Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Holly Kerr has written another engaging book, The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. Charlotte is a late 20’s young woman who, we discover a couple of chapters into the book, is a spy for a very top secret intelligence agency in Canada. She doesn’t even know she’s a spy!

Apparently, she agreed to have her memories wiped clean before going on a mission so that if she was captured, she would have nothing to divulge.  So she doesn’t know that she has been living with the man who is believed to be financing a counter agency of mercenary spies.

It’s fast paced. The entire 240-ish pages spans about 48 hours in Charlotte’s life…the weekend when she was told of her life as a spy then kidnapped by the counter spy agency then rescued then sent on a mission to free a fellow spy! Charlotte’s head is spinning, and so is that of the Reader…in a good way.

I truly enjoyed this one. It is smooth reading, well paced, and keeps the Reader on their toes to keep up with things. However, I will mention that there are considerable errors which should have been caught by a copy editor or even a proof reader. That doesn’t keep me from recommending it. Just be warned. I found a little over 30 errors where there were extra words that were not cleaned up during edits and/or words missing from a sentence. It didn’t keep me from liking the book, which is rare for me because I am usually a stickler for that sort of thing.


Note: I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review.


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I awoke in the predawn hours today to hear the news on TV…Harper Lee had died at the age of 89. That’s a good age. It was said that she had been deaf and blind for at least the last five years. It was a matter of time. Hopefully, now no one will take advantage of her again. She wrote my all-time favorite novel. Next to To Kill A Mockingbird, nothing stands any here as good. If I had been given the choice to read only one book my entire life, it would be To Kill A Mockingbird. It is that good.

It’s a day to think about her and her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s a time to celebrate her work and the mark she has left on every person that has ever read her book. It’s a day to ask some questions. Why didn’t she ever write another novel? How close to autobiographical elements in her life were the events in the novel? What about Go Set A Watchman? Which Atticus was the true one? Does GSAW invalidate TKAM?

I won’t try to answer all of those questions here. I have my opinions and I’ve read a lot about her life and those around her, both in her childhood years and in her adulthood. As far as Go Set A Watchman, my worry is that it will influence people, especially schools, to not read To Kill A Mockingbird. That would be a crime, at least in my opinion. I will say that I’ve read that she was so traumatized by all of the publicity and criticism she got after TKAM that she didn’t ever want to put herself through that again.

I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.— Harper Lee, quoted in Newquist, 1964

I’ve also read that she was a perfectionist and had begun a couple of novels, including at least one non fiction book but put never finished them any of them because she was unhappy with her writing. That sounds like a perfectionist to me; like a writer, always second guessing herself.

Tonight, I will stream To Kill A Mockingbird and perhaps I will begin re-reading it and Go Set A Watchman. And I will think of that timid, talented woman that kept so many words inside of her…so many words that we would all love to have read. I will celebrate that she lived and wrote and left us Scout and Atticus and all those other people of Maycomb.

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Goodbye to NaNoWriMo for another year!  Yay. This was a really tough November.

At the beginning of the month, my attention was captured by a few Facebook posts in the various NaNoWriMo groups. Some were really funny and some were sad. Most were humorous. Some just “uniquely ordinary.” I thought I might make a few posts highlighting each variety. Then stuff started to happen and I was sick and I pretty much bowed out of the FB NaNoWriMo groups til the end of the month.  So those posts never happened. So…fresh fodder!

The first was sad and made me think a lot:

“I’m withdrawing from this year’s NaNoWriMo to work on my marriage.” It made me think about the individual (whom I don’t know) and their life and I figured they had their priorities straight and silently wished them luck.

This next one falls in the category of “excuses, excuses,” not to mention just plain stupidity:

“I was just about to start my NaNoWriMo project when I spilled my coffee all over my laptop. My keyboard is now fried.”

