Monday, February 25, 2013

Open Mic Monday presents Author Jack Remick

Today I'm pleased to host Jack Remick, author of Gabriella and the Widow.  This is a beautiful story about a 19 year old Mexican woman who migrates north where meets a dying 92 year old woman, The Widow.  Let's all welcome Jack as he writes about the importance of objects in relation to character development--and I don't mean that in a shallow, materialistic way--you'll see what  I mean in his post.  Also, instead of a posted excerpt, we have a treat today!  He's reading the first chapter of his book for us via a YouTube link. Fun, huh?  Welcome, Jack!


Topic: Sentimental Objects & Their Meaning to You—let me add “as the writer of Gabriela and The Widow. 
By Jack Remick

To write this story, I started with the idea that one character, Gabriela, was thin, while the other, The Widow, was thick. What I would like to give you is a study of the way I use “objects” in this novel to build both emotional attachments between characters and to push the story line along to its conclusion. I want to emphasize that this is a preliminary working of the topic which developed more in the course of writing the novel. By focusing on the objects in a story and their relationship to character, you can go deeper into the emotional reality associated with objects. In this, fictional characters share an aspect of the sentimental life of people and that helps to make them whole.

Step One: Emotional Attachment to objects.
The main object in Gabriela and The Widow is the List that Gabriela has to keep for La Viuda.
Boxes: carved, painted, decorated, engraved, different kinds of wood, metal. Each box comes and goes in the story: some days, La Viuda wants to examine the painted box with photos, other days the walnut box decorated with silver and gold hammered flowers, still others the engraved rosewood box.
Gold coins—The irony in Gabriela and The Widow is that the objects of betrayal—the coins—are eternal while the objects of fidelity—the flowers—are transient and fragile..
Photographs—are an index to La Viuda’s journey through time. There are two kinds of photographs—dated and titled and undated and untitled. As Gabriel straightens out the List, the photos play a big part in fixing the dates and times of events in La Viuda’s life.

Step Two: Physical associations to objects.
Toe nail/fingernail clippings—are an index to La Viuda’s obsession with her body. She has Gabriela catalog and store her toe nail and finger nail clippings which are color coded.
Hidden panels in large boxes—the hidden panels are an index to the layers in the story. There are two life stories in this novel: Gabriela’s journey to El Norte, and La Viuda’s life journey and all her trials.
Flowers—are an index to El Señor’s character and his guilt.
Jewelry—these are an index to the secrets of stones and gems. Using the history of jewelry, La Viuda initiates Gabriela into the mystery of pearls, rings, earrings, rubies. 
Sable coat—this object is an index to La Viuda’s deepest secret. We learn that all the sables used to make the coat are female. In that all-female relationship echoed in that of La Viuda and Gabriela.
Each object moves through the story to reveal deeper secrets that lead to the climax when Gabriela puts on the sable coat.

Step Three: Secrets of the Boxes
The Boxes: There are six boxes in  La Viuda’s house. One is in her bedroom. It is an elaborate carved and inlaid box about one meter tall. It folds open in half. In each half there are jewels. It opens when she presses an in laid butterfly in the top. Necklaces, earrings, rings, pearls, rubies, wrist watches.
Each half holds another hidden panel that is released by a hidden pressure lock in one of the intricate designs one of which is the eye spot on a butterfly’s wings. In the secret panels, the jewels are more expensive and each object has its own history.
There are several smaller boxes, all carved from exotic woods from exotic jungles and each box has a history.
One box about thirty by thirty cms contains the photographs of La Viuda all taken on her “travels’ as she calls them.
One box is made of tawa—a hard black wood from the Ecuadorian rain forest. It is inlaid with the stylized face of a jaguar whose eyes are made of rubies and whose fangs are made of piranha bones. This box contains the articles of her body that La Viuda saves-all her toenail and fingernail clippings held in an inside box of silver filigree. In the box she has placed her teeth—all from childhood as well as the ones she has replaced through time—wisdom teeth extracted, gold caps and crowns replaced. There are tresses of her hair clipped at different times in her life, each tress in an envelope dated and noted with time and place of its cutting to give another layer to the chronology.
Another box contains all her letters and links to the List of Places. La Viuda tries to remember all the places she has lived—her memory is fading—and she uses Gabriela to create the List of Places and they use the letters and the hair tresses to build the list with dates.
Yet another box contains other photographs—these without dates—so one element is the Subtext of Time. Another element is place. As La Viuda recreates the chronology of her life we see pictures of her in exotic places—some in color, some black and white—from Yucatan to Catal Huyuk the ruins of the oldest city in the world in Turkey.
After the boxes which reveal secrets, we turn to the physical transformation.
Gabriela has her own objects, but they are few and very simple:
A necklace made of Oaxacan black ware beads. This necklace open Gabriela’s backstory. Another object is a vergonzosa (prayer plant) pressed and dried.  The third object is a pair of gold-wire earrings that Gabriela wears.

