Saturday, March 9, 2019

Overcoming Writer's Block

March 9, 2019

Tomorrow we move our clocks up by one hour. Yes! I love it when we do that because I love the daylight lasting longer. It also means that I can start gearing up for the spring and summer fun. I'm a water and beach person. I do not like the cold. So, I get really excited knowing that it is time to start planting my spring garden and getting the backyard ready for our annual crawfish boil. It's always a lot fun because we celebrate our family members who are Aries and we have a bunch of them. Including me.

I want to remind everyone that I have two books currently in the pre-order phase -- A.D.A.M. and How to Launch and Market a Book. You can order one or both below after watching the book trailers. I have also included an excerpt from A.D.A.M. after my feature author interview which is Sila Long. Additionally, today's author tip is on how to overcome writer's block. Happy Authoring!

 Meet Sila Long - Author of A Brush with Fate

Amazon Author Page:

Where are you from, and do you have pets?

I am a native New Yorker, first-generation American with Caribbean roots.

Yes, I love dogs and have had dogs throughout my childhood with the last one being a Dalmatian. The plan is (I’m still trying to convince my husband) to have two dogs when we move to a warmer climate. I have already selected the names. No, I’m not sharing.

Tell us your latest news?

Just returned from beautiful Costa Rica. Planning this trip for a long time. Our villa had a spectacular view of the ocean with unfamiliar sounds of wild-life providing a constant soundtrack. I was able to carry out my fantasy of writing while looking out on the ocean and pausing from time-to-time to watch the sunset. This experience will certainly find its way into my writing.

I am more than halfway through, I think, my latest work which I hope to complete in the spring of 2019.

What inspired you to write A Brush with Fate, trilogy?

My passion for writing found its expression throughout my life. But it was while writing a book in the academic arena that I could not shake the feeling of needing to say more. I had for a long time written short stories and loads of poems for my own creative release and enjoyment, but this time was different. I was writing on an important issue involving women of color in the academic sphere that required a tight focus on research and factual data.  It was satisfying but also frustrating. I knew I had had plenty to say, but how do I integrate important issues and themes primarily about women into stories that excite, provoke, and entertain?  This was the driving question as I started to write A Brush with Fate, trilogy.

Women talk a lot about relationship issues, and we think and talk about sex. It is a natural part of intimacy that should be celebrated. I was disappointed to learn that if I wanted to include sex in my stories in ways that were real, it came with an industry label–erotic. I feel that this label dissuades a host of readers from reading The Brush of Fate, trilogy. Nevertheless, I wrote book 1, a suspenseful hot romantic tale about two complicated individuals, brought together by fate. It is through their story that their insecurities, secrets, pain, and humor were all laid bare as their tale of love unfolded maybe providing lessons for us all. A story I needed to tell.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I start out needing to say something. It haunts me. Much of the main parts of my stories are written in my head long before I commit any of it to paper. This becomes even truer as each chapter develops. I know the premise, and usually how I want to end the book, but the specifics of the story take on an amazing life of its own. I am constantly asking myself, ‘who is this person/character?’ ‘I am fiercely attached to each character knowing who they are, their motivation, their secrets, their pain, etc. All of this helps me to create identifiable and authentic dialogue for each character. I find that this helps in story development. For example, I may have an idea to take a scene in one direction but may find that it is not consistent with my belief in who the character is, so I adjust.

Storytelling is an ever-evolving process. I am learning, reading, stretching but more importantly, believing that I have something meaningful to say and trusting my instincts while developing my own voice for what it’s worth

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. There were things on my mind when I finally decided to sit down and start to write book one– BRUSH OF FAITH trilogy. Like how unresolved pain can jail us to our past infecting our relationships and changing the trajectory of our lives forever– if we let it. Or what it means to really love our life partner, and our capacity to forgive. These are all very real and important relationship issues that I wanted to explore in my storytelling.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

Yes. My stories are a compilation of people, events, situations, places in my own life sprinkled with a whole lot of fantasy, and suspense. My stories also integrate issues surrounding relationships that were consistent themes revealed in my other professional work.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It is a story about the indomitable human spirit. True stories are represented in one woman’s plight, who has sustained the most horrific life trauma that any person should endure and her journey in finding herself again in a world now foreign to her. It is filled with twists and turns, lots of suspense and, of course, love interests.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I am interested in fusing together important issues with exciting, provocative and entertaining stories. I want folks who read my books to walk away with something that ignites a question or makes them want to learn more. I want my reader to feel that they received something very personal to them. I’ve given myself a high bar to reach.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

For me telling the kind of stories I want to tell takes time. I have not yet, and perhaps I will never, be able to pump out book after book, after book in a short amount of time. Perhaps it is an issue of my style

You have only one week left to enter for the Giveaway Contest. This month's feature giveaway book is Trickling Sands by Jarrod Fasan. This book as an unique twist from the very beginning. If you like suspense, you'll like this.


You can now pre-order my new novel A.D.A.M. As a bonus I have added an experpt of this book in this blog. 
Watch A.D.A.M. Trailer

By Dr. Melissa Caudle
A scientist. An alien lifeform. A secret base.
Consequences for mankind.

Dr. Bradford drove her hunter green Fiat on Interstate 10 from New Orleans towards Slidell.

Jessica twisted her long brunette hair into a bun and secured it with a pink scrunchy. “I’m hungry. I’m not waiting any longer to eat.” She dug through a white fast-food paper sack that rested in her lap, retrieved a breakfast sandwich, and unwrapped it. The odor permeated through the car. Jessica curled her nose. “The eggs smell rotten.”

“Get over it. Nothing has smelled good to you since you took in that mouthful of salty water at Mono Lake.”

Jessica gagged, crumpled her breakfast sandwich back into the wrapper and threw it back into the paper bag. “You can eat yours if you want, I’ll wait for lunch.”

Dr. Bradford darted her eyes over at Jessica. “Give me mine.”

Jessica dug through the bag and retrieved another wrapped breakfast sandwich and handed it over.

Dr. Bradford unwrapped it, took one bite and spit it immediately back into the wrapper.

“Told you, but, no! You didn’t believe me.”

“Please be quiet; let me think.”

The silence between them ensued as they crossed the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.

Jessica leaned toward the dash to stretch her back. “Are you sure it’s safe to go to the lab?”

“They can’t kill me in public; so, I believe it’s safe.”

“It makes me nervous. Let’s listen to Stephen Stone Diamond. He’s talking about extraterrestrials today.”

“That’s what we need, an alien conspiracy.”

“I thought that’s what we’re in now.” Jessica pressed the radio’s knob. “It’s not working.”

“That’s the best news I’ve had all day.”

Jessica grabbed her phone and opened her blog radio app.

“. . . Not just life here on earth, but also extraterrestrial life.” Stephen Stone Diamond’s deep and golden voice enhanced the mysterious topic. “It is unknown if there is any connection to the mysterious deaths of Dr. Gregory Peterson and the late husband of Dr. Sandra Bradford, Dr. Jeffrey Peck, who were both members of N.A.E.T. For those of you who don’t know what N.A.E.T. is, I will gladly inform my listeners. It is a branch of NASA and stands for National Astrobiological Extraction Team. Coincidently, the research team led by Dr. Sandra Bradford. Phone lines are open.”

Dr. Bradford slammed her fist onto the dashboard. “Damn! It’s out on Blog radio.”

“I’m Stephen Stone Diamond. I’ll be right back to take your calls.”

Dr. Bradford clenched her jaw. “Turn it off. I don’t care to listen.”

Jessica grabbed her earbuds. “That’s exciting. E. T. phone home. I got to call in.”

“Like hell, you will.”

Jessica secured her earbuds, dialed the blog radio number, and waited. “I’m on hold.”

“Jessica. Hang up. You can’t bring attention to yourself or to me. Now hang up.”

“So why are you doing a press conference?”

“The public needs to know the truth about my research. If the public gets wind of what I’ve discovered, they’ll demand the truth.”

“Well, in my opinion, that is exactly what Stephen Stone Diamond will do.”

NASA Astrobiology Institute between the Louisiana and Mississippi border provided not only jobs but also fundamental research. From the spacecraft and booster shuttle rocket, the entry to the multi-functional compound reflected the nation’s attitude about space exploration. Everyone wore either an official NASA or N.A.E.T. employee badge representing they worked either as an independent scientist on the National Astrobiological Extraction Team or a part of NASA. Visitors must sign in and wear visitor badges on their lapels too.

Dr. Bradford rushed toward the three-story “Carl Sagan Astrobiology Lab” which housed the N.A.E.T. lab. Behind her, Jessica, Rebecca Newcombe, and George, a camera operator quickly followed.

Without provocation, Dr. Bradford collided into Dr. Phyllis Gordon, a forty-four American scientist, and Dr. Edward Stolz, a fifty-two German scientist. Rebecca motioned for George to roll the camera.

 Dr. Gordon’s eyes pierced toward Dr. Bradford’s. “You’ve gathered quite a following since our discovery.”

“I’d have to agree.”

“Too bad our samples were confiscated.”

“This isn’t the time nor the place to discuss this.” Dr. Bradford strode briskly toward the N.A.E.T. research building.

The entourage followed as Rebecca motioned for George to continue to roll the camera. “What was all that about?” She caught up to Dr. Bradford.

“Common professional jealousy. That’s all there is to it.”

Jessica frowned. “I think not. It’s about...”

“…Loose lips sink ships.” Dr. Bradford motioned using her fingers as if locking a key for Jessica to close her mouth.

Jessica confirmed when she moved her fingers across her lips as if zipping a zip-lock baggy.

Rebecca glowered toward George. “Cut the camera. Damn it!”

The entourage barged into the N.A.E.T. building.

The morning sun reflected off the five test tubes of murky water which rested on one of the lab’s counters. A microscopic particle floated inside one test tube and for a nanosecond glowed neon yellow.

Moments later, the entourage entered Dr. Bradford’s lab. Jessica flipped on the lights as she wrinkled her nose and smelled the faint musky and sulfur smell. “I’ll never forget this smell.”

The well-equipped lab included beakers, flasks, a Liebig condenser, and graduated cylinders showed the lab’s importance. Most prominent, a silver and white 60X-2599X-2 binocular turret professional biological microscope proved essential in isolating micro-organisms. In the corner an assortment of lab experiments and three twenty-five-gallon tanks filled from the murky waters retrieved from several lakes labeled Lake Pontchartrain, Grand Isle and Honey Island Swamp filled the area. On the wall above the door a twelve-inch round battery-operated clock and a sign - “A.D.A.M. Extraction Team” marked the entrance to the lab. Each white cabinet had stainless steel handles which enhanced the sterile environment.

Rebecca tapped George onto his shoulder. “Be sure to capture everything in the lab. I want lots of B-Roll.”

Dr. Bradford and Jessica dressed into their white lab coats, proceeded to the sink, and washed their hands.

Jessica prepped a microscope and a sterile slide. “I’ll make sure everything is ready Dr. B.”

 “Perfect Jessica. Just follow the protocol. We have to get this correct.” Dr. Bradford stepped to a locked cabinet, retrieved a bottle of arsenic and an eye dropper, and placed the items next to the microscope onto the lab counter. “Rebecca, it won’t take much longer to set up.”

“That’s good to know. I don’t have much longer.”

Dr. Bradford retrieved the test tube which contained the particle. She extracted a sample as Jessica handed her the glass microscope slide. Dr. Bradford placed three drops of the murky liquid onto the sterile slide.

Jessica lifted her brow with excitement. “Isn’t this amazing?”

Rebecca’s frown deepened. “That’s it, a test tube full of murky water and three drops on a slide.”

Dr. Bradford defended her actions. “It’s evidence that challenges the way we think and view life as we know it.”

Jessica handed another test tube to Dr. Bradford. She filled the container using the water sample and gave the vial back to her. “Jessica, mark this sample A.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Jessica looked at Rebecca. “It’s in there. I’ve seen it.”

Again, Dr. Bradford’s posture became defensive. “You can’t see it without the aid of a microscope.” She filled the second vial and handed it to Jessica.

“Sample B.” Jessica nodded with pride.

Dr. Bradford confirmed with a nod. “Remember, at its current state it is a microbe.” She placed the prepared slide beneath the microscope as everyone observed and focused the microscope.

“I’ll prepare the boiling water.” Jessica predicted what Dr. Bradford would want as it had become standard procedure in the lab. She briskly strode across the room, filled a tea kettle, and set it onto the single electrical coil burner. She walked away but quickly returned to turn the knob to the on position.

As Dr. Bradford viewed the microbe under the powerful microscope, it vibrated and morphed into Dr. Bradford’s eye. She lifted from the microscope, blinked, and rubbed her eyes.

Jessica noticed. “Something wrong Dr. B?”

“Nothing, an eyelash was in my eye.” Dr. Bradford peered through the microscope and adjusted the focus again.

Rebecca’s patience grew thin. “How did you obtain these samples? I thought the government confiscated them.”

Dr. Bradford exhaled. “A few more seconds... There you are, look.” Dr. Bradford stepped to the side as Rebecca stepped to the microscope. She glanced at Dr. Bradford before she lowered to view the microbe.

Dr. Bradford rubbed her neck. “Jessica, hand me my notebook please.”

Jessica strode to Dr. Bradford’s desk, retrieved a brown leather journal, and strutted to Dr. Bradford and handed it over.

The tea kettle whistled. Jessica at once prepped a beaker of hot boiling water and brought it to Dr. Bradford.

Dr. Bradford handed her journal back to Jessica and then placed five drops of arsenic into the beaker.

Rebecca peered through the microscope. “Honestly, I see nothing.”

Dr. Bradford exhaled in disappointment. “My best hypothesis is the microbe transitions as fast as I isolate it. I’ll isolate it again for you.”

The two women exchanged places. Dr. Bradford once again adjusted the microscope settings.

“You never answered my question. How did you obtain these samples?”

“Let’s suffice it to say I was on the extraction team and managed to keep a sample for further study.”

“You stole it?”

Jessica came to Dr. Bradford’s defense. “We didn’t steal it. We went...”

Dr. Bradford lifted from the microscope long enough to glare toward Jessica and twisted her fingers as if locking a door.

Jessica put her hand over her mouth as she lifted her brows.

Rebecca annoyed at the silent gesture, huffed. “You agreed you would tell me everything.” She gazed harshly at Dr. Bradford.

“I promised you an exclusive interview for a no question asked policy. When the time is right, we’ll reveal our evidence and our source as to how we obtained another sample.”

“I’ll get another Emmy.”

“I’ll surely get my doctorate.”

Dr. Bradford gave Jessica another cold glance.

“Well, I will. Won’t I?”

The lab became uncomfortably silent as Dr. Bradford continued to isolate the microbe.

Rebecca tapped her foot. “Anytime would be ideal. I have a deadline for tonight’s news.”

“Patience, I almost have the microbe isolated.”

“Yes, Dr. B always tells me that patience is a virtue.”

“We go live at six. After the murder of your husband and Dr. Peterson, the world is waiting with bated breath to hear from the now infamous Dr. Sandra Bradford.”

A reflective sadness came over Dr. Bradford, but she regained her professional composure. “You sound skeptical, Rebecca.”

“Wouldn’t you be? You claim to have evidence of an alien life form.”

“Don’t forget about me. I’ve seen it. Be sure to add that to your story. You know how to spell my name, right?”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “This sounds ripe for a sci-fi murder mystery for The Twilight Zone and not the headline news story I wanted to break.”

“I’ve isolated it, be quick this time.” Dr. Bradford backed away from the microscope.

Rebecca quickly assumed her position and peered it as she squinted her left eye. “Like before, nothing.”

“Maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for.”

“Insults I don’t need and won’t tolerate.”

“I didn’t mean it to demean you. I apologize if I came across that way.”

“Let’s talk about the murders of your associates.”

“I can’t speak to the murders. I can only comment about the great men taken from this world. I was shocked to learn my husband was involved in a head-on collision and it was an accident. The investigators ruled there was no foul play involved. Frankly, I’m horrified Dr. Peterson was gunned down while on a boating vacation on the same lake where we made our discovery.”

Jessica bit her lower lip and paced. I don’t like the way this is going.

“Doesn’t this frighten you?” Rebecca swallowed and leered toward Dr. Bradford with unashamed confidence.

“Of course, I am as anyone in my situation would be. You never know who your enemy is even if they stood in front of you as a friend. It’s a cut-throat industry when claiming a scientific discovery.”

“Especially one that’s as big as this.” Jessica beamed with delight.

A quiet knock on the lab’s door caught everyone’s attention.

Dr. Bradford looked at the samples and over toward the door as Jessica jumped and dropped Dr. Bradford’s journal as a wallet size photograph of an infant tumbled from it and onto the floor.

FBI Agent Morrison, a handsome African American male, late forties, and Agent Turner an African American female in her late thirties brashly entered.

Jessica’s eyes widened as her trembling hands went straight toward the ceiling. “Whoa, gun!”

 Agent Morrison flashed his shield. “Miss, you can put your hands down. We’re here to speak to Dr. Bradford. I’m FBI Special Agent Morrison, and this is my partner Special Agent Turner.”

Jessica slowly placed her hands to her thighs as she glanced at the journal and the photograph. She retrieved the journal and set the photograph back inside the journal.

Dr. Bradford stepped forward. “I’m Dr. Bradford. How may I be of assistance?”

Agent Turner stepped forward. “Not in the presence of others. What we have to say is confidential. Everyone needs to leave but Dr. Bradford.”

Agent Morrison put his hand in front of his face and grabbed George’s camera with the other. “Stop filming. You’re in that directive too.”

George jerked his camera out of Agent’s Morrison’s hands and stepped backward to put distance between them.

Jessica stomped her foot. “You’re telling me, you barge into our lab and ask us to leave.”

“We’re not asking.” His stare as cold as ice seemed menacing.

“But, I’m her graduate assistant.”

“I have Freedom of the Press on my side.” Rebecca stood steadfast.

Dr. Bradford raised her hand chest high. “Wait, anything I have to say, they can hear.”

Agent Turner stepped closer toward Dr. Bradford. “In that case, you leave us no choice but to take you to FBI headquarters. Please, Dr. Bradford, retrieve your belongings and come with us. It will be easier for all involved.”

A silent standoff prevailed.

“I’ll consent, but I want it documented that I am cooperating.” Dr. Bradford gathered her belongings and headed for the door.

Rebecca motioned for George to follow. He pursued the agents and Dr. Bradford as they exited from the lab.

“Wait! Dr. Bradford, your journal.” Jessica handed over the journal.

Dr. Bradford hesitated. “You keep it. Jessica, lock down the lab. Use protocol FRIC.”

“FRIC?” Agent Turner’s brow creased. “And, that is code for what?”

“Factual Research Investigative Control.”

Jessica smirked in agreement. “Lock up the science experiment to avoid contamination. FRIC that!”

Agent Morrison looked at Dr. Bradford. “Come with us please.”

In a few seconds, Jessica re-entered the lab and secured the samples. The murky water in one of the five tubes glowed neon yellow as the water vibrated around it.
She retrieved her cell phone and dialed.


Overcoming Writer's Block

Writer's block is nothing to balk at. When it happens, it's time for you to take a break and channel your enegry and creativity elsewhere. I feel that when authors get writer's block, it is their brain telling them it needs to reenergize. For me, I usually do something different and forget about writing. As strange as this may sound, I find that if I dust, sweep or mop, I can give my brain a rest. Well, not completely because I usually concentrate on the scene or character that I experienced writer's block. However, the exercise and movement creates a different electrical pathway in my brain.

I also will often do something else that is very creative such as draw, paint or compose music. These avenues of creativity gets my brain jumpstarted again. The added benefit I have another drawing for my Adult Coloring Book Series called Abstract Faces. Then, if that doesn't work, I will compose music, as in soundtrack. The benefit there is that I compose songs and this too releases my creativity. Here is one of the songs I composed for A.D.A.M. called Silver Lights.

When doing something that requires exercise or using another channel of creativity to overcome writer's block doesn't work, I usually revert to marketing my book that I already have. I spend at least one hour everyday marketing my books. In my new book How to Launch and Market a Book, I provide you with a step-by-step marketing campaign to launch your book as the #1 New Release on Amazon.  Included in the book are six checklists to launch and market your book. I feel this book is a must resource for any author who is serious about career and wants to sell more books. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Gift of Writing Short Stories

March 8, 2018

The Gift of Writing Short Stories

I have no idea where this week went. It seems as if the older I get, the faster my life. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to stop and smell the roses by spending time with my family and friends who are an important part of my life. I had two days this week spending it with three of my grandchildren. We painted, we drew, we played Jenga and more. My grandson who is twelve was even inspired to write a short story and I want to share it with you now. As a grandmother that made me proud. As an author, I beamed because somehow, someway, our youth are encouraged to write which means that they are encouraged to read as well. I challenge anyone reading today's blog to encourage the love of writing and reading to the children in your life.

The Scary Hour

Stamatis G.

It all began at 2:58 a.m. as a young six-year-old girl named Erin was woken up by a sudden "Woosh!"

"Ahh, what was that?" Erin's eyes darted toward the sound. She screamed as she grabbed the flashlight and a pocketknife she kept on her windowsill.

"Come out, I know your there." She looked at her alarm clock and saw that it was 3:00 a.m., the scary hour. The lights flashed on and off, her television flickered to different horror channels, but worts of all, she saw two horns outside of her window.

She tiptoed to the window and opened it. A flash of lightning boomed, but she saw nothing. She turned her head back toward the television. "Help! Help!"

After she bolted to the door, she tried to unlock it, but it wouldn't budge; and no one was ther to help her.

Now 3:30 a.m., she panicked, and she went to the only way out -- her basement. "De-De Demons," she cried. Poisonous snakes surrounded her. She passed out and found herself on Planet D-E-M-O-N 49.

"You can't do this," she yelled. Now it was pitch black in a grave and stuck there for eternity at 3:59 a.m.

Erin woke up and checked herself and her surroundings, but little did she know, there was a horn sticking out from beneath her bed. The End.

Today's author interview offers a historical and romantic novel with a twist of time travel. The novel, Anna's Song: Cries from the Earth, Book 1 by Brenda Gates offers us a twist and is available on Amazon. Here is Brenda's interview.

Brenda Gates

Name of Book: Anna’s Song: Cries From the Earth, Book 1

Year Published: 2018

Publisher: Indie (Amazon)


Twitter: Brenda Gates@_Brenda Gates



Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

Born in the heat of the Chicago summer, I followed the sunshine to Puerto Rico where I spent my formative years. I headed to college in Tennessee, finished a degree in nursing, and married my one true love. We raised four kiddos, a couple of squirrels, and various pets over the years. While homeschooling our children, I discovered a fascination with history and travel. Always plagued with an overactive imagination and a love of words, fiction writing was the natural next step. Now a grandmother of four with two more on the way, I currently live in Southern Illinois with my hubby, a teenage son, a dog who thinks she’s a mother to a cat, and a cat who thinks he’s a dog.

What inspired you to write this book?

One evening my son, daughter and I were having a writing word race—a timed session where we competed to see who could write the most and still be interesting. It was then the opening chapter to this book was born - the evening before I’d had the coolest dream. In my dream, I held a wine glass in my hand and could see my reflection in the condensation. Reaching a finger to wipe off the water droplets, I suddenly fell through a vortex in time and landed in the middle of the Civil War. When I woke up, I said, “Now there’s a great story.” Add to the mixture some very fascinating Civil War family history I’d always wanted to write about, plus a house full of music, and Anna’s Song began to grow.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

My main character, Anna Marie, is half Mexican, so I needed someone who looked the part. Water and music are woven throughout the story, plus Anna is a violinist. I chose the sepia colors to fit the 1860’s time travel setting.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Oh, wow. That is a hard one. As a Christian author, I would say Francine Rivers influenced my writing the most. I also devour books by such greats as Dean Koontz, Kristin Hannah, Kate Morton, and oh, so many more! I can learn so much from their amazing skill. Personally, I would say my mother. Her faith in what I could do, her optimism, fierce love of her family, hard work, and refusal to let the hardships of life bring her down has been a huge part in shaping who I am. My husband has also been a big influencer: encouraging and pushing me to keep trying.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I am highly distractible. Learning to discipline myself is a daily struggle. To complicate things, my father became very ill during the time I was writing and rewriting (and rewriting…). I was his primary caretaker, so that was a challenge. He passed away three weeks before the book was published.

Tell your readers about your book.

Anna Marie’s identical twin, Adeline, has disappeared and she will do anything to find her. Everyone believes Adeline is dead, but Anna knows better. With a rare form of synesthesia, Anna perceives various people as sounds or songs. This connection is strongest with her twin, and Anna can still hear Adeline’s song. When Anna sees her sister’s reflection in the mirror she is convinced she has lost her mind. Then she meets Jacob. He’s tall and handsome, with odd, but charming old-fashioned manners. Despite her determination to keep to herself and trust no one, Anna is drawn to Jacob. Problem is, he’s crazy. Possibly as crazy as she is. While he doesn’t see missing people in mirrors, Jacob claims to have traveled forward in time from the year 1865.With Jacob’s arrival other strange events occur. An uncle she thought dead, appears at her home. He is very much alive and carries a burden of secrets. Despite her fear of dogs, Anna finds herself the owner of a trained German Shepherd, Bellona. Strange dreams haunt her nights. Yet nothing prepares her for what she discovers in the library newspaper archives. When her search for Adeline plunges Anna Marie back to mid Civil War Missouri, she is taken in by the Dickerson family. Soon, trouble follows. When forced from their home, the Dickersons flee south to their people in Arkansas. The war-ravaged countryside is full of danger: gangs, hunger and disease. Through moments of laughter and hours of tears, the small group of refugees cling to each other, trying to survive. Through the chaos of her life, Anna clings to one glimmer of hope. She can still hear her sister’s song. Can she survive as a wartime refugee and help the family that has done so much for her? Will her search for Adeline lead her to discover more than she bargained for? Will she learn what love really is? Will Anna find a song of her own?

Watch the Book Trailer

Who is your target audience and why?

My target audience is Christian Women ages 18+, but I’ve received rave reviews from middle age men, and a twelve-year-old girl as well. 

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

History, romance, and suspense all tied up in one book!

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

A joyful family.

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

I grew up under the angry shadow of my father. Never a happy man, he was demanding and abusive. I wrote in secret because if he found my little stories, he’d burn them. “Fiction was a lie,” so the liar had to be punished. It made me want to write more. I became a strong and stubborn woman, rebelling at anything that reminded me of him. I had to learn to take that strength and not let it destroy the good and gentle part of life, to learn that not everything about my dad was bad, and to stop and think before reacting.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Time travel, with a Christian worldview (but never preachy, I promise!) and a warped sense of humor.

Tell me about your blog.

My blog is an expression of who I am. I write about everything from being a wife and mom, to traveling, to the experience of being a kidney donor. I throw in occasional bits about my current work in progress. Passion and subtle (well, sometimes not so subtle) humor fill each post. I write from my heart because I don’t know how to hide it.

Only one more week to go. Enter today for your chance to win Trickling Sands.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Use Strong Verbs in Your Novel - Not Walk or Run

March 6, 2019

Now that Mardi Gras is over I can re-establish my routine, but not completely because St. Patrick's day is right around the corner. That means we are approaching the deadline for you to enter the giveaway contest to received Jarrod Fasan's novel Trickling Sands.

Use Strong Verbs in Your Novel - Not Walk or Run

When we write action into our scenes, it heightens the intensity of it. That seems like this would be a no brainer for authors. What I have found as the senior editor with Absolute Author Publishing House is that many authors take the easy way out and use weak verbs instead of strong verbs. What I mean by that is when we use a verb such as walk or run, those verbs do nothing for the scene. I am suggesting that you replace all weak verbs with something more exciting and use a strong verb. Look at this sentence:

Melissa walked toward the revolving door and waited for it to empty before entering.

There is nothing wrong with this sentence in structure. However, it is not very exciting. When I replace the weak verbs with stronger verbs, the sentence increases in the intensity. Now read this sentence:

Melissa bolted toward the grey tinted revolving glass door and skid to a stop as her claustrophobia swept through her waiting for several people to exit before she shuffled into it

The sentence is stronger and vibrant once I replaced the weak verbs and added emotion to it as well. Therefore, as an author make it a point to replace your weak verbs for strong ones. To get you started, I recommend these books.

 I want to introduce to you a wonderful author who brings a great deal to the table. Please meet Jeremiah Outlaw and his book Cross Roads: The Monsters Among Us one of many from BTI Novels.

Jeremiah Outlaw


Ø  Author Name: Jeremiah Outlaw

Ø  Name of Book: Cross Roads: The Monsters Among Us

Ø  Year Published: 2019

Ø  Publisher: TBA

1.     Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  We literally moved from area to area around the city, since we had little to no money.  Still, to this day I still live in Pittsburgh.  After I graduated from Langley high school, I studied Multimedia Design at ITT Technical Institute and earned an Associate’s Degree.  It took me years trying to find freelance work in graphic design nothing really panned out, so I decided to focus on writing instead.

At age 14, I started my writing journey doing poetry.  A couple of years later, I graduated to writing short stories.  In my senior year in high school, I had two choices to either do machine work or home economics.  They didn’t really tell me that they had creative writing as an extra curriculum even though he did.  So I was stuck doing machine work, something that I did not really love.  It was on that point that I started doing a lot of writing and storyboarding rather than doing a machine shop. 

On a personal level, I used writing as an outlet to my anger and sadness.  I was told by a lot of people that I would never be a writer or make a living off of it.  Since I was big in stature, they wanted me to work with my hands which were demoralizing.  Even now many people don’t see me as a writer and his label me as another throwaway.

2.     What inspired you to write this book?

What inspired me to write this book or should I say book series is that everybody has a purpose in life.  Nobody’s perfect, and we go about our lives every single day with though decisions, hoping we are doing the right thing.  Many others don’t think so and do live their lives vicariously through their own vices.  Through their personal morality or ignorance.

This book series talks greatly about having great responsibilities with one’s power and how to use such power for the betterment, hindrance or personal gain.  Every action these characters take has long-lasting repercussions, not just to themselves but to others near and far.

If you people inspired me to start writing again.  A longtime member of my fan base who has now supported me through Patreon was one of the few people who helped me through some dark times.  It was that and most of my family members who told me never to give up on my dreams and to pursue a career in writing no matter what.

There were a lot of positive inspirations in my life.  But they were a lot of negative incentives in my life that fueled me to write.  However, I will not give them the light of day of saying their names because they don’t deserve much credit.  Because of them, I wear this scar on my right arm as proof that I will not let anybody or anyone break me or destroy me just like I destroyed myself years ago.  Because of this scar, it reminds me never to give up on my dreams.

3.     Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I’m usually a fine lover of dark fantasy.  I want to use ominous colors and shades of darkness that surrounds it.  Usually, I go with themes that are both beautiful and dark.  I take comfort in such things that are intimidating yet welcoming.

4.     Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Many influences that shaped me as a writer has been reading all sorts of novels that interested me.  I’m also a huge video gamer, so I gained a lot of influences from that kind of media as well.  I usually go with video games that have a lot of lore and a strong narrative.  I genuinely love video games like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts just to name a couple.  I’m also a huge fan of Anime, especially those with great stories like Full Metal Alchemist, Sailor Moon, Violet Evergarden just to name several.

A visual influence of mine has been JJ Abrams and how he tells a story not only with words but with visuals. I also love music and composers have always been dear to my heart.  If I ever had to pick a top five, it would be these five in no particular order: Bear McCreary, Mick Gordon, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, Yoko Shimomura.

5.     What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I was always considered a lone Wolf, an outcast and a pariah. Even to this day at age 33, I don’t have that many friends. Only the close-minded fear me and ridicule me.  I suffered through various violent encounters in my life at the hands of others because of my race, color and what I was interested in as a child.  From racial slurs and the verbal threat of violence when I was only six years old to physical abuse from others as I got older.

Over my teen years, I self-medicated using over-the-counter medication and having meaningless sexual encounters with others to numb the pain of loneliness and past trauma that spurned way out of control in my 20s and early 30s.  During this time, I have given up entirely on my writing career in general or a better future.

On my weekly podcast, I am doing now, I usually talk about my mental health and how I’m progressing from every now and then as I too suffer from anxiety and depression. Just recently a couple of years ago, I tried to take my own life. However, it was pure Providence that many others reached out to me that only in person but through social media. Because of them, I stand here today trying to make my dream come true.

Many people would try to bury this kind of information about themselves, but I don’t. Me talking about what happened to me in the past gives me closure as I confronted such transgressions so I can better myself in the future. I’m still a work in progress, yet the same thing that became an outlet to my anger and sadness was the same thing that saved my life, and for that, I’ll always be grateful to the printed page. Moreover, also, to those who have never honestly given up on me.  I want to prove to everyone that you can be whatever you want to be in life.  You just have to work for it.

6.     You are a science fiction writer, how or why are you drawn to this genre?

I’ve always loved the things that were pretty much out of the ordinary and bizarre.  Science fiction and dark fantasy have ever caught my eye.  I’ve always loved how science fiction can take you to places where many other genres are afraid to go.  Many people said that science fiction has always been a wide-open scope with vast amounts of imagination.  Yet, I do feel that the genre itself sometimes fall into the rinse and repeat phase.  As in, too many stories that are similar.  I tried to struggle by being unique only to fail every single time.  That is why I try to do something simple yet something that is my own, regardless of you find similarities.

7.     Tell your readers about your book.

Cross Roads is set to be an urban fantasy/science fiction web novel that consists of the theme of “magical girls.” This is inspired by many anime shows like Sailor Moon. The whole entire trope of the magical girl will not be focused like any other type of cartoon show that consists of them.

However, this is a deconstruction of this particular theme. What makes them accessible and what makes them valuable in their own life. Pretty much, I will not be focusing on the glitz and glamour of a magical girl/superhero, but more behind the scenes and how it affects the people around them.

There will be times where they will face super villains. Even then, those kinds of tropes will be deconstructed. Many magical girl/super-heroine cartoon shows rely on clichés. Cross Roads will be stripped bare of all of them. Cross Roads will be the trade as something as gritty and realistic.

It will be set in the present day with an alternate timeline. Since I’m dealing with the alternate timeline, I have a lot of freedom. Well, of course, I have freedom because as an alternate timeline, that’s what you would probably say.

8.     Tell me about your journal.

I honestly don’t have a writing journal.  But I do have a weekly podcast that I usually talk about topics that I am interested in like video games and sports.  And yes I also talk about my personal life such as my day job and my mental health status.  I get a lot of positive feedback because of it.

9.     Who is your target audience and why?

The Cross Roads Series will be for mature audiences.  It will have adult themes like war and how it will affect us.  Violence scenes that will be blunt and in detail.  It will also contain strong sexual content in both a positive and a negative on how the story plot goes.  However, it will not be gratuitous to the degree that I have to write about it all the time.  I stress this a lot: if it calls for it, I will do it and not shy away from because of my beliefs.

10.  If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

I can think of several, but it would just feel a bit forced.  In fact, I don’t really have a good reason why.  I’ve always been a soft-spoken, open-minded and open-hearted person.  Many people would perceive me as weak because of it.  However, I am far from it.  I have always defended myself and took great pride in my work.  I know for a fact many others will give clichéd answers but giving the reasons why they should make an interest.  But I have worked on this book series more than half of my life.  I dare to say that this is the constant positive thing in my life.  I know I’m a good writer and I know that my stories will inspire you or scare you or even offend you.  But if at that moment I make you think for yourself or feel some genuine emotion, then I’ve done my job as a writer.

11.  What do you consider your greatest success in life?

I’ve worked dead-end jobs all my life.  Finally saying goodbye to retail was one of them.  But I have great successes in life, most of them are small.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those twitch streamers who play video games online, and I’m doing that on a regular basis.  Of course, I am writing novels, and I’ve been writing chapters of different stories for the past two years consistently.

I wanted to do a weekly podcast where I talk about my interests and hobbies, and I’m doing that as well.  I tried to enter one of my novels in a book contest, and I’ve done that.  I can never really tell you what my great success in life is because I haven’t really lived my life as I should have.  I’m still living, and I am still working.  With that being said, I do believe my greatest success in my life has not even been accomplished as I’m always striving for a better life and for more success.

12.  Tell me about any awards you have received.

On Wattpad, I entered in several book contests and some of whom I am already in the running now.  I won first place in a couple of awards.  Most of them were independent, but nothing major.

13.  Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

I’ve always been that good little boy that never got into trouble.  I’ve always been a people pleaser all of my life and got nowhere, being taken advantage of by people and even my own father who has cut all ties with me.  When somebody told me to do something, I did it to be in one’s good graces.  I was completely miserable in my life, having nothing. 

I have learned that people can bring out the worst in you.  I was told many times how ugly I was for multiple reasons.  I was told how stupid I was.  In fact, I started to believe in those lies.  That itself let me do self-destructive things, even landing me in jail for one night.  I felt like my life was over.  It was then that I wanted to make a change, but I didn’t know how.

It’s rather funny that people want you to “be a man” without giving you proper instruction.  Yes, I was smart and intelligent and talented.  And I still am.  But there is a difference between telling somebody that they are and not doing anything about it instead of giving them nothing but high praise; or helping them to succeed by giving them tools to accomplish one’s goals.  I was never given such tools and had to figure things out on my own. 

It was hard, and it’s still hard because I still deal with people who would rather tear me down than to build me up every single day because of what I look like and what I’m interested in.  But thankfully many others who came into my life gave me options, choices, and tools to succeed other than cheap words of encouragement.  I have learned to believe in myself and cut out the people who are negative towards me and who don’t like me for no reason whatsoever.  I chose to use my time and energy on things that are productive and positive.

14.  What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I’m a type of person that never holds anything back.  There are times where I got fired for literally speaking my mind rather than biting my tongue.  My kind of writing style and skills are a bit on the raw.  There are times where I tried to censor myself and don’t talk about other topics that are currently happening right now. 

I want to bring a courageous and unflinching kind of storytelling that is both rewarding for those who would stick with it and doesn’t insult one’s intelligence.  I want to show you a character that you could relate to, no matter who they are.  I’m not going to be kind, and I’m not going to be gentle.  However, I will give you a story that I feel is both satisfying and gratifying to the reader.  As well as keeping entertained and have you stay in touch with one’s emotions.

15.  Tell me about your Kickstarter campaign and how to find it if my readers want to jump in and help.

This Kickstarter campaign is indeed a lifelong journey of ups and downs.  A lot of hard work and dedication.  More importantly, self-discipline.  Sometimes a lost my way only to find it again.  There are times I was broken, and I had to redesign and rebuilt myself only to reclaim what I’ve lost.  Cross Roads is not just a love letter of people like me who went through such discrimination and loss, but a celebration of imagination and not afraid of being who you are as an individual.

16.  What will those who choose to get involved in your campaign receive in return?

I have about things in mind; for example, The first pledge tier is $10 or more I call it “First Gate (Elementarium),” You’ll receive a copy of my novel in the form of an e-book.  The second pledge tier $20 or more called “Second Gate (Secundarium),” you’ll receive an e-book and an autographed Paperback Edition of my work.  The third and final Pledge tier is $50 or more is called “Third Gate (Maioris),” which is just an upgrade from the previous tier award. You’ll receive an e-book and an autographed Hardback Kickstarter Edition of my work.

I even came up with some stretch goals for everyone who will be a backer. If I reach the $2000 mark, I will create an 8' x 10' poster of the cover. If I reach the $3000 mark, I will create a custom-made version of playing cards. If I reached the $5000 mark, well… You are going to be very surprised!

17.  Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

I am forever grateful for those who have hurt me and healed me in the past.  Without such trials and tribulations, I wouldn’t be the author I am today.  I’m not afraid of anyone or anything.  However, I am so scared of failure, as we all are.  I’ve always had a saying in a still use it to this very day: amid one’s chaos, darkness will ever turn into light.  I believe in that wholeheartedly, as I could’ve easily been incarcerated for life or even worse. 

I do believe that there is something out there that is bigger than myself.  I know for a fact I am not destined to be nothing more than a laborer.  I know it can be better than that.  I don’t have to settle for anything less, because people think so.  I have dealt with that my whole life and I took it upon myself to take a stand and make life-changes.  With an open heart and an open mind, I do hope you accept my work.  I’m not a perfect person, nor I tend to be.  I will never be a role model, yet I’ll try to lead by example of a hard-working dedication.  Day by day, I will adapt and overcome and come out of the other side, as I redesign, rebuild and reclaim what I have lost along the way.