For One Week Beginning 7/20, Get The Boxed Set Of R.S. Guthrie’s “Land” Series – 3 Books For $2.99 + Click To See Book #4’s Cover Reveal

When R.S. Guthrie told me that he was running a promotional on the boxed set of his Sheriff Pruett Mystery Series, I jumped right in to make sure the word spread.

This series has at present three books in its repertoire: Blood Land, Money Land, and Honor Land, and that’s what you’ll be getting in the boxed set for under three dollars. I can’t tell you how much I love these books. If you’re not familiar with R.S. Guthrie’s writing, you will find he’s a Master Wordsmith. Each of his books have pushed me to be a better writer; and, as a reader, each of them have kept me awake at night until I turned the last page.

I asked Rob (R.S.) Guthrie to share with me his answers to a few burning questions I had on the characters, the future of his series and the always amusing “what-if” question. You’ll want to keep on reading because, there’s the cover reveal for the next book in the series at the end!

Thank you, Rob, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to pay me and this blog a visit.

            Wind River and Sublette County, Wyoming, is the setting for your “Land” series. Having lived the majority of your adult life between California and Colorado, what drew you to this place where you now call home?

There is honestly nowhere like it in the world. The other day we met a 45-50 year-old professor from Arizona State University hiking into the Wind River Range. He stood there with 50-lb pack and chatted with us. He spends all his free time in mountain ranges all over the country and world. The only one he returns to every year is the Wind River Range. You could see the love–the reverence—for the area in the glint of his eyes and hear it in the timbre of his voice. The people and the country here are like none other I’ve ever encountered. It is a truly special place.

Did any one person inspire you to create the character of Sheriff James Pruett?

No, he is definitely an amalgamation of the grit and honor and compassion and courage and camaraderie and spirit and outright determination of the people who pioneered this land and those who continue to defend and love her as if Wyoming and the Wind River Valley were children raised in their care. Pruett represents the indomitable, incredible character I see in the people of this pristine “God’s Country” every day. 

Living in Sublette County yourself, have you met the Sheriff and do you know whether they’ve read any of your books?

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and so many of my stories come from incredible events I’ve lived through here. The actual office of Sheriff, however, is more of an elected, administrative “overseer” position that changes with the election cycles. The deputies are the real unsung heroes, which is why I make them also very important in character depth and involvement in the stories. As far as them reading my books, I try not to press the matter. The usual response is a big smile and then a smattering of verbal cow, uh, dung, as is the Wyoming way of showing affection.

Even though I’ve read every book in the series, I’m so excited to really get to know what made the man behind the Sheriff’s badge in the upcoming book, Promise Land. When can we expect that release?

The planned release is Friday August 17th. When there is a pre-order date we can update it here. As a pre-sale offering, beginning Friday July 20th and running for one week, I’m dropping the boxed set price (all three of the existing books) over 70% from $9.99 to $2.99! Less than a buck a book! I figured it would be a nice way for folks to catch up on the series if they haven’t read it yet.

How many books do you foresee in the series? Any spinoffs?

I don’t see the Sheriff Pruett series going away any time soon. However, Pruett’s daughter, Wendy, when we last saw her, was becoming a lawyer. So I’m just sayin’, you might see her carrying on the family tradition of law enforcement in some interesting ways!

Sheriff Pruett is such a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional character. With all that going for him, do you think there’s still room for him to grow or, will you let the world grow around him?

Promise Land, and the next book or two, will definitely be diving deeper into the history that has made James Pruett the man and the sheriff he is. As we all know, sometimes we can form parts of our world, but often the world decides its own (and our) fate. There is a saying, “Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you.” In Wyoming, you don’t get the bear. Not unless you’re Sheriff James Pruett. 😉

            Last question: You’ve planned a day out on Fremont Lake and are at the Bait and Tackle shop getting a few last things to take with you. There’s a firm hand placed on your shoulder.  You turn, and it’s Sheriff Pruett. 

            “Mind if I go with you?” he says. 

            Will this turn out to be a good day or a bad day? 

