Saturday, October 27, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Bloggers, an invitation to help out @DianthaJones; Readers, a chance to grab a copy. (via The Masquerade Crew)
Buffer Prophecy of the Most Beautiful Oracle of Delphi #1 By Diantha JonesFollow @DianthaJones Synopsis:She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her. Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted…
Posted by Kathleen Patel at Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
‘Two Graves’ is an incredibly well written novel. Once I started reading, I was hooked. The story line is profound, with a captivating subplot.
This book will keep you on your toes. The tension builds from the first page. The depth of the characters deepens your experience. The players are complex and may remind you of people that you actually know.
You will cringe as you live through the killer’s memories of torment and suffering. The abusive childhood created a rage so intense-it produced a serial killer. You may try to put yourself in his shoes; try to understand his motivation. You may not like the feelings this evokes.
Your mind will race as the tension builds and the storylines meld. What is the connection with the serial killer and the mafia? Is the Kesle Police Department tied up with the mafia? Corruption is in the air.
How will it end?
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
Thanks so much for joining us for an interview today, Derek. I was captivated with your book, ‘Two Graves’. It was intense, with some brutal murder scenes. I hope it sends out a message to all bullies.
Being a Reiki Master and a Wiccan, I would guess that your personal beliefs lean more toward the peaceful & harmonious. Was there any personal inspiration for the story?
Very true, I believe in peaceful resolutions to conflicts but I am also a realist in knowing that is not always possible, especially with bullies. Much of the inspiration for the novel came from past experiences. Yes, I was bullied when I was younger. I was in the Audio Visual club (this was the 70s before computers), I got straight A’s, was always the “good” kid in class, in other words, a total geek. I hung around with geeks and I even played the violin. (No, not the flute but then the violin didn’t ‘fit’ in the novel.) I might as well have had a target on my back.
I was saved by my one talent of being a fast runner. Both because it got me away from the bullies but it also got me accepted by the jocks, some of the worst bullies out there. I was the anomaly, a geek jock. But for that one talent, and the confidence it gave me, I would most likely have been a target all my life. And now that I have children, I see the trends still continuing and have even gotten worse. My son is bullied and,regardless of the new sensitivity toward bullying, I feel just as helpless as I did when I was his age.
And that helplessness combined with my current confidence is what drove the creation of my killer. In the aftermath of a bullying, I had thoughts of ‘I should have said this’, ‘I should have done this’. Now, what if a chronic victim could suddenly turn those thoughts into ‘I can fight back and give them even worse than they gave me’. Fighting back but to a degree that for most of us, hopefully, would only be fantasy.
I understand that pain, firsthand. I wish more kids could find a constructive way to fight back. Unfortunately, more often than not, it seems to happen like it does in your book. When the victim is terrorized to a certain degree it simply pushes them over the edge. Every time you hear of a tragic massacre in a school, the perpetrators were victims of bullying. It's just heartbreaking.
On a lighter note, if ‘Two Graves’ is made into a movie, who would you like to see cast in the roles?
Interesting you should say that. Every book I write, I have pictures of my characters pinned up on the wall, often times just pictures of people I see but often actors. And you have to remember that it can take years to write the book and sometimes my choices age themselves out of running. I did see George Clooney as Mann and originally Julianne Moore as Dani. However, I could see Poppy Montgomery in the part Dani with no problem at all. Joaquin Phoenix was always the killer, although he would have to put on some pounds. I have also promised my 88 year old father that he can have a walk on part.
I love George Clooney as Mann. Poppy would be great- and now she even has the red hair, like Dani. Maybe your father could play the role of a veteran cop that they call in to consult with on the case. I would have never thought of Joaquin Phoenix, but if he put on a few pounds, yes, I can see it!
Please share with us, what is your writing ritual? Where do you like to write? How often? Do you schedule time or wait for inspiration?
I write as often and whenever I can. With my schedule, that might mean at 5 in the morning or 12 at night or anywhere in between. My preference for location is a house we go to in Exuma, Bahamas. Otherwise, I do most of my writing in my basement office that the previous owners used for a storage room. The writer in me considers it warm and cozy, with convenient access to everything in the room – doesn’t that sound better than hot, cramped and crowded. Whenever the Canadian weather allows it, I also write in my back yard around the pool.