Step Four: The Story Line Connected to Objects
As the two story lines intertwine and alternate we see or hear about Gabriela’s remembered objects—her hair, the gold earrings are physical—and we see the village she came from, her bare feet. This all indexes the polarity of Wealth/Poverty or Complex/Simple that runs through the story.
The Gold Coins: 
These gold coins hide the deepest secret. After one year, Gabriela has La Viuda’s confidence. She instructs Gabriela to go to a secret compartment in the house and in that compartment there is another box—it is a plain metal box made of silver. It contains 25 gold coins. Each coin has a story but all the stories are about the affairs El Señor carried on all the time he was married to La Viuda. Each time he was unfaithful, he brought La Viuda a gold coin. The crown jewel of the collection is a gold commemorative struck with the profile of Maximilian. Each coin has a value far greater than its actual gold content.
Flowers:
The husband never came home without a bouquet of flowers. La Viuda read him—she tells this to Gabriela—by his gifts. Flowers were gifts of love for her, coins were atonement. Neither of them had to say a thing. The code was clear.
The Sable Coat:
The sable coat appears in a photo of La Viuda in Red Square. We see her wearing the coat and high leather boots. She has her arm in that of a man. Gabriela asks if that is El Señor and La Viuda says no—there are no photos of him This is the father of Liah, her daughter. The sable coat enters the story again as an object in time when Liah herself the widow of a rich man, brings it to La Viuda one day. La Viuda instructs Gabriela to put on the coat.
We see Gabriela in the coat. She is a tall, thin exotic woman with almond eyes and a slanted forehead and high cheek bones. La Viuda tells her she is exactly the kind of woman El Señora found exciting.

Step Five : Objects and their Relationship to Lost Memory
As La Viuda completes her List of Places, her memory fades until she can only with difficulty remember who she is talking to.
The last object in the story is the Will.
In the will, La Viuda has left all her jewels, the sable coat, and her gold coins to Gabriela.
The house and the rest of her estate she has left to her dying daughter Liah. 
La Viuda dies in her bed with Gabriela beside her. The List is Complete. All the Secrets revealed.
The final image is of Gabriela as she stands beside La Viuda’s coffin at the funeral. Her hair shines, she wears a black silk dress, high heels, a pearl necklace. Bright red lips.

Hear Jack read the first chapter on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX2fya631gg

 About the Book: 
Through the intimate bond of a companion and benefactor, Gabriela reconciles the painful experiences of her youth as she is reshaped by the Widow, La Viuda. Together, day after day, night after night, La Viuda immerses Gabriela in lists, boxes, places, times, objects, photos, and stories, captivating and life-changing stories.  It seems Gabriela is not just hired to cook and clean; she has been chosen to curate La Viuda’s mementos while taking care of the old woman’s failing health. “As you grow thick, I grow thin,” says the widow, portending the secret of immortality that will overtake both women. 

ISBN: 978-1-60381-147-7
Publication Date: January 15, 2013

Places available for sale: 
Gabriela and The Widow is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After January 15, 2013, it will also be available in multiple eBook and 6x9 trade paperback editions on BN.com, the European Amazons and Amazon Japan. 

Wholesale orders can be placed through info@coffeetownpress.com  Baker & Taylor or Ingram. Libraries can also purchase books through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service.

Taking a Leap


Taking a Leap
by 
Amber Lea Easton

“Love is the whole thing.
We are only pieces.”--Rumi

I am an unabashed romantic.  I say that knowing how scary it is to love another person, especially after heartbreak.  

I was widowed seven years ago.  The pain of such a loss is something I never want to experience again--it’s raw, merciless, and dark.  Avoiding that pain caused me to hide my heart away, locked carefully behind excuses of only-parenthood, career obligations and basically anything else I could come up with on the fly. 

During the past years since my husband’s passing, people have asked me why I write romance novels while remaining a relative recluse in my mountain home.  The answer is simple:  I believe in love and happily ever afters.  

That belief is why I’m laying my heart on the line, going back into the dating world at age 44, and risking the pain again for the chance at finding love a second time around.  Terrified is the best word to describe how I feel, even after a few dates under my belt now, yet I’m stumbling forward on this  path.  I’m older--with baggage and scars and fears--unlike my 20 something self who thought herself invincible.  But here I go with scary words like “widow” and “romance writer” attached to every move I make.  (Believe it or not, men are actually nervous about dating a romance writer, they fear I have very high expectations!)  I do believe love is worth opening my heart again, though.  I do.  

