Sunday, June 25, 2017

Settling In by Randall Sawka

 
Find this title at Amazon


The summer winds have blown us to our new home in the heart of downtown Toronto. Nancy and I are both prairie folk. Granted prairie folk living on Vancouver Island for the last 27 years.

A month has passed and we have to say, well, Toronto is, how shall I say it? Awesome!

It helps to be situated (thanks to our daughter's advise) in the ideal spot for us.

Across the road from our condo is a walkway with few lights or crosswalks. Perfect for walks or an early run, a coffee at wherever, or a picnic in a nearby park.

A walk through the area seen in the above photo brought an amazing surprise. The International Festival of Authors runs promotional events from September to June. Yes, I'll be looking into that!

As for writing. I'm standing at my early morning spot. I have found three places that I find comfortable for writing within a ten minute walk. The din of the city is everywhere. However, I've already tuned it out. Except the drama of the trolley trains below me blasting their horns when a car decides their tracks suits there needs. Note: The trolley always wins.

Settled in, have furniture, next book a blink away from completion. It took a few grueling weeks, but I have my website updated. I went green, but a green that might required sunglasses. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Unorthodox - Cover Reveal

What do an FBI Special Task Force agent (Derek Knight), a dead FBI Criminal analyst (Jenna Powers), and a Mystery Romance author (Kendra Spark) have in common?

Answer: UnorthodoxA Kendra Spark Novel – Due for release from Books We Love on September 15, 2017



Cover artist – CoveredUp.Net

Hello everyone: ) S. Peters-Davis here and so happy you stopped by to see the cover art reveal for my first book in the Kendra Spark Series, a paranormal suspense-thriller, with a dollop of supernatural, and a budding romance (at least I’m hoping that part of the story blooms in full at some point in the series) *grins*

Writing this mixed blend of genres gives a lot of opportunities for plot and subplot twists, tension possibilities, romance, other developing relationships, and of course with the supernatural there are openings for the impossible to become plausible.  I so enjoy that part and hope you do too; )


Here’s the mini tagline for Unorthodox:

Kendra’s ability of communicating with the dead is requested by her FBI criminal analyst friend to stop a killer from murdering agents.


Here’s the back cover blurb:

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery romance author and communicator with the dead, is requested to hop on the first flight to D.C.

Jenna Powers, FBI criminal analyst and estranged best friend of Kendra, gets ghosticized in a fatal accident before relaying all the details of the FBI killer case.

Derek Knight, a dedicated FBI Special Task Force agent, takes lead on the case.

The investigation into the FBI agent killings continues as Kendra, Jenna – yes, even after death – and Derek work together on the case before Director of the Special Task Force Jackson Powers’ number is up. He’s Jenna’s father and the end-game of the killer’s target list.

Somehow the elusive killer remains undetected, until Kendra’s unique ability produces results and a final possibility at stopping his killing spree before it’s too late.


Here’s the Kendra Spark Novel series mini tagline:

Kendra sees ghosts, and then her BFF, Jenna, becomes one. The two friends and FBI agent Derek Knight fight for justice to the victims of heinous crimes.


Here’s an excerpt from the Author Review Copy: (The scene – Derek has Kendra in a casual interrogation room inside the FBI building – D.C. location)

The door opened and Jackson Powers entered before I could respond.

He glanced around the room stopping when he saw me; his red rimmed eyes spoke volumes. I clearly remembered his presence, a straightforward man, full of confidence and direction, but in this moment he appeared like a man broken. I rose and reached for a hand shake. Instead, he grabbed my hand and pulled me into a big bear hug.

“I’m so very sorry about Jenna. Sorry for your loss, for my loss…” Muscles tensed around my vocals and cut off the words.

Tears spilled from both of us. Derek stepped out of the room, clicking the door closed.

“Jenna told me she was meeting with you today, going to show you the city sights.” Jackson held me for a few more minutes, patting my back and telling me it wasn’t my fault.

The thought of the accident initially being my fault had never entered my mind. Why would that thought cross his? I stepped back. Obviously he hadn’t received the latest details of the accident, but even so why would he consider that I’d feel responsible. Even if I questioned that maybe I could have done something to stop her in some way, she did save that boy. “Not sure what you mean…in thinking it could be my fault?”

His eyes widened, maybe a little startled at my blatant question. “I assumed Jenna ran after a little culprit that grabbed your purse or something much worse. She must have gotten caught up in the chase to run in front of on-coming traffic.” His face softened. “Kendra, I know Jenna, there was nothing you could have done to stop her. She’s always been head-strong…was always
head-strong,” he corrected himself, then his voice cracked, and suddenly something occurred to me.

Jackson isn’t privy to Jenna and Derek’s manhunt for the FBI killer, nor the reason I’m here. Of course. Jenna had tagged along to certain crime scenes while she was still in college, but from all that I remembered, Jackson wanted her profiling cases strictly inside the building. She had access to all the crime scenes from pictures and files on her laptop. At least she always used to complain about his restrictions, and I couldn’t imagine he would allow her in the field on a serial killer task force, unless things had changed in the last couple years.

There’d been a few close calls on other cases, some of the agent’s family members being abducted or being used for negotiation, leverage. While in college, Jenna told me all the rules her father had enforced if she were to join in any of the FBI cases. He protected her, and now she had returned the favor…to her demise.

Jenna and Derek were hunting the serial killer behind Jackson’s back.

There was a tap on the door and Derek stepped in. His brows were drawn close, eyes narrowed, perhaps his expression of concern. “Sir, I thought Kendra might be hungry. She hasn’t eaten all day.” He smiled at me, and then looked back at Jackson. “I’m headed out for a late lunch and thought I’d take her with me.”

Jackson’s lips pressed together. He finally lifted his chin toward me. “Well, of course. We certainly wouldn’t want anyone going hungry now, would we,” more of a statement than a question. He patted my shoulder. “Go on, Kendra. We can continue our talk later. I’d like to hear exactly what happened to my daughter from someone who was there to witness it.”

Derek grasped my elbow and led me toward the door.

Instead of following, Jackson released a long breathy sigh and sat on the couch. “Shut the door behind you, Derek. And tell Darla I don’t wish to be disturbed.”

My heart swelled huge behind my ribcage, again the confining weight pressing in on my ability to breathe. I couldn’t imagine the emotional maelstrom Jackson was going through. I knew only my own turbulent ride. Now I needed to get some facts straight; it was my turn to interrogate Derek.






About S. Peters-Davis:

S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

She also writes YA paranormal, supernatural novels as DK Davis.





Books We Love Sizzling Summer Spectacular Contest – Kindle Touch and amazing ebooks – enter here: http://bookswelove.net/books-we-love-contests/

Friday, June 23, 2017

CRAFT BOOKS - A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION by Victoria Chatham



When I started writing seriously, over twenty years ago, I had never heard the term ‘craft books.’ I associated craft with knitting, sewing, or woodworking and furniture restoration. My first writing instructor explained that there were many, many craft books on the market and what some writers swore by was anathema to others.

My very first craft book on writing was Guide to Fiction Writing by Phyllis Whitney (September 9th, 1903 to February 8th, 2008.) I read it slowly and carefully and the one thing that struck me was her comment, ‘I had worked hard to learn my craft.’ This was something of an eye-opener as I had never thought of writing as work.

I suppose that stemmed from having always been good at English, a carry-on from early exposure to books and reading from a very early age. Not only did I enjoy my English grammar classes but also English Literature, both taught as separate subjects at the high school I attended. Words were fun, making up stories was even more fun. Writing prize-winning essays carried all the perks of extra points for one’s house and, if one was very fortunate, maybe the gift of a pen or a notebook.

But, as an adult, the fact that good writing didn’t just happen was something of a challenge to me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write, so continued taking short story writing courses until an idea gelled into a western contemporary romance. Did I know how to write romance? Nope. It involved a lot of reading and deconstructing some of the novels I read. It also involved many, many more craft books.

Other early books were William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. These did not necessarily enhance my romance writing ambitions, but they did help the structure of my writing. I’m not sure at what stage I came across Stephen King’s On Writing, but that one book has remained my firm favorite. Being more mature when I really settled into my writing career, I really appreciated these words by King (2000):

‘I have spent a good many years since - too many, I think - being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent.’ (p. 50.)

My family and friends had always looked on my writing as ‘Vicki’s little hobby’, undermining any confidence I had. This resulted in me relegating whatever project I was working on to the back-burner until I had either a) recovered my courage enough to pick up my pen again or b) come up with a better idea. I got to the point of not sharing my ideas with anyone, secreting my scribblings away into deep, dark drawers.

Many years later, I am now comfortable with myself as a writer. I like to think that I have learned, and continue to learn, my craft. Along the way I have acquired many more craft books, too many to mention and goodness knows how much I have spent on them. I love talking to other writers and many have recommended books they find useful. Some I have read about in trade magazines or on some blog. As I have acquired a book, I have read it from cover to cover. Some have been discarded or passed on, many have been kept on my bookshelf and revisited often. I have my favorites, Robert Mckee’s Story being one of them. Dwight V. Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer is another and my go-to grammar book is the saucily titled Comma Sutra by Laurie Rozakis. I rarely go into a bookstore without looking to see what is new on the shelves but I have to be firm with myself. There is little point in getting lost in the how-to or why of writing. The lessons learned need to be put into practice by writing and then writing more.


So now I have finished writing this post, I am going to write the next thousand words in my work-in-progress. The operative word here, now that I am older and wiser, is work! If you have a favorite craft book, please share by leaving a comment.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Contentment

Contentment

My birthday yesterday and another year older. Things are going wonky, bits falling off, midsection growing exponentially, print is getting way smaller and is it me or did someone add ten feet to the top of that hill last week. Yeah, I hate getting older.
Also heard that I’m going to be a grandad for the first time. Grandad!!! I’m too young to be a granddad. That only happens to elderly people.
Okay, once the shock wore off I realized, with a sly smile, this is where I can finally get my own back. Spoil the kid rotten, get him wired on six ice cream triple smoothies all topped with lots and lots of chocolate sprinkles, and say there you go, he’s all yours.
            Or of course I could give him some wild night time stories like I did my son. I remember reading storybooks to my son at night and saying this book sucks I can do better.
            I tossed the book aside and said, “Okay give me three things.” Like I learned from one of my creative writing classes. He’d give three crazy things, Donald Duck, Lego and the Incredible Hulk.
I’d come up with some wild storyline and usually instead of putting him to sleep he’d be laughing his head off.
It’s funny how over time one forgets about small things like that. The important things. Okay, age comes with some great memories.
It reminds me of the poster I have hanging up in my writing room with a picture of a man playing with his young boy beside a puddle of water by a curb.

Contentment
Just think how happy you’d be of you lost everything you have right now.
And then got it back again.
By Anonymous

I think that Anonymous was one smart dude.

Below is the link to my radio show I did for KKNW’s House of Mystery Radio Show.



And for those of you not tired of me yet, I've done another video, Link below. What can I say, I'm bored, there's no hockey.


Buy my novel from Amazon

And if you really, really like me. Like my Authors Page on Facebook. 
Oh come on, some of my posts are so funny you'll pee your pants. 
(PS. This advertisement was paid for by Depends) 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A World Without Alzheimer's Disease by J.Q. Rose




Cozy mystery author by J.Q. Rose
Dangerous Sanctuary available at the Books We Love bookstore

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A World Without Alzheimer's Disease by J.Q. Rose
Can you envision our world without Alzheimer's in it? The Alzheimer's Association can. They are researching and supporting families and caregivers, not in the hope of stamping out Alzheimer's but in their belief it can be eradicated so no one will ever have to deal with the devastation of this disease.

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness month. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. 

Wear purple on June 21, the Longest Day of the Year,
for Alzheimer's Disease Awareness.
I bet Alzheimer's has invaded your life because you know someone whom you care about has disappeared into the darkness of this disease. We have not experienced it in our family, but I have friends who have. 

When my friend and mentor, Bernie, discovered she had it, she told me one afternoon after inviting me for dessert and coffee. I will never forget the sadness in her eyes as we talked about the diagnosis. Knowing this awful disease is lurking in the future shadows a person every day, waiting for the next degree of losing a piece of oneself.

I dedicated my book, Deadly Undertaking to Bernie, and I included a character suffering with Alzheimer's in the story. This was my way of trying to bring awareness to readers about this debilitating disease.

Today, I am using facts from the Alzheimer's Association site to help spread the word and marshal an army to fight against Alzheimer's.  If we don't take steps to fight and win the battle against AD, the result will be a world-wide epidemic by 2050.

  • The number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease is growing — and growing fast. An estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease. Currently, there are 44 million people suffering from dementia globally. That number is up 22% over the past three years when there were 35.6 million people suffering from the disease.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It is the fifth-leading cause of death among those age 65 and older and a leading cause of disability and poor health. 
  • As the population of the United States ages, Alzheimer's is becoming a more common cause of death. It is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
  • Although deaths from other major causes have decreased significantly, official records indicate that deaths from Alzheimer's disease have increased significantly. Between 2000 and 2014, deaths from Alzheimer's disease as recorded on death certificates increased 89 percent, while deaths from the number one cause of death (heart disease) decreased 14 percent.
  • It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
  • The costs of health care and long-term care for individuals with Alzheimer's or other dementias are substantial. Dementia is one of the costliest conditions to society.
  1. Join a clinical trial
  2. Get genetic testing
  3. Email, call, and tweet your Congressmen
  4. Get educated about Alzheimer’s & Dementia
  5. Speak up if you see symptoms
  6. Sign the Alzheimer’s petition
  7. Volunteer or donate to an Alzheimer’s research or awareness organization
To learn more about AD, visit the following articles.
Alzheimer's Association
Alzheimers.net

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Pitfalls of Period Writing by Stuart R. West


To read the book that made the rest of my hair fall out, click here!

My first book with Books We Love, Ghosts of Gannaway, was a sprawling pseudo-historical thriller, romance, and ghost story set during the depression in a small Kansas mining town. Never before had I tackled such an undertaking. I spent two months alone researching. Whew.

I swore I’d never do it again.

Yet here I am currently tackling another period piece for Books We Love. This time when I jumped into the Stuart R. West time machine, I only ventured as far back as 1965. It wasn’t nearly as tough to research as Ghosts, but this book, too, had its pitfalls and traps.

Again (repeat after me): Never again!

Why’d I set my current book in 1965? The story’s a nostalgic, small town mystery and ghost story. (I ain’t nothing’ if not ambitious). By definition, nostalgia always takes place in the past or is at least a remembrance of days gone by. And, personally, my favorite ghost stories always take place in the past. Much more resonance than, say, a haunted Smart Phone.

But there I go again, breaking my vow to myself by going all old timey.

Here are the biggest problems I have while writing period pieces:

Getting the lingo right is tough. In my 1965 set book, I have a character--a real hep cat--spouting such slang as, “Whoa, daddy-o, you’re out of your tree! Your old man’s squaresville, absolutely nowhere. Let’s percolate, beat feet, get to the nitty-gritty!” I know, right? It’s really easy to overkill once I dig into the slang of the time. Granted, the character in question is a mop-topped, dangerous, cool kid, but sometimes I need to rein it in. Just a smidge, daddy-o!

Speaking of overkill, sometimes research threatens to eat my tales alive. While investigating all kinds of topics for Ghosts of Gannaway, I learned more than I could ever possibly need to know about the depression, the way men and women spoke in the ‘30’s, what happened to the Midwest Native American tribes, what folks ate, ore mining, and lots more. Anyone wanna know about the hazards of brass carbide mining lamps? No? Me neither. (But I do.)

You should’ve seen the first draft of Ghosts of Gannaway. Be thankful you didn’t. I tried to shoehorn every bit of research (and I had pages and pages of teeny-tiny, hand-written notes) into the book. There was a twelve page dissertation in the middle of the narrative about how the white colonialists drove the Native-Americans out of their lands (thank God I came to my senses, and pretty much chucked the entire sequence).

I suppose my thoughts at the time were, “Hey, we’re talking history! And I spent a heckuva long time researching this stuff to the point of having mining nightmares, so everyone’s gonna enjoy the fruits of my labors!” But I saved you a dull history lesson.

Another blockade I’ve banged my head into is racial and sexual issues. Face it, our world’s attitudes have changed a lot regarding racial equality and sexual activity. We’ve all heard the derogatory and racist terms. Yet in these sensitive and politically correct times, you’re still gonna find a reader who’ll take umbrage over the racist epithets, even if they’re historically accurate.  In Ghosts of Gannaway, I constantly questioned whether I should use accurate, yet highly insensitive name calling.  I steered away from the Big No-No Word, but everything else was game. And even though I live in Kansas, no one’s been by to lynch me yet.

Finally…sex! The big taboo! Back in the day, of course, sex between consenting, loving adults only happened between spouses. But you know what? Hollywood would have us believe differently, so what’s good enough for Hollywood is good enough for me! Let the sex begin!

There you have it, daddy-o, my bag of hang-ups regarding gone, baby, gone period writing. (I need to put this hep 60’s lingo to use somewhere.)

Settling In by Randall Sawka

  Find this title at Amazon The summer winds have blown us to our new home in the heart of downtown Toronto. Nancy and I are both...