With Sheriff Pruett along, it’s guaranteed to be one helluva SPECIAL day. Good or bad? That may come down to perspective and circumstance. Things have a way of getting exciting when you hang out with the grizzled old sheriff. Let’s say this: one day, almost certainly, you WILL look back on that day, successful fishing or not, and crack a knowing grin and flash a happy color in your eyes.

~~~~~

Now for the Cover Reveal!

“PROMISE LAND”, Book #4 in the Sheriff James Pruett Mystery Series is coming soon. The book, I’m positive, is going to just as rich, honest, and give a glimpse of the true depth of the man behind the badge as the cover does.  As R.S. Guthrie mentioned, keep your eye out for the pre-order date.

Click to Purchase the Boxed Set

Click to Follow R.S. Guthrie’s Amazon Page

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Not One, But TWO New Novels by Paranormal/Fantasy Author Max Andren

 

I invite you to step into the world Author Max Andren has built for Dragons, Drampires, Faes and Witches; where whole clans are dying, their essence being drained so that the Drampies may have their immortality. The Dragons are approaching extinction, but then a Phoenix, the one true-blood Dragon spoken of in legends of old, rises from the dead and hope soon spreads amongst the survivors that war is coming to reclaim their honor and rebuild their race.

Charani faces monumental tests to prove to the existing Clans that she is the last, true Phoenix and they must bend the knee of loyalty to her. However, the most difficult hurdle she faces of all, is to first convince herself.

A USA Today Best Selling Author, Max Andren has published not one but two novels back-to-back. Both are so richly woven you feel you are sitting right there beside her main character experiencing the trauma and pain of an abusive life before she is reborn into enlightenment, joy, and POWER.

From Max Andren, she tells a little about her two novels; and, a glimpse into this Author’s life:

RENASCENT 

Renascent Oil Max Andren

 

Only through death would her destiny be realized.

Cursed with the ability to hear and feel the pains of lost and tortured souls, Charani is committed to an asylum to cure her of the insanity. After years of heinous therapies, she finally loses the will to live and embraces death. In that moment she is reborn into something ancient and powerful.

Drawn in to a centuries-old war between dragons and drampires, Charani realizes her curse may actually be the gift needed to find the voices of the lost and the Amulet of the Dead, but only if she can learn to harness her ability. If she fails, the cost will be her life and that of her dragon brethren.

The first book, Renascent was featured in a USA Today bestselling anthology.

COALESCE

Coalesce Max Andren

“I was now a full-fledged Phoenix Dragon, but nothing was ever as simple as it would seem and my life was far from simple or mundane.”

She killed an ancient drampire and destroyed the Amulet of the Dead. She released the collective, trapped by dark magic, and together they became One.

Her family is convinced that she is the last true Phoenix Dragon–the dragon spoken about in clan legend and prophecy, but she feels like a fraud! She’s just a little girl thrown away and nothing more.

She will embrace her destiny and unite the fragmented clans at the dragon sanctuary with the help of her chosen family. But nothing is ever as simple as it would seem and her life is far from simple or mundane, especially when drampires are determined to steal their dragon essence to fuel their hijacked immortality.

The Phoenix Dragon Novels are a compelling Urban Fantasy series with dark magic and mythical creatures–about a young woman’s journey to discover who and what she truly is while trying to save the dragon race from extinction. A series about discovering self-worth, the power within, and the love found in friendships and family.

WANT TO KNOW WHO’S BEHIND THE BOOKS?? TEN ANSWERS TO TEN QUESTIONS:

Where did the storyline originate for the first book, Renascent, and did you imagine at that time that Coalesce would soon follow?

Renascent actually started out as a book to introduce my character Cipriano and as a prequel to another series. It was also to be an introduction to Charani, the main character, who was going to appear in another secret book. But once I started writing her story, she took on a life of her own. She had so much to say that I decided to make her story a trilogy and not use her in this other, secret project. Cipriano remains throughout this series too, but he will definitely continue on to the other, original series–Rowan. I have that series loosely plotted out and would LOVE to release it in 2018, but…we will see. I love writing dark stories and this one is filled with dark magic and emotionally dark situations.  

What’s your favorite quote from the series so far and which book does it appear in?

OMG, I couldn’t decide. 0_0

Sidenote from Interviewer: I couldn’t either!

Do you have a favorite all-time book or author which has had an influence on you as a writer?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. She is by far my favorite author. But I’ve read thousands of books and have lots of favorites. JR Ward is one of my favorite urban fantasy/paranormal romance authors

If you could sit down and have a chat with your main character, what advice do you think you’d give her?

Instead of advice, I think I would commend her on her fortitude and willingness to love despite where she had been for a good portion of her life. Her protection and love for Dreah, despite not having a role model to emulate made me cry, as did one particular scene in Renascent and Coalesce.

What was the hardest part of writing Coalesce?

Getting out of my editor head and into the flow state of creative writing.  I suffer from that editing-itis so bad! I honestly have to constantly work on that.

Coalesce ended with such suspense … how soon will its sequel be available?

I’m hoping within 3 months. I didn’t do a preorder this time to allow myself some leeway.

What made you decide to write under a different pen name?

My other series is so very different from The Phoenix Dragon Series. This one is urban fantasy and the other one is an erotic romantic suspense/crime thriller. I wanted to keep the Amazon also boughts and like authors organic and as clean as possible for Max, no man-chest covers!

When you write, do you enjoy quiet or noise; are you organized or is it organized chaos?

Noise, all the way! I always have music playing, as it helps to set the tone and the mood I want to accomplish. I’m super organized in my day job, as a Nurse Anesthetist, but my desk at home is a hot mess!

If you could have one super power/gift of any of your characters, which would it be?

The ability to heal others. That would be the ultimate gift.

What will 2018 hold in store for the fans of Max Andren’s books? And, Paris Andren’s books?

I’m hoping to have “The Phoenix Dragon Novel 03: Everlasting” done within 3 months. I’d love to start my Rowan series, where Cipriano will appear and perhaps Charani too.  I really want to write Violet’s story, my darling little faery.

I’m plotting the next LA Dark Series book for 2018, plus 3 novellas in that series.

I need more hours in my day, like everyone else. LOL

Thank you, Max! It’s been a true pleasure getting to know you and becoming a fan of your writing. If you want to learn more about this author or browse her books, click on the following links:

pariswrites.com

Paris Andren – Amazon

Max Andren – Amazon

Never Enough Books

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Introducing “Vampire Seduction” by Bestselling Author Fleur Camacho

