Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How much of THIRST is real? by Katherine Prairie

I’m often asked how much of Thirst is real, and each time I’m delighted with the question because it means I’ve done my job! 

My story ideas are inspired by newspaper headlines, real life events over which I overlay a simple question of “what if”.  For Thirst, it was the Columbia River Treaty, a remarkable agreement between Canada and the United States signed in the sixties, that stirred my imagination.  The treaty is an exemplary model of international co-operation, and so are the more recent agreements on joint U.S.-Canada security that arose in large part because of 9/11.

However, times have changed and with less than ten years left in the treaty’s term, people on both sides of the border want the treaty renegotiated with environmentalists, Native American Tribes, Canadian First Nations and residents of the Columbia River Valley pushing to have their voices heard. So far, the peaceful process has barely made a blip on the newsworthiness radar, but what if it changed? What if slow simmering tension erupted into violence? 

They often say that truth is stranger than fiction, and the intriguing history of British Columbia’s Slocan Valley, an idyllic location just north of the Montana border provides a rich background for Thirst that I could never have imagined. The Valley has long been considered a sanctuary for those seeking refuge or solitude including the Russian Doukhobors, American draft dodgers and war veterans alike, but it has also been at the heart of violent Sons of Freedom protests and a silver rush that drew thousands of hopeful miners.

Much more than a realistic scenario in a good location is needed though for a believable story – characters are a key element.  I work to create characters who might be people you encounter in your every day lives, and I want their actions to seem reasonable. Whether it is revenge, greed, or something as basic as the need to protect ourselves, motives drive us forward and dictate our actions. So, in Thirst I ask a second question: What would it take for someone to kill or turn their back on their ethics or values?

While our values and beliefs hold us to a certain behaviour, there is more to each of us, aspects of our personality that contribute to our actions.  How do we explain why someone might run into a burning building while everyone runs out, for example? You might expect bravery from a firefighter, but often it’s a stranger passing-by who will fight to save a victim from a burning car or house, an action they later explain as instinct in a split second decision made without thought of their own safety. Most of us don’t know exactly how we will react to a situation until we’re faced with it.    

I’ve had readers say that they feel for one character or another in Thirst, that they aren’t sure what they would have done in the same situation. That’s where I want to be – in the gray area, that uncomfortable spot between right and wrong where we all find ourselves from time-to-time, those spots where a single clear answer isn’t available.

I’ve raised the stakes of course, to make those decisions even more difficult, especially for my RCMP officer Nathan Taylor, but no one gets off easy.  Geologist Alex Graham makes more than her share of choices in tough situations, and so does Dr. Eric Keenan, and just like real life, some of those choices are wrong.

For me, this is what makes writing interesting and why I’ve chosen to write suspense thrillers. They give me the room to explore the world around me and meet fascinating characters on complex journeys. I can well imagine sitting down over dinner with Alex Graham and having her share this story while I sit on the edge of my chair, wine glass in hand. I can’t wait for her next adventure!

Brief bio and links for Katherine Prairie

Katherine, a geologist and IT specialist, stepped away from the international petroleum industry to follow her passion for writing. An avid traveller with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, Canada quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the thriller THIRST.

Buy links for Thirst:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Personal Appearances, so Far--Marilyn Meredith

Though, I'm not the speaker, I'll be taking books to the next San Joaquin Sisters in Crime, September 3rd.

On Saturday, September 17th at 10 a.m. I'll be speaking to the Tulare Kings Writers about Creating Memorable Characters. It will be at the Arts Consortion on 400 North Church St., entrance on School Ave.

On Thursday, September 29th, from 3-8, I'll be participating in the Central Coast Book Festival in Mission Plaza at San Luis Obispo.

Saturday, October 8th, I'll be in Manteca at the Great Valley Book Fest all day.

On Saturday, October 15th, I'll be joining a group of authors at The Taste of the Arts in Visalia.

November 4th and 5th I'll be at the Porterville Art Gallery Holiday Boutique with my books. The Gallery is located on Main St. in Porterville.

