Monday, April 30, 2012

"Open Mic Monday" Welcomes Kimberly Sherrelle!

Let me tell you a secret...one of the best things about my job as an author is meeting other writers who blow me away with their talent.  It's a thrill beyond measure.  Today is one of those days when I'm in love with my "job" once again.  Welcome Kimberly Sherrelle to "Open Mic Monday"!  

Meet Poetess Kimberly Sherrelle
Author, Poet, and Radio Personality
"Writing is about sharing your experiences with others hoping it will positively impact lives.  If writing were simply about me, I would probably never write again.  It is my responsibility as a writer to constantly walk in and out of the fire of silence.  It is my responsibility to give a voice to the emotionally mute.”  And accomplished writer Kimberly Sherrelle is not one to shirk her responsibilities.
Kimberly Sherrelle, the middle child between two brothers, raised in the intimate, bedroom community of Sylvester, Georgia, has always enjoyed writing.  Kimberly began her budding career at the wondrous age of eight penning plays and short stories.  In middle school she discovered poetry and used the imaginative genre to express some of her darkest experiences.   After graduating from Worth County Comprehensive High School in 1999 with several academic scholarships and accolades, she attended Albany State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  
Not long after however, Kimberly discovered that she needed an outlet that would allow her to flex her creative muscle while empowering and edifying the seemingly hopeless youth in her town.  In 2005, this undeniably strong craving led her to shift gears, switch paths and become a teacher.  As rewarding as it was as an occupational choice, Kimberly still felt empty.   “I started to wonder, ‘How would I ever accomplish my life's goal of making a global impact on the Black community if I never left the classroom?’”  Her yearning to make an indelible impact by reaching and helping more people propelled her to move to Metro Atlanta and indulge her heart’s desire – writing.    
Kimberly ardently began working on her first manuscript in 2008 because she realized that there are countless people in this world chasing the elusive and the intangible – true bliss – just like she was.  “I write for the people,” Kimberly reveals.  Writing gave her the freedom to dive and delve into thought-provoking, emotionally stirring, and uproariously entertaining topics with the intent of changing someone’s life with her words.
She made her publishing debut with Silent Tears: The Trials and Tribulations of Kimberly Sherrelle, a passionate and introspective book of poetry.  Readers of Silent Tears include none other than the honorable Dr. Cornel West (Black Activist) and Sharif Adkins (Actor).  In addition to publishing her second book, Wet Whispers, Kimberly is developing a series of children's books and continues to write poetry and short stories.  Kimberly juggles numerous activities outside of being a stay-at-home wife and mother.  She the host of Artistic Potential on WASU 92.7, travels frequently to various speaking engagements, and holds book signings at local venues.  


Wet Whispers is book two in the book poetry series by Poetess Kimberly Sherrelle.  Wet Whispers is about being honest about your emotions and speaking up.  Too often in life we allow others to "mute" our unique voice and speak for us.  A mute individual will never be a truly happy individual.  Wet Whispers is a book of HOPE.  Hope that regardless of the situation if you start being emotional honest with yourself and others, your situation can change.  However, in order for this positive change you seek to take place you must be HEARD.  This is what Wet Whispers is all about....Being Heard. 


Books available on www.sherrelleink.com & www.amazon.com
As seen/heard on:
  • WFXL Fox  Good Day Morning Show 
  • Realizing Potential with Wendy Wilson 
  • WALB NBC Dialogue with Karla Heath-Sands
  • The Sharvette Show
  • Poetically Spoken
More amazing things Ms. Sherrelle has accomplished:

*Graduated from Albany State University in 2003 with a degree in Psychology.
*Started her company in 2008, Sherrelle Ink.  Sherrelle Ink offers writing and publishing services.  
*Published her first book, Silent Tears, in 2009
*Dr. Cornel West and Sharif Adkins (Actor) both purchased and read a copy of her book Silent Tears.
*For 2 years she had a very successful internet radio show, Real Talk Radio.
*New host of Artistic Potential on WASU 92.7 FM Radio in Albany, GA
*Wet Whispers, her second book was released in Feb. 2012. 
*Book 3, Naked, will come out next year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Alter ego? Nope. It's the real me.


