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Characters and Settings: How I Keep It Together #MFRWAuthors

I stumbled around for a long time trying to work out a system of getting characters and settings settled in my mind. I usually start with an actor who could play the character I have in mind. Being able to see real people makes their physical characteristics easier to describe.But after awhile I tended to mix them up with other characters in the book—or even another book. Sometimes I totally forget what I’ve written. My haphazard records didn’t ensure that my characters eye color or hair didn’t change from one page to the next. In 2009, everything changed. I discovered a book called Break Into Fiction by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. I worked through all the exercises and pulled all my notes together. I didn’t have to generate new information about my characters but this book gave me a record keeping system.

Since then I’ve looked at several systems for creating characters and settings but none have been as helpful as this book. Moreover, I attended two weekend workshops with Ms. Buckham which cleared up questions I had.

I’m afraid I’m not as particular about settings. The ones in my books tend to be real places I have been or seen. For example, Zander’s apartment in House of the Rising Son is modeled after Brian Kinney’s loft in Queer as Folk. Although I may change a few things, having concrete places in mind keeps me from having settings change constantly.

Today when I have a new plot percolating, one of the first things I do is to pull out my copy of Break Into Fiction and tackle those worksheets. I may not come up with all the answers when I start but this system reminds me that I need to know them to finish.

It's a Little Like Giving Birth #MFRWauthor

People ask me all the time if I write myself into my books. Yes and no. Most of my characters are male so I don’t particularly identify with them other than finding them attractive and, for my heroes, likeable. My ego may show up in a female character at some point, probably more as someone I'd like to be rather than who I am. That being said, I’m not sure that it is possible to create without having myself in my writing to a significant amount. Getting a book to print is a little like giving birth: Your DNA is in the mix with your blood, sweat and tears. And it's all fun and games until you have to painstakingly squeeze out actual words that you  hope other people will find as wonderful as you do.

More to the point, like DNA is passed onto one's children, my interests and choices are infused in my stories. For example, on a simple level my characters—or at least my heroes—will look and behave in a manner I find appealing. My heroes are either significantly short or exceptionally tall. None of those average height guys for me. They'll all have long hair because I like long hair. Their clothing may change to conform to the story but it will still be something I find attractive. So my preferences and desires will always be present.

In terms of personality and behavior, the protagonists in my books are unlikely heroes who have to go the extra mile to prove they are worthy. I’m not sure that means anything more than their struggle is huge (and therefore more interesting to me). I would have a difficult time writing about a gorgeous billionaire who has to fight to get ahead. Kudos to those who can.

Because it's so important in my life, music will usually play a role in my stories. If nothing else, a minor character will be a musician but most often it will be a significant element in the setting or in the life of a main character. I frequently get ideas for stories from music. I am sure that the mood of the music I play while writing affects the words on the page. Emotional music makes for an emotional story. Sexy music…well, you know.

There is also the aspect of the time and effort that goes into writing these stories. If I'm tired and pressed for time, my writing echoes a negative feel and drags on. In revisions, I can effectively moderate this tone. On the other hand, if I'm excited about the story or something else in my life, my writing takes on a lighter, happier, or more optimistic tone.

I dare say people die when I am feeling angry about something. #writerprivilege

#EggcerptExchange: A Cowboy’s Passion by Anita Philmar


A Cowboy's Passion

Blurb:

Tess Van Pelt doesn’t have time to grieve the loss of her husband, not when the wolves are already at the door. Still, she has a lover that is willing to help save her. He introduces her to his cousin, Reece Bristol Smith.

As a lawyer, Reece can keep the debtors at bay. The problem or solution is he can’t keep his hands off Tess. With her deceased husband accused of murder and the major creditor making unreasonable demands, Reece has to secure Tess’s future in the best way he knows how.

Now, will Tess trust him and his cousin to keep her safe or will he need to teach her a few lessons in handing over control to him?

***A Cowboy’s Passion is a hot adult erotic mystery that explores the passion of having multiple partners. MFM

Excerpt:

“Tess, I’d like you to meet my cousin, Reece Bristol Smith.” John waved to the man, walking toward her from the far end of the room. He must have been gazing out the window that overlooked the front porch. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have missed the solid line of his shoulders in his dark blue suit or the aristocratic glint in his gaze, and most of all his uncanny resemblance to his cousin. The two could almost be twins if not for the slight touch of gray at Reece’s temples.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Van Pelt. John has told me a great deal about you.” Reece paused by the end of the couch and waited for John to step out of the way before approaching.

John muttered something and left the room.