In my novel, Riptide, my heroine Lauren is starting life over from scratch.  She has a lot of reasons never to trust again, no one would blame her if she hid herself away, but she digs deep to find the courage to embrace life again.  That’s hard for all of us--picking ourselves up after tragedy, starting over, taking a leap of faith and trusting someone else when our rational minds would caution us against it.  

At some point in all of our lives--if we’re adults with some mileage on us--we’ve encountered forks in the road where we need to make a choice to go forward, step back or remain at an impasse.  I--like Riptide’s Lauren--choose to move forward even knowing the risks involved.  

Love is worth the risk.  It’s scary, often messy, and full of obstacles the second time around. Without love in our lives--whether it be from a lover, friend or family member--we are mere shells of what we could be.  Go for the love, I say.  Take that leap.  

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” 
Rumi

 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chatting on The Writing Mama

I was the featured author for The Writing Mama blog talk radio show where we talked about love, dating, romance, writing, setting, title creation, emotionally charged writing, character development and...WHEW!  I'm worn out.  Check out the link to the replay, if you have the time. I'd love to hear your comments, too. 
 
This is part of my virtual book tour for Riptide...just one more stop on my journey as a novelist.  

 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2013/02/18/the-writing-mama-show-with-guest-amber-lea-easton

Excerpt of Riptide to read while you're listening to the above link....or just because...ha:

To hell with island mode. Maybe she should have gone to New York City and gotten lost in a crowd. 
She twisted her hands into the fabric of her dress, afraid to take one more step forward. All that blood. She blinked, reminding herself for the thousandth time that this had nothing to do with Lahey or Atlanta. This incident happened now, in the present, no connection to the past. She stared at the empty beach stretching back toward Austin’s. A normal person would run into the night and get home as fast as possible. Guess she was a long way from normal. 
“Did you see someone come by here? A tall redhead?” Noah reached her side, out of breath and looking as terrified as she felt. 
“Already replacing me with a redhead? I knew you were a player.” She forced a smile onto her trembling lips, knowing it looked fake as hell. “No, I didn’t see anyone.” 
He closed his eyes, hung his head, and exhaled a long breath. “How can you be so damn strong with all of this happening?”
“Practice, I guess.” Wind blew hair into her face, but she liked feeling concealed. She stepped back toward the restaurant. “Maybe I need to call a taxi.” 
“Don’t.” His hand caught hers. “We’ll walk together back to Austin’s.”
“What about the redhead you’re chasing?” She pulled her hand free of his and stepped back. She needed isolation. No one knew just how close she was to the breaking point and she didn’t want any witnesses for that. Panic clenched her chest. Past collided with present...blood on the floor...blood in the water. She blinked and shoved a fist against her forehead. “I need to get to Austin’s.”
“I’ll take you. Let’s go before someone points out that you’re a witness, that you talked to the guy. You said yourself—”
“I know what I said,” she interrupted with an anger that surprised her. “I came here to be alone, why didn’t you just let me be?”
He stared at her through the darkness, muscle working overtime in his jaw. “If you don’t want me to take you, then fine. I’ll call Austin.”
“I’m not a baby. I can call a damn cab myself.”
“Do you know how many cabs are on this island? Not many. This isn’t Atlanta. You’ll need to wait. Either let me call Austin or walk you.”
She ripped her gaze from him and stared ahead at the dark beach. Someone had just been murdered within inches of her, and she’d ditched a crime scene. She rubbed her hands over her hips. The anger pulsing through her veins was raw and unexpected. All she wanted to do was scream at the top of her lungs, hit something, run, fall to her knees and sob until all the pain disappeared. All she could think about was the blood...and Larry’s words. 
She looked down at her dress where blood still stained the material despite her frantic scrubbing with the napkin. 
“I don’t want Austin to see me like this.” She took a step toward the beach but froze. What if the bullet had been meant for her? Paranoia whispered through her mind. Ridiculous. “I can walk.” 
“I’ll walk with you.” He reached for her hand, but she pulled away. 
Dating wasn’t exactly her forte. She needed to stay away. 
“Suit yourself.” Thankful for his presence, but scared of the raging emotions surfacing within her, she walked by his side into the darkness beyond the restaurant and away from the chaos behind them. 
What had been a romantic walk an hour earlier now danced with tension and unspoken thoughts. She slipped off her sandals and inhaled the rich sea air. Reporter instinct told her that he knew more about what happened back there than she probably wanted to know. If she weren’t about to scream, she’d confront him about that. Then again, she knew going into this that he wasn’t exactly a saint. 
“We probably should have stayed,” she whispered. “Someone probably noticed me talking to him before he was shot. It’ll look suspicious that I left.”
“People weren’t paying attention to you, I’m sure. It was busy tonight.” He kicked absently at the sand with his bare foot. “Are you thinking about Atlanta?”
“You obviously are.” She cringed and resumed walking. It always came back to Atlanta. She couldn’t even be involved in a new murder without someone bringing up her past. So much for anonymity on this piece of rock they called an island. 
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Stop dancing around the subject.” She stopped and confronted him. Moonlight illuminated his face. She saw compassion, worry, and guilt swirling in his eyes. “You and everyone else in my life are waiting for me to snap. I see it. Larry’s the only honest one amongst you. At least I know where I stand with him. I was on a date with a sexy guy who I thought wanted me for the right reasons—”
“I do want you for the right reasons even though it feels pretty damn wrong at the moment.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Not what you think.”
“Really? Because I think it means you regret being with a woman you think is so fragile she can’t...” She motioned helplessly to the side, all of her steam dissipating with the reality that she was a fragile woman who couldn’t even walk the beach alone at night because of the dark. 
He gripped her shoulders and shook his head. The sea breeze tossed his black hair into his eyes. “You’re wrong. I think you’re the strongest woman—person for that matter—that I’ve ever met. You left because you didn’t want to be interrogated, maybe because you wanted to protect me and maybe because you wanted to protect yourself. It is what it is. It’s done. You can go to the police tomorrow if you want, but nothing about this situation makes you weak.”
“Larry thinks I’m a murderer.” She hated that her voice caught on that last word. “He’s right.”
“No, he’s not. Larry’s an ass, but a harmless one. He has no censor.” He moved his hands up and down her bare arms. 
“Shouldn’t I be crying?” She laughed, but not out of amusement. “Any other woman would be crying, right? A man just got shot within inches of me, and I’m walking on a beach with you arguing.”
“Please don’t cry.” He grinned. “I don’t do well with women and tears, makes me nervous as hell.”
Surrendering, she leaned her head against his shoulder and held on as if her life depended on it. When he wrapped his arms around her, she closed her eyes. He felt like a safe haven in a storm. 
“When you look at me, do you think about why I’m here or what I’ve done like Larry does? Tell me the truth,” she whispered against his neck. 
“No, I don’t. That’s the truth.” Fingers on her chin, he tilted her face up to look at him. “I see a beautiful woman who’s my friend’s sister and who I’ve been having elicit fantasies about for nearly forty-eight hours even though I know it’s a bad idea.” 
“It is a bad idea.” She stared into his eyes as if trying to see his soul. She needed at least one person in this world who didn’t think of her as damaged. “You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m capable of. I saw the way you looked at me back there. You were wondering if I’d snap.”
“Because a man had been shot next to you, not because of your past. Damn it, I’m shaken up myself.” He pressed his forehead against hers. “You tried to protect me, wanted me to tamper with evidence, that’s sexy as hell.”
She grinned despite the weight that had fallen on her shoulders. “I wanted to see what was in the envelope.” 
“Ahh...so you were driven by curiosity.” His thumb traced the curve of her lower lip. “You’re one helluva woman, Lauren Biltmore.”
“You don’t know me.” She looped her hands around his neck and leaned closer. Damn, the man felt like heaven. “Is someone trying to hurt you, Noah?”
In the darkness, it was hard to tell if the shadows across his face were caused by clouds over the moon or unspoken emotion. 
“No one’s trying to hurt me.” His grin seemed fake. “Let’s get you back to Austin’s.”
She held him when he would have stepped back. “You’re lying.”
He pushed his hands through her hair, gaze scanning her face. “Like you said, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Maybe it’s best if we stop this before it goes any further. You don’t need my kind of trouble in your life right now.”
“Maybe your kind of trouble is exactly what I need.” She kissed him because the adrenaline surging through her body needed release, and he was the perfect outlet. 
He matched her intensity with a fierceness that weakened her knees. She sagged against him, hands clinging to his shoulders for support. Trouble or not, the man kissed like a porn star. Damn, he melted the skin from her bones with every stroke of his tongue against hers. 
Her hands roamed over his shoulders to his back. She pressed closer, craving skin on skin. One thought and one thought only penetrated her mind...sex. She wanted him inside her. Now. Fast. To hell with the consequences. 
Together they fell against the sand with laughter tangled between their lips. Somewhere between fleeing a crime scene and kissing, fear had transitioned to passion. She needed his touch, his mouth, his body heavy against hers. Desire consumed every cell of her body. 
“We’re the most unethical people I know,” he said against her mouth. “I shouldn’t be proud of that, but strangely I am.” 
“Take me back to Austin’s. Stay with me.” She caught his lip lightly between her teeth and stared into his eyes. 
His hand slid beneath her skirt and up her thigh. “I don’t know if we’re good or bad for each other. I’m not thinking clearly at all around you, making bad decisions, dragging you along with me.”
“I’m going willingly.” She nipped his neck, her hands smoothing down his back before grabbing his ass. “We have too many clothes on.”
“And we’re on a beach within view of anyone who happens to walk by and look closely enough.” He laughed against the side of her face. “Let me take you home.” 
“And you’ll stay with me?” She kissed him again, unwilling to let him go. He felt too damn good pressing her into the cool sand at her back. 
His kiss softened and teased as his hand caressed her naked thigh beneath the skirt, his thumb moving over her panties. She hungered for him like a woman coming off a diet craved chocolate. 
“I’m such a bastard,” he whispered before rolling off of her and covering his face with his hands. “I can’t do this. It’s not right.”
The abruptness of his absence rattled her. They laid side-by-side, their breathing labored and a sea of stars above them. 
“Do what? Me? Us? What can’t you do?” she asked even though she didn’t want to talk. No, talking was the furthest thing from her agenda. 
“I can’t be the man you need me to be.” He sat up and looked toward the ocean. “That’s just how it is. I’m not a good guy. It’s for the best. Trust me.”
She sat up and brushed sand from her arms. Lips swollen from his kiss and nerves scattered all over hell and back from their night, all she could do was nod. Maybe it was for the best, but not for the reasons he thought. But, damn, if only she’d gotten him naked at least once. 
She took his hand as he helped her stand, but then he abruptly let go. In silence, they walked past The Lazy Turtle. People laughed, a band played, and couples danced. 
They stepped around the L-shaped palm tree, hands grazing each other but not touching, each lost in thought as their footsteps filled with water behind them. 
She ascended the stairs to Austin’s condo with heavy feet. So much for a simple night out with a sexy man. The reality that nothing in her life would be simple again assaulted her heart like a torpedo sinking a ship. 
She unlocked the door and faced him. “Are you sure you can’t stay?”
He brushed sand from her bare shoulder, a sad smile on his face. Without saying a word, he left her standing alone, turned and walked down the stairs toward his car parked beneath a light. 
She closed the door, locked it, and walked as if on autopilot to her bedroom. Standing at the window, she saw Noah sitting in his car and looking up at her. She leaned her shoulder against the glass, but wished she had the nerve to run out and tell him to take her home with him. But she didn’t. Not anymore. She doubted she had much fight left in her. 
If he wanted to walk away, so be it. Alone was best. Happy endings weren’t her style. 