I canceled a date about a month ago.  It didn't feel right--in fact, it felt creepy so I followed my instinct and backed out.  Does this make me a chicken...someone afraid of diving back into the dating world?  Hardly.  I’ve lived long enough to trust my gut instinct over social pressure.
Apparently, my solo lifestyle freaks people out so I’m constantly getting the “you need to get back out there” speech.  I write love stories and am a big fan of the male species so how can I be content as a single woman?  Must be my alter ego writing those sex scenes because the real me is...what?  Uptight?  A mouse?  A wallflower?
Hardly.  I like sex.  I like men.  I like letting loose.  I particularly enjoy flirting and getting wild.  In fact, I’ve often said that I need a keeper--someone to reel me in when I get a little out of hand.  I have experienced euphoria and sorrow in the name of love.  I’m passionate about everything.
But some people don't see that side of me because I don't trust them.  Because they don't see that side of me, they say things like my writing must be the product of my alter ego or question why I don't enjoy talking about my work with them.  (Of course it is all said with a laugh...but we all know that the most cutting things can be dismissed as a joke that isn't quite a joke.) 
I have been hurt a lot in my life.  I can be guarded, it's true.  Unless I feel 100% accepted around someone, the unguarded me doesn't come out to play.  Instead, I smile politely and evade personal questions because something screams "JUDGMENT" to my ears.  I sometimes shield myself from further betrayal and heartache by retreating behind a mask that says Back-Off-And-Move-Along. 
I have lived a big often messy but always interesting life.  I have experienced love, loss, grief, adventure, triumph, violence, terror, compassion and bliss.  If you don't know that, then it's safe to assume that I don't trust you enough to let you close.
Trust isn't a given.  My intuition is right 100% of the time.  I trust it.  I trust myself.  If that inner voice cautions me against opening up, then so be it.  I have earned the right to protect my heart. 
So, no, the romance writer is not a manifestation of an alter ego.  I am the sassy heroine of my story--occasionally dark or funny or sad or balsy or silly or profound.  I am simultaneously the mysterious woman in the corner observing from the shadows and the loud woman laughing from the sheer joy of being alive.  I am a contradiction.  I am content calling my own shots, taking up the entire bed, solo-parenting my kids, being accountable to no one and writing the night away. 
If people don't see me that way, then they have not earned that all-access pass to my life yet. Perhaps what I allow the world to see is the protective shell surrounding a ball of fire.
I wonder...do horror writers ever get asked if they have the life experience to pull off a novel about slasher-psycho-zombie-vampire-mutant-escapees-from-the-mental-asylum-who-go-on-a-murderous rampage?  Nah.  I bet not.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A special Talented Tuesday Treat with Author Jill Schaefer

Normally, I host "Open Mic Monday", but there's so much talent to showcase that I'm adding a special "Talented Tuesday Treat" this week!  I'm so thrilled to host Jill--her life story is definitely worth reading about and something to be admired.  I'm honored that she's with me today.  Please welcome the gifted author Jill Schaefer to center stage!  


I HAVE WRITTEN TWO BOOKS. OR MEMOIRS,  WHICH I’M TOLD ARE PENNED ONLY BY  CELEBRITIES—WHICH I AM NOT.

THEY ARE NOT AUTOBIOGRAPHIES EITHER—A STORY WITH A BEGINNING,  A MIDDLE AND AN END--THE TERM UNIFIED LINEAR NARRATIVE.

MY BOOKS ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’ AND ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA –ENGLISH STYLE-‘ ARE SLICES OF MY LIFE, OR MEMOIRS.   I WILL, HOWEVER,  START AT THE BEGINNING, ONTO THE MIDDLE AND THROUGH TO THE END OF HOW I CREATED THESE BOOKS.

BEGINNING;
IN THE EARLY 1980s WE WERE LIVING WITH OUR THREE SONS ON CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL COAST.  MY HUSBAND WAS RECOVERING FROM COLON CANCER AND WITH A NEW LEASE ON LIFE, WE DECIDED THAT LIFE WAS TOO SHORT NOT TO FOLLOW OUR DREAMS—SO WE SOLD OUR BUSINESS, DOWNSCALED OUR HOME, LIVED OFF THE PROCEEDS, TOOK ODD JOBS/SECRETARIAL AND TRANSLATIONS, TOURED THE U.S. IN A CAMPER AND VISITED FAMILY IN EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA.  

I ALSO TOOK A WRITING COURSE WHERE THE TEACHER GAVE A TOPIC TO WRITE ABOUT EVERY WEEK.  HE READ ALL MY ESSAYS ALOUD AND ENCOURAGED ME IN WRITING ABOUT GROWING UP IN WORLD WAR II-‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’ AND MY TEENAGE ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY TO CALIFORNIA IN THE 1950s – ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA-ENGLISH STYLE-‘.

