I don’t write at night or early in the morning because that takes time away from my family (terrific wife and two cats who need almost constant attention).

ME:  That is probably good practice for any writer.  I know about two cats that need constant attention.  What is your writing routine once you start a book?

W.H. Matlack:  I just face the “void” and start writing. My favorite quote is from Lewis Carroll who said, “I sent Alice down a rabbit hole with no idea of what she would find there.”

ME:  I like that…kind of like getting on the horse and not knowing where he’s taking you.  What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing – or are there constant interruptions?

W.H. Matlack: Having a family means you’re going to get interrupted. My training in Journalism helps me concentrate amid the noise.

ME: What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?

W.H. Matlack: I’ll put on a Netflix movie or television series. It’s just as important to know when not to write as it is when to write.

ME:  That is a good point.  What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?

W.H. Matlack: It’s more fun creating worlds than just about anything else.

ME: I hear that a lot with authors. “If you don’t like the world you’re in, wait a minute, I create a new one.” Where do your ideas come from?

W.H. Matlack: They just spring up unbidden. I have no idea where they come from, except I have a theory that there is a place called “Idea Town.” If I knew where it was, I would move there.

ME: Ha ha, that sounds like a cool place. If you find it, let me know.  Do you feel humor is important in mysteries and why?

W.H. Matlack: Humor is vital. I write more humor than anything else. It keeps mysteries from bogging down and taking themselves too seriously. My example is Noir Town. It features a cynical private dick (that’s short for detective) who is pretty funny most of the time.

ME:  Private dick, now that is funny.  What about love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?

W.H. Matlack: By “love scenes” can I assume you mean “sex scenes?” Yes, they are difficult, but I think it’s wrong to over-write them. The challenge is to have them advance the plot or develop character.

ME:  You are probably right there, however a lot of people don’t do that.  What kind of research do you do?

W.H. Matlack: I don’t spend a lot of time researching my books. I just include enough reality to make them feasible. I start with the Internet. Google Maps is invaluable for looking at places I’ll never actually visit, which is almost everywhere.

ME: Where would we be without Google Maps?  Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?

W.H. Matlack: My hero is Michael Crichton. You never knew what would interest him next. I like to think of myself as that kind of writer. I know I would be better off sticking to one genre, but I just can’t seem to be able to do that.

ME: What does your wife think of your writing?

W.H. Matlack: My wonderful wife gives me nothing but encouragement even if she doesn’t really like the book’s subject.

ME:  Awwe, that’s so sweet.  Do you ever ask her for advice?

W.H. Matlack: I do ask her for advice, but I don’t really reach out to anyone when I’m writing. I don’t like Beta readers or critique groups. I want what I produce to be MY work, not OUR work.

ME: I get what you are saying there.  My husband tells me that all the time…make it your work!  So why not tell me about your family and what you all like to do.

W.H. Matlack:  I’m married and we have two cats. I’m a musician (drummer) and writer. I have a degree in Journalism from San Jose State. I like talking to people (maybe a little too much). I love sharing ideas about things – all kinds of things. I especially love learning about the Cosmos. Call me a nerd if you like. I don’t mind.

ME:  You do sound kind of geeky.

W.H. Matlack: What? You were the mascot for the football team in high school, so you weren’t a nerd? Do you still mascot for the football team? I thought not. Guess what? I still write.

ME: Touché. Just a few more things Mr. M., and I’ll let you get back to Mowry and his brush.  Could you tell us some of your favorite things?

W.H. Matlack:  – Dessert: cherry pie.

City: Any small town. Not impressed with New York, although I do like LA.

Season: summer.

Type of hero: seriously flawed.

Type of heroine: powerful, self- assured.

Favorite book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Favorite authors to read? Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Nelson DeMille

ME:  What are some of your favorite things to do?

W.H. Matlack: My wife and I like walking to our little downtown.

ME: What do you think of critique groups in general?

W.H. Matlack: So that’s how you would write my novel? Well, here’s how I’m going to write it.”

ME: I love that answer. This next question I hate to ask because I always hated it when I was asked it in job interviews.  But the powers that be dictate the questions so where do you see yourself in five years?

W.H. Matlack: Right here.