Then came the winner. I read it late at night when I was still up trying to get some writing done because my daughter had needed me for most of the day and night and I had not done any writing. I guess you could say it hit the spot. It had me laughing and depositing Sprite Zero all over my screen (thank goodness not on the keyboard!). It’s written by a great grandmother participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time, Annie Aronson (she said I could use her name and her words):

“Am I the only NaNo writer with rude, insensitive family members who don’t give a rip about the importance of this month? I have two, in particular, that don’t care a fig if I’m successful at this or not, and I’m ready to end the ongoing emotional abuse. Just because they’re younger than I am–hell, who isn’t?–and related to me, they think they can steal my word writing time. I’m going to set them both straight today, just as soon as they wake up from their naps. I don’t care if they bat their big blue eyes or pucker their little pouty lips! Grandma isn’t going to give in this time! I’m going to go and have a stiff drink and prepare myself to put a 3 year old and a 4 year old in their places. I’m gonna kick butt and take no prisoners.”

And with that I bid November 2015 a not so fond farewell! And to NaNoWriMo, same time next year!



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“It only happened to terrible people. Terrible people. Murderers themselves! … Loan sharkers. Heroin. These were the people in our neighborhood.”

That’s Toby Ziegler’s father trying to justify why he was involved in Murder Incorporated, the enforcers for organized crime organization, the Mafia.

The episode, Holy Night, made me wonder about murder and if it is ever justified. Murder. Killing others. Even, in my view, capital punishment. Is that right?  This episode also has President Bartlet reflecting over what he did when he gave the order to kill a foreign dignitary that had tried to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge and was involved with other terrorist acts against the United States both on foreign soil and domestic.

This is one of the reasons I like watching The West Wing. It gives us a lot to think about. Not just politically but morally.


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  1. The look on Spencer’s face when he brought me the bottle of bubble solution. It was a big smile. He knew his Nana would not say “no.” He loves bubbles. I blow them and he chases them and smashes them.
  2. Another huge smile on Spencer’s face when he realized that he could put his hand in the candy bowl and pull out a candy at each store where we trick-or-treated. He usually has to wait to be handed one but this time he could actually walk right up and stick his hand in the bowl and take what he wanted. He was all full of two-year-old-smiles.
  3. “Don’t take Nana home. I want to keep Nana forever. Please don’t take her home.” That was Anderson (5 years old) on Halloween.
  4. Being included in the plan to move to Omaha and buy a house. And another smile when I found that they were looking only at listings for houses that have a separate apartment or Nanny unit on the property so that I could have my own space. I didn’t even ask and that’s what they are planning.
  5. The cat finally figured out that if she stays at my feet, she can sleep in my room with me. If she comes up to my chest or face, she gets kicked out of the room and I shut the door. She seems to accept that now.  Yay. Finally!
  6. A little boy playing peek-a-boo in line at the grocery store. I think he must have been about three.
  7. Making my NaNoWriMo word count for the first two days of the month!
  8. After about ten tries, I am one step closer to making the NanoPoblano graphic show up on my sidebar. It’s still not working but I am a little bit closer than I was yesterday. Maybe tomorrow.
  9. Finding a blog that will help me with my NaNoWriMo project research.  Yay! I won’t be going into this project totally blind.

There were other smiles but these are the ones that stand out at the moment. I’m tired. I’ve been either writing, researching, or with the boys since 7 am and it is now after midnight. So for today…that’s all she wrote!


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Well, it rained. And then it rained some more. And then it poured. And it gusted. And it was Halloween.

A couple of things saved the day. First, the shopping center was having trick-or-treating in the afternoon. We were not going to take them but we figured they might not get to go later if the rain forecast proved to be true and it didn’t look crazy so we took them trick-or-treating there in the afternoon. We got to about the last four or five stores when it began to pour buckets on us. There was some shelter and they went to the last of the stores and we ran into Target to wait for my daughter to go to the other end of the shopping center and bring the car.