I ENCOURAGED MY HUSBAND TO RECORD PARALLEL STORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD PRE, DURING AND AFTER WORLD WAR II IN GERMANY UNTIL WE MET.

ALTHOUGH THE STORIES WERE ALL TRUE, I CHANGED NAMES TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT!!!

DURING A 6 MONTH PERIOD I WROTE THREE BOOKS, THE TWO HERE, AND THE LAST ONE WHICH I AM PRESENTLY REVISING.   A LOCAL NEWSPAPER REPORT ON MY BOOKS QUOTES MY WORDS ON MY WRITING PROCESS:

 “I WAS IN THAT WRITING SPIRIT, AND THE FLOODGATES POURED INTO ME AND I HAD TO GET IT OUT,’
‘IT WAS PAINFUL.  I FELT LIKE, ‘STOP THIS.  GIVE ME SOME PEACE.”

ENOUGH!   THE FLOW OF THOUGHTS SLOWED DOWN.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  SO PILES OF TYPED MANUSCRIPTS WENT INTO THE PROVERBIAL DRAWER AND IT WAS ON TO OTHER THINGS.

MIDDLE;

AT END OF 1980S WE MOVED FURTHER NORTH TO DOWNSCALE AGAIN AND CONTINUED IN THE SAME LIFESTYLE.  OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS OUR SONS GRADUALLY TRICKLED UP TO JOIN US.

THEN TRAGEDY REALLY STRUCK.  IN 2001 MY HUSBAND DIED AFTER A 5 MONTH ILLNESS.

I KEPT BUSY WITH TUTORING, TRAVEL AND TENNIS.  THEN ONE DAY WHEN I HEARD THAT ONE OF THE PROTAGONISTS IN ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA’  WAS TERMINALLY ILL, I BROUGHT THE TYPED MANUSCRIPT OUT OF THE  DRAWER AND TRANSCRIBED EACH CHAPTER TO THE COMPUTER AND EMAILED THEM TO MY ENGLISH GIRLFRIEND FOR HER TO READ BEFORE SHE DIED.

AROUND THIS TIME, THE WRITER MILDRED KALISH VISITED OUR LOCAL LIBRARY TO TALK ABOUT HER MEMOIR ‘LITTLE HEATHENS’ ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE DEPRESSION YEARS.

I CONTACTED HER PUBLISHER AT RANDOM HOUSE WHO REPLIED THAT SHE DEALT ONLY WITH NON-FICTION. SINCE MY BOOKS WERE CONSIDERED AUTO-FICTION WITH THE ALTERED NAMES, I CHANGED THEM ALL BACK TO THE ORIGINAL AND SUBMITTED ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’.

ALAS!  SHE WANTED THE ENTIRE STORY REWRITTEN AS UNIFIED LINEAR NARRATIVE-A BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND AN END, WHICH MY MEMOIR WAS NOT.  A FORBIDDING TASK INDEED! THANK YOU, BUT NO.  SO BACK TO THE DRAWER!

THE END?

A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER MY YOUNGEST SON & DAUGHTER IN LAW NEEDED A BOOK TO READ ON A CAR JOURNEY.  THIS TIME I PULLED FROM THE DRAWER THE TYPEWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT OF ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’.

ON THEIR RETURN, MY DAUGHTER IN LAW DECLARED “YOU MUST DO SOMETHING WITH THIS MARVELLOUS STORY.”  I WAS FLATTERED AND PLEASED AND AS  QUOTED TWO YEARS LATER IN ANOTHER NEWSPAPER ARTICLE-“WHICH I IGNORED UNTIL OUR OLDEST SON WAS DIAGNOSED WITH TERMINAL CANCER.  I WAS CARING FOR HIM IN MY HOME AND WANTED HIM TO KNOW HIS FAMILY HISTORY.  I TRANSFERRED THE TYPED PAGES INTO MY COMPUTER AND EMAILED EACH CHAPTER TO HIM SO HE COULD READ THE STORY IN HIS ROOM, A LITTLE EACH DAY.  IT WAS GRATIFYING TO SEE HOW MUCH HE ENJOYED THEM.”

 HE DIED OF NECK CANCER AT AGE 49 END OF JAN.2010.

TIME FOR BUSYNESS AGAIN TO KEEP GRIEF AT BAY. 

I HAD 25 COPIES OF ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’ PRINTED UP AND SENT TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN ENGLAND, GERMANY AND AUSTRALIA. 

FROM FRIENDS AND WORD OF MOUTH AND STRANGERS WHO READ THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND IN LOCAL BOOK STORES, I BEGAN TO SELL MY BOOKS.

A YEAR LATER  WITH ‘COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA –ENGLISH STYLE-‘ ALREADY ON THE COMPUTER, I PUBLISHED IT ON AMAZON/CREATESPACE AND IN BOOKSTORES ALONG WITH ‘UP THE WOODEN HILL’.

THE LAST CHAPTER OF THIS SAGA?  WHO KNOWS?

BUT WHENEVER I START TRANSCRIBING THE THIRD BOOK TO COMPUTER, I DOUBT I’LL EVEN CONSIDER EMAILING THE CHAPTERS TO ANYONE.   IF IT’S  TRUE THAT EVERYTHING COMES IN THREES,  THE RISK COULD BE TOO GREAT FOR THE RECIPIENT!
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT JILL PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE AT http://home.earthlink.net/~schaefer234 


Purchase UP THE WOODEN HILL on Amazon


Purchase COMING OF AGE IN CALIFORNIA--ENGLISH STYLE on Amazon


Monday, April 23, 2012

Author Pamela Sisman Bitterman takes center stage

Today I'm thrilled to host the brilliant author Pamela Sisman Bitterman to "Open Mic Monday".  Cue the spotlight...drum roll, please...let the talent shine!  


I am always so pleased to be asked to participate in open discussions about writing. No question ours is a vocation, or avocation, that implies tremendous commitment, invites humbling disappointment, and although holding the promise of unparalleled triumph, instead habitually delivers crushing rejection. I don’t expect many of us get out of the game without being the hapless recipients of each of the aforementioned experiences. And yet we keep on keepin’ on! It is precisely this slightly irrational dedication that sets us apart from the masses and affords us our claim to our creative edge. 
I am consistently proud to be considered a member-in-good-standing of so illustrious a group. However, it is not a celebration at the finish line that defines us. It is in the trying itself where we unite and excel. The journey. We call ourselves writers. We aspire to be authors. We obsessively persevere because we all know that only by quitting have we truly been beaten. And although there is never a guarantee of success - quite the opposite, in fact – we continue to give it our all. What is not to be proud of in that? 
Another admirable aspect of our chosen profession is that we come to it from extremely individual places, varying levels of technical preparation, unique personal backgrounds, myriad disciplines, a multitude of approaches and personally motivated expectations. We are all intrinsically different. As varied in our skill sets as we are in every other demographic that seeks to define and segregate us. We run the gamut, much as our art does. And that makes us collectively a pretty fascinating bunch! Weird, off-putting, bizarre, outrageous, groundbreaking, envelope pushing, risk-taking, convention rejecting, establishment questioning, leap-of-faith leaping are all character traits we writers proudly assume or aspire to become. Well, at least I do!  Otherwise, aren’t there countless unquestionably easier paths we could take? Though easy was never a term I was told I should expect to be able to use to describe the road down which a writer will travel. And for me, that has been one of the most compelling draws. 
My own writing journey is a three-fold process. I search out a challenge, a cause, an adventure, and I jump aboard. Then I write about whatever develops, hopefully with honesty and insight. I feel I have to earn the right to tell the story, and am then obligated to commit to print what have become my truths, warts and all. The adventures emerge as my greatest life endeavors. Composing and completing books about them then becomes an added defining monumental exercise. The getting them published part? For me, that effort is counterintuitive, antithetical, goes wholly against my grain. I basically hate everything about it. However I recognize that in today’s overwhelmed writer’s marketplace, it is a necessary evil. Nonetheless, “getting published” definitely takes a distant third on my personal triumph checklist. Once I have arrived at this point, I am already convinced that I have won. I have lived. And I have written. Win - Win! What some publisher or agent somewhere, who is understandably more concerned with his/her bottom line than he/she will ever be with my story, thinks about any of it is entirely secondary (tertiary?) And, for better or worse, that is my writer’s truth. 
My first book, Sailing To the Far Horizon, published by Terrace Books a Trade Imprint of The University of Wisconsin Press, my own story of life, loss, and survival at sea is graphically biographical. It encapsulates me as product of the first thirty years of my life. It is published in hard cover, and will soon be released in paperback as well as digitally. A translated version titled MOT SODERHAVET  has been published in Sweden by NORSTEDTS, NAUTISKA BIBLIOTEKET.
Muzungu; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check, my Travel/Adventure/Memoir of an unlikely escapade throughout Kenya picks up on that journey a couple decades later. 
I have also written an award winning (CBC GOLD MEDAL WINNER and SHARP WRIT BOOK AWARD FIRST PLACE WINNER) children’s book titled When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan. 
Finally, I penned a homily entitled, Child, You Are Miracle, published by World Vision. 
Links to these, plus PR Events, reviews, and trailers to my three published books can be found on my website: www.pamelasismanbitterman.com 
My writing has emerged amidst my travels, adventures, and finally my marriage and children, my persona as wife and mother – the heart of me; my best self. 
I have two new works presently in the cooker; a children’s book about make believe, tentatively titled “Where Do You Go, My Darling?” And a nonfiction/memoir about a life titled SHE. 
My future remains to be seen, and to be told.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Celebrating a WIN!


I started writing stories when I was nine years old.  I would sit in my bed and allow my imagination to come to life in tablets about horses, love (yeah, I was nine...but I tried to imagine), mystery, and murderous ghosts (must have been puberty).
Along the way, people scoffed at my dream of being a writer full-time.  Dreamers don't make money, they said.  Nice hobby, they said.  Being a writer is like being an actress or singer, few people ever make it, they said.  As I grew up, it became even more derisive.  I started not admitting to writing manuscripts and "legitimized" myself with jobs that ranged from journalist to a registered representative at a national brokerage house (my dark period).  But I never stopped writing those stories. Never.
I felt like an addict--secretive for many years about how I spent my free time.  I attended writers' conferences like a spy heading off on a mission. Where are you going this weekend?  Um...San Diego.  For what?  Um...to hang out. (Okay, so I wouldn't have been a very good spy.)
Well, guess what?  I’m a published author.  KISS ME SLOWLY is out in the world, taking on a life of its own with strangers discussing the characters and enjoying the wild ride of the story. What a rush! I’m having conversations with readers about characters I created.  My book is selling across the United States, Canada and the UK.  I found out Monday that it's on hold in libraries.  I have to pinch myself to realize that this is really happening.  
Do you know what it feels like to have a dream come to life?  To have that dream validated?  It feels like I caught the ball, scored the winning touchdown in the Superbowl and am doing my celebratory dance beneath the goal line--complete with shimmies and jazz hands, baby.
This is fun.  Perhaps I need to find a more profound word to describe what it's like to live out a dream, but right now fun describes it perfectly.  When did fun become a bad word anyway?  It's good to have fun. Isn't that the point? To enjoy life? To enjoy what you do?  To embrace the joy?
Well, I am enjoying myself and that's that.  Suck it up.  I deserve this.  I worked hard for it.  I never gave up when the rejection letters came.  I never gave up when people rolled their eyes at me.  I stayed in the game despite the odds.  Now I’m having fun.  I love it.  I love that I get to consult on cover designs.  I love that I have a publication timeline for my other romantic suspense novels.  I love that my characters get an opportunity to entertain someone for awhile.  I love that the story I created can make someone smile when they turn that last page.  That's fun stuff.  That's like waking up on Christmas morning and finding out that Santa is real!
Like it or not, I'm spiking the ball and enjoying a WIN.  How do you like my shimmy, baby?  I feel no shame at all in saying that I’m a lucky lady living the dream and enjoying myself every day.  Fun is not a bad word--it’s the best word.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Author Jan Romes on "Open Mic Monday"

Today I'm thrilled to host author Jan Romes for "Open Mic Monday."  She's talking about action, reaction and what if...the key ingredients in writing a great story.  
Following her post is a great excerpt of her latest novel, KISS ME.  Enjoy! 



ACTION, REACTION, AND WHAT IF?
By: Jan Romes
One of the first things we learn when writing a story is that for every action there has to be a reaction. The reaction can be in the form of dialogue or a gesture. It can be strong, nonchalant, or almost nonexistent – but there has to be one. My characters usually react the way we think they will, but sometimes it’s fun for them to do the opposite. Mix things up. (Of course, do it sparingly because too many out-of-the-ordinary reactions will make the reader question the authenticity of the character). Here’s an example of changing things up to surprise not only the character but also the reader. In my latest novel, KISS ME, Lacy Goodlow is at her sister’s bachelorette party, playing a game she’s deadest against – she has to give the guy at the bar a napkin that simply says “kiss me”. When the guy turns around it’s the cop who gave her a speeding ticket on the way to the party. Jared Kelly is thrilled to bump into Lacy again and he’s surprised when she thrusts the napkin at him. Everything falls apart when Angela Castle (Lacy’s wicked stepsister; the woman who dated and dumped Jared) interrupts. The anger is evident and Lacy expects him to tear up the napkin. Instead, Jared gives her a hard, angry kiss hot enough to melt her shoes. 
While writing your novel, be sure to ask yourself…what if? That question is so important. It can add depth, intrigue, action, and reaction. It can also reveal humor, weaknesses, and flaws. It helps drive your story. Sometimes in writing we hit a snag. Our thoughts will just not cooperate. If we go back to ‘what if?’ it might solve whatever is ailing our creativity. Here are some ‘what if’s’ from KISS ME. What if Lacy Goodlow is running late for the bachelorette party? That question spawned a handsome cop, Jared Kelly. What if he puts her through a sobriety gauntlet? It makes her even more late, stirs her anger and her interest. What if her wicked stepsister dated Jared? You get the idea. One ‘what if’ gave way to a few hundred more. It helped shape my story. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box with the answers to your ‘what if’s’. Make the answer plausible, but unforeseen. 
Here are some physical actions/reactions/gestures that might be of some use to you: a cocky wink, lifting a haughty shoulder, squinting in a furtive manner, rolling your eyes, brows bumping together in a scowl, one character edging closer to the other, jamming a leg into a pair of jeans, rocking back and forth on your heels, deliberately ignoring a comment, shoulders sagging, toothy smile, wary smile, lips set in a grim line, licking your lips, pretending to gag, stiffening at a remark. The list is endless. Imagine how you would react if you were your character.
The reason for this particular blog post is that recently I struggled with my current work-in-progress; a romance laced with suspense – tentatively titled, STAY CLOSE, NOVAC! I knew the story inside and out, but I couldn’t get certain scenes to move. Once I stepped back and asked ‘what if?’ things began to zip along. I also pulled out my trusty notes on action/reaction. Voila! I’m close to typing The End.

Thank you so much, Amber, for having me as your guest today!
You can find me at:
KISS ME  - Blurb
Falling for the cop who wrote her a speeding ticket and dated her spoiled stepsister throws Lacy Goodlow's world into chaos--but ignoring her heart to keep the peace is not an option.


AN EXCERPT OF KISS ME:


“Sir, seriously,” she whimpered. “I haven’t been drinking. And I need to get going.” She held her wrist up so he could see her watch. “My sister’s bachelorette party has already started, and if I don’t get there soon, she’s going to blow a gasket.”
Deputy J. Kelly’s eyes widened perceptibly.
Crap. He was picturing the same thing she was—drunken women and lots of alcohol.
Regardless, she was late. Lacy blew out a weighty breath of frustration, and contemplated making a move for his gun or handcuffing herself to his cruiser; anything so she wouldn’t have to face the wrath of Angela.
Deputy Kelly’s first command was for her to walk a straight line. Ha! Her sandal teetered on a stone and she swayed sideways. Next, touch the end of her nose. The earth must’ve shifted, because she missed and almost jabbed herself in the eye. And because of the diet cola she’d downed on the way there, she was fidgeting all over the place. “Are we done?”
Without answering the question, he leaned forward and took a big whiff.
An involuntary prickle of pleasure pulsed through her.
“I’m not going to administer the breathalyzer because your eyes aren’t glassy or red, your speech is not impaired, and I don’t smell alcohol on your breath.”
Duh. He’d been sniffing for alcohol, not enjoying her perfume.
She mumbled a feeble thank-you, but it was drowned out by a car filled with teenagers who buzzed past and hollered “Strip-search her.”

Buy link for KISS ME: 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The World Needs Romance


When people discover that I write romance, I usually get the following questions as a response: Why write romance?  Don't you want to write something more serious, more relevant?  In return, I ask, what's more relevant than love?
Love makes a life.
I loved my late husband. He made me laugh, told me every day how much he loved me, opened my mind to things I would never have tried, and balanced my frantic energy with his more mellow self.  But when he killed himself, people wanted me to hate him.  I have actually been asked, "why don't you hate him?" I don't hate him because I loved him.  He was more than a guy who killed himself.  He was the guy I married, the father of my children, the man who made my heart skip a beat every time I saw him.  He lived well and died young. How he died is irrelevant; how well he loved is all that matters now. 

Love heals.
It is often easier to be angry or bitter rather than forgiving and loving. I don't know why this is, but I have found it to be true.  People tend to see anger as a sign of intelligence or as a signal to others that they can't be messed with. Back off, the anger or bitterness shouts to protect a wounded heart. I know this tactic.  My former mother-in-law and I have had our differences since Sean's suicide.  We played the blame game.  What we both lost sight of was the fact that we both loved the same man--she her son and me my husband.  From that mutual love comes healing for ourselves and for the children involved. As with most things, underneath the anger and bitterness is love waiting to be recognized.
Love hopes.
I am fortunate to know a lot of great couples--happily married or simply building a life together.  They have endured loss, trauma, financial issues, health challenges, alcohol abuse or gambling problems yet are still standing.  They stay together through the ups and downs not out of co-dependency or need, but because they love one another.  Their love gives them hope that tomorrow will be better.  Their love gives them hope that the bad times are temporary.  Their love gives them hope because they know that no matter what loss or challenge is thrown at them, they have each other.  They walk with the gods because they know love is not always blissful or secure--rather it is messy and needs attention.  They know the secret.
I write about love because I believe in its power to overcome everything--even if my storyline throws in some spies, human smugglers, kidnappers, murderers or what-not.  My intent as a romance writer is to lift people from their everyday troubles and entertain them for a few hours.  Maybe I will make a difference in a small way if I can make them smile or forget.  More importantly to me, writing about love--with some twists and turns thrown in for fun--makes me happy. 
I believe that the world needs more romance and laughter.  When we are old or sick or scared, what is more relevant than love?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life in the Slow Lane--Open Mic Monday


Today on "Open Mic Monday" I'm hosting humorous author, Thomas Sullivan, who writes about his adventures as a driving instructor.  Speaking as a mom of a 15 year old with a learner's permit--he must have the patience of a saint.  Humor obviously gets him through the day and he shares that in his book, LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE. 
Enjoy the brief excerpt--and scroll down to hear an audio excerpt narrated by a professional DJ as well.  


Thomas Sullivan was having lunch in a suburban convenience store when he decided to start documenting his experience teaching driver education to teenagers. Yet another lesson had been canceled, so he had time on his hands. He started writing about the strange and funny world he found himself in, one populated by ancient dying cars, a shady employer, and wonderfully lighthearted kids who persevered through all the confusion. And he kept documenting the humorous episodes as they happened throughout one crazed, chaotic summer. To use a bad driving pun, Thomas started writing by accident, but the end result was the humor memoir Life In The Slow Lane



On The Road
An Excerpt From Life In The Slow Lane
By Thomas Sullivan
Julia is doing Lesson 3 today, practicing lane changes. This is a nerve-wracker for many kids, but also one where they seem to gain confidence and express satisfaction by the end of the hour. We roll out of the parking lot and cruise past the golf course, heading for a main road to practice our maneuvers. I look over at the fairway and watch a rotund guy in ridiculously bright clothes shank a drive. The ball flies to the side, violently entering a patch of woods. I've been waiting for one of these jokers to hit my car during a lesson, but it's yet to happen.
Julia swings onto a main road heading towards the center of Beaverton.
“Okay,” I say, “Let’s get into the right lane when it’s safe.”
Julia checks the rearview mirror, looks over her shoulder, and signals. She drifts cleanly into the lane.
“Well, well,” I say, “Looks like someone’s been practicing. That was perfect.”
Julia turns her head toward me, unleashes a toothy grin, and quickly returns to watching the road ahead. 
We run through two more lane changes and Julia completes both with confidence. We round a corner and grind to a halt behind a nasty stream of cars. I sigh. The traffic is fully stopped, with tired commuters waiting to enter the freeway a half-mile up ahead. I forgot to keep an eye on the time of day, and we're paying the price for this oversight.
We bail out of traffic and head down a side street to practice a three-point turn-around. I haven't been down this particular road yet and am still learning my way around this confusing suburb filled with cul-de-sacs and dead ends. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get us back to the school once we’ve abandoned the regular route, but no matter. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to ask a kid to cart me home.
I have Julia turn onto a narrow lane, which changes to dirt just out of sight of the main road. We creep towards a decomposing house with flaking paint and heavy green moss clinging to the roof. Indistinguishable metal junk lies scattered around the porch.
"Is it okay to go down here?" Julia asks nervously.
"Sure," I respond.
Actually, I'm picturing the windshield exploding under a hail of gunfire. The landscape is a chaotic mess. A door-less refrigerator stands in the yard to our left and I spot the rusty front half of a pickup in the weeds to our right. It's like I've taken my students along on a drug run.
"Okay,” I chirp, “this is perfect. Let's practice a turnaround."
Julia looks over at me with raised eyebrows.
"Are you sure?" she asks nervously. She turns her head and stares at the house, waiting for some drunken inbreed to emerge and intervene.
"Yup," I reply. "Just aim for the fridge, back up towards the half-truck, and then head back to civilization."
Julia inches toward the fridge and then stops, giving it plenty of room as if it were a bomb, which it very well could be. Somewhere behind us a metallic noise rings out, probably just a cat or a chunk of the house falling off. Julia cranks the wheel hard to the side, snaps the shifter into reverse, and backs up without looking over her shoulder, which I let slide. I want to get out of here just as much as she does.
Julia yanks her hands off the wheel and lets it whip back into position, another entirely acceptable no-no in a situation like this. She grabs the wheel with force and punches the gas. We tear across a piece of mystery junk, which bangs against the wheel-well, and then shoot down the dirt path in silence. 
Julia exhales as we turn onto the paved road and travel into a residential area to change drivers. I ask her to park using the reference point on her hood to gauge distance. She proceeds to drive the front right tire up onto the curb. It's a tall one common in newer neighborhoods and we sit for a moment suspended off the ground, our bodies tilting downhill. Julia laughs, looks up at me sheepishly, and says, "Just kidding." I open my door and look down as I always do to check parking alignment.
"I'd like you to get just a bit closer to the curb," I say.