      The first book I read by Fleur Camacho was “The Edge,” Book 1 of her Ignite Series, and ever since then I have been a fan. The Ignite Series, four books that whisked you into a world of Angels and The Fallen (Angels who had turned away from good), showed the fact that Fleur Camacho was an author who knew how to write within the Paranormal genre.

        I have to admit that when I picked up to read “Vampire Seduction,” Book 1 of “A Dark Hero” Series, that I thought I would miss that paranormal aspect of Angels. If you enjoy reading about them, then you know what I mean – the feel-good, the light, the right vs. not so right. Boy, WAS I WRONG!!! “Vampire Seduction” has me so wrapped up into this new, darker world she has created where not only Vampires exist, but also, Fae, Shifters and Werewolves.  Her writing has been calculating, and woven where all of these creatures, some good and some bad, and, some beyond bad, all have one thing in common: they all want Detrand, the main character of Vampire Seduction to either die, be their King, or … to lay with him. Oh, Yes. Did I mention Fleur knows how to write sexy? Umm, hmmm. In contrast to the last series, when you start to read this one, you realize it never felt so good to be so bad.

        When I asked Fleur Camacho to take a break from her next book in the series to sit and answer some questions, she was kind enough to respond with a “yes.” So, here you are – an introduction to the author behind “Vampire Seduction.”

What made you want to write about vampires?

I had been toying with the idea and after polling my readers, I decided that I definitely wanted to write about vampires. Someone introduced me to the tv series, Taboo, and I fell in love.  Hard. I immediately binge-watched as much as I could and it washed over me.  I was obsessed.  I loved the main character and the idea of him intrigued me.  He was not a good guy.  In fact, by his own admission he’d done terrible, terrible things.  And yet, you can’t help but grow to love him. I looked up interviews of Tom Hardy, who also produced the show, who said that he was intrigued with the idea of creating a lovable anti-hero and my mind wouldn’t let go of this idea.  Tom Hardy had certainly achieved his goal, because I loved James Delany and wait in anticipation of the next series.

Was it easy to switch from Angels to Vampires?

I was worried if I could write a lovable anti-hero but the idea was so intriguing to me and I was so obsessed with this story, I started writing and couldn’t stop.  It was like electricity in my body – a constant buzz no matter what I was doing.  I ate, slept, dreamed and lived Detrand. Then, as I was writing, he began just overshadowing everything and everyone. But, I knew I wanted to include a female character and Detrand just wouldn’t shut up.  Finally I caught of a glimpse of her; she spoke to me and then she took off in my mind and the female character, Adelade, was born.

Do you think you’ll continue to write in series form?

Sometime in my lifetime I would love to write a serious standalone.  Something very different than what I’m used to doing.  My favorite book is Jane Eyre.  And it’s not because of the romance (although, I do love their relationship) but I’m absolutely intrigued by Jane’s progression in life.  She has several opportunities to take the easy way out, but she never does.  And in the end, she is rewarded for it.  I would love to write something like that.  But that’s probably years from now.

Let’s talk about your method of writing. Are you a “pantser” or do you outline?

I do both.  I always start out with an outline but my muse is a rebel and he never follows his marching orders, so I always end up in a different place than where my outline wants to take me.  I’ve learned to trust that because it usually ends up better than what I’d originally outlined.

I know you’re a wife and mother.  Do you find it easy to write among the chaos and noise or wait until everyone is asleep?

I do have an office in my basement but sometimes I find that I write more if I go somewhere, so sometimes I go to my local Panera.  And, yes, I find that sometimes I get more done if I don’t have the distractions at home.  The $250 headphones I bought are worth every penny.

Do you have writing plans after the “Dark Hero” Series?

Right now my plans are to write a shifter trilogy and then another one with witches – so all things supernatural.  I’m also working with two other authors and we’re going to combine worlds, so there will be lots of crossover characters.

Thank you, Fleur! Now, with all new releases, do you have any promos currently in place?

Absolutely! For a limited time, “Vampire Seduction” is priced at $.99. AND, to thank Detrand fans for their awesome support, I made a desktop screensaver for them. If you buy “Vampire Seduction” the first week of its release and email a screenshot of your receipt to DetrandTheVampire@gmail.com, you’ll receive a desktop screensaver for Free! This offer is good July 20 – July 28 only and will expire at midnight EST.

You rock, Fleur! Readers, if you want to get the scoop on Fleur Camacho’s upcoming events and releases and, read pre-release excerpts, sign up for her newsletter here.

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It’s Here!!! Bestselling Author Rachel McClellan Releases “A Hero’s Death”

I had the honor and pleasure of previewing “A Hero’s Death,” Book One of Rachel McClellan’s next series: Aris Crow Vampire Legend. And, I’m here to tell you, this book is going to be her next bestseller.

Rachel McClellan agreed to take a moment in her schedule to appear here on the blog by telling us a little about herself and answering a few questions. First, though, more about A HERO’S DEATH…

The city doesn’t need another hero. It needs a monster.

I’ve lived beneath the streets all my life while a growing darkness overtook the city I love. I’ve watched the people suffer, smelled their fear, and heard their cries for mercy. All while living under the control of the ruthless man who murdered my parents.

The police have failed them. The justice system has failed them.

It’s my turn now. And I won’t fail.

 In this dark and fast-paced, urban fantasy novel, USA Today bestselling author Rachel McClellan brings a new kind of vampire series that will leave you breathless and anxious for more!

Within the first few pages of “A Hero’s Death,” I was hooked. Rachel McClellan has a way of pulling a reader in to the story and before you know it, fifty pages have been turned and you’re reading as fast as you can to see what’s coming next. It’s a story of compassion, of love and loss, of fighting against tremendous odds for what’s right and when you find you’re not just reading the story; instead, seeing and also feeling the story, the new Hero of Coast City has not only claimed the hearts of its residents, but your heart as well.

Rachel McClellan is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in New Hampshire, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she’s not in her writing lair, she’s partying with her husband and four crazy, yet lovable, children. Rachel’s love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it was…

I gave Rachel McClellan a few questions to answer for her readers. I hope you enjoy what she has to say as much as I did:

Where did the storyline originate for “A Hero’s Death – Aris Crow Vampire Legend?”

I LOVE superheroes and I LOVE vampires so combining them just seemed natural to me. Who said monsters couldn’t be heros?? I’ve been wanting to tell this story for several years now—a man who already has special abilities that tries hard to save his city, but in the end realizes it won’t be enough. He must become a monster.

I really liked the setting of your story, the city within a city. What’s your favorite scene or quote from “A Hero’s Death?”

