Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Taking the Road Toward Emotional Journeys


It's time to start planning those summer getaways and today's guest in My Writing Cornner has the perfect book to take along. Author Terry Segan is making a return appearance to my blog and she says she's out to get a reaction from those who read her books. Her latest book sounds like it fills the bill!

Terry is originally from Commack, NY, but she now resides in Nevada. She says that to appease her gypsy soul and travel cravings, she’s rarely found at home on the weekends. Her many journeys inspire the paranormal mysteries filling the pages of her books. She adds that some of her best ideas are worked out while traveling on the backseat of her husband’s motorcycle. His only request is to be a chalk outline in one of her novels—providing she’s still writing fiction. Terry’s goals are to cause her readers to laugh out loud, cry with joy, or cower under the covers wondering if that thump under the bed was real or imagined.  Let's learn more about Terry and her latest book.

What is your book you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


The title is Five Steps to Celestia. My inspiration for the story came from a driving trip through Oregon. At the time, my husband and I had only known each other a year, when he chose to take his RV to Oregon for the summer months. I drove there with him, then flew back to Nevada, where I still worked. The scenery was beautiful and kick-started my creative juices, so I jotted down some notes about a story, then put it aside while finishing other projects. Since then, we’ve made several trips through the Pacific Northwest via car and motorcycle. We’ve visited lakes, waterfalls, ocean shores, and wineries along the way. The views from the coastal roads were breathtaking, and they helped form the book I wrote. Of course, my genre is paranormal mystery, so I added fantastical elements. The result is Five Steps to Celestia.


Let's get a tagline and blurb:


A mysterious plant, a forgotten necklace, and years of lost memories…


Twenty-two years after a tragic accident claimed Joy’s memories, a chance discovery in a gift shop nudges her forgotten past to the surface. Was it the cashier’s purple necklace, the Celestia seeds, or long-suppressed recollections pushing her to remember her former life?


As she searches for clues leading home, unknown elements threaten her current happiness and those she loves. When a cryptic symbol forms on her wrist and additional instructions appear on the seed packets, they offer more confusion than clarity. 


With her best friend’s help, Joy strings together the missing pieces of her mysterious provenance. Her quest uncovers those who have paid the price for her reckless youth. Will she be welcomed back with open arms or scorned for having survived? 


Let's hear directly from Joy:

Tell us about your current life. What do you really like about it and what would you like to change?


The most important thing in my life is Grace, my daughter. She’s grown into a smart and vibrant young woman, who brings me happiness every day. I count myself fortunate that she works with me at the winery I own. My other treasure in life is my best friend, Suzi. Everyone needs a pal like her. No matter what the situation, she’s always there for me whether it’s happiness, grief, adventure, or laughter. The one thing missing is Drake, my late husband. He welcomed me into his life, despite neither of us knowing who I was or where I’d come from. My memory never returned, yet he gave me a name and loving family. We spent twenty wonderful years together, and it breaks my heart that he won’t be here to enjoy our golden years.


Joy, what do you want for your future?


I’d like my daughter to take the reins of Mystic Swirl, the winery that had been started by Drake and now belongs to me. Grace was only four when her father and I married, and I believe with all my heart he would want this legacy for her. The sticky part is her husband, Owen, a controlling, arrogant man without much business sense. He’s chomping at the bit to take control of the place, while I’m pushing her to be the sole owner, which is what her father would want.


What are your strengths?


I’m very resilient and compassionate. I try my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, however, that doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. Some may add stubbornness to that list, but I prefer to look at it as doing the right thing when necessary. And if the right thing means standing my ground in the face of adversity, then I’ll gladly accept the challenge.


What are your weaknesses?


While I mentioned compassion as one of my strengths, it’s also a weakness. In trying to give everyone a fair chance, I blindly put the ones I love in danger. When I trusted new people who came into my life, I found out too late that they didn’t have my best interests at heart. Those I hold very dear paid the price for my misguided faith.


What has now happened in your life that changes things?


My memories have begun returning. A previous life I thought would never be recovered has now presented itself in odd ways. Dreams, becoming nightmares, show me flashes from my past life, as well as other mystical occurrences I can’t rationalize. I bought these Celestia seeds in a gift shop, and now that I’ve planted them, new instructions have materialized on the package. A raised symbol has appeared on my wrist, and I can’t muster the strength to remove this purple vial necklace I’d received in the hospital after my accident years ago. I’m compelled to follow the clues to the end—but I’m afraid I won’t like what I find. Perhaps fear of losing all I love should be added to my list of weaknesses as I move forward to discover my mysterious past.


