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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Are you ready for a flash?

WWBB's short story/flash fiction competition has begun. There is still time to enter, but thanks to those who have booked their slot.

In case you're wondering, I asked writers/bloggers/funsters to write in with a piece of fiction and be entered into WWBB's short story comp (500 words approx), which could be a spin-off from your novel or a stand-alone short story.

The closing date is 25th February, and voting is encouraged by readers of the blog (mark yay or nay in the comment section) as each story is posted.

The winner will be announced end of March when everyone has had a fair chance on the blog. There is a prize of an author spotlight in a month of the winner's choice, and I'll buy, read and review his or her book (doesn't mean the review will be complimentary, I'm afraid).

Entrants so far:

John Hudspith
Robert Crompton
Peter DeMarco
Kathryn Hewitt
Christopher Savio
Sandra Bunino 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Win a copy of YA novel Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper

Etta King 

Ah the guest blog! My time to shine! What shall I share? This is rather like a “Show and Tell” isn’t it? Hmmm…well I think I’ll go back in time a bit – not too far – and take a peek at a little episode in dear Jonathan’s life. Now Jon is sort of the quintessential prodigal son; he just loves doing whatever he wants, bucking convention (why should he join the legacy of Reinhardt men inducted into the Keepers?) and breaking hearts (didn’t an ex call him Delish? Yum!), yet he always finds his way home (figuratively, of course, since he can’t wait to leave his grandfather’s mansion…hey! I never said he was sane!). But don’t the daring ones always have the most fun? Go to the best parties? Kiss the cutest girls? Perhaps there’s a method to this madness? Let’s see…the year was…I’m blanking…the grade? 11th! Oh high school, the wonder years…

I was exhausted. But in a good way. A sated way. That was pretty much the only reason I was smiling at the gentle nudging that was bringing me out of my coma. I didn’t even have the blinding headache I associated with any and all brands of Tequila. I was in an Aybee-trance. AB Baby, my sort-of, maybe, probably girlfriend. Angelica B. McCarthy, to anyone who wasn’t a ‘close and personal friend.’ Which was a grand total of probably five people. Yeah, AB was very popular. She was also insanely cute. No, not hot, cute. She was a Blake Lively, not a Megan Fox; you never could bring yourself to hate her, you just wanted her to notice you. She had that effect, a subtle glow that made even teachers curry her favor. And I was lying in her bed. How I’d gotten up here, I couldn’t remember. What we’d done? Well I remembered that. That brought a second smile to my lips.
“I know what you’re thinking.” She whispered in my ear.
I had to laugh. Somehow, I didn’t doubt that; she had a way of guessing people’s thoughts.
“You need to get up; I’m riding with Kit this morning.”
I opened my eyes and raised a brow at that. Christopher, who insisted everyone call him Kit, was her British “cousin.” The air quotes were unimagined; I was pretty sure Kit and I were as related as he was to AB. I couldn’t mentally reconcile what I knew was a lie, but I consoled myself with the fact that at least I knew.
“Why are you riding with him, you could be riding with me,” I replied with a crooked smile. It was corny and I knew it, but she laughed.
“I promised,” she said, brushing her hair out of her face. “Besides, Cassidy needs the exercise, and you haven’t ridden since…” She paused and chewed her lip before continuing. “Anyway, you know it doesn’t mean anything.”

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Depression can hit any one of us. Even celebrities.

Valerie Anthrope

JK Rowling, Jim Carrey, Hugh Laurie are just a few stars who have suffered with depression. It can hit us unexpectedly or develop over time.

Mine developed over time. Crept over me like a fungus.

Valerie Anthrope
I’d always known my mother was ‘different’. Highly strung, neurotic and impulsive are the few words I learned from a young age. I think I was more like my dad: quiet, shy and preferring books to going out; Mum was always dragging Dad somewhere.

She had fads. Obesity in children had reached the headlines in the early 90s, and she was determined I wasn’t going to become one of them and put me on the Rosemary Conley’s Hip and Thigh Diet.

I was five years old.

A normal, healthy little girl who weighed barely fifty pounds (3.5 stone). She bought exercise videos and insisted I did them with her. If I didn’t work hard enough she’d cry.

