Music Monday moves with Simon and Garfunkel

I’ve visited NYC for years, mainly to see family. After my grandma passed away in December, the city became a sadder place for me.

It was inevitable, but even though I had prepared for it, I could not know how I would feel until I returned to NYC for the first time since my grandma’s funeral.

It was a different kind of trip but a special one in many ways.

I flew in with my husband, and as usual, we visited old haunts, listened to live music, and met with friends and family. And as usual, there was not enough time to see everyone we had hoped to see.

What was different, however, was our return home. We hitched a ride back with my uncle and aunts. They were coming to spend time with the Canadian side of the family, namely my mom and my other aunt and cousins.

As the moon sat high in the sky, we packed up the car and set off at 4 AM for the nine-hour trip to Toronto. With little to no traffic, we took pleasure in the foggy terrain as we drove out of NYC and watched the sun rise. During the drive, we played the music of three artists: Simon and Garfunkel; Jim Croce; and The Doors.

“The Only Living Boy in New York” is one of the songs that will now forever remind me of that road trip.

Enjoy and I hope you have a great week.

~eden

 

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Filed under Musical Mondays

95 Days ~ My story for @RBwood’s Sizzlin’ Summer #WordCountPodcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #58 of R.B. Wood’s THE WORD COUNT PODCAST.

The prompt asked that we use the phrase:

“I was enjoying the summer holiday when…” 

I was in NYC when I wrote the majority of this story, sitting in Bryant Park with the sun in my face. I love the city, and no matter how long I stay, it’s not long enough.

The story is somewhat of a lament for how quickly time passes, especially in the city that never sleeps.

* * * *

I was enjoying the summer holiday when he showed up.

Well, he showed up would not be totally accurate.

He may have been a she, and neither really showed up in the traditional sense. I never saw a face or heard a voice. Like I said—it wasn’t a traditional relationship, and I knew that from the start. That was the allure, I suppose, but now that it’s over, the hard work begins.

I’m rambling, and I’m sorry if this comes off nonsensical. Some days, I feel like what happened was all in my imagination. Maybe I created the whole thing. It’s hard to know anymore. I only know I’m left wanting, though richer for the experience.

Let me take a step back to the beginning of summer when this all started. It was the oddest of meetings, and my heart was open, as it normally is. I’ve always considered that to be a strength, not a weakness. Despite growing more cautious over the years, I was never one to shy away from a mystery.

I’m a sucker for words. That’s why I chose to become a writer. My life is an open book in many ways, but I was stuck. Call it writer’s block or lack of inspiration. Call it a muse on vacation. Whatever it was, I was haunted that I might never write again.

I use words to expose who I am and to entice potential readers to connect to me. Though I’m aware I make myself a target for some odd people, I’ve never had any problems. With the amount of time I spend online, it’s inevitable to run into my share of … shall we say … eccentric people. The thing is, they don’t scare me. I’m good at weaning out the cons from the authentic.

And yet, I didn’t see this one coming.

I received the first poem on June 20th. I remember it well because it was a balmy evening—the beginning of summer. I was sitting at an outdoor café when a young boy approached me.

“Are you Julia?” he said.

I did not know him, thought it was too late for a boy of his age to be out on his own. “Yes, I am, and who are you?” I looked into his bright, blue eyes and immediately felt an odd familiarity. Was he the son of a friend?

“I have a something for you,” he said, handing me an envelope before he turned to walk away.

I searched for an adult near him and saw none. “Wait!” I said, staring at the non-descript paper in my hand. “Who is this from? Who are you?”

Too late.

He weaved his small body between tables of the crowded café and disappeared into the night. I got up to look for him, astonished that I lost sight of him so quickly. I asked patrons nearby at the edge of the restaurant where he went, but no one could give me a definitive answer.

That first poem read:

Summer is officially begun

So this will be my number one

I spread love and hope and grace

No matter the time or place

Do not seek to find the answers

In life we are but mere dancers

We jump, we twirl, we bow

The time to live is now

 

And so it began …

 

Poems showed up mysteriously for me daily after that. The language was never aggressive. The writer wasn’t the best poet but he wasn’t the worst. I say he, but it could’ve been a she. I just don’t know. At times, the poems rhymed, but most of them did not. Many of them were just a few lines. The only thing they had in common was each one was numbered.

Strangers delivered many of the envelopes, and none of these so-called couriers ever disclosed information about the sender. I found some poems left for me at my place of work. Only one was found at my house. It scared me, even though I suspect this person had been tracking my whereabouts from the start.

When I found the letter in my home mailbox, my mind immediately conjured up the negative, but I rationalized if he or she wanted to harm me, they would have done so by now.

The next day, as I sat in the park desperately trying to kick start my manuscript, a stranger delivered an envelope to me. I had grown accustomed to this crazy, strange occurrence. I simply accepted the envelope and said, “Thank you.”

It was a peaceful afternoon, and aside from a few kids running in the distance, the park was quiet. A cool breeze replaced the humidity in the air. I tore open the envelope to read poem number ninety-five.

As a new season begins

An old one must end

Ninety-five days

From Solstice to Equinox

Summer is closing

And so must I

May my last words

Be the start of your next ones

A slow smile of realization crossed my face. I picked up my pen and stared at the blank lines on my notepad, determined to break through.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

~eden

**

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Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Author @DarciaHelle asks me ONE QUESTION #interview

A short time ago, suspense novelist Darcia Helle, asked me to answer one question about my books. She always comes up with the most interesting interview concepts, so I was happy to comply.

Hop over and read my response to her question in:

Author Eden Baylee Talks About Kindle Worlds and Her Lei Crime Series

Be sure to connect with Darcia too. She’s a terrific writer and an extremely supportive woman.

* * * *

Connect with Darcia

WebsiteBlog | Facebook

Twitter @darciahelle | Amazon author page

Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny.

Suspense, random blood spatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind.

Join Darcia in her fictional world: http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com

The characters await you.

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Filed under Eden's Guest Blogs & Interviews, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Music Monday moves with John Lennon

I’m still in NYC and the other night, I watched a biography about David Geffen. He is a business magnate, producer, and film studio executive. It was his record company that produced Double Fantasy, John Lennon’s last album.

I have read that Double Fantasy was not well received initially, that it was a step back by an artist who had already retired. Of course, fate intervened.

The record released November 17, 1980, less than a month before John Lennon was killed.

NYC will always connect me with John Lennon, and among the noise and turbulence of the past week, both here and in the rest of the world, I’m slowing it down, as I imagine Lennon would have when he wrote this song.

Enjoy and have a peaceful week,

~eden

 

6 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

Eden’s Exchange talks to Mark Barry (@greenwizard62)

Mark Barry wears many hats. I know him as the author of novels, Carla, Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and other books. He’s the head of  his publishing company, Green Wizard, and now, he’s also the writer by the name of … Luke Rock.

Like my name, Luke Rock is a pseudonym, and here is what he says about it:

“The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before”.

I’ve featured one of Mark’s books on my blog before, and I’m pleased to interview him to highlight his latest book.

* * * *

Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Mark. Great to have you here finally! Tell readers how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Loyal, honest, intelligent, funny and a bit bonkers.

That’s even less than 20 words.:) Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

I was a full time writer until imminent starvation propelled me into helping run Empleo, a popular local voluntary and social enterprise, alongside my friend and colleague Phil Pidluznyj. We are based in Nottingham (UK) and help others with employability, reading projects and creative writing and anything else we can think of.

Ha! We’d all be rich if we didn’t have to eat, right? What is your biggest extravagance?

Gambling on horses and going to football matches all over the UK, following a team called Notts County.

Gambling on horses? I made a bet on a horse once—a sure thing (I was told). I lost five bucks and that was the end of gambling for me! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Lose weight: An eternal struggle.

:) What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Forestry.

Hmm … I’ve never had that answer before. What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Visit all the racetracks in the world, particularly Melbourne Park, Longchamp, Happy Valley, Baden Baden, Santa Anita, Del Mar and (your own) Woodbine.

Wow, you’re serious about horses, aren’t you?  Any favorite curse words? Especially, say, when you lose a bet on a horse?

I have to be careful with the F word. I use it way too much.

Hehe! Do you have a motto you live by?

Win or lose, have a booze.

That’s a new one! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Helping my nineteen year old son grow up to become a decent person.

Sweet. What makes you REALLY laugh?

A British TV programme called The IT Crowd. Cracks me up every time #Messyjoes.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.51 PMI love British comedies. As for your writing, I previously featured your book Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and I’m thrilled to learn you have another one under your name, Luke Rock.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Real life and real people. I won’t read a book unless it is theoretically possible to meet and shake hands with the characters in the street today.

 

What motivates you to write?

The prospect of making a living at it.

That never hurts, does it? What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Don’t write long books.

Ahh, that would explain your brevity here. Name a few of your favorite authors and books and why you like them.

Martin Amis, Scarlett Thomas, Jim Thompson, Sebastian Faulks, Charles Bukowski, Rimbaud, Liz Jensen, Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Tom McCarthy, Alan Moore. Great, clever, ingenious writers. Beautiful sentencesmiths – that is important to me, far more than the story itself.

How do you market yourself?

Badly.

I’m not sure I agree with you. You get around *wink.* How much research do you do for your books?

Virtually none. It’s all in my head.

You must have a lot of information stored in there. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I like the white space aspects of writing. Exploring the blank page in front of me at the beginning of a piece. The first pages of a novel are exciting, aren’t they!?  Actually, the blank page, meeting other lovely writers like yourself and the quest to construct the perfect sentence, are the only things I like about being a writer. The rest is an utter pain in the arse. Writers must be bonkers to even attempt the caper.

It’s always great connecting with other writers, but I agree that being an author is not an easy way to earn a living. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

The start and the climax. The middle is the actual work. Not a marketing man at all – like pulling teeth. My own.

I hear you, marketing is tough. Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

Yes. Absolutely essential. Otherwise, what is the point exactly?

I understand. For me, it’s the journey, but sometimes it’s a long, hard one. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

No. I’m a pantser, in that lovely YA-influenced olden times phrase.

Me too! What is your best advice for new authors?

If you need a kitchen critique group, advice from a 101 blog, a book club, a phalanx of beta readers and slabs of reassurance about your work and abilities, you simply aren’t ready to publish your work, simple as. Sorry if that’s offensive.

Not at all. I think every writer is different. Some may need more support initially to get started. Tell us a bit about your relaunched book, Kevin And The Atomic Bomb. I know it’s a YA/NA novel under your pen name of Luke Rock. Why should people read it?

It’s a black comedy full of different characters and it is based squarely in the ten days following the British people’s disastrous decision to leave the European Union. There is a love story at its core, there are jokes, there is polemic, a really nasty villain of the type many of us have worked with in the past and best of all, there is an atomic bomb in a garage in the suburbs.

Wow, that’s timely! How long did it take for you to write it?

I wrote it in 2012. It took six months and then I have completely rewritten in it in the last ten days, the hardest work I’ve done for a while.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.28 PMWhat inspired you to rewrite the book?

I published it under my own name and a different title in May 2012. The market reacted favourably to other books of mine, notably Carla (my most critically acclaimed book), but this one got a bit lost. I depubbed after three weeks. Then, when the British public decided to commit economic suicide en masse, I saw an opportunity to republish it, completely rebranded, titled, authornamed and covered.

Incidentally, it is quite political, but you can skip those bits and still enjoy it, assuming you don’t hate me for it, in which case bollocks.

Bollocks indeed! Let’s take a look at the book.

Kevin and the Atomic e-cover

Buy link: Amazon US | UK | Canada

Blurb for: Kevin And The Atomic Bomb

What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?

Kevin Taylor’s got problems.

His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.

To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody “companion” is constantly in his face.

And all he really wants to do is play Doom.

Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.

When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter – donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.

And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.

Other information: The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public’s decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.

How are you marketing the book?

Twitter and on FB. I use giveaways a lot.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing your book?

Books are of their time. There is a time and a place. In the first instance, when I set up my business, everyone bought Carla, one of my personal favourite novels. It sold well at one point, but is almost forgotten now. This one (Kevin) struggled in its original guise, but early signs are much more promising.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

When I publish the paperback, I’ll send it to you free if you review it!! You know, Eden, of all people, how important reviews are to small press and Indie authors. We can’t get reviewed in newspapers and it’s critical that we get the word of mouth. I sell quite a few books every quarter but I don’t get reviewed as often as some of my peers. I’m not sure why this happens. I would like that to change but hey, I’ll join the queue for the answer to that question.

Reviews are always tough to get. I’m happy to buy your book and read it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My ammunition crate full of vintage superhero comics, a photograph of a girlfriend, and this laptop.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? California – would love to meet my sidekick, your friend and mine, top fiction author Brenda Perlin, and I’m also a big fan of Lorraine Devon Wilke who has promised me muffins galore by the shore if I ever make it over again.

I’d travel over with my great friend Georgia Rose, romance author, noted horsewoman and paddock expert and we’d go to Santa Anita and pay for the trip using our combined horse selecting skills. I’ve just written a short story about Billy Idol on Highway One for Brenda’s new punk anthology and I had a great time researching it – would love to mountain bike up the Pacific Crest Trail too.

Name a food you can eat everyday.  KFC. Buckets of it. Unfortunately, it no longer loves me and we’ve been divorced for six weeks now.

Salty or sweet? As most ladies know, there’s nothing like something salty on birthdays and at Christmas.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea – every time. Built an Empire!

Favorite style of music? Late sixties psychedelia. Beatles. Byrds. Jefferson Airplane. Janis. Floyd. Favourite band: Black Sabbath.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sleeping in when I should be up and about.

Favorite season. Autumn – that’s the original label for Fall to you North Americans, Eden!

Name something you cannot go a day without. Reading. More of a passion to me than writing.

Thanks so much for  your answers, Mark. I wish you success, no matter what name you write under! 

Readers, please find Mark at all his virtual homes below.

* * * *

Connect to Mark Barry aka Luke Rock

Mark Barry Author

Blog | Twitter @GreenWizard62

Amazon Page US | Amazon Page UK

Green Wizard Publishing

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.

He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people. He has one son, Matt, on the  brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.

Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell in the UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
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Filed under Author & Artist Interviews

Music Monday moves with Falguni

I’m in New York City this week connecting with family and friends.

This is a tune played during the end of some of my yoga classes — it’s calming and haunting at the same time, and the message is a good one given the turbulence of the past week.

“Subah” by Falguni is from the album called At Ease.

Lie down, close your eyes, and enjoy.

Here’s wishing everyone a good, safe week.

~eden

 

4 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

Author @TobyWNeal interviews @AuthorGilbert @ScotttheWriter and me for #LeiCrimeKW – Comment to WIN!

Fifteen authors have recently launched another round of books for Toby Neal’s LEI CRIME SERIES on Kindle Worlds. You can read more about the authors in interviews Toby is conducting on her blog.

Today, authors Julie C. Gilbert, Scott Bury, and I are in the hot seat! Come by, comment, and you’ll have multiple chances to win our books.

Hit the graphic below and you’re there. Good luck and look forward to chatting with you!

3 lei crime books


Happy Sunday!

eden **

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Filed under Eden's Guest Blogs & Interviews, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Eden’s Exchange talks to @AuthorAmyMetz

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce author, Amy Metz. She and I have crossed paths on several writing sites, and I wanted to learn more about her.

Amy is a lovely woman, so do connect to her and find out more about her books.

* * * *

Amy, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I went straight to the source. He said, “A caring and sensitive mother and friend; always available to support others and is passionate about her beliefs and principles.”

How sweet.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a billionaire. Seriously, I would be an extrovert instead of introvert.

A billionaire extrovert wouldn’t be bad.😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I’d love to be a travel photographer.

Do you have a motto you live by?

For my personal life: The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For my writing life:You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

I love that, and peaches are one of my favorite fruits. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My children. I have two grown sons so I guess they’re actually not children anymore, but they will always be my babies and the best things I ever did.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.03 PM

You sound like an amazing mom, Amy. Let’s learn more about your writing life. How do you market yourself?

I think blog features like this one are effective in getting the word out about a book (thank you!), so I try to do as many as will have me. I also take advantage of any of the free services on the Internet, such as virtual bookshelves, author pages on various sites, or free or reduced book alert services. I have a list on my blog of marketing steps that I use: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/p/marketing.html

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.20 PM

I look forward to connecting with you on your site too. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

Favorite: I love getting lost in a story and feeling like I’m in the scene.
Least favorite: editing. Specifically, the 100,000th round of editing.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.56 PM

I know the feeling well, Amy. Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

A typical day starts by answering emails and posting to Facebook and Twitter. Then I pull up whatever it is I’m working on and reread the section I wrote last. Next, I write or edit or rewrite, depending on the need. Somewhere along the way, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will probably lead me to Facebook where I’ll be for I-don’t-know-how-long. Something on FB will probably lead me to another site like Twitter or Pinterest, where I’ll probably get lost again. I’ll eventually wonder what it was I came online to do, and I’ll finally go check out what I came online to do in the first place. Then I’ll go back to writing. Somewhere along the line, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will lead me to Facebook to like or comment . . . you get the picture. That and a short break for lunch is pretty much my day.

Haha, my head was spinning reading your answer! Do you have advice for new authors?

Stay away from Facebook while you’re working.

I agree Facebook can be a huge energy sucker. What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing?  

I don’t need much. My laptop. Electricity. The Internet for thesaurus.com and research or checking facts. That’s about it.

Tell us the name and genre of your latest book.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction is a cozy mystery.

Rogues&Rascals

Buy link: Amazon 

Blurb for: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Amy, why should people read the book?

I think if someone wants to get lost in a mystery that will make them laugh and make them want to move to a quirky small town where the community is fun, loving, and close-knit, they should read my books!

Sounds like a great reason to read it! How did you celebrate when you finished writing Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction?

I don’t think I celebrated when I finished writing the book, because as soon as I’m sure I’m finished, the editing process starts, which means the book isn’t really finished. I consider the book finished on launch day. On launch day, I went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and my friend Tom.

I feel the same way. It’s only finished for me when it’s available for sale. What has the reception been to the book?

It has received great reviews so far, with twelve 5-star reviews and one 4-star review. But sales have been very slow, which is depressing.

I hope it ramps up soon, Amy. What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends. Post a comment about it on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. And post a review online on as many sites as you can.

What is next for you after this book?

I’m writing the fifth book in the series. Wynona and Caledonia will be back!

That’s excellent news! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer. It pretty much has my life on it.

Salty or sweet? Sweet. A day without something sweet isn’t a day.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea. Preferably sweet tea—hot or cold. With a lemon!

Cat/dog/other pet? Dog. I love dogs, but I hate the fur that sheds all over everything and everywhere.

Your most guilty pleasure. Donuts. I love them. There’s a store near my house that sells Boston Cream Pie donuts. Oh. My. Gosh.

Favorite season. Fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, and the temps below 80. And I love Halloween.

Name something you cannot go a day without. My iPhone. Not necessarily for the phone feature, but for the email, notes, text message, photo, camera, Google and Google Maps, Audible, Kindle, calculator, clock, and Solitaire apps!

Thank you so much for hosting me!

You are most welcome, Amy. Readers, please find her at all her virtual homes below.

* * * *

Connect to Amy

AmyMetz

Website | Blog | Twitter @AuthorAmyMetz

Amazon Author Page | LinkedIn

Facebook | Goodreads | Google +

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

 ++xx##auth

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15 #NEW Books join the #LeiCrimeKW family on @KindleWorlds

Along with 14 other spectacular authors, I’m proud to release my third book for the Lei Crime Series for Kindle World.

Charade at Sea follows A Snake in Paradise and SEAL of a Monk.

15 new KW books

Starting today, you can learn more about all the new books and its authors as we cozy up to Toby Neal who started the terrific series. She will host interviews with us over the next two weeks, and there will be prizes!

I’ll have the pleasure of being on Toby’s blog mid July and will announce it here on my blog. And of course I’ll have giveaways too! 

Speaking of prizes, you still have several days to enter the Rafflecopter on Book Rhythm’s page.  Don’t miss your chance to enter.

GRAND PRIZE:  Kindle Oasis and power adapter, Fintie Kindle Smart Case, Full set of LCKW books, Kindle headphones, Lei Crime Box Set, $75 Amazon Gift Card

FB partypack

* * * *

Charade at Sea is currently available, so grab your copy! Find out more from the summary below.

cas_HR4_lite

Buy from Amazon US

Charade at Sea

A luxury cruise is ideal for a budding romance … or is it?

Lainey Lee and ex-Navy SEAL, Max Scott, shared an incredible experience when they met in Kauai. A romantic cruise around the Hawaiian Islands seems perfect for discovering if they can become more than just friends.

But mystery abounds.

Lainey meets a fifty-something newlywed on her honeymoon. The chatty woman speaks highly of her husband and his secret missions abroad. Lainey is intrigued but her intuition tells her something is not right.

Even while her feelings for Max grow, Lainey can’t help wondering about the charade being played at sea.

 

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Filed under Important Announcements, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Join a Facebook Party to celebrate #New #LeiCrimeKW books #Prizes

I’m celebrating the release of Charade at Sea – my third book in the Lei Crime Series for Kindle World.

Charade at Sea follows A Snake in Paradise and SEAL of a Monk. They are stand-alone books although I’d recommend you read them in order. It’s the best way to understand the symbolism woven throughout.

3 lei crime books

Charade at Sea will be live on Amazon US shortly, however, there’s no time like the present to have a party!

FB party page

Join me with other Lei Crime Kindle World authors, including Toby Neal who started the terrific Lei Crime series.

When? June 27, 6 PM – 8 PM EST.

I’m giving away books and a $20 Amazon gift card.

Come by for your chance to win!

FB partypack

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Charade at Sea is a romance/mystery that tackles the important issue of stolen valor.

Find out more from the summary below.

Hope to see you at the Facebook partyJust drop by, say hi to authors, and have fun! Easy to win free books and great prizes!

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Charade at Sea

A luxury cruise is ideal for a budding romance … or is it?

Lainey Lee and ex-Navy SEAL, Max Scott, shared an incredible experience when they met in Kauai. A romantic cruise around the Hawaiian Islands seems perfect for discovering if they can become more than just friends.

But mystery abounds.

Lainey meets a fifty-something newlywed on her honeymoon. The chatty woman speaks highly of her husband and his secret missions abroad. Lainey is intrigued but her intuition tells her something is not right.

Even while her feelings for Max grow, Lainey can’t help wondering about the charade being played at sea.

 

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Filed under Important Announcements, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Eden’s Exchange talks to author @MarsDorian #scifi

I first connected with Mars Dorian on Twitter some years ago, not long after I started writing. We’ve been friends ever since.

Each exchange, no matter how brief is always a treat for me. Mars is a delightful human being who deserves every success because he works so hard at it.

And yet, he makes it look effortless. His presence on social media is superb and few people do it as well as he does—we can all learn from him!

It’s a pleasure for me to finally welcome Mars to my blog and highlight his work as a science fiction author.

Be sure to connect to him. He’s definitely worth your time.:)

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Mars, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. Please tell my readers where you live.

Berlin. And I’m love-hating it. Love, because it’s an open-minded city with affordable rent, grrreat creative events and unique people. Hate, because it’s getting more criminal, dirty and dark. Sounds like hokus-pokus, or maybe I’ve lived here for too long, but the city seems to suck my creative energies, I need change.

I’d love to visit you. Don’t leave yet! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was more business-savvy and entrepreneurial-spirited. My parents are both creatives, and their chaotic daydreaming spirit has wandered over to me. It’s fun and fulfilling, but it also leads to many decisions that are dumb from a biz point of view. So less introvert daydreamer, more outgoing business man. But maybe it’s DNA. I’ll tell you in a year.

Please do.😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

In my early twenties, I wanted to become a movie director in Hollywood, but then I realized I hated waking up early and working with people. I still would love to see a movie made by me, I just hate all the steps it would take to get there.

Mars, at least you know yourself well! Do you have a motto you live by?

I stole this one from Mark Schaefer this year, a writing mentor and popular marketing blogger over at http://www.businessesgrow.com/.

The wise man said, “Growth and comfort can’t coexist.”

It’s my motto for 2016, to try things that challenge my comfort and hopefully grow my personality, finances and overall life.

Challenging your comfort zone is always a good thing, though I think your personality is already HUGE. Let’s learn more about your writing. What motivates you to do it?

I love telling stories, ever since my mother bought the first comic edition of Ghostbusters when I was seven years old. From that day on, I used comic-drawing, type-writng (remember that?) and conventional painting to tell stories.

As an adult, I find writing to be the purest and most accessible style to heart-reach a human being on the other side of the planet.

What a wonderful way of putting it. How do you market yourself?

I’ve built up an email list with over 1300 peeps that I write to once my new book comes out. I also have regular readers who give me honest reviews for new books, which helps build up social proof for the launch. I use Amazon’s marketing tools such as the Kindle countdown deal or the temporary free option to shoot up the sales ranks, or try to. Recently, I’ve started learning more about book promotion sites but I need more experience and knowledge to properly understand their merit. Other than that, it’s the good old ‘constantly ship quality books for your target audience.’

Quality. Yes. Name a few authors and books, and why you like them.

As a sci-fi writer, I try to avoid reading too much sci-fi to avoid idea incest and samey samey stories. So years ago, when I was looking for different authors to admire, I stumbled upon Don Winslow, a SoCal thriller writer. His book Savages, about two guys setting up a cannabis empire in California and pissing off a major Mexican cartel, inspired me. The man writes in a way that I hadn’t seen before: Don breaks the fourth wall, berates his characters in the middle of a paragraph, writes staccato minimalist prose with the beauty of a lyrical song text. And then you read his witty dialogue, bam. I’ve since read ten books penned by Don and it has deepened my literary love for his unconventional prose and storytelling.

Don sounds amazing. I must add him to my list. How much research do you do for your books?

I watch science videos every single day on Youtube, ranging from how space rockets work to how terraforming Mars could look like. I also use the online tool Evernote to collect and save articles about any technology I want to include in my stories, such as nano-medicine, miniature robots, AI, FTL-traveling and genome engineering. Even though I put characters and stories always first, I want to make sure that the worlds I create are based on (possible) science.

attack planetVery cool way of doing it Mars. How would you define your style of writing?

Minimalist, fast-paced, short-chapter-ish prose with the occasional word play and witty dialogue. Don Winslow, don’t sue me.

Ha! Don Winslow is lucky to have you as a true fan, Mars. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I write a character sheet for the protagonists and antagonists, where I clarify their wants, their voice and unique traits slash skills. Based on that, I craft a thousand word treatment that shows what must happen in each act of the story (I follow the trusted three act structure). The main parts of every story are: opening scene, premise, mid-point, mirror moment, showdown, and of course resolution. Once I’ve finished all that, I start writing the first draft. This sounds very plott-y, but there’s still a lot of making-things-up-on-the-go. I for example don’t outline my scenes, because that would take away any surprise on my end. So sixty-five percent plotting, thirty-five percent pantsing.:)

Do you have a set schedule for writing? Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

I write during the day while listening to video game soundtracks and/or J-pop. Since I use the writing software Scrivener, I can track my daily writing goal in the form of a status bar that fills up the more you write. My goal is to write at least 2K words a day, 1K being the absolute minimum.

fear the liberator

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

The writing software is the most important part in my creative arsenal. Back when I wrote in Word, writing was less than half the fun it’s now. Scrivener, available for Mac and Windows, is in my opinion the best writing software for authors who write non/fiction. It’s organization of chapters is a dream, the options for writing and tracking your goals are amazing, and the possibility to formate any digital book file (epub, mobi, PDF, etc.) without coding experience makes it the perfect tool for self-publishing authors. I know I sound like a double-used car salesman, but I simply love products that drastically help my career.

I agree you need good tools. Writing in itself is hard enough. What is the name and genre of your latest book?

Vanguard Galaxy. It’s about an ambitious ex-military captain taking a cybernetic ship crew to the rim of the known galaxy to establish contact with a sentient life form. I guess some people call that genre space opera, but it does sound cheesy, that’s why I call it galactic sci-fi.:)

Here is the cover and blurb.

Vanguard-Galaxy_Flattened

Buy links: Amazon US | UK | Canada | Germany

Vanguard Galaxy

Rising cruiser captain Tellride fails a secret asteroid assault and kills his military career. Fortunately for the captain, one of the solar system’s biggest corps hires him to lead an elite ship crew billions of kilometers across the mysterious space.

The mission: initiate contact with the first advanced alien known to mankind.

Sounds simple, especially when equipped with a biomorphic spaceship, hi-tech arms and elite members with cybernetic skills. But when deceptive aliens and archenemies from past battles collide, the question of success becomes one of survival.

“Vanguard Galaxy is filled with twists and turns, cool new tech, witty dialogue and epic space encounters…” ~ Ioangu

“If you’re into future tech, epic space battles, and a nice twisty plot, then this is the book you were looking for.” ~ Brandon Stewart

 

Why should people read Vanguard Galaxy?

If you’re open to sci-fi and want to read fast-paced, future-packed rides with diverse characters, cool new tech, and witty dialogue, you should check Mars Dorian out. There’s also a sense of wonder I want to instill in readers.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

That you have to keep your target market in mind. My first books flopped abysmally because I told stories no one cared about and used weird comic covers trying to (desperately) sell them. Nowadays, I’m very conscious of my audience and how to reach them, e.g. through adequate covers, targeted stories (that still end up unique and weird), and the proper promotion. Self-awareness is by the far most important skill here—knowing yourself, and the market where you want to position yourself.

What makes your books stand out from the crowd?

My unique storytelling style, the diverse set of characters, definitely the dialogue and the world-building. Once you read a Mars Dorian book, you will recognize my style because no one writes the way I do. I want to believe readers who dig that style keep coming back because they can’t get that experience anywhere else.

I read an early book of yours and I agree. Your style is uniquely YOU. What inspired you to write Vanguard Galaxy?

I often dream about the future and wonder how humanity would act as an advanced, spacefaring civilization. If we had the technology to travel and colonize much of the solar system, what would we discover in far away galaxies, which I call the Rim. And who would explore this ‘new’ frontier—governments, the military or even corporations in their future form? How would alien discoveries change our race? So many far-flung questions I wanted to jam-pack into a tight galactic sci-fi thriller.

What is next for you, Mars?

I want to explore the concept of exoplanet colonization, and how it changes us from a mental and genetic point of view. If we on Earth already differentiate between nationalities (German versus Canadian), how would that differ if humans evolved on different planets (Earthling versus Martian?). I believe we would turn into different humanoid species with vastly different cultures, and that’s a fascinating opportunity for stories.

It is indeed. Your science fiction is like nothing I’ve read before, and everyone should try it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round!

Name a food you can eat everyday. Pho soup. I almost hit my local vietnamese snack bar daily for the necessary fix.

Salty or sweet? How about bitter? Lemon, especially.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I love the former territories of the Queen—Australia and America. Canada is next on my list, I’m going there for at least 6-12 months beginning in 2017. There’s something fresh about these countries, opposed to ancient Europe which comes with a stale flavor.

Coffee or tea or something else? I love a German ice-tea brand that makes (somewhat) unique combos, such as green tea mixed with cactus pear. They produce two liter packages only, and in my weaker moments, I down them on a single day.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sounds trivial, but my doctors told me to trim down on the sugar intake. I’ve managed that goal somewhat, but I’m still hooked to a Bavarian Hipster-Drink based on the Mate flower from South America called Club Mate. It comes with only one third the sugar of a regular coke, someone told me. Or maybe that’s what I wish to believe.

Favorite style of music? I love Japanese pop and indie electronic music with video game elements, such as Lapfox who’s Canadian by the way.:)

Favorite season. Autumn. I like the melancholic and morbid atmo it often brings when the wind blows the dying leaves from the tree-crowns. Autumn is also an excuse to stay inside, cuddle up and do work in front of the computer while enjoying hot chocolate.

Name something you cannot go a day without. I’m training myself to be emotionally independent from pretty much every object and thing, including the Internet.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers? Follow me on Twitter @marsdorian if you have any questions or just want to connect.

Mars, I knew you would be a fascinating subject and you did not disappoint. When you come to Canada, you must visit me, okay? 

Readers, please find Mars on his incredible website and connect to him! You will learn SO much. 

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Connect to Mars

MarsDorian2014

Website | Twitter @marsdorian | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Mars Dorian is a recovering world traveler, a web-based illustrator and an indie sci-fi author.

He’s created artwork for startups and popular podcasts such as The Unmistakable Creative and written viral articles for renowned marketing blog ‘Grow’ by Mark Schaefer.

He loves telling compelling stories using words and pictures, dealing with future technologies and how they impact human lives…forever. His books tackle futuristic topics such as privatized military, human/alien contacts and cybernetic humanity.

When Mars is not busy getting lost in the worlds he has created, he can be contacted via his website www.marsdorian.com/contact

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Multi-genre author @BRChitwood releases PHOENIX FIRE

Multi-published author, Billy Ray Chitwood, has just released another book, and I’m very pleased to spread the news! He writes in multiple genres, and this book will surely appeal to the romantics in all of us.

Let’s learn more about Phoenix Fire in a short interview, along with a FREE chapter to whet your appetite! 

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Chatting with Billy Ray Chitwood

You’re known for your mystery/suspense books. Many of them are based on real life stories. What is it about Phoenix Fire that makes it unique and romantic?

Phoenix Fire is the result of a reworking and editing of another manuscript. The book was originally published with a different cover, but I was not pleased with it. It failed the ‘first impression’ test as the image did not convey that it was a romance. I consider the book a very good read, so I’m extremely pleased with the new cover.

When you add in the fact that I’m a ‘romantic’, I like love tales, and Phoenix Fire is a great love story.

What is the inspiration for Phoenix Fire?

My twin granddaughters: beautiful of body and soul – both now happily married. They were cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens for several years, and the great news is they’re coming to visit me. The book’s dedication belongs to them.

Of all the different books you’ve written so far, which is your personal favorite and why?

Phoenix Fire and my best selling book, Mama’a Madness. Mama’s Madness was inspired by true events, which were awful to imagine and write about. It was gut-wrenching in the penning, and hopefully of some value. There are 52 reviews on Amazon.

Thank you, Billy Ray! Find all book details below, including the buy links for Phoenix Fire.

phoenix fire

Buy Links

Amazon Kindle: US | UK | Worldwide

Paperback: Amazon US |  Amazon UK

 

Phoenix Fire

A Phoenix, Arizona entrepreneur and an ad agency director fall in love in a most unusual way. Their relationship is interrupted by sibling clashes, a gambling addiction, a murder, and a matriarch’s secret that ultimately causes emotional chaos and disorientation. This is a book that will draw the reader into the story and compel them to stay glued until the end. The gripping climax to PHOENIX FIRE is powerful, and tissues are recommended. Treat yourself to a marvelous romance, mixed with some suspense and a desert odyssey to save one’s soul. A truly great read.

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Read the latest review

I received an advance copy of “Phoenix Fire” to review because I have read many of Billy Ray Chitwood’s books. He clearly is an author who loves to write because his genres range from suspense to crime to memoir to political opinion to psychological thrillers to “Phoenix Fire,” a a blend of romance and suspense, heavy into characters’ psychology and psychopathology. I am admittedly a fan—especially enjoying Chitwood’s frequent dips into depraved human psychology and behavior—and “Phoenix Fire” does not disappoint. The sibling rivalry is perverse yet believable, and the protagonist’s inner-demons are understandable, deadly, yet something to be risen above. Bravo, Mr. Chitwood, for another enjoyable two-day read (I read quickly wanting to see what would happen next.).

— Timothy M. Tays

Chapter One

She was lost in the brightness, a magnificent static whiteness, alluring and warm. It was an easy place to be, if it was a place. Perhaps it was a state, a bright and new awareness, a safe and final destination.

She only knew that her essence was etched in the great luminous energy and she did not wish to leave it. The light seemed to be transporting her outward, expanding some awesome truth, recently possessed, and she wanted only to remain and to become whatever the promising ecstasy.

Then, there came a shimmer of interference, vaguely emanating from the mystic fringes, slowly fragmenting the weightless pool of white. There was a rippling which nudged her new awareness, gently precluding her anticipated oneness with the expanding light.

Then came sound, soft and beckoning, like a bird chirping in slow motion, becoming stronger and more strident. She resisted the sound and the fragmenting but she could not pull herself onward into the radiant void. Like a swimmer urgently breast stroking against a strong noiseless tide, she felt herself dipping, sinking, then free-falling from the disintegrating brilliance.

She became conscious of her head shaking in sidelong negation of the interference, her lips silently murmuring, ‘no, no, let me stay! Please let me stay!’

Then she acknowledged the inevitable full immersion back to a solid, contoured reality. The bird chirps became loud concerned voices. The ripples became caring and caressing hands.

The hard ground was cold.  She began to shiver, felt the urge to rise, but was somehow constricted. Her mind made some adjustments and she suddenly knew where she was, how she had gotten there.

Finally, she slowly opened her eyes with a fluttery acceptance of her immediate environment. A man’s face came into focus, hovering two feet above her own. She felt pinned down and quickly discovered that the man was astride her. There was a momentary sense of panic but something about the man’s face made her relax.

A light rain fell, and she was conscious of wet hair matted to her face and forehead. The sky was a dull gray, and skinny treetops came to her peripherally as some surreal apparitions. The man’s concerned face gave her a final focus. She remembered what had happened.

The lightning! She recalled an awful clap of thunder, so jarring and harsh, so totally upon her, instantaneously enveloping her in its loud and splintered brightness. She remembered the searing, exquisite pain that had so consummately wracked her body and mind.

She had been jogging and she must have been struck by lightning. As she blinked from the raindrops and the accounting of the lightning strike, she felt lethargic and without purpose. She had been struck by lightning, yet there was no panic, no real sense of urgency.

The man’s hands left her chest and he studied her with a tender and squinted concern. She felt the weight of his body leaving her, felt a great rush of air fill her chest. The man lifted himself from her but his soft blue eyes remained upon her face.

They were beautiful eyes, shrouded by dark cavernous brows. Wisps of his black hair was pasted about his forehead, and he made odd movements with his lips as though making an adjustment.

Her own lips felt strangely tender to the touch of her tongue, and, in a moment of clarity, she understood: the man had given her mouth to mouth resuscitation.

The man then spoke, softly, his voice conveying a cultured refinement and pleasant resonance. “Can you move your arms and legs?”

She understood the question and lifted her head tentatively, feeling her hands, arms, and legs slowly move to her inner commands. She nodded to the handsome stranger who knelt above and to her side. She managed a small, sad smile of gratitude.

“And can you speak?” He returned her smile.

“Yes, I think so,” came her weak reply.

She noticed for the first time a small group of people standing off to her right, near a park utility shed. She heard a siren off in the distance, its sound increasing in volume. She attempted to rise from the ground.

“Maybe you should stay where you are until you’ve been medically checked. Are you feeling much pain?” The man lightly touched her shoulder.

As her powers of observation became more keen she noticed how the man was dressed. He wore faded red denim shorts, a powder blue sweat shirt which matched his eyes, white athletic socks, and Adidas jogging shoes. Her own ensemble of white shorts, blue top, white socks, and Nike shoes merged nicely with the man’s attire.

She answered the question. “No, I don’t think so, not pain so much. It’s sort of dull aching almost everywhere about my body. I think I’m okay. You’re very kind to help me. Thank you.”

“No ‘thanks’ necessary. It was kind of freaky the way that cloud exploded above us. You just got unlucky, and I suppose we could be faulted for jogging when a storm was brewing …”

The man stopped talking as he saw the flashing lights and heard the diminishing siren whirr of an approaching ambulance.

Uniformed EMTs rushed from the ambulance to the woman’s side, their faces intent and focused. She watched as they quickly set up equipment and prepared for various medical checks. She was beginning to feel confident that her body had not sustained any permanent damage, although some tingling sensations remained in her legs.

After all the medical tests were run, she heard an attendant announce that her vital signs were normal, that she was stable.

The visage of the handsome stranger stayed with her, after the ambulance attendants had displaced him. The image of his dark hair wet against the brow stayed with her, even when he became a blur on the gray fringe of the rainy day crowd. His face stayed with her even beyond the hospital’s emergency room where she was pronounced hale, hearty, and lucky to be alive. His soft smile stayed even when she had returned to her spacious Scottsdale condominium.

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Connect to Billy Ray

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Author and Poet @LorenKleinman releases THIS WAY TO FOREVER #NewAdultRomance

Poet Loren Kleinman, whom I’ve met and interviewed on numerous occasions is releasing another book – a romance novel this time! I’m happy to give her space to tell you about  This Way to Forever. It’s scheduled for publication August 14, 2016, but is currently available for preorder.

Learn more about Loren and her road to publication with her latest book.

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Chatting with Loren Kleinman

Loren, you are an accomplished poet, known for your books of poetry. What made you decide to write a romance novel?

I love, love. Not in the cheesy sense, but love that’s empowering, love that inspires us to be our best selves. Sometimes what I thought was love wasn’t love, and its taken lots of dating, lots of writing, and lots of reading (and lots of heartbreak) to begin to understand love.

I was also  thinking about this story for years. The characters started to rear their heads, and it was time to write out their lives, their loves.

What was the inspiration behind This Way to Forever?

TWTF is inspired by a true story, which is my first love. It was a very powerful and heartbreaking romance that taught me so much about myself. The whole time I was in this relationship I just wanted him to love me, see me, but I wound up loving myself more in the end. This book is about strong female voices, the kinds of voices that want to be heard, that want to speak up for what they believe in and not what’s socially predetermined.

Are there any similarities between you and your protagonist, Sara Brody?

Yes! We’re both writers, and a bit chubby in the sexiest ways of course. Did I mention she’s a curvy gal?

But really Sara is this mix of so many women I know as well as a portrayal of the many phases of myself while dating, while journeying to stay true to myself.

I’m hoping TWTF empowers young women to be true to themselves, and live their lives regardless of dating and marriage standards, reflect on what “forever” means to them.

Has poetry helped influence your prose? If yes, how?

It has. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse. Moving from poetry to fiction was one of the hardest things I’ve done because you have to let the dialog drive story, and sometimes ‘pretty’ language does’t do a character or a scene justice. However, I do feel that poetry has aided me when writing description, which seemed to flow rather nicely. Dialog took me way longer to write, and I’m still learning.

What do you consider more difficult to write? Poetry or narrative?

Both are so different and require discipline. I think one can seem harder than the other when you’re starting out, but the point is to not think about how “hard” something is. It’s a matter of committing yourself to the process and opening yourself up to its challenges. It took me over four years to write this novel. I had many times where I wanted to just give up, but I learned to pace myself and take it day by day.

What is next for you as an author?

Right now, I’m outlining the second novel, which is a companion novel to TWTF. I’m also finishing up the companion screenplay for TWTF and starting my fifth poetry collection.

Regardless of how any book does, I have to keep writing, keep going, look ahead.

Thank you, Loren! Find all book details below, including the buy links. You can preorder now! 

this way to forever

Buy Links

Amazon Kindle: US ~ UK ~ CA

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BOOK SYNOPSIS

Sara Brody thought she had met her soulmate in Tad Bolak, a charming exchange student. Their whirlwind romance includes nights staring at the stars, declarations of love, and promises to talk often when Tad must return to his native Poland to complete his Master’s Degree. But Sara’s idealistic view of Tad and plans to be together when he gets his degree come to a shattering halt when he admits to having a fiancee back home.

Heartbroken, she vows to keep her heart safe from men and and focuses on her own studies. Until she meets Ethan.

Sara discovers that no relationship is perfect, especially when one still mourns past loves. Tad never gives up on her. Ethan wants her to give their relationship a chance. And Sara wonders what will become of her sense of self if she gives in to either man.

EXCERPT

He leaned in, his mouth inches from mine. Our lips brushed once, and he held my jaw, his thumbs caressing my cheeks. He gazed down at me as though he’d discovered beauty I couldn’t fathom anyone could see in my skin, my lips, my pale widow’s peak. Soft fingers stroked my neck, slipped into my hair, loosening my ponytail. Unable to glance away, I lost myself in his blue eyes, seducing me like a clear sky on a chill winter’s day. We fell into a temporary kiss, losing ourselves–and our balance–as we stumbled to the floor. Laying beside me, he found my hand, his gaze melting my apprehension.

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Connect to Loren

loren kleinman

Amazon Author Page  | Website and Blog  | Facebook 

Twitter @LorenKleinman | Pinterest | Newsletter

Loren Kleinman’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Drunken Boat, Nimrod, Wilderness House Literary Review, Paterson Literary Review, Narrative Northeast and Journal of New Jersey Poets. Her interviews appeared in IndieReader, USA Today, and The Huffington Post. She edited Indie Authors Naked, which was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller in Journalism in the UK and USA.

Kleinman is the author of four collections of poetry, and her memoir The Woman with a Million Hearts released 2016 with BlazeVOX Books. She also blogs for The Mix (Hearst), where she publishes personal essays in Good Housekeeping, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day.

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Scott Bury reveals DEAD MAN LYING for #LEICrimeKW (@ScottTheWriter)

Author Scott Bury is releasing Dead Man Lying, his third book for the Lei Crime Series on Kindle Worlds!

Last year, he launched Torn Roots and Palm Trees and Snowflakes.

Dead Man Lying will be added to the growing list for the Lei Crime Series on Amazon US by the end of the month, so be sure to look for it!

Dead Man Lying - 529x800

Buy Link on Amazon US

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Excerpt for DEAD MAN LYING

Vanessa paused at the edge of the forest to try to rub some of the dirt off her shoes. “Steve Sangster. I can’t believe I’m investigating his death. Did you like his music, Detective Texeira?”

“Call me Lei. Yeah, I love all that folksy rock stuff. I even had one of Steven Sangster’s albums as a girl. Did you?”

Vanessa could not repress a smile. “I was a big fan. I had all his old CDs — still do. I had such a crush on him when I was 16. He was so handsome.”

Lei smiled back. “The blue eyes and the square chin, huh?”

So this is the famous Lei Texeira, Vanessa thought, looking at the slender detective with her peripheral vision while appearing to study the heiau. She was small for a cop, but athletic, with beautiful big brown eyes and a sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks and nose. Her features spoke of a mixture of Hawaiian, Asian and European extraction. Her dark brown curls rippled to her shoulders, and Vanessa wondered briefly how much of the curling was due to the incredible humidity of Hana, on Maui’s rain coast.

“Is this where it happened?” said an unfamiliar voice. Vanessa and Lei turned and Vanessa’s shoe slipped again. Her knee buckled and she almost went down, but Lei’s small hand grabbed her arm, steadying her. Vanessa was impressed — Lei was stronger than she looked.

Steady again on the wet lava, she looked up to see a short, balding man letting the yellow police tape down behind him.

“Don’t the words ‘Do not cross’ mean anything to you?” Lei demanded, stepping toward the man.

“I’m Simon Sangster. He — the victim … I mean, he was my father,” the man stammered. He did not step back, but actually put a foot up on the lava rock.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Sangster, but you still cannot step past the yellow tape.”

The man scowled, straightened his back and puffed out his little chest, which did not protrude nearly as much as his belly. “Now that my father is — I mean, this is now my property,” he said, but his voice did not match his posture.

“I’m not sure that’s quite true, but even so, this is a crime scene and you’ll have to step back past the yellow tape,” Lei retorted. She lifted the tape for him.

“It’s so that no one inadvertently compromises the investigation,” Vanessa offered, trying to make her tone conciliatory. “Please, step back.”

“In-investigation?” he said, seeming to deflate. “I thought it was an accident?”

“We’ll have to wait for the coroner’s final report to know that,” said Lei. She stepped off the heiau and took the younger Sangster by the arm, directing him into the path back down the hill.

Vanessa had one foot off the lava platform when koa tree beside the path exploded, wood chips flying through the heavy air propelled by the shotgun report that rolled up the slope. Lei threw herself off the forest path, pushing the pudgy Simon Sangster down. Behind her, Vanessa dropped to the ground and rolled, tearing her jacket on ragged volcanic rock. They held still, barely breathing, counting the seconds as the top half of the koa tree slowly toppled.

No shots followed. Vanessa lifted her eyes above the long, pointed leaves of ground-hugging bushes. She counted to ten before lifting her head. Her face was wet from the bushes and covered with bits of shredded wood. She could see the corner of a building a hundred yards down the hill, but no shooter, no glint of low sunlight on a barrel, nothing but the suddenly silent rain forest of Maui. The birdsong had stopped. All Vanessa could hear was her own pounding heart. She made an effort to breathe.

No more shots.

“Agent Storm, are you okay?” said Lei from her hiding place among the trees.

“I’m fine, but my jacket is ruined. You?”

“I’m good.” Lei rose to a crouch, extending her arms to aim a Glock toward the house, then down the path.

Vanessa drew her Walther PPK from its shoulder holster, checking in the opposite direction. “What about Sangster?”

* * *

You can also learn more about DEAD MAN LYING on Scott’s blog.

flourish

Connect to Scott

scott bury

Website and Blog | Twitter @ScottTheWriter

Facebook | Google + | LinkedIn

Amazon US – UK

Scott Bury can’t stay in one category.

After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

Army of Worn Soles, published in 2014, tells the true story of Maurice Bury, a Canadian drafted into the USSR’s Red Army to face the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Invited to participate in two Kindle Worlds, he published Torn Roots: A Lei Crime Kindle World Novella and Jet – Stealth: A Jet Kindle World Novella. Both came out in July 2015.

In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author’s cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of author’s professional association BestSelling Reads.

You can find more about Scott Bury, and contact him through his website, http://www.writtenword.ca, his blog, Written Words, and on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

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Filed under Author Promotions, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Music Monday moves with The Tragically Hip ~ In A World Possessed By The Human Mind (@thehipdotcom)

“In A World Possessed By The Human Mind” is the first single from the Hip’s new album Man Machine Poem, which became available June 17, 2016.

I bought the album but haven’t had a chance to listen to all the tracks. If the entire album is like this song, then it should be a very strong collection. Perhaps, there is even a hint of of what Gord Downie has been experiencing in these lyrics.

Just give me the news
It can all be lies
Exciting over fair or the right thing at the right time
Everything is clear
Just how you described
The way it appears, “A world possessed by the human mind” …

One piece of good news to report, the Hip’s final concert in Kingston will be broadcast and streamed — commercial free — on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 2, cbcmusic.ca and CBC’s YouTube channels.

Save the date – August 20th at 8:30 PM EST.

Have a great week, and I hope you’ve enjoyed The Tragically Hip’s music over the past weeks. Sending healing, good vibes to Gord Downie and the band for their upcoming tour.

~eden

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Filed under Musical Mondays

Introducing a new #LeiCrimeKW book ~ CHARADE at SEA

It’s been a while since I released a new title, and I’m so proud to do so with my third novella for the Lei Crime Series on Kindle Worlds.

Charade at Sea follows A Snake in Paradise and SEAL of a Monk. They are stand-alone books although I’d recommend you read them in order to understand the symbolism woven throughout.

Snakes and strength prevail in A Snake in Paradise, where I introduce the main character, Lainey Lee.

Dhamma and endurance weave through SEAL of a Monk, and introduces ex-Navy SEAL Max Scott.

In Charade at Sea, Lainey and Max meet again in Hawaii.  It’s a romance/mystery and tackles the important issue of stolen valor.

Look for its release end of the month, kicking off with a Facebook party June 27th.

Join me with other Lei Crime Kindle World authors, including Toby Neal who started the terrific Lei Crime series. Lots of books and great prizes to be won!

In the meantime, my other two books are only 99 cents. I don’t set the price so grab them while they are on sale!

And now … here is the cover … I love it and hope you do too!

As always, huge thanks to award-winning designer, JB Graphics for his vision and hard work!

cas_HR4_lite

Charade at Sea

A luxury cruise is ideal for a budding romance … or is it?

Lainey Lee and ex-Navy SEAL, Max Scott, shared an incredible experience when they met in Kauai. A romantic cruise around the Hawaiian Islands seems perfect for discovering if they can become more than just friends.

But mystery abounds.

Lainey meets a fifty-something newlywed on her honeymoon. The chatty woman speaks highly of her husband and his secret missions abroad. Lainey is intrigued but her intuition tells her something is not right.

Even while her feelings for Max grow, Lainey can’t help wondering about the charade being played at sea.

 

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Filed under Important Announcements, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Eden’s Exchange talks to author Anna Celeste Burke (@aburke59)

I know Anna Celeste Burke from several writing groups. Her friends and family call her Celeste, and so will I.😀

An award-winning author and a fascinating woman, Celeste has written numerous series of cozy mysteries. They are bound to please readers of the popular genre.

Please welcome Celeste to Eden’s Exchange.

* * * *

Thank you, Eden, for the invitation to drop by your lovely blog! I’m grateful for this opportunity to meet your followers and tell them more about myself and my writing.

You’re welcome! Thrilled to have you here, Celeste. Please tell readers if you have a motto you live by.

An interesting question. I find it a bit uncomfortable writing about myself, but here goes! That discomfort probably stems from an early upbringing in a hell fire and brimstone tradition that warns: “Pride goeth before the fall.” Pride was not just about taking pleasure in your accomplishments but included the vain glory of looking at yourself in a mirror, bodily adornments, and any desire for more than the simplest things in life. My roots reach back into the Amish/Mennonite tradition, although by the time I was born my paternal grandparents, both ministers, had left the reclusive sects in which they were raised. Perhaps, I’m still influenced by those early admonishments. My motto is something like: Dream big, work hard, stay humble.

Great answer. I believe humility is so important. What part of the world do you live in?

Maybe geography is destiny. At six, my more liberal and adventurous parents left the Midwest for California. That changed everything. By the time I turned ten those earlier religious tenets were old news. I experienced the physical beauty of California as wildly flamboyant. Even the Spanish Catholic heritage appeared to fly in the face of that more austere vision of life. Gleaming white-washed mission walls, strewn with magenta bougainvillea, set against the backdrop of blue skies—stunning.

The culture felt edgy and unbounded. Dreaming big, wanting more, seeking new and novel experiences all seemed part of the package. Think Hollywood, Baby, as the Old West gave way to the new. Of course, there were larger influences, too, given that my move west coincided with coming of age as a baby boomer: Space Race, as well as Civil Rights, Women’s and Peace movements. The place and time defined many things about life for me, as it did for many who grew up in the same era.

Is it any wonder that, at 17, I ran off with a high school dropout and rock and roll musician I met in San Diego and married in a Tijuana lawyer’s office? Not that my parents or the police agreed with my decision. I got as far as LAX before the police picked me up as a runaway. It wasn’t all about the California dream run amok—I had other reasons to run–good ones. Lucky for me, the guy I married turned out to be a keeper. I left California for decades, but the place stayed with me.

When it came time to retire from our jobs as professors at the Ohio State University, my ex-rocker husband and I returned to California. To the desert near Palm Spring, not San Diego where I grew up, and we met. I love most everything about this valley, even the triple-digit heat, although I’d gladly take fewer of those days!

Wow, Celeste … I’m happy you and your husband made it work despite the initial challenges! And I LOVE the heat! Is there another profession you would have liked to try?

Growing up in a large family, money was scarce. I started doing odd jobs early. Babysitting at age 7—mostly with moms nearby, but not always. At eight, a neighborhood teenager paid my younger brother and me a nickel for each snake chased out by running ahead of him through the brush in a nearby canyon. By the time I left home at 17, I had worked as a tutor, delivered papers, cleaned houses, sold Avon, and worked in a genetics lab breeding fruit flies.

My first real job was at Walt Disney World. At 18, I had completed basic training as a cook and started as a culinary assistant in one of the theme park restaurants. A couple of years later, Disney offered me an opportunity to enter the Walt Disney World University chef school where I continued my training and became a chef. After graduation, I became a Preparation Chef at the Polynesian Hotel, one of two or three women in that role in the Disney corporation.

Most of my professional life I worked as a professor, behavioral health researcher, and research administrator. As part of my training for that work on the way to my Ph.D., I earned a clinical degree in social work [MSW] and spent more than five years working as a therapist in substance abuse and mental health settings. I continued to supervise students in those settings for my entire career along with my other professorial duties.

During high school, I sang in the choir and smaller choral ensembles. I was encouraged by our music director to consider a career in opera. That might have been an exciting alternative career path, although I’m not sure I had “the chops” to cut it in that challenging profession. I also dabble in painting and wish I had more formal training in that area.

It’s great to learn of your diverse talents, Celeste. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to have a tougher hide and a better sense of humor about myself. I tend to be a serious person even though the absurdity of the world doesn’t elude me. That’s often brought home to me by my acts of hubris. Oh my, here we go back to that pride goeth before a fall thing. I have taken some spectacular pratfalls in my lifetime. Eventually, I can have a good “yuck” about it, but I’m a not always a good sport at first. My husband, on the other hand, has a terrific sense of humor and helps me find that laugh out loud moment sooner than I might otherwise.

You two were definitely meant for each other.:) Are you a full time writer now?

I write fiction full time, now, with the aim of spending 3 or 4 hours a day, 4-6 days a week, writing and editing. I spend that much time, or more, marketing the books I write. Like most indie authors that includes the work done by publishers: PR, book promotion, etc. Mornings are spent writing. Afternoons editing, blogging, creating materials for promotion, and evenings are spent tweeting, posting, and sharing elsewhere like on Facebook and Google+.

It is a lot of work, and you do it so well. Tell us what motivates you to write.

At this point in my life, writing is a lark. It’s an adventure, pure and simple. Much of my professional life I wrote nonfiction in the context of the “publish or perish” world of the university. I do still enjoy exploring some of the topics I dealt with teaching social work practice and doing research on poverty, addictions, and mental health problems. Social relationships, problems of living; drug addiction and mental health issues all figure into my stories. My lead characters are women so that worldview drives the way in which these subjects come up. I still have lots of questions about why people do what they do and how to anticipate or respond to troubled people—many of the same questions that drove me into social and behavioral science with a bent toward improving policy and practice.

How would you define your style of writing?

The tag line I use for my website is: Snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food–California style!

I write mystery fiction with a dash of romance and humor. That’s closer to what’s regarded as “cozy” these days than to the thriller end of the continuum.  When Agatha Christie wrote there was no such thing. It was just called “mystery” then.  The three series I write all feature “amateur” or “accidental” sleuths—women pulled into sleuthing by murder and mayhem. All three series are set in California so that setting is a backdrop—another “character” in many ways. Because of my background as a chef, and the fact that food is integral to California culture, “foodie” is part of the package and shows up in my writing. I have a “What’s Cooking” page on my website and have started to include recipes in my newest series featuring Georgie Shaw, a character trained as a chef.

montagesmaller

Very cool! What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I consider my stories “character-driven,” so character development is fascinating to me. The women are very different in the three series that I write. The rich, 30-something lead in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series is a child of wealth and privilege. When she’s delivered a big dose of “money can’t buy you happiness,” she keeps trying to console herself with shopping binges. An anxious sort prone to panic attacks, she has to search elsewhere for answers to the questions that bother her. She’s often preoccupied not just with “whodunit” but “why?”

Kim Reed the 20-something sleuth in my Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series is a streetwise young woman we first meet when she’s rescued by Jessica Huntington in A Dead Sister. Life surprises this cynical survivor with, of all things, love! She falls for another over-the-top character in the Jessica Huntington series, Brien Williams—a surfer dude stranded in the California desert. In Corsario Cove, he’s in his element and on his honeymoon with Kim. Murder and mayhem ensue, of course, and these two take to it like bees to honey. In my mind, at times, I react like I’m watching one of those old 1950s monster movies. “No, don’t go down there!” You know, that sort of thing?  Then, as I write, off they go, diving right into the middle of murder and mischief!

georgie shaw #1

Georgie Shaw, lead in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, is a 50-something corporate exec who started out at Marvelous Marley World as a chef.  In book 1, Murder at Catmmando Mountain, she’s working in public relations for a Disney-like entertainment conglomerate and her life turns upside down by a murder in the Arcadia theme park. A capable, intelligent woman, sleuthing isn’t part of her life until she’s framed for murder and forced to consider whodunit. The biggest bombshell in her life isn’t the murder. Georgie Shaw has a tragic past and never married. When the handsome detective, Jack Wheeler, sweeps into her life, he challenges her with new possibilities.  A new mystery brought them together. Will an old one drive them apart? Those questions get answered in book 2, Love Notes in the Key of Sea.

I also enjoy writing dialogue, and plotting out the murder and mayhem. I have a good laugh at the situations in which my characters are placed [by me]. They get back at me in surprising ways, and one of the things I find most challenging, at times, is writing my way out of a corner!

Why do you write your books as part of a series?

The character arc has a more realistic time frame in which to unfold in a series rather than in a single book.  There’s more room for characters to grow and change which is part of that character development that I find interesting. That often involves a lot of humor, too. Each of these amateurs, equipped with different skill sets, have to stretch as people to cope with the problems they encounter when plunged into the unpredictability of a murder investigation.

Good reasons! What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Some version of “don’t get it right, just get it written.” I forget now, who told me that. I’m sure it was while I was still writing for my university career where getting it right did matter. You have to back up claims made in your writing with evidence, but also have to recognize that the data you have to work with is never going to be perfect. So, the key for me, even now, is to write it then hammer it to bits—separate the creator from the critic. That’s the best advice I can give to someone just starting out, too.

Let’s learn about your upcoming books, Celeste!

Love Notes asymmetrical 6 x 9

Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery #2

Georgie Shaw and Detective Jack Wheeler have a second chance at love—despite the fact they met during a murder investigation. Decades earlier, Georgie lost the love of her life in an attack on the beach that left one man dead and two others missing including her fiancé, Danny Farrell. When Georgie returns to Corsario Cove, more than memories haunt her as a song Danny wrote just for her echoes in the air: Love Notes in the Key of Sea. Who else, other than she and Danny could know that song? A new mystery brought Georgie and Jack together, will an old one drive them apart?

 

I have two new cozy mystery releases that will be available for preorder in May and purchase in June. Love Notes in the Key of Sea, book 2 in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, will be included in a summer beach anthology of short reads: Stories of Sun, Sand, and Sea. The stories in this collection combine mystery, romance, and suspense, all set during the summer months but on different beaches. With 11 beaches…anything can happen. 

Stories of Sun, Sand, and Sea is available for preorder May 16th, for release June 28th.

sun sand and sea

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

A summer breeze, sandy shore, and sparkling waters. Is it the perfect setting for love or something more dangerous?
First loves, second chances, mystery, and intrigue, even murder.
Drift away with this collection of stories about Sun, Sand and Sea to 11 beaches…where anything can happen.

 

romantic sea beach. Women's Glasses and Champagne cork on sand

 Gnarly New Year – Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #2

The honeymoon’s not over yet! Kim and Brien’s excellent adventure at the swanky Sanctuary Resort & Spa continues when an unwelcome visitor drops in on New Year’s Eve. An elusive marine GPS device, found and lost again, unleashes another wave of murder and mayhem in Corsario Cove!  What is it about that thing? Stooges, Krugerrands, and monks—oh my! Will it be a Gnarly New Year for Kim and Brien?

 

Book 2 in the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series will be out soon, too. Kim and Brien’s excellent honeymoon adventure continues in Gnarly New Year. My two love birds are swept up into more murder and mayhem even though they vowed to stay out of it at the end of book 1, Cowabunga Christmas!

So much going on Celeste, congratulations! What is next for you after these books?

Next up in the queue is A DEAD MOTHER, book 4 in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series. There’s more on relationships between mothers and daughters in this book, as there was in book 3, A DEAD DAUGHTER . Jessica’s saga with her dysfunctional mother continues, but the story revolves around the death of Beverly Windsor, a client in Jessica’s newly reinstated law career. Why would anyone kill the wealthy woman, a pillar of the Palm Desert community, active in the homeowners’ association in her gated community, and on the charity circuit in the Greater Palm Springs area? Oh, let me count the reasons and the suspects.

Why should people read your books?

I want to entertain readers. The books are meant to be romps, with a mystery at the heart of each story. I hope they’ll be intrigued by my characters and will return to find out what’s up next for them. The blend of mystery, humor, romance, and women’s fiction is a bit different in each series, but present in all of them.

What is the best way for someone to support your books?

FEEDBACK! I’m fortunate that my husband and several readers will give me feedback early on, but gathering input is vital. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are so important when it comes to increasing the visibility of books. They also clarify what a book is about for other readers, and help other readers make more informed choices about the suitability of the book for them. I’m still learning, and feedback is critical to my growth as an author. Leaving a comment or suggestion on my website, blog, Goodreads, or Facebook, are all greatly appreciated as well as reviews.

Feedback is always helpful. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? MY LAPTOP—the “death” of my old one in December taught me how hard it is to live without one!

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Maui!

Name a food you can eat every day. Salads—not exciting, I know, but I love them!

Salty or sweet? Sweet.

Coffee or tea or something else? COFFEE—fresh ground beans brewed in a French press!

Cat/dog/other pet? Mouthy Siamese cats.

Favorite style of music? Jazz fusion a la John McLaughlin and my hubby.

The best gift you’ve ever received? Spa Day at the La Quinta Resort.

Your most guilty pleasure. Chocolate.

Favorite season. Spring.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Why love, of course!

Thank you Celeste for sharing with my readers. It was wonderful to learn more about you.

Readers, please find Celeste at all her virtual homes and discover her books! 

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Connect to Celeste

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WebsiteBlog | Twitter @aburke59 | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning and bestselling author who enjoys snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! Her books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark that take place in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.

BUY LINKS for Celeste’s books in ebook and print

The Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series

Amazon

A DEAD HUSBAND JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

A DEAD SISTER JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #2

Amazon | Barnes and Noble   

A DEAD DAUGHTER JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #3

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

LOVE A FOOT ABOVE THE GROUND: (PREQUEL TO THE JESSICA HUNTINGTON SERIES)

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

COWABUNGA CHRISTMAS CORSARIO COVE COZY MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

MURDER AT CATMMANDO MOUNTAIN GEORGIE SHAW COZY MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

ANTHOLOGIES

Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen Cozy Mysteries (Crimes of the Heart) 

Mother’s Day Magic with Love

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

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Music Monday moves with The Tragically Hip ~ Bobcaygeon (@thehipdotcom)

If you have access to cottage country in Ontario, then you’re probably familiar with Bobcaygeon.

It’s a community within the City of Kawartha Lakes. Tourism is the chief industry, mainly recreational fishing.

It’s Canadiana, and the lyrics of “Bobcaygeon” are rich with it.

I hope you enjoy,

~eden

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Don Massenzio (@dmassenzio)

I’m happy to introduce Don Massenzio. He is a new author to me, so I followed his blog to learn more about him, and … WOW!

He has excellent posts and resources for writers, and I’m thrilled to give him space here to tell you more about himself.

In fact, he returned my interview in record time AND chose to answer every question on the list. Given that, I’m posting the interview in its entirety because I’m a firm believer that hard work deserves an audience.

Please welcome Don Massenzio to Eden’s Exchange.

* * * *

Great to have you here, Don. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I believe I would be described as loyal to a fault, driven, humorous and intolerant of lies.

Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? 

I have a demanding day job that takes up about 50-60 hours per week and requires about 40 weeks per year of travel. I use the travel time, airport time, and hotel time to write. It keeps me on a schedule and makes me more productive.

Great to use that “down” time for something creative. Where do you live?

I live in Northern Florida where I’ve been for the past 20 years. I grew up in Upstate New York where we suffered through endless winters. Because my job demands so much travel, I feel like I’m going on vacation every weekend when I come home, especially in the winter.

Nice! What is your biggest extravagance?

My home workstation has two 26 inch monitors attached to it. I’d like to say it makes me more productive, but the second monitor is often displaying Netflix.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

The age at which I started writing. I published my first novel at 51. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

You got it done and that’s the most important thing. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Well, writing comes to mind as a full-time job. Also, I enjoy arranging music and would love to be an orchestrator/composer.

What is one thing you want to do before you die?

I would love to see my eight-year-old daughter established as an adult. I’d also like to write a lot more books and travel to Italy again.

Do you have any favorite curse words?

My current favorite is ‘asshat’ which I love to apply to various presidential candidates and other people I encounter. I generally don’t use a lot of curse words as I believe they are a lazy substitute for creativity.

I agree, but there are times when a good curse nails it! Do you have a motto you live by?

As you get older, move away from those around you that hold you back or pull you down.

That’s a wise one. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Convincing my beautiful wife to marry me and raising a family.

Sweet:). What makes you laugh, and I mean, REALLY laugh?

Besides the current presidential race, my eight-year-old makes me laugh very hard. I knew she was going to be a person that likes to make others laugh at a very young age. At age three, she asked for help getting dressed and I assured her she was a big girl and could do it on her own. She came back stark naked with her underwear on her head and said, “See Dad, I told you I couldn’t do it.”

No comment about your presidential race, except that it is definitely fodder for comedy. Let’s find out more about you as the writer. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from everywhere. I’m an avid observer and I am always people watching when I travel. I draw stories from things that happen to me and others and from the news.

What motivates you to write?

The creative process and the validation when a reader tells me they enjoyed my work. It’s the best feeling in the world.

It is! What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

This came from Stephen King through his book On Writing. To paraphrase, he said that if you don’t read regularly then you shouldn’t be writing.

That is a profound book. Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.

My all-time favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it in high school and related to Scout. I recently read it again and related to Atticus as an older dad trying to keep up with his kids. I’m also inspired by Stephen King’s books. His book, It, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever read. He has truly mastered the horror genre. I also like Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series. He has brought the same characters through 20+ years of novels and has allowed them to age and grow.

I’ve enjoyed Kellerman’s writing as well. How do you market yourself?

Interviews, blogging, social media, book signings, telling everyone I know, shamelessly using family members and various other techniques. My eight-year-old recently came to a book signing and it was pretty quiet. She picked up one of my books and started walking around the room telling everyone, “Buy my Daddy’s book.” No, I did not tell her to do this.

blood orangeWhat a precocious girl, you need to hire her! How much research do you do for your books?

It depends on the book. When I wrote my terrorism thriller, Blood Orange, I used the Internet to research the effects of radiation and dirty bombs. I kept waiting for the black SUVs to pull up in front of my house. I also use experts like military people that I know along with police officers and others. One thing I’ve learned is that readers will call you on bad information. I had a police officer that read an advance copy of my book tell me that the gun my character used doesn’t have a safety even though I said it did in the book. I was able to change it before the release and avoid the potential embarrassment.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

My favorite part is being able to escape into the lives of the characters. Sometimes I’ll go back and look at dialog and not even recognize that I wrote it. My least favorite part is everything outside of the writing; the editing, marketing, promoting, etc. I see the importance of those things and I do them, I just don’t like them.

How would you define your style of writing?

It’s very stream of consciousness driven. I do a pictorial outline at the beginning, but the scenes and chapters just flow. I don’t edit at all until the first draft of the entire book is done.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy getting started. It’s like having a blank canvas where you create the world and the people in it. By the time I get to the editing, however, I’m usually sick of the story and anxious to get it published.

frankly speakinglet me be frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

For my detective series, the main character’s name is Frank. The first book was Frankly Speaking. Then came Let Me Be Frank, Frank Incensed and Frankly, My Dear. My fear is that I’ll run out of Frank titles before I run out of ideas. I had someone at a writers’ conference come up to me after a panel I was on and hand me a list of about 20 titles with ’Frank’ in them. Some of them weren’t usable, but it did help. I have about 10 potential titles with story ideas attached to them. That should keep me busy for a while. I don’t always know the ending when I start a new book. In fact, sometimes I think I know the ending and it changes as I complete the journey to it.

I love the branding with the name, Frank. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I use a hybrid method where I diagram out the chapters of the novel and then plot them out in Scrivener. I don’t want to lock myself into an outline, but if I write without my pictorial view, there’s no telling what rabbit hole I’ll venture into.

frank incensed Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

I don’t have a set schedule. My typical writer’s day is centered around maintaining my blog in the very early morning hours and then writing whenever there are holes in the day. Planes, trains, airports and hotels are my usual writing environment and I write when I can.

Do you have advice for new authors?

Keep writing every day. Listen to advice objectively. There are those who are snobbish about writing and view it as a privilege only to be enjoyed by those that pass the publishing gate keepers. Don’t be intimidated by them. Whenever an aspiring traditionally published author turns up their nose at the idea of independent publishing, I always ask them how many books they’ve sold and how many they have in print.

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

My brain is the only real tool I need. I wrote my first novel longhand in notebooks and then typed it in page by page. I do like using Scrivener to draft the novel and then switch to Word for editing so we can track changes and insert comments.

Don’s latest book is Frankly, My Dear.

frankly, my dear

Buy Links: Amazon US | UK | Canada

 

Book blurb: Frankly, My Dear

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, has left his tragic past as a police officer behind for life as a private detective. Frank and his partner Clifford “Jonesy” Jones work with the local police to solve crimes that are virtually unsolvable.

In Frankly My Dear, the fourth in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series of novels, Frank and Jonesy are at it again and this time the case is one of the most bizarre that they have faced. Their latest client, arrested for domestic abuse, swears that he is the victim of one of the most vengeful women on the face of the earth.

Frank and Jonesy must determine if their client is telling the truth. As they investigate the case, they again pay a personal price for their involvement. Is their client trying to get away with his crime or is his ex-girlfriend continually coming up with new ways to damage him and his reputation?

Follow them as they navigate the twists and turns in this exciting new installment in the series, Frankly My Dear.

You classify the book as part of the detective/mystery genre. Tell us why we should read it. 

People should read my book by the millions so I can quit my day job. Short of that, I think it’s a fun story and they will enjoy escaping into the world that I created for a while.

How long did it take for you to write it, and what was the inspiration behind it?

From the pictorial view to publishing took about six months. The readers of the previous book wanted the series to continue. This is the fourth in my Frank Rozzani detective series.

How are you marketing your book?

I’m marketing it through interviews, my blog, select social media ads, author events, radio and television interviews, newspaper blurbs, smoke signals and shameless plugs.

Don’s video for Frankly, My Dear.

How did you publish the book?

It’s a pretty simple road. Amazon and CreateSpace make the publishing process very easy. Publishing a book is not the hard part. Publishing a book of quality that people want to read and then telling them about it, now that’s hard.

Well said, Don. How did you celebrate when you finished your book?

I started the next book almost immediately.

Great way not to lose momentum! What has the reception been to Frankly, My Dear?

Thanks to advance reader copies, it was released on Amazon and received 20 reviews the first day on Amazon and Goodreads. The reviews have averaged around 4.8 stars.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

I’m always learning and thinking of ways to improve the next one. One thing I learned from this book is to begin publicizing it earlier in the process.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

That’s a hard question. I hope the quality and the sincerity of the story are part of it. It’s in a genre that is pretty crowded so any recognition I get that differentiates it is positive.

How can people support your book?

Every indie author will tell you that reviews and word of mouth are the biggest help. My first book just passed the 50 review threshold on Amazon and I’m seeing more movement with it. Several people have let me know that Amazon has sent them emails recommending it. That’s a positive sign from reviews. The book itself is free.

What is next for you, Don?

I’m already 20,000 words into the next one which should be out in the September/October timeframe.

Excellent, something to look forward to! Let’s finish with a lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer, of course. It’s where my writing lives.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I went to Italy back in high school and would love to take my family for a long, leisurely trip there someday.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Not to perpetuate an Italian stereotype, but it would be pizza.

Salty or sweet? Mixed. I love salted caramel.

Coffee or tea or something else? Coffee.

Cat/dog/other pet? Dogs. I’m allergic to cats and other pets aren’t as fun to play with or as cuddly as my 80-pound black lab.

Favorite style of music? Depends on the mood. I like to play jazz and listen to jazz and classical, but sometimes hard rock fits the mood.

The best gift you’ve ever received? My family. I always tell my wife I’d be living in a box under a bridge without her. She thinks it’s a joke.

Your most guilty pleasure. Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.

Favorite season. Spring – rebirth.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Hugging someone in my family or seeing them via facetime or Skype when I’m traveling.

Thank you Don for sharing with my readers. Great to learn more about you. Readers, please visit Don at his virtual homes and say “Hello!”

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Connect to Don

Don M

Web Site | Blog | Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page | Goodreads Author Page

Google+ | Twitter @dmassenzio

Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work was the novel, Frankly Speaking, published in April, 2014. It was the first in a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files. Don’s second book in the series, Let Me Be Frank, was published in October of 2014. The third book in the series, Frank Incensed, was released April 24, 2015.

He took a break from his detective series and published the terrorism thriller, Blood Orange, in November of 2015 followed by his latest book, Frankly, My Dear, the fourth book in the series in April of 2016.

He has also released a collection of short stories called Random Tales that is available for your Kindle or as an eBook on Amazon. Also, look for Don’s first non-fiction book, The Ultimate Guide for Independently Published Authors: Tips for improving quality and selling your work, available on Amazon.com as an eBook or in paperback

He now resides in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife, children, and two dogs.

 

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Filed under Author & Artist Interviews

Music Monday moves with The Tragically Hip ~ New Orleans is Sinking (@thehipdotcom)

Last week, I tried buying tickets for The Hip’s final concert tour.

No luck.

I wasn’t able to get them on Day 1 of the presale, nor Day 2 when they added three more shows. There were no tickets available when I tried with my AMEX “Front of the Line” code on Day 3, and unfortunately, I missed the start time when the tickets went on sale to the general public. There were none left by the time I logged in an hour late.

If you’re a fan who just wanted to pay a fair price to attend a concert, chances are you got shut out.

There’s been a lot of venom aimed at Ticketmaster, the company that sells tickets for the majority of venues hosting concerts. Within minutes after Hip tickets went on sale on the first presale day, they were appearing on sites like StubHub at double, triple, sometimes four times the price!

It’s a shame the pleasure of listening to live music is now reduced to a money-making scheme for some. There were always ticket scalpers, but even they cannot compete with the bots who scoop up all the tickets.

On a positive note, there is talk the CBC may televise The Hip’s final concert in Kingston.

Let’s wait and see. In the meantime, enjoy “New Orleans is Sinking” and have a great week.

~eden

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Filed under Musical Mondays