Category: Guest Post (page 1 of 2)

Goodreads Book Giveaway: A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair #mystery #suspense #Mothman

I’m happy to welcome Mae Clair back to my site today. We share a strange obsession of the mythological and cryptozoological, and not coincidentally, that’s what she’s here to discuss today. And she’s got a great offer for you. Take it away, Mae…


A Thousand YesteryearsA huge THANK YOU to Staci for allowing me blog space to share some exciting news. Kensington Publishing is doing a Goodreads Giveaway for a paperback copy of my upcoming release, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. There will be two—count ‘em two—winners. The giveaway is open now through February 29th (how cool, a leap year). If you’re interested, you can enter here:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/172145-a-thousand-yesteryears

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is a tale of mystery and suspense centered around events that took place in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. You’ll discover a small river town plagued by tragic history and rumored sightings of the Mothman—a terrifying creature said to haunt an abandoned WWII munitions site.

The characters are everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances—secrets, betrayal, murder. I hope you find the blurb intriguing:

Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

~ooOOoo~

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS releases on April 26th, but the ebook version is already available from Amazon and all other major booksellers. If you’d like to pre-order you can find a complete list of links here.

In the meantime, I invite you sign up for the paperback giveaway at Goodreads and tell your friends! The Mothman Cometh! 🙂


So a great big thank you to Mae Clair for sharing this news and opportunity here. If’ you’d like to know more about her, here you go:

Mae ClairMae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a kid. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her latest release.

Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions.

Look for Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter (@MaeClair1) | Google+

Facebook Author Page | Amazon Author Page

Goodreads | Pinterest

Sign up for Mae’s newsletter:

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Writer Wednesday—Chatting with Gordon Bonnet

Every now and then, serendipity intervenes in my life. One of the days she was working overtime was the day I met Gordon Bonnet.

Gordon and I are both published by Oghma Creative Media. At the time I met him, I was the marketing director there, and I met him to discuss media kits, promotional materials, etc.

kill switchI didn’t often have time to read every word of every manuscript of every writer we represented, but in Gordon’s case, I made the time. His novel, Kill Switch, grabbed me by the throat. I couldn’t put it down. It was fabulous. Then I learned more about the guy. He not only wrote well, he wrote fast, and he offered Oghma several more manuscripts (which I’m so glad they snatched up). He has a fantastic skeptics blog, Skeptophilia. And not only was he hard-working, he was a joy to work with.

I’m pleased to introduce him to you today, where he talks about his latest release, Lock & Key. Please make him feel at home. Take it away, Gordon…


I was talking to my younger son about quantum physics, as one does, and the subject of the “Many Worlds interpretation” came up.

This is the idea that every time an event could have gone one of two different ways, it goes both—in different universes. Put another way, when there’s a decision to be made, every possible outcome occurs somewhere.

The physicists who take this idea seriously (and there are a few who do) believe that once these splits occur, the timelines become permanently walled off from each other, so that there is no way to slip into an alternate universe and find out how your life would have gone had you chosen differently. As C. S. Lewis put it in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “‘To know what would have happened, child?’ Aslan said. ‘No, nobody is ever told that.'”

And that was when Nathan said, “Wouldn’t it be cool, though, even though we can’t see what would have happened, if there was a place that kept track of all of the possibilities?”

perf4.370x7.000.inddAnd that was the birth of the Library of Timelines, the setting for my recently-released novel Lock & Key.

In the opening pages, we meet Darren Ault, a mild-mannered Seattle bookstore owner, who is invited over to his friend Lee’s apartment for dinner. After the meal is over, though, Lee pulls out a pistol and shoots Darren in the head. Far from killing him, the gunshot makes the rest of humanity—Lee included—vanish. Somehow, Darren’s death has caused a temporal paradox, and the event has left only one person alive.

Darren himself.

Well, not just Darren. Also the staff of the Library of Timelines, including the Head Librarian, Archibald Fischer, and Fischer’s right-hand, his administrative assistant Maggie Carmichael.

After some inquiry, they decide to send Darren into the past to try to figure out what has happened and to attempt to repair the damage. This starts Darren on a journey careening through time and history, first to 11th century Scotland, followed by 14th century Norway and 19th century Kentucky, each time to a place and time the Master Computer of the Library has identified as a pivot point for the paradox. Along the way, he meets Vikings, a perennially-depressed Norwegian silversmith, an insane highwayman, a religious cult that believes the way to salvation is through pain, a beautiful red-haired Hebridean lass, a brilliant but unstable physicist, and an elderly peasant woman who couples smart advice with a talent for throwing dumplings at people she doesn’t like.

Darren is assured that on his travels, the Master Computer is looking out for him, and will make sure he is brought back to the Library if his life is in peril. It’s flawless, Fischer says. Darren will be fine, there’s nothing to worry about.

“And the computer always gets you out just in time?” Darren said.

Fischer nodded. “Always. Lightning-fast processor. Cutting-edge technology.”

“Well, there was Janowsky,” Maggie said.

“Oh, yeah,” Fischer said. “I’d forgotten about Janowsky.”

“Janowsky?” Darren said. “What happened to Janowsky?”

“Well…” Fischer acted a little reluctant to discuss the topic. “Janowsky was a Monitor who worked on our custodial staff. He was a bit of a thrill-seeker.”

“Morbid type, if you ask me.” Maggie’s round face radiated disapproval.

“He wanted to take a vacation back to the eighteenth century, and experience the French Revolution first-hand.” Fischer paused. “He got his wish, I guess.”

“He died? I thought you said your computer always kept track of where you were, and could pull you back to the Library!”

“Oh, he came back to the Library,” Maggie said. “Just in two separate chunks, as it were.”

“Took forever to get the stain out of the carpet,” Fischer said.

And with that reassurance, Darren is launched on the adventure of his life.

Lock & Key weaves together time travel with humor, history, and the question that all of us have considered from time to time—what would have happened had we chosen differently?

Just remember, next time you are faced with choices, the decision is yours to make. But everything is being monitored by Fischer and his computer. If you ever get a chance to visit the Library of Timelines, ask Fischer and Maggie if you can check on the Computer and see what would have happened had you made a different choice.

You never know. They might just let you.


Are you as intrigued as I am? How can you not be? I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s definitely on my list.

If you have any questions or comments for Gordon, please leave them below.

And to learn more about him, visit him via the following links:

Website | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About Gordon:

Gordon BonnetGordon Bonnet is a writer, musician, teacher, and scuba diver, and currently lives in upstate New York. His love of fiction began when his story “Crazy Bird Bends His Beak” won critical acclaim in Mrs. Moore’s first grade class at Central Elementary School in St. Albans, West Virginia. His interest in the paranormal goes back almost that far. Introduced to speculative, fantasy, and science fiction by giants in the tradition, he was captivated by their abilities to take the reader to a fictional world and make it seem tangible, to breathe life and passion and personality into characters who were (sometimes) not even human. This fascination with the paranormal, however, has always been tempered by Gordon’s scientific training. This has led to a strange duality—his work as a skeptic and debunker on the popular blog Skeptophilia, while simultaneously writing paranormal and speculative novels, novellas, and short stories. Gordon explains this with a smile. “Well, I do know it’s fiction, after all.”

Lorna Faith Interviews Her Main Character, Annaveta Travotsky

historical romantic suspenseIt’s been a while since I’ve had my next visitor here.

Now that I think about it, she never actually guest-posted here; I just had a book spotlight of her novel, Answering Annaveta. If you missed that post, you can find it here.

I’m so glad to finally introduce you to her and let you hear what she has to say. So, without further delay, here is friend and fellow writer, Lorna Faith, as she interviews Annaveta Travotsky, the main character in her historical romantic suspense series, the Russia to Canada series.

Interview with the Character ~ Annaveta Travotsky and Lorna Faith

Lorna Faith, author of Anchoring Annaveta, a historical romantic suspense due out in March 2016, was able to track down Annaveta, the female lead of the story. Annaveta wanted to meet Lorna at her small farmhouse just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s spring, and only six months after Annaveta and Alex escaped Russia by ship.

Annaveta appears relaxed, but with shadows around her eyes. They sit on the covered porch, each in a wooden chair that faces toward the ocean. Annaveta’s auburn hair hangs in a thick braid to her waist, and she wears a cream coloured shirt-waist and a long, dark brown skirt that touches her brown leather walking shoes.

After offering Lorna a cup of tea, Annaveta sits down and waits quietly.

LF: Thanks for agreeing to talk with me Annaveta. I wanted to interview you for a friend’s blog so she and her readers could hear your incredible story. You’ve been through a lot of trouble in the past couple of years, but you made it through.

AT: Well, I’m not sure how much detail I’ll be willing to share, and I’m not convinced I’m through the trouble you mentioned yet. Since Alex and I got here, we’ve seen some more evidence that we might have been followed by some of the men in the terrorist group, the Black Hand.

LF: The Black Hand has been terrorizing you from the start, haven’t they? Would you tell us a little about your story up to now?

AT: Well, I don’t like to talk about it much, mostly because they are such sad memories. But I can give you the short version.

LF: Sure.

AT: Well, after my family died when our hut caught fire, I escaped from my old village to the German colony where Alex lived with his family. It wasn’t long before Misha—the abusive drunk who I barely escaped marrying—discovered me at Pleve colony, and I had to run again. So I ran to St.Petersburg. That was when things went from bad to worse.

It started out simple and innocent enough as I worked as a nanny for Countess Tashkova, and sometimes would go with her and her husband to parties and bring the children along. But one time when I was asked to come along to help with the children, I overheard Baron Yakov talking to three other men about a plan to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Well, one of the men overheard me, and so the Baron put me in his dungeon for three days so they could carry out the assassination.

What I didn’t realize was that Misha, his cousin, Baron Yakov, and Gavrillo Princep were all part of a terrorist group known as the Black Hand. It was because we reported them to the police that they were put in jail.

LF: If they were put in jail, then why do you feel like you’re still not safe?

AT: When Alex and I quietly disappeared from St.Petersburg—after those Black Hand men were put in prison—we went to Odessa to stay with my Mama’s sister, Aunt Esther, and her husband Uncle Roman. While we stayed there, strange things started happening.

LF: What sort of strange things?

AT: After WWI was announced, the situation all around us went from bad to worse. My uncle suddenly decided he didn’t like Alex and his German background, and my aunt and uncle did their best to keep Alex away from me. So they planned dinner parties with their wealthy friends and their sons.

Hatred for Germans was everywhere. Someone even set fire to the local German Lutheran church when Alex and I went there one Sunday. Then the worst tragedy of all happened, German boats came to the port of Odessa one night in the middle of the night and started shooting their canons and rifles at every house and at every man, woman, and child within shooting range. Many people died—including people Alex loved—and it changed him.

LF: What do you mean it changed Alex?

AT: He went from being fairly easygoing and not wanting to join with the soldiers to being overcome with anger. Right the next day, he joined the Russian Navy. Before he left, Alex asked me to marry him. But it just wasn’t the right time—I could sense he was out of control. I told him no, and we broke up.

LF: What happened next?

AT: We hardly saw each other for a really long time. And both of us were being threatened by members of the Black Hand. (Annaveta’s voice sounds strained. She plays with the ends of her braid, her hands shaking a little). And I almost died trying to find something that my Mama had given me. We barely escaped with our lives, and that’s how I find myself here in Canada.

LF: That’s all you’re going to tell me?

AT: I just don’t want to talk about this anymore. All that we went through was so painful. I’m still feeling the loss of leaving Russia and our family and friends.

LF: Sorry for your loss. I won’t ask you any more deep questions like that. Although I do have one other question I wanted to ask.

AT: Well you can ask, I’m just not sure I will answer it.

LF: Okay, fair enough. You said you almost died trying to find something that your Mama had given you. That must have been something really important to you. Did you finally find it?

AT: Yes, I did find it. It’s a big part of what keeps me strong and anchors me in who I am. I’m tired of talking about this. Can we move onto another topic?

LF: Yes. Sorry if the questions got too deep or personal. I’m just trying to give readers a sense of what you’ve been through.

AT: Well… if they really want to know, they’ll have to read the book. I think you said it’s coming out in March 2016, right?

LF: Yes.

AT: Then they won’t have to wait too long for answers. (Stands and offers a small smile.) Let’s take a walk, and I’ll show you the new olive tree I planted.

LF: (Stands and walks with Annaveta, looking at the small tree in the middle of the farmyard.) Ah, very fitting.

Annaveta has grown in strength, maturity, and grace from all she’s been through. But the interview touched on too many fresh wounds, which explains why she rushed through the last few questions. Her story is captivating, though. I hope you check it out in March 2016.


Thanks so much, Lorna, for taking the time to introduce Annaveta to my readers. I loved the first book, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second, so now I can look forward to March and the next installment.

So, guys, if you have any questions for Lorna about her novels, or about her coaching—just leave a message. We’d both love to hear from you.

About Lorna:

Lorna FaithLorna Faith loves stories filled with suspense, thrills… and of course, romance. She started as a young child telling stories first to her animals, then to her family and friends. She was asked many times if the stories she told were real.

Now, she saves her stories for her novels. Whether Lorna’s writing historical romance or contemporary romance, she always includes character’s dark secrets being exposed, suspense, and most of all love.

Right now Lorna is editing Anchoring Annaveta, Book #2 in the Russia to Canada Trilogy; she’s writing a contemporary romance, in the fictional but beautiful setting of Mulberry Island; and she’s almost finished writing a Historical Romance novella set in the early 1900s at the start of the oil and gas boom in Turner Valley, Alberta.

LornaFaith.com
…Writer/Blogger/CoachFacebook | Twitter | Google Plus | YouTube

What Billy Joel and Albert Camus Meant

maskI’m a huge Billy Joel fan. (Yes, I’m showing my age. I don’t care. He’s awesome.) I could give you a list of my favorite songs of his, but that list would be way too long. Instead, I want to focus on just one. Briefly. “The Stranger.” In a moment…

I’m not much of a French literature fan. I had to read many French works when I was getting my degrees, but most of them bored me. One stuck with me, though. Albert Camus’ The Stranger.

What do Joel’s and Camus’ works have in common? Other than the title, that is. In their own ways, they deal with people hiding their true selves from the world, with trying to make order out of chaos.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to read my friend Joan Hall’s debut novella. What do Joel and Camus have to do with that? Joan’s work touches on similar themes. And her story is also called The Stranger.

Please join me in welcoming Joan today. I’m so excited she’s here, and she has a wonderful story to share with us.

The Story Behind Joan Hall’s The Stranger

the stranger

I’m excited for the opportunity to be a guest on Staci’s blog today and announce my debut novella, The Stranger.

Staci and I “met” through Tribe Writers and have since bonded through an offshoot private group of other fiction writers. We often tease that we share a brain or that we’re twins separated by birth. (Although I’m the much older twin!) Thank you, Staci, for allowing me to be your guest today.

Now, without further ado, here’s a little about my background and the story behind The Stranger.

Novelist Orson Scott Card once said, “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

As far back as I can remember I loved to hear a good story. It didn’t matter if it came from the pages of Grimm’s Fairy Tales or a Little Golden Book. Once I learned to read, I had a book in my hand most of the time. I had an over-active imagination and would often act out the stories I read.

However, my favorite stories were true ones told to me by my mom. Most people would think she lived an ordinary life, but I found her stories fascinating. Whether it was an event from her childhood or something that occurred later in her life, I enjoyed listening to them time and again.

When I was ten years old, I knew I wanted to become a writer. A lot of insecurity and self-doubt kept me from fulfilling my dream until a few years ago. In the years between, I continued to read—especially books in the suspense or mystery genre. I’m not much of a TV person, but I enjoyed shows such as Unsolved Mysteries.

I became a people watcher and listened to their stories. My new novella, The Stranger, is loosely based on a true story I once heard. I’m unable to give you any details of the real event—doing so would reveal the stranger’s real identity. However, I’ll share an overview of the book.

The Stranger CollageJulie Williams is happily married to a retired army officer and has two grown children. She is also the owner of Uncommon Grounds, a coffee shop set in the fictitious town of Morgantown.

The story begins at her mother’s funeral. Margie Smith was a self-centered and domineering woman who raised Julie as a single parent. Shortly after the funeral, Julie enlists the help of a local genealogist to assist her in searching for information on her father.

We soon learn that Margie’s life was filled with lies and deceit. Then, a mysterious stranger arrives in town. He begins to watch Julie, question other people about her, and hang around the coffee shop. Who is this stranger? What is his connection to Julie?

Morgantown is based on two small towns not far from where I live. From the original concept of the story, I imagined Julie owning a coffee shop. I envisioned the stranger arriving by train and staying in a nearby old-fashioned hotel. I looked around me not only for the story idea, but for the setting also.

My original plan was to write the story as a series for my First Friday Fiction Feature titled ‘A Stranger in Town.’ But after two installments, the characters begged me to tell more of their story.

Currently, The Stranger is available exclusively to email subscribers. If you would like a free copy, click here to sign up.


I’m so glad you joined us today, Joan. And thank you for sharing your process and your overview with us. I hope you guys take this opportunity to request a copy. The story really touched my heart, and it will stay with me. Just like Joel’s and Camus’ strangers did.

And what about you? Do you wear a metaphorical mask? Have you ever presented yourself as someone else? Do you like Billy Joel or French literature? Let’s talk about it.

And if you want to know a little more about Joan, here you go:

Joan Hall

Joan Hall knew she wanted to be a writer at age ten. She began to scribble stories on notebook paper and wrote a novel when she was seventeen. However, she put aside her desire to become a published author for several years. Then, with encouragement from a friend, she began writing short non-fiction stories and devotionals. But becoming a fiction writer was always her desire. The Stranger is her first novella. She has plans to publish more books in 2016, including the first book of the Driscoll Lake series.

Joan and her husband live in Texas and share their home with their two cats, Tucker and Little Bit, and their dog, Maggie. They like to travel, especially when a road trip is involved. Joan also enjoys photography, wildlife, and nature walks.

To connect with Joan, visit her website and be sure to check out her Friday Fiction section. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

I’m Going Trick-or-Treating! Come Along…

Okay. It’s not really trick-or-treat here. No tricks, other than the title, anyway.

pittsburgh-843273_1280Today is a real treat… for me. Talented author Mae Clair has invited me to guest post on her site. We’re talking all about the supernatural elements in Bleeding Heart and the Medici Protectorate Series.

I really hope you’ll join us. (Click here to visit me at Mae Clair’s site.) And Happy Halloween!night-995189_1920

The Big Dog and the Little Cat

Every so often in our lives, we meet people who really have an impact in our lives. With technology the way it is today, our world is “smaller” than ever, and we “meet” people we never actually meet. That’s the case with my guest today.

I “met” Dave Kwiecinski in an online writing group. And he touched my heart and soul from the very first day. Not only is he supportive and funny and wise, he’s one creative guy.

Case in point, today he’s going to share with us what life is like in his world—from his cat’s perspective. Dave is the Big Dog in our writing group, but it sounds like his little cat has him wrapped around her finger… I mean, claw.

Without further ado, I give you Dave. Well; Dave’s cat, anyway.


catHi. My name is Lady. Well, it’s actually Foxy Lady.

Well, wait… that’s what it used to be.

Daddy has a strange habit of giving me new names all the time. Right now he calls me Jay.

It’s a long story.

That’s okay. I have lots of stories.

We are always getting into a lot of trouble. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe Daddy forgets our names. And he has to keep thinking up new ones.

He really doesn’t have to keep thinking up new names. All he needs to do is feed me. But I guess if he keeps feeding me, I don’t care what he calls me.

Daddy asked me to tell you about myself. When I was a little kitten, I was wandering all alone outside. I was scared. I don’t remember if I was born outside or if somebody decided they didn’t want me. I was too little to remember.

I do remember that I was hungry. It was hard to find food. I saw other cats chase birds and squirrels, but I didn’t know how to catch them.

One day when I was exploring the Big Forest, I smelled food. The smell was coming from way up high, on top of a high wooden mountain. The mountain was hard to climb. It was a long way up. And it was scary. Daddy calls the side of the mountain “stairs.” The mountain seemed like a safe place. I could look down and watch the birds and the squirrels play in the Big Forest below.

The food at the top of the mountain was good. I was so hungry. The only scary thing about being on the mountain was the Big Cats that came out of the Giant Cage to put food and water in the bowls.

Daddy calls the Giant Cage “the house.”

One day, I climbed up the mountain to get something to eat. But this time, the bowl was underneath a big cave. Now that I’m an older cat, I know that the cave is called a box (we love to sleep in those). The cave was upside down and hanging in the air.

Well, when I started eating the food under the upside down box, the box fell on me. I was trapped inside and I was really scared! One of the little Big Cats (his name is Stephen) started yelling, “Mom! Mom! My invention worked!”

The little Big Cat named Stephen was yelling and yelling and it was so dark inside. I was so scared, I wanted to run away! All of a sudden, the top of the cave opened up and this big lady cat reached inside with her long paws and she picked me up. I was so scared, I bit her. She yelled “ouch!” and dropped me. I was still stuck in the cave, but I could see the outside at the top and I was trying to climb out. The big lady cat reached in again and picked me up. I was scared, but she wouldn’t let me bite her again. Then the little Big Cat named Stephen came out of the Giant Cage (that house place) and they took me inside and locked me in!

Daddy says that was 17 years ago. Is that a long time?

I found out that the big lady cat is called Mom. We call her The Lady Who Lives With Daddy.

I didn’t like being in the Giant Cage. The outside with the Big Forest and the tall wooden mountain was scary, but I could run in all different directions and chase birds and animals and I could find a lot of places to hide and be by myself.

I still try to escape the Giant Cage, I mean, the house. It’s still scary outside and I still find places to hide. It’s still hard to find food out there in the Big Forest and there are a lot of other Big Cats like Daddy that live in Daddy’s house, I mean Giant Cage. Oh… whatever you call it!

But I can’t help myself. I like being outside the Giant Cage.

Anyway, I found out that there was another little cat locked in the Giant Cage, too. His name was Kit Kat. He told me that he was in a different cage and then Daddy and The Lady Who Lives With Daddy and the other Big Cats moved from that cage to this new “House.”

“I’ve been here for about two years,” Kit Kat said. “It’s not too bad. It’s warm when that cold, white stuff covers the Big Forest. They have comfy places to sleep and there are some cool places to hide over there in the jungle.” He showed me some places inside the big cage that looked just like the forest outside. We could hide there. The Lady Who Lives With Daddy didn’t like when we played in the dirt, though.

Back then, only Kit Kat and I lived in the Giant Cage with all the Big Cats. There were five of them, including Daddy. But only us two little cats.

Kit Kat doesn’t live inside anymore. He got sick about six years ago. Now he lives outside all the time. But we don’t see him. Nobody does. But he still talks to me even though I can’t see him. I’ll tell you that story some day.

Since that time, there have been a lot of other cats inside the Giant Cage. Some of them still live here with me.

I have lots of stories. I will tell you about Sandy and Fluffy. There’s Smokey, who still lives here, but she doesn’t like to be around any of us little cats.

Little Kitten lived outside for a very long time on the big wooden mountain. But then she decided she liked to live inside the Giant Cage more than she liked being outside. I think she’s crazy. But she keeps coming back inside.

And Bun Bun, her kitten, is almost as crabby as Smokey. She always growls at her kittens. She likes to be outside so much, she always escapes the Giant Cage. And Daddy lets her! But she always comes back. Sometimes with presents for Daddy and The Lady Who Lives With Daddy.

Bun Bun’s kittens are almost as giant as the Big Cats! Well… not really, but close! Especially Kaner. He looks a lot like Kit Kat, but he is so much bigger!

Maybe he swallowed Kit Kat…

Kaner’s sister, Bee Bee, and his brother, Zinger Dinger, always try to eat my food. Daddy yells at them to leave me alone. He loves me.

Daddy didn’t always call Bee Bee and Zinger Dinger those names. Daddy is weird. It’s hard to remember all his names…

It’s hard enough keeping track of all the cats inside the Giant Cage.

Daddy says that he wants me to help him tell stories about living in the Giant Cage. There are happy stories and sad stories. Some of them are scary. I hope all of the stories will be interesting and exciting for you.

Daddy wants me to tell stories for you and your children and your grandchildren. What stories do you want to hear?


Thank you, Dave and Foxy, err…Lady, I mean, Jay, for that peek inside your world.

About Dave: daveDave Kwiecinski knew he was going to be a writer at age 12.

Angela Graham, his high school English teacher, predicted Dave would be a great writer. So he ventured off to a tiny liberal arts college in central Illinois.

And studied accounting.

It only took him 44 years to publish his first work, Four Simple Steps to Healthy, Happy Holidays, but he’s been happily writing away lo these many moons, with an unquenchable thirst to teach, motivate, inspire, rattle cages, and push buttons with his conversational writing style.

Now a recovering CPA, Dave helps fix people “who hate to exercise but love to eat” as a personal trainer. And he writes. About life (The Philosophy of Dave), healthy lifestyle (Dave K Fitness), and now dutifully transcribing the stories of his cats for a children’s book series. An emotional book about his dad’s fight for life is another work in progress.

Dave and his wife, Kathy, share their humble abode in far northeastern Illinois with way too many cats. They have five adult kids and seven grandchildren.

To learn more about Dave, visit him online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | Google+ |
Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Facebook Business Page

Ghost Hunting and Haunted Houses

I am absolutely thrilled to introduce today’s guest to you. She and I bonded online through several common interests (sadly the Steelers are not one of them, as she’s a Ravens fan 🙁 ) but for some reason I only recently read one of her books. And now I’m hooked! So today I’m going to turn the reins over to paranormal enthusiast and uber-talented author, Mae Clair. Take it away, Mae…

Can you spot the ghost in this photo? by Mae Clair

A huge thank you to Staci, for hosting me today. Staci and I originally “met” through Triberr and Twitter, and I’m delighted we connected. I’m a PA girl with an Italian family background, so we have a lot in common. 🙂

Myth And Magic-highresToday, I’ve brought two treats to share —MYTH AND MAGIC, a novel of mystery and romantic suspense set during Halloween (on sale now for just $.99) and…a ghost.

Recently, my husband and I took a trip to Point Pleasant, West Virginia so I could conduct research for an upcoming series of novels I’ve set in the area. We stayed at the Historic Lowe Hotel. This is a very old four-story behemoth built in 1904.

I can’t begin to relay the mammoth scope of this place. With its long halls, old stairways, elaborate moldings and woodwork, there were times I felt like I stepped into the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Everything was furnished with antiques, and I do mean antiques. I opened the top drawer of the dresser and discovered a songbook from the 1920s, the pages yellowed and tattered. The second-floor landing had a huge parlor with a piano, parlor benches, and chairs—this even before we ventured down the hallway to our room.

So where does the ghost fit in?

When I inquired why the hotel was billed as haunted (something I didn’t realize until our last night there), our host told us a phantom had been spotted occasionally on the third floor. Nothing much appeared to be known about this ghost, but there was a photograph someone had snapped hanging in the second-floor hallway.

Our host told us the spirit was visible in the photo, so my husband and I checked it out. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but was surprised to see the image of a woman in the bottom right-hand corner. I tried to grab a shot of it with my cell phone. Are you able to see the ghost?

ghost

I posted this same photo on my blog in July and it was amazed at the number of different entities people saw in this picture. Clearly there is a lot going on in the photograph. I’d love to know what you see.

But before you start contemplating apparitions, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my Halloween-themed novel, MYTH AND MAGIC. It’s filled with Halloween happenings, pumpkins, hayrides, a mysterious house with an infamous past, and rumors of hauntings.

Here’s the blurb:

AS CHILDREN THEY PLAYED GAMES OF MYTH AND MAGIC…

Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith’s past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.

THEN ONE DAY THE MONSTERS BECAME REAL.
 
After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?

~ooOOoo~

And a short excerpt for your reading pleasure:

Veronica’s stomach clenched as a mixture of fear and dread skittered through her. The expression in her eyes must have betrayed her unease because Morgana took her by the arm and drew her aside. Across the hall, the caterer and florist were busily consulting with the head of Morgana’s household staff. Three workers wearing black shirts that proclaimed Ghosts & Ghouls, Inc. wheeled a life-sized coffin through the front door. Having attended a number of Morgana’s Halloween parties, Veronica knew trays would be fitted inside the open lid, bearing all manner of delectable treats.

“I know my son,” Morgana said, cutting through the noise and activity. “He’s stubborn, but he’s not stupid. He isn’t going anywhere, Veronica. He may not be willing to admit it, but he’s in love with you.”

“No.” She tried to draw away. “Don’t say that.”

“It’s the truth.”

She shook her head. “Caith’s terrified of love.”

“He’s terrified of loss.”

Veronica clamped her mouth shut. Morgana was right. Even if Caith wouldn’t admit it, she knew it was the defining emotion that had driven him all of his life. The reason he’d chosen a career designed to keep others safe, the reason he’d given his son another name, the reason he still couldn’t bring himself to visit Trask’s grave.

She wet her lips. “I have to see him.”

“Give him time first,” Morgana suggested. “Stuart said he was up all night working on the case. He’s barely slept and probably isn’t thinking clearly.” She smiled encouragingly, hooking her arm through Veronica’s. “You can stay and help me decide where the band should go. And the goblins. Did I mention we’re having roving goblins?”

Veronica managed a small smile. The Ghosts & Ghouls people were pushing a series of crates through the door. Tall ones, large ones, squat ones.

“Mrs. Breckwood,” a sandy-haired worker called. “Where would you like us to put the trolls?”

~ooOOoo~

E-copies of MYTH AND MAGIC are on sale now for $.99   for a limited time across all major online booksellers:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Kensington Publishing | Google | All Romance eBooks


Mae ClairMae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back.  Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Google+ | Facebook Author Page | Amazon Author Page | Kensington Books Author Page | Goodreads | Newsletter Sign-Up

Setting the Stage

Native LandsSometimes I feel like I talk too much about the projects I’m working on. I mean, I’m passionate about them and want to share them with the world, but I’m not the only author with something to say. So I’ve reached out to some of my author friends and asked them to share their thoughts, their work, their passions with us.

Today, I’m happy to host friend and fellow author P.C. Zick, who is going to talk with us about setting. Take it away, P.C.

Setting the Stage with Setting in Fiction

“The uncertain air that magnified some things and blotted out others hung over the whole Gulf so that all sights were unreal and vision could not be trusted; so that sea and land had the sharp clarities and the vagueness of a dream.” The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Of all the authors who have inspired me in my career, John Steinbeck stands at the forefront. Why do I admire him so much? It’s because of his ability to use setting as a part of the plot.

I’m an avid fan of using the reality of setting—landscape, weather, era, climate—as a strong backdrop to a story. As a reader, descriptions of setting transport me to other places and eras. As a writer, the setting of my fiction gives me one more tool for fine-tuning my plot engine. On a more basic level, I simply love reading descriptions of setting that establish mood and tone. And I adore writing scenes with lush scenery and powerful seasons to project the atmosphere in my plots.

zick trails jpgIn my novel, Trails in the Sand, I used the setting of a lazy river on a warm day in the first chapter to contrast with the tension about to invade the lives of the main characters as disaster lurks in the Gulf of Mexico on an as-yet unknown oil rig named Deepwater Horizon.

“Our paddles caressed the water without creating a ripple as we floated by turtles sunning on tree trunks fallen into the river. A great blue heron spread its wings on the banks and lifted its large body into the air, breaking the silence of a warm spring day in north Florida. The heron led us down the river of our youth stopping to rest when we fell too far behind. The white spider lilies of spring covered the green banks of the Santa Fe River.” Trails in the Sand by P.C. Zick

Some of the authors I admire most, such as Steinbeck, use setting as a literary technique. A storm becomes a metaphor for tension between characters. The seasons serve as symbols within the theme. Temperatures create mood from humid heat to frigid cold. Place—from sea to river to urban environs—expresses as much about mood as does a character’s words and actions. Setting a story in Tel Aviv establishes a certain mood very different from placing a story in Memphis. Europe in 1942 resounds with air raids and fear. In New York City in 1942, life continues on with only minor inconveniences, such as rationing of nylons and butter.

I set my first novel in Michigan where I grew up, but I wrote it after moving to north Florida. I wanted to use the dramatic seasons of my birth home as a dramatic plot technique. The four distinct seasons of the north helped to create tension and to move the plot toward its dramatic conclusion.

By the time I wrote my third novel, I’d changed settings to Florida. I found myself seeking out ways to describe the varied landscapes so others could see what I discovered when I moved to a very different climate and landscape than where I’d previously lived. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings of The Yearling and Cross Creek fame, drew such vivid portraits in her novels of north Florida. After reading several of her books, I yearned to write in a similar vein and to show the landscapes and environment surrounding me.

“Somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever.” The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

I didn’t adapt to my new setting easily. When I threatened to take my baby and leave my first husband after watching a lizard cross my path, a neighbor intervened.

“Read Cross Creek,” he said as he presented me with a copy of Rawlings’ famous book, not yet made into a movie. I read avidly, soaking up her descriptions. I slowly learned to appreciate my surroundings with new eyes. Her descriptions of the Florida landscape helped me fall in love with all parts of my adopted home because her experience had been similar to my own. She moved from New York to the wilderness of Florida and had to adapt. Writing helped her make that transition.

I grew to love the snakes and skinks, heat and hurricanes, sand spurs and slash pines. I began to understand how our environment shapes us. Out of Florida’s beaches, marshes, and swamps rose runaway renegades, hardy natives, and tough cowboys. Setting created them as much as genetics.

When I took a leap of faith and left my teaching career to venture into writing full-time, many wondered if I’d lost my mind. A month after I quit, I won an essay contest. It’s no coincidence that the contest honored the woman who allowed me to fall in love with my environment and to fall in love with writing about natural landscapes. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings essay contest win gave me the confidence to continue on my journey.

Native LandsAnd I continue writing novels where setting surrounds the plot. In another of my Florida novels, Native Lands, the Everglades play an important role in the lives of the characters. The swamp, the isolation, the threat of hurricanes, and the wildlife create the backdrop for intrigue, mystery, and even love.

I’ll leave you with the final lines in Native Lands, where I made an attempt to express my profound love of a descriptive setting to show mood within my fiction.

“The stars twinkled in the dark sky as night settled over the Glades. The crickets croaked and the sulfur from the swamp assaulted their noses as they rolled out their mats to sleep near the fire as Mali and Locka once did on their travels south. The wildlife settled in the mud holes and rivers surrounding them. Slumber descended, as peaceful dreams floated in their heads.” Native Lands by P.C. Zick


Thank you for sharing, P.C. The quotes you chose are powerful reminders of how important setting can be in a work of fiction.

If you’d like to learn more about P.C. and her work, check out the links below.

Website | Blog | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google + | Video Trailers

Pat ZickP.C. Zick began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. Her first novel was published in 2000. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. She describes herself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre. She lived in Florida for thirty years, and she finds the stories of Florida and its people and environment a rich base for her contemporary fiction. Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply her fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable. Her romance trilogy, Behind the Love, is also set in Florida.

She writes two blogs, P.C. Zick and Living Lightly. She has published three nonfiction books and nine novels.

Zick Promos (5)Her writing contains the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment.

She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion.

Where You Can Find Me

I’m delighted to have been asked to write a guest post for friend and fellow author P.C. Zick. If you have any questions about the pros and cons of writing in multiple genres, please visit me there and tell me what you think.

Click this link to read my post on P.C. Zick’s site.

I also want to mention a live event I’ll be at tonight. If you live in Northwest Arkansas, consider stopping by the Farmington Public Library from 6:00-8:00 to visit with some of the authors of Oghma Creative Media. We’ll be there to discuss writing as well as to chat with our community. I hope to see some of you there.

cover1.jpgFarmington Public Library

175 W. Cimarron Place
Farmington, AR  72730

Ph: (479) 267-2674

Visiting Friends and Sharing Food

Hi, guys. I’m happy to announce that today I’m “visiting” my friend and fellow writer, Joan Hall, over at her website. We discuss writing, Bleeding Heart, and every Italian’s favorite subject—food. I hope you take a moment and come see what’s going on.

Click here to see the post at Joan Hall Writes.

Amazing When Sweaty Teaser

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