Want more? Let's get an EXCERPT:


“Michael,” Joy screamed, clutching at the man in front of her. Her mouth formed his name again, but no sound emitted. Sensing weightlessness, she no longer felt the bike beneath her. As her body flew, she saw clouds, trees, dirt—it all spun. Cold air rushed past as she soared. She glimpsed Michael still clutching onto thea handlebars of the motorcycle, as he flew over the cliff and was gone.

The impact jolted the back of her head. Pain coursed through her shoulders and hips. Then everything went black.

“Joy! Wake up! Joy!” Suzi stood by the bed shaking her. She never looked so scared—or so ridiculous in a baggy T-shirt and penguin pajama pants. With her blonde hair wrapped in pink curlers, she looked even more comical. Suzi continued shaking Joy even after her eyes opened. “Joy. You’re dreaming. Wake up!”

“I’m awake. What? What is it?” Joy, confusion tightening her jaw muscles, wondered why the woman woke her. “What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” She heaved for breath. “You were screaming. It must’ve been a nightmare. Are you all right?” Her body trembled. “Oh God, I need to sit down.” Shoving Joy over, she collapsed onto the bed.

More concerned about Suzi, she asked, “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. What happened?” Suzi asked, still visibly upset, her face flushed.

Joy couldn’t remember anything except being shaken awake. They had hit the wine bottle (or two) hard before bedtime.

“You were calling out.”

“What?”

The older woman put a hand to her heaving chest. “You were yelling. Who’s Michael?”

How bizarre, Joy thought. Why would she ask her about a man who wasn’t her deceased husband?

“I give up. Who’s Michael?”

“You called his name. Hell, you screamed his name. He was either in danger, or you were having wild sex.” Suzi’s breath still came in gasps.

“I don’t remember the dream, but I doubt it was the latter.”

“You sounded terrified. Can’t you recall anything?”

“I…I don’t know. I called him?”

“Yes.”

“Did I say anything else?”

Someone banged on their hotel door. “Security! Everything okay in there?”

Both looked at each other, eyes wide. Slowly, Suzi arose and walked to the entry. Checking the peep hole, she hesitated before unlocking the bolt. Cracking the door, she said, “Yes. Everything is fine. Why?”

“Well, ma’am,” came a voice from the hallway, “someone called the front desk and said they heard screaming.”

Suzi turned her head, looked at Joy, then back through the opening. “Sorry, officer.” She lowered her voice. “My friend tends to have…ah…erotic dreams. It’s a rare condition with some long medical name I can’t pronounce. I’m sorry if she disturbed anyone. Her therapist is working on an experimental treatment, but it still has a few kinks to be smoothed out.”

No response for several seconds. “Well…ah…ma’am, maybe she could try to keep it down? People are trying to sleep.”

“You bet, officer. I’ll make sure she keeps it to a PG-13 rating.”


Want to keep reading? You'll have to buy the book! Here are the Buy Links for Five Steps to Celestia as well as Terry's social media contact information:


BUY LINKS:

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Destination: Inspiration

As someone who has often been inspired to write a story simply from the location I'm visiting, I was fascinated to read the biography for today's guest in My Writing Corner. Visiting us is Karen Hulene Bartell. 

She is the author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, as well as Kissin Kin, Fox Tale, Wild Rose Pass, The Keys: Voice of the Turtle and more.  
Karen is not only a best-selling author, she is a motivational keynote speaker, IT technical editor, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural. 

Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her mews—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.  Let's chat with Karen to learn more about her and her latest book.

Karen, what is your book you will feature today and do you have any other information you would like us to know about it?

Kissing Kin and the inspiration for location – Travel – and a Missed Turn!

Whenever I visit provocative places, encounter new experiences, sample different ethnic foods, or chance upon stimulating people, I’m inspired. Ideas flow. (I should’ve been a travel correspondent.) There’s something about traveling that takes me out of my rut and propels me into new realms of possibility. 

I’ve written some of my best concepts sitting in noisy airports or hotel bathrooms at midnight (so I don’t wake my husband with the light). Being out of my element and in new environments stimulates my imagination.

As I visit new destinations, I’m infused with innovative ideas, envisioning scene after scene, like vignettes flowing from one to the next and the next.

