Times Of Future Past

005Where can you find Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and Beverly Crusher from Star Trek all watching belly dancers moving to everything from Jimmy Buffet to the Time Warp? At the Costume Fair – Times of Future Past.

This was the first year for this event held out behind Sleepy Hollow Park in the same venue as the annual Renaissance Fair.

The event also hosted several authors, dressed appropriately, selling books. Attendees were able to watch skits at the huge castle, Romans sword fighting in front of their king, hear Indian tales, and superheroes saving mankind. They could practice archery and knife throwing.

Hippies and pirates, southern belles and Superman.

I was in attendance, but unable to take too many pictures, but an author acquaintance took, uh, well, a bunch of pictures and sent them all to me. Thanks, Dan for overloading my email server. Lol.

Anyway, I thought for this week and next, I’d give you all a taste of this year’s costumed event. Being the first year, attendance was pretty low, but next year should see more promotion and more fun.

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Adult Truth #18

#18I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.”

And when I’m bored, I usually eat. Usually I get bored at home on my nights off. You know, it’s three in the morning and there is nothing on television and I’m bored with watching downloaded television shows or movies. I long for either a salty snack or something sweet. Sometimes both. One following the other.

“But, Mr. Brayton,” you say, “how does this relate to writing?”

In one sense, it doesn’t. In another sense, I look at it as time away from everything. Work, family, bills, and writing.

I wanted to discuss how I relax.

Sometimes I can relax by doing nothing except watching the shows and movies on my computer.

However, I have found boredom creeps in and stays for awhile if I don’t have something planned. Then boredom confuses me because I know I want to do something, but not sure what I want to do. And, everything I think of doing takes preparation time or driving time and I end up not doing anything because I don’t want to spend the time preparing or driving.

Yes, I know. I really need a girlfriend. Why do you think I’m so bored? Now, I don’t want to whine and groan about the lack of romance in my life, but I do want to discuss this in relation to boredom and how I relax. When I had a girlfriend, my time could be filled with the relationship, even if we only sat around reading books or watching television. Without a girlfriend to share time with, well, it’s boring.

Anyway, onto relaxing, which is what I really wanted to discuss. How do I reinvigorate the creative juices, get energized for the time I need to be working or writing or even paying bills?

Racquetball: I haven’t played in years but I love the sport.

Fishing: Several lakes and ponds and rivers around the area, although because of the new job and the busy schedule, I don’t get a chance to go out as often.

Bicycling: Planning on more outings this summer.

Walking: Usually I do this with a friend but sometimes I’ll grab a book and read while I walk. This confuses people because they don’t understand how I can do both.

Exploring: I don’t do as much anymore because of gas prices but I love to take off in a random direction and see what rarely driven roads I can find.

Sitting: A lot of times I’ll just head down the river and sit, read, and enjoy nature.

Fires: No, I’m not an arsonist but I used to love to go to the campground or the river, gather up what branches I could find in the woods, and as night fell, I’d listen to an audio book and create a fire. The wood gathering made for a pretty good workout, especially with some of the larger chunks of wood and the distance I carried them.

Writing: yes, sometimes, I’ll write to relax. Maybe out at the park or someplace else quiet.

I’ll admit, sometimes when I’m ‘relaxing’ I get lonely because I have nobody beside me enjoying whatever activity I’m engaged in. I think about my life and all of the mistakes I’ve made and I wonder about the future. I don’t wish to get too philosophical or delve too deep, but, you know, sometimes it all gets to me.

The feeling doesn’t last too long, because soon hunger demands my attention and then I’m realizing I didn’t bring any food with me and I’m stuck miles away from the nearest restaurant.

Yep, boredom and hunger share a very fine line.

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Around The Globe With Diane Munier

On this warm May morning I pick up this week’s featured author and she sets the transporter’s controls for…wait a minute, where are we going?

Where is this place? What a shabby looking coffee shop. Uh, Ms. Munier, you realize I don’t drink coffee.

She doesn’t care, orders two brews and we sit at a rickety and scarred wooden table and look at each other in the dim illumination. I look at my drink. Smells good, but I think I’ll divert her attention away from my not drinking it by conducting the interview.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I am a very private person who leads an extroverted life. I am more content to have a voice from behind the curtain than before it. I am a practiced listener and an observer. I love people but I renew by being alone, and thinking and creating. I don’t think of myself as fascinating, but I am fascinated by life and it intensifies as I age.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

People might be surprised to learn how well acquainted I am with fear.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rocket scientist?