ME:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?

W.H. Matlack: I’ve always been a writer. All my life.

ME:  How many books have you written, how many have been published?

W.H. Matlack: I’ve published two novels, nine comic book titles, and written countless short stories (most of them not published)

ME:  After you’ve written your book and it’s been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?

W.H. Matlack: I always purchase a box or two for signings. I don’t really like reading them. I always think, “Who the hell does this guy think he is? Oh. Yea.”

ME:  Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?

W.H. Matlack: I do love Jhona, the central character in Waiting to Run because she is a very strong woman. Even as she gains strength as a witch, she doesn’t lose her femininity. Lee Harvey Oswald is pretty cool, too. He’s just pure evil…and a total idiot.

ME: Oh I think he probably always was a total idiot.  I’m really looking forward to reading it…in fact I’ve already started it.  What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?

W.H. Matlack: I whipped out Noir Town pretty quickly although I had to completely re-write it after discovering other books with the same plot. The hardest is the one I’m working on now. I had a lot of fun with Waiting to Run.

ME: What the heck is that sound?  Do you hear that?  Let me get the door.  Oh, I didn’t know you brought the cats with you.  Aren’t they adorable and look at that tiger, he’s got his brush in his teeth!  Okay I better this interview wrapped up. Are they going to be okay in here? Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?

~ Both cats jump up on the desk and make themselves at home. The yellow tabby start cleaning his paws.

W.H. Matlack: This is Mowry with the brush and this is Alex with all the hair. He doesn’t like getting brushed, and he doesn’t hesitate telling me so. On the other hand, Mowry, the Orange one, likes getting brushed so much that he comes into my office and demands that I take a few minutes out of writing, or whatever I’m doing, and give him a good brushing. My cats are fine with being interviewed, but bear in mind, they still don’t understand this whole writing bit where I stare at a computer screen and only occasionally tap at the keyboard. Hey! I could be petting them! See look, they want to be petted!

I  think about the story angle first. Characters next, and then I need to figure out where they are, so that’s setting I guess.

ME: I guess we’ll finish up this interview with company.  What are the elements of a great romance for you?

W.H. Matlack: Maureen O’Hara, the greatest of all Pirate girlfriends. She was so awesome, and girlfriend to so many pirates. Does that make her an element? I think it does.

ME:  What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?

W.H. Matlack: Hardest: getting my edits back and realizing that I don’t have even the most rudimentary grasp of English grammar. Easiest: There’s really nothing easy about it. It’s mostly pure torture mixed in with a few chuckles and a lot of nail trimming.

ME: Have you experienced writer’s block?

W.H. Matlack: Every time I finish something I become convinced that I will never have another original idea again. NEVER!

ME: How do you work through it?

W.H. Matlack: I work through it by sitting down, facing the void and writing whatever comes. It’s scary at best.

ME: What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

W.H. Matlack: Knowing that I can totally get revenge on anyone I choose just by putting them in one of my books. I confess. I’ve done that more than once.

ME:  If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

W.H. Matlack: The same thing I do when I have writer’s block: clipping my nails

ME:  Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

W.H. Matlack: It only takes one agent or publisher to like what you do. Just one. You just have to find them.

ME: That’s the hard part, finding the one, right.  Okay, Mr. M. I’ve enjoyed having and the little fur-balls here. I suppose is time for you to get back to your office.  Can you give us your links of how to find you again?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noirtown?ref_type=bookmark

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WillMatlack

The books: Noir Town  and Waiting to Run

Chance to Win

win

Starting right now, ending Saturday at midnight!
Here are the rules:
Like Blackhorse 2015 on Facebook. Invite all of your family and friends to like the page too. Now here’s the hard part. After your friends and family like the page they will need to send a PM (personal message) to the Blackhorse 2015 administrator and reference your name in the message.

At the end of the promotion, (Saturday 7-12-14 at midnight) the person with the most name references (friends and family who liked the Blackhorse 2015 page) will win a signed Electronic Version of the new novel, Blackhorse 2015 and they will also receive a second copy for a friend or family member of their choice.

So how many friends do you have? Let’s find out!

Winners will be posted on the fan page Monday morning!