Riptide's Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/2YWX6FDUbfUhttp://youtu.be/2YWX6FDUbfU





Looking for the ONE...An interview with Author Lawrence Fisher

 Open Mic Monday is gonna be full of laughs today so thanks are always appreciated...as are gifts. Ha.  Author Lawrence Fisher takes center stage talking about his latest book, Kill Me Now, which is all about his dating experiences.  I'm sure I could add some tales myself over a few martinis. 

Thank you, Lawrence, for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses and Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate your time. Can you tell us a little bit about Kill Me Now?

Kill Me Now! is about Lawrence, a man in his late 40s dodging bullets deep in the dating battlefield while searching for the ONE. In Kill Me Now! Lawrence tries to decode the signals of his enigmatic opponent, often resulting in his hasty retreat. Why is she resting her head on her hand? Is she bored? Or is she interested? He finds himself in many humorous situations where he has no idea what he is doing and no idea how to maneuver through the skirmish. Trapped in the epicenter of the courting conflict, the motivating thought that sustains him is his strong belief that somewhere out there, she awaits. Join Lawrence as he painfully stumbles through the mating minefield in search for his SOULMATE while silently wishing that he was elsewhere. Be warned, you will laugh!

I can totally relate to this and love that I'm hearing it from the man's perspective.  Perhaps we're more similar than I ever imagined...go figure.  Yeah, I know.  That's a subject for another day.  Tell me more about what inspired this book in particular.

Looking for my ONE, I went out on numerous dates and did not really knowing what I was doing. I did not understand the signals I was being given etc. I felt like I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I started a blog about my dating inexperiences and realized that I am not alone. I can find the funny side of most events and decided that I wanted to put a smile on other peoples’ faces.

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Is that a serious question? Me, of course! Am I actually going to say that one of my potential dates who actually threatened me was my favorite character? Heck, no!


What comes first--characters or plot ideas?

For me it is the idea. I write a kind of diary of events so it is not really a plot unless the women are plotting to get me!

How many books have you written?

I have finished the first book in the “Kill Me Now” trilogy. I am working on the other two books.

What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist?

I like that I can write whenever I want to and not be tied to a specific time or place. Don’t tell anyone and if you do I will deny it, but I do a lot of my writing on my iPhone while sitting on the toilet. This happens until someone starts banging on the door asking if I am alright or will I hurry up or offer some expletive. I can ignore them only for the first 15 minutes.

What inspires you as an author?  