Math for sure. But writing made sense to me. It started young. It was a way to capture my thoughts and develop a voice.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

J. R. R. Tolkien. I’d like to see how much whiskey he’d drink with dinner.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

I would hope they would provide you with a magic carpet ride into the fictive dream and lift you seamlessly out of your hostage situation. I hope they would deliver you home with many wonderful things to think about.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

I used to write and then rewrite. I was perpetually frustrated by things like how to move a person across a room. I would obsessively rewrite. But that struggle kept evolving. Now I write relying more on my senses than worrying about moving someone across the room. I write from inside the characters. Concerning locations: I absorb places. They get inside. Then I start to wonder who lived there. Then they start talking. I often visit locations. Sometimes it’s all Google and imagination. Sometimes it’s incident first and I let a story develop a story around it. Sometimes the inciting incident never shows up but it gets the story going. Sometimes it’s a character first. I have to hear the voice in my mind, get them talking and then the rest comes. I try to live in touch with my honest voice. When I write from that real place I seldom have to rewrite.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Write. Allow yourself to write garbage. Tell yourself it’s going to be garbage. You’re searching for a point of entry. It just might end up being gold. But you won’t know if you don’t write. The biggest percentage of success comes from having something on the page. An idea is nothing. It dies with you.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Believe in something bigger than yourself. Believe there is a bigger picture than what you can see. Accept that you are small. Do not mistake smallness for insignificance. Believe you are gifted for the world. Be generous with your gifts. What you believe must bless the people you live with or you really don’t believe it. Forgive or you will grow bitter. Own your crap. Repair what you can. Never cut yourself off from children or old folks. Speak less. Listen more. Laugh. Be honest. Be thankful. Eat cake.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I must write. I must breathe. I will be breathing and writing. I have much work to be published.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
http://www.dianemunier.com
facebook.com/dianemunierauthor
Amazon.com/author/dianemunier
dianemunierauthor@gmail.com
@dianemunier

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Around The Globe With Robert Utero

This week I pick up the featured author and we transport to a Florida beach. It’s evening at the waterfront restaurant. I’m having seafood, of course and we’re both enjoying the food, the sea, and the sand. Content. Happy. Peaceful. He waits patiently until I remember I have an interview to do.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

My name is Robert Uttaro. I love music, basketball, teaching, and I was fortunate enough to write To the Survivors. I am not the most fascinating person in Boston, but one thing that makes me unique, I guess, is that I am a rape crisis counselor.  

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I used to play guitar in a heavy metal band when I was in high school.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rocket scientist?

I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until one experience changed my life. This experience was a dream I had. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book”. I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I sat down at my computer that morning to write and that is how the book To the Survivors began. God inspired me to pursue a career in writing.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

I would like to eat dinner with Marilyn Manson because he is a very intelligent human being with fascinating ideas. I would like to listen to him talk about his life and is current thoughts on the world and religion.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

To the Survivors will be great company because it will give you deep connections to other people, hope and faith.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

To the Survivors is non-fiction and includes interviews, written stories, and poetry of men and women who have been raped and sexually assaulted. This book does not have character development, but the people in the book and their stories are quite moving. For me, I write when I can, especially when something inspires me. I can go months without writing a word, and then write a lot in a couple of days. This can be at any time during the day and night. In terms of editing and revising, my editor and I revised again and again and again. We both edited the whole book at least ten times.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Write, write, and write some more. Don’t worry about where or how to begin. In fact, don’t worry at all. It’s imperative to not be nervous, to not fear anything, and to fight through whatever blockage one may have. Write from your heart. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don’t stop writing if you have the desire to write.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Our time on this earth is less than a blink of an eye in terms of eternity. I believe in God, and I believe God loves us more than we can even fathom, even if we do not believe God exists. As Jesus says, “Seek and you will find.”

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I am currently writing a second book, but most of my focus right now is on teaching, working, and spreading To the Survivors to as many people, schools, libraries, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and religious/secular organizations as possible.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

People can go to my website at http://www.robertuttaro.com/ or email me at info@robertuttaro.com. If interested in To the Survivors, you can check it out at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and other online retailers.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Survivors-Journey-Counselor-Stories-Violence/dp/149093166X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427030952&sr=8-1&keywords=robert+uttaro

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A Chat With Lawrence Block

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So, this morning I was sitting around trying to think of what to post for this week’s blog. How do you follow three wonderful weeks of author interviews?