My favorite scene is the ending—the final battle in which Aris chooses his fate even knowing he must endure horrific pain to do so.

Is there a particular book or author which has had an influence on you as a writer?

Several! Dean Koontz novels, C.S. Lewis novels, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike. LJ Smith. Books: Dracula, Frankenstien, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Book Thief, Hunger Games…so many!

What is the hardest part of writing Book One of a series?

Writing the first in a series is tough because you always have to be thinking ahead. In fact, it’s best to know you are writing a series right from the get-go to make sure you don’t have any plot holes later. 

When you write, do you enjoy quiet or noise; are you organized or is it organized chaos?

I enjoy music a lot. They inspire many of my scenes. I’m not a super organized person—I loosely outline. As for my other work, I do use spreadsheets to track marketing so I’m a little more organized there, but just a little 🙂 

What is your secret in finding time to write?

Everything changed when I learned to dictate. I use gaming headphones with a mic and an app on my iPhone. With those, I’m able to “write” in the car or anywhere really. It’s been a game changer. I have four kids who are active in a lot of things so I’m constantly driving. Plus I’m waiting around for them a lot so much is accomplished!

If you could have one super power/gift of any of your characters, which would it be and how would you use it?

I would love Aris’ super strength. To not have to work out anymore would be incredible! 

What was the first story about that you ever wrote?

My first completed novel I ever wrote was The Devi’s Fool. It was about a powerful witch, a young and naive one, who was manipulated by an older vampire, but in the end, she grows and learns to defeat him. This novel ended up being my best seller and continues to outsell my other novels. Even though it was my first, I published four others before I published this one. It went through several rounds of edits. I’m glad I waited!

Okay, I’ve read “A Hero’s Death” and am thrilled with the ending! I’m going to ask the question all your readers will want to know…When is the next book coming out!?

The next book is available for pre order—the beginning of October, but I hope to release it sooner! 

Thank you, Rachel! It’s been a pleasure featuring you here.

A Hero’s Death – Aris Crow Vampire Legend” is available starting Monday, July 10, 2017, on Amazon AND for a short time, at a promotional price of $.99. Click here to order it now.

 

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How Do You Measure Your Personal (and Writing) Success?

I read a magazine article the other day that mentioned the different types of achievement a writer can attain which would signal success. The list ranged anywhere from writing a first draft to having it land on The New York Times Bestseller Book List or, a more personal form of success, to know that your book made a difference in someone’s life. It got me to thinking… how would I describe success, not only in writing but overall.

success2a

For years I carried in my wallet a quote cut from a Dear Abby column. In fact it had stayed in my possession so long that when the words no longer resonated as much as when I first read them, the paper was tinged and well-worn from the transfer in and out of the many wallets the cut-out had outlived over the years. The quote, in part, which has been attributed to several authors, the earliest of whom was Bessie A. Stanley in 1905, is:

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;…”

When I say that the words no longer resonated with me, although they still sounded good, they just weren’t enough for me anymore in describing a successful life. Rather, they had become a stepping stone towards my description of success. The definition by which I measure my success has grown, changed, evolved, and I’m sure will continue to.

As many people as there are, so are there quotes in defining success. They can be found everywhere: in television commercials, music, in other artistic media and books. Each has wisdom and merit but the only one that counts is how YOU define YOUR success.

When I first started this blog (which took me over a period of several days to complete due to a nasty cold), I left off where my next paragraph began: “I’m not sure if I’ve ever found success. I suppose because I’m not anywhere near ready to be at the end where I’m finished and can look back.” But, now that I have had time to do not much else but dwell over the term “success”, even dreaming about it, my view and thus, definition, has solidified more than ever before.

There is a tangible defining of success when coupled with having a successful career, even a successful marriage. You can see it. A promotion and/or, eventually, retirement; the longevity of a marriage or life-partnership. Outside of that, it’s all up to your interpretation. There are no words that can be written to measure another’s overall success. You can see a quote, a phrase and think ‘yes, that’s something to strive for’ but if you search within, you’ll know in your heart what true success means to you.

goal-successThere are also those who will define success by meeting a goal. In writing, it could be your first book, signing with an agent, or getting a movie deal. Setting a goal is indeed a golden ring to reach for but if you measure your life’s success with attaining that goal, you are setting yourself up to travel a road fraught with stress and worry – even if the goal is met, but, should the opposite occur, the dead-end to that road can bring with it a danger of depression and feeling of failure. No one’s life is ever a failure and the yardstick to measure it by should never be paired with meeting a goal. 

For me, I will now be breaking success down to a day-by-day basis. Did I try to lift someone up, do a selfless act, think positive, be kind to not only another but to me? Did I write?? I can tell you that today was a success for me. And there are so many more things I can draw on to call my day successful for the tomorrows… Staying Mindful (and if you don’t know what that truly means, it’s worth looking up), being productive at my day job, reading – and I’m sure there will be more added as the days grow in number.   

gratitude-jarAs we come to the end of another year, perhaps now is a good time to reflect on how many successes we can look forward to counting in 2017. I’ve read before where some have a jar with a notepad and pen nearby and when something good happens, they write it down and place it in the jar so that at the end of the year, they can go back and read the good things that happened to them they may have forgotten. Not a bad idea. But I think instead, I’ll write down my successes. It will certainly give me something to strive for in 2018…to make it an even more successful year than the year before.

You taking the time to read this blog truly means something to this writer and I thank you.  I wish you a Happy and Prosperous 2017 and that you find your own success in each of its 365 days.

Posted in Motivation, Writing | 7 Comments

Suck It Up, Buttercup…And Other Motivational Writing Tips

Ahhh, where do I start. It’s been a while since I blogged. Scratch that, it’s been what seems like a decade since I blogged.

My reason? Oh, I could say life has gotten in the way; or, my mind has been directed to other matters; or, and this is the best…I’ve been trying to get everything done so I can have it all “just right” to write. But, the bottom line is, none of that is true. It sounds good (and I may have even believed it once), however, they are only excuses.

