Saturday, October 29, 2016

What I've Learned Over the Years by Marilyn Meredith

Much of what I've learned is colored by the fact that I'm a Christian, but I don't think what I have to say will be offensive to anyone.

Worrying doesn't help or change anything.

Smiling can change someone's day.

Be nice to everyone around you--even if they aren't nice to you.

Children in your life can lift your spirits.

Do the best job you can with anything that you do.

Refrain from gossiping.

Help out where and when you can.

Plan your day, but don't get upset if it doesn't work out the way you hoped.

Don't worry about what others think about you.

If you want to do something, do it. Don't let negative comments from others hold you back.

Be sure to let those you love know that you love them.

Enjoy each day to the fullest because you'll never get it back.

When life gets tough, pray. 

Thank God for your life and everything in it. 

Marilyn

Me and eldest daughter with just a few of the grands. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? by Lois Winston




In fiction authors know to steer clear of circumstances that are considered too coincidental. Readers and reviewers will call them out on it. However, in real life coincidences often occur fairly frequently. For instance, when my husband and I lived in Philadelphia, every few months we’d drive up to New York City for a weekend of museum hopping and Broadway shows. On countless occasions we’d wind up bumping into people we knew from Philadelphia.

Considering the population of Philadelphia and how many people are on the island of Manhattan on any given day, what were the odds of this happening even once, let alone half a dozen times over the course of three or four years? Still, it’s not a trope I’d ever use in a book. Truth might be stranger than fiction, but coincidence stretches the suspension of disbelief too thin for most readers.

However, coincidence did play a role in the creation of Literally Dead, the second book in my Empty Nest Mystery series. An unbelievable coincidence in my own life gave me the idea for one of the plot points in the novel.

A couple of years ago my husband and I reluctantly attended a family reunion given by one of his elderly aunts. (Arm-twisting on the part of his sister played a huge factor in our agreeing to go.) His family is a bit strange. Not only were family members in attendance but so were ex-spouses of family members who had divorced decades ago. I knew very few of the people at the party. My husband’s family is not what you’d call close. We rarely saw any of them, which made the reunion and our invitation to it all the more surprising.

One of the invited guests was an ex-spouse of one of my husband’s relatives. Although we had never met, I knew addiction had played a role in the breakup of their marriage. Imagine my shock when I discovered this ex-relative was someone I knew from the publishing industry! What were the odds?

Even though I’d never write a coincidental meeting into one of my books, my own coincidental meeting of this person at the family reunion wound up playing into the storyline for Literally Dead. And to think, I almost skipped going to that party.

Literally Dead
An Empty Nest Mystery, Book 2

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

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

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

Buy Links



About the Author

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/anasleuth and onTwitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Report on .99 cent sale of Spirit Shapes

My intent was to have Spirit Shapes free on Kindle for a week. The publisher was agreeable, but when he set it up, Amazon had changed its rules and the only thing I could do was to have the price lowered to .99 cents.

This caused a big problem because once the publisher said yes, I promptly advertised through many of the places that promote free e-books. I back-tracked as much as I could, but I'm sure I missed some. Fortunately, I hadn't paid too much for the advertising.

And of course I advertised the deal myself everywhere I could--and at first the numbers on Amazon went down and hovered at 3 figures for a while--but not as much happened as I'd hope for. 

Of course I hoped readers would buy it at the lowered price because it is the perfect Halloween story complete with a haunted house, ghosts and evil spirits, Unfortunately, it didn't happen as I'd hoped.

Why does anyone lower prices on a book? Because Spirit Shapes is part of the Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the hope is that if someone likes the cheaper book, that he or she will want to read other books in the series. It certainly worked on the Rocky Bluff book that I offered for free. 

Though disappointing, those who follow me on my blog and Facebook know that I don't give up. 

I'm a writer and I'll keep on writing no matter what. I've done it through crooked publishers, publishers who died, publishers who shut their doors, slow sales, book events where I didn't sell many books, and so on.

I have two things that keep me going:

1. Readers who let me know they love my books. 
2. I want to know what's going to happen to my characters next--after all, I created them.