Then someone knocks on my door and when I answer, there stands a man weaing a hat that shadows his face. He hands me a large envelope and states that inside is a free book and an interview with Lawrence Block who discusses a new anthology. I laugh and reply, “Right, tell me another joke.” He asks me to look at them and walks away.

I open the envelope and…run after the guy. He, however, has disappeared.

Who was he? A publicist? An agent? Or…oh my! Did I just meet THE Lawrence Block? And then laugh at him? Who knows? I hope I’m forgiven for my levity.

Anyway, this week I have the honor of turning over the blog to another inteviewer and a very special guest. (Oh, I also read the book and you should, too.)
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Today, Our Man in New York interviews Lawrence Block on his new anthology, Dark City Lights, to be published April 28 by Three Rooms Press…

OUR MAN: You’ve written over a hundred books, several of which have been filmed—most recently “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” starring Liam Neeson. Now you’ve edited an anthology of stories set in New York City.

LB: So?

Well, I was wondering why. Curiosity? You’d never edited an anthology before?

It’s comforting to see you’ve done your homework.

I beg your pardon?

This is the twelfth. The others are Death Cruise, Master’s Choice I and II, Opening Shots I and II, Speaking of Lust, Speaking of Greed, Blood on Their Hands, Gangsters Swindlers Killers and Thieves, and Manhattan Noir I and II.

Right. Well, as a veteran anthologist, perhaps you can say what drew you to this particular project.

An invitation from the publishers. I’d met Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges a couple of times over the years, when they chose stories of mine to reprint in earlier collections. This time around, Peter and I sat down over coffee and he proposed my editing a volume of New York stories.

And you agreed because—

Well, it was strong coffee. I was probably a little hyper. Then I got home and had to find people to write stories for the book. They had to be good writers, capable of writing good stories, and they pretty much had to be friends of mine, or how could I talk them into writing for so little money?

And they had to be crime writers.

No, certainly not. Many of the stories in Dark City Lights are crime stories, but that was never a requirement. Robert Silverberg’s “Hannibal’s Elephants” is science fiction about an alien invasion of Central Park. Jerrold Mundis’s “Chloe” hovers somewhere between fantasy and mythology. Jonathan Santlofer’s “The Garmento and the Movie Star” is fictionalized memoir, a bridge between Hollywood glamor and the Seventh Avenue rag trade. Jill D. Block’s “The Lady Upstairs” could appear as easily in a literary quarterly, but for the ease and clarity with which it is written. Any new piece of fiction taking place within the five boroughs of New York was eligible.

So the writers are all New Yorkers. Um, you’re shaking your head.

And rolling my eyes. Warren Moore’s a professor at a college in South Carolina. Bill Bernico lives in Wisconsin. Elaine Kagan’s an actress and writer based in Los Angeles. Robert Silverberg, born in Brooklyn, has lived for years in Oakland.

Got it. Let’s see now. There are 23 stories in the book. How many people did you have to invite in order to get that many?

Well, two fine writers turned me down, with apologies. One was swamped with assignments and the other was behind deadling on a book.

So you invited 25, and—you’re shaking your head again.

I invited 20, and 18 accepted.

Where did the other five stories come from?

Well, I didn’t have to invite myself. My contribution is “Keller the Dogkiller,” one of the few Keller stories set in New York. And four writers invited themselves. Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges saw how the book was shaping up, decided they wanted to be a part of it, and sent me a pair of terrific stories. An old friend heard about the project from another writer and sent in a story I’d have had to be nuts to turn down. Elaine Kagan showed her own entry to her daughter, Eve, who got inspired, wrote a story of her own, and wondered if I could find room for it. I could and did.

No matter how you got them, they’re great stories, and the variety is amazing. I wish there were a way to give the flavor of each and every one of them.

There is. Some resourceful person at Three Rooms Press pulled quotes from each of the stories, and set up a web page. Just click and see for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/l7d3qyf

“While he sweated out a story she bled out a poem.” This is great stuff!