If it wasn’t for Dad’s stabilising influence I’m sure I’d have issues with my weight today. Though some would say I did have a poor body image. I wore dark colours, and high-necked blouses, and tons and tons of makeup. When I was dressed in my uniform of black and thick makeup I ceased to be the vulnerable and hurting Valerie, and instead I became a cutthroat business woman.

I can remember exactly the day my life went wrong: August 17th 1994. It was Wednesday, and half-way through the school summer holidays. I had a new baby brother, and Mum had transferred her irrational behaviour onto him, so for a few short, sweet months I was free.

Dad persuaded her that we all go to the funfair that was travelling the region that fatal day. Telling her, I deserved a treat.

It became a nightmare.

Sean, my brother, was normally a good baby, but he wouldn’t stop crying. Mum was fussing, but Dad chose that day not to pander to her. During their row and Sean’s crying, I became separated from them.

I was eight years old and terrified. The funfair was crowded and noisy, and no one noticed my plight—except for an old lady who beckoned me over. I followed her up a few steps into a caravan.

A fortune teller’s caravan.

My mind is slightly blank after that. I’m having counselling now. I can remember her telling me I was cursed, and that the curse would follow me until everyone I loved would die.

I don’t remember Dad finding me, all I know was that I was taken home and Mum, as ever, was fussing was over Sean. I was completely ignored, not because she was angry with me but because Sean was taking all of her attention. I think Dad was determined that her obsessions wouldn’t affect Sean’s childhood like it had mine. Boy, did he choose the wrong day to put his foot down! They argued. Sean cried, and I stewed alone in my room.

Then, that night, Sean died.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Who’s up for winning a review?

Let’s have a bit of fun in February. Christmas is a memory and summer is a long way off, so I think we deserve it.

I want you to write in with piece of fiction (500 words approx), which could be a spin-off from your novel or a stand-alone short story.

The closing date is 25th February, and voting will take place in March. Everyone who enters will have a place on the blog and their book placed in Book Junkies library.

Bloggers are invited to ‘mark’ the story in the comment section, and I will consider their comments when I make my judgement. Send in your entries NOW to book your slot on the blog (your own byline as normal).


  1. With your entry send in ONE promotional book cover, SHORT blurb and TWO purchase links ONLY, and there is a limit of THREE author media links (Twitter, FB and blog etc). 
  1. 500 words APPROX. If your story is 600 words or 200 hundred words, I do not care. But obviously 1000 words is taking the mick. 
  1. Judging will take place in March and revealed in a blog post later in the month. 
  1. Entries in by email before or on 25th February.
  1. No payment, but if you want to buy one of my books I’d be delighted. 
  1. NO erotica, although you CAN be an erotica author, and you CAN send in your erotic book cover and links etc, just no erotic shorts, please.

For more information go to here, when you're ready email your entries to Louise Wise.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I love you always and all ways . . .

A letter from the heart written by Chuy Lago, a character from the novel 
Trey Garrison