You can lift MY spirits by trying out the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Seldom Traveled.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Report on the Great Valley Bookfest

On the Friday night before the actual bookfest, we (daughter Lisa and I) were invited to enjoy the Author's Reception. And enjoy we did. We sat with Bob and Carol, long time friends, though I don't get to see them often. Talked to lots of interesting folks. Ate some great food, but most exciting of all was seeing William Kent Krueger. Not only is he one of my favorite writers, but when Mayhem in the Midlands was still the best conference going--hubby and I became friends with him and his wife. We looked forward to seeing them every year.



Kent was the super star of the event. If you haven't read him, try Ordinary Grace, his stand-alone. I love his mystery series too, and he may be one of the best when it comes to setting. 

We headed back to the hotel looking forward to sleeping in those wonderful beds. I slept for about two hours, had to get up to go to the bathroom. On my way back to bed, my heart started beating so fast it made my ears hurt. This has happened before. I had Lisa get me an aspirin and I took it. Usually that calms things down--but it didn't. Then I got a dull ache in my upper back. Scared me. Lisa called 911, the 911 operator told me to chew another aspirin which I did, but it didn't help.

4 Firemen and 2 EMTs arrived. They took my blood pressure, high, and did an EKG, erratic heartbeat. They convinced me I should go to the ER. By the time I was in the ambulance I felt better. Arrived at the hospital, more tests. Blood test showed my magnesium very low--doc said due to taking Nexium. Gave me magnesium tablets and a prescription for more.

(I gave my Seldom Traveled cards to the EMTs and nurses in the hospital.)

We got back to the hotel around 2:30 a.m. Got up next in about 3 hours, went after the prescription, and headed to the book festival. Got set-up and sat there, not really feeling too well. But was tickled when Kent's wife came by and we had a nice conversation. 

I did sell two books and handed out lots of cards, but after lunch I knew I really needed to leave. I hate bailing on something like that, but looking back, I should have given up and not gone at ll. 

We headed home, sleepy as could be. Stayed awake by playing games.

Went to bed not long after getting home. Rested most of Sunday, and yes, I feel much better.

Marilyn, who hates to give up.




Saturday, October 22, 2016

And even more books for Christmas Giving!

Or you could treat yourself!


The Good Old Days? A Collection of Stories is the perfect gift for anyone, who wants to initiate a lively family discussion over the holidays.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Only Two Days Left to Get SPIRIT SHAPES for only .99 cents!

Today and tomorrow--October 21 and 22, are the last days to get a copy of Spirit Shapes for only .99 cents.

This book is perfect for the season--lots of scary stuff.


ASIN: B00FEJDA04

Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

This is one of my favorites in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series--I had a great time writing it and I hope you'll enjoy reading it. 

Marilyn

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Girl on the Brink: Recognizing Signs of an Abusive Relationship

 by Christina Hoag



Girl on the Brink: Recognizing Signs of an Abusive Relationship 
My new YA novel Girl on the Brink relates the story of an abusive relationship. Abusers tend to follow a set pattern of behaviors, and when you’re familiar with what they are, they’re recognizable. When you’re not familiar with these red flags, you can misread them or dismiss them too easily. In my novel, the main character Chloe experiences all the following behaviors in her relationship with Kieran. In honor of October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, here they are:
10    Key Signs You Are Dating an Abuser
1. Rushed relationship. He presses for an exclusive commitment almost immediately. He claims to have never loved anyone like this before.
2. Jealousy. He’s jealous of any guy you even speak to and says his jealousy shows how much he loves you. He’s possessive, calling constantly, dropping in out of the blue, and gives you little room to yourself.
3. Controlling. He checks up on you, interrogates you about where you went and who you were with, monitors your email and phone. He wants you to ask him permission to do anything.
4. Unrealistic expectations. He puts you on a pedestal, expecting you to be perfect and fulfill his every need, and will tear you off the pedestal when you aren’t perfect.
5. Isolation. He tries to cut you off from family and friends.
6. Blaming. He faults others for his own mistakes and makes others responsible for his feelings: “You make me mad,” not “I'm mad.”
7. Hypersensitive. He’s thin-skinned, taking minor slights as major insults and blowing them up into more than they’re worth.
8. Verbal abuse. He criticizes you, calls you names, embarrasses you, uses your vulnerabilities against you.
9. Mood swings. He goes from normal to raging almost instantly.
10. Minimizes. He minimizes the harm he’s done to you: “You’re making a big deal out of that?” He promises to never do it again or get help. He goes on a charm offensive with gifts after an abusive incident.