What did you expect? That line’s from S.J. Rozan, and it’s one of 23 great lines from 23 outstanding stories.

What more can I say? Click on the link and read the lines; then click on this link http://tinyurl.com/nwdnydd and order the book. And thank you, Lawrence Block, for your time and patience.

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Around The Globe With Peter Fogg

So I’m in the transporter to pick up this week’s featured author. He enters and suddenly the entire machine goes haywire. When we step out, we’re on a strange island with a table set up for two, strange colored drinks waiting and the entire world has changed. I smack the side of the console, the dials spin, and then report that we’re sitting in the year 2099. I look at my guest and he smiles.

Isn’t it wonderful?” he says. “Think of what we’ll discover.”

Yes,” I reply, “but are we going to be able to go back to our own time. I mean, the cat will need fed.”

He just smiles again and sits to enjoy the drink. Well, what else can I do but enjoy.

On with the interview…

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

The most fascinating person in LA? Me, out of ten million or so people? I think every single person is quite fascinating in their own way. But if you wanted to ask why I’m the most…well, I’m neither a republican nor a democrat, so that cuts me down to something like less than 1% of the population. From there, you can tack on that I’m a writer, which cuts it down further. I write on typewriters while I’m out in the city and often do it at cafes and restaurants. It often lifts eyebrows and causes brief conversations, though I’m not trying to get attention – anything but that when I’m writing out. I don’t like to use cellphones and I don’t carry them, and that’s pretty rare for a thirty-two year old. I don’t like the modern music, movies or films and I could care less to be on a stage with everyone adoring me and surely I don’t adore any actor, actress or producer – very rare in Hollywood!

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t like dirty airs, waters and cities and I don’t love the world. I think black holes are vacuum cleaners in the universe. All that light and space debris has to be cleared away so new things can share the same place…housekeeping so to speak.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rocket scientist?

I started writing at six years old and really haven’t stopped since then. Working a job is important to a writer, because I think a writer should be involved in many different experiences regarding human life. Everyone should start working as a teen and come to know the value of money – because there are conflicts in money that we all share. Money is the common denominator of human strife, struggle and conflict. You’ve got to work to know it. No hand me downs. No bailouts. Practically every character in literature shared this struggle at some point in their lives. If a writer can work in the most professions possible, then it’ll broaden the horizon of the characters and their conflicts involved in the writing. The more jobs and experiences you’ve had under your belt, all the better when it comes to your creative capabilities. From Mark Twain to Steinbeck, Henry Miller and Kafka, such working experiences clearly defined their final body of work. Maybe there’s less of this issue in science fiction, but only in certain circumstances. As far as rocket science goes, great writing is quite like an invention, writers just need to discover the right combinations to make the vision work. There can and will be mishaps. Walt Whitman re-wrote “Leaves of Grass” twenty-eight times and died working on another draft! There are always challenges, quite similar to those a rocket scientist experiences. All too often in writing, something might come across from one generation to another, simply because more could be improved and figured out. Just like in science! Such is the way literature evolves. Styles of prose change. Rules and structures too. Because of the trial and error aspects to writing, I do strongly feel the creative process is quite comparable to the challenges in rocket science – a generational to generational experience throughout humanity.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

It’s funny you ask that because I’m supposed to have dinner with James Ellroy in the coming months. No doubt that would be an enjoyable dinner for the same reasons I’ll mention next. But to answer your question more directly, there are two writers I currently enjoy having dinner with. My mentor, bestselling author Ken Eulo (who I’ve studied under for five years) and also bestselling author Robert Ward are quite fascinating authors and all too often know the secret challenges every writer faces. It’s always a pleasure to hear the trials and tribulations they’ve gone through and still do encounter in their rocket science endeavors– the failures and successes rarely ever talked about. Most of the writers I’d love to meet, I guess I have in their own narrations and biographies. They’re all under the ground right now, except for a few.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

Well certainly every book I write would take longer than four hours to read. All too often I’ve heard people have read some of my books several times. Once I saw a paperback read so many times that it went from being three inches thick to six inches! No exaggeration. I’ve had people inspired to do art to my books. I’ve had people use verbage and lingo too. So, I’ve touched people before. To be more direct towards your question, I do feel nearly everything I write involves a great number of philosophical passages and themes that can be better understood when reading the second or third time. Often there are metaphoric layers in the writings and these become more obvious in the companionship of the literature when revisted. In the least, the companionship of my work is a good reason to carry one along for a read.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

My current writing schedule is six days a week and about four hours a day. A day of rest is necessary, and sometimes two or three days of rest depending on the amount of germination needed to pen the next passages. My schedule used to be seven days a week and eight hours a day. But after studying under Mr. Ken Eulo, I’ve found that I can pen better quality in less time. Often I might wake one day at 3 a.m. and write with short breaks until 9 a.m., and then the very next day I might go to bed at 3 a.m. and wake at 9 and begin writing until the early afternoon.

As far as research goes, well that’s the toughest part. Since I’m not much into historical or very technologically driven work, there requires less of this than with other writers. Most of my work is philosophically and psychologically driven, and in these fields I’ve done quite some study, though there’s always much more to learn through personal rumination and philosophizing.

Outlines should always be on one page and penned in 9 paragraphs containing no more than 20 sentences. Outlines must be kept loose, because the characters will take control and send you off into unchartered seas leading to the same shore. The entire writing process begins with characters and ends with them. My idea is to write the characters first and then revisit the outline for a revision. Always write the characters first. The characters should always tell you who they are and often will do some of that later in the manuscript, which warrants a rewrite, edit and revision.

When I first started out I’d had fewer rewrites, but the more I’ve developed over the past ten years I do find letting things cool off is rewarding. Surely I can understand the characters earlier now. As far as the number of rewrites go, that all depends on the length of the work and how well I felt it worked in the first draft. It’s not out of the question to rewrite a page ten times or more.

Write your first draft as quickly as possible and while you do it, minimize all distracts as best as you can.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

It’s a very good question everyone should ask. When the idea comes, try to figure out why that idea interests you. What conflict is involved? What insight is coming through? Why is this idea important to you and why might it be important to someone else? My advice is simple. If you were to meet a partner over dinner and that partner asked you to tell a memory about your childhood, which memory would you choose and why?

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Live and learn, forgive yourself and everyone else. Tolerate and accept differences. Do your best to grow in any way that you can. You will make mistakes, but forgive yourself. Be grateful you’re here and never be afraid to pray. The next moment you live, you are living in that moment reborn. The past is the past, as Ken Eulo says.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I’m working on two novels right now and a set of Haiku’s. I’m penning roughly 6000-9000 words a week as of late. I also have a short story collection of novellas which need to be edited. I also would like to pen another book later in the year to compliment a series I intend for the Captured Mind novel. It’s already been started, and will commence at some point, when the time is right. Very busy right now. In fact, I took some time away from the writing to respond to these lovely questions. Thanks for asking.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

They can always hop over to the Peter Fogg website at: http://www.peterfogg.com or http://www.capturedmind.com. I’ll be doing quite a bit of blogging in the coming weeks and months, especially with the Sports Fractal Theorist, the very first scientific newsletter involving the Human Social Mood Fractal in the context of professional sports teams.

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Talk, Talk With F.M. Meredith

So I’m traveling along on the blog bus when I see a woman holding an I’M AN AUTHOR sign. I stop and let her on and say whichMe at Christmas Boutique Friday would you like. She reaches over and pushes the stop button.
“Hey,” I say, “this blog stops on Fridays only. Very rarely does it stop on Thursday.”
She says, “Do you know who I am?”
“Well, ma’am, you’d have to be someone like F.M. Meredith before I’d let you post on another day.”
She coughs and I take a better look.
“Oops, sorry.”
“Just sit over there in the corner,” she says, “and hush.”
Well, what would you do? Argue with her? I mean she’s F.M. Meredith.

—————————————–

Violent Departures

What About the Dialogue?
Because I’m writing a police procedural, some readers might expect “cop talk” like they hear on TV shows. I stay away from much of it because in every area different phrases are used for the same things.
I want my characters to sound like the police officers and people that I know.
One thing about dialogue is real people don’t always talk in complete sentences. We interrupt each other when we’re having a lively conversation. Also people don’t always use correct grammar. We also don’t tell someone something they already know.
When writing dialogue, it’s better to stick to simple dialogue tags like said and asked, anything else tends to interrupt the flow of the story. Better yet is to use an action for a dialogue tag. People don’t just sit quietly when they’re talking—and the characters shouldn’t either. Another way to let the reader know who is speaking is to describe something about the person.
Avoid writing the mundane things we say to one another, like “How are you doing?” Dialogue in a story should have a purpose—moving the plot along or showing something about the character.
There should always be a good balance between dialogue, narrative and action.
These are simple guidelines for writing dialogue that might be helpful to anyone just starting out.
F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith
Blurb for Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.
Bio:
F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.