In Kissing Kin’s case, my husband and I spent Christmas week hiking and horseback riding in Big Bend National Park twenty years ago. You’ve seen the area on maps--the southernmost tip of Texas that borders the Rio Grande and dips into Mexico. Spanning more than 800,000 acres of Chihuahuan desert, mountains, and rivers, Big Bend is larger than the state of Rhode Island--and filled with lions and bobcats and bears. Oh, my!

Driving home early that New Year’s morning, we missed the turnoff in Alpine and followed TX-118 north. Snow-covered and glinting against the frosty blue January sky, a remote jumble of mountain peaks and ranges beckoned as they rose above the desert floor. I was enchanted. Gazing at the sky island for the first time, wide-eyed, I wondered whether those rocky pinnacles were mirages or optical delusions.

But as the craggy peaks loomed larger (a mile high, I later learned), I realized they were no hallucination or Fata Morgana. A hasty glance at the map told us these were the Davis Mountains. As we approached, vertical basalt columns rose like thousands of giant fingers reaching for the sky. The palisades, buttes, and bluffs towered above both sides of the road with a raw, majestic beauty, and I breathed a contented sigh, almost as if coming home. 

That missed turn took us only a half hour out of our way, but as we drove through those mountains, my life changed. From that day to this, the area’s held my heart and imagination. Wild Rose Pass became Book I of the Trans-Pecos Series, and Kissing Kin has become Book II. Both novels are standalones with dissimilar genres--Wild Rose Pass is a historical novel, while Kissing Kin is a paranormal romance.

Let's get a blurb:

 

Maeve Jackson is starting over after a broken engagement—and mustering out of the Army. No job and no prospects, she spins out on black ice and totals her car.

 

When struggling vintner Luke Kaylor stops to help, they discover they’re distantly related. On a shoestring budget to convert his vineyard into a winery, he makes her a deal: prune grapevines in exchange for room and board.

 

But forgotten diaries and a haunted cabin kickstart a five-generational mystery with ancestors that have bones to pick. As carnal urges propel them into each other’s arms, they wonder: Is their attraction physical…or metaphysical?


Let's talk to Maeve:

Why are you having to start over?


In the military, I had a routine—orders and schedules. After my discharge, I had no direction, and I’d had big expectations about civilian life, fantasizing about Cody and marriage…but those plans didn’t pan out. Working at the vineyard gives me a sense of purpose—at least until I figure out where to go from here. 


What do you want for your future?


Growing up with vagabond parents and no permanent address, I want to belong. I always fantasized about living in one of those comfortable homes I viewed through the car window. I want a home and a family of my own.


What attracts you to Luke?


He’s polite, handsome, funny, and generous. His gaze is direct, and his warm, coffee-brown eyes—fringed with impossibly long lashes—are captivating. 


How’s he make me feel? Despite being out of my element, I have to admit, when he walks by in his tooled leather boots and thigh-hugging jeans, he makes my blood pressure spike, and frankly, it’s nice to be working toward a common goal with a partner, someone to share the load with instead of always having to prove myself. 


What bothers you about him?


When silvery white feathers appear on my bed, I suspect Luke of sneaking into the cabin, and hand-placing them. Then Cody’s betrayal come to minds. Is Cody the reason I can’t trust people, or is being wary all the time just another side effect of PTSD? 


Then when I catch Luke with his arms around his ex-girlfriend, I figure he just wants his cake and eat it, too.


Now let's turn the table around and talk to Luke:


Tell us about your vineyard and how you came to own it?


I got started working summers at my grandfather’s boutique winery. Then I changed my major to viticulture, the study of grape cultivation, with a double major in enology--the study of wines and winemaking. 


After graduation, I interned at a major winery—didn’t pay much, but it gave me firsthand experience in winery design, wine-processing technologies, fermentation, and my personal favorite, flavor chemistry. But the most important takeaway was that I learned how to prevent Pierce’s Disease, a bacteria that’s spread by sharpshooter leafhoppers that attacks grapevines from Florida to California. It’s what destroyed my grandfather’s vineyard. If he knew in the 70s what I know now, he wouldn’t have lost his shirt—or the vineyard. I saved up and bought property.


What concerns you about becoming involved with Maeve?


Maeve has an ex-fiancĂ©, who’s obviously not over her. The question is, is she over Cody?


What draws you to her?


Not fussy or frilly, Maeve is good looking but doesn’t know it. She’s a kindred soul, who’s persistent, despite self-doubts. Her jade-green eyes are mesmerizing. No makeup, her face is bare except for the freckles on her button nose. She wears her tawny brown hair in a pixie cut that emphasizes those haunting eyes. Her figure’s lithe and slender, and she moves with a dancer’s grace. 


What do you want for your future?


I want to add an open-air tasting room and turn this vineyard into a winery. But on a shoestring budget, I’m hoping sweat equity makes up for my lack of capital.”


Want more? Let's get an excerpt - Dozing by the Fire


        “Mind if I camp out ’til the roads clear?”
        “Under the circumstances?” The clerk shook his head. “Not a problem.”
        “Thanks.” He started toward the sitting room and nearly bumped into Maeve, leaning against the wall. “Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”
        “You didn’t.” She tossed her chin. “I was cat-napping.”
        “Right.” He compared her guarded veneer to her sleeping-beauty persona. Which is closer to her true self? 
        “Couldn’t help overhearing.” Gesturing toward the clerk with her chin, she grimaced. “I’m responsible for you being out tonight--”
        “No.” He shook his head. “This is just a freak storm.”
        “You don’t have to sleep in a chair.” She took a deep breath and gave a quick, tight-lipped smile.                  “My room has two queen beds, and you’re welcome to one of ’em.”
        Unsure of the extent of her invitation, he did a double take.
        “Just so we understand each other, this is a bunk, a place to sack out. Period. Amen.” She spoke in a low-pitched, no-nonsense voice. “Nothing more, so don’t get any--”
        “Got it.” He covered his disappointment with a laugh. “Thanks, I appreciate the offer, but I’ll be fine dozing by the fire.”
        “Hey, I’ve bivouacked with soldiers in Afghanistan. We do what’s necessary under extenuating circumstances.” Shrugging, she glanced at the door. “And this blizzard qualifies.” Her face relaxed into a smile.
        Her offer tempting, he compared sitting up all night to stretching out in a bed. Then he glimpsed the clerk. 
        “If you’re worried about my reputation, don’t be.” She laughed, the sound like sleigh bells tinkling on a crisp, wintry night.
        What is it about her that conjures thoughts of other times--other eras?


Want to read on? Here are the Buy Links as well as social media contact information:

UNIVERSAL LINK: https://books2read.com/u/boXl10 

AMAZON: https://shorturl.at/iwEIJ 

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/204849593-kissing-kin

APPLE: https://books.apple.com/us/book/kissing-kin/id6475424012

BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kissing-kin-karen-bartell/1144521766?ean=9781509253951 


Social Media Links – 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenHuleneBartell

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/karenbartell 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HuleneKaren 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/karenhulenebartell/    

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/611950.Karen_Hulene_Bartell   

Website: http://www.KarenHuleneBartell.com/  

Email: info@KarenHuleneBartell.com 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/karenhulenebartell  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenhulenebartell/ 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/karen-hulene-bartell 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenhulenebartell/ 

AUTHORSdb: https://authorsdb.com/community/17847-karen-hulene-bartell 


Thank you, Karen, for being my guest today.  Any questions or comments for Karen?


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Taking a Trip North

Having lived and worked in Seattle for several years, one of my absolute favorite spots to visit has long been British Columbia (especially the cities of Vancouver and Victoria). Before Covid, I used to visit nearly every year, so I was excited to read about today's guest in My Writing Corner, Frank Talaber. He writes as Felicity Talisman for some of his books as you will see with today's feature book, Autumn's Summer.

Born on the wild Canadian prairies but tired of the winter months in Edmonton, Frank tells us he migrated to the more temperate cedar forests of coastal British Columbia. Yes, they get snow in Chilliwack during the winter months, and on that odd occasion Frank is forced to search out the snow shovel, dust off the cobwebs and have a go.  A
t the snow, (not the cobwebs).

He says that while his run-of-the-mill day job of auto technician/service advisor may seem at odds with being an inspired, off-the-wall author, his zest for life, the environment, and the little muses that won’t let his pencil stay still, spring from his mother’s Hungarian ancestry. It’s the Gypsy blood, he says, which pounds through his veins with wild abandon, driving him to the realms of fantasy.