Of course I'm available for other open dates. Love to give talks about my books, all aspects of writing and publishing.

Leave a message in a comment and I'll contact you.


Friday, August 26, 2016

No Electricity--Eeeek!

Yesterday, while I was getting ready to leave for a meeting--and working away on the computer, the screen went dark. I realized the lights were off too.

Sent hubby and grandson-in-law out to check the electric boxes--all was fine.

I called the electric company--their number for emergencies and everything else--got an automated system and answered all the questions, and was given a service number. Then it was time for me to go to my meeting.

During the meeting I messaged my granddaughter and asked if it was fixed yet--the answer was no. Told her to ask her grandpa to call again.

We have lunch at this meeting and I ordered one of the specials--a Reuben Sandwich and soup. The soup came in a tiny bowl crammed with enormous chunks of veggies one of which was an obviously burned broccoli. It looked terrible. The sandwich was no better. I love Reubens, but this had big hunks of corn beef, hardly any sauerkraut, unidentifiable cheese, and scant dressing--couldn't tell what it was supposed to be. I ate a couple of bites of the corned beef and gave up. Yes, I complained--and I didn't have to pay except for my coffee. Left a good tip, not the waitresses fault. This is the first time I've had a bad meal in that restaurant.  

Drove home around noon, fully expecting to get  right to work. No such luck. Learned hubby called again, and daughter-in-law followed up and got to speak with a person. 

I was hungry, didn't want to open the refrigerator so I ate a piece of birthday cake.

A man from the electric co. came--verdict, blown transformer. Had to go back to town to do paperwork and order transformer. Around 4:30 a crew and 3 trucks arrived. Electricity back on by the time we got home from having dinner. Hooray!

It was hot yesterday, but not as hot as it has been.

I certainly learned how much we rely on our electricity--and the biggest thing is we have no water when the electricity is out because we are on our own well.

So that was yesterday's excitement. No writing done at all.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Once Again, my Birthday has Rolled Around, Marilyn Meredith

I am at an age that birthdays aren't all that important--except for the fact that I am still here, in good health, and enjoying many, many blessings. God has been good to me. I have a huge, supportive family--and so many little ones to love.

Here I am at one of my many birthdays--believe this one was the last biggie! I know the setting is my youngest daughter's home.

Some interesting facts about my birthday:

I share it with a good friend, Lorna Collins, who has so many personality quirks like mine that it's rather amazing.

I don't really like surprises--and have disappointed those who have tried to give me surprise birthday parties. Not because I figure it out, but because I always have things planned out and I think whatever is going on is going to mess up my plans. (Terrible, I know.)

As far as birthday presents go, there is nothing that I need or want--except maybe for more people to try my books. (Hint, hint.)

You can find Seldom Traveled , the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery at Amazon, but in all different formats at the publisher: 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Deadly Jewels by Jeannette de Beauvoir

This was an amazing read.

The tale begins with the heroine, Martine LeDuc, taking a Grayline tour of her Montreal, to remind herself why she loves her city.

Intertwined throughout the story is the tale of a German spy, during World War II--and important part of the whole story about the crown jewels of England being hidden away in Montreal for safety during the war years.

Being from the US and never having visited Canada, I was fascinated with what I learned about Montreal--making me want to visit while being drawn into this fascinating mystery.

The history of a part of the Holocaust, Nazis during World War II, and a touch of magic add to the complexities of this mystery.

There are many twists and turns and plenty of surprises, including the reveal at the end, which was totally unexpected.

I highly recommend Deadly Jewels.

I was given this book in exchange for an unbiased review--and I am so glad I had the chance to read it.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What's Going on Towards Seldom Traveled

you'll see Seldom Traveled is already offered for sale on the Amazon site. The official release date isn't until August 19 when I should be able to order my author copies.

This is the official blurb:

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

With all the fires raging in California, this is a most timely mystery. However, my tale is fiction, what is happening to people all around the state is far too real. Families have lost their homes, some their pets, and many have been terrorized by the flames advancing as they are fleeing.