My method is to plot and plan the entire book. I also have detailed character sketches and back stories for my characters before I start. More often than not, much of the backstory doesn’t even get into the book but it is always in the back of my mind, giving motivation to the characters. Then, after I transfer all my notes to index cards, I just start writing at the beginning and to until it ends. I also set up a schedule of X number of words a day that invariably is overly ambitious and never achieved.
I like the idea a the detailed character sketches and back stories. I think I read somewhere that Steven King does something similar. I’m going to try that technique.
Balance seems to be an issue that most authors grapple with. You have a wife, four daughters, one son, and three granddaughters. How do you balance your personal life with your writing and the promotional aspect of writing?
I have to change my bio again since one of my daughters got married and I inherited two more granddaughters. And then we have one more coming this summer. Balance? I don’t know a fledgling Indie author who isn’t an expert juggler. Strangely, it always seems to be the writing that suffers if you are not diligent in getting at it. For me, the real secret is not having to rely on the muse to tickle my creativity. I force myself to just sit down and writing something, often complete trash but usually with some nugget I can salvage. And although I just finished saying I write from the beginning to the end, my mood might dictate what I write that day. I will occasionally skip to a scene with my killer if I have had a particularly bad day. I also usually have three or four projects on the go at any one time.
But the real saving grace for me? In Yvette, I have the most understanding wife in the world. She supports me, even if she doesn’t understand why I feel it necessary to edit the same book over and over and over. This allows me the time and energy to work (guilt free) on the various activities associated with writing and promoting.
Congrats on your two new granddaughters and also for the baby who is on the way. What a blessing.
I agree that the support of your spouse means everything. Thank you, Yvette- the world needs more of Derek’s books : )
It sounds like writing a murder scene could be very therapeutic. I can see that:
A bad day at work, a troublesome boss that has you all stressed out… And then, a few minutes after you get home…he gets what he’s got coming!
I have a ritual. I like to do a “writing exercise” with the authors that I interview. I give them a scene and then ask them to re-write the scene in their own special style. Are you game?
K-Okay- here you go:
Anil sat quietly in the dark room, staring down into the amber liquid in the glass he held in his hand. He quickly swallowed the whiskey, in one gulp. Then he screamed out filthy obscenities, while he hurled the glass to the floor. He grimaced as a large glass shard bounced up and lodged in his bare ankle. He reached down and grabbed the glass shard, and pushed it deeply in to his skin, and then pulled the shard through his leg, all the way up to his knee.
He screamed out in pain and then grabbed the glass shard and threw it back on the floor. He didn't notice the blood gushing down his leg and pooling on the floor. He felt a little better now. He had discovered that cutting himself seemed to calm him down. Sometimes he became so irate and agitated it took more than just a few cuts. It was starting to escalate. Like a drug, he needed more and more. The month before he was not able to soothe himself until he had sliced off his pinky finger.
This was fun! However, you might notice that my characters are usually more proactive, less prone to self-infliction and more prone to blaming others for their problems – and then taking it out of them.
Anil sat staring at the old style computer monitor, absently swirling the amber liquid in the Glencairn glass, not even noticing the enticing aroma of the whiskey. He couldn’t take his eyes off the damn screen and the smiling couple on the Facebook update. Now that she was with that smiling sack of skin, Anil knew he was forgotten, ignored. Nonexistent.
“You bitch,” he said in a low voice.
Downing his drink in a single gulp, he weighed the heavy glass in his hand. Pulling back, he threw it, exploding the monitor in a cascade of sparks and smoke, obliterating the happy couple on the screen.
Looking down, he saw a shard of the monitor in his forearm. He studied the sharp glass, watching the blood well out. In a slow, deliberate motion, he pulled the thin glass along his arm, fascinated as the already scarred skin parted and blood dripped down his arm. He felt no pain. There was a time, before he met her, when cutting himself was the only way he felt alive. The pain allowed him to feel something, anything. Now, there was only the hollowness since she deserted him. Now, even the pain was just a dull sensation – like his entire world without her.
Cutting himself had no effect.
But cutting her?