Good question and I do not have a ready answer for that. I guess it is that I just want to write things down so that I do not forget them. I have a very good memory as my fiancé maintains, I rarely forget things unless it is her name. So it is good to write things down for our children for when they are born.

What draws you to this particular genre?

Humor is a part of me. I just see humor in anything, so it seemed to just fall in place.

Humor is essential for all of us if we're going to survive in this world, especially out there in the dating realm.  Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not? 

Maybe I could write a novel about my experiences in the military, but I am having so much fun at the moment, so it will have to wait.

What's your typical writing routine like?

When the idea strikes me, I start writing, wherever I am!

How important is reader feedback to you?

I love hearing from my readers. I do not get enough though. Hint, hint!

To you, what's the most challenging aspect of being a published novelist and why?

The problem is not the publishing, it is the marketing. I am bad at that and do not know what I am doing. If I knew what I was doing, my book would be a bestseller. I also have a full day job and need to spend time with my fiancé, so marketing is challenging.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now with one person, all expenses paid, where would you go, and who would you take? (this is hypothetical, by the way--I'm not a lotto winner. LOL)

You mean that you are not going to pay for a cruise around the world for me? Of course I will take my fiancé with me. I have to say that as she will probably read this interview. But I would like to go to South East Asia.

Are you more of a chef or a take out person?

I am actually both. I love cooking.

Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself. 

Not sure whether I am going to provide you with 5 little known facts, but I will give you some:

I am very strong. A friend’s son called me superman but I cannot fly. Personally I think he was mistaken, but then again he did see me lifting the car.
My nickname is bigfoot and hence my twitter name is @lbigfoot. I was named that twice, once in the army when they could not find shoes my size and had to get some specially made and second by my good friend, Ed, you can read about him in my book. He called me Bigfoot because of my size. He sometimes calls me Sasquatch and tells everyone that Sasquatch is not a myth, he knows him personally.
I am an expert on the use of a postage stamp as a propaganda tool.
I am no longer in my early forties.

If you could give one word of advice to an aspiring novelist, what would it be? 

Go for it, but do not think that you are going to be a bestseller. Follow your dream and go ahead, but keep your day job until you are a bestseller.
  

Excerpt from Kill Me Now:


No date again, woe is me! How many of us have sat at home wondering why we don’t have a date? How many of us have gone to a bar to look for a girl, found someone interesting and just froze? What should we say to her? What is a good pick up line? Questions, questions, questions! Help!

Those of us who know how to use the internet instinctively say, “Google it!” In the search tab, you type in, “how to pick up girls” and hope for the best. You then receive a plethora of websites offering you information from the best of the best. THE experts! Or so you assume. One site says there are plenty of people who are good at picking up girls, but cannot explain their art. If they cannot explain, then what good are they to us? Do they describe which girls are they trying to pick up? What kind of girls were these, real or imagined?

One night, I decided to try a line from one of those websites. Me, myself and I, the holy trio, decided to go to a bar. A stunning brunette caught my attention as she eyed the crowd. Somehow she managed to avoid eye contact with me. I walked up to the lady and took out my iPhone and hoped it impressed her.

Reading off my iPhone, I said, “Baby, I’m no Fred Flintstone but I can make your Bedrock.” OK, I agree with you. That is lame.

She leaned toward me seductively and said, “Go Google again!” Was she being rude to me or not? I have no idea. I think she had learned the true art of diplomacy, which is the ability to tell someone to go to hell so that he actually looks forward to the trip.

You obviously realize that it is important to make a good first impression. The first impression is vital. It is difficult to correct a bad first impression. Oh, the pressure, the pressure. You only get one chance to do it right!

Going up to a girl at a bar, saying, “What is a girl like you doing in a place like this?” will probably earn you a smirk. Not only is the line antiquated, but it seems to work only in the movies, and sometimes not even there. The only time I tried that line, the girl said it was her bar and that I should not refer to it as “such a place”.

Oh, what should I do? What should I do?

The internet provides contradicting information. What’s new? When you are searching for something in your field, you understand whether it sounds right or not. But if your understanding is close to zero, how can you define what is right and what is not?

Somehow you need to hone your non-existent skills. Somehow you need more practice. Somehow you need experienced friends.

Looking at my friends and hearing their stories, I wonder, does experience really help?
Oh, crap! Kill me now!

Author Bio:
Lawrence has been out on countless dates in search of his soulmate. Like most people he has found himself in many strange situations. However, he found that he could see the humor in each situation. Lawrence is a single guy in his late 40s. He has worked in computers and education for about 25 years and also holds a personal fitness trainer certification. He currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. Lawrence Fisher spends his days writing software tutorials and his nights in the endless search for the ONE. Will he find her? Or will there be book two out?

Lawrence Fisher's website is: http://killmenow.org/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Now-Maneuvers-Frontlines-Battlefield/dp/1475141718/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359021424&sr=1-2&keywords=kill+me+now

Monday, February 11, 2013

An interview with Author Luke Murphy

(Psst--If you're looking for the Heartbreaker Blog Hop, it's beneath this post. Thanks!)

Open Mic Monday is excited to host Author Luke Murphy today.  Let's all smother him with kisses and adoration...or better yet, buy his book if you like what you see.  Drum roll, please....Welcome, Luke! 


Thank you, Luke Murphy, for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate your time. Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years. 
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

What inspired this novel in particular?
There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies.
Dead Man’s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.

Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?
From NFL prospect to wanted fugitive, twenty-seven year old Calvin Watters, a sadistically violent African-American Las Vegas debt-collector, who was once a rising football star, is framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
He has weaknesses and he has made poor choices. He has regrets, but Watters has the opportunity to redeem himself. Not everyone gets a second chance in life, and he realizes how fortunate he is.
Watters faces racial prejudice with calmness similar to that of Walter Mosley’s character Easy Rawlins. But Watters’ past as an athlete and enforcer will remind other readers of (Jack) Reacher of the Lee Childs series.

What comes first--characters or plot ideas?
For DEAD MAN`S HAND, the Calvin Watters character came to my mind first, then the plot for the novel.

What kind of research do you do for your story lines?
Extensive. I visited Las Vegas twice for research trips. For research purposes I used many professionals including members of the: Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, medical professionals, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Ottawa Police Department, and Employees of Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas.

What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist?
Writing allows me, for a short time, the freedom to leave my everyday world and explore new avenues, to be in another place and time. It allows me to get inside the head of characters—to think, do, and say whatever I want with no rules or restrictions.
It means liberty and freedom to express myself.

How long have you been writing--both aspiring and professionally?  
I started writing in 2000. It actually started out as a hobby, a passion, a way to pass the time. I got serious about writing with the intention of seeking publication in 2006.
What draws you to this particular genre?
I was always an avid reader. My first books were the Hardy Boys titles, so they are the reason I love mysteries. As an adult, some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Greg Iles, so naturally I write what I love to read – mystery/suspense novels.

Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not? 
Since I`m just a new writer with only one novel under my belt, I feel that I need to set my mark in one genres, before attempting to cross over. 

What's your typical writing routine like?
These days I don`t have one. Right now, I have a full time job (teaching), a part-time tutoring job, two small children and another one on the way. I`m too busy playing ring-around-the-rosie and duck-duck-goose to write.

But when I do write, I find that I am most productive in the morning, and I always have to have a mug of steaming coffee in front of me.

To you, what's the most challenging aspect of being a published novelist and why?
Time. Between my day job, part time job, family and promoting my first novel, finding time to write has been a tough. Also, because I have been published by a smaller publishing house, just getting my name out there and my book into stores has been challenging.

Chocolate or vanilla?
Definitely chocolate.

Dogs or cats?
No comparison...dogs.

What's your favorite meal to prepare or are you more of take-out king? 
I have to admit that my wife does 90% of the cooking. But I love food and eat just about everything. Can`t beat a good steak (T-Bone) on the barbecue though.

Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself. 
1) Former professional hockey player
2) Current Elementary School Teacher
3) My wife is pregnant with our third child
4) My kids tell me I`m very talented at Duck, Duck, Goose and Ring-Around-the-Rosie
5) I coach my 4 year-old`s soccer team

Oh, I absolutely love hockey.  It's my favorite sport to watch.  Your wife sounds like a lucky lady.  Thanks, Luke!  Now let's take a look at your novel, Dead Man's Hand.  It sounds wonderful.  I love a good mystery.  

Excerpt of Dead Man's Hand
In a pool of sweat, he shot up in bed. "Jesus!"
Pain bolted through his swollen right knee, but the emotional pain from a shattered ego hurt even worse. It was the same pain and nightmare that had visited him many nights over the last four years. He was the only one to blame for USC's humiliating loss and his own humiliating personal downfall.
Removing the sweat-soaked sheets, he hobbled across the room, dodged the strewn clothes on the floor, stepped into the bathroom and quietly closed the door behind him. He flicked on the light and squinted as the sudden brightness blinded him. Then he reached for the bottle of Percocet, his loyal companion in these isolated, agonizing nights. 
He shook three of the blue painkillers into his hand, his steady diet of Percs. When he couldn't get enough from his doctor, he bought extras from a dealer. He downed the pills, chasing them with a mouthful of water. They would take some time to kick in, but relief was on its way. The drugs, along with his secret hopes and plans, were all that kept him from slipping over the edge.
He used his hands on the vanity to hold his weight and stared into the mirror. At twenty-six, he already had the hair and face of a stranger. 
"You should let your dreadlocks grow long," his boss suggested. "More intimidating."
The patchy facial hair was Calvin's decision. The overall effect was menacing—just right for his line of work. 
His sharp brown eyes, which at one time had won him glances from beautiful women in college, were usually hidden behind dark sunglasses. Unseen eyes were intimidating too and when he took them off to stare at a victim, he could use his eyes to look like a madman
He closed them now and shook his head in disgust. "You look like shit. Hell, you are shit."
The press had certainly thought that, four years ago. Always ready to tear down a hero, they had shown no restraint in attacking him for his egotistic, selfish decision and obvious desire to break his own school record. One minute he was touted as the next Walter Payton, the next he was a door mat for local media.