Contest:

Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.
Links:
Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/
Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/marilynmeredith
http://anastasiapollock.blogspot.com/ for tomorrow where I answered some intriguing questions—hope the answers are as intriguing.
Buy links: http://tinyurl.com/jvmubw5

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Around the Globe with Joyce Ann Brown

So, this morning I pick up this week’s featured author and since she shrugged her shoulders on an interview site, i decided  to hit an all night coffee bar in Des Moines. Of course, I don’t drink coffee, but they have a wonderful selection of teas. We’re ensconced in a back room so the jazz quartet out front doesn’t disturb us.

Onto the interview…

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I’m a writer and author. I wrote the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series and do freelance work. Also, I’m a teacher, a school librarian, a story teller, a landlady, a Realtor, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a tennis player, a hiker, a world traveler… I’m an explorer.
Memoir isn’t my genre, but I use many of my own experiences in my writing. Other cities have Amy Tan, Michelle Obama, and Roger Federer. But when people see the ways I stretch my own experiences and the experiences of others into mysterious and witty stories, they are sure my brain is the most fascinating in Kansas City.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to) what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
Since a main character in my mysteries is a cat, and since I’ve had cats in my family for always, people will be shocked to learn my rather deep, also very irritating, secret—I’m a bit allergic to cat dander.
3. What interested ou to become a writer rather than something else, such as a rocket scientist?
I’m a generalist and could never decide on one subject. I want to know about everything. I became a librarian and a story teller, and always a reader. Writing is an extension of those interests. I can inform, entertain, and learn about all sorts of things when I write.
4. Writers are raders. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I’d love to share dinner with Dave Barry, because I love to laugh. If I could go back a few years, I would have loved to visit with Lilian Jackson Braun over dinner, because she must have been sharp as a tack and witty to boot. There are many others. I wouldn’t eat during those dinners. I’d listen.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a 4-hr. layover at the airport, why would your books be great company?
You’d get lost in the trials and tribulations of my characters, laugh at the exploits of Psycho Cat and the klutzy landlady, and test your deductive skills trying to solve the mysteries. Time would fly by faster than the planes in the clouds above your island or airport.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
In brief: I use the story arc to develop the plot and dialog, action, and inner speak to develop the characters. I write an initial outline, which changes as I go along, I use Google often, visit places many times, but also make up settings once in a while. Anywhere from one to twelve hours of my day are devoted to writing. No strict schedule. But if you meet me and I seem to be off in another world, I’m probably thinking about a plot or character. I rewrote, edited, and revised my first mystery countless times, my second book somewhat fewer. An article or short story gets two or three revisions—more if a word limit is imposed. I’m still learning. (Aren’t we all?) I’d be glad to recommend books about the writing process.
7. I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?
Start writing and keep writing until you love the result. Then find a good editor.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Explore, create, and leave the world a better place.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing. What’s next for you?
I’m working on the third book of my Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series. Also, I have some articles in mind for a local magazine, and I love to submit short stories for publication. If any readers have a good idea for a short mystery, please let me know!
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Find more information about me and my books, CATastrophic Connections and FURtive Investigation, on my website: http://joyceannbrown.com, or on my author page.
Please like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, connect on Google+ and find my author page on Goodreads. Follow my blogs: http://retirementchoicescozymystery.wordpress.com/ and http://hikingkctrails.wordpress.com /.

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Inner Strength Essays, Part III

I wind up the three part series of essays written by two of my students. This week, they discuss community inner strength.

Community-city

Noelle

How can inner strength be used to better our community?

Let’s start with this question: what is inner strength? My personal definition for the phrase ‘inner strength’ is: “the power to resist discouraging problems, doubtful times, and hurtful pain internally.” However, the actual question is this. How can inner strength be used to better our community?

In our community, there are plenty of unfair fights and arguments. If we use inner strength, we can stop fighting/arguing and we can focus on more important things. Think about it – we can STOP ARGUING!

We can also use inner strength for good things. Just getting out of bed in the morning when we don’t want to is using inner strength! We can use this in our community, too! If we are discouraged because someone is tempting us, we can show inner strength! We can ignore them and do the right thing; the act that we know would be better to do.

Many people in the government show great examples of inner strength. I can donate clothes to the poor people in the world. That’s what God wants me to do. If people see me doing it, they might do the right thing as well. It’s called ‘good influence’.

My grandmother, who used to be a State Representative, shows inner strength like this: when she feels like she’s getting nothing done, she keeps on trying no matter what. Then, to her excitement, she notices that she has nothing left! Our mayor, David Krutzfeldt, makes decisions for our community almost every day. Sometimes people don’t like the choices he makes. So he ignores their judgments and keeps on going in life. And that’s what we should do as a community.

Elijah

How Can Inner Strength Be Used In A Community?

What is inner strength? In my opinion, inner strength means “not letting others discouragements or my own doubt keep me from what I want to do.” Here are some answers I have to the question: “How can inner strength be used in a community?”

If the people in my community decide on something they should not turn away in time they should stick with it. Take my grandpa, when he is finished with his harvesting he is usually exhausted, but he still helps his neighbor finish harvesting his fields. Which I think is really nice.

Or the townspeople that take their time to clean the streets and pick up the trash by the highway. Which is also very generous and kind!

The kindhearted people who are tight on their budget, yet they use inner strength and still donate their money and supplies. Again very generous of them to do that!

I can use inner strength by shoveling my neighbors driveway instead of playing in the snow. Or if I am feeling lonely or sad I can think of bright future occasions. Which I think is really helpful!

We all can use inner strength by donating our time, donating our stuff or just getting through hard times! We can also see that inner strength really really helps us through really difficult times or even really really easy times.

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Inner Strength Essays, Part II

schoolhouseLast week, I introduced Noelle and Elijah, two of my taekwondo students, who wrote essays in February on how to use inner strength at home, in school, and in the community. This week, I present their essays on school inner strength.

Noelle

How can inner strength be used to make school a successful endeavor?

Let’s start with this question: what is inner strength? My personal definition for the phrase ‘inner strength’ is: “the power to resist discouraging problems, doubtful times, and hurtful pain internally.” So how can inner strength be used to make school life a successful endeavor?

In schools, all the problems usually have to do with someone bullying the other. Using inner strength, none of this would even be complained of; so the “art” of bullying would cease in schools. Bullying would disappear because no one would care if they were bullied. There is a chance that if we use inner strength, students in schools would never be offended or insulted ever again! Because they wouldn’t care, bullying wouldn’t exist.

Some people in schools do show inner strength. My teacher, Miss Van Kooten, shows inner strength like this: when remarks are said during class, she goes on with her lesson like nothing happened instead of exploding. I show inner strength at school, too. When I am told mean things about me, I just absentmindedly smile and shake my head, because I don’t care; I just ignore it.

Some of my classmates do this as well. Max H. shows inner strength by trying his best not to let his loneliness/feelings show on the outside when mean rumors or lies are backstabbing him and he knows it. He doesn’t care. Rori E. shows inner strength, too. If she is unsure about something somebody just said to her, she brings a graceful smile onto her face and doesn’t care what the person said.

Elijah

How Can Inner Strength Be Used In A Classroom?

What is inner strength? In my opinion, inner strength means “not letting others discouragements or my own doubt keep me from what I want to do.” Here are some answers I have to the question: “How can inner strength be used in a classroom?”

Our class uses inner strength to try and get our assignments done. We will also try to stop talking and pay attention in class, write our worksheets instead of goofing off with our partner that is next to us and we will also be a good class and get rewarded by our teacher.

Some of my classmates use inner strength by not arguing and it helps them get through the day. Like Nathan R, for instance. He uses inner strength to withstand and turn away from peer pressure. Or Rachel B, she has a goal set in her mind and she will get it accomplished by having good grades and focus. My teach, Mrs. Van Donselaar, will be annoyed with us but she will keep us on schedule, which with my class must be really hard! (I mean it!)

If I am in class, I can use inner strength by having a goal to keep my grades high and I can use inner strength to keep them high. I do that by focusing in class, paying attention to the assignments that need to be done and trying my best to not get distracted or distract my friends sitting by me.

Next week: Inner Strength in the community.

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