He pulled the thin glass from his arm and watched a single drop of blood fall onto his desk. What would he feel if he was to pull this across that smiling face of hers? Would he finally begin to feel again as he sliced into those perky breasts she was so proud of? She couldn’t see a life with him? He could make sure she wouldn’t see at all. What would this little shard do to those big brown eyes of hers?
He remembered her status update and smiled. So, she was getting engaged?
How would she wear that big sparking diamond if she didn’t have a ring finger?
Wow! I did not see that coming! That was an excellent twist to what I had expected. I knew it would be spectacular. Thank you.
Derek, I really appreciate your joining us. It was wonderful chatting with you. Where can people find you and your work on the web?
I welcome all fans, stalkers and people who just have too much time on their hands while surfing the web…
Web Site: http://www.dagraystone.com
Friday, October 12, 2012
Books can open new worlds. It’s kind of my mantra.
Dungda de Islan’ is one such book. Bud and Leslie allow us to stow away as they set sail on the journey of a lifetime. Aboard their 35 foot yacht, The Play Actor, they travel through the Caribbean, experiencing the islands in a way that a typical tourist never will.
I was completely enthralled. Bud described the scenes so vividly I could smell the sea. I wanted to swim in the clear water with the colorful fish, to feel the warm sunshine, to see those incredible sunsets, to laugh as the dolphins put on a show… I was delighted to visit islands that I had only heard of…Antigua, St. Lucia, Martinique and so many others.
While visiting the islands, once the Play Actor was anchored in a nice spot, it is very common for various vendor boats to stop by to present their goods or services. They offered fresh baked goods, fruit, freshly caught fish and even laundry service.
While they are all lovely, each destination is distinctive. The citizens enjoy their own unique culture and culinary delights. Bud and Leslie, being respectful of this, always blend right in. The locals acknowledge this and embrace them. Bud spoke of the philosophy shared by many of the island dwellers. He mentioned that although they are hard working people, they are happy to have "enough" They live in Paradise after all. They don’t have the compulsive greed that seems to be rampant among the “dirt dwellers”.
However, I must warn you: this life is not all fun in the sun. Like any home, the yacht requires maintenance. It also experiences its share of mechanical problems. Then there is the challenge of fixing them and finding the parts. Scariest of all, the sea can turn deadly and storms can become life threatening. Bud and Leslie are very knowledgeable in taking proper precautions, but it takes some real courage to ride out a hurricane. Luckily, they make an excellent team. They compliment & respect each other in a special way that makes a solid, lasting marriage. Many would aspire to such a marriage
They have been able to weather the storms aboard the Play Actor for twelve years on the great blue sea. God willing, they will continue to do so for many, many more.
You can find Bud here on the web at www.clrdougherty.com. His writer’s blog is there, as well as information about his books. There is also the sailing blog – that’s at Voyage of the Play Actor. He has an author’s page on Facebook here, and you can follow him on Twitter @clrdougherty. Email is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Saying good-bye to a beloved family member is never easy. It becomes even worse when you are faced with the decision of euthanasia. Having lived through this with two beloved pets, I know that the experience can be so painful that you may never want to live through it again.
Many people are affected so deeply, they make a firm decision that they will never open their home or heart to another pet. They can’t see that death is part of life and so they deny themselves all the years of happiness and unconditional love.that a pet brings to your life.
Others have such an abundance of love; they refuse to build that wall of protection. They open their hearts, again and again. My friend Paula Grabow is one of these special people. She met a special Kitten named Spot at the shelter where she volunteers. They had an immediate connection, so much so, that even though Spot was being treated for a “Kennel Cough” type of ailment, she adopted him and brought him home. I’d like you hear her story in her own words:
SPOT"If you are fortunate in life you have an experience that touches you so completely for but the briefest of moments. "His name was Spot. He was a little white kitten with black spots. The first time I laid eyes on him I was smitten. He was a tiny little being that touched my soul the minute I held him for the first time. Besides being a purr machine, he looked up at me with such love and adoration that I knew I had to have him in my life permanently. It appeared fate had other plans because someone else wanted to adopt him. Through fortuitous circumstances I had the good fortune to adopt Spot.
I only had him for a little over 72 hours in my home. During that time I held him continuously and only let him go to feed him. I have never experienced such a feeling of utter peace then when he was in my arms. Unfortunately, this peace and happiness was not meant to last. For you see, Spot was a very sick animal.
We made the decision to take him to emergency care. He seemed to rally and get better. For a time today I believed that I would be taking him home the next day. We learned that fate also has a cruel side. That night I received a call that Spot was in severe distress. We went back to the hospital and much to my sadness Spot was really struggling. His little body was betraying him. I had a brief moment of hope when he saw me he started meowing and perked up only to see him collapse on his side a moment later.
I made the difficult decision to end his suffering. As an animal lover I pulled out all the stops for my beloved Spot. The hardest decision to make is when to allow an animal to pass on gracefully to the Rainbow Bridge. As a pet owner it is my duty to make sure the animal in my care never suffers. For you see we are their voice. Spot loved me for the just a brief moment but he touched my heart forever. I will never regret bringing him into my life and I will never forget him.
There are many animals that never get to experience a fraction of love that he had so I feel blessed that he knew that before he passed. I suppose I could be angry why he was taken from me before he really got to live. I choose to celebrate his life and know that I made it a little better for the short time he was on this earth. My heart is breaking into a million pieces right now.
Some people decide that this part of pet ownership is too hard and not worth going through again. I disagree. I wish I could say Spot had 20 years on this earth but he had a little over 3 months. I will adopt another pet or pets in the future, love them unconditionally realizing that if you close your heart to pain you are also closing yourself off to experiencing the true joy that these animals bring to your life.
So... Spot, run free over the Rainbow Bridge for one day I know we will meet again. You will not be alone as my precious Smokey will be there to take you under his wing and show you the ropes. Godspeed my little angel with a tail ;) "
Thank you for sharing, Paula. May God bless.you and keep you in the palm of his hand until we meet again.
You can follow Paula on Facebook here.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Moonlight is a book that draws you into a beautiful sanctuary, snuggled up against the Nantahala River. Close enough to hear the waterfalls. You will relax as you settle into the slow pace of life in this scenic mountainside haven. You might take a short walk to the falls- if you dare.
The spirits may tell you things you may not want to hear.
Edward will bring you back to simpler times, simple joy. Although he carries a deep loss in his heart, he lives his life lovingly with those he encounters. However, his greatest love is one that has transcended death. His beloved wife, Celia, is gone, but her spirit remains. The house that Edward built with love is unchanged. It is her sanctuary.
Fate brings about an unexpected friendship between the elderly Edward and the young, troubled Lena. Their relationship shows us the value of friendship. One person can change your life forever. Everything seems to happen for a reason.
It is what keeps Edward clinging to life, even though he feels the draw to join his beloved wife. He will not leave until he is sure that Lena will be safe and happy. He takes some unusual steps to ensure this.
When the time is right, and Edward joins his beloved Celia, he leaves a legacy of love. Friendship is precious and if your heart is open, the universe brings people together to fill empty gaps and make their lives complete.
Interview with Micheal Rivers
K- You know that I am a huge fan. I loved ‘The Black Witch’ and I really enjoyed Moonlight on the Nantahala. I know that you grew up in North Carolina; did you live anywhere near Edwards’ house?
M- I was originally raised on the coast of North Carolina and have traveled and stayed in the mountains most of my life. Sometimes it is a small wonder to go from towns called Whale Bone Junction to Tuckasegee.
I currently live about 15 miles from where Edward’s home would have been located. The Nantahala Gorge is a sight visitors never forget. Every day in this land of beauty no two days will be the same. True it is the same mountains and rivers but they have a personality all their own.
I traveled extensively before ever settling down and decided I would live here among these mountains. There are several rivers in this area, but the Nantahala is my favorite. For those who enjoy Kayaking we have category four waters as well as the romantic side with smooth flowing streams surrounded by the best nature has to offer.
K- It sounds like a magical place. Your descriptions are so vivid; I fell in love with the Nantahala. I plan to visit the unforgettable gorge one day. What was your inspiration for this story?
M- I understand there was a gentleman close in this area much like Edward, but the story is not about him. It is actually a story fashioned from several people I know who lost their love and there was nobody that could fill their shoes.
For those who have never taken the time to listen to the old it is a learning experience. What we take for granted every day the elderly find slowly drifting away from them. They have a lot to offer if the young will listen. The housekeeper, Betty, is a true character and I knew her well.
I felt by writing Moonlight on the Nantahala some would see the road we often trod when age has taken its toll and life is still to be held as a precious thing.
K- You are so right Micheal. It's very sad the way our culture brushes aside the elderly- where they are revered for their knowledge and experience in other cultures.
I got the feeling there was more of a connection between Edward and Lena- as though they were related somehow. Could there be a sequel in the works?
M- Lena and Edward are not genetically related. It is a connection of kinship through a need they can fulfill for each other. Life has a strange way of drawing people together. You can call it Karma, fate, or a dozen other names, but possibly, it is a relationship drawn together from a higher power.
I have been asked to produce a sequel for this book, but I have nothing on the storyboard for it at this time. If the demand grows, I will give my readers a sequel for it.
K- If you made this into a movie, have you thought about who would play the roles? I see Harrison Ford playing Edward, maybe Angelina Jolie for Lena, Drew Barrymore for Celia and then someone feisty like for Betty. What do you think?
M- Kathy Bates is the ultimate Betty, trust me on that one, Harrison Ford would work as well as a few others as Edward, Kirsten Dunst as Lena, and Ashley Greene as Celia.
K- If you would like, I would love to do an exercise with you. I will show you a scene and then you re-write it in your lyrical style. Are you up for it?
M- I’ll give it a shot and see what we come up with.
K- Okay, here it is:
There were rumors about Kamlesh. He had powers. They were magical gifts. This magic frightened the people of the village. An untouchable could never become a guru of God, so they believed that he was evil.
"He has evil powers- dark powers. An untouchable cannot be a guru of God."
Dadoo had insisted on the marriage between Pratibha and Anil. It was a good match. Anil was of a higher caste. He belonged to the same caste as their family. Pratibha cried every day and every night. Her beautiful face became gaunt as her petite frame became thinner and thinner.
"Please Pratibha- eat something. You want to be a healthy, beautiful bride, don't you?"
"I don't even want to live if I have to marry Anil!"
She had no appetite- she could not bear to eat a bite when her happy future was disappearing. She begged her parents to stop the wedding and break the engagement. They would not listen. They thought that they were doing the right thing by arranging this marriage. It was their custom. They thought they had found a good man that could provide for their daughter and give her a good life.” M]
There were whispers in the night that told of the powers of Kamlesh. His magic frightened people of the village unless they were in need of him. The village elders had a name for those like Kamlesh; he was an untouchable, a being unlike those around them, a power so dark and evil his name they feared to speak. While some deemed him as a guru to God, the blessed saw him as a curse and a Bain to mankind.
Dadoo stood upon his balcony looking toward the top of the mountain professed to be the home of Kamlesh- a fortnight before he had gone to Kamlesh and begged favor of him to unite his daughter with Anil. Being a higher caste, he knew it was a good match for his daughter, Pratibha.
Staying within their caste made perfect sense to Dadoo. Pratibha wanted nothing to do with Anil, considering him an ill-mannered oaf with the face of an Ox. She felt no love for him and excused herself from his company at every turn.
Day and night she wept, cursing God for being absent in her time of need. She ate nothing and had become a mere shadow in comparison to the beauty she once held.
"Please Pratibha- eat something. You want to be a healthy, beautiful bride, don't you?" Her father pleaded with her.Pratibha looked woefully at her father in disbelief. “You demand I marry Anil. Your customs are not the wishes of my heart. I would see myself in a death shroud before I would wear the wedding dress of the man you have chosen for me. Deny this wedding, father and I will do as you wish.
Dadoo stood to his feet staring at her. Her mother bowed her head refusing to look at them.
“I will hear none of this. You will marry Anil and be the mother of his children. He is a good provider and landowner. It is the right thing for you and your future when I am no longer able to provide for you and protect you. I am sure you would not be well suited stitching your life away in the hut of a shoemaker.”
K- Wow! I love it- you are unbelievable. I am in awe, Sir!
M-Thank you very much for having me with you today and I have enjoyed talking with you.
K- Thank you very much for joining me and doing this interview and “exercise”. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you.
The Nantahala Gorge:
Buy Micheal Rivers books here
His website is here
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Posted by Kathleen Patel at Tuesday, October 02, 2012