For an audio excerpt narrated by a professional DJ, click here: 
http://www.prx.org/p/71515


Pick up your copy of LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE at Amazon.com. 

Stay connected with Thomas at his website: 
http://www.thomassullivanhumor.com

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Open Mic Monday" with Author Diane Schochet



Today I welcome author Diane Schochet to “Open Mic Monday”...and, yes, I know it’s Friday.  I’m breaking the rules a bit over here on Kisses, Caresses and Whispers in the Dark.  So, with reckless abandonment, let’s welcome Diane as she introduces us to her novel, COG STONE DREAMS. 


Doctor Claudia Alexander, my publisher at Red Phoenix Books, says COG STONE DREAMS is Environmental Literature because it features estuarial wetlands.  Amazon.com puts books about estuarial wetlands in their lakes and ponds category.  Today COG STONE DREAMS is number 19 in best-selling and number 2 best rated in Kindle lakes and ponds category. 
I say my novel, COG STONE DREAMS, is a mystical, magical, humorous love story with a murder, 9000 years of history, Jewish themes and estuarial wetlands thrown in.  Read my description and excerpt and decide for yourself.  
On September 14, 1947, when Dessa, the main character, was ten, her father’s Dodge broke down on a Southern California coast road between the Westbruk Wetlands and Cardboard Beach.  That day Dessa explored the beach, witnessed what may or not have been a bow and arrow murder and bought a dream inducing cog stone from a homeless boy named Leo.  That night she had her first cog stone induced dream. All her dreams took place at the Westbruk Wetlands and Card Board Beach. Leo, the homeless boy who sold her the cog stone, was in every dream.  Like Dessa he gets older.
It is now 1957.  Dessa is twenty and engaged to a Mister Perfect named Micah.  How perfect? Micah is kind, smart, handsome and rich. He adores Dessa.  They are at a sorority dance.  Micah has excused himself to go to the restroom.  Dessa is sitting on a metal folding chair. 
An excerpt of COG STONE DREAMS...
My right foot fell asleep. I stretched it to stamp out the tingles and kicked a white sock inside of a large brown, scuffed, loafer. 
“I’m sorry,” I said to the sock and shoe, then looked up to the face the shoe and sock belonged to and jumped.  I was looking at Leo, the boy I had met on Cardboard Beach when I was ten.  The Leo who’d sold me my dream inducing cog stone. The Leo I dreamt about.  “Leo?”  I said.
“Do I know you?”  He smiled the same crooked teeth smile. 
“We met when we were ten,” I said.  “I was ten.  I don’t know how old you were.  How old are you now?”
“Twenty-two.” 
“I was ten and you were eleven,” I said.
“Vas it in the orphanage or the school?” He seemed to have an accent or speech impairment. 
“It was on the beach,” I said. 
“When I was eleven I never went to the beach,” he said.
“You’re a liar,” I said.
Instead of arguing the point, he asked me to dance.  A Strauss waltz was playing on the record player and I walked into the arms of a man who knew how to waltz.  He had on cologne or after-shave lotion, I’m not sure which, and his breath smelled minty.
At the end of the dance, people clapped for us, we bowed---.
           
Available in both paperback and ebook from Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.  

COG STONE DREAMS is published by Red Phoenix Books.  

Connect with Diane on Twitter @redphoenixbooks