Book blurb:
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don't fall your way? 

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years. 

What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand? 

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Author Bio

Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, two daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Luke-Murphy/268343729930467 and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy



Friday, February 8, 2013

Heartbreakers and heartthrobs


Are our heroes heartthrobs or heartbreakers? Or do those terms mean the same thing? Yummy right? Valentine's Day is just around the corner for this blog hop and we're gearing up to see what exactly is a heartbreaker. Is the song playing in your head line mine? "Cuz he's a heartbreaker!"  What makes a man a heartbreaker?  Is that a good or bad thing? Almost 300 bloggers have giveaways and posts about those men we love. But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
On Kisses, Caresses and Whispers in the Night, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Victoria's Secret AND an ebook copy of Kiss Me Slowly (just let me know what format you'd like it when you leave your comment).  Hey, it's the weekend before Valentine's Day ...do we need a better reason to indulge in fantasy?  To be eligible to win any of the grand prizes and/or my personal giveaway here, you MUST leave a comment that includes your email address.  Winners will be announced on February 12. 

Okay, now that the schpeel is over...let's get started talking about heartbreakers and heartthrobs. 

Personally, I have a weakness for bad boys...men with an edge.  Plain old vanilla doesn't do it for me.  This doesn't mean I like men who are cruel--far from it.  I like a guy who's confident in himself, who has an I-do-it-my-way attitude and who isn't afraid to be an alpha man.  

When asked if I think heartthrobs and heartbreakers are the same thing, I have to say no.  I think they can be...but they aren't necessarily bound together as one.  A heartthrob to me is like this delicious specimen to my left.  He's gorgeous, he makes me want to lick his abdomen, but for all we know it's just a show.  He's hot, yes, but perhaps he's boring as a stick, stupid as a rock and only wants to talk about his abs. 

A heartbreaker, on the other hand, he's the one we all need to watch out for, especially if he's got the looks to go with the attitude.  A heartbreaker has the personality, the charm, the intelligence, the savvy, the wit and knows it.  That's the key...he is well aware of his power and knows how to wield it.  A heartbreaker is sexy to us because he is the definition of the alpha man.  He doesn't need to be a heartthrob to do this.  I've met some average looking Joe's who were definite heartbreakers because of their attitude and the sheer power they projected.  

Heartbreakers are the type of men who make great romantic leads. Why?  Because they're risky, they're elusive and they're fantasy worthy.  Again, in my real life, I'm drawn to this kind of man because he's got that edge and keeps life interesting.  

Can a heartbreaker ever fall in love?  Yes...with a woman who has the confidence to go toe-to-toe with him, a woman willing to walk away and call him on his BS.    

It's been my experience that heartbreakers only break hearts because they are, at their core, good guys.  That's their appeal--their innate goodness.  I've also learned that, once they fall in love, they are the most loyal of men.  

In my novel, Riptide, Noah Reynolds is both heartthrob and heartbreaker.  He's got aloof and sexy down to a science, but inside he is a lonely guy who feels misunderstood.  Women have only wanted him for his money, his power or his body and that's what he's given them--but he's kept his heart hidden away.  And, to be honest, at first all Lauren wants from him is his body, too.  She looks at him and sees a sexy distraction from her problems.  But then she gets a glimpse of the good guy beneath the heartthrob facade and won't be satisfied with anything less than his heart.  

We've all been heartbreakers in our lives.  Somewhere along our journey there's been someone who loved us yet we walked away--perhaps we didn't know or maybe we simply didn't feel the same.  We like to label a man a heartbreaker and think of him as cold, but in most cases he's simply protecting his heart because...perhaps...he's been hurt along the way, too.  

Yes, my heart has been broken so often that I sometimes feel like Humpty Dumpty and know it cannot be put back together again.  But I know I've shattered my share of hearts along the way, too.  Love involves risk.  Isn't it worth it in the long run if you get your happily ever after?  What do you think about heartbreakers?  Are you up for the challenge they present or do you prefer easy?  Do you like vanilla or rocky road?