Tess stared, fighting the need to stand and walk directly into this stranger’s arms. Could he offer her the same type of pleasure John did? The thought had her shifting restlessly on the couch. The image of them both making love to her at once had her squeezing her hands together.

Tess drew back her shoulders and stiffened her spine. As a new widow, she had a certain decorum she needed to maintain. On the other hand, Gab had only been dead a few days. Wanting sex with a complete stranger didn’t fall on the list of acceptable activities she planned to allow herself.

Hell, she’d managed to keep away from John. She should have the strength to resist his cousin. “He told me you are a lawyer.”

“Yes, and John was kind enough to provide access to your deceased husband’s papers.” Reece sank onto the couch by her feet.

“Well, if that’s true, then you’ve undoubtedly decided you want no part of this mess after all. Gab had a diverse array of business dealings. Some of which I’m not even sure, I’m aware of.” Her gaze ran over the hard line of his jaw and settled on his lower lip. The soft pink flesh had a wet trail from the swipe of his tongue.

Need again washed through her, and she missed his reply.

In fact, she must have failed to catch more than she thought when he rose and stepped to her. As if in a dream, he suddenly stood directly above her with one hand on the back of the couch, the other on the armrest. His handsome face filled her line of sight. Then he moved even closer, and her eyelids fluttered close.

Available at:

Amazon    Barnes and Nobles     Smashwords

Other Books in the  Naked Bluff, Texas series

In Deep Water   Skinny-dipping to cool off in the Trinity River couldn't cause any problems...could it?

In Too Deep   The peace of the day is shattered when her best friend steps too far into the Trinity River.

Duty's Bride   Can Sadie have a new life or will her old one rear its ugly head?

More Than Ready   Can a determined woman win her heart's desire?

A Cowboy's Pleasure   Does this cowboy want the job he's being offered?

The Country Doctor's Bride   Run from a murder or marry a doctor, which one will she choose?

Bio for Anita PhilmarAnita Philmar likes to create stories that push the limit. A writer by day and a dreamer by night she wants her readers to see the world in a new way.

Influenced by old movies, she likes to develop places where anything can happen and where special moments come to life in a great read.

Naughty or Nice?

Read her books and decide.

Website:  http://www.anitaphilmar.com/

Email: anitaphilmar@yahoo.com

Blog: http://www.anitaphilmar.blogspot.com/

FB: www.facebook.com/anita.philmar

GR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1329767.Anita_Philmar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anitaphilmar

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Anita-Philmar/e/B002BMBE8C

#EggcerptExchange: Dark Brew by Diana Rubino

DARK BREW A time travel romance

Learn from the past or forever be doomed to repeat it.

Accused of her husband’s murder, Kylah McKinley, a practicing Druid, travels back through time to her past life in 1324 Ireland and brings the true killer to justice.

Two months of hell change Kylah’s life forever. On her many past life regressions, she returns to 14th century Ireland as Alice Kyteler, a druid moneylender falsely accused of murdering her husband. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or forever be doomed to repeat it.

An interview with Diana about Dark Brew

Where did the story come from?

The story took 12 years from start to finish. I’m a longtime member of the Richard III Society, and in the spring of 2004, I read an article in The Ricardian Register by Pamela Butler, about Alice Kyteler, who lived in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1324, and faced witchcraft charges. After her trial and acquittal, she vanished from the annals of history. I couldn't resist writing a book about her.

How did you decide to make it a paranormal?

I’m a believer in reincarnation, and I go on paranormal investigations whenever I can. I’ve gone on several past life regressions. Cape Cod has a lot of history and paranormal activity. I’ve been on many ghost walks and ghost hunts there. I wanted to connect Alice in the past with someone in the present, her reincarnation.

Was Alice Kyteler famous in 14th century Ireland?

Not at all but she was the richest woman in Kilkenny, and for that reason the villagers hated her, especially the men. They accused her of killing her first husband, but she was acquitted. Then they accused her of killing her fourth husband, John LePoer, with witchcraft, the accusations more absurd than those of the 1692 witch hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts. Chancellor Edward de Burgh arrested Alice because her stepsons claimed she had murdered John by casting a witch’s spell with malefecia…and she used the enchanted skull of a beheaded thief as her cauldron.

She went to trial and her dear friend Michael Artson had her acquitted, but she vanished into the annals of history. According to legend, she went to England. But no one knows for sure.

Why did you make it a time travel?

Because my heroine, Kylah McKinley, is a druid and has done many past life regressions, she knows she’s the reincarnation of Alice. So she has to go back and find out what happened to Alice, because too many weird things are happening to her in this life that parallel Alice’s life.

Kylah lives on my beloved Cape Cod. She’s a druid, a ghost hunter and owns a new age store in a restored Revolutionary War-era tavern. She was also the target of a hit-and-run. Another hit-and-run crippled her husband Ted. That’s no coincidence—she’s convinced someone’s out to get them both.

She brews an ancient Druid herb mixture, goes back in time and enters Alice’s life to find out exactly what happened and who killed her husband.

These two months of hell change her life forever. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or she’s doomed to repeat it.

Have you ever spoken to Pamela Butler, who wrote the article about Alice?

Yes, we’ve corresponded. She lives in New Mexico, so we’ve never met in person. I asked Pam what inspired her to write about Alice. I’d never heard of Alice until I read her article, “Witchcraft & Heresy. She replied:

“You asked why I wrote about Alice Kyteler, who preceded Richard by a century-and-a-half. I only wrote it because others on the listserv encouraged me to write about witchcraft, a subject about which I knew very little. I ordered three books from Amazon.com on the subjects of witchcraft, heresy, Satanism, etc. for research reasons. That was my basis, plus I searched the Internet. The Malleus Malleficarum was published in 1487, just two years after Richard's death, so it's almost contemporary. I chanced across Alice in this reading and thought that it was an interesting case. Witch burning was fairly rare in Ireland, and wasn't as bad in England at that time as it had been on the Continent. I wish that the M.M. had never been published; still, the fact that it was published and accepted may reveal the mindset of those times.”

An excerpt from Dark Brew

Kylah shut Ted’s den door. She couldn’t bear to look at the spot where he gasped his last breath. His presence, an imposing force, lingered. So did his scent, a blend of tobacco, pine aftershave and manly sweat. Each reminder ripped into her heart like a knife. Especially now with the funeral looming ahead, the eulogies, the mournful organ hymns, the tolling bells . . .

These ceremonies should bring closure, but they’d only prolong the agony of her grief. She wanted to remember him alive for a while longer, wishing she could delay these morbid customs until the hurt subsided.

Throughout the house, his essence echoed his personality: the wine stain on the carpet, the heap of dirty shirts, shorts and socks piled up in the laundry room, the spattered stove, his fingerprints on the microwave. But she couldn’t bring herself to clean any of it up. Painful as these remnants were, they offered a strange comfort. He still lived here.

“I’ll find that murderer, Teddy,” she promised him over and over, wandering from room to empty room, traces of him lurking in every corner. “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure justice is served. Another past life regression isn’t enough anymore. I know what I have to do now. And I promise, it will never, ever happen again—in any future life.”

She inhaled deeply and breathed him in. “Go take a shower, Teddy.” She chuckled through her tears as the doorbell rang. She cringed, breaking out in cold sweat when she saw the black sedan at the curb.

“Not again.” No sense in hiding, so she let the detectives in.

“Mrs. McKinley, we need your permission to do a search and take some of your husband’s possessions from the house,” Nolan said.

“What for?” She met his steely stare. “I looked everywhere and found nothing.”

“Mrs. McKinley, the cupboard door was open, four jars of herbs are missing, and the autopsy showed he died of herb poisoning. Those herbs,” Nolan added for emphasis, as if it had slipped her feeble mind. “Foxglove, mandrake, hemlock—and an as-yet unidentified one,” he read from a notebook. “The M.E. determined it was a lethal dose.”

Sherlock Holmes got nothin’ on him, she thought.

“Where’s this cupboard, ma’am?” Egan spoke up.

“Right there.” She pointed, its door gaping exactly the way she’d found it that night. Nolan went over to it and peered inside.

“Ma’am, it would be better if you left the house for a half hour or so. Please leave a number where you can be reached,” Egan ordered.

Nolan glanced down the hall. “Where is your bedroom?”

What could they want in the bedroom? “It’s at the top of the stairs on the right. But we didn’t sleep together,” she offered, as if that would faze them. It didn’t.

After giving him her cell number, she got into her car and drove to the beach.

An hour later, she let herself back in and looked around. They’d taken the computer, her case of CDs, her thumb drive, her remaining herb jars, Ted’s notebooks, and left her alone with one horrible fact: This was now a homicide case and she was the prime suspect.

Purchase Dark Brew

Contact Diana
#RomanticIdea:
Cook an authentic Italian meal, cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, garlic bread, a salad with Italian olive oil, a fine Italian red wine, and a sweet gelato for dessert. Then put on some Sinatra CDs and dance the night away!
My favorite Sinatra album is Come Dance With Me
We always had Sinatra playingin my house when I was growing up. Nearly everyone from Hoboken or anywherenear Hoboken has a Sinatra story; being from Jersey City, I have a Sinatra story: my great grandmother and his mother Dolly were very good friends. Unfortunately I never asked Great Grandma about what she and Dolly talked about but I’ll bet a lot of juicy gossip went around!

#EggcerptExchange: Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem


Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

A Haunted Voices Novel

 Blurb:

An addiction counselor and a security guard struggle to free a little girl and her father, two lost spirits trapped inside an abandoned mental asylum. Addiction counselor Laura Horton returns from college to move in with an old friend and start her career. But her homecoming is jarring. Her friend moves out, leaving Laura alone with the gorgeous but intimidating ex-boyfriend—in a house that snugs up to an ancient graveyard.

Officer Miller Stanford is a man with a shattered past. His alcoholic dad destroyed their family, a weakness Miller is terrified will consume him too. The last thing he needs is a sexy, blonde addiction counselor watching his every move. When he begins to see specters in the dark, he starts questioning his own stability.

But Laura sees her too—a pathetic child-spirit searching for her father. When Laura starts digging into old asylum records, the eerie events escalate . . . Can Miller and Laura uncover the secrets of Talcott Hall without jeopardizing their love—and lives—in the process?

Excerpt:

“Hey. Little girl. Let me help you,” Miller tried again, and the child finally lowered her hands. She was younger than he’d first thought—ten, maybe. Tears streaked her reddened cheeks, glistening in the beam of his headlights. Her pale, golden hair was baby fine and wispy, but tousled and disheveled. As though it hadn’t seen a brush in good long time.

She met his gaze with eyes like the man’s, clear and blue and strangely luminescent. The sadness Miller saw behind them made his chest ache.

“Where did your friend go, sweetheart? The man who came out with you. Where did he go?”

She stared at him with lips quivering before her face crumpled again. “I don’t know. I don’t know where Daddy is. I’ve been looking and looking for him. Every time I think I’ve found him, he goes away.”

Miller swallowed. Yeah, that’s one way to describe the mysterious vanishing act.

He drew in a breath and tried again. “What’s your name, sweetie? Was that your daddy with you?”

Head bobbing, the tears flowed freely now, and she wouldn’t take her eyes off Miller’s face. He felt a lump growing in his own throat, as though she was somehow transferring her pain to him. His hands, clasped in front of him, began to shake.

When she spoke again, her voice took on an echoed quality, as though she were receding into an empty culvert. “I’m Greta. And I’m looking for my daddy. He used to live here. But I keep coming back to find him, and nobody knows where he is.” She dropped her chin to her chest and ground her knuckles against her eyes.

“Greta,” he repeated, a stab of pity piercing his gut. So freaking pathetic. A forlorn little girl . . .his own memories rose up like foul-smelling steam. Swallowing hard, he pressed on. “Greta, honey, what’s your last name?”

When she looked up, Miller gasped. Behind her, against the fence, a bright red McDonald’s French fry box clung to the base of the chain link. Directly behind her, yet he could see it clearly. That’s when he realized he could see . . .right . . .through her.

Claire Gem Bio:

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of emotional romance—sexy contemporary, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She writes about strong, resilient women who won’t give up their quest for a happy-ever-after—and the men lucky enough to earn their love. No helpless, hapless heroines here. These spunky ladies redefine romance, on their terms.

Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival. Her rock star contemporary, The Phoenix Syndrome, won the women’s fiction division in FCRWA’s The Beacon Contest.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 38 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

You can find out more about Claire and her work here:

Website:                      http://www.clairegem.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.emotionalcontemporaryromance.com

Facebook:                    http://www.facebook.com/clairegem.author

Twitter:                       http://www.twitter.com/gemwriter

Buy Links:

Createspace:            https://www.createspace.com/6899776

Amazon:                   http://amzn.to/2jt6k1p

Book Trailer:             http://bit.ly/1QreCAY

 

 

 

 

 

By Any Other Name

I have a habit of giving multiple names to people, pets, and books. Granted, I start out with perfectly acceptable names, but they tend to morph into whatever strikes my fancy at any given time or circumstance.

For example, we adopted a cute little dog named Muffin. We were told she was 19 months old and full grown at 25 pounds. We didn't think she looked like a Muffin so we changed her name to Molly. When she started to get a bit chubby she became Molly Muffintop, which morphed into Milenko and then The Grest Milenko (said in the sing song voice of Insane Clown Posse). Later, when she topped 50 pounds and started jerking on her lead and popping one of my ribs,  she became Tank.

That is the same route my titles usually take. It starts with what we think the story will be. House of the Rising Son started out life as "Beautiful Strange" which captured the essence of our main character. Then one day my partner and I were cooking. She'd opened a can of pineapple and I cautioned her to be careful because the can seemed to be sticky on the rim.  Boom! We both knew that had to be the books true title-- "Sticky on the Rim". The two main characters were trying to break free from their families' expectations so they could live the lives they wanted, but each time they were close to breaking free something kept them from taking the last step. Seemed  logical to me. The publisher didn't agree, and the title became House of the Rising Son.

The series carries the same name as my blog--Living After Midnight. When my partner and I first started writing stories together, we both held full time jobs and had other responsibilities. Writing took place at the end of the day after everything else was finished. Late night phone calls helped us flesh out what we were writing. It became our truth that we were existing during the rest of the day but truly living after midnight.

My two current works in progress have already had two names each. I wonder what turns life will take, and what additional names we'll uncover.

They love you anyway: Best Friends #MFRWAuthor

“Best friend” is an interesting, complex concept. It seems to have a variety of meanings, depending on who you're asking and the context.. To make it even more complicated, our understanding of  “best friend” changes with each stage of development—at least in my observation. When you’re five, your best friend is the kid you see most often. When you’re a teenaged girl, it’s the person you giggle with. And when you’re middle-aged, it’s the person who simply understands you the most—and loves you despite yourself. As a teen, my best friend and I shared a love of The Rolling Stones. We didn’t have access to concerts, but we spent time together listening to albums, hunting down the latest magazines with even the tiniest snippet of information and pictures. Oh, the pictures. The cooler and sexier the better. Mic Jaggar did not disappoint.

Our love of music didn’t end with Mic and the gang. We also got into the local music scene, going to clubs headlined by acts from across the region. We spent every free minute together. I thought we would always be friends, but it wasn’t meant to be. As time went on our interests changed. We saw less and less of each other. In tenth grade boys entered the picture, and we drifted apart for good. That relationship marked the last “best friend” in my life for many, many years.

When I met my current best friend, it was for a similar reason--lust, I mean, love of a popular rock star. The one and only Prince. She and I started as pen-pals, and met for the first time at one of his concerts in 1993. Although we lived 900 miles apart we kept writing. We also managed to visit frequently and attend dozens of his concerts together.

About twelve years ago, life took an interesting turn and brought me to New England. She’d recently moved here too. Distance isn't an issue anymore. We’re able to share a wider variety of interests. We've tried ski lodges, Niagara Falls, comic cons, shows like Supernaturalists, Cirque du Soleil, and I've even dragged her to WWE wrestling matches. We try new things, and encourage each other to be braver than we would be alone.

Besides our common interests, she is my confidant. She’s gives me a kick in the ass when the pity parties go on too long, and she is a safe shoulder to cry on. When I need help because my back is hurting, or because I again bought something that I can’t assemble alone (or given my tendency to put things together backwards or inside out, shouldn’t), she’s right there. I don’t even have to ask. She accepts me for who I am, with all my quirks and flaws that other people have tried to change.

Because she knows me so well, she understands it wouldn’t work anyway.

Check out these other great posts!

The Setting Thesaurus Books Are Here!

As a reader I’m one of those people who skip ahead when I see long sections of description of anything—setting, sex, fights---because I find most to be boring and/or repetitive. As a writer sitting down to pen my first novel, HOUSE OF THE RISING SON, I struggled with description because I didn’t want MY scenes to be boring and/or repetitive. I found myself falling back on my favorite words and style. I also tried to find just the right nuances for the feelings that my characters experienced. I was thrilled to discover the first editions of the thesaurus series by Angela Ackerman, and Becca Puglisi. I found myself referring to these books over and over to help add variety to my work. I credited The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression with helping me to bring my characters to life. I'd hope there would be more from these amazing writers.

writershelpingwriters_logo_300x300px_finalWell, there's some good news on this front. Two new books have released this week that may change the description game for writers. The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to City Spaces and The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces look at the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds that a character might experience within 225 different contemporary settings. And this is only the start of what these books offer writers.

In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entry from the Urban Setting Thesaurus: Antiques Shop.

And there's one more thing you might want to know more about....

Rock_The_Vault_WHW1Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT. At the heart of Writers Helping Writers is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.

A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking...if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.

Ready to do your part? Stop by Writers Helping Writers to find out more!

I Used to Have Pen Pals

Before the Internet I use to have pen pals. Some of the pen pals were in circles with my other pen pals and we had community of people with shared interest. When the Internet came along it seemed logical to send email instead of snail mail. That was a wonderful boon. No postage costs and no stationery to buy. Except I love beautiful stationery. I continued to buy it even though I had no one to share with. The second problem, and really the biggest, was that with instant communication, there was no time for anything to happen between emails. Therefore, there was nothing to talk about. Those days or weeks between letters became seconds and email ‘letters’ got shorter and shorter until they disappeared into the black hole of social media.

First it was My Space. At least you had to log on to MySpace to see if anyone had written to you.Then there was Facebook and no one wrote to anyone specifically. People just blurted any thought out there for you to see, or not, on your feed. And no one was communicating with anyone.

I miss connecting with people who share the same interest as I have. Blogs seem to have the most potential to actually communicate —assuming people comment on posts. I blog because I miss that community I had back in the 90s.

My interests have changed since then in many ways. I don’t show dogs any more or do crafts. I still write and more of my time is spent on that. I still love music and movies and books. My favorite authors are still the same. It’s nice to be able to find LGBT books out in the open instead of only available on hard to find websites. Supernatural/paranormal books, movies, and TV shows abound.

Through blogging I hope to connect with others who share my interests. So if you write,or like to read, love animals, or enjoy music, stop by and say so. I look forward to meeting you.

It's a Wonderful Year In Review

Greetings from the wilds of Connecticut. As the New Year looms I’m doing my usual contemplation of the year that is passing. Per usual, 2015 has been filled with adventures and challenges. In January, a publishing company contacted me about my manuscript. The editor loved our characters and found our story unique. She requested that I revise a few things and resubmit my work.

Consequently, I started off the year tucked away in my office revising the manuscript. January and February are but a blur. In March, I received an offer of publication with Samhain Publishing. As soon as I signed the contract we received additional offers. Pretty cool, right? From March to August, I engaged in an apparently typical dance of edits.

March was rather busy. I participated in a workshop with the renowned screenwriter Michael Hauge, and attended a seminar on a powerful word processing application called Scrivener. On the non-writing front, my partner and I drove to New Jersey to meet our new crush, the WWE Superstar Roman Reigns. Unfortunately, once we landed there we learned a huge snowstorm was imminent. Logic and safety prevailed and we turned around and headed back home, barely beating the storm. (We later saw pictures of the dozens of vehicles stranded due to snow-packed and slippery driving conditions. Whew!)

April brought sadder news. Mu oldest puppy Chloe began to have back

Chloe and Molly

problems, commencing a long journey of appointments, tests, medication trials, and sadness—I missed her incessant barking, her thievery of shoes and pens. My usually active and playful girl was largely sedentary and clearly in pain. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with bone spurs along her spine and arthritis. Thankfully, her current medication regimen seems to have done the trick. Chloe is as active, playful and annoying as ever.

Having missed Roman in April, in May my partner and I headed to Long Island for RAW, a WWE wrestling event and the last event being held at the Nassau Coliseum. Although we didn’t get to meet Roman individually, we saw him and my future ex-husband (WWE Superstar Randy Orton) fight and win their respective matches. It was awesome.

At the end of May, I loaded up Molly and Chloe in the car and headed to Va. to spend time with family. Although they were both harnessed onto the car seat, our high-strung not-so-little Molly managed to spend most of the trip squeezing against and laying on Chloe for comfort. It was their first (and likely last) two-day car ride.

We caught Kid Rock’s show again at the Xfinity Theater in Hartford. As always, he brought the house down with his musicianship and showmanship. Although we heard him, we didn’t actually see him due to the very tall group of dancing, drunken men in the rows in front of us. The highlight of the concert was the opening act: Foreigner. Kelly Hanson ROCKS.

I barely slept in my own home in July. We saw Chris Angel’s “Supernaturalists” show at Foxwoods. My partner and I are still talking about some of the illusions that seemed to defy the laws of physics. Barely back a few days, we then headed to Atlantic City. That trip was marred only by an unfortunate choice of hotel parking garages. Our car was miles and miles away from our hotel room—or so it seemed.

monkey

Later, we spent a luxurious week at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, attending the Romance Writers of America conference. I was presented with my Debut Author designation, acquired a suitcase filled with books, and met the CEO of my publishing company. We also ate at Junior’s in Times Square many, many times. Little Monkey came with us to NYC, of course, and had to be rescued from the deceptively high, glass enclosed elevator shaft. Actually, Monkey accompanied us everywhere this year. By the way, he’s still claiming to have written every movie on the SyFy channel that has a primate in it. Since he has yet to contribute to the household finances, we think he’s lying.

I spent August developing a marketing plan for my book launch. I reluctantly learned how to use Twitter.

September was an extraordinary time. I spent an intensive writing weekend with Mary Buckham, an author/teacher famous for her approach to plotting novels, developing active settings and more. This was also the month that my novel, House of the Rising Son, was published. I held a whirlwind blog tour (appearing as “guest author” on dozens of blogs between September and November) and participated in a Facebook event. The book launched to numerous great reviews. In October I participated in my first book signing.

To celebrate Fall, I enjoyed a day at a Harvest Fair and decorated for Halloween. My partner and I had a great time dressing up and sitting on our front bench handing out candy to surprised treat-or-treaters and some of their parents. Since the best promotion for a first book is the release of book number two, we trekked to Foxwoods for a mini writing retreat.

November was crazed. My critique group (Writers Circle) held its annual holiday party. This is a group of supportive writers helping each other to produce her best work. My partner and I attended the Rhode Island Comicon, fascinated to meet people as into Supernatural, Game of Thrones, dragons and Sons of Anarchy as we are. It was also the most crowded, claustrophobia-producing event we’ve ever attended. Conference attendees moved along wide corridors much like sardines would move in their can, often carried more by the current than by intention. Would we do it again? Maybe. Was it worth it? Well, meeting and having a picture taken with Jason Momoa makes most anything worth it.

Later in the month, I sat on a discussion panel regarding “Diversity in Genre Fiction”. And we again had the gift of time with family with a visit around Thanksgiving.

November was inconvenienced with medical issues. My partner took a tumble down the basement stairs. She was sore and bruised, but without any serious injury. On Thanksgiving Day I woke up to intense vertigo that lasted over a week. Thankfully my chiropractor is a magician.

December finds us both still recovering with antibiotics, Prednisone, and tea. We have big plans—a trip to Deerfield Ma., seeing the holiday lights at Lake Compounce, baking cookies and shopping. We have hopes to do these things and more as we start to feel better.

From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and joyful holidays. All possible blessings of health, happiness, peace and serenity to you and yours in 2016.

All the best,

Trevann, Molly, Chloe and Lil’ Monkey

Happy Holidays from Trevann

Dress Up Dress Down Friday:Guest author Guy Ogan #MFRWAuthor

Please join me in welcoming Guy Ogan, as he gives us a peek at the attire of a Russian officer.  *******

Blurb: The enemy vampires have been eradicated, so it appears our guardian vampires may look forward to a peaceful existence. Eviana is planning on having more children; she has had a son, now she wants a daughter. Magdalena, believing she is incapable of having children, still would like to be married. However, much as in human life, peace and family are placed in harms' way by unforeseen events.

Immortal Relations, Love and War amps up the action of the first book to a fever pitch. The greedy leaders of Communist China plan to capture the oil, gold and mineral rich fields of Siberia by decapitating the Russian Federation's Government as a prelude to invasion. Minions of rich OPEC Sheiks seek to stem the flow of Russian Oil so OPEC can raise prices to destroy the economies of the West. The plan to use a "dirty bomb" to destroy the main pumping station and have the radiation make the oil fields unusable.

The radiation containment cap at Chernobyl is failing; the release of poisonous radiation could happen at any time. Worse, some scientists predict the damaged nuclear reactor at Fukushima, Japan could collapse and cause a potential Extinction Level Event!

Who, or what, can be called upon to save civilization and mankind and what impact will the vampire covens experience? Could potentially catastrophic events turn out to offer unforeseen opportunities?

An "Immortal Relations" reader said: "Being a bit of a vampire-phile, I find myself constantly searching for the next vampire series to reach out and grab, or, more appropriately, bite me. I believe I have found my holy grail of vampire novels..." Buy link: http://amazon.com/dp/B00A4IEHL6 

Excerpt (Shortened): It was a short flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg. There, our party was met by two limousines and whisked along to the historic Hermitage Museum. Arriving, it looked to me like the whole world was there, I didn't know why President Kolukov had me wear the Russian General's Uniform he gave me, but I wanted to humor my good friend. We exited the limousine onto a red velvet carpet that had wide gold piping down each side and which looked to be almost 400 meters long. I thought it odd that President Kolukov had me stand to his left and next to him, when Stephan was senior in rank ot my uniform. When we got to the head of the carpet we turned. Stephan and Adam moving behind us, I looked up and turning the corner onto the same red carpet we had just traveled was someone I would recognize anywhere, under any circumstance. It was Magdalena, on the arm of Roger, our doctor. At first I was confuse, but when I saw the dress she wore, an exact copy of her hand made blue dress, only in brilliant white and then heard the music, I realized what was happening...Magdalena and I were getting married! My friends had somehow arranged all this without even a hint that I picked up on. I had already glanced at some of those on either side of the isle and thought I recognized some political figures from various countries.

As Magdalena was escorted slowly forward, I was unable to look anywhere else; she was the only thing that existed in my universe. When she got close, I noticed she had a ribbon with a gold star hanging from it pinned over her left breast. I'd seen a similar medal, back when it was called "Hero of the Soviet Union," but this one had the double eagle of the Russian Federation. Only an old "war horse" like me would notices that when the woman he loved stood in front of him. An Eastern Orthodox Priest spoke the vows, translated into English for me. Magdalena didn't need a translator as she spoke several languages, Russian being one of them. We both answered "I do" and "I will," then I was asked to put the ring on Magdalena's finger - I started to panic, but Kolukov stepped forward and handed me a ring. My eyes bulged when I looked at it as it must have been five carats of a Red Ruby mounted in Gold! He said, "Just a little bobble courtesy of the Russian people and the Hermitage. I placed it on the finger of my bride, we were officially married and we kissed. Maggie red my thought and on impulse we both turned and kissed Kolukov, each of us on one side of his face. he broke out in loud laughter and said, "Everything has been taken care of for tonight, but the car will be there to pick you both up at 0900 tomorrow."

The two of us shook hands with Stephan, Adam and Roger, and then we made a bee-line to the limo that pulled up nearby,, as the driver beckoned to us. As we drove off, I wasn't aware of anything else except the pools of eternity that were Maggie's eyes! A few minutes after arriving at the hotel and in our rooms, I heard a knock. When I opened it I was dumbstruck to see the face I never expected to see in a hotel. He asked, "Will you invite me in?"

I stammered, "Of course, sir, you are most welcome, always!"

I think Maggie was as surprised as I was as Vlad Dracula walked into our honeymoon suite.

Vlad said, "I watched your marriage ceremony from the roof of the Hermitage Portico, I think it went very well. I hear you both are flying back to Prague in the morning. I am leaving in my private train in an hour or so, but I wanted to stop by and give you both my congratulations and my profound appreciation for all you have done." With that Vlad took Magdalena's hand and kissed it in formal European fashion, shook my hand, turned back to Magdalena and handed her a small box, smiled at both of us, then turned and walked out the door. I have to admit, I stuck my head out the door, but he had disappeared into think air.

I went to the closet and found my good suit hanging there, as well as my old suit, the one that had once had bullet holes in it from the terrorist ambush. It had been expertly repaired. I remarked to Maggie, "I doubt any tailor in the stares could have done that quality of work - our society would have just thrown it out. Maggie had hung her new dress up and when I looked she was wearing a beautiful white set of lingerie complete with white stocking, garter-belt and demi-bra. I was all silky, lacy and very sexy. Part of me stood at attention seeing her looking that way. Maggie suddenly scooped me up and flew over to the bed, placing me on it. I remarked, "I thought that was my job?" Maggie said I was taking too long so she got tired of waiting.

I said, "We're vampires, we've got eternity...why the rush?"

Maggie replied, "We have to be on the plane in less than 12 hours, and I've got an agenda planed for you to do to me, my loving husband, and a few things I intend to do to you as well!"

Author Bio: Born in Washington D.C. during the early stages of WW-II, Guy & his mother moved to Texas while father went off to war as a member of the Office of Strategic Services later to become the C.I.A. After the war, mother and child returned to Arlington, VA to join his father now working back in Washington and on "temporary duty" in spots around the world. Guy was interested and involved in long-distance running, which he continued when the family moved to Northern California in the late 50s. He graduated from Los Altos High School, obtained an Associate of Arts from Foothill Junior College and Transferred to Texas Christian University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission in the U.S.A.F. while in the military he obtained a Master of Arts from the European Campus of Ball State and upon his retirement from the service completed a second graduate degree, Master of Education, from Hardin-Simmons. While in this program he taught undergraduate Psychology, Sociology and Counseling at local colleges as well as writing a book on the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder. He was then employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TX Prison System) to write treatment programs for inmates with addictions and later as an Associate Clinical Psychologist, retiring early to care for his disabled mother upon the passing of his father. He and his wife have two grown children and four grandchildren as well as three Pomeranians. They now live in West Texas.

To read more about the books or the author, check out these sites: http://immortalrelations.blogspot.com/ or http://amazon.com/author/guyogan