This book was written long before our latest rash of fires--so though it's not on the dedication page--I dedicate this book to all those who have been threatened by these fires.


Monday, August 15, 2016


Thanks Marilyn for inviting me to your blog and to write about my new release American Nights on August 17.

American Nights is the 6th in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake mystery/thriller series. Dru is a former policewoman turned child-finder (Child Trace, Inc.) and Lake is an Atlanta homicide lieutenant. Another major cast member is Portia Devon, a juvenile judge and Dru’s best friend since kindergarten at Christ the King Catholic school in Atlanta. Dennis Caldwell (Webdog) is Dru’s IT guru. She believes she’d never solve a case were it not for his computer wizardry. Pearly Sue Ellis is a newly-minted, gun-toting Child Trace investigator straight from South Georgia, eager to get her first field trial. She does. She succeeds, Pearly Sue style. Commander Haskell is head of the Atlanta Police Department’s Major Case Squad, Lake’s boss, and a friend to Dru. When with the APD, he had mentored her as a fast tracker.

In this book, a Saudi Arabian prince had gone to college with Portia Devon. Prince Husam asks Portia to convince Dru to find his wife, Reeve, and daughter, Shahrazad (Shara) on the quiet. Dru will not consider such an assignment without sharing the case with Lake. They are lovers and partners. He helps her in her cases; she helps him. That’s just the way it is, she tells Portia. After a take-it-or-leave it message, the prince gives in.

Portia tells Dru that the prince is a great storyteller and is partial to reciting tales from Thousand and One Nights, aka, Arabian Nights. One of his favorites, she told Dru, was Ali with the Large Member. Despite being a devout Sunni, he had no problem telling this risqué tale to crowds of men and women.

At a dinner to introduce himself and his story to Dru and Lake, he strikes Dru as charming but unbelievable. The meal is typical Saudi fare, but Hasam has added alcohol because, “When in America, you do what the American do.” To Lt. Lake, Hasam is too elusive in explaining his reason for finding his missing family. Besides he’s incredibly good looking and hit the Top 10 of the world’s most handsome men.

Prince Hasam tells of falling in love with Reeve Cresley, of turning his back on his possible ascendancy to the power structure of the Saudi kingdom for the woman he loves, their marriage and fathering a four-year-old daughter. He talks of his king’s disapproval of him marrying and siring an infidel. But then he says some cousins in the royal family are pressuring him to return to his homeland, renounce his American family, marry his betrothed, Saudi Princess Aya, and become an heir to kingship. Dru thinks she’s fallen into a fairy tale.

Dru talks to Reeve’s parents, Lowell and Donna Cresley, who do not seem disturbed that Reeve is missing with their granddaughter, Shara. They hate the prince and are generally disagreeable themselves. Dru senses Lowell is an unfaithful husband and an alcoholic. He is a prominent heart surgeon. Donna is a medical charity maven. Webdog, in researching the couple, finds Lowell’s made medical mistakes, and Donna sponsored a child that her husband unsuccessfully operated on.

The Cresley’s are murdered and Husam is suspect number one, although as the story progresses, other viable suspects emerge. After the murders, Dru and Lake discover where Reeve and Shara had been hiding—in a house in the Cresley’s ritzy gated community. The Cresley’s were taking care of the home while the residents were abroad. After the murder of her parents, and fearing Husam will find her and Shara, Reeve takes Shara to Boulder where she meets up with Thomas Page, a colleague and lover.

As U. S. visa resident, Prince Husam is a partner in a New York law firm. Reeve is a scientist who works for NASA in the planetary division in Boulder. The couple spend little time living together. Husam goes off to Paris to see his Saudi princess, Aya, and Reeve is in an affair with Thomas Page. As Dru remarks, nobody in this tale is faithful.

Through Web’s internet digging and his connection to Interpol, Dru learns that a French biographer is writing a book on the royal family. A revelation will change Husam’s life.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you. Other than there are several Arabian Nights tales in the book told by Hasam. He is quite a charmer and the tales are as bawdy as modern stories.