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it. Writing, that is. But the longer you go without writing, at least for me, I slip out of the groove and my thinking about writing soon becomes thoughts of guilt about not writing. And that is a slippery slope to maneuver, um, write on.

So, what did I do? Well, nothing for a while. I put some tape over my muse’s mouth and carried on. The people who asked me how my book was coming didn’t mention it so much anymore. But, then, the boldest question of them all came: “Have you just lost interest in writing?” Oh boy, I’m sure the look on my face was priceless. I sucked in a breath and wanted to scream, “Absolutely Not!” But, I didn’t. What could I come up with except the glaring truth? As they say, actions do speak louder than words.

It was at that exact moment, it hit me. Somewhere along the way, my priorities had gotten screwed up. Everything had to get done before I would feel I had the time to write. The housework, the yardwork, the….whatever. I hadn’t even made time to read in a very long time and I missed that feeling of being pulled into a story and getting lost in the words.

The truth I told in answer to the question: I didn’t make time to write.

writer looking for ideal conditions

I had to acknowledge not only out loud but to myself that day, that I was the only reason I wasn’t writing. I hadn’t put it at the very top spot. Yes, everyone has to do what must be done… Take care of the 9-5’er so there is electricity and a home to write in but after that – outside of being responsible for the care of another person or pet in the home, you have a choice in everything. There’s always a way to find even a few minutes to write. And I did. I went back to basics and began to journal – something I hadn’t done in a very, VERY, long time. Time made to jot down one paragraph in the morning before work soon turned into time made to fill a full page. This morning when I laid my pen down, three new pages of thoughts had a home within a soon-to-be-filled notebook – and I’m still getting to work on time. 

One of the things I never gave up on doing each day in the writing world is supporting other authors. I am faithful in promoting books in my twitter feed; Facebook timeline; and, buying and downloading other author’s books onto my kindle and leaving a review. I also have some talented authors I work with in proofreading their books. There’s so much great writing out there and I love shouting it out to others. The thing is, all the other authors out there – they didn’t just find the time to write: They Made The Time To Write. I’m not unique, we all have lives, work, families, problems yet, we have control of the priority level we assign.

My next objective was to start reading again. First, I attacked the magazines I had let pile up. That went well but only to a certain point. I’m more of a fiction girl – so I scrolled through my kindle. I had a lot to choose from but it wasn’t what I needed. Although my TBR list on there is extensive, ranging from non-fiction to fiction, romance to thriller, paranormal to mystery, I needed to read a book that I knew would grab me and remind me of how I wanted to talk to a reader.

From my bookshelf, I pulled a book written by one of my favorite romance authors. Now I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t read in a while or if it was due to my knowing how the story went, but it took a bit of time to get back into turning the page instead of laying it down to do a chore or watch television.

Then that day came when the magic happened: The story not only began to flow once again, I found myself becoming its proofreader. I began to look at how it had been written, the changes in POV, the shifts between showing and telling – it burst out of the pages to this writer and I critiqued it. I learned even the most best-selling authors can do better and with that thought came the drive to get back in the saddle of my craft. I bowed my head and said a silent “don’t let the door kick you in the ass on your way out” to the wannabe writing perfectionist in me that day. 

read a thousand books

I can’t say I’m back yet. Not until I put a couple thousand words down in the next chapter of my manuscript, and then another couple of thousand, and then another…

A blog, this blog, was the next objective. Except it really wasn’t an objective, more than it was that need to write, and, a desire to share with those who may see themselves within this blog while forging a path in their own writing journey.

Yes, you may get sidetracked but don’t quit. Suck it up, buttercup. Speak your truth when asked, “Have you just lost interest in writing?” If it’s a loud NO, and you miss the feeling of needing to write, then do the work, reassess your priorites and make the time. If you want it bad enough (and I do) look for the clues that are holding you back. It won’t be long before writing “The End” is your beginning as a published, or multi-published author. A great author friend of mine who I respect and look up to as a mentor once told me “The first book is always the hardest.” Boy, he wasn’t kidding.  

Never Enough Books

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Dreaded “F” Word

Now I know what you’re probably thinking. THE “F!” word. That four letter bomb that is used for emphasis or shock.  

But, nope, if that is what you were guessing, it’s not that “F” word. Today, I’m talking about the other “F” word. The one that’s even worse than the aforementioned bomb. In fact, if I had to make a list of the top fifty bad words used within the English language as it relates to people, this would make it in the top ten – maybe even top five – of that list:

Failure

That word and all that goes with it, including the depressing feeling that you have tried everything, or, screwed up so bad there’s no coming back. We are taught that word at even the beginning of our education since right there in your report card, if you get an “F,” it means you had F-a-i-l-e-d.

failure-quote-photoIt’s unlike any other word in describing an individual. Outside of the obvious adjectives used in how someone looks, dresses, or presents themselves, all of those are superficial and can be seen on the outside. But failure, that is a hard one to see. To the passerby – even to a loved one – you can be confidant, jubilant, and present the life-is-good persona to the world but, if you have given yourself an “F,” there is that knowing screaming on repeat in your head that you are a failure at (fill in the blank). 

Everyone, at one point, or, more (that being the most likely), have experienced it in some form. A failed class; job; a goal; a relationship. You may have even had some company on your way to failure: The naysayers…the ones whose support would mean everything but instead, are silent or, worse, chip away at your confidence one pebble at a time until you have nothing left and feel you can do nothing right.

What really counts though is what you tell yourself. No one can say you’re a failure. Only you. It’s what you feel inside and that name tag you and you alone pin across your soul.

failure-quote“Failure is not an option” is a popular saying. But the truth is, failure doesn’t even exist – at least not in life. A computer fails, a networks fails, a government fails.  But for a living, breathing creature, four and two-legged, failure only happens when we stop trying. Whatever shoes you fill, they carry you down your path – not someone else’s – and boy there are many crossroads and side streets you take along the way. There is no failure, but a detour and another avenue to travel along to that goal you’ve made for yourself.  

You might be wondering what inspired this blog. I saw someone this weekend that, through listening to his words, took me back to that place where I was with him so long ago, and for a split moment, well to be honest – a couple of hours spent deep in the pity-pot, I wanted to write that failure tag and place it across my soul. But, I didn’t. I wasn’t a failure then and I’m not a failure now. I am a winner because I believe in myself, for myself.

The beauty of being someone who can write and has a blog – I get the last word. However, my last word isn’t for him, it’s for all those who have suffered from that feeling of failure. You can’t fail, it doesn’t exist unless you stop trying, stop hoping and stop dreaming. Don’t do that. Follow your path, take that detour, take another one. Detours are what make the goal so worthwhile – and for writers, such great stories.

Believe

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A Father’s Day Tribute

I started this blog about five years ago and, although I did a Mother’s Day post some years back, had yet to do a Father’s Day post – until now.

This will be one of my shorter blogs because I really didn’t know my Dad that well. He passed away when I was 14, and, with being a tad independent – never a mom or daddy’s girl, and the daughter of a man who worked very hard to support his children and mounting medical bills, I didn’t have any time to get to know the man behind the parent. My memories of my father, while all good, are more snippets of moments and impressions.

Mom and Dad weddingTo give you a starting point, my father married my mother when he was 24 and she, 16. I don’t know how they found each other or how long their courtship was…that and other family history went with them. Seven years after their marriage, they welcomed identical twin boys. A hand full of mischief lay ahead of them from what I understand – double trouble became the boys’ name.  It wasn’t long after their birth, my mom’s dormant rheumatic heart fever disease resurfaced and therefore having more children was ill-advised by the doctors. But, one of the traits passed on to me from my mom is that of stubbornness. Going against the advice, a little over a decade and a half later I arrived on the scene.

Not from any particular memory but just from the life he led, I know my father to have been a go-with-the-flow kind of man. I don’t remember ever seeing him get rattled. Not by the abusive tongue his own mother would sometimes use against him; not the bat-s**t crazy sister of my mother who bullied him when he didn’t have any other choice but her when asking to babysit me while my mom was in the hospital; not the five-hour drives every weekend to and from the National Institute of Health in Baltimore to see my mom; nor the unexpected slip and slide, successfully dodging trees and shrubs, down a wet leaf-covered tall hill he and I shared when hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains one August; or, taking the flack when asked by my mom to trim her favorite camellia bushes in our front yard and he near chopped them down instead. All of it, he took in stride. That’s not to say he never got angry. There were times I heard a change in his tone of voice, but they were rare – and, most occurring when he drove. (Thanks, Dad, for that trait.)

But, the laid back attitude had its drawbacks. And, I’m pretty sure it was something he learned from his own mother – that being he was not very demonstrative in love. I always knew he loved me, he never shied away from a kiss on the cheek when I left to go play, or balked when I sat on his back combing and “styling” his mane of grey hair into all sorts of shapes while we all watched Bonanza on a Saturday night. However, in withholding that demonstration, it made the times he did show it stand out. One time, in particular, I was with my dad, Uncle, and my Uncle’s wife, and we had been fishing on my Uncle’s boat all day in the choppy waters of the Atlantic. After hours of the to and fro, up and down, rocking and rolling, my stomach had had enough and I became seasick. It was bad. I was never so glad to step foot on dry land in my young life and when I did, I didn’t look back. It was then, a quarter way up the dock, my dad ran to catch up to me. He wrapped his strong arm around my shoulders and walked the rest of the way with me. He never said a word – he didn’t have to. I remember looking up at his face and he down to mine and all I could see was his soft, understanding smile, and all the compassion and love he had for me permeating through his eyes. It’s a moment I will go to my own grave cherishing.

Camping

Did I mention he was hard working? He was – both at his 9 to 5 and at home. His day job consisted of being an engineer and mechanic for the Norfolk Naval Air Station. He was good at his job and well respected – told to me by the many, many, friends who came to his funeral. But as gregarious and generous as he was with his time for others, he often turned down help when it came to him. In fact the only times I can recall him asking for any help was in seeking family or friends to keep me when my mom stayed in the hospital. His nature of giving more than taking was never more telling than when it came to digging and building a basement under our house; tilling our acre of land in the back yard and maintaining a garden that would sustain us through the winter with home-grown vegetables; and, finally, drilling a new well when the old one showed signs of going dry. He did it all alone, refusing any help, though I know it was offered.

It was during his digging the new well, and he had to stop and drive to the supply store for more material, that we got the call from the Police Department that my father had been involved in a one-car accident and taken to Norfolk General Hospital. We learned after arriving what they wouldn’t tell us over the phone, that he had had a heart attack behind the wheel and died instantly.  

For the longest time, I blamed his not asking for or accepting help – working his body physically beyond the breaking point – for his death. But, I’ve made peace by coming to understand a little on how life and death, and the life my dad choose, works. He stayed long enough to raise two strong sons, and his daughter given a firm foundation to build upon. The values he instilled live to this day in each of his children and we’ve all done our own best to pass those to our own – honesty, integrity, and a stable work ethic, to mention only a few. His own life-character lives on in his friends as they remember him to this day. Only last year, I ran into one of the old “neighborhood” girls and she told me the story that when driving with her own father just a few weeks before, he pointed out to her our old house and told her of the good man that he would sometimes ride to work with that used to live there. Instead of growing old and whatever that may have entailed – possibly being a burden to others, he left in the best possible way, his way – without assistance. Who knows, maybe a part of him knew that my mom would soon follow just three months later and he went ahead so he could meet her when she got there.

Throughout life I’ve, and I know others have, heard the typical life question: If you had a chance to talk to any one person, living or dead, who would that be? And, I finally have the answer. My Daddy. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Dad having fun

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HONOR LAND by R.S. Guthrie – Release Giveaway #reading #prizes

I’m excited to share with you that R. S. Guthrie is hosting a release giveaway for the third James Pruett Mystery, Honor Land. If you want his first two books free, Blood Land is free on Amazon and if you follow this link (http://bit.ly/rsguthrie) and sign up for his newsletter, you’ll receive the information on the giveaway. Entries begin today! The link to the Rafflecopter contest is on the last page of the book and entries begin Thursday, April 30th @ 12:00 AM EDT through Friday, May 1st @ 11:59 PM EDT. 

