Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Finding new and different authors is always a wonderful experience for readers, and it's especially rewarding when you travel long distances to locate them. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is Stephen B. King. He's different from that other writer from Maine, but his stories sound wonderful so I wanted to know more about this Stephen B. King. Here's a little of what he told me and it's a wonderful story:

Life is about the journey, and not the destination, and what a journey my life has been. We are the sum total of our experiences, and not what we eat, in my humble opinion, and when I start talking about my life to people – just before their eyes glaze over – they often say: “You should write a book.” So I have, several in fact. I left school at fifteen in a totally different era to today. I got involved with the music business as a long haired rock guitarist, wrote poems and music and gave it all up for love. I've threatened to write a book for so many years my wife eventually pushed me into it by buying me a new laptop and said: "No more excuses, do it." And so began this amazing journey.


Thrillers and crime genres have always fascinated me, and in particular, the dark world of serial killers, and while my beginnings were in the ‘Make love not war’ sentiment, I love a good, unputdownable, thriller. You know, the kind you just want to read one more chapter of at three in the morning before bed, but you have to be up at six to go to work. Have I succeeded in creating stories that can take people to that place? I hope so. 


My first book, Forever Night, was contracted and published by The Totally Entwined Group's now defunct Evidence Press, and it was followed by a trilogy of Domin8, The Vigilante Taxi and Burial Ground. Repo, my fifth, saw me return to two characters from Forever Night as new private investigators trying to save a man from jail for a murder he did not commit.  The folks at The Wild Rose Press were gracious enough to offer to publish Thirty Three Days. They have also contracted another Trilogy called Deadly Glimpses. I hope I have many more books in me, I often say: I work for a living, but write for a passion.


Did you always want to be a writer?


The short answer is yes. In my younger days I wrote poetry and short stories then got involved in a band as a guitarist so I switched to writing songs. But, in my soul I always yearned to write books because for as far back as I can remember, I’ve been deluged with ideas that I felt needed to be told. Once I married and had children, I gave up music, and spent many years making excuses not to write that first book. My wife bless her, after I had the inspiration to write my first book, Forever Night, bought me a laptop and told me no more excuses. Come to think of it, as Thirty Three Days is book number six, and I spend a lot of time writing; she’s probably come to regret it.

How did you get started in your road to publication?

Leonard Cohen is responsible for my first book.  Aline in on of his songs ‘spoke’ to me. The line was: ‘I live among you, well disguised.’ Long story short, Forever Night was born, the story of a tortured soul who fell in love while being an SAS soldier, but then was wounded and through circumstances became a highly trained Serial Killer. It was almost Kismet that when it was finished its six re-writes I saw a post from a UK publisher launching Evidence Press and they were open to submissions. The timing was perfect, as in life often the right things need to happen at the right time, so I submitted it, and their senior editor fell in love with the concept and the story, and told me all the things I needed to do before they could accept it. I dutifully did what she asked and they contracted it immediately. They also allocated me an editor to work with on whatever other projects I had, and with her help I wrote a trilogy of Domin8, The Vigilante Taxi, and Burial Ground. But then fate stepped in. They were bought out by a big publishing house who promptly shut down the Evidence line and my bubble had burst. I am so thrilled to now be with NY publisher The Wild Rose Press, who are delightful to deal with, always respond to emails, and gave this Australian a chance.

Tell us about your new book and where you got the idea for it.

I’m almost (but not quite) embarrassed to say the basic plot came to me in a dream. One so vivid I sat up in bed and woke my wife to tell her – and she is not someone who likes to be woken early. It’s a story of different facets, a love story that transcends time itself, a tale of genetic modification and the possibility of modifying a blight so that it cannot be stopped. It’s also about a soccer team, who never get above third place because they have forgotten to believe in themselves until Jenny comes along. It’s a story of love trying to find a way to last forever, when probably it can’t, and it’s about learning what is important in life.

How did you come up with your characters for this book?

I’ve long been drawn to telling what I call ‘impossible love stories’ where two people cannot possibly make a relationship work, despite their feelings, or can love somehow find a way? I had a dream about Jenny, a lonely sixty eight year old woman who spent her life attaining three masters’ degrees and then became a university lecturer and never had the time or inclination to date men. When she gets a chance to send her consciousness back in time to her thirty-five year old body on a mission to save the future of mankind for me it was the perfect chance to write my impossible love story. Because she can only stay in the past for thirty three days, and she meets the father of her target, a widower who too thought he would never find love again. They both find the kind of happiness that comes once in a lifetime, but she must go back to the future, and will have no memory of him when she does.

Where do you normally get ideas for your plots? 

Often it’s just a spark. Sometimes a random thought that I feel I need to explore. The only way I can do that is to write, and get lost in my own world. Case in point is Glimpse. I was driving along one day, not thinking anything specific when I had the most bizarre thought pop into my head. Do not ask me why or how, but the thought was: ‘I was five years old when I first saw someone bleed out.’ Now I hasten to add, that never happened in my real life, but the thought was overpowering, and so when I got home I started to write who, why and how someone would say that, and so a trilogy was born.

How do you create your characters? 

Generally the plot dictates the people. For me though, the single most important part of being a writer is to get the characters right. If I can get the reader invest in them, then, and only then can I make them care what happens. I spend a lot of time, trying to make sure I get that right. I worked in the music industry, and have been General Manager of large car dealerships for many years, so have met a lot of diverse people to draw on for inspiration.

What is special about your hero and heroine? 

Jenny is everything she thinks she isn’t. She takes an enormous leap of faith in the word of a stranger to take a drug and go back in time to save the world. She things she is unattractive, boring and uninteresting, yet she is braver than she knows, and get a chance to learn that what she thought was important in life, wasn’t. Its love and family that count more than anything, which she discovers when she falls in love for the fist and only time in her life. I love that about her.

How about a blurb?

Jenny is a lonely university lecturer who's consciousness has traveled back in time to her younger body to try to save the future of the world. A young microbiologist is going to release a genetically modified wheat that will mutate and ultimately destroy all plant life, leaving nothing but barren windswept dust bowls. In the past, Jenny finds a love that has been missing from her life; the kind that comes just once in a lifetime. But Jenny can only stay in that time period for thirty-three days. Meanwhile, in the future, fearful Jenny will fail, plans are made to send another back in time--an assassin. How can she choose between saving the man she loves or saving the future?

What are you working on now (or your next project)  

TWRP have contracted books 1 and 2 of a Trilogy called: Deadly Glimpses. Over three books I tell the story of four people, two couples, whose lives become entwined. One is Rick, a cop whose marriage is shaky due to a previous affair. In the build up to Y2K and the mass hysteria that surrounded the fear of all computers shutting down at midnight December 31 1999, he is paired with a glamorous criminal psychologist to assists in tracking down a serial killer called PPP. It’s an era when female police battled for equality, and psychologists were seen to be the enemy. Her working with Rick leads to a mutual attraction and they battle their desires for each other. Book 1 is called Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer, and see’s Patricia Holmes stabbed during the confrontation with PPP causing her husband to want her to cease working with the cops. Book 2, Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths sees Pat recover and be recalled to the police when 6 teenage girls’ bodies are found in a cave. Their attraction is reignited as they investigate a man who is addicted to beauty. Book 3, Glimpse, The Tender Killer, sees Pat separate from her controlling husband and Rick’s marriage in tatters as they investigate a killer suffering situation schizophrenia. The relationship comes to boiling point, an affair inevitable, just as PPP escapes custody to wreak revenge.


How can readers reach you or find you online?

www.stephen-b-king.com
twitter: @stephenBKing1
Facebook: @stephenbkingauthor


Thank you so much, Stephen, for being my guest today. Any questions or comments for Stephen?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Romantic Trip from Today into Yesterday

Welcome from Denver, Colorado, and the Romance Writers of America  convention, where I will be spending the next few days with romance writers from all around the country. Actually there are some here from various parts of the world as well.  This is a huge convention, but it's a good way to see what the latest trends are in romance reading and writing and I will get an opportunity to find some new books to read and some new authors to bring to you.

Today's guest in My Writing Corner is Linda Bennett Pennell, from Houston, where she lives with her husband and an adorable German Pointer. She says she has been in love with the past for as long as she can remember. Anything with a history, whether it's majestic or shabby draws her in, she says. 

She attributes that love of history to being part of a large extended family that spans several generations and long summers spent on her grandmother's porch or long winter evenings gathered around the fire place. In both instances the time was filled with stories set in the American South.  And naturally those stories found their way into her work.

Linda says her writing has allowed her to re-invent herself with mental wanderings and doesn't that inspire all other writers as we all say, "let's pretend?"  Her latest book is  Miami Days, Havanna Nights.


Sometimes our biggest debts have nothing to do with money.

1926. When seventeen-year-old Sam Ackerman witnesses a mob hit, he is hustled out of New York under the protection of Moshe Toblinsky, A.K.A., the mob’s bookkeeper. Arriving in Miami with no money, no friends, and no place to hide, Sam’s only choice is to do as the gangster demands. Forced into bootlegging, Sam’s misery is compounded when he falls in love. Amazingly, the beautiful, devout Rebecca wants only him, but he cannot give her the life she deserves. When Prohibition ends, Sam begs the mobster to set him free. The price? A debt, as Toblinsky puts it, of friendship. A debt that will one day come due.
 
Present Day. History of American Crime professor Liz Reams has it all - early success, a tantalizing lead on new info about Moshe Toblinsky, and a wonderful man to love. Life is perfect. So what’s keeping her from accepting her guy’s marriage proposals? Confronting a long-standing personal debt sets her on a journey of self-discovery. While she delves ever deeper into Sam’s and Toblinsky’s relationship, her understanding of her own relationships increases as well, but the revelations come at a price. The emotional and physical dangers of her dual journeys may prove too big to handle.
Buy Links:

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F7NFD8K 

Here are Linda's other books:

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel from Soul Mate Publishing

Confederado do Norte from Soul Mate Publishing

When War Came Home from real Cypress Press

Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn from the Wild Rose Press

Miami Days, Havana Nights from Soul Mate Publishing

 She can be reached at:



Twitter:  @LindaPennell



Buy link for Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel:  http://amzn.to/16qq3k5

Buy link for Confederado do Norte:  http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI

Buy ink for When War Came Home: http://amzn.com/B010RXNZRO

Buy link for Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn: http://amzn.com/B0121Q6S88  


Thank you Linda, for being my guest. Questions or comments for Linda?

 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Trip Back in Time


If you enjoy history and reading time travel or paranormal romance, today's guest in My Writing Corner has a real treat for you. Author Mary Morgan has just released her latest tale featuring a tortured Celtic warrior. Mary is an award-winning author who has traveled to Scotland, England and Ireland, where she says she left a part of her soul. She vows to return at some point but for now she lives in Northern California with her own "knight in shining armor."

Mary says her passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much of her time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books, where Mary worked, that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories. Her latest book is Oath of A Warrior.  Here's a blurb:

"You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!"

Fenian Warrior, Rory MacGregor’s love conquests are legendary, but he has never spoken of the one mortal female who captured his heart. After his dark secret is finally revealed, he is ordered to return and seal the wounds left open by her death. Yet, he finds the timeline altered and swears an oath to rewrite fate, even if it brings about his own death.

Erina MacIntyre is known for her healing herbs and love charms. Determined to aid others, she refuses to listen to the whispers that call her a witch. When a Highlander steps forth into her path, he ignites a thread of strange familiarity and sparks a flame of desire she is unable to control.


Can the destiny of two lovers find love once more among the ashes of death and betrayal? Or will history repeat itself, leaving a scorching path of destruction for both mortals and Fae alike?

I like the sound of that story.  Let's get an excerpt:

“Erina, mo ghrá,” he groaned, taking her mouth with savage intensity. She tasted of honey and spices, filling him completely and easing the torment that continually plagued him.

Breaking free, he placed his hands on either side of the door. Giving her all of him required something more from Erina. Without the assurance of accepting him for what he was, Rory would be a lost man.

“Are ye certain ye want to ken all of me? I want ye as sure as the sun rises and sets over the land each day, but ken this, Erina—there is more to me than a simple bedding. There are things about me that might frighten ye. What I’m about to share with ye may cause ye to question my existence, or worse, my sanity.”

Her laugh was seductive and soothing as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “From the moment ye stepped through those trees that first day, I realized ye were not like any man I had encountered. It was as if the trees parted and ye came forth from inside them.” She brushed her fingers along his brow. “For one, ye have the most mesmerizing eyes and they shift colors.”

“And the second?”

Her face turned a rosy glow, yet, she held his gaze. “I thought your body chiseled from the old Gods, especially with all the markings on your back and arms.”

His gaze swept over hers. “I am nae God, Erina, though some would call me a demon.”

She traced a finger down along his arm and shook her head. “Ye are not a monster, but I am nae fool. Ye are not like other men, Rory. I have seen the markings on your body elsewhere.” Her finger curved around his shoulder and he trembled. “They are similar to the ones on the standing stones carved by the ancients.”

Rory fought the tide of emotions sweeping through him. She had come to the conclusion all on her own. “And ye would not flee if I told ye I was one of those ancients? One where the bards wove tales of giants who lived thousands of years ago among your own people? Others would call the story incredulous and filled with heathen words.” He held his breath, fearing her reply.


Here is how you can get more information on Mary:




Thank you, Mary, for being my guest today and introducing us to Oath of A Warrior. Any comments or questions for Mary?

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Joys of Summer Reading

To me summer has always meant extra time for reading and writing. This week I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo to get work on on my latest book(s) .  I am jumping back and forth between two projects at the moment so I can't say which I might be working on by the end of the month. But I have made some decisions on my plot which should serve me well as I navigate writing and editing during my "camp" experience.

As for summer reading, this year I am planning to revisit some of my old favorites. For instance I always remember that in my high school years I spent lots of time walking back and forth across town every week in 100-degree weather to the library to pick up a new batch of books. I read them while I sat outside in the evening and watered the lawn. We all had our chores and my dad assigned my brother to cut the grass, and I had to water it. In the days before automatic timers, that meant dragging the sprinkler across the lawn every 20-minutes or so. I got plenty of reading done while I waited for the next time to move the sprinkler.  I read everything from Avon romances to James Bond spy novels. I read baseball books  and classics. I read On The Beach that threatened nuclear annihilation for the world. But one of my all time favorites was Rebecca. It remains a favorite so I am re-reading it this summer, though I can do it in comfort now inside an air conditioned room with a view of the mountains. I've even listened to the audio version (makes walking on the treadmill or out on the trail go a little faster). One book I have promised to read this summer is Rebecca's Tale. I bought it several years ago and didn't read it at the time and forgot I had it. I am pulling it out and making it one of my many summer reads this summer.

I am also taking my time in reading Sue Grafton's final Kinsey Milhone book, Y is for Yesterday. It still breaks my heart to know this is the last one I will be reading so I am savoring every moment of it. I may go back and re-read the entire series, since I have been lucky enough to get them all from the very beginning  (though I can't seem to find my hardback copy of G is for Gumshoe). There are some authors whose books I have bought in paperback, hardback and audio and she is one of them.

So happy summer reading! You might try re-reading some old favorites -- I always find them just as joyful the second time around. At least you know how the book is going to end!