Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Old Story Made New with Legendary DJ by Sandy Semerad


     “Mama, you’ve already told me that story,” my daughters often say.  Worse, they like to summarize my stories to prove they’ve heard them before.

      But recently, to my surprise, daughter Andrea didn’t recall one of my stories and she’d been a participant in it. I discovered this block in her memory as we were trying to think of the name of a great pizza place we used to frequent in Atlanta. Andrea still lives in Atlanta, and I thought she’d recall the name and location.

     “We went there the night we met Skinny Bobby Harper,” I said.

     “Who?”

     “Don’t you remember him? He wore thick glasses, had black hair” I said. “We were standing in line at the pizza place. He commented on your outfit. It had been Western Day at Roland Elementary School. So I’d braided your hair in pigtails and you’d worn an ankle-length dress that day.

     “I don’t remember,” she said. “How old was I? Seven?”

     “I’m surprised you don’t remember. We talked about it afterwards.”

     Unable to pique her memory of that evening, I rehashed it:

     “What is she supposed to be?” he asked.

     “That’s what she considers Western,” I answered and explained about Western Day.

     “Yes, she absolutely right, she looks like Laura Ingells, Little House on the Prairie.”

     After my long day, my mind stalled. “Do I know you? You look familiar.”

     He flashed a smile. “Your ex-husband, an old boyfriend, perhaps?”

     I laughed, “No.”

     He refused to give me a clue, but as I stared, trying to place him, I thought of a recent article I’d read. Could this man be the inspiration for the character Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati, as the article had said? The photo looked like him. “Are you Skinny Bobby Harper?”

     He offered his hand. “How do you do?”

     I told him I’d read the article about him.

     He said Hugh Wilson, a friend of his, had written and produced the popular sitcom WKRP. Wilson had been the ad guy at WQXI in Atlanta where Harper used to DJ. Wilson wrote for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, before he created WKRP, Harper said.

     Harper had ventured into television more than ten years prior, as one of TV’s ground-breaking video DJs on what was known as the Now Explosion. That show was telecast in Atlanta on Ted Turner’s channel 17 and was nationally syndicated.

     I’d read about Harper’s colorful language. (He sometimes swore on the air). He’d been fired from a number of radio stations, although others stations clamored to hire him regardless, due to his immense popularity and talent.

     In talking to him, I found him sweet and respectful, and after we got our pizzas, we sat at adjoining tables, Andrea and I at one table, he and his daughter at another.

     The next morning I was driving Andrea to school when she said, “Mama, why don’t we listen to the man we met last night at the pizza place?”

     I scrolled the radio channels until I found him, although I wasn’t prepared for what I heard him say: “Do you know what day it is today? It’s be kind to Sandy Ryles day.” (My last name was Ryles at that time.) He repeated the “Be kind to Sandy Ryles day,” a number of times and said, “If you see Sandy Ryles, be kind to her. It’s her day.”

     I smiled until I thought my face would break, as I drove Andrea to school; then drove myself to the Marta station to catch the train to Georgia State University. Back then I was working on a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

      I wanted to call and thank him, but I didn’t have a cell phone. No one had cell phones then.

     But from that morning on, I always listened to him. He made my days happier and brighter. He’s been called a comic genius, and he was.

     He created a character called “Lavern” from the “Never Say Goodbye” nursing home. Lavern was also a member of the “Toe-to-Toe-With-Satan Church of the Constant Struggle.”

     There were many other skits he performed over the radio, and as I listened, I pictured Lavern and all the characters he created. He also reported on how many moo cows were seen in Atlanta.

      Sandwiched in between his skits, he played lovely tunes, like Smokey Robinson’s The Tears of a Clown, and so many of my favorites, too many to name.

     In talking to Andrea and reliving all of this, I realized I’d lost track of Skinny Bobby Harper after I moved to Florida in 1990. A google search brought sad news. He died of lung cancer in 2003. He was only 64.

     But I feel blessed to have met and listened to him, and I’m sure I’ll repeat this story about the Hall of Fame, legendary DJ. How he made me feel like a queen for a day and brightened my mornings. If only I’d called to thank him for bringing me such joy.

     I’m trying to make amends by spreading some of the joy he gave to me, and the next time I tell this story to Andrea and Rene, they’d better not say they’ve heard it before. If they do, I’ll come back with, “I’m your mother. If I want to repeat old stories to make them new again, I should have that privilege.”
 
To read more, please visit my web site: 

                               sandysemerad.com 

Below you’ll find the link to my latest novel, A Message in the Roses, based on a murder trial I covered as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta. Warning: contains steaming romance.

Buy A MESSAGE IN THE ROSES


Old Story Made New with Legendary DJ


     “Mama, you’ve already told me that story,” my daughters often say.  Worse, they like to summarize my stories to prove they’ve heard them before.

      But recently, to my surprise, daughter Andrea didn’t recall one of my stories and she’d been a participant in it. I discovered this block in her memory as we were trying to think of the name of a great pizza place we used to frequent in Atlanta. Andrea still lives in Atlanta, and I thought she’d recall the name and location.

     “We went there the night we met Skinny Bobby Harper,” I said.

     “Who?”

     “Don’t you remember him? He wore thick glasses, had black hair” I said. “We were standing in line at the pizza place. He commented on your outfit. It had been Western Day at Roland Elementary School. So I’d braided your hair in pigtails and you’d worn an ankle-length dress that day.

     “I don’t remember,” she said. “How old was I? Seven?”

     “I’m surprised you don’t remember. We talked about it afterwards.”

     Unable to pique her memory of that evening, I rehashed it:

     “What is she supposed to be?” he asked.

     “That’s what she considers Western,” I answered and explained about Western Day.

     “Yes, she absolutely right, she looks like Laura Ingells, Little House on the Prairie.”

     After my long day, my mind stalled. “Do I know you? You look familiar.”

     He flashed a smile. “Your ex-husband, an old boyfriend, perhaps?”

     I laughed, “No.”

     He refused to give me a clue, but as I stared, trying to place him, I thought of a recent article I’d read. Could this man be the inspiration for the character Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati, as the article had said? The photo looked like him. “Are you Skinny Bobby Harper?”

     He offered his hand. “How do you do?”

     I told him I’d read the article about him.

     He said Hugh Wilson, a friend of his, had written and produced the popular sitcom WKRP. Wilson had been the ad guy at WQXI in Atlanta where Harper used to DJ. Wilson wrote for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, before he created WKRP, Harper said.

     Harper had ventured into television more than ten years prior, as one of TV’s ground-breaking video DJs on what was known as the Now Explosion. That show was telecast in Atlanta on Ted Turner’s channel 17 and was nationally syndicated.

     I’d read about Harper’s colorful language. (He sometimes swore on the air). He’d been fired from a number of radio stations, although others stations clamored to hire him regardless, due to his immense popularity and talent.

     In talking to him, I found him sweet and respectful, and after we got our pizzas, we sat at adjoining tables, Andrea and I at one table, he and his daughter at another.

     The next morning I was driving Andrea to school when she said, “Mama, why don’t we listen to the man we met last night at the pizza place?”

     I scrolled the radio channels until I found him, although I wasn’t prepared for what I heard him say: “Do you know what day it is today? It’s be kind to Sandy Ryles day.” (My last name was Ryles at that time.) He repeated the “Be kind to Sandy Ryles day,” a number of times and said, “If you see Sandy Ryles, be kind to her. It’s her day.”

     I smiled until I thought my face would break, as I drove Andrea to school; then drove myself to the Marta station to catch the train to Georgia State University. Back then I was working on a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

      I wanted to call and thank him, but I didn’t have a cell phone. No one had cell phones then.

     But from that morning on, I always listened to him. He made my days happier and brighter. He’s been called a comic genius, and he was.

     He created a character called “Lavern” from the “Never Say Goodbye” nursing home. Lavern was also a member of the “Toe-to-Toe-With-Satan Church of the Constant Struggle.”

     There were many other skits he performed over the radio, and as I listened, I pictured Lavern and all the characters he created. He also reported on how many moo cows were seen in Atlanta.

      Sandwiched in between his skits, he played lovely tunes, like Smokey Robinson’s The Tears of a Clown, and so many of my favorites, too many to name.

     In talking to Andrea and reliving all of this, I realized I’d lost track of Skinny Bobby Harper after I moved to Florida in 1990. A google search brought sad news. He died of lung cancer in 2003. He was only 64.

     But I feel blessed to have met and listened to him, and I’m sure I’ll repeat this story about the Hall of Fame, legendary DJ. How he made me feel like a queen for a day and brightened my mornings. If only I’d called to thank him for bringing me such joy.

     I’m trying to make amends by spreading some of the joy he gave to me, and the next time I tell this story to Andrea and Rene, they’d better not say they’ve heard it before. If they do, I’ll come back with, “I’m your mother. If I want to repeat old stories to make them new again, I should have that privilege.”
 
To read more, please visit my web site: 

                               sandysemerad.com 

Below you’ll find the link to my latest novel, A Message in the Roses, based on a murder trial I covered as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta. Warning: contains steaming romance.

Buy A MESSAGE IN THE ROSES


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Process by Victoria Chatham

 


Earlier this month I attended the When Words Collide conference in Calgary and spent nearly three days listening to presentations, discussions on various writing topics by panels and – best of all – talking to other writers. One topic that seemed to consistently crop up was that of the process of writing. What is this magical process? As it turns out, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.



What one writer loves, another abhors. Take Scrivener, for instance. I know several writers who swear they could not write a book without it. I looked at Scrivener, but whichever way I looked at it, however many people explained parts of the program to me, it made no sense. Rather than make the writing easier, it seemed like more hard work. Another author writes in longhand and then revises when she transcribes her work to the computer. That I can understand a little more. There’s something very basic about sitting with pen and paper and letting your words flow across the page in total freefall, the method by which Canada’s great W.O. Mitchell (Who Has Seen the Wind, Jake and the Kid, Roses Are Difficult Here to name just a few of his titles) wrote and which has been the basis of many authors giving birth to their ideas.

The idea of freefall is to simply write, with no attention to sentence structure, grammar, punctuation or any kind of editing. Use as many adverbs as you like! As Nora Roberts has said, you cannot edit a blank page. In getting down the bones of whatever your idea is, you are filling your pages and therefore have something to go back to revise and edit. Freefall is different to stream of consciousness which is an internal monologue reflecting a person’s thoughts, feelings or observations on what they see about them, whether it is another person, an event or something that has caught their attention. It is written in much the same way as freefall. That is, without worrying about grammar or the editing gremlin on your shoulder. Stream of consciousness writing does not actually tell a story.

You may be familiar with the term pantser, which refers to a writer who sits down at his/her computer and writes. I lean towards being a pantser. The only time I resort to actual plotting is if I get lost in the middle, when it becomes something of back-paddling scramble. My usual process is to write timelines for my major characters, decide what is going to happen to them, do whatever research I need to do and then sit down and write. Being an editor at heart I usually read the last six pages before I start another writing session, just to get myself up to speed on what I wrote yesterday and revise as I go. At the start of a book I’ll decide how many chapters it will be and stick a post-it for each chapter on my white board. There may be some notes about that chapter, more often not. I have to say that the further I get into a book, the less social I become. In fact, at about the half way point I am so engrossed I have been known to become quite grumpy if interrupted.


Once my book is finished, it goes to my critique partners and beta readers and when I’ve done whatever revisions might be necessary I kiss it goodbye and send it to my publisher. My process after finishing a book is similar to apr├Ęs skiing. There’s wine, chocolate, cozy blankets and sleep – lots of sleep.  

Find me and my books at: 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Books We Love's Tantalizing Talent ~ Author Karla Stover



Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Karla Stover. I have lived in Tacoma, WA all my life as did my parents.  My paternal grandparents were the first homesteaders in Oregon’s Warner Valley, owned the water rights, and had a cattle ranch. My maternal grandparents left Johnstown, PA around 1915 and settled in Tacoma. They passed their love of books and reading to my mother who passed it on to me. The maternal grandparents were survivors of the 1889 Johnstown, PA flood, lived very long lives, and often talked about it. I also spent time on the cattle ranch which had few modern conveniences. I love history. Until the last financial crash, I wrote a monthly article on some aspect of local history for a local newspaper. I also talk about Tacoma’s amazing past weekly on KLAY 1180 am, and, if I did it right, that love shows in my second murder mystery, Murder, When One Isn’t Enough. It revolves around the book, Madame of the House, San Francisco madam, Sally Stanford’s autobiography.

My first book was nonfiction, Let’s Go Walk About in Tacoma.
 
Next was a murder mystery, Murder on the Line.

Then, another nonfiction, Hidden History of Tacoma: Little-known Tales of the City of Destiny.

Murder, When One Isn’t Enough was also a murder mystery, a sequel to the first one.

A Feather for a Fan, followed—fiction set in a nonfiction environment.

A third, nonfiction Tacoma history book is currently being edited AND

For BWL I’m writing a historical-romance-mystery called Wynters Way. The cover is great.

I am a slow writer which means no time to tweet or keep up a website or blog, but I write because I have to. Don’t all authors?

EXCEPT FROM Murder, When One isn’t Enough
Amazon

     After dinner, I read more letters, learned more about the many properties Sally owned, but especially about the house at 1144 Pine Street, which had a fountain in the drawing room. Supposedly, delegates from various countries convened in the house’s living room and formed the United Nations there. In addition to Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra liked to drop in, and she entertained shahs, princes, national dignitaries, and California state and local government officials. On quiet nights, her girls made fudge. Sally also read obituaries and often paid the funeral expenses of Depression homeless.
However, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Patsy developed a drinking problem. Two men broke in one night and beat Sally up. She kept a seldom-seen photograph of a seldom-seen son who was tucked away in boarding school.
I finished the last letter, bundled them up, and turned out the lights. Outside, the natives were restless. Two peacocks wandered down from the hill and took refuge on the garage roof next door. A raccoon walked up and down under the bedroom window, making crunchy noises on the gravel, and occasionally standing up to try and look in. Porch Cat’s tail twitched back and forth as he kept track of the movements. After a while I took a sleeping pill. The moon lit up the room and I dozed in its light until around midnight when the phone rang. I stumbled into the living room, picked it up and heard someone humming.
“You again. Well, you little pervert, buzz off because, frankly, I don’t give a damn.” I slammed the receiver in its cradle.
Back in the bedroom, a mosquito hummed. “Bite me and you’ll be sorry.” It did, and it was. I turned on my stomach and fell asleep.