That is how, my dear friends, American Nights got its title.

--Gerrie Ferris Finger

Bio and links Gerrie Ferris Finger:

Retireed journalist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution,Gerrie Ferris Finger won the 2009 St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel for The End Game. The Last Temptation is the second in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series. She lives on the coast of Georgia with her husband and standard poodle, Bogey. www.gerrieferrisfinger.com

Buy link for Running with Wild Blood by Gerrie Ferris Finger:
Buy link for American Nights:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Coming Soon, But When? by Marilyn Meredith

Seldom Traveled, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series,is due out this month. The question is, when? I've heard nothing so I'm getting a bit nervous.

My blog tour is scheduled to begin on September 3rd and I do hope books will be obtainable by then.

I'm holding off on setting up a book launch because I want to make sure I have books to show and sell. Once the book is ready, I have to purchase my copies. 

Is this not knowing unusual? Not at all when you're published by a small press--but that doesn't make it any easier.

I have plenty to keep me busy until that time, but then the rush will be on to get the word out.

I'm proud of this book, it truly fits in with what is happening all around the state of California right now--forest fires and wild fires.

Here is the official blurb:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Hopefully, I'll have some news soon!

Right after I wrote this I learned the target date is August 19, and that I should be able to have print books before September 3. Woo hoo!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

An Open Letter to Police Families by Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D.

 Living Through Troubled Times: An Open Letter To Police Families by Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D. adapted from the forthcoming second edition of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know (anticipated date of publication 2018). Feel free to download and share this excerpt, but please provide the appropriate credit.

These are troubled times for police officers and their families. There's an almost endless stream of bad press about law enforcement along with the unthinkable assassinations of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, numerous anti-police protests, lethal mass shootings, and the increased threat of terrorism. Dash cams, body cameras and cell phone cameras have charged the atmosphere and changed the way officers work. In light of all that is happening, the job looks more dangerous and appears more brutal than ever.

I've been counseling police officers and their families for thirty years, through good times and bad. This letter and the ideas offered is my way to say thank you to police families everywhere.

•Distinguish between what you can control and what you can't.
My colleagues at the First Responders' Support Network (FRSN.ORG) use a donut to model the distinction between what you can and can't control. In the donut hole are the things you control; your beliefs, your actions, your thoughts, your ethics and your professionalism. This is not as easy as it may sound. We humans have difficulty changing behaviors, breaking bad habits, and quieting the almost constant chatter in our heads that tells us things should be different from how they are and we should be different from how we are.
            The donut itself represents our sphere of influence.  Influence is different from control. Our ability to influence others depends on how well we communicate and how skillfully we can negotiate relationships.
            Outside the donut is the great wide world of things and people that affect us deeply but over which, no matter how much we wish it was otherwise, we have little or no control.  This is a tough one for cops to understand. Policing is all about control, control of people, situations and emotions. Cops have to believe that they can establish control or they couldn't do the job society asks them to do. It's a necessary belief, but sadly it's not always realistic. Cops don't control their chiefs, their politicians, the media or public opinion. They can influence, but not control.

• Respond, don't react.
Our reactions tend to be emotional, immediate, intense and often fueled by fear or anger (anger being a secondary emotion. If you dig around in your anger you'll likely find fear or hurt.) Reactions create trouble for ourselves and the people around us because they are reflexive rather than well thought out. After the tragic murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, families and officers universally reacted with increased fears about safety. These fears are normal. It's important to talk about them, discuss your concerns with each other, your children and other LEO spouses. Be vigilant, but not hyper-vigilant.  Be patient with yourself and your loved ones. Listen, rather than react. Home is the one place no one should have to put on a brave face. Do not make any decisions out of fear. Do what you can to support each other even when you see things differently. Determine what each of you need at this time and how best to provide it. If there was ever a time to put family first, this is it.