The GRAND PRIZE is an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7! It has 8 Gigabytes of storage for your movies, books, etc., a 7″ high definition screen, and Wi-Fi connectivity. For SECOND PLACE he’s giving out three signed copies of Blood Land (in the new matte cover if you’re willing to wait for it — it rocks! – a preview can be seen on his blog), and for THIRD PLACE in the drawing, he will be giving out five digital copies of his Denver Detective Bobby Mac series (Black Beast, L O S T, and Reckoning). You can learn about even more giveaway information at his blog site, “RobOnWriting”: Honor Land Release Giveaway.  Don’t Wait to Enter!!

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From my own personal reading of “Honor Land,” a hard-boiled mystery and Book #3 in his James Pruett Mystery Series, “HONOR LAND” opens by thrusting you right in the midst of a murder mystery. And, as in true R. S. Guthrie form, he begins adding the layers to the story from there. It isn’t long before you find yourself immersed in the history and culture of the west, where the author merges the past and present in brilliant fashion; all while weaving around you the lives of the characters so well, you feel you’ve known them their whole life.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, it’s not my style, but I do want to touch on the basis behind “Honor Land”, and that being that it’s closely related to those that place their lives on the line every.single.day in the line of duty to their country, our country. R.S. Guthrie, in “Honor Land”, shows you what it takes to become a part of the Delta force and to live and think as one of these proud soldiers. If you think it’ll be like anything we’ve seen in the movies, it’s not – this is as real as it gets. I live in a military community and have a deep appreciation for what they do for us but I have to say, “Honor Land” made that appreciation even stronger. When you turn the last page, and recount the story from beginning to end, you can’t help but feel the plethora of love the pages told – for our servicemembers, for family, for loyalty, and for justice – a story you lived through and that is now a part of you. If you’re a fan of descriptive surroundings, of dialogue, of depth–mystery, action and surprise endings, you’ll want to read it, and then read it again because you won’t want it to end. I am very much looking forward to the next sequel. That is my only regret – that the next one isn’t right on the horizon for me to continue. That’s what R.S. Guthrie’s books do to me, I never want any of them to end.

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HONOR LAND by R.S. Guthrie – A Story With A Conscience, A Story of Love #reading

It’s with great pleasure that I get to blog about the newest release from Author R.S. Guthrie:  “Honor Land,” a hard-boiled mystery and Book #3 in his James Pruett Mystery Series.

If you’ve read any of my interviews and/or reviews of the first two books in that series, Blood Land and Money Land, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Guthrie’s writing and this book did not disappoint. It not only matched the enthusiasm I get when reading his work but the heart he put into Honor Land also deepened my well of respect for him as an author and as a person. His descriptive writing sets you right in the book’s pages, living amongst the characters in the beauty and majesty of Wyoming.

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“HONOR LAND” opens by thrusting you right in the midst of a murder mystery. And, as in true R. S. Guthrie form, he begins adding the layers to the story from there. It isn’t long before you find yourself immersed in the history and culture of the west, where the author merges the past and present in brilliant fashion; all while weaving around you the lives of the characters so well, you feel you’ve known them their whole life. One of this author’s natural abilities is to let you pick up this third book in the series and, if you haven’t read either of the preceding novels, allows you to be able to read the story without feeling as if you’re missing part of it or that you’ve been left out, but rather excited you get to go back and read more of the characters….because the characters are not superficial. They have depth and humanity that only a life’s history told in part in each book can create. I don’t want to give any spoilers, it’s not my style, but I do want to touch on the basis behind “Honor Land”, and that being that it’s closely related to those that place their lives on the line every.single.day in the line of duty to their country, our country. R.S. Guthrie, in “Honor Land”, shows you what it takes to become a part of the Delta force and to live and think as one of these proud soldiers. If you think it’ll be like anything we’ve seen in the movies, it’s not – this is as real as it gets. I live in a military community and have a deep appreciation for what they do for us but I have to say, “Honor Land” made that appreciation even stronger. When you turn the last page, and recount the story from beginning to end, you can’t help but feel the plethora of love the pages told – for our servicemembers, for family, for loyalty, and for justice – a story you lived through and that is now a part of you. I am very much looking forward to the next sequel. That is my only regret – that the next one isn’t right on the horizon for me to continue. That’s what R.S. Guthrie’s books do to me, I never want them to end.

I asked Rob Guthrie to answer some questions to give me, and you, his readers, a greater insight into how “Honor Land” came about, and where R.S. Guthrie goes from here. So, without further ado, I turn the interview over to R.S. Guthrie.  

What inspired “Honor Land”?

I never joined the military, but I have always had the utmost respect for the men and women who serve their countries (as well as firemen, cops, Emergency Medical first-responders, etc.). I ended up late in my “other career,” working for a Lt Col in the Air Force (who was later promoted to full-bird Colonel and invited my wife and I to attend with his friends and family); a (then Captain, now) Major, and a Captain who, when at the AF Academy, was awarded by the President for being the number one of all cadets in the country, AF, Westpoint, and the Naval Academy.

Believe me, I would then and now (and forever) follow any one of them into battle; just throw me a weapon and I will fight right beside them. Great men. Honorable, loving family men. But they know what it takes to defend freedom. Being in that environment—-seeing what is really going on out in the world—I got to see a perspective that most don’t. No, we don’t always do it for the right reasons or the right places—a person would be foolish to think politics don’t play into it—but not for the men I talked about above (ergo other men and women, either, past and present).

I also read a book a couple years back, written by an actual ex-Delta team member (Inside Delta Force, by Eric Haney), that was all about the incredible process of making the cut AND what they really do (almost like clandestine operatives, they are the only element of the military who have long hair, beards, and do not dress in uniform unless part of a military action—almost more, at times, like spies or undercover agents than soldiers, which I did not know and thought was pretty amazing, given the training they’ve endured and survived). Delta’s actual commission is the war on terrorism. So I imagined this “all-American”, smart, athletic/academic-scholarships-galore, who only wanted one thing: to serve his country and to do it as a member of Delta.