AUTHOR BIO:
Christina Hoag is the author of Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishers, August 2016) and Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016). She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She lives in Los Angeles. For more information, see www.christinahoag.com.

AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA:

GIRL ON THE BRINK BLURB:
The summer before senior year, Chloe starts an internship as a reporter at a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Chloe becomes smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce. But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect. But her efforts backfire, and Kieran turns violent. Chloe breaks up with him, but Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up. Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge. Available from Fire & Ice, the YA imprint of Melange Books in ebook and paperback.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Never Giving Up by Marilyn Meredith




When you read about all the things that have happened along the way with my publishing history, you may think I was a bit crazy to keep on going. 

First off, though I did plenty of writing before hand, I didn't become a published author until 1982. Raising a family, serving as PTA president two times, plus other offices, and being a Camp Fire leader for 10 years,  and working as a pre-school and day care teacher kept me quite busy.

Once that book was published, I though it would be easy going from there on. Boy, was I wrong. Here's a list of things that happened, not necessarily in the right order

1. Editor for the first publishing house quit and the new editor wasn't interested in my next offering.

2. Next publisher turned out to be a crook--yes really, he was put in jail for gambling away author's royalties.

3. Who'd expect that I would get mixed up with another crooked publisher--this one absconded with all the author's funds and disappeared.

4. And I managed to find another who never kept track of royalties--and of course I didn't receive any.

5. I signed on with the first electronic publisher--there was no such thing as an e-reader, and the manner to purchase it was much too complicated.

6. Two of my publishers died.

7. Two other publishers decided not to continue on with their businesses.

8. I've not become famous nor do I make much money.

I can hear you big question now--"So why don't you give up?"

My answer: Because I love to write and because I love the characters in both my series. If I don't write the next book, how will I find out what happened to them? Besides, I'm not the type to give up. I'm a writer and I'll not be discouraged.

Marilyn


 This is the latest in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series--and I've been with this publisher the longest:
And you can find all the Deputy Tempe Crabtree books there in many formats. It is also available at Amazon.com  and BarnesandNoble.com




Saturday, October 15, 2016

SPIRIT SHAPES only .99 cents starting October 16!

Though this was supposed to be free, Amazon changed their requirements and it can only have the price lowered, so--

Yes, Spirit Shapes, will only be .99 cents on Kindle from October 16 through October 22. This would be a great way to introduce yourself to the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.


ASIN: B00FEJDA04

Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

Try it, it's a perfect mystery for the season.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What Are The Good Old Days? by J.L. Greger




I’d describe this collection of stories as historical fiction loosely based on actual recollections of childhoods in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

But then I’d say: These tales address major historical events and societal problems (including child abuse) in the idiosyncratic way of memoirs. They are snapshots of events from one individual’s viewpoint, and the narrator for each story is different. Some are humorous; some are not. They vary in length from four to fifteen pages.

If you’re a sophisticated reader, publisher, or bookstore owner, you’re thinking: Are you sure they’re genre fiction? Memoirs are non-fiction.

The problems of defining literary genres.

Publishers think genres are a way of classifying fiction in order to target marketing of books to receptive audiences. Fine. What if a book or a collection of stories fits into more than one genre?

So-called literary experts say “genre fiction” (as opposed to literary fiction) is plot-driven. That bothers me. I thought the plot was pretty important in The Sun Also Rises, although perhaps not as much as the characters, and I’m pretty sure it’s an example of literary fiction. Oh well. Let’s not argue that point.

Let’s stick to the classification of The Good Old Days? What is historical fiction? It’s plot-driven fiction in a historical setting. However, it can overlap with other genres (such as romances, mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, and horror). Again let’s not get sidetracked.