Trying To Make The World A Better Place




click here to purchase this book from Amazon

Trying To Make The World A Better Place
Hi Everyone, after working the last nine of ten days and making the mistake of going to Facebook and seeing some pretty awful videos posted by people I begin to wonder where is this world going? So I'm not going to rant and rave about how angry this has made me. I'm going to redo an older blog. Sorry. I'm trying to stick to writing and improving the world and someday hopefully someone will say, after I'm gone. He made the world a better place for being in it.
So without further ado.

What A Whole Load Of Nonsense
In all of the writing groups I have involved with, there were always certain questions posed. The most common being, "Excuse me where are the washrooms?" Or if you are from south of the border, the restrooms. Then there's the good old Brit who'd ask for the bog or the loo.
Yeah, the bog I get, but the loo? The English have different names for everything, but considering they've been around six or seven years longer than the entire North American Continent has been discovered and they've got the Queen on their side, which overrules everyone.
But I digress, otherwise my title does begin to make total sense. A very common question is, "how do I pull my readers in, lock them up and throw away the key." Well the last bit I just made up. So if I said the following;
From atop the plateau overlooking Machu Picchu the couple gazed. The old stone buildings glinting in the sunlight. Air so rarified it was hard to breathe. Overhead eagles cried out. Julia-Rae licked the salty sweat from her lips, as his calloused hand brushed along her arm, sending a shiver through her. She inhaled, smelling that pungent, masculine aroma oozing out of his pores.
Did that pull you in? If not, stop reading and beat it, I'm wasting your time and mine. But, if yes, then what did I do to engage the reader? ..... waiting!
Some are probably now thinking, is this guy crazy? Yup. Does he drive his wife and his publisher crazy? Yup, and double yup. Does he make much or any sense at all?
Bang. You've got it. Senses. I used all of them in that paragraph; sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing to engage the reader. If you can make the reader experience all of those in a scene, you've got them involved. And if this doesn't work for you, try gardening; then it's just you, dirt and weeds. Doesn't get more basic than that.
Or you could use my next favorite tactic to engage the reader, grab your book and whack them on the forehead with its spine. They'll either be engaged or unconscious and when they come to, you will definitely have their (and most likely their lawyers as well), attention.

Oh, before I finish and just in case you're wondering, Loo? Where the hell did that come from? Some say it came from the shortened term - Waterloo- the English bathroom company that manufactured toilets and urinals. Or, I really like this one, and no, I didn't make this up. In the late eighteen hundreds the Earl of Lichfield loved to entertain people, only he had a most miserable wife, "Lady Louisa." After meeting her, many guests replied with, "nice chap but she's anything but a lady." Back then, the posh people would put the visitor's name on their bedroom doors. Two rather inebriated gentlemen decided to switch her name plate with the bathrooms. Later guests laughingly told everyone of "going to visit Lady Louisa" or today "going to the loo."


People have asked me what's my writing style? I respond with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues). 
PS: I'm better looking than Stephen King, or so my wife tells me. (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).
Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.


Also thought I'd throw in some publicity. I'll be giving a book reading and signing at Mission Black Bond Books on Sunday Oct 2nd. 



Frank Talaber

Writer by soul. Words born within. 
Karma the seed. Paper the medium.  
Pen the muse. Novels the fire.


Click here to purchase from Amazon

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekly Winner ~ Final 2 Weeks of Summer Contest!



Monica Allen wins a copy of Spider Play by Lee Killough.

Monica, please email bookswelove@telus.net 
to claim your prize. 

Congratulations!

Books We Love









Find the contest details here

 

Get Fired Up For Summer with 
Books We Love!

Shaving Cream Card by Cheryl Wright


 
 

I'm always looking for different ideas for making cards, and came across this idea some time ago.

I'm talking about using ordinary, everyday shaving cream to make cards. Yes, shaving cream!!

The quick version is you spray (for want of a better word) shaving cream onto a plastic plate, then add different colours of reinkers on top. You take a skewer and swirl it all around, then place cardstock on top. Let it sit a minute or two, then remove it, and scrape off the shaving cream.  Done!




For this particular card, I embossed it afterwards, then added a label and some twine.

The great thing about this technique is that every card you make will be totally unique.

I hope you've enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!





Links:

My website:  www.cheryl-wright.com 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cherylwrightauthor 
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/writercheryl
BWL website: http://bookswelove.net/authors/wright-cheryl/