This is the muse inside, the essence of Frank Talaber. He says people who have read his books describe him as a natural storyteller who writes like his soul is on fire and his pencil is his voice. They go on to say that they find his books grabbing, intense and hilarious at times, screaming everyday life from such a realistic viewpoint you’re drawn into his world, hook, line and plum bob, unable to stop; almost cursing that they can’t set the book down, page after page.  Frank admits he takes great pride in the realism of his work, painstakingly visiting most of the locations, (obviously, only the “real-life” ones!) and he is so thorough that many readers have remarked that they can hear, taste, visualize, smell and feel the essence of the place. “It really is like being there,” one remarked. Says Frank, "There isn’t a greater compliment to be made." 


His tagline is Canada's Foremost Off-beat Author (also the name of his YouTube channel; check it out for his witty and informative videos) who writes in urban fantasy, science fiction, crime, spiritual, romance, erotica and comedy genres. Well, anything that comes to him, basically! Except westerns. Although he does like to ride Gangnam style; does that count?


Literature written almost beyond genres, whose compelling thoughts are freed from the depths of the heart and subconscious before being poured onto the page. Or, as he often says, “you don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps”.


To date Frank has more than fifty articles/short stories, sixty blog posts, over ten interviews and fifteen novels written or published. 


Frank, what do you enjoy about being an author?


To be honest, getting reviews from people overjoyed by reading my novels. Here are a few examples:


“I thought I’d have a quick peek at Autumn's Summer and then finish the book I was currently reading! I was entranced and spellbound from that moment, my current read neglected! Couldn't put it down, read it in one day. Yes, the love scenes were intense, passion blossoms in many forms! I enjoyed this immensely!”

-Shelley


“Oh my goodness!! Frank Talaber, I cannot even begin to describe how much I love your book The Joining. I am in the middle of reading it right now and I am LOVING this book! Honestly this is one of the best books I have ever read and I am so excited to read more books by you. I love that The Joining is set in Victoria. I live on the mainland and I recognize names of some places in this book and I was honestly so ecstatic to be reading a book that takes place in BC. You are an amazing writer I have no idea how you came up for the concept of this book but it is fantastic. Also, are the legends featured in this book actually real legends?" 

-Ava 


(And yes, they are real legends; the other think I really enjoy is extensive research, which then often leads to plot lines for other novels.)


Review from, The joining


"I hate you! My wife, who is off on medical leave, won't get out of the bathroom. Can't put your book down. LOL."   

-Bruce 


(I also like quirky reviews. I usually describe myself as an off-the-wall writer.)


What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?


I love challenges. Someone once said to me, “most men can’t do romance, let alone write it.”

So, I wrote Autumn’s Summer, and also another romance, more mainstream, called Shuttered Seductions.


I also love getting into the head of unusual characters. What makes them do the things they do? And why?


When I get reviews like this for The Lure, I know I’ve done my job: 


“Your book was a rollercoaster ride thorough my emotions which, when I got off, left me stunned and breathless.

Your portrayal of sociopaths and the criminal mind in the pursuit of the sexually willing was so disturbing I had nightmares and had to set the novel aside for days. But the writing was so compelling I had to finish it, and I'm glad I persevered. I literally cheered "go get them!" when Charlie used his protectors to deal rather uniquely with the antagonists. I was enlightened to the Native spiritual culture for which I now have a greater understanding and respect.”

-Carol G.


The other thing I find most challenging is finding different ways of promoting my novels in this day of constantly changing social media and platforms. 


How do you come up with your plots?


A lot of them will be based on true stories related to me by people I’ve met, as I mentioned earlier. I’ve often said you can’t make up the crap that some people have lived through, like this story that formed the basis for my novel, The Mystery Of Ms. Teak, while waiting for the valet to return our car after a stay at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. (Victoria, by the way, is one of the most haunted cities in the world; they have more ghosts than most cities has transit buses.)


“So, I know The Empress has several resident ghosts, have you any ghost stories?”

The head doorman scratched his head, “yeah, a really unusual one. A couple, like you, were waiting a few years ago to have their car brought around and they didn’t look very happy. I asked if they enjoyed their stay. They said ‘NO’. They were leaving after staying only one night. They had walked into their locked hotel room to find his wife’s suitcase had been opened up, her clothes taken out, and ghost clothes put in.”


Like most are thinking right now I asked. “What do you mean by ghost clothes?”


“Real old clothing, Victorian.”


So, in the novel, my “what if” twist is that I have a Victorian ghost, none other than Sir Francis Rattenbury himself, builder of the BC parliament buildings and the Empress Hotel, walking around in modern-day clothing.


I often will take one or two of my short stories and expand them and weave them together to form a novel. I also love weaving two or more plotlines together and figuring how to make them work.  Also, I believe the good person must win in the end, otherwise this would be a bleak world. 


Tell us about your road to publication


I always remember the first day of a creative writing class I took way back in high school, thinking “here’s five easy credits”.


The course binder was handed out and I stuck up my hand. “But it’s empty!”


The teacher replied, “Yeah, it’s your job to fill it.”


We had to write half-an-hour non-stop on anything and everything. Staring at the blank, lined pages I could only ask “I have to write for half-an-hour non-stop? About what????”


The teacher replied, “About anything and everything. The idea is to begin writing sub-consciously; you just let go and write.”


So used to being told what to do in school in those days, the idea that I could just do something on my own and be let loose, seemed beyond bizarre. 


“And I’ll give you a zero if you don’t fill one page a week.”


Incentive, then. The muse in me wrung her hands in mirthful glee. I simply stared in bewilderment at the blank page and wondered what moment of insanity made me sign up for a supposedly easy five-credits. 

My hand shook as I held the pencil to the paper and very thoughtfully wrote, ‘the walls are beige; the girl in front of me is a blonde; I wonder how old the gum stuck under my desk is; I am so frigging bored. (I thought if I can put anything down, then the odd cuss word should be acceptable).


But at some point, after about three weeks, the muse lost patience and snapped. She (I know it’s a woman), whacked me upside the head and took over. Controlling bitch. But the flow began, just as the teacher had said it would. By the end of the course I’d filled four to six pages every week, my pencil a blur trying to keep up with the whirling dervish inside my subconscious. She hasn’t shut up since, and I don’t intend to have her stop either. You’ll probably find me on my deathbed, pencil in hand, and there will be a long-jagged line scribbling down the page, stating… 


To Be Continued.


Because some stories never end.


It took nearly four hundred rejections before my first novel was accepted and the journey continues after fifteen novels, over fifty short stories accepted for publication, and nearly that many blogs.


What is your book that you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


My newest release, entitled Autumn’s Summer. The original idea was based on something that someone once told me at a book-signing event. Every Mothers’ Day, this lady used to join her then fiancĂ© to visit his deceased mother’s graveyard. Whenever she passed one of the other gravestones, she’d stop and stare at it, drawn to it, feeling weird sensations.


On their wedding day, of all days, her “parents” chose to tell her that she was adopted. This prompted her to research the name of the lady on that grave and she discovered that it was, indeed, her birth mother. She eventually met her brother and sister, to whom she bore an uncanny resemblance, and they confirmed she had been given up for adoption. 


My creative muse always asks me the question; “what if?” so I wove that into a tale of an empty-nester mother, Autumn, feeling like her life is worthless after the kids leave the home. She encounters a spiritualist in, of all places, her local corner grocery store. 


To prove she’s for real, the spiritualist, Summer, tells her she’s adopted, and unknown to her husband, she begins to have a relationship with this woman. 


The premise is this. “What if your mother gave you up for adoption, not because she didn’t love or want you, but because she was protecting you from an ancient family curse?”, the curse being based on Celtic myths and the novel encompasses many Celtic traditions. 


Let's get a blurb:


Great loves come and go,

profound ones mark your soul,

in ways that take the rest of your lifetime to comprehend.


What if you were given up for adoption NOT because your mother didn't want you, but because she was trying to protect you from a curse?


A mysterious package is delivered by Richard’s solicitors one year after his wife Autumn’s death. What he expected to find, he didn’t know, but he would never have guessed in a million years what was about to unfold.


A beautiful leather-bound diary written in his wife’s hand contains many secrets; that his lonely empty-nester wife’s life changed profoundly after a purely-by-chance meeting in, of all places, a normal, mundane, corner grocery store. She embarks on a voyage of discovery with the spiritualist, Summer, to find new meaning to her life, that, once commenced, transports her to realms and dimensions she never knew existed.


He also learns of a heart-breaking secret she kept from him until after her death. 


Which leads her into an alternative life in the next book in the series.


How about a book excerpt.


But another ad caught my eye, and my spirit, as I picked up the heavy shopping bags. A hand-drawn picture of someone meditating, legs crossed and a heart erupting over them. ‘Yoga classes, meditations, spiritual readings, etc.  Sign up and find your inner voice and spirit. Fulfill the deeper meaning of your life.’ The words hit rather hard. I had no deeper meaning, other than cooking, washing, cleaning the house and looking after the kids that were no longer there. I realized right then and there how empty I was inside. I should be happy; your well-paying job provided very well and had bought the lovely house on a gorgeous lake. And I was very happy, or so I thought. But perhaps there was something more? 

The words called to me again and again as I stared like a deer dazzled by headlights. I stood lost in the knowing that what I was about to do, no, wanted to do, would change something inside me. The weight of the shopping bags pulled at me, calling me back to my humdrum, yet peaceful life. Go now! Cried out from my mind as I put them down.

Did I want to complicate it? Still a part of myself called from within. At the moment I had nothing, was nothing, only a housewife. 

Most likely some crazy hippy chick doing woo-woo stuff to make a buck out of us richer folk out here at this lake. Or, perhaps, a more down-to-earth person connected to herself and the planet. Since college, marriage and two kids I'd not had much time to indulge in what I liked or wanted to do with myself. Quite frankly I wasn't really sure what that was or who I really was anymore. 

I picked up my bags ready to turn and exit the store, allowing that cynical voice to take control once again.

"I see my ad has caught your attention." Her voice, soft, sincere, washed into me and something inside jumped as I turned to stare for the first time into soft blue eyes of oceanic depths. A moment of sheer co-incidence, only as I learned later, nothing is co-incidence.


****


This was the meeting that prompted the computer diary. For the first time in an age, I was compelled to write, wanting to put down my thoughts while they were still fresh. Meeting Summer had awoken my muse and questioning realizations. This was a positive start.


I stared into her eyes as rivers ran into me, through me, waves thundered into the cliffs of my existence. Journeys never traversed in this lifetime, but I’ve dwelled in others, calling to this life in the serenade of water splashing on my canoe or the dust of an old country road humming along the heat of a summer’s morning. Time, love, and ultimately death come to us all. Amongst the haunt of lilacs wafting in a warm breeze and crackles of a cozy winter fire, seduced by acrid smoke and chilled wine there is a need or want that calls hauntingly to our souls. To mine.


At that moment I was utterly stunned, those words came to me again and again, later after a couple of lessons. I heard them calling like being dared to fly and thrust off a cliff’s edge. I remember being scared and thrilled at the same time, but more scared at finding out the true me; the me I’d never really known.


What’s your next project or what are you working on now?


My next project is entitled Into The Darkside. It involves my female lead police detective, Carol Ainsworth, on the trail of a serial killer. My “what if?” twist is, “what if all of the high number of drug deaths aren’t all because of overdosing? What if a person is out seducing and abusing women and making it look like they inadvertently took overdoses?”. 


I’m also working on my first non-fiction book called Trust Me, I Didn’t Make This Sh**t Up, about all of the findings that don’t fit into the accepted beliefs of our scientists and archaeologists.


What advice do you have for beginning writers?


Don’t give up, I had 398 rejections before I got my first novel accepted. If writing is what you love to do, keep writing and putting your stories and novels out there. Another true story is what happened to Stephen King. He dumped his novel Carrie into the trash and said, "I give up. I'm going to stick to being an English teacher." Thank God his wife had the guts to say, "You tell me you're a writer. Dust off that blown, crumpled and withered ego and put it out there. AGAIN."


The very next publisher accepted the book and the rest is history.


Following is the buy link for Autumn's Summer and Frank's social contact information to learn more about Frank's other novels:


Buy Link

Canada:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1738658376

USA:

https://www.amazon.com/Autumns-Summer


Social Contact Information


Email: twosoulmates@shaw.ca 

My webpage

https://franktalaberpublishedauthor.wordpress.com/

My novels on Amazon. 

https://www.amazon.com/stores/Frank-Talaber/author/B00UC407R0

My Youtube Channel. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5ki4gpdokN-9KAIZzu53w

Twitter

https://twitter.com/FrankTalaber

Linked In 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/frank-talaber-6a594481/

Ebooks on Smashwords: 

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Frank38

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/franktalaber58

tictoc

https://www.tiktok.com/@franktalaber

Thank you, Frank, for being my guest today.  I hope you keep bringing readers from British Columbia! Any questions or comments for Frank?

Characters Lead the Way

We're in the heart of the summer and it is time to relax and enjoy a few good books by the beach or in some secluded mountain cabin. To...