The stories in The Good Old Days? are definitely examples of historical fiction.

Then why did I mention memoirs? Because I interviewed dozens of people about their childhoods to get ideas for these stories. However, I turned my notes into fiction as I added plots, developed characters, and changed details. My tales are not memoirs, although they have the idiosyncratic tone of memoirs.

By now, you’re bored with this literary discussion. Please note I was much briefer than most writers as they debated the differences between narrative memoirs and historical fiction. Gee, I hate trying to fit into a box defined by someone else.

Blurbs don’t really work for short story collections. So, I’ll include the first page of one of the short stores.

I Still Want…

“I still want a hula hoop.” The chipmunks—Alvin, Simon, and Theodore—screeched slightly out of harmony on the Saturday morning cartoon show. There were lots of things I still wanted, too: the winter to end, Mom to get well, and anyone to talk to me.
When I was eight, neither of my parents spoke much to me. They avoided me, except at suppertime. Then Mom stared at the black cat clock, with its red eyes rolling back and forth and its tail swinging, while Dad and I silently ate supper. When I put down my fork, Mom sent me outside in warm weather and to my bedroom in winter. Dad seldom protested her decision. He only hung his head.
As soon as I exited the kitchen, Mom usually screamed or cried, often both, as Dad droned on about what the doctor said and how she should eat more, stop smoking, drink less, and get out more. I agreed with Mom. Dad’s litany was boring. Anyway, most nights after about an hour of hysterics, he went out to the garage to tinker on his carpentry projects.
For about fifteen minutes after his departure, Mom slammed doors in the kitchen before she shuffled to the bathroom. The next ten minutes were the most important of the evening to me. If I managed to open my bedroom door, slide down the hall to the kitchen, and sneak through the living room to the garage while she was in the shower, I was free…

To read the rest of the story: http://amzn.com/1537743813



Author: J.L. Greger usually writes thrillers and mysteries, such as Murder…A Way to Lose Weight (winner of 2016 Public Safety Writers Association [PSWA] annual contest and finalist in NM/Arizona Book Awards contest) and Malignancy (winner in 2015 PSWA annual contest). The Good Old Days?: A Collection of Stories is a new adventure for her. Please visit her revised website: http://www.jlgreger.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

SUPER SLEUTH: FIVE ALISON LEIGH POWERS MYSTERIES by gay toltl kinman



Alison Leigh Powers, Super Sleuth, middle-reader mystery series includes The Secret of the Strange Staircase, The Mystery of the Missing Miniature Books (an Independent E-Book Awards Finalist), The Mystery of the Octagon House (EPPIE Award Winner, Agatha Award Nominee, and an Independent E-Book Award Finalist), The Mystery of the Missing Arabian, and The Secret of the Equestrian Park—currently available in electronic formats and in paperback under the title Super Sleuth: Five Alison Leigh Powers Mysteries.

GILLY'S DIVORCE: OR DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKES I DID by gay toltl kinman

The first part of the book is fiction, and the manual is non-fiction.   In Divorce, Gilly, 11, tells how she copes, some days not at all, with the impending divorce of her parents. Her younger sister, Honey, gets into serious trouble, and her two older sisters complicate matters. Mom gets a boyfriend and Dad gets a girlfriend.   In her Manual and Advice on Coping With Your Divorce, Gilly gives advice about what she learned so that others won't have to go through the same heartbreak, and thoughts of suicide.

THE ADVENTURES OF LAUREN MACPHEARSON by gay toltl kinman

Lauren, 9 1/2, who comes from Scotland, has elective mutism, but that doesn't stop her from having adventures, which she tells us about in four stories of her encounters with thieves, bears, forest fires, white water, biting horses, stolen art and ghosts from April to August. 

VOLUME ONE: LAUREN MACPHEARSON AND THE SCOTTISH ADVENTURE In April, in Scotland, Lauren stays the weekend with her father, where he works, sees the Company's cat, Ginger, catch her own special brand of "mice," and watches a pain-in-the-neck eat crow pie. 