Tracy Marlow Wittington, PA

c/o Pegasus Hospital
Airstrip One

Dearest Tracy,

          I am sitting here cooling my heels, literally, at Ciampino Aerodrome in Rome, awaiting some kind of special package from the Prometheus Society that Lysander assures me is essential to the success of this operation we’ve hired onto. I say literally not to be your pet peeve but because I’m writing this while sitting in a folding lounger on the starboard wing, with a fan blowing my bare feet.
          Fox is taking most of this in stride. I mean, for a man who says he doesn’t want anything to do with the occult or with government related missions, he seems to find himself in a whole mess of them. This one is a particularly sticky wicket – that artifact the Huns are after apparently is supposed to have the power to create an invincible army. Needless to say, the Prometheus Society isn’t too keen on old Uncle Adolf having that kind of power. Bad enough the monstrosities and abominations his occult scientists have already created.
          How Fox is dealing with Terah is another matter. It’s clear as the Northern Lights that he is still in love with her, but that silly, macho Texas pride of his won’t allow him to admit it, and I think he’s at least a little afraid she’ll break his heart again. I can’t read women anyway but Terah is a cypher beyond words – I don’t know whether she’s using him for the mission or whether there’s still something there. I’d like to protect him but you know that’s nigh on impossible.
          I’ve packed my usual gear for this mission – holy water, blessed powders, silver daggers, wooden stakes – but we don’t exactly know what we’re going up against here. All indicators are pointing us towards Carpathia, which despite the claims of that Dutch doctor and his English writer friend, Stoker, is still home to You-Know-Nosferat-Who.
          I’m especially bothered by the fact this artifact is so closely connected to the One whom is our Salvation. It makes little sense to me. Sure, no one can know the effect on a spear tip washed in the Blood of the Lamb, but His is a legacy of love, forgiveness and life everlasting, not death, decay and darkness.
          I suppose though it’s like a firearm, or a lawyer for that matter. It’s not intrinsically good or evil. It’s how it’s used that determines its moral value. It’s not the gun, it’s the person pulling the trigger. The same, I suppose, holds true for the Spear of Destiny, though one wonders to what good use could this kind of power could be put.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

An interview with travel writer Holly

A character interview with Holly from the novel 
Sign of the Times by 
Susan Buchanan

Holly, travel writer extraordinaire and heroine of Sign of the Times, kindly agreed to be interviewed on one of her very favourite topics, travel!

Q: Hi Holly, welcome and thanks for agreeing to talk to us about your favourite topic.
H: Well, it’s no secret that I am a bit of a travel nut. I have the best job in the world and thank my lucky stars every day for it. My latest book, as yet untitled, is set in Tuscany, but I’d like to keep that under wraps for now. I will say, however, that there are lots of stunning places to be uncovered and you’ll be able to pick it up soon for around ten pounds.

Q? So can you tell us about your previous books?
H: Sure. Secrets of the Neapolitan Riveria was a bold step for me to take. I’d only recently ventured into travel writing, but I caught a lucky break and the book and the TV series that followed became a huge success. Here’s hoping the same is true of the new one!  If you’re not familiar with the area, the Neapolitan Riviera, an amazing region, contains some of the most beautiful spots in Italy: the charming town of Pisa, with its leaning tower; every art lover’s dream - the city of Florence; Sorrento and the amazing Bay of Naples, as well as quite possibly Italy’s shadiest city - Naples. Fortunately it has the saving grace of having absolutely amazing food.  Not to mention the fabulous city of Pompeii - it really does humble you and I swear, when you are there, you really feel as if you have travelled back through the centuries. Be warned, though, take water with you.  I suffered from serious sunburn and dehydration. You simply don’t realise how hot it is and because you are so awestruck, time passes very quickly.

Q: So what does Secrets of the Neapolitan Riviera cover that other travel guides of that area don’t?
H: Well, naturally there will be some overlap with other guides, but I spent over a year visiting villages there and when I visited the cities, I didn’t focus on the Uffizi art gallery in Florence or any of the other big hitters. I went behind the scenes, to places where I wouldn’t find tourists. Often you only need to go two streets away from the main drag and you will find restaurants overflowing with Italians, with virtually no tourists - they’re not brave enough, as they’d need to speak Italian.  Being fluent certainly has its advantages!  Plus I didn’t concentrate solely on places of interest, but gathered stories from street vendors, old men sitting in squares, Italian mamme cooking. There’s a bit of historical info in the book, too, about each area, very local to those villages which are covered in the book, but done in a new and I hope interesting way.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Glitter, Babybels and New Year’s Resolutions - One woman’s views on the January Blues

by Fallon from the novel 
Forgotten by Nikki Mahood 

I've got the post-Christmas blues, it gets worse every year, November arrives and brings with it birthdays and the beginning of the season to be jolly.  My son gets a year older, my husband gets a year older, I get a year older and then it’s Christmas, not just the day, but the season, parties and presents, shopping and stressing, then Boxing Day arrives and you think to yourself 'what the hell? It's over?'.  Or I do, January appears after midnight on New Year’s Eve, bringing with it resolutions and sales, more shopping, more stressing, over resolutions failed in the first seven days and clothes that are to die for but don't fit because Christmas was just here and it left a few Quality Street induced pounds and ounces behind.  My life isn't any different than it was two months ago, sure three of our four piece family are older, there are new bits of Lego to trod on and more glittery fairy wings than any little girl needs leaving a trail of sparkling devastation on every soft furnishing in the house, but aside from a decision to join the gym or draw more, I'm unchanged. 

