Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
—Zelda Fitzgerald

There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
—Flannery O’Connor

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.
—E.B. White

It doesn't have to be the truth, just your vision of it, written down.
—Virginia Woolf

No one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.
—Charles de Lint

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday Tips: What do I Write

Some people think they can analyze the market and then author a book in the popular genre of the day.

I believe those people are wrong. Don't do that. Don't write a 50 Shades book because that thing is making bank. Please. Don't.

I recommend that you write the kind of novel that you love to read. I write Science Fiction and Fantasy. I read 100 of those stories a year.

Writing the kind of stories I like to read allows me to be original and lets my delight shine through.

I recommend you write the book just for yourself. Make yourself laugh, cry, make yourself afraid or hopeful or fall in love. If you don't feel it, the audience won't either.

Writing the kind of stories you love will increase the odds that you actually finish it.

--Finish things...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Reading: The Black Witch

This week I read The Black Witch by Laurie Forest.

Here is the description from Amazon:

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother's legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she's been taught to hate and fear.

Check out my Fast Friday Interview with the Author, Laurie Forest. 

--I really enjoyed this one! Great world building. Excellent character development. Plus the plot didn't go where I expected. Recommended!

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Laurie Forest

Laurie Forest

Tell me about yourself, Laurie?

I am Laurie Forest. Mother of dragons. Drinker of strong tea. Part dryad. Writing in the back woods of Vermont in front of a guttering woodstove.

Official photo (heavily photo-shopped - I told the photographer to "make me look spooky and give me a whole new head.")

Actual photo - The Black Witch cocktail pictured (this is a real thing, predating my book) - this is a more accurate representation of my vibe at the moment - and perhaps resembles me more closely than my heavily photo-shopped author photo.

Tell me about your current Book: The Black Witch

When powerless Elloren Gardner, granddaughter of her people's greatest battlemage, leaves her sheltered home in Gardneria, Elloren must find a way to navigate being thrown into an environment where most of the people are hostile towards the granddaughter of their greatest enemy - The Black Witch.

Wandfasted (e-book prequel to The Black Witch)

When all mayhem breaks loose from colliding dragon armies, Tessla Harrow must find a forbidden wand and use her unique magery, or she won't survive to meet the smoking hot Vale Gardner - who is like Mr. Darcy melded with Loki (you're welcome ;) )

The Black Witch:
All the most delicious things about all the fantasy books thrown into one, giant, dragon-filled extravaganza of awesomeness.

The hottest prequel on the entire earth. And there are battling dragon armies. And dragons set on fire pinwheeling down to crash onto scattering soldiers. And did I mention that it's the hottest thing ever written?

What are you working on now?

Book Three of The Black Witch Chronicles (oh it's fun - because it's dark with lots of action and monsters). Also, revising e-book side-novel number two of The Black Witch Chronicles (Sage Gaffney's story - the young woman who gives Elloren the White Wand and has an Icaral-demon baby in the beginning of The Black Witch).

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Vermont. In my home in the back woods. In a lantern-lit room. During a thunder storm that blackens the skies, lightning flashing. Or during November in Vermont. On a deeply overcast day. The trees twisty and bare, the woods shadowed and vaguely sinister.

But better would be a Scottish castle by a turbulent ocean, cast in deeply moody, bleak weather. Haven't been able to secure that yet.

Best might be a lighthouse off the coast of Maine. On an island. No one there but me. Writing by candlelight in the dead of night. With a crow on my shoulder.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Four lessons (I cannot confine this answer to one lesson).

  1. "The muse can't resist a working writer." - Ray Bradbury
  2. "Don't wait for inspiration. Go after it with a club." - Jack London
  3. "Write to please yourself and shut out the rest of the world. Preferably in a Scottish castle. Then, when finished, share your work boldly." - Laurie Forest
  4. "Put a dragon in every book you write. No exceptions." - Laurie Forest (feel free to widely quote me on this) 

What is your favorite Website?

Any site with pretentious, overpriced black teas for sale that taste like chocolate cake or tiramisu. Which is basically my version of porn. (Along with Wandfasted, which is the hottest thing ever written).




  • THE BLACK WITCH (Book One, The Black Witch Chronicles - out now) 
  • WANDFASTED (E-Book Prequel, The Black Witch Chronicles - out now) 
  • THE IRON FLOWER (Book Two, The Black Witch Chronicles - available for pre-order) 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Quotes of the Week

The writer's job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.
—Vladimir Nabokov

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
—P.J. O’Rourke

What I write is smarter than I am, because I can re-write it.
—Susan Sontag

Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul.
—Charlie Chaplin

The worst crime you can commit is telling the audience something they already know.
—Aaron Sorkin

Don’t rush or force the ending… . All you have to know is the next scene, or the next few scenes.
—Chuck Palahniuk

If an adverb became a character in one of my books, I'd have it shot. Immediately.
—Elmore Leonard

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Tools to take with you

I am heading out on a cross country road trip with my son on Monday. Washington DC to San Francisco CA. This is a serious road trip. In fact it may be the basis of a future book titled:

The Last Road Trip

We are driving. I rented a nice car. My son is moving to CA and it will be a great final vacation before he goes off and becomes an adult with his own life. But I am also bringing my brother Carls ashes to scatter in the Pacific. In many ways this is the last road trip. We are also going to drive into the Full Solar Eclipse. Who knows. The Zombie Apocalypse could break out. Then I'd have a story to write!

As a writer on the road there are a few must have items along the way.

  • Laptop with 12volt charger
  • iPhone (comms, camera, music player, research tool, eReader)
    • Kindle books
    • Audible books (to listen while I am driving)
    • Inspiration Music on MP3
  • Paper Notepads
  • Several pens and pencils
  • Headphones
I'm intentionally leaving things off the list, like pants. To write I don't need pants or commas. The cops and editors kind of insist you have them.

What are your required writing tools when you travel?

--Wish us luck. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Reading: The Final Day

Last week I read The Final Day by William Forstchen.

This was the A John Matherson Novel. The Third in the series.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States more than two years ago, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has suffered famine, civil war, and countless deaths. Now, after defeating a new, tyrannical federal government, John Matherson and his community intend to restore their world to what it was before the EMP apocalypse. For the most part, they are succeeding.

This period of relative stability doesn’t last long. A new, aggressive government announces that it’s taking over and ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states. John fears he and his town will be targets.

General Bob Scales, John’s old commanding officer and closest friend from prewar days, is sent to bring John into line. Will John and his people accept the new, autocratic regime? Or will revolution rip the fledgling nation apart at the seams?

Months before publication, William R. Forstchen’s novel One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read. This third book in the series immerses readers once more in the story of our nation’s struggle to rebuild itself after an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electricity and plunges the country into darkness, starvation, and death.

--If you have not already, read One Second After.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Joe Clark.

Tell me about yourself, Joe.

From very early, I enjoyed writing and making up stories. As a young child I would take my gyroscope and my brownie camera out to our garden patch to develop stories about adventures on distant planets. I was also quite religious. When I graduated from high school in 1961, I had two options: a terrific opportunity to study physics on a work study program and a spot in a Jesuit Novitiate. I chose the novitiate.
Joe Clark

I spent two years in the novitiate. That is where I started writing sermons. I was writing my first sermon when John Glenn orbited the earth. We didn’t have TV in the novitiate but an exception was made for Glenn’s flight. Coverage was primitive at that time so we were stuck watching Walter Cronkite and his team kill time. At one point, the cameras moved outside. It was a dark, drizzly day and a woman in a trench coat was walking in the distance. I couldn’t resist a wolf whistle. I was promptly called in for a visit with the Master of Novices who told me how disappointed he was in my worldly behavior.

In our second year we were assigned to missions. I was on the prison mission. We visited the prisoners at the Berks County Prison every Saturday afternoon and then went back for mass on Sunday morning. At Christmas we threw a little party that generally included a movie. I suggested that we put together a little play. The Novice in Charge tasked me to write the play. I wrote it and I directed my fellow novices. The prisoners responded very well. The whole thing ended with a rousing rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

At the time, the play was an enormous undertaking. I recently found a copy.  It was three pages long.
I was sent home at the end of the second year. I went back to college in the fall. But things had changed. When I first applied, our local college was Norfolk William and Mary and the school of engineering was run by Virginia Tech. By the time I got home from the novitiate, the school was Old Dominion College. But the Dean of Engineering remembered me from my earlier application. He graciously accepted me back into the fold without the usual qualifying tests.

I had just started my senior year in September 1966 when I received my draft notice. A “friend” convinced me that I could avoid going to Vietnam if I volunteered instead of going in as a conscript. That didn’t work out very well. I did spend six months in Engineering OCS at Fort Belvoir. I was dropped on the last cut in week 21. I managed to get a position as Chaplain’s Assistant while I was waiting for my orders to Vietnam. In early December 1967, a group of young GIs flew from Fort Dix to Bien Hoa via Juneau, Alaska. The temperature in Alaska was hovering around zero. The temperature in Saigon was hovering around 100. We landed in the middle of the night, piled onto a bus and road to a tent city. There were no lights in the tents so we had to feel our way around and find an empty bunk.

The next day, we were shipped up to Dong Ba Thin, a small camp just west of the main post at Cam Ranh. I should mention here that my “specialty” was mines and explosives because of the time I had spent in OCS. When we got to Dong Ba Thin, the personnel staff informed us that they were going to tear up our orders because the idiots back home had sent the wrong specialties. I said, “I would like to be a Chaplain’s Assistant.”

Miraculously, the Chaplain was not on speaking terms with his assistant. He was happy to have me. He was almost as happy about getting me as I was about getting the change in my MOS. At the end of my one year tour, I extended for 6 months rather than return stateside for my last 10 months. The deciding benefit was that I got to fly around the world, spend a week in Israel and a couple of days in Bangkok. I was transferred from Dong Ba Thin to Pleiku for the last six months.

I returned to school in September 1969. Old Dominion College had become Old Dominion University while I was away. The advisor I was assigned to went all out to get me through my last year in one year. The French I studied in the Novitiate counted for one elective. The correspondence courses that I took in Accounting while I was in Vietnam counted for two more electives. But I still had to take one course in the summer semester. I don’t remember the name of the course but I did lot of research on cities and I looked into simulating traffic patterns.

I had to take three courses in order to qualify for GI bill benefits. The extra courses were two of the best courses of my college career: Industrial Psychology and Business Management 101. The real business majors disliked me because my quirky solutions to the problems generally turned out to be right.

When I set out to get my first real job, I focused on power companies because I had worked for the local power company in the summers before I was drafted. The power companies weren’t interested in me. I signed up for an interview with AT&T just for the heck of it. In those days, AT&T would assign you to Bell Labs, Western Electric or the local telco depending on your grades. My grades qualified me for a sit down with the recruiter from the local telco. The guy looked through my folder. When he came across a letter of recommendation from Captain Tom Lacey, the last chaplain I had worked for in Vietnam (Pleiku, he said something like, “Boy he’s a great guy. I was just down at Fort Jackson for my two weeks reserve training and he was the chaplain. I don’t have anything for you but the guy from Western Electric has openings all over the country. I’ll take you up there so you can talk to him.”
And that is how I got my first real job. The next 40 years were interesting. I was laid off a couple of times. One start up that I was working for folded and I worked as an independent contractor for a few years. I went from systems engineer to software developer and back to system engineer. I was usually working verification – making sure whatever I was working on did what it was supposed to do. I worked on communications systems – mostly satellite communications.

Most of my engineering career was driven by luck. The letter of recommendation from Captain Lacey got me in the door at Western Electric. I was selected for an experimental training program at Virginia Tech. I had just transferred to the ABM project in 1972 when it was killed by the SALT treaty. I was laid off but I was given a Graduate Assistantship at Virginia Tech (VPI) because of my participation in the experimental training program.

I left VPI without a degree to go to work as a test engineer for Sylvania on a Minuteman Missile System contract. The test site was in Waltham, Massachusetts a few miles west of Boston. When that contract ended, a friend helped me get a slot as a software developer. That led to a job with Sperry Univac on a NASA (Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland) contract because I had managed to gain some experience in real-time assembly language programming on DEC computers.

I had a good run until 1992. At that time, I was getting a lot of heat from my supervisors. Their supervisor decided to jump ship and go to work on a start-up, Sky Radio. He brought me along. The company folded at the end of 1994. One of the guys I worked with had a friend with a six month contract on Motorola’s Iridium project in Chandler Arizona. The friend wanted out and I was able to jump in and take his place.

After the Motorola work petered out, I got a contract with Stanford Telecom which led to a permanent job in 1999. A short time later our group was absorbed into ITT. I stayed with the group until I retired in 2011.

In the 80’s I was trying to do some serious writing. I submitted one short story which was rejected with a savage critique. I submitted some poems. They were rejected as well. One interesting thing about those poems is that they draw a good response whenever I read them to a group.

My wife died in January 1985. I married Anita in July 1986. In between my life was quite hectic. I earned a masters in computer science from Johns Hopkins about that time. I graduated in May 1994.  Seven months later the company that I was working for, Sky Radio, folded and I was basically out of work for the next 4 years. I survived on a few contracts until I was hired by Stanford Telecom in July 1999. ITT bought out the government business from Stanford Telecom shortly after I joined the company.

A bike accident in 2010 destroyed my right hip. I decided to call it quits during a working vacation of the Christmas holidays. I announced my retirement at the beginning of 2011 but I didn’t actually retire until August. I had my right hip replaced in June of 2012. Anita and I went to Scotland and Ireland on a three week vacation in October. One goal of that trip was to connect with my father’s ancestors. I had dug up some information on Ancestry before the trip. I was able to locate places where they had lived but nothing is left of their lives. They left County Antrim in Northern Ireland around the time of the Potato Famine of 1848. It is possible that they moved to the Glasgow area of Scotland as a result of the labor crisis that followed the famine. They took up coal mining and lived in an Irish slum when they first arrived. That slum has been replaced by more respectable housing. The trip was mostly successful and enjoyable.

The pain from the arthritis in my left hip was so bad that I arranged to have that hip replaced in December of 2012.

By 2015 I was getting bored. The cure was Meetup. I joined a few writers’ groups. Natasha who was running a group called Write to Live asked for a couple of chapters of my work. I didn’t have anything current and I had never written a couple of chapters of anything. So I used a rant that I had written about nuclear waste to produce 10 thousand words of what would eventually become my first novel.

Tell me about your current Book:

“The Walshes – The Coming of Eve” should be coming out August 1st. April Walsh is a suburban homemaker – mother, wife, part-time breadwinner and aspiring writer. Her husband Joe is an out-of-work software engineer. It is 2008 and the bottom is falling out of the US economy. April is asked to write a six part series about the sex industry in the DC metro area. Her agent promises to get her a book deal. The Walshes could use the money but for April this is the opportunity of a lifetime. She can’t say no even though she is put off by the topic.

She turns to her brother, a public defender, to bring her up to speed on legal issues and introduce her to some of his prostitute clients. She quickly gets an inkling of trouble down the road. The editor wants an undercover investigation in the manner of Nellie Bly. Her brother introduces her to one prostitute, Bridget Allen. Bridget insists that April has to walk a couple of miles in her shoes or no story.

April agrees to participate in an amateur night topless dancing contest. Then another. She meets Jeff and quickly finds herself sexually involved with him. After she is fired from her part-time office job, Bridget helps her get a job as a waitress at the Tahiti, the men’s club where Bridget works. Then Bridget pressures April to work as an escort. When April says she couldn’t do that to Joe, Bridget points to the affair with Jeff. She adds that Joe would do it if he got the opportunity. It turns out Joe is already having an affair with an old girlfriend, April gives in and begins working as an escort under her stage name, Eve Sinful.

Eve is a glamorous dancer and escort who won’t back down from a fight. Her wit and charm make her highly desired at the Tahiti.  April enjoys feeling sexy and wanted. She even makes some new friends: a former call girl, a wise cab driver, and a hard-nosed cop.

As April ends up more fully embracing her Eve persona, she finds more and more to like about the new life she is living. Will she be able to find her way out, or is April destined to sacrifice herself and her family for the sake of a story?

April believes in the work she’s doing, but her family isn’t so understanding. As the relationship between April and her husband begins to break under the pressure of her undercover assignment, April must decide what is worth fighting for. Will the good wife or the firebrand emerge victorious?

What are you working on now?

I have a new short story for my blog, “Malone V O’Reilly” about the difficulties of dating in the modern era. I am developing essays for my blog “Clark’s Scribbles”. But I am trying to avoid being caught in the Trump Vortex.
I have started working on a new novel, “Return of the Rapist.”  The action takes place in 2009, 16 years after a brutal gang rape. The lives of the four participants – the three men and their victim – have arrived at a new nexus. The woman has gotten her life straightened out. She has a good job and has recently married. Two of the rapists work for the same company as she does. One of them happens to run into her at a Christmas party and begins subtly harassing her. The third man has just completed a 15 year sentence for the rape and he harbors very bad feelings towards the other participants in the rape as well as the people who put him in jail. When the woman’s husband is beaten so badly that he has to be hospitalized, the incident lands on the desk of Sgt. Jack Edwards, Eve’s cop-boyfriend. The two of them must figure out who dunnit before somebody gets killed.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Our dining room table seems to be the most common place for my writing activities. I wrote my first novel in my office at my desktop computer. That is still a good place to write. But I switched to my laptop for “The Walshes” and I took over the dining room table. Right now, I am working at a table on my screened in porch. I am beginning to like this spot but it has weather problems.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Writing is fun. Writing a novel is very much like reading a novel. I get to discover a new story with new characters as I write it out. One important trick is embracing James Patterson’s caveat: “I don’t write reality.”

Writing a novel is a little like directing a play. The author must direct the actions of the characters to show what is going on.

Writing a novel is also like solving a jigsaw puzzle. The author has to take a boxful of interesting pieces and fit them together to form a composite picture.

What is your favorite Website?

I am not supposed to pick Facebook but I spend a lot of time there because it’s a good place to connect with friends and family. I recently discovered Twitter and I love it. There is so much good material on that site. It’s all short and to the point with great graphics.

I used to be a big fan of “Crazy Guy on a bike.” Some very fascinating stories are posted there. People get on there to post a diary of their trips around the world, across the country or to some weekend getaway. I once followed a newlywed couple on a two year honeymoon tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Wikipedia is a go-to site. I do as much as half of my research on-line and Wikipedia is reliably informative and straightforward.


Blog:   Clark’s Scribbles (
Facebook: Joe Clark

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quotes of the Week

 Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.
—Jessamyn West

But with writers, there's nothing wrong with melancholy. It's an important color in writing.
—Paul McCartney

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
—James Michener

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
—Stephen King

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
—Leonard Cohen

No true artist will tolerate for one minute the world as it is.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
—Mark Twain

A character is defined by the kinds of challenges he cannot walk away from.
—Arthur Miller

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Don't Sweat It

I just got back from a glorious two week camping trip where I spent my time in a hammock.

  • I read books made out of dead trees.
  • I filled 36 pages in my notebook with details to be included in my next novel.
  • I took naps. Morning and afternoon.
  • I ate a lot of bacon and grilled meats.
  • I drank a lot of coffee.
  • I brainstormed plot point with friends.
  • I laughed a lot.
  • I enjoyed campfires every night.
  • I even lost 3.6 pounds.

What I didn't do was write a blog post for today's tip. So here is the tip: Don't sweat stuff. As long as blogging is still fun I will continue to do it. The same with writing novels. I will keep doing it as long as I am enjoying it.

--Readers can tell if you enjoyed writing it... 

Monday, August 14, 2017

RIP: Duncan Long

Duncan Long
While I was on vacation I found out that Duncan Long had passed away. Duncan was an artist that provided the cover art for some of my novels, Including my first novel, Still Falling. Most recently he created the image of Elizabeth Cruze that is in the cover of Virtues of the Vicious.

When it was released I send him an email to let him know so he could add it to his portfolio. I received no reply. While on vacation I was working on my next novel and sent him another email and also checked his Facebook page. That's when I found out.

This is the last post I remember seeing:

"It is odd how we all know good health is not guaranteed in life, and bad health eventually will come our way -- and then are surprised or even angry when health issues appear. Sometimes not only hope but also stupidity spring eternal in the human condition."

It's odd. The Facebook memorial pages. Fresh on the death of my brother. I know too many people that have passed away and they are still on my friends list...

Duncan's obit is here. He was only 67.

Thanks for the support and encouragement you gave to a new Indie Author. You will be missed.


Saturday, August 12, 2017


What can I say? This video inspired a kick ass character in my next Scifi novel. That dress, the way she moves...  Thanks, Ellie.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Brhi Stokes

Brhi Stokes

Tell me about yourself, Brhi.

I'm an author who was born in Australia but would much rather be from some other dimension. I've been writing since was able to and tormenting my friends with PCs and NPCs in tabletop games (DnD, Pathfinder, World of Darkness, etc) over the last decade-or-so. Much like a cat, I like to sleep during the day and tear around the house or go on adventures at night but have found that this doesn't really operate well with having a job.

In my spare time, when I'm not writing, I'm reading, playing tabletop games, video games, going for solitary jogs or listening to music. Despite living in the desolate, deadly-animal-filled wasteland of Australia, I would say my general day-to-day is fairly mundane and contains much less spider dodging than my international friends seem to think.

Tell me about your current Book:

When he awakens from a car accident, a university dropout turned hitchhiker must discover where he is and how he got there, or else fall prey to the horrors that stalk the place.

Darkness closed in on him like a pack of hounds. Buildings passed, warehouses, factories; shadows of silent windows disturbed every so often by dim light, taunting him.

A city of the bizarre and the unfamiliar, inhabited by monstrous beasts and people with unnatural gifts. A city of tall glass spires mingling with old gothic architecture, where wild animals roam alongside the populace.

This is where Ripley Mason awakens after the car accident. University dropout, casual drinker, and newly fledged hitchhiker, Ripley is tired of the daily grind of study, drink, repeat. Only halfway done with a degree he never chose, Ripley heads north to see if life won't throw him something less monotonous.

Early into his journey, Ripley suffers a brutal car accident and awakens in a rundown hospital. Nervous, he ventures into dark, unfamiliar streets and comes face to face with horrific beasts. Thrown into a world of supernatural fantasy, Ripley fights to discover where he is, how he came to be here and, most importantly, if he can even get home.

Ripley was still staring at the wallet in his hands. The clinic Ð as he had found out the place was Ð had graciously returned it to him. The problem was, it wasn't his. There was no identification, no cards, nothing. Just some strange currency he didn't recogniseÉ

All he knows of this place is a single word: C A L I G A T I O N

What are you working on now?

I'm dabbling with a few ideas. One is a sort if spiritual successor to Caligation, the other is a YA fantasy I accidentally'd 30,000 words through late last year before putting it on hold to finalize Caligation.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

At home, I think. I feel most comfortable in my little bubble of safety.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

That you need to either spend time or money on something to perfect it. You can pay someone to do things like edit, cover design, etc. Or you can take the time to do them yourself and still get somewhere halfway decent.

What is your favorite Website?

Well the BBC website is my homepage, despite how incredibly boring that makes me sound. I just like the accents, I swear.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Writers should be read—but neither seen nor heard.
—Daphne Du Maurier

You learn by writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
—Larry Niven

I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.
—Frank Capra

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.
—Virginia Wool

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about.
—Natalie Goldberg

Dreaming in public is an important part of our job description.
—William Gibson

I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly
—Edgar Rice Burroughs

Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.
—Kurt Vonnegut

Quotes of the Week

Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
—Billy Wilder

I sweat blood to make my style simple and stripped bare.
—Margaret Mitchell

The writer is by nature a dreamer - a conscious dreamer.
—Carson McCullers

Never use a long word where a short one will do.
—George Orwell

I have rewritten, often several times, every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.
—Vladimir Nabokov

A writer is a world trapped in a person.
—Victor Hugo

The third act must build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that’s it. Don’t hang around.
—Billy Wilder

You own everything that happened to you. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
—Anne Lamott

Write for yourself and yourself alone. Don’t try to please anyone else, and don’t be afraid of anyone.
—Sallie Tisdale

Those who never make mistakes lose a great many chances to learn something.
—Mary Pickford

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Music

This is a very subjective tip.

I really enjoy listening to music when I write.

In fact, if I know I am going to be writing an emotional scene I will find a piece of music that conveys that emotion.

Here is a secret.

My very first novel had the working title of FALLING. I was advised by an author I know that I should go to Amazon and search for that title in BOOKS. There were hundreds of books that already had the title FALLING and most were trashy romances.

Then one day I heard the song Into Dust by Mazzy Star. The first words of the song were STILL FALLING...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Reading: The Final Day

Last week I read The Final Day by William R. Forstchen.

The is the third book in the John Matherson series. Thread One Second After and One Year After and enjoyed them both.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States more than two years ago, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has suffered famine, civil war, and countless deaths. Now, after defeating a new, tyrannical federal government, John Matherson and his community intend to restore their world to what it was before the EMP apocalypse. For the most part, they are succeeding.

This period of relative stability doesn’t last long. A new, aggressive government announces that it’s taking over and ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states. John fears he and his town will be targets.

General Bob Scales, John’s old commanding officer and closest friend from prewar days, is sent to bring John into line. Will John and his people accept the new, autocratic regime? Or will revolution rip the fledgling nation apart at the seams?

Months before publication, William R. Forstchen’s novel One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read. This third book in the series immerses readers once more in the story of our nation’s struggle to rebuild itself after an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electricity and plunges the country into darkness, starvation, and death.

--Great series. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

President Trump's 10 Rules

Like him or not this is a pile of good advice for a writer:


Friday, August 4, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: D. Fischer

D. Fischer

Tell me about yourself, D.

Well . . . I’m a mom of two little boys and a wife to a supportive husband. We live in Iowa and the most you see here is corn...rows and rows of it.

Growing up as the middle child with eight other siblings, I’ve become extremely adept at negotiations, which turns out to be pretty damn useful when you have toddlers - they have this obsession with colors, you see, and I have yet to figure out why. I once sat and waited for a thirty minute tantrum to subside . . . all over the color of towel I gave my son after a bath. I’m convinced this is when the grey hairs started sprouting out of my head like daisies.

My passion is writing, but I have many hobbies (learning new things is sort of my thing) - I pretend I can garden, but I mainly water the weeds / I’m an adventure seeker and dutifully check things off my bucket list every chance I get / I love to take pictures, but am by no means professional / I run, because I like to cook and bake (someone has to eat all that food, ya know) / I have this weird obsession with people watching. Yes, this is totally a hobby. It’s such an obsession that I spent four months teaching myself about Micro-expression. I can go on and on about this topic, but your eyes will glaze over. I love to see how people tick and watch as their face gives away everything they are thinking, even if their mouth says the opposite. My husband hates it - he can’t lie about who ate the last of my mint cookies.

My biggest pet peeve is smacking your food. I can’t function properly if your mouth is making all that noise.

Tell me about your current Book:

I just finished a short story prequel to my first book in The Cloven Pack Series. It will actually be relaunched in August, along with my first book in the series, in addition to publishing a second book in the series.

Caught in the Crossfire is a short story of the of the Pack’s past. At this time, they’re under the care of a sadistic Alpha. The book takes you through the twists and turns as the Pack tries to find a way to overthrow him. Will they find a way to rid themselves of this burden, or will a life have to be sacrificed to save another? You’ll have to read to find out. I’m not giving it all away.

I have yet to announce the new covers, so you all are the FIRST to see it:

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on the third book in the series, Above This Grave. I’m about halfway done with it. It’s quite dark and twisty, which is a new one for me. I’m loving it, but it’s taking awhile to finish - this is the last book in the series and is longer than the rest. This series will branch out into another series, so I’ve had to start planning that one as well.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I sit outside and type away in a lawn chair. There seems to always be a T.V. on inside the house, which is fine, but I have such a short attention span and my husband ALWAYS finds a Marvel movie. I’m a Marvel movie junky. So, I sit outside with the birds, rabid squirrels, and the persistent mosquitoes. I don’t know where the hell I’m going to write in the winter.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

There isn’t a favorite. I swear to you, every damn day I learn something new. It’s so complex and I’ve noticed that technology has passed me by. Many, many times I’ve fantasized about throwing my laptop out the window, lighting it on fire, and dancing arounds the flames. The Author world isn’t rainbows and sunshine all day, every day, folks. It takes more work after a book is written, than it is to actually write it.

What is your favorite Website?

If you check my browsing history, it’s going to be google. I google everything. Random thoughts, writing research, odd questions. Did you know that flamingos are pink because of what they eat?
My history is full of odd google searches. I research so many topics, that sometimes, I feel the need to email the FBI and tell them I’m not a murderer or terrorist. Once, I spent a whole day researching about torture techniques (not the funnest thing to research - people are so inventive now-a-days). My books may be Paranormal Romance, but by no means are they ‘fluffy’.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Quotes of the Week

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen King

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
― Stephen King

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
― Stephen King

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
― Stephen King

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”
― Stephen King

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it 'got boring,' the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
― Stephen King

“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”
― Stephen King

“Just remember that Dumbo didn't need the feather; the magic was in him. ”
― Stephen King

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”
― Stephen King

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Go on Vacation

Last week my tip was you must read if you want to be a good writer.

This week my tip is you must live if you want to be a good writer.

Go on vacation, dammit. Do something new!

  • Take a hot air balloon of helicopter ride.
  • Rent a machine gun and have some lessons at the shooting range.
  • Swim naked.
  • Walk in the forest.
  • Visit a place so different it's like an alien world.
  • Travel to other countries.
  • Eat the local food.
  • Drive a really fast car.
  • Eat pie at mom and pop diners in towns off the highway.
  • Take photos and remember.
  • Visit long unseen friends and ask them if they believe in ghosts.
  • Walk in the rain.
  • Explore ruins.
  • See how the other half lives.
  • Don't be an asshole while you're at it.
  • Don't panic.