VOLUME TWO: LAUREN MACPHEARSON AND THE COLORADO ADVENTURE In June, Lauren flies to a Colorado Dude Ranch to meet cousin Andi, Aunt Daisy (her deceased mother's sister) and Uncle Bill. She meets up with bears, forest fires, white water--and, worst of all, a three-year old boy. 

VOLUME THREE: LAUREN MACPHEARSON AND THE JUMBLED CUPBOARD ADVENTURE In July, in Mirasol, California, where Andi and her family live, the girls go to Summer School. Lauren is fascinated with the stuffed cupboard of a teacher, Mrs. Utamaro. So stuffed that things keep falling out of it. A beautiful poster on the inside of the cupboard door is of a wave. The original print hangs in a local museum. Or does it? 

VOLUME FOUR: LAUREN MACPHEARSON AND THE GHOSTLY ADVENTURE In August, while Lauren continues her visit with cousin Andi in Mirasol, she learns that her cousin is psychic. The ghost of the woman who died next door won't let Andi rest until her murder is solved. Genres: Middle Reader / Mystery / Detective.

WOLF CASTLE by gay toltl kinman

Wolf Castle is an eerily beautiful castle settled on the Pacific coast of California. Built by an eccentric Baron who dabbled as a naturalist and scientist, it has seen its share of tragedies. The old Baron died in a mysterious fire, and the young wife of the current Baron, Gregor von Reiner, died unexpectedly only a year ago. 

Wanting his son, Tom, to have a proper education and some womanly influence, the Baron sends his solicitor to England to find a suitable governess. Lavinia Fergusson Cathcart, 17, is a beautiful, red-haired, high-spirited young woman who is ready for whatever adventures wait for her in the year 1899. 

A trip to another country is just the sort of new life she wants. Lavinia finds the brooding chill of Wolf Castle somewhat intimidating, and the reaction to her presence in her first days is unnerving. The Baron goes pale when he sees her, Tom's cousin Paul—really his mother's cousin—almost attacks her, and the servants seem wary. But her pupil, Tom, is a lovely boy, She identifies with his loss because she too has lost parents. The mysteries of the castle, the tensions between the Baron, the staff, and the dashing and intriguing Cousin Paul are disturbing. Lavinia begins to feel that her life depends on finding out the secrets the castle holds before the wolves come out.




A note from Marilyn:

Gay is a good friend--we've roomed together for several writing conferences and mystery conventions. We even traveled to New York for the Edgars one year and then on to Malice Domestic, what and adventure--did all sorts of things new to me. 

Since I've stopped flying, I haven't seen Gay for awhile and I miss her upbeat spirit.

She's written some great books--and the Super Sleuth series would certainly make a great Christmas gift.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

10 Things About Deputy Tempe Crabtree by Marilyn Meredith

For those who don't read my Deputy Tempe Crabtree here are 10 facts about her.

1. Tempe is an Indian (Native American), a member of the Yokut tribe.

2. She is married to a pastor, Hutch Hutchinson.

3. She has a grown son who recently married.

4. Her best friend is Nick Two John, another Yokut, who introduced her to her heritage, and in his own way, helps her figure out mysteries. 

5. She once called back the dead, which has had a residual effect, making her sensitive to the spirit world.

6. She is the resident deputy of the mountain town of Bear Creek and its surroundings.

7. She is often called upon by the major crime detectives of Tulare county to help with murder investigations--especially if there is any tie to the Bear Creek Indian Reservation.

8. Her use of Indian mysticism while trying to solve a crimes is not something her husband approves of.

9. She is brave, and often pushes herself to help someone even if it is a threat to her own life.

10. Through the years, she has learned much about herself and what it means to be an Indian.

Don't forget that Spirit Shapes will be free on Kindle from October 16-20.

Marilyn

Friday, October 7, 2016

“The Short and the Long of It: Turning a Short Story into a Novel” by Maria Alexander


 Have you ever written a short story and thought it would make an even better book? I started writing short stories long before I ever tried to write novels. Both of my current books are based on short stories I wrote. Mr. Wicker, which won the 2014 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, was based on an unpublished short story of the same title, as well as a screenplay. My latest book, a young adult novel called Snowed, is based on my flash fiction piece, “Coming Home.” First published in 1999, it was reprinted several times, turned into a one-act play by Los Angeles Women in Theatre, and even produced as a podcast.