We had dinner at Anderson’s favorite restaurant, Olive Garden, which was in the same shopping center. When we got out of the restaurant, it was pretty clear that the rain was not going to let up and the boys would not get to go trick-or-treating when it got dark. So we asked Anderson what would make the rest of the day special. He said he wanted to go home and have a party. We went to the grocery store and he picked out chocolate chip cookies. We stopped by my house and I ran through and grabbed all of my skeletons, spider webs, bats, witches, and skulls off of the walls and from the porch and headed to my daughter’s house. I ran around her house putting the decorations up all over while she cleaned up and vacuumed because Anderson wanted to dance. They had a great time dancing to Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, Witch Doctor and some other songs. Spencer played with plastic rats that I had as part of the decorations when he was not dancing. Fun. Fun. Fun! So the night was salvaged and they didn’t feel cheated!

Then I came home to wait for midnight to start my NaNoWriMo project. I’m still sick and staying up til midnight was tough last night but I managed to get in a little over 800 words in 20 minutes then I went to bed because I had agreed to meet another woman at a coffee house for a write-in at 10 this morning. I did that and got to 2600 words.  Now I am trying to set up my blog with the NaNoWriMo widget, which looks like it is working. However, the widget for NanoPoblano (posting on this blog every day in November) hosted by Rarasaur doesn’t seem to work. I’ve really had a tough time setting up widgets this calendar year. I am ready to give up for awhile. Maybe I can delete it all and start from scratch later.

In any case, that’s my day so far and it is only a bit after 1 in the afternoon. I need a nap. I need to read some blogs. I need to do a little research for my NaNoWriMo project. I need to set up tomorrow’s post so I can get it out of the way early because I am meeting people to write at a coffee shop early tomorrow morning and won’t have time to do it before I leave for that.

That’s it for this post, I think. If you get a chance to do so, click here to find the others that are participating in NanoPoblano 2015. I’m sure you’ll find some interesting blogs there!

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Rose B. Fischer

Today, please help me welcome fellow blogger and author, Rose B. Fisher.  She is an avid fan of  foxes, Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek.  She would rather be on the Enterprise right now.  Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.

In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. Her current project is The Foxes of Synn, a low-tech science fantasy serial.

Rose is a survivor of domestic violence who lives with multiple disabilities.  In the early 2000s, she became homeless afer leaving her abusive spouse.  She later entered a transitional housing program while attending college. These experiences inspired her to begin writing non-fiction, and have had lasting impacts on her approach to fiction writing.

She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays.  She blogs about the intersection of storytelling, social responsibility, art, and pop culture. You can find her blog here.

Meet Rose

Hello, everyone! I’m Rose B. Fischer, science fantasy author and lover of princesses. Corina’s invited me to talk to you about my serial, The Foxes of Synn, and I’m going to do that. I promise. But first I’m going to talk about PRINCESSES. And Witch-Queens.

The first movie I ever saw in theaters was Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I couldn’t have been more than four, so I really shouldn’t remember, but the experience had a permanent effect on me. I was familiar with the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White from storybooks, and I had a fairytale coloring book in which I only ever colored the pictures of ladies — preferably the ladies in fancy clothes. That movie was different. The characters were huge, both because they were on the big screen and because they had life that the storybook versions often don’t. The Wicked Queen fascinated and terrified me. I pitied her. I wanted to know the story behind her odd relationship with her Huntsman. I wanted to know why, on Earth, Snow White’s father couldn’t see that the Queen was nuts. I wanted to know what had made her like that! In the space of about an hour, I developed a whole head canon about the Queen’s life prior to her marriage and how she was in love with the huntsman. I wanted her to stop being so vain and learn that she and Snow White could both be beautiful, or if she couldn’t do that, I wanted her to at least find a way to make peace with Snow White’s existence. I’m not the only one. There are a crap-ton of re-imagined fairytales that want to make the Queen an antihero.

Snow White fascinated me too. I admire her for all the reasons she’s often dismissed as “weak” and “silly” today. She’s quiet, kind, and gentle (I am not.) She’s an optimist (I am not.) She works hard without complaining (I work hard. Complain A LOT.) She can get animals to do whatever she wants. (Are you seriously going to tell me that you never envied her for that?) She can manage a large household. (This is actually something I can do, and it’s one of the skill-sets I’m most proud of. Snow White was my mentor. >.>)

I had head canon for Snow White too. I imagined that the huntsman would come back to the woods and mentor her, teaching her his skills and trade while she lived safely with the dwarfs. Then, the Queen would find out, and all hell would break loose, but Snow White would be kickass by then, and…

Well, that part didn’t happen.

But I’m a writer. And anyone who writes will know what I mean when I say, the stories that grab us first are the stories that stay with us. Witch Queens and Princesses have stayed with me my whole life. They permeate the world of Synn, and the kick-ass Snow White that’s been in my head since I was four is at the heart of Northern Synn’s history.

I’ve always been drawn to stories with compelling female protagonists. For a lot of my life, that meant royalty. Queens, princesses, duchesses– because that’s where powerful women were to be found in literature and in history. There were also sometimes nuns, like Bernadette of Lourdes and cross-dressing warriors like Joan of Arc, but for the most part I was exposed to princesses.

Princess Leia is the one everyone recognizes. Princess Allura is the one I saw the most, and the one I wanted to love because she could rock this dress:


She could also be kind and sensitive, yet still stand up to her sexist guardians, and fly the Blue Lion. I could never fully get on board with Allura, though, because as hard as she tried, she was always the first person getting knocked out, captured, made naïve mistakes, or would otherwise be the weak link on the team. And I don’t like pink.

Fast forward a few years to the mid-80s, and there’s Princess Adora, who remains my go to example of a well-rounded, compelling female character whose writers handle the Princess Trope well.

Fast forward a few more years to the mid-90s and there was Belle and Nala, then Esmeralda and Mulan, who expanded Disney’s definition of Princess, but at the same time popular culture was turning on the Princess. Suddenly, girls could do whatever we wanted. We could be doctors, lawyers, police officers, truck drivers, wrestlers, but GOD FORBID that any girl want to be a princess. Nooo, we must make sure our girls are self-sufficient and empowered. Because, you know. Being able to manage a house and rule a kingdom wisely don’t have anything to do with self-sufficiency or empowerment. And saving your friends (or the kingdom) only counts if you do it with a sword, by yourself, with no help from a male, especially a love interest. Smart girls didn’t like princesses. Smart girls didn’t like pink or glitter or fancy dresses, oh no. Smart girls were going to resist being stereotyped by trading feminine stereotypes for masculine ones.

Wait, what?

Yeah. But I bought into that, so I let my Magic Princesses and my Witch Queens go, and I don’t think I found them again until I was spending time with my niece in the mid-2000s. She was as smart as I was, and she was one of the “in crowd” in a way that I’d never been. She loved the trendy things, followed fashion, enjoyed popular boy bands. She was also interested in science, religion, sociology, and would read any book you put in front of her. She liked to read about princesses. Heck if I was going to tell her no, she could like anything else she wanted but NOT THOSE. So, I had to reevaluate my stance, and I’m glad I did.

Even with that settled, it was a long time before the Foxes of Synn came to be. It wanted to be a story that took the things I love best about science fiction and fantasy, blended them together with fairytales, and asked a lot of questions about gender roles, sexuality, romance, and whatever-else, for which I don’t have answers. I already had two major speculative fiction projects at the time, and I wasn’t looking for another one. I wanted something light and fun that I could sell in a traditional publishing market. I wanted a book that a publisher would take a chance on, that would be a stepping stone in a traditional publishing career, not another weird, unclassifiable spec fic project. What I got was a mishmash of animal fantasy, wormhole physics, traveling to other universes via magic mirror, and…well…fun. At least I got the fun.

Eventually, I decided that I needed to let the story be what it wanted to be. About a year ago, I took the plunge into creating serial fiction and self-publishing for Kindle. I have had a rockin’ time so far, and I couldn’t be happier with the direction that Synn has taken. If you’d like to learn more about the serial, it’s characters, and the world literacy live, you can check it out on my blog or my Amazon author page.

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Luther Siler

                   Luther M. Siler

Luther Stiler is a fellow blogger who blogs at InfiniteFreeTime. He is also a writer, teacher, husband, and father.  He lives in Northern Indiana with his wife and son and what he describes as an assortment of pets.  He writes about space gnomes and Mars.  Please read about his writing and his books then pass the link around to your friends by sharing through your social media avenues!  Leave a comment for me or Luther if you so desire; they are welcomed!

Luther On Luther
I like to write books that you pick up on the first day, read on the second, and reread on the fourth.  When I was a kid I was fanatical about rereading books that I loved over and over and over again– I have probably read the Lord of the Rings trilogy four or five dozen times– and while I love the work of many authors who write challenging, thought-provoking Works Of Immortal Literature, my number one goal as an author is to entertain.  I want my books read at a gulp, and I want you to lose sleep because you couldn’t put them down.  I like cinematic; I like action.  I’m not the author who carefully paints a picture of every detail and scene in my books because I don’t want to do anyone’s imagining for them, and I’d rather be remembered for a thrill-ride of a story than the life-altering sanctity of my prose.
I mean, hell, I write books about trips to Mars with a mad scientist and potty-mouthed gnomes with laser guns.  There is seriousness in my work, here and there– and my forthcoming Searching for Malumba (sometime in October, hopefully) is actually a nonfiction book about one of the few things in my life I do take seriously, which is my job as a teacher– but I need humor and excitement and fun more than I need to be taken seriously.  The back cover of my novelSkylights carries the single greatest quote about my work that I’ve ever gotten from anyone: “A perfect, fun summer read.”  That’s what I like to write.  It’s exactly the reaction that I wanted.  And hopefully I’ll get to keep writing many more of that kind of book.

August 15, 2022: the Tycho, the most advanced interplanetary craft ever designed by the human race, launches from Earth on an expedition to Mars. The Tycho carries four passengers, soon to be the most famous people in human history.

February 19, 2023: The Tycho loses all communication with Earth while orbiting Mars. After weeks of determined attempts to reestablish contact, the Tycho is declared lost.

2027: Journalist Gabriel Southern receives a message from a mysterious caller: “Mars.” Ezekiel ben Zahav isn’t talking, but he wants Southern to accompany him for something– and he’s dangling enough money under his nose to make any amount of hardship worth it.SKYLIGHTS is the story of the second human expedition to Mars. Their mission: to find out what happened to the first.


The Benevolence Archives Vol. 1

Troll evictions! Dwarf pirates! Daring rescues! Angry gods! Impossible technology! Oversized bars! Pissed-off ogres! Disrespectful spaceships! All this and a mild disregard for proper wound treatment!

THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES, VOL. 1 is a novella-length collection of six short stories set in a common universe. Combining elements of space opera-style science fiction and high fantasy, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES tell the adventures of Brazel, Rhundi, and Grond, a gnome/halfogre team of smugglers.

THE PLANET IT’S FARTHEST FROM: A simple job in a saloon goes poorly for Brazel.
THE CLOSET: Brazel and Grond are hired to teach someone why gambling can be a bad idea.
YANK: Dwarven pirates. ‘Nuff said.
REMEMBER: Brazel and Grond are hired by one of the galaxy’s most powerful people for a suspiciously easy job.
THE CONTRACT: Rhundi tries to get through a simple business negotiation without anyone being shot.
THE SIGIL: Brazel and Grond encounter something horrifying on a frozen rock in the middle of nowhere.


The Benevolence Archives Vol. 1

The Sanctum Of the Sphere, Benevolence Archives Vol. 2

“Go rob that train.” Nice, normal. An everyday heist.

But nothing is ever normal for Brazel, Grond and Rhundi.

A simple act of motorized larceny quickly explodes into a galaxy-spanning adventure for the two thieves. Blade-wielding elves, a fast-moving global war, a secret outlaw space city, incomprehensible insectoids and one impossibly lucky human are just the start of their problems. And that’s before they learn that someone from Grond’s past has gotten the Benevolence involved…

What is happening on the ogrespace moon Khkk?

Who are the Noble Opposition?

And what is the secret of THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE?


The Sanctum Of the Sphere,

The Benevolence Archives Vol. 2


The Sanctum Of the Sphere,

Benevolence Archives Vol. 2 Omnibus Edition

Luther’s email:  luthermsiler @ gmail.com

Luther’s Twitter account: @nfinitefreetime

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If we were having coffee, it would be a little earlier than usual.  I got up early and fixed breakfast and coffee. I was looking forward to my chorizo and eggs so much that I forgot all about my coffee.  It wasn’t until after I had finished my breakfast that I realized I had not even touched my coffee which was still sitting on the counter!  I do that a lot.  I start one thing, then get distracted, and forget all about what I had started.  The other night I heated my dinner in the microwave and forgot I had put it in there.  A couple of hours later I wondered why I was so hungry after eating dinner.  Then I went to heat up a snack in the microwave and found my dinner!  No wonder I was so hungry!

Anyway, I didn’t forget you were stopping by for coffee so that’s a good start for the day!  Let’s catch up!  I feel like I am just getting back to normal after the road trip with Anderson.  We got back Sunday night and it has taken the week to get back into every day mode.  I finally have had a few moments to myself to spend a little time reading.  The problem is that by the time I stop doing and start reading, my eyes are too tired to stay open. I did manage to read for about fifteen minutes the past two days. I want to finish the book I started before the trip and get on to a new one.  I’m reading a light murder mystery called Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse.  What are you reading?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have revived an old idea for a collection of stories that I could put in a book.  I seem to revisit this idea every time I make the driving trip down south.  The idea came from all the times the kids and I drove up and north US 101.  It’s the “old road” and the one I was familiar with as a child.  My parents told us a lot of stories about the area and over the years, our travels have created and discovered more stories.  My kids used to be able to finish the stories for me because I liked telling them as we drove past certain places on the highway.  They even suggested I put the stories in a book. So I am thinking of a book called “101 Stories” with the “101” inside of the highway sign or being the highway sign.  It would be a collection of 101 stories, each centered somewhere along US Highway 101. I’ve come up with a narrator and have a call in to an old friend for his help to make the narrator authentic.  I’m thinking it might be a good NaNoWriMo project if I do my research now and line up all my ducks!  How about you?  Do you have any projects, writing or otherwise, in the works?

I am helping out with the boys a little later today.  Anderson wants to go for a walk to see flowers and he wants us to take Spencer with us.  His mom works later today and his dad will be processing strawberries. They got so many strawberries for volunteering at the Gleaners that they have enough to make a gazillion jars of jam!  They make delicious jam.  She has had some luck selling it to a local farmers market guy that sells it at his booth at various markets.  I helped take the caps off of strawberries last night and my hands are still red!  We only did about 10 pounds last night.  There are  about another 60 pounds to go today.  So I will help by keeping the boys busy out of the house for the afternoon.  We are also trying to get some mint in exchange for some jam so we can make strawberry-mint jam. They have a few mangos and might make strawberry-mango jam.  They made a few jars a couple of months ago and it was delicious!  That’s what I want…strawberry-mango!  I didn’t get a jar last time, just a taste.  This time I want a whole jar!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you about any travels you have had or are planning for the summer as it winds down.  I have made my two trips, one by plane in June and one last week by car.  I think that’s it for me.  I would like to drive to the coast but that probably won’t happen.  I don’t like going places by myself and I don’t want to take the boys to the ocean…too much responsibility for this one non-swimming nana to watch a 5 year old and a 2 year old at the beach!  How about you?  I know some of you have taken trips and promised posts about them.  Have you posted about them and maybe I have missed them?  Have you forgotten to post about your trip?  And for those of you still going on trips soon, be sure to take a few pictures for a post, even if it is just a coffee share post.  I know I would love to see the pictures and I’m pretty sure others would too.

Well, it’s time for me to get a few things done and read some blog posts (I am miserably behind as a result of my ten day trip) before I have to go get the boys and entertain them.  Let me know what you are up to.  I really do want to hear.

Make it a good week and we’ll see you next time!


Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana and Part Time Monsters.  It’s a fun thing. Come join us.  Write and publish your post then stop by Diana’s latest #WeekendCoffeeShare post and link to the blog hop using the blue linky at the end of her post.  Try it; you’ll like it!

us 101

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Melissa Barker-Simpson

Melissa Barker-Simpson

Today, help me welcome author and fellow blogger, Melissa Barker-Simpson.  I hope you enjoy reading about here and her books and that you take a look at her novels.

It’s lovely to be invited to Corina’s place to visit with you all. I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I’ve met some incredible people along the way. It’s a vital online community and, as a writer, it feels like my second home! There is so much to learn, so much to share and experience.

I’ve been writing since Junior School, which in the US I believe is classed as Elementary (first grade). I loved nothing more than creating new worlds and sharing my adventures with others. When I left school and went to college, I spent less time writing, and more time studying. I couldn’t decide on a career and so, after leaving full time education I held a number of jobs. Although I couldn’t seem to make anything stick, I did have a passion for language, which led to my interest in British Sign Language (BSL). I eventually became an interpreter, and have been interpreting for ten years now.

It’s a job I particularly enjoy because I get to explore different settings; police, theatre, community, education, medicine. It’s a lot of fun and, though it can be challenging at times, the variety suits my fickle nature! BSL is a beautiful, visual language, with a rich and complex grammatical structure, one that never ceases to amaze.

One of my most important roles in life though, is being a mother. I have two teenage daughters, who are a great source of joy.

I didn’t begin seriously writing again until 2005, a year after I lost my father. It was a really difficult time, and I escaped my grief by remembering the stories I shared with him in my youth. The characters never really went away, even when life got too busy, so when I let them back in, it became impossible to deny the part of myself I had supressed for so long.

There are a number of things I could talk about when it comes to my writing journey. I recently published The Fallen, which is my ninth novel, and the first in a series. It seems I have a penchant for writing series, and thanks to my busy mind, I’m unable to concentrate on one project at once.

My work is always character driven, and Maddison, the protagonist from The Fallen has her hooks in me at the moment. When I sit down to write, whether it is a short-story, or my next work in progress, she invariably muscles her way in!

It’s the reason that, as well as working on my latest novel in the Morgan and Fairchild series, I decided to venture into serialised fiction. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I love the idea of creating monthly episodes like a television series, and pulling those together to create a season. There are different ways to approach serialised writing, but I aim to have an overarching theme while solving individual story arcs during each episode.

The Collective is an offshoot of the Fractured series, so readers will be familiar with some of the characters. I’m sure Maddison will make an appearance or two. It is a lot of fun developing this group of supernatural creatures, and to explore more of the world I created.

At the beginning of this month I published The Contract, prequel to the Fractured, as an introduction. One of the main players is a god, Orion Reece, and he seems to be a popular character. So I decided to share a scene with you from The Fallen, which incorporates Maddison and Orion.

The Fallen.jpg

The Fallen

*Background: Maddison Wood is a hunter, and a witch. Her instincts draw her to the city; trouble is coming and she wants to meet it head on. Donovan is her partner in crime. She rescued him from a particularly brutal clan of demons, and now owns his contract.*

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Maddison groaned, hackles rising.


She didn’t look Donovan’s way, her eyes were glued to the street, to the ball of light which glowed like a beacon of tightly controlled power. “Orion Reece,” she said through clenched teeth.

Am I supposed to know who that is?’ Donovan asked, his voice a deep rumble inside her mind.

She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn’t turn.

When Orion appeared, he did so with none of the arrogance she had come to expect, and, for some reason, the lack of drama unnerved her more than his presence. He was a god, one who enjoyed flaunting his superiority every chance he got. The pale blonde hair, hanging to his shoulders like fine silk, still shone as a testament to his power, and yet alarm bells were ringing in Maddison’s head. Something was definitely wrong with the picture.

“To what do we owe the pleasure?” she asked, her voice and gaze steady. She would not give him an inch.

“Come now, Woody.” His dark eyes flashed, the gold at the outer edges drawing her in. “You can do better than that.”

Woody?’ Donovan asked through their connection.

Long story,’ Maddison replied. She took a step towards Orion, delighted when Donovan followed suit.

“We haven’t been introduced,” Donovan said, extending his hand.

Orion threw back his head and laughed. “My dear boy, if you want to know more about me, all you have to do is ask.”

As a hympe, Donovan had a unique gift. It was empathy based, so if he opened himself up to the connection, he could learn anything through touch.

“I’ll forgive the discourtesy,” Orion continued. “Because I have you at a disadvantage.” His eyes grew cold. “I’m the reason your current owner stumbled upon your sorry excuse for a-”

“Nobody owns him,” Maddison said, stepping between them. “And you’re not the only reason he’s free.”

Orion raised his hand, eyes flashing with challenge. Maddison’s hair slithered towards him, the long braid dancing in the cool night air, like he was a regular snake charmer.

“Is that so?” he asked.

Maddison shot magic into the wayward locks and regained the advantage. She knew Orion used the trick to test her, to steal her control. Given that her hair was her weapon of choice, it was an effective reprimand.

What’s he talking about?’ Donovan asked.

He sent me to the Firmani Caves, or at least set it up so I would be in the right place at the right time.’

Donovan’s shudder was involuntary. The Firmani Caves were home to the Nrikabat demons, the original proprietors of his contract – those responsible for his torture and abuse.

“How did you know?” Donovan asked, staring wide-eyed at Orion. “Why would you care?”

“I don’t.” Orion’s tone was bored. “But I owed your father a favour.”

Don’t listen to him,’ Maddison said, touching Donovan with her mind. ‘Even if he’s telling the truth, he will use the information against you. I’ll find another way to learn his secrets.’

She turned her attention to Orion. Everything about him was designed to entice – the tall, sculptured body, strong jaw, sinful mouth; he was quite a package. “Can we just get this over with? Why don’t you tell us what you want?”

“Oh, how you wound me,” he said, placing a hand over his heart. “Can’t I have the simple desire to visit with an old friend?”

He was stalling, she realised. Taunting them purposely, perhaps hoping they would lose the trail. She could almost feel her instincts curling up in her gut, retreating into silence. “If you’re here to shoot the breeze, we can do that as we walk,” she said, starting to move past him.

Orion sidestepped, putting himself in her path. His strong jaw was set, lips pressed into a hard line. “You need to get as far away from here as possible,” he said, his voice low and urgent.

She blinked, genuinely surprised by the concern in his dark eyes. “Something’s coming, isn’t it?”

There was a long beat of silence. “You don’t want to get tangled up in this, Maddy.” He squinted, assessing her reaction. “Don’t force my hand.”

Donovan moved so he was shoulder to shoulder with Maddison. “That sounds like a threat.”

She almost smiled. Donovan had no idea who he was dealing with; either that or he had a death wish. Orion could squash him like a bug; though, granted, Donovan hadn’t been crushed yet.

“If he was going to do something, he’d have done it already,” she said. “He either can’t interfere, or the focused use of his power will give him away.” That was it. She knew it as soon as the words left her mouth. Why there had been no fanfare when he arrived, why the light of his power was subdued. “It’s big, isn’t it?” she said, more to herself than Orion, because she knew he wouldn’t answer.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet. Thanks again to Corina for inviting me, and to you all for reading.



The Fallen

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