•Take the long view: We have been through periods of unrest and hostility towards law enforcement before. Right now, it feels like the bad times will never end, but they have and they will again. While it may be cold comfort, the reality is that despite the recent police tragedies, policing is safer than ever with fewer law enforcement homicides.
            Change takes time, sometimes generations. And it happens on many fronts. Short of a cataclysmic event there is rarely any single person, institution, or action that can generate big societal changes. Uniform services, in general, are bound by tradition and often resistant to change. There are many changes taking place in these tumultuous times and more to come in the future. Whether it's something new or something disturbing, ask yourself, will this matter in five hours, five days, five years? If so how and over what part of the change do you have control? Then go look at a donut.

•Take the big view: Police routinely underestimate the support and respect they have in their communities. On the other hand, communities could do a much better job of showing their support. Once-a-year award banquets given by civic organizations are nice, but cops need community support on a daily basis. There is evidence that this is happening all over the country. Spontaneous memorials, post-it notes left on patrol cars, food, flowers, letters, free hugs and donations of money are in the news.  Along with all the bad news, there are countless examples of how communities are stepping up. Look for these examples, share them with your kids, post them on Pinterest or FB. Start something yourself. The point is to stay positive and realistic. Avoid the doomsayers and fear mongers.

•Use caution with social media and blogs
Fanning the flames of despair is the never ending noise of social media demanding to know are you with us or against us, as if there is no middle way and a person can belong only in one camp. Anecdotes, personal opinions, politics and an array of competing, sometimes biased, sets of statistics get presented as objective facts.  If you just can't stay away (I know it's hard), limit the amount of time you and your children spend on-line. Monitor what your children do on the Internet and help them think critically about what they read. Set strict privacy settings on all your accounts.

•Pay attention to your body
If you feel yourself tensing up or notice that you are breathing more rapidly and less deeply, put down the newspaper, turn off the TV, unplug from your computer, end the conversation. When there is time to think, which is most of the time, bear in mind that it is hard think clearly or make wise, wholesome decisions for yourself or your family, when you are in a state of tension. Take a breath. Take several. Go for a walk. Call a trusted friend.

•Stay connected and be prepared
Retired LEO and FRSN peer support coordinator, Nick Turkovich, warns against isolating. Talk to your families and friends about how this seemingly unending stream of bad news makes you feel. But remember, people who are intimately involved in law enforcement see things differently from the general public. Some of your friends and family might not understand about deadly force or other police procedures. Be prepared for ignorant questions and try not to over react when they come. Be patient. Expect people to ask dumb questions. Most do so because they are uninformed, not  malicious.  On the other hand, it's perfectly okay to end a conversation you don't want to have. The trick is to do it without starting a fight. If you are normally not assertive, learn some techniques of assertion.
            Some cops do bad things. They represent a tiny fraction of the nearly 900,000 American law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, they cast shame over the whole profession, making every officer's job harder. While people will and do jump to conclusions before the facts are in, it's not your responsibility to defend, explain, or apologize for anyone's behavior just because he or she is a cop. Do not let anyone assume that as a law enforcement family you don't understand the broader issues that trouble our country or that you have written anyone off.
            Seek out other law enforcement families for support but try to put a cap on the shop talk that inevitably comes up. Don't neglect hobbies. Do something different, learn something new. Be realistic, but stay positive. In troubled times, this is your biggest challenge.
• Take a break. Hold things lightly.
Police spouse Gina Bamberger offers this advice: "In the wake of the sadness and heartache of these last few weeks, I want to remind my pals to look to the simple things in life to find peace. Watching a toddler wobble around like a drunken sailor, making eye contact and sharing a smile with someone, enjoying that breeze that caresses the back of your neck just when you need a little relief from the heat. Hugging a friend who loves you for exactly who you are, and watching a garden grow!"
            I'd add that exercise is the best medicine. Go to the gym, take a walk, or get out in nature. Try to have fun. It is not disloyal. If you need professional help, find a culturally competent therapist or chaplain who knows what cops do and why.

Police psychologists Dr. Katherine McMann and Dr. Sara Garrido suggest helping children distinguish between possibility and probability. It's possible that Mom or Dad could get hurt on the job, but not probable. Remind them that almost a million cops go to work and come home safely every day. Show them your protective gear and tell them about the training you go through. If you haven't already done so, take them to the police station, let them sit in a patrol car, introduce them to the 911 dispatchers who are your lifelines.          
            Young children are most concerned with issues of separation and safety. Older kids, especially adolescents are sensitive to being in the spotlight. Help them know what to say in response to taunts they might get at school. Identify adults they can turn at school or when you're not around.
            Keep to a normal routine. Encourage talking (or writing or drawing) about their fears and problem solve as a family. Make sure your children's understanding of events is accurate. Be honest and give them only as much age-appropriate information as they can tolerate without become frightened. Listen carefully. Don't try to address your child's concerns before you understand them. Accept that you won't have all the answers. It is often enough to offer reassurance that, under the circumstances, their feelings of anger, sadness, and fear are normal.
            Dr. Marla Friedman, police psychologist, recommends increasing family time and one-on-one time with the law enforcement parent. She advocates using technology like Face time or Skype during your work shift to reassure your children that you are safe.
            Finally, try to stay on an even keel. Your children are likely to imitate the way you are coping and will react more to your emotional state than to whatever's happening in the world around them.

Thanks to my colleagues at the First Responder's Support Network, to Dr Katherine McMann and Dr. Sara Garrido of Nicoletti-Flater Associates and to Dr. Marla Friedman for their ideas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Great Tips on Dialogue from the PSWA Conference

Mysti Berry provided those of us who attended the PSWA conference some great tips about writing effective dialogue--here are a few:

You can make dialogue stronger.

Dialogue should move the story forward, reveal character and underscore the theme.

People don't necessarily say what they mean.

Dialogue isn't 100% the same as human speech.

Find the core of the conflict.

Differences in the perception of power.

More power says less--who has the power in the conversation?

Play with power in the dialogue.

Everyone lies.

When two people are speaking, there should be a back-and-forth rhythm. 

Characters shouldn't address one another by name. 

And I'll add something about dialogue tags: Though said and asked are better than any fancy attributes--better still have the character do something,make an action the dialogue tags. No one sits perfectly still while talking.

During a conversation, people seldom give a long speech--if they try the other person will interrupt them.

Don't have one character tell another what that person already knows. 


Coming soon:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Report on the Public Safety Writers Association's Latest Conference

Simply, it was great! One of the best!

For the first time we had a pre-conference writers' workshop which went well.

After the registration, many attended the opening reception where old-friends chatted and met new attendees.

This year Joe Haggerty and Steve Scarborough shared the job of master-of-ceremony and they did a great job.

Our first presenter was Mysti Berry who gave some excellent tips on writing effective dialogue.

Next, a terrific panel, comprised of police, CSI, a fireman, and a doctor, was on murder and the difference between real life and how it's depicted in books, TV and movies.

An eye-opening presentation on the 2001 Anthrax Attacks and investigation was given by Retired FBI Agent, Scott Decker.

 A panel on promotion with several mystery authors who shared lots of ideas for marketing and promoting books.

On writing true crime came next and gave some insights about dealing with individuals and agencies as well as writing compelling non-fiction.

Because so many have a problem with it, a brief session on Point-of-View was presented.

Saturday morning began with a great panel on Real Life Stories of Swat and Use of Force.

A panel with publishers spoke on current trends in publishing. 

Doug Wyllie gave a great lesson on how to write for the web.

The next panels were on The Art of Writing Short Stories, Editing Your Work, and Jurisdictionally Speaking

The day ended with an old-time radio show: The Adventures of Ellery Queen. Fun!

On our last day we had a panel on Reflections on Writing, and Writing What You Know (and Don't Know). 

Larry and Lorna Collins ended the morning with a presentation on Writing the Perfect Pitch.

After our final lunch (and believe me the lunches at this conference which are included in the price for the conference and fantastic), Michelle Perin presented the writing awards.

This is the only conference I attended this year, and it is also my all-time favorite.


Friday, August 5, 2016

A Philly Cop and a World of Trouble by Jane Gorman

Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski doesn't want to solve murders far from home. I would say he’s more of a reluctant hero. But a good man doesn’t walk away when he sees bad things being done, and Adam Kaminski is a good man.
I created Detective Adam Kaminski to solve a murder in Warsaw in my first mystery, A Blind Eye. I had a firm grasp of the story, the setting, the motive and the many other characters in the book. Early on, I thought of making a Polish journalist (and father of the dead girl) the hero of the book. But even as I drafted it out, I knew I needed someone else. An outsider.
Adam Kaminski is the ultimate outsider in all of his books. From the unknown setting of Warsaw, to the challenging environment of Washington, D.C., to being kept on the outside of an investigation in his hometown of Philadelphia, Adam does what he thinks is right. Regardless, sometimes, of the consequences.
Inspiration for Adam Kaminski came from a number of places. As a fan of Agatha Christie, I couldn’t help but be inspired to create a detective who understands human nature. Who sees, perhaps, more than other people see.
I was equally inspired by the classic figure from the Clint Eastwood Westerns, the character mysteriously known as the Man with No Name. A little good. A little bad. Perhaps living in that gray area between always doing what is right and crossing the line into sometimes doing wrong.
And some inspiration came from my own life. He’s a man who likes to explore the world and meet new people. He experiences the places he visits and uses his powers of observation and description to let his readers share those experiences. Well, maybe not the getting shot experience. But definitely the food. And the history.
I invite you to read the books and judge for yourself. Who does Adam Kaminski remind you of?

The fourth book in the series, What She Fears, is now available for pre-order. What She Fears takes Adam to Galway, where he inevitably stumbles upon a murder only to find he has to figure out whodunit before he becomes a convenient scapegoat –  or a convenient target.
Visit my website to learn more about me and my books, to sign up for my newsletter, and find my books at all major retailers. Or go directly to the Adam Kaminski mystery books on Amazon or Goodreads.
Jane Gorman

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Who Says Writing Has to be a Lonely Venture?

 by Chanah Leora Wizenberg

Have you always wanted to write? Did you stop writing and want to get back into it? Are you writing now but feeling too lonely and isolated? Has procrastination taken over?
Is your inner critic running the show? Are thoughts like,” I want to write but..”I don’t have time,” “I have young kids,” “I have older kids.” “Work, chores, cooking dinner, running the house,”  Or, “I don’t know what to write about,” “I don’t know if I can write.” and, “There is no money in it.” That list can go on and on keeping you on that hamster wheel.  You know, all you have to do is stop and get off.

Let me ask you something. Do you make time to watch your favorite tv show? Do you make time to work out? How about eating? Maybe even, sitting down with your family to enjoy your meal? I bet you make time to take your shower every day and my personal favorite, do you take the time to have your coffee in the morning? Well, if you can make time for these things in addition to the other things you have to do you can make time to carve out 10 minutes of your day to write, maybe even 15 20 minutes!

Writing has not been the priority. If you are stuck in excuse aka procrastination land of, I will write when....you will never write!

For me, procrastination translates to fear. In the past, I have been too chicken to get down to writing on a regular basis.  In fits and starts, I did great. Eventually, I had to ask myself, do I want to write? Or do I just like the idea? That was a hard question as I have dreamed of being a writer all of my life. But that ugly beast, procrastination, took hold early! I can remember telling myself at age 6 I would have to wait til I grew up and could sit still in a chair before I could write.

Anyway, after asking myself the hard question.I had to look at myself long and hard. Writing had not been my priority either. Watching my favorite shows had been my priority. Getting together with my friends had been my priority and swimming had been my priority. But writing? Nope. Living with Fibro and CF gave me the perfect excuse-ugh too achy, too tired, and the Fibro Fog! True these health issues wreak havoc but if I want to do something I planned for it. I rested up, stayed home more to conserve energy, made sure I had slept enough. If I could plan for those activities, I could plan my writing. I had to make writing my priority. No more procrastinating. As soon as I made that decision, a sort of sadness filled me. Everything got a little dark and gloomy. I did a full body check in, head to toe. My head felt foggy, my muscles achy and fatigued, my heart heavy. Loneliness, this was loneliness.

The prospect of writing every day all by my lonesome as my dad would say, made me feel sad and lonely. I thought about it for awhile. I had been thinking of starting a FB group but hadn’t known what to do. Now I did, a group for writers. An interactive group. A productive group where we would encourage and motivate one another. I certainly have the experience. I have a degree in English and creative writing from Hunter College in New York (CUNY) with a minor in Secondary Education. I taught reading and writing for what felt like forever and facilitated many writing workshops after I became certified in the AWA method (Amherst, Artists & Writers) developed by Patricia Schneider, and I have had my work published. And then there was last year. Some friends of mine got together 2-3 times a week to have fabulous writing marathons online via Google Hangout. We all completed our projects or at least the first draft. Now that I am taking my writing seriously, at 56 (better late than never) I have a plan.

It took coming to North Carolina for me to become serious my writing, and no wonder. It  2005 I moved down here for the second time, from up North, and this time, it would be to stay. I fell in love with NC.

The area is teaming with creative highly intelligent people. There are artists, actors, filmmakers, theater people, musicians, and of course writers. Did you know there were so many successful writers that came from NC there is a literary map of the state? Isn’t that fabulous. Perhaps that will be next weeks topic.

Anyway, but there was one thing I found challenging and that was finding a sacred, non-judging, constructive space for writing and when the time comes, critiquing. I have tried several critiques groups and writing groups, but none were a good fit for me.        
Not one to give up. I remembered one of my favorite quotes. “Build it and they will come.” (Do you know what movie that is from? Send me an email, voicemail, or pm and you can enter my first contest) And that is how I came to start the Pen Wize podcast, my blog, and the Facebook Group, of the same name, Pen Wize. I need and want to be around other writers who are going to write. Who are ready to get back to writing and want to be supported by others who don’t always want to write all alone and isolated.  After all, we are social beings and I, for one, have been far too isolated. How about you? Are you ready? Are you ready for me?

I am ready for you. Those of you who are soon to be born writers, current writers seeking a supportive community, and the returning writers! All of you have the same desire, to WRITE, complete your projects, maybe even publish.

Pen Wize will be a community of productive authors. It will be a safe zone, with no harsh judgments, where everyone is respected, and encouraged. When ready there will be critiquing. Don’t know how? Uncertain about it? No worries, I will hold pieces of training before we do that.

I have high expectations when it comes to productive writing and later, professional expectations for critiquing. I learned how to do these things at Hunter, years of teaching writing and reading,  and earning my certificate of training in the Amherst Writers & Artist (AMA) method of facilitating writing workshops.


Are you wondering about the lonely solitary life of the writer? The FB group is a closed group for you to join. It is closed to protect our privacy but is it easy to join. I will vet you by checking your FB pages and perhaps some follow-up questions. But, as long as you follow the guidelines, you will be welcome.
There will be write-ins as well. I will be posting in the FB Group, the schedule for these. They will be done via Google Hangout or another online webinar like service. These are great for getting the workout. We write, take small breaks for help if stuck or a bit of feedback and take breaks for snacks at the same time to have a little social time.

There is no need in the 21 Century, with the technology we have, to be lonely writers.

So, If you have been waiting for some help to get started writing (whether it be creative writing, memoir, mystery, poetry, freelance or non-fiction) to get back to writing, or to continue with you writing, you have found the place. I promise you will be encouraged, supported, and loved. You will not be judged, harshly criticized or ridiculed.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Countdown to SELDOM TRAVELED by Marilyn Meredith

Here is the cover and it's perfect for this book! 

A forest on fire and an eagle. Niki Browning is the artist and she's done an outstanding job!

Here's the official blurb:

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

I do not know the official date of publication, only that it will be sometime this month.

So far I've planned a blog tour, but not much else--though I will be visiting the Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca in October.