It’s a strange sensation, to fail at something you were never really committed to from the outset.  This year I promised myself I would cook more, no, not reheat M&S ready meals or the food my mother prepared and froze, but actually follow recipes, slice and dice, bubble and boil, meals that are suitable for my adventurous husband and son, my baby girl with her sensitive palate and me, the fussy cow.  On the second of January I started it, I bought a Nigella book (secretly hoping I could learn to be sexy while cooking), picked what looked like a simple chicken dish we would all enjoy and strode off to the supermarket with a hyperactive three year old boy and an eighteen month old girl who recently learnt how to release herself from the buggy.  It started off well, carrots and potatoes lay on the bottom of my basket, that's the aisle the boy doesn't want to have anything from, but then, well then I needed flour (Yorkshire puddings, with chicken, I know it's wrong, but they're yummy and basically pancakes. Aren't they?) of course the flour aisle is the baking aisle.  A cacophony of Thomas the Tank Engine bun mixes and sparkly sprinkles, this set them both off, the ‘I wants’ and the roaring No when I declined to purchase them, I grabbed the wrong flour, corn flour, and headed to get the cream for the sauce.  Of course that's near the yoghurts and cheese, specifically Mini Babybels and Petit Filous, James' favourites, more of the I want and Nows from him and then Edie let herself out of the buggy, unbuttoned her duffle coat, casting it aside and ran off down the aisle faster than Usain Bolt at this summer's Olympics.  However unwisely, I left the boy unattended and in a more Mo Farah after a curry fashion, ran after Edie, who wasn't hard to track, she'd left a trail of glitter in her wake.

 Once I'd retrieved her, accepted a good kick to the shins that, were she using against an actual attacker and not her mother, I would be proud of, and slung her over my shoulder, returning to a scene that looked like a massacre in a dairy plant. There was my son, sitting on the floor, eating a Petit Filous by squeezing the sides of the tub together with one hand and alternating licks of yoghurt with nibbles of Mini Babybel, including wax.

Friday, 18 January 2013

How to be a domestic goddess! Or at least pretend to be one.

by Harriet Saunders 
from the novel The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything by 

Francine Lasala 

*Author's Note:
Harriet’s Helpful Hints
Harriet Saunders is a supporting character from my second novel, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything. As one of my main character Mina’s only friends, harried Harriet helps ground Mina in her life--in fun and irreverent ways! The character herself is a cocktail / composite of all the frazzled mothers I have known, myself included. In this “Anything Goes” post, I imagined someone had asked Harriet to write a home-making column, sharing some of her best tips for domestic bliss. Please leave me comment sharing one of your most incredible household hints, helpful or horrid. I’d love to hear them. Enjoy!

Squalor is the new black.
Who says that? I say that! In this day and age, it’s much more important to over-parent your kids. To get down on that filthy floor and play with them rather than clean it. Of course there does get to be a point when cleaning is necessary. In that case...

Never clean your house in full.
Straightening up is really all you ever have to do, most of the time. Just let the neighbors’ kids leave their shoes on when they come over so you don’t have to explain to their parents why their once-white socks are as black as your soul. (If you don’t care about their stupid parents and what they think, by all means have those kids run around in their socks and pick up some of the dirt and grime while they’re at it. Mop, schmop. Am I right?!)

If you must scrub, don’t wimp out on the chemicals.
Especially if you clean as infrequently as I do. As well-meaning as vinegar and baking soda are, they’re just not going to cut it on a toilet bowl ring that’s had months to set in. No. You’re going to have to go with the strongest cleaning chemicals you can legally buy. If they burn your skin and your throat when you breathe them in, you’re doing it right.

If you want your husband to help you clean, clean naked.
You know you can get your husband to do whatever you want him to as long as you ask him when you’re naked. Also, cleaning naked means no bleach stains or other crap on your clothes, which is kind of a plus because god knows, if you’re hanging around your house with your kids all day, your clothes are crappy enough as they are.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

In a world where 'Others' play with mortal lives

by the Moonlady
from a novel Shifu Cloth by 
Prue Batten

The lady moon came down one night
She did, you shouldn’t doubt it.
A lovely lady dressed in blue,
I’ll tell you all about it.
Attribution: Moon to Moon
That is what they say about me. That I came ‘down’, that I dress in blue. To a point they are right, these mortals whose lives into which I sink myself. I am a Celestial spirit, an Other, one who has power over mortals.

“As he turned toward the woman’s haunting voice, he found a full skirt of midnight blue organza dragging over his shoulder. He caught the flash of silver embroidery, of the moon and a galaxy of stars and wondered if he drifted in some gentle dream.

‘It is no dream, Nicholas. Wake properly and sit with me.”

He heard the crisp rustle of fabric and as he pulled himself up, found he was staring into dark eyes in an ivory face of ageless beauty and around which wafted pale grey hair like spun sugar. 
Amongst the streaming glory, stars and moons glittered and he thought they might be pearls and diamonds.”

The kind of power I have I could play havoc with. Some of us do. Sending mortals on never-ending chases which usually end in tragedy. But I am not one of those…

“‘Lady...’ he sucked in a breath of realisation. ‘I know you. You are Phelim’s Moonlady, my mother’s Ladymoon. But you speak as if you are a mouthpiece. Who do you speak for? I must know. It’s mine and Isabella’s lives that you play with.’

‘No one plays with your life or Isabella’s. What happened to you happened because of a curse and it’s about that curse that you must learn and you can only do that if you speak to your father and to do that you must cross.’ She gestured with an elegant white hand to the rippled reflection of the moon across the water.”

I have a certain wisdom, a certain Way and for the rest of my eternal life, I shall always offer moral support to those of my choosing. Sometimes Fate plays the cruellest games and if I can help then why wouldn’t I?

‘Fate is your master?’

Monday, 14 January 2013

Kilts, ghosts, Fingelly Manor, oh my!

by Fae 
from the novel, Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! by 
Nell Dixon

Hi and thank you for inviting me to your blog. My name is Fae and some of you will know me as one of the presenters from the popular TV show: Ghost UK.

Ghost UK, if you haven’t seen it, is a pre-recorded series aired in a variety of locations throughout the UK and Ireland. We also do live ‘seasonal’ shows like Valentine’s day, Halloween etc. I’m asked questions all the time about the show so I thought I’d try and answer the most common for you.

The big one I am asked is: are the ghostly goings-on real?

Ghost UK prides itself on factual reporting. If we discover something fake then we’ll reveal it. We research to make sure we only report the real deal. There have only been a couple of shows where people have tried to fool us. You can read about one of them in Lights, Camera, Poltergeist!

Another popular question I am asked is: do I believe in ghosts?

You bet I do! I’ve seen and heard things which have no rational explanation. Like the time in Cue Me In, when I was attempting to be selected as a presenter for Ghost UK. That Welsh Castle had a green lady ghost that was the spitting image of my sister Izzy. There were howling dogs, weird green lights and a mysterious library. That was my first encounter with the unknown. My heart still races when I think about going down that secret passage inside the castle walls. I wasn’t sure if I would make it out alive at the other end!

I’m also asked if Victor, our guest medium, in Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! is genuine. I can tell you, he scares me half to death. One minute he’s a nice normal elderly man with a fondness for wearing black suits, the next, he’s talking to dead people. He’s amazingly accurate. In Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! he was able to tell the real ghost from the fake, so yes, he’s genuine.

I couldn’t do half the things I do on the show, though, without John ‘Flash’ Flannigan. He’s my tech guy and also my boyfriend. Although he reckons I’ve aged him about fifty years since we started working together.

In Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! I’d planned a lovely romantic Valentine’s evening. You know, Italian restaurant, nice walk by the river, candles and romance. But we ended up in a creepy Scottish Manor House filming a live show!

What a show it was though! Wow, things certainly did get wild at Fingelly Manor. There aren’t many guys who would put up with that kind of lifestyle. So, I think John’s a keeper.

What’s next for me? Well, I’m contracted to record some more episodes of Ghost UK so you’ll probably be able to read more of my adventures in the future. I just hope I don’t end up anywhere that’s too scary - even for me!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Imagine a world where everyone can read your emotions.

by Storass 
from the novel The Marann by 
Christie Meierz

A heart attack, the humans call it. I experienced a heart attack, when Kazryth entered the Sural’s audience room. The apothecaries say that the shock of seeing a man I had thought long gone into the dark was too much in my declining condition.

He was, in fact, the son of the man I thought he was.

My condition is no longer declining. I am stable, even reasonably well, and I have the Sural and his head apothecary to thank for that. The Sural ordered it, and his head apothecary repaired my failing organs.

I grow no younger, but I am no longer ill. I can only rage against the injustice of postponing my natural death for – I know not how long. A life already too long and too filled with sorrow. A life that is tedious beyond my ability to express, without my Suralia and the daughter she carried.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

An interview with a child star!

An interview with Kimi Nichols 
from the YA fantasy novels 
by John Hudspith

Lovely to meet you, Kimi Nichols! Everyone, this is Kimi back from her latest adventure in `Kimi’s Fear`. Hello, Kimi.

Read Kimi's Secret FREE!
Kimi's Fear – new low price!
Hi, thank you for having me.

Kimi, your first adventure began in the book `Kimi’s Secret` written by a guy called John Hudspith, he was pretty clever, writing about your adventures (must give him some credit I suppose, although I know you did all the heroics!). It must make you feel quite special!

Ha! Me, special? Don’t think so. But I do feel lucky, very lucky to be the chosen one. Not many thirteen year-olds get to do such cool stuff like getting every bone in their body broken or sucking dodo brains through a curly straw.

Have you recovered from your amazing adventures, and are you ready to answer all sorts of questions for your fans?

Yep, I’m good. The boss puts me in stasis whenever I’m not in his head so it’s great to get the chance to come out and chat.

Will you ever go back to Mousehole and have a ‘normal’ life? Would you want to?

I love Mousehole, so peaceful, and the people are lovely, well, apart from Old Grot.

Who’s Old Grot?

She looks like a witch and drives a bus through the village ten times a day, and, you know the streets are really narrow, right? Well, she blocks cars in and just stares at the drivers. She’s so rude. Now that I have my mojo I’d like to go back there and shoot a few stunners up her –

Errr, okay, Kimi…

Exhaust pipe, I was going to say exhaust pipe.

Right. So, would you ever go back there and live a normal life?

Maybe when I’m old and grey – if the boss lets me live that long. I’ve seen some pretty scary thoughts in his head.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


by Jen Fleming a character from Dangerous Deception (Unbridled series)
Cindy McDonald

It is late fall. I have never visited the beaches of Presque Isle this late in the year, after the leaves have abandoned the trees, and their sinewy branches reach toward the grey skies like dark skeletons. The waves crash into the shore, as the seagulls dip and dive over the vast water of Lake Erie. I loved this place growing up. I still love this place—almost as much as my mother loved it. There is something mysterious about Lake Erie, especially standing here among the silent beaches, void of children’s laughter, lifeguards blowing whistles, and parents calling after their youngsters to stay within a certain distance of the shore. It is surreal. It calls to me.

My name is Jen Fleming, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Eric West suggested a trip to Erie, Pennsylvania to visit the wineries, stay at a lovely Bed and Breakfast, and walk the beaches of Presque Isle during the off-season. Eric is an imposing man. His life at Westwood Thoroughbred Farm leaves him little time for such getaways. He is also a very observant and caring man, and I have no doubt he could see my melancholy. He wrapped his arms around me in my office at the racetrack where I am a nurse, and whispered in my ear, “A trip through Pennsylvania wine country and a walk on the beach should perk you right up.” Hmmm, as a matter of fact just the suggestion was enough to perk me up. I hugged him tightly swallowed up by his warmth and sensitivity to my needs. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A women's Brokeback Mountain.

by Amos the Preacher
from the book The persecution of Mildred Dunlap
by Paulette Dunlap

Everybody has a story. And, then there are those that like to make up stories about others, usually no good comes of this. I hear it all, in confession, in counseling, and there isn’t a thing that would surprise me any more. I’ve come to realize that everyone in this here town has a secret, some to protect their preference, others to protect their self-esteem, cause of what’s been done to them, I mean nobody wants to be  taking about being raped, even though the whole town knows about it. The thing that puzzles me is why Mildred Dunlap never likes to talk about all the good she does for the town, loaning just about everyone money to help them through the rough winters, putting food on tables, helping pay mortgages. That woman does more good than any single person I’ve ever met; whole town knows it yet they are so damn mean to her. But then I know why.

Author Paulette Manhurin
Yes, indeed, everyone has a story, a secret, things they don’t want to let on to, you live long enough in this here place and you see it, you watch and find out, like with Josie, her secret turned up in the most unexpected way, and she has no idea that it’s known. She thinks she’s so smart, putting down Mildred and anybody who gets in her way, well there’s someone in town that knows all about her, and that may come in handy for that person some day. If Josie keeps up her spewing hatred like she does she’s bound to bring the roof down on her head. I ain’t never heard such a mouth on a woman like that Josie and why everyone goes along with her, caters to her, is a mystery. Gotta be all those secrets, like the one Helene has, poor Helene.

Only person seems to be immune is Charley and he’s smart to keep his nose out of other’s business but for his beloved Emma’s death and the whole town coming to his aid and getting into his business he could not stay under the shadow he wanted to live in. A good man, that Charley, helps the kids at school, volunteers to do carpentry work, loves…excuse me, Lord, loved his wife, and when she went on, he was no use to anyone. Not until… well, I’m getting way ahead of myself, cause I made my point that Charley is a good man, was back when Emma was alive and … it’s just his nature, so he’ll continue on along that way, or at least I hope so. Just never know, cause everyone has secrets. Even me.

. The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; the United States expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine to cover South America; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde's imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

All profits are going to Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, Ventura County, CA. (the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County). For more info contact the author through facebook. Buy a book; save a life. Press article: VC STAR Sept. 9, 2012 Sunday Life Section.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

What to do when the creative juices become constipated.

by Julius Bowman from the book the thing of feathers 

Anne Sweazy Kulju

My name is Preacher Bowman. I am a widower, a father, and a town preacher, by proxy, of a small Baptist Congregation in Cloverdale, Oregon. I am a devout follower of the Holy Bible…unless I am temporarily lead astray by the Marquis de Sade. But I doubt I was chosen for this assignment because of my sterling character, or lack thereof. I suppose I was delegated this duty because I am the only writer who exists in the book. Of course, I am not a writer of fiction, per se. What serious man has time for such fal-da-rah? Nay, I write Sermons for the benefit of my flock. But now, if I were to consider things pragmatically, I am not really a man of God at all; you and I both know I am merely a poser who has duped a congregation. So, I suppose the argument could be made that all I write is fiction. Bah! Either way, we are all writers, whether our tomes hail from God, or from Halls of Knowledge, or from, Heaven help us, the fancying’s of the hapless daydreamer, are we not?

When we speak of artistic inspiration, we know that for the true writer, it always abounds. Oh yes! It waits to be dipped from bottomless wells, or scratched from old growth forests, or plucked from severe winter peaks. Now, if for whatever reason your mind is unable to travel such lengths on any given day, I might advise a leisurely flip through a monthly periodical, perhaps one of whimsy, maybe of fashion or of the entertainment stage. Or maybe a more measured glean through the daily news is called for. Why, there is always someone who has done something, somewhere; if his deed tugs at the heartstrings, or say, makes you scream for justice, there may just be a story there. Or perhaps inspiration waits in the attic, in the photo of a girl…in the sadness of a young girl’s eyes…Bah! I have digressed. The point is, inspiration is all around, and the writer knows this inherently, just as he knows a brisk walk around the block, or cautious imbibing in spirits--limited to only a nip or two--couldn’t hurt anyone, and is wonderfully liberating. I find that singular measure works quite well for me--just a nip, mind you, whenever my creative juices become, er, constipated.

I am told by my Creative, that an inspiration-excursion works best of all--one which involves people-watching, a creative game, and a split of champagne with orange juice. She zeroes-in on interesting strangers. She makes conjecture about the different people’s beginnings, likes and dislikes, and perhaps most importantly, what possible chain of events landed him or her squarely in the Creative’s path on that particular day. This, my Creative assures me, is a rich exercise which develops the creative mind, and often results in at least one tale that can be mined for story-gold.

It is as another writer, the inestimable Jack London, once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” He did not believe inspiration would simply sidle up beside him or drop in his lap. Bah! It rarely does! And in my own personal experience, when it does, one should be mindful from whence it came--or from whom.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A world where people are deemed worthless and profit rules.

by Kianda Mala
from the book The Edge of Extinction by
Kristen Stone

Hello, my name is Kianda Mala. I am leader of Chachinka people in the Amazon jungle. I sorry if my Ingerlish no very good, I only learn a little time ago.
    My people have always lived in jungle. They knew of no other people. We were happy, life was simple, hunting for meat to eat, picking things that grow in jungle. My good friend, Hannah, say we are hunter/gatherers.
   Then the river that gives us fish and water turned bad. Hannah call it pollution. All fish die. Many people die. Our children and old people die. Worst of all, new born babies die. It was I, Kianda Mala, who went to find out why.
    The people look to me for all things. They think I am a jungle god because I have a tail. I tell them this is not so but they no listen to me. They want to believe.
    I leave our village and search the jungle to find why river has turned bad. What I find is a strange thing called a mine. It is putting bad things in the river. Hannah say we must move the people to a new village.
       Hannah tells me there are many people in the world. People who do care about what is happening. She tells me I must tell everyone what has happened to my people. She says I should use something called ‘the internet’ to ‘blog’ about what has happened.
   I no sure I understand what she means. There are many things I no understand but Hannah says it doesn’t matter. Not understanding does not make me stupid, it is just that I have not grown up with these things. Not having these things does not mean we should not be allowed to live the way we have always lived.
   Why should people from other parts of the world come and make my river bad? Would they let other people do the same to their homes?  Can talking about these things on this strange internet make things better. Do other people really read what I say? Will I truly have friends around the world, or am I only talking to myself?
   Hannah has great faith in the internet but I not so sure. When I left jungle to look for help I saw the internet, but I could not see the people who are  supposed to be there.
   All I want is for my people to be safe and happy. To live in the jungle the way we have always lived. We do not need magical things like electricity, computers and televisions. All we need can be found in the jungle if it is left alone.
   Here my words are no very good. I have written them myself. But Hannah has taken my words and made them good in the story of my fight to protect my people from the people who would rape the land without care or thought for the people who live in it.
   My story is here in The Edge of Extinction.

Edge of Extinction

Feel the heat of the jungle, the joy of life and the despair that death brings to the indigenous people of the Amazon when a mine pollutes the river on which they depend.

The Chachinka people have never met anyone from outside the jungle. To them there is no ‘outside the jungle.’ They are led by Kinda Mala, a golden-haired, amber-eyed foundling who MUST be a god because he has a prehensile tail. When things start to go wrong it is to him the people look.

Ms Stone takes the reader on a journey through Kianda’s eyes, out of the Rainforest and into a world that is beyond his comprehension. A world where his people are deemed worthless and profit rules. 

This beautifully written story touches on some thought provoking issues without ever preaching about what should be done.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Guesting Posts for January.

Happy New Year!

To kick off 2013 I'm looking for guest posts on ANY subject! But, to spice it up a bit, write your article in character. It could be the protagonist from your novel or from a much-loved novel by your favourite author.

The page is blank for you to fill.

Already committed to writing for WWBB (evil laughter) are:
Anne Sweazy-Kulju
Kristen Stone
Paulette Mahurin  
Cindy McDonald
Christie Meierz
Prue Batten
Francine LaSala

All ladies so far. The men are too shy . . .