But how do you take a small idea and turn it into a big one? One that transforms a few hundred or thousand words into a book-length page-turner? In both stories, the protagonist was fairly isolated, dealing with a major problem on his or her own. To create a book-length idea, I had to involve other people in the drama and give them stakes in what happens.

For example, in the short story “Mr. Wicker,” Alicia Baum commits suicide and discovers a place beyond death called The Library of Lost Childhood Memories where she learns she’s missing a childhood memory. After paramedics revive her, she soon goes home and returns to the Library twice by supernatural means. Although tempted to stay with the Librarian, Mr. Wicker, she instead collects the memory and brings it back to our world to her therapist.


The novel Mr. Wicker brings in more characters. Like in the short story, Alicia encounters the Librarian in Chapter One after her suicide. However, she then wakes up in a hospital where she meets Dr. Farron, a child psychiatrist who’s investigating a psychological phenomenon called “Mr. Wicker.” Now we have two people who are motivated to find out who Mr. Wicker is, as well as the missing memory. But not everyone wants the memory found, including Mr. Wicker himself. The missing memory also changed. It’s much bigger than the one in the story. It involves more people and its discovery is far more dangerous.



In Snowed, the transformation is more profound because “Coming Home” is a twelve hundred-word, first-person flash piece. In an O. Henry twist at the end, we realize who the protagonist really is talking about when his worst fears come true. (People often re-read the story to see how they were fooled the first time around.) But when I wrote Snowed, a “twist” ending just wasn’t enough. Instead, I created a series of twists that throw the reader on a roller coaster ride landing on the last page

To that end, I took the protagonist of the short story and made him a secondary character to preserve the mystery of his identity as long as possible. And just like in Mr. Wicker, I changed the secret. I made sure this new secret would not only threaten the life of our new protagonist, 16-year-old Charity Jones, but also her friends and love interest.

Adding relationships and increasing the stakes are key to turning a small idea into a big one. The real challenge is when the story has been published and widely read, like “Coming Home.” I hope those who haven’t read the short story will give the book a shot first. If you like being fooled, you’ll love being Snowed.



Maria Alexander is an award-winning author and samurai-in-training who lives in Los Angeles. Snowed is coming to shred teen Xmas stockings on November 2, 2016 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. You can learn more about her at www.mariaalexander.net.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Nicholas Checker and his novel SCRATCH.




Delighted to announce that my  Oak Tree Press novel, SCRATCH, had a feature presentation recently at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature facility in Mystic, CT, with Connecticut State Rep. Diana Urban (strong proponent for animal welfare) as the guest speaker.

 And, on October 29th, at Bank Square Books, Mystic, another presentation of SCRATCH -- for Alley Cat Allies' National Feral Cat Month -- is coming. 

SCRATCH is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage set in the mysterious world of feral cats ... one that also gives cause to consider the way we humans conduct ourselves too. Hoping to see great attendance and, more so, for the adventures contained within this tale to evoke further thought on the part of readers.
Nicholas Checker
Author of two Oak Tree Press novels: Druids and Scratch
http://oaktreebooks.com/

Monday, October 3, 2016

About the Cover of SPIRIT SHAPES




This is the perfect cover for this story.

Blurb: Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

The girl in the middle of the swirling ghostly images and cloven feet of demons, is one of the ghosts in the haunted house. Much of the story revolves around her past. 

Yes, this is a mystery, but it is also a ghost story.

Don't forget, starting October 16, Spirit Shapes will be free on Kindle, through October 22. 

Marilyn

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Count down to free Amazon download of Spirit Shapes

Perfect book for the season!



From October 16 through the 22nd, Spirit Shapes will be free on Amazon's kindle.

Blurb:

Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

I had a lot of fun writing this book--and if you like ghosts, evil spirits and haunted houses, this is the book for you.

Marilyn