THEN, what happens when he comes home? Because too many brave men and women are not getting the treatment they need and that our country owes them (ten times over), and I wondered what if this once all-American kid, from smalltown U.S.A. and Special Forces, was accused of multiple murders.

I know you have previously worked with service members; did you confer with them in doing any research for “Honor Land”?

I did, when I first came up with the idea. The last guy I mentioned above (and by the way, their names are not secret; I dedicated the book to them)—top academy cadet? He went “Blue-to-Green”—Air Force-to-Army—because he wanted to join Special Forces. Unfortunately, after making the cut through paratrooper school and some other tough qualifiers, he was injured in one of the training exercises, severely enough (like a football player) that he could not “play again” (i.e. continue Special Forces training). Big bummer. God blessed them, however, with a first child, then TWINS—or maybe it’s the other way around—but things happen for a reason I guess.

Also, I happen to know some guys who are in Special Forces units whose names I cannot share, of whom I also asked many questions–mostly about tempo, actual firefights, etc. The book is more introspective than soldier action, but I wanted—even if I was talking about the head of a man—to have as good an idea as possible of what he’s probably been through, both in training and in combat. Because it does change EVERY person, one way or another. It has to. And that’s what the book’s core theme is meant to be (and I hope people get it): these people are heroes, who protect YOUR right to spit on them, if you want; burn your own country’s flag; whatever. And they all know that. Yet they step up anyway. And that is why we can continue to live in the “Land of the Free”.

The climactic ending really grabbed and pulled the heart strings. Do you do anything special to get in the mood to write emotional scenes?

Not really. As you know, I establish a beginning point and a pretty good idea of where it will end (and what the core theme is all about) and I write the book as it comes to me, pulling most of it from my own heart, soul, experiences of pain, etc. Our two-month old son died of SIDS. Losing a child, as a parent, there’s not a lot of emotional pain or baggage that tops that. I pull from there when I need an emotional scene or to attempt to make the reader care.

What’s next for R.S. Guthrie?

Book #4 of the James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series, as yet Untitled. This one is going to take off where the Epilogue of Honor Land “left off”, and that’s all I am going say except that it is going to be the most character and action-packed yet! I am so excited about it. I already have the first 20-30% written in my head. 

You’ve recently ventured into the audiobook market, tell us a little bit on how your experience has been with that.

So far, GREAT. I used to listen to audiobooks all the time on my commutes. At some point I got away from it, and in now listening to my own book being narrated back to me (and my wife, too) I am COMPLETELY sucked back into it—I swear, some of it is so goosebumps-raising and emotional that I keep thinking “I actually wrote that?” I know I shouldn’t probably admit that but DANG, audiobooks are a whole other experience.

The sales have been great for Blood Land (the only one as I write this that is live and available; but Money Land goes live any day now, and Honor Land, although it’s days from digital ereader release, is already being produced in the studio)!

Do you have a target date for the next Sheriff Pruett mystery?

Sounds crazy, but I am really shooting for February/March. As I mentioned, I already have 30% of it written in my head. And it is going to be so much fun (action, great characters—old and new) that I know it’s just going to fly off the fingertips. THOSE are the ones that are the best and most fun to write!  

If your keyboard could talk, what would it say to you? And, what would your response be?

SLOW DOWN! Stop for a rest once in awhile, would you???  Damn, my back hurts.

What book are you reading now or, do you want to read?

Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God. Wow that guy can WRITE. And he never uses dialogue quotations. But it doesn’t matter. When I read The Road and No Country for Old Men, I knew I’d found a GEM (not that he’s unknown; just right up my alley)! I also just finished Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.Pinedale_vs_WIHS Alexie (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven) is a (now) middle-aged Native American, about my age, I think, who grew up on the reservation (not that there’s only ONE; that’s what Indians call any rez)—and I have a special pass to both speak about the rez and call/write about “Indians” and be un-PC because I grew up having a significant number of Indian friends, and played The Wyoming Indian High School in football and basketball (the CHIEFS won State in basketball every year I was in high school, I think—we were the only team, my junior year, who did not lose by double-digits to them; I think we lost by 8 or 9 points). I’ve attached a pic of me playing them in football to prove it—-an EXCLUSIVE for your blog; it’s never before been on the Internet, I don’t believe.

Anyway, Alexie is great. One of the best writers, and it’s mostly because he is self and rez-deprecating, while never letting you forget the ATROCITIES we committed against a people who were here FIRST.

The setting: Sheriff Pruett is sitting at the table in the Wooden Boot in downtown Wind River shooting the shit and talking strategy with Ty McIntyre, Malcolm Whitefeather, and Red Horse Baptiste.                            

The conflict: The annual “Paint Balls-to-the-Walls War” event is right around the corner and being hosted this year in Wind River. It brings together a team of four, consisting of the Sheriff and at least one deputy, with a team from each of the five neighboring Wyoming towns. Only rule, you get hit with a paint ball, you’re out. Other than that, no holds bar. 

Resolution: Who will be the last man standing and how did he get there? 

Pruett would be the last man legally (by the rules) standing, because he was a great soldier, and he’s the most seasoned, ruthless, and cunning all combined. TY would never stay down; he would not stop just because a paintball hit him. He’d scream “I’m a F*^&^% BULL-RIDER; ain’t goin’ to quit ’cause some pansy-ass from Chugwater hit me with a paint-filled piece a plastic.”

One of the previous questions was what was next for R.S. Guthrie. This one asks: What’s beyond for R.S. Guthrie?

Hawaii. 

I had to go with eleven questions since it’s one of my lucky numbers…how does one sign up for your newsletter and what are the benefits?

If you click on the following link, it will ask for only your email (which of course I would NEVER sell, give away, etc.) and it puts you on my newsletter (which ONLY goes out when there’s a new book, or a cool contest, or a giveaway—or all three!) AND it then takes you to a page where you can currently download a free copy of Book Two, Money Land, free, for Kindle, Nook, etc. http://bit.ly/rsguthrie

Rob Guthrie Stock Photo

Thanks goes to R.S. Guthrie for taking the time from his busy schedule to appear and answer the questions. Please follow any of the highlighted links below to purchase your copy of Honor Land available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

HONOR LAND: Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.  – Barnes & NobleSmashwords

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Posted in Books, eReader, Interview, Mystery, R.S. Guthrie, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment