Goodbye, Old Friend . . .

Writers are typically sensitive souls, rife with insecurity and doubt. When a reader/fan extends encouragement, it often means more than they could possibly know.

I had a reader like that. He became my friend, though we never met. We communicated through emails, Facebook and private messages. He always issued motivation and hope, especially when I had taken a hiatus to help care for a special needs grandson. So when I discovered Carlin had cancer, I prayed and tried to offer uplifting words, though I feel I may have failed miserably.

As the time between messages grew longer and longer, I kept up with his progress through his wife’s regular posts. Occasionally she would upload photos and i could see how frail he’d become. His humor and internal strength remained strong, however, evidenced by sporadic appearances on Facebook. It was hard to imagine Carlin not beating the Big “C” . . . but he didn’t.

Today Carlin Kallay succumbed to his disease. I grieve. I lost a friend. A fan. A great influence in my life and writing career. I’m not sure he knew how much I cared and appreciated his kindness, but I know.

God speed, Carlin. You earned your wings.

Author Resource: The Emotion Thesaurus

This is the first of a new blog post series called Author Resource. With so much information available via digital and print, it’s often difficult to weed through it all and find the gems. And I have a wonderful “gem” for you today . . . read on!

EmotionEvery author knows the term “show, don’t tell”. It’s perhaps the first rule many of us learned as budding writers – but at times, it doesn’t matter how much you utilize a thesaurus . . . the right words to “show” how our character feels escapes us.  Such a stumbling block can mean the difference between a best seller and a dud because emotion is key to any successful novel.

Well, now there’s help.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have written an outstanding guideline entitled The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. This is not a new release. It was published in May, 2012 but many of you may not be aware of its existence, hence my tip for today.

After a brief explanation about how to use the thesaurus and a few pages on techniques for writing non-verbal emotion, the book flows right into a smartly formatted reference guide. You simply search for a word and find the phrase or term you think best fits your character’s emotional state. For example, “amusement”: under the heading, the word is defined. Following are physical signals such as “smirking or offering a bemused smile”. Next are internal signals, mental responses, cues for long term or suppressed amusement and finally, writer’s tips.

I love The Emotion Thesaurus. On days when I’m tired and my brain is overworked, it’s a lifesaver, allowing me to plow through pages I would previously have walked away from, claiming writer’s block.

But the authors don’t stop there. This talented duo also published companion books, The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. If you own one of the many character archetype books and think you don’t need anything else, think again. These guides serve as a quick reference without pouring through paragraphs of psychological explanation.

For more information and a plethora of other useful tidbits, check out their website WritersHelpingWriters.net. Angela and Becca make a formidable team, offering tips on every writing scenario you can imagine. 

AMAZON   Other buy links available from Writers Helping Writers website.

Positive

Negative

 

Paper Doll – A Mystery With So Much More

51-lvAPX9sL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_REVIEW:

PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane Mystery Book 1) by Joe Cosentino should be on everyone’s summer reading list – not just because it’s a well written mystery thriller but because it’s fun! Quirky. Refreshing. And will keep you guessing to the end.

I loved the cast of characters. Each eccentric soul is motivated by their own agenda and it’s often not what you think.

Start with little Jana Lane, famous child actress who walked away from fame after a heinous attack. Now she’s all grown up with a family of her own and living nicely on residual income . . . but still haunted by nightmares from her past. Her hunky husband is struggling to overcome a bankruptcy but is doing okay with his new landscaping business – much to the aversion of his father-in-law, an aging movie star who wants to use Jana to resurrect his own career. And then there’s Jana’s delightful BFF who is openly gay and openly lusts for husband but would never breach their friendship. Or would he?

PAPER DOLL is a mystery but in many ways, more of a character driven satire. Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood. As much as I enjoyed the glimpse of glamour and glitz, it was the insightful presentation of diverse personalities that kept me hooked.

I admit, the ending caught me off guard. I identified the villain but was surprised by some of the outcomes with the supporting cast. And that made me love this book even more.

I think you will, too.

MY RATING – ★★★★★

Available at AMAZON

Paper Doll 

Jana Lane Mystery – Book 1

Joe Cosentino

  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press LLC (March 5, 2015)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00THKODUC

Book Description:

Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.

About the Author:

JoeJoe Cosentino is the author of AN INFATUATION (Dreamspinner Press), PAPER DOLL Jana Lane mystery 1 (Whiskey Creek Press), DRAMA QUEEN Nicky and Noah mystery 1 (Lethe Press), A SHOOTING STAR (Dreamspinner Press–releasing this September), A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Dreamspinner Press–releasing this December), THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (Dreamspinner Press–releasing 2016), PORCELAIN DOLL Jana Lane mystery 2 (Wild Rose Press–releasing 2016), DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah mystery 2 (Lethe Press–releasing 2016), and THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, INFATUATION and NEIGHBOR, were performed in New York City. He wrote “The Perils of Pauline,” available on CDROM (through Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and MA from SUNY New Paltz. He is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Horror Short Story: Unmarked Graves

Check out my “other” blog, OlDogandMe.com for new short story series, The Lost Highway – beginning with a free read, “Unmarked Graves”. As you may (or may not) know, I’ve embraced LostHighwayCoverthe nomadic life. Hubby, dog, cat and me are wandering full time in an RV. I research local history and lore along the way, converting those tidbits into short stories that will eventually find their way to a novel length anthology. In the meantime, I’ll post a few shorties on my travel blog along with posts about our travels.

I’m still working on my other novels: Book 2 in the Daisy Red-Tail Novel series, a thiller – Dark Mountain, and by request – Book 3 in the Clans of Tagus paranormal fantasy series. Until then, enjoy this short tale about “Unmarked Graves”.

http://oldogandme.com/the-lost-highway-tales/unmarked-graves/

 

Dead Men Don’t Talk – 5 star Review at Reading Alley

Every author anxiously waits for readers to weigh in on their novels. Even though many books are read in a matter of hours or days, the writer may have spent months…even years…penning those pages. It’s no secret most creative souls are neurotic.and self-doubting. We want, NEED DeadMenFinalvalidation that someone found it worthwhile.

I received mine from a gracious reader at Reading Alley….FIVE STARS! Thank you for making my day!

https://www.readingalley.com/book/view_review/2d3d4753/1/da3245a3/

Available at AMAZON

Turn On The Air – It’s About To Get HOT! DEACON by Cheryl Douglas

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Deacon Banner 851 x 315

Deacon

Starkis Family – BOOK 1

Cheryl Douglas

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: June 15th, 2015

Number of pages: 158

Word Count: 74k

Cover Artist: Fantasia Frog Designs

Deacon Teaser 6Book Description:

When Deacon Sarkis sets his sights on the gorgeous young model gracing the pages of his glossy catalogue, he knows he has to have her. One problem. She’s not available. But that won’t stop Deacon. He’s a man used to getting what he wants and he wants Mia.

Mia is stunned when she receives an email from the elusive billionaire who owns the lingerie company she models for. He tells her he’s intrigued. He’s not the only one. But she knows she’d be a fool to throw away an eight year relationship for a brief affair with the head honcho. He doesn’t do relationships and she doesn’t do casual sex. It seems they’re at an impasse.

Who will come out on top in this battle of wills? The dominant one or the woman intent on teaching him the meaning of submission?

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/QxVASAZvtqQ

Deacon coverEXCERPT:

I barged into Deacon’s office at eight o’clock that evening. Since his silver Lamborghiniwas one of the few cars left in the parking lot, I wasn’t too concerned about interrupting a meeting. He looked up from his computer when I stormed in, and a smile quickly replaced his scowl.

“They let you in without clearance?”

I plopped down in the seat across from him, trying not to notice how tempting he looked with his sleeves rolled up and no tie on. “The receptionist who usually guards your castle left for the day, and the security guard at the front desk has a crush on me, so he didn’t ask any questions.”

He frowned. “Which security guard is that?”

I spotted a stress ball on the corner of his desk. I doubted he used it; it looked like a promo item Alabaster’s gave away. I whipped it at his chest. “You’re not serious.”

He laughed, catching the ball before it hit him. “You have a pretty good arm.”

“Shut up, Deacon!” The nagging voice in the back of my head reminded me I was talking to my boss, but I told her to mind her own goddamn business and go back to sleep. “I’m pissed at you.”

He leaned back, kicking his feet up on the desk as he tossed the ball from one hand to the other and squeezed it. “Do tell.”

“You told Eleni about us.”

“So?”

“So you had no right to do that!” He seemed totally unfazed by my anger, which only incensed me further. “She’s my friend. I should have been the one to tell her, when—or if—I decided there was anything worth telling her.” That got his attention.

When he pinned me with that hot gaze, I feared he would demand I bend over the desk and take my punishment like a brave girl.

“I asked you not to tell anyone, including Eleni. You didn’t, and I appreciate that. Now that you’re single, I’ve decided it’s time your best friend know about our… relationship.”

The way he said relationship made me feel as though he had been seeking a different word but come up short. Arrangement, perhaps? Was that what this was to him?

Not willing to let him have the last word, I said, “We’re not in a relationship. We’re still getting to know each other. If I like what I see, I might agree to date you, though not exclusively. I’ve been tied down too long to get serious again so soon.” I swallowed, averting my eyes when the thin skin across his knuckles turned white from the pressure he was inflicting on the ball.

“Let me get this straight. You might agree to date me—though not exclusively?”

I was almost afraid to push him further, but if I backed down, that would set a precedent for all future arguments. “That’s right. If you have a problem with that, we can part ways now and—”

He planted his feet on the floor and made his way around the desk slowly, like a panther preparing to devour its prey. He gripped the armrests of my chair, his face a fraction of an inch from mine. I held my breath—waiting, praying, and trying to predict what he might do next. Pushing him had been a very bad idea.

“You really think that’s an option?” he whispered.

cherylAbout the Author:

When one door closes, another one opens. I closed the door to my business for the last time in 2011, which left me with a decision. What now? Find another location and move my nutrition business, go to work for someone else, or take a chance on my dream? I chose the latter and I’ve never looked back!

I’ve always loved reading and writing, but it wasn’t until I jumped in with both feet and decided writing would be my career, instead of just a hobby, that my muse woke up from her deep slumber.

It was like someone flipped a switch inside my head and stories just came pouring out. At the end of the day, I would often look at the keyboard and wonder, ‘Who the heck wrote that? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me!’

I don’t write books. I tell stories, or rather, I allow my characters to tell their stories through me. I’m not a plotter, never have been, never will be. Why? Because I have no idea how the story will evolve and it’s not my place to manipulate it. My job is to get to know these characters, figure out what makes them tick, then follow their journey wherever it takes me.

When I’m not writing, I’m daydreaming. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband and son who know I’ll re-join the land of the living just as soon as my muse decides it’s quitting time. I don’t work for myself. I work for her. She’s the boss. And I’m okay with that.

Website: http://cheryldouglasbooks.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cheryldouglasbooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CherylDouglasNN

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5761770.Cheryl_Douglas

Release Day: Amber Prelude by Kevin B. Henry

amber preludeAmber Prelude

Amber Gifts

Prequel

Kevin B. Henry

Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Science Fiction, and History

Publisher: Burst/ Champagne Books

Date of Publication: June 01, 2015

Word Count: 20,000

Formats available: eBook, PDF

Cover Artist: Ellie Smith

Book Description:

Mitchell didn’t really believe the story the Man told him, Just take a sip and speak a year. He whimsically chose a historic event to witness. Little did he know he would become part of that history. Faster than you can say Teithwyr Amser our man Mitchell is chasing a bona fide assassin not only across America but across time.

Amber Prelude will require Mitchell to travel from the America he knows to France and Africa. He will travel to decades and centuries he is unfamiliar with. Mitchell will chase authentic villains and make historic friends, all in an attempt to set history back the way he remembers.

Amber Prelude RDB Banner 851 x 315

Excerpt Chapter One 

1963: New Mexico

It had started simply. I uncapped the vial, drank the liquid, and spoke the year I had chosen aloud. The room spun. I dissolved.

I anticipated nothing happening. I began by sitting at the old wooden table feeling numb. My expectations extended to looking for shelter the following morning. Maybe I would move under a bridge for a short time; maybe I would do something much worse to myself.

I’d experienced severely morbid thoughts for months. Moving often transformed me.  A nightmarish combination of a manic and depressed person was all I had been until the vial. It continued for months, and I expected it to continue forever. What I didn’t expect was a twisting feeling in my chest and lower abdomen. It wasn’t painful, just an unusual feeling. I didn’t expect the room to blur. I blinked several times, but it wasn’t my eyes; the room was blurry. Soon the room ceased to exist.

I had not spent long hours considering the year I would move to. I flippantly selected 1963. It would give me almost ten years before my birth moment and I vanished from the universe forever. The Man was specific about not existing past my birth moment. It would give me a chance to see some of the most tumultuous years in America, civil rights marches, hippies, the moon landing. My choice of year would give me a chance to stand at Dealey Plaza and personally see if there was a second shooter. It was a shallow choice, but it was the best I could come up with.

My first thought as the world congealed around me was that I had said something wrong. Had I said 1863? It was night. The stars above me were crisp and clear. Sagebrush surrounded me in all directions. Gone were the smells of the city. My senses absorbed a clean, fresh smell. This was how I remembered the world use to be. A scrub oak blended with the evening shadows just a few feet to my right. To my left was a light in the distance, a campfire. The flames created dancing shadows on the two trees surrounding the fire. Someone sat next to the fire, stirring the flames, sparks rising into the starry sky.

I walked toward the fire. I didn’t see that I had any choice; every other direction was pitch-black. Halfway there he rose from his place at the fire and raised his left hand above his head.

He sparkled. It wasn’t anything residual from the fire. His whole body twinkled and sparkled. It was disturbing.

“About time, Mitchell,” he yelled. “I’ve been waiting here for damn near three days.” “Come on in. I’m sure you have questions, son.”

I got over my initial anxiety of the twinkle man and sat on the far side of the fire. We had been sitting before the fire for fewer than five minutes. I was dazed, confused, and overwhelmed. Less than an hour ago, I was sitting in a dingy, two-bit hotel room.

Now, here I was, in some large expanse of desert in the company of someone who looked like Ray Teal, that quintessential sheriff on so many TV westerns and movies. He wore standard blue jeans, a simple button-front dress shirt, and a light-gray jacket. This twinkle man had a slouch hat, not exactly cowboy, but not a fedora either. He was half a foot shorter than me, stockier, and a minimum of twenty-five-years older, if I had to guess his age. There was salt and pepper stubble covering his face. His voice was deeper than mine, but not so deep that I envied it.

“Okay,” I began. “Where am I?”

“New Mexico,” he answered without hesitation. “You’re about three miles east of Tucumcari.”

I considered that answer. “When am I?”

“It’s November, 1963.”

“What’s the date, the day?” It concerned me I might miss my reason for picking this year.

“It’s the sixth.” A wave of relief swept over me. I wasn’t too late.

His answers were rapid-fire, no pauses or measurable moments that I would have considered creative thinking. He was either telling the truth or extremely well prepared for my random questions. I tried to think of the relevant questions I should ask. The standard ones, who, what, when, where, seemed a good place to start.

“How did I get here?”

“Well now, that’s an obvious answer to a poorly considered, ill-thought out question.” He shook his head. “You took a drink from that vial you have tucked away in your jacket pocket.”

A sudden gust of wind caused me to wrap my windbreaker tighter around my body. Maybe it wasn’t the night air. I was a little hurt. It wasn’t an attempt at sounding stupid; just understand what had happened to me.

“How did you know I was coming?” Maybe that question would seem less inept.

“Now that’s complicated.” He answered this question more slowly. He was thinking more and not just responding. “My name is Gil, Gil Seward. I got a letter just a few days ago. It asked me to come here and see if you’d appear. The letter said to just wait here a while and see if you drank from the vial or not. If you did, I’m supposed to help you out a little. Get you started and send you on your way.”

“Asked by whom? That guy who gave me the vial?”

“Yeah” was his only response. I hate one-word answers.

“Who was he? Why did he give me this vial?”

“He was someone I owed a favor. I haven’t seen him for a long time. He isn’t someone you need to know. Forget him. I don’t know why he decided to give you his vial. He just did.”

He paused for a while, stirring the fire with his stick, a small branch from one of the nearby trees.

“One last question for now,” he said. “Make it a good one.”

“Okay, Gil,” I said, using his name for the first time. “Why the hell do you sparkle? You look like some creation by Industrial Light, a special effect in a vampire or science fiction movie.”

“Forgot all about that,” he laughed. “You sparkle too. You just can’t see it. You started as soon as you drank from the vial. All Amser will sparkle.”

“What’s an Amser?”

“Sorry, Mitchell, You’ve reached your limit on questions for now. It’s my turn to ask some.”

I started to say something, but the look on his face made me stop. I hoped that ‘for now’ meant there would be more answers in the future.

“What made you pick this year?”

“It wasn’t a rational decision. Who would believe this would really work? I figured I’d see something special, something historic. Dallas and the Kennedy assassination was a significant event in my life. All the other conspiracy theories I remember while growing up could never surpass this one event. Standing on the grassy knoll and knowing beyond a doubt if there was or wasn’t a second shooter seemed as good an idea as any.”

“With all of history to choose from, you wanted to watch somebody die?”

“That wasn’t my motivation.” I said “I thought of it more as watching a documentary on TV.”

“We’ll see what you think of your documentary as you watch it live. Did you have plans afterward?”

“I don’t have many concrete plans. Just live out the next decade before I die.”

“Why would you want to die?”

“The Man said I couldn’t live past my birth moment. That was another reason I came here. That gives me several years to live before that time.”

“He didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“You have it all wrong, Mitchell. You can use that vial repeatedly. Just refill it. You can travel to any year, any time, as often as you want, as many times as you want. You’re not stuck in this year or decade forever.”

I’m not sure my mouth actually fell open, but that is how I remember it.

About the Author:Henry

From an early age, Kevin B. Henry was a voracious reader. His collection of science fiction, fantasy and mystery books bring tears of envy to the eyes of many small community libraries.

Kevin has worked as an educator, technology specialist and day laborer most of his adult life. During all that time he lived the life of a frustrated author. That it took 30 years for him to piece together the series, Amber Gifts is a testament that the best meals need slow cooking to bring out the flavor.

The Amber Gifts Series begins with Amber Gifts. The second story, which is really the first, is Amber Prelude, and is available now. The third story, Amber Legacy continues where Amber Gifts left off. It will be available in November 2015. All are published by the wonderful folks at the Champagne Book Group. A fourth story is in the process of being written.

Kevin is a natural story teller, so it’s logical that he lectures occasionally. Topics range from the implementation of cutting edge technology hardware to the creation, modification and use of e-books within education. He constantly pursues research to expand his range of possible topics. His most recent research revolved around the aerodynamic properties of reindeer. He’s also been known to include little known facts and trivia within his presentations. Did you know just 146 years ago today the Union Army marched into Atlanta. It took longer than anticipated. They were delayed by a traffic jam on I-75 and the toll booth on Ga. 400

He continues to live in the Mid-West without human or domesticated mammal companionship.

Blog/Wesbite: www.ambergifts.blogspot.com

Twitter:       @Kevin_Henry

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmberGifts