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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Posted in Books, eReader, Mystery, Prizes, R.S. Guthrie, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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?


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

Snippets, Stop-its, and Snares, Oh My!

I haven’t blogged in a while and I’ve missed it. When I create a blog, I like to wait for that one subject to grab me and inspire me enough to create a whole piece centered around it. Lately, my mind has been on so many different areas of my life, it’s been hard to be focused on only one….so, to satisfy this particular writing need, I decided to take you down a few of the myriad routes my thoughts have, and are, travelling.

Where to begin. Well most people I suppose would start at the beginning; but, mine really starts near the ending. Of 2014, that is.

The snippets:

The beginning starts on a sad note. Sometime in the latter part of 2014 I said goodbye to my Pug companion of fifteen years. I don’t remember the date or the month. I don’t want to. All I do know is that a piece of my heart went with her that will never be replaced. Why do I start with that? Because her health had been declining and all my thoughts and concern had been devoted to her near the end. No writing got done on my blog or my book – which, even prior to that, my book was on a back burner for almost nine months due to another writing project. So, with all that behind me, it was with an unwelcome relief that I was able to pick my book back up to continue on.

I’m really excited where I am with the book and where it’s going. I have a deadline date I have set for myself to have it completed and on Amazon (a hint: within the next sixty days). There’s so much to do outside of writing it, though! Especially for a first-time author. I’m not overwhelmed…yet. It’s fresh and exhilarating and I love learning and experiencing new things (at least when it comes to writing and marketing). In the meantime, to inspire me even more, and, if I am honest, most of all….I now have a cover. This isn’t a cover reveal, in toto, but it’s close enough to share and give you a first glimpse.

in our own time preview A low-res (1)

One of the important aspects of coming out of the gate when you publish is getting the word out. If you think you would consider helping me promote “In Our Own Time” on your blog when I publish, please contact me either by commenting below or by email to let me know; and/or, if you would be interested in reading and reviewing the book, I would love to add you to my list. Please, the more, the better!

In the meantime, another important snippet to pass along is the latest information about a GREAT author and great friend, R.S. Guthrie. Blood Land FinalHe’s been the busy writer – having had created an audible book on his best seller, “Blood Land.” Those who have downloaded the kindle version of Blood Land, the cost for the audiobook is $1.99. For those who have never tried an audiobook I really encourage you to start with this one. I have read Blood Land more times than I can count but hearing it on audiobook was like reading it for the first time all over again. Through the narrator, Brad Langer’s voice, I was swept right into Sheriff Pruett’s town and life. I did mention Guthrie’s the busy writer – he’s getting ready to publish his third book in the series, Honor Land – which I’ll be featuring on a whole other blog when it “hits the stands” so keep watching for that. I’ve had the privilege of reading a portion of Honor Land and believe me, you’re going to want it so if you’re not on his mailing list – get on there now and you can be one of the first to know when it’s available.

Last snippet is that I am uber-excited to be going on a mini-vacation this year. My 21 year-old niece and I will be going to Las Vegas in a couple of months. It’ll be the first time for both of us to visit there, not to mention it’s been ages since I’ve been on an airplane and I love to fly, so I’m stoked. We’ll only be there for a few days and have a lot of sightseeing to cram in. We’re looking forward to seeing one of the Cirque du Soleil shows. She’s also looking forward to seeing “Bodies – The Exhibition”. And, NO, it’s not what you’re thinking. My niece is going to college and studying medicine. This is an exhibit where you can see the inner workings of muscles and organs. When she told me about it, my response was “Hmm, you go ahead, I think I’ll sit that one out”; but, then she said, “Look, you might be able to use it in one of your books.” Damn, she knows how to reel me in.

The stop-its:

Once I stopped putting everything ahead of my writing I learned that people can make do without me and I’m a happier person. I also stopped waiting until the last minute to wake up, leaving me with just enough time to get ready for my 9-5’er. Instead, the best part of my day now is getting up before dawn to open the curtains in my office and get on the computer to talk to friends, whilst watching for the sunrise, and, soon to follow, the birds and squirrels coming to the feeders.

The Snares:

I don’t have too many indulgences anymore. I’ve gotten away from watching a lot of tv – more Discovery and History channels, or, movies than anything else. Music is a passion and in the morning, can set the tone for my whole day. So, the snares? Well, I used to love playing games on the computer. There wasn’t a Tomb Raider game made that I didn’t play; then when I upgraded the computer and the games I had became outdated, I started playing the online games offered on Pogo. However, when writing took a more important role in my life, I canceled my membership. But, my guilty pleasure still remains in gaming. So, when my brain needs a break from a scene I’m writing? Well, if you ever played and enjoyed “Frogger,” you have to try the “Crossy Road” game app. It’s perfect for me since it’ll have me cussing within just a few minutes, my inability to keep my character alive. But those few minutes were exactly what I needed to get unfocused just enough to be able to come back to the scene I’m working on with a fresh eye.

2015, silhouette of a woman standing in the sunrise

My journey into being a published author is just beginning. I’m thrilled 2015 is finally here and everything it’s going to bring: One of my biggest dreams will become reality – and, I’m sure there’ll be a few surprises – I’m counting on it…I’ve learned that’s when you feel the most alive.

Let’s just hope through it all: my eyes will stay dry; my shoe laces stay tied; I’ll hit the bull’s eye; say more Hellos than Goodbyes; and, let’s not forget – fly the blue skies. Oh My!

Posted in Books, eReader, Marketing, Publishing, R.S. Guthrie, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wham, Spam, Thank-You, Ma’am #Marketing

We all get them, even the ones that send them receive them from others. And it’s funny to watch how trends, like the tide, they ebb and flow. Most of us who have been around the social media/marketing world a while (ummm, say more than two years) saw a surge – quite a few of us even amongst those guilty at one time or another – until realizing maybe it wasn’t such a good idea since it had the opposite effect. It turned people off instead and didn’t amount to additional sales.

Okay, by now I’m sure you’re wondering what the it is I’m talking about. Get on with it, I hear you say in my head. Well, the  it or “wham,” for purposes of the blog post title I’m referring to, consists of a “Hi” in front of the comma followed by … “buy my book”. Perhaps not so blunt but that’s what it boils down to. I’m talking about those auto-messages delivered in your Twitter DM box; and/or, those timeline posts placed on your Facebook page by who was, only fifteen minutes ago, a stranger.

I’m not a blind Follow-back type of person. If I follow or friend you back, it’s because I’ve looked at your profile and something you said piqued my interest enough to want to follow your timeline, get to know you per se. If I’m intrigued enough, I might even check your author page on Amazon and Click to View and Sample one of your books.

But, (and you knew there was going to be one of those coming, right?) in the meantime, a DM has appeared in the Inbox and when opened, instead of seeing such pleasantries as a “Thanks for the follow, I look forward to sharing tweets with you,” it is more along the lines of: 

Thanks for the follow. Please–

  • Like my Facebook page
  • If you like reading (insert genre) then you’ll love my book
  • Read a sample of my book and let me know what you think
  • Support my kickstarter campaign
  • Retweet the following message…

All of these were culled from direct messages received on my twitter account. 


It’s disappointing, really. It feels similar to strolling through a mall, passing one of those kiosks, and, not wanting to be rude to the sales person staring a hole right through you, you flash them a courtesy smile of acknowledgment. Wham. You gave them an audience and they shout out, “would you like to try…”. EXCEPT, in a mall, well, you are there to buy stuff but on Twitter and Facebook, you go there to interact, learn, peruse, promote yourself and others.

I get it. Marketing is absolutely key in self-publishing. Even if you go traditional publishing, a large part will still fall on the shoulders of the author to self-promote.  There are no free rides on this branch of being a writer. As my good friend and best-selling author, R.S. Guthrie, has said on marketing: “Writing the book is the easy part.” Marketing and branding–that takes work.

There are plenty of tools, websites, and books around on marketing and branding all to educate and school you on what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t write this blog to set out any rules or go into promotional etiquette. I wrote this blog post only as a vehicle to say that if you are that person that uses auto tweets when someone follows or friends you, try to be a little genuine and be who you really are–A writer who has poured their heart and love into a collection of words you want to share with that reader who will treat it with respect and the enthusiasm it deserves. 

A few ways to find that readership base and make that happen is to join #Triberr, make friends by interacting, form a Street Team. Be sincere and offer to help your fellow author. We all share the same hopes and dreams when it comes to our books. Don’t be one-dimensional whose sole purpose is to promote only yourself. Reciprocity, and kindness, both go a looooong way in this business.

Indie writer

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Dear Diary…

Dearest Diary,

                We packed a picnic lunch and went out to Crystal Lake today. It was a perfect summer day. We watched the dragonflies dance on the rocks skirting the edge of the water while we sat beneath our favorite river birch and talked about our fall wedding plans. I can’t believe the date is getting so close. To think underneath that tree was the spot where we shared our first kiss eight years ago. Even at fifteen, through all the acne and those horrible metal braces, I knew he was my one. What I wasn’t prepared for was the beauty he would grow into. He hates it when I call him beautiful, but he is. Those shimmering blue eyes…when they look at me beneath that blonde hair, it just takes my breath away. We brought brie, chilled champagne and stopped by Haggerty’s Stand to get some fresh, juicy, peaches. As we ate, I became fixated on a small bead of peach juice that slid down his chin and then disappeared underneath the collar of his polo. I couldn’t help thinking of the muscles hidden under the tight white knit where that sweet juice would pool. He had to ask me twice for a napkin before I snapped out of my wicked thoughts. I was wonton, shameless. I took his hand and told him not to worry, I had a better idea for taking care of it, and I led him into the woods…

The foregoing could be an entry from my diary or, a rough draft of a scene out of my upcoming book. With a writer, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate where true life ends and the imagination begins when you hear them tell a story.

Diary1It used to be most teens, especially girls, kept a diary. It was the one place they could share their thoughts without ridicule or judgment, and when they were done, secure their secrets by a keyed lock. For their eyes only; hidden where no one, hopefully, would find it. Then later, as we got older, the diaries became journals.

Regardless of how many secrets were written down, though, there were always a few kept outside of a diary or journal. Too precious and heartfelt were they to entrust in the real world. So where then could they go?

For a writer, in our characters. They get to live out the diary of those thoughts, fantasies, and what-ifs within the pages we create.

What an author writes, it doesn’t matter what genre you’re speaking of, the heart of the lead characters are born from the heartbeat and soul of the writer. To mention just a few examples: James Lee Burke, both in his interviews and from a great friend who has personally met him, like his main character, he’s one of those good-to-the-core people; Harlan Coben, the same in interviews I’ve read of him – he possesses a great sense of humor and curiosity; Nora Roberts – a romantic in her prose and life. The writers I know personally, each of their lead characters’ core mirrors in most respects, their creators.

We infuse so much of ourselves into our characters, no wonder we fall in love with them. No matter what my characters feel that day, whether good or bad, it will bleed into me. They live out our dreams, defeat our fears, and ALWAYS get the last word in. One of the favorite sayings of a writer is: “Don’t do me wrong because I might put you in my next book and get even.” I wonder how many writers in developing the “bad guy” do follow through with that sentiment and develop a character where they receive closure from a true-life event. Writing a book, or even a blog, like writing in a diary, is cathartic to the writer’s soul.

I’m sure every artist, whether a painter, sculptor, designer, or even crafter; they share their heart through their creativity, whatever medium that may be. But for writers, we have the best outlet of all – our characters are our Dear Diary, our sounding board and vessel of our secrets.

Indie writer

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One Author Plus One Author Equals?

As so often happens when I want some “quiet” time, I open up the iTunes program and let the music begin. Doesn’t make sense to you, you say? Well, for me at least, when I listen to good music it becomes only me. My attention is not diverted to a screen or box, the focus is on the inner self, my quiet thoughts, and what the music and/or lyrics is making me feel. Happy or mellow, the music can even dictate my mood. Maybe on the flip side, it enhances what I am going through at the moment – though you’ll never find me listening to the mournful “lost love” type of music. Michael Bolton, sorry, but I figured out “How (Am I Supposed) to Live Without You”. Good grief, like watching a tear-jerker on purpose, who wants to wallow in that? Please, give me a song that’s upbeat and makes me want to savor a good cup of coffee, or get up and do the happy dance. But I am getting off-topic…and for all the Michael Bolton fans, I do apologize. 

rock band silhouetteMusic is what influenced this blog, however, and that’s why I bring it up first. I was scrolling through my playlist and saw so many GREAT bands or duos. Collaborations of artists making memorable, iconic songs that will never fade away. Aerosmith, U2, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Casting Crowns, Van Halen, Journey, ZZ Top. The list goes on. True, some of the members of these bands did strike out on their own to pursue solo endeavors but when they were together as a band, it was magic. More common nowadays, and across all genres, you see solo artists’ songs on the charts with a “feat. (insert name of an equally well-known artist),” making them really not solo at all. You think Usher is good? Let Pitbull “feature” with him on a song and that song just went up a notch. 

But does that only happen in music – where more than one equals better? 

I wonder why you don’t see more authors collaborating on a book. You may see a “Foreword” penned by another author but to co-write a book? Not very often. One popular author who is noted to truly enjoy co-authoring is James Patterson who has said that “collaborating with others brings new and interesting ideas to his stories.” How’s that for a win-win.


How many solo authors could benefit from joining with another, particularly when one author’s strength is in a different genre than the other. Think about it. The genres used to be simple: Romance, Mystery, Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Western – one genre, cut and dry. Not anymore. Genres, like music, have crossed over: Romance/Mystery, Horror/Thriller…in fact, I saw one the other day advertised as “Christian/Romance/Suspense.”

It’s not difficult to imagine that an author’s writing is not created equal. Me? My strength lies in the romantic arena. I couldn’t no more write a horror if my life depended on it…I take that back, I could write anything but outside of romance, it would probably suck. BUT I would definitely co-author in a horror genre and be proud of it, IF I were writing it with another author whose creative penchant for horror equaled mine for romance.

I know it’s not that easy – to partner with someone who you can collaborate with…peacefully and creatively. It takes trust, respect, the same work ethic and just as important: the same vision.

As you can guess, I’m in the middle of a work-in-progress with another author. The first time for both of us in co-writing a book. It wasn’t as hard as you would think for us to find that one-voice. We have all the ingredients in the partnership I mentioned above plus we are really great friends – completely simpatico in all areas and we’ve already talked about the next book we would like to write together.

coauthlogoDo you think you would benefit from partnering with another author? If you don’t have someone in mind, start now to put your feelers out, ask your author friend(s) – the one you respect; the one whose books you already love reading. That’s one of the things about authors…we all love reading the writing of those authors we most admire, or, who write similarly.

All authors, at least the ones who know how to market well, network. Like a child, and let’s face it: books are our babies, writing a book is only a fraction of what it takes to give it wings, it takes a village to sell a book. Heck, even before selling, an author has (or should have) utilized members of the community to even get it to the point of marketable, such as an editor, proofreader, beta reader(s), cover designer, etc. Imagine working with another author who has as much vested interest and love for the book as you.  

And, it’s not just for us. How about your readers? While you’re marketing your co-written book to your loyal readers, your co-author is enjoying the benefit of being introduced to more readers who may in the future become his/her loyal readers as well; and BAM…they are doing the same for you on their end. Reciprocity in this regard is definitely an added benefit.

Nothing is stopping you to continue to pursue a solo by-line but entertain adding another author to that by-line at some point. Believe me, when it works, it’s magic.

Never Enough Books

Posted in Co-Author, Marketing, Writing | 2 Comments

An Author Blog Chain

I have had the pleasure and honor of being tagged in an Author Blog Chain. You’ve probably seen a few going around. The only way to participate is firstly, be an author; and secondly, to have a blog. Okay, perhaps a little obvious there but above all, you must be invited by a fellow author who believes in your work, your blog and most importantly, YOU.

The one who thought enough of me to mention, tag, and keep the chain moving forward is the very talented, best-selling author, R.S. Guthrie. His blog RobOnWriting is one of the best around. Rob Guthrie Stock PhotoThe year has only started and he has already produced many insightful blogs covering everything from classic must-see movies, sports, marketing advice, and of course, indispensable writing advice. I can be totally honest that no matter what I’m doing (other than driving), when I see the notification that he has uploaded a blog, I will stop and read it. And …  I’m Never Disappointed. The post he was tagged in and answered the four questions I’m about to answer can be found on his blog under the same title “An Author Blog Chain.” 

His blog, though, isn’t the only place you should be reading his writing. R.S. Guthrie delivers the goods when it comes to telling a story. I have read and loved each one of his books. From his Mystery/Thriller series, pick up Blood Land and Money Land; from his Horror/Thriller Trilogy: Black Beast, LOST and Reckoning; and, to anyone reading this who writes, his non-fiction book on writing, INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book is THE book you want to keep handy and refer to before each and every book you publish. His latest release is a short story found within the pages of Eight The Hard Way, an Anthology of Short Stories from eight best-selling Mystery/Thriller writers. The short story, entitled “Veritas: Concubine,” is an introduction to the main character of what will be a litany of upcoming “Veritas” novellas. The chatter has already begun surrounding this exciting storyline.

Getting back to the blog chain – this chain is a little different from the others. Rather than the emphasis be on promoting and supporting other authors, which I think I can safely say is the one thing all of the authors tagged within this chain have in common, you instead blog about yourself for a change. The answers to the questions propounded are to provide you, the reader, a look into what is going on with me. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I enjoyed writing them!

1.  What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working alongside two other authors on a writing project. When time allows me to put that aside, I go back to my own novel in progress, a contemporary romance. Yes, it’s coming along slowly, but I believe in first impressions and since this will be my first published piece – when it is released, I want it to be a work I’m proud of and not something thrown out just to say “I’m published.” Unfortunately, I see a lot of authors do just that or skip important steps such as having it edited or proofread. I don’t want my first book remembered for what was wrong with it but what was right. 

2.  How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

Although I love reading historial romance and western romance, I’m writing a contemporary romance set in a major, central U.S., city. This romance and all the others I plan on writing, I believe, will be different in that each story could be true, not just exist in fantasy. Writing a story this way, for me, makes the characters more alive and their emotions more real. When they laugh, I laugh; when they applaud, I applaud; when they make love, my heart is racing right with them; and, when their heart breaks, so does mine. I write to make my readers not only read the story, but live the story with their own emotions.

3.  Why do you write what you write?

I have always had a vivid imagination. When I was younger, my daydreams wound around being a key player in an action scenario or a singer in a rock band. As I got older, they matured to seeking that one true love. The characters and the stories just come to me…usually random thoughts where some begin and end just as a “what-if” where others will stretch out to form a beginning, middle, and end. I’m one of those people, too, where I dream stories. One of the stories out of those dreams is set to become a Mystery/Thriller trilogy which I have already asked an author friend to co-write with me. But all of them, no matter how they come to me, manifest inside my heart and soul and telling them is a release and makes room for more. 

4.  How does your writing process work?

That’s a toughie. Unless there is some outside stress going on in my life, the muse is only a keystroke away. However, I am a horrible procrastinator. The upside to that trait? I’m great under pressure or a deadline. Right now, being the novice that I am, I will write a thousand or so words and then go back and hone it. One day, hopefully sooner than later, I hope to be able to write a good portion of a book before I go back to hone it, much like I do when I write a blog or short story. That’s my goal and one which I will attain some day. The two books I’m working on right now are just the beginning.

So that’s a little insight into me and where I’m at professionally. Now to the other fun part of the blog. I get to nominate and tag one, or two, or three of the authors I admire to let them answer these same questions and give you a peek into what’s coming up for them. One of the first authors I really think of when it comes to talent and marketing and all-around great personality is Charity Parkerson. Thankfully when I asked, she accepted and, since the other two didn’t get back to me in time, I get to toot her horn a little louder and give her my blog’s undivided attention.


Her official bio: Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Midnight Books, and Punk & Sissy Publications. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

Charity Parkerson

*2013 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
*2013 Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner
*ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance
*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath
*Named one of the top 10 best books by an Indie author in 2011- Paranormal Reads Reviews
*Best Paranormal Romance of 2012- Paranormal Reads Reviews
*Quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as an authority on Independent Publishing.

From my personal experience with her, I can tell you she is one of the most friendly, accessible authors on Twitter and Facebook. Her support of other authors is phenomenal. I first noticed her wit and informative tweets on Twitter several years ago and later listened to that same wit and delightful interviews of other authors in her weekly podcasts from The Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson Show. Her blog, The Sinner Author, usually will feature either a review from a book or an author interview. How she keeps up with that all that and churns out her romance books, must be true discipline. She deserves the awards she has received. She is a GREAT storyteller. None are your typical romance, some are laced with paranormal, some are mysteries, and most, if not all, are interspersed with her tasteful and classy writing of the erotica. If you haven’t read any of her works before, go to Amazon now. Her books are available in ebook, paperback, and her most recent, also in audio audible edition. There are over twenty books to choose from and you can view and make selection(s) from her Author Page on Amazon.

To connect with Charity Parkerson online visit:

Website: http://www.charityparkerson.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson
Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/CharityParkerso                                        Blog: http://charity-thesinners.blogspot.com

Charity Parkerson will be continuing the blog chain with her own post on or around March 3rd. Don’t forget to visit and see who will be next in line.

Posted in Books, Charity Parkerson, Interview, R.S. Guthrie, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Writing – It Soothes the Soul

This blog was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook the other morning. It was an article highlighting an artist in San Francisco, California, who creates art in sand on the beach at low tide. “A Man Takes A Single Rake To The Beach. And When You Zoom Out and See It…Mind Blown.” What spoke to me, though, wasn’t so much the article but what was said by the person who shared the post. My great friend, Rob Guthrie, commented: “To enjoy the CREATION of your art enough to not mind when the tide washes it away a few hours later—well, that’s true love.”  He–nailed–it.

I have always enjoyed reading for as long as I can remember. Little Men Women Like for everyone else, it started with cereal boxes and children’s books…but I suppose when those ran out and I began to thumb through our set of World Book Encyclopedias, my parents, who were the most frugal people I’ve ever known (and since the encyclopedias was that era’s version of the world-wide-web, harboring within the pages definitions and pictures no eight-year old should be exposed to) put together enough money to buy a set of Companion Library Books. Thirty books, each containing a fable or other time-honored children’s classic. I devoured them. From Huckleberry Finn, to The Arabian Nights; Robinson Crusoe to Little Women; Treasured Island to The Call of the Wild. I was in my own small piece of heaven when I opened those covers. If it was a real page-turner, after bedtime, I would crawl from under the covers and sit beside the nightlight to finish reading a page, or a chapter, or the book itself. I never did get caught, although by the time I was twelve, I needed glasses. 

A little older and my reading world expanded again when every other Saturday, my best friend and I would ride our bikes to the church in our neighborhood and wait in the parking lot for the new bookmobile to arrive. It wasn’t too long after that, a library was built close by and from there, I never looked back. Books became, and still are, a constant part of my life. 

I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but one day in my teenage years I picked up a spiral notebook, untouched with no school notes yet, and I began to write. Not a daily diary, but rather a journal of my thoughts. There was no order or schedule I adhered to – it was my go-to whenever I was troubled, or excited, or just contemplating; I’d pull it out from underneath my mattress and put in my own words, what I hoped I could look back at later and remember. Some entries were deep, some silly, some that didn’t make any sense at all except at the time I was jotting it down, other thoughts I purposefully added just so when I did get older I would be able to look back and have sympathy and an understanding of what a teenager went through, so convinced was I that after a certain age, adults forgot and remembered nothing of what it felt like to be a kid.

It didn’t take too long to realize that I loved to write. I escaped when that pen was in my hand, into a world all my own. No judgments, no criticism, no failures or disappointments.

Indie writerLater, instead of keeping a journal, I wrote letters. There have been letters of anger where I raged with my feelings of betrayal and bitterness that were never delivered to the guilty party; letters of what I hoped to be wisdom I’d accumulated and given to a loved relative at a significant milestone in their life; letters of disappointment, fear, and loss of hope written to myself. What I discovered, is that somehow through each letter written in anger I became stronger; each letter penned with advice, showed me I really did know more than I thought; and, through each letter that dealt with hopes and dreams, I found who I really was. Every major decision I have ever made, was usually preceded with a letter(s) of “Pros and Cons”. Without fail, when I was finished, looking at it in black and white, the decision I needed to make was there in front of me.

Writing…whether a letter, an email, a blog, or a book, is where my true self comes out. No doubt, it can be difficult at times to get thoughts to paper, especially if you’re working a scene that you know is missing something but then when it comes to you, it’s akin to finding that puzzle piece that fell under the table. You pick it up and it just slides right into that spot made for it and all is well with the world again.

Unfortunately, that journal I mentioned where I found my love for writing didn’t survive to make the journey with me into the present. When moving into our first home with my (then) husband, he found and read it while I was at work one day. And, to say he didn’t like some of the things he read is an understatement. I stood at the kitchen window and watched as the Bic lighter dipped inside the metal garbage can in our back yard that night and a soft orange glow began to emanate from within.

While I am not one to hold grudges, remembering that night I just want to call him up on the phone right now and tell him what a fishstick he was for doing that. But then again, perhaps I’ll write a letter instead…

Like that journal, there are and still will be, other words, letters, stories even, I write that I doubt anyone will ever see and the time may come when the tide takes them, too, away. I won’t mind. I created it and it made a difference in me and for however long it existed, it soothed my soul.

There Is No Such Thing As Too Many Books

There Is No Such Thing As Too Many Books

Posted in Books, Motivation, R.S. Guthrie, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

R.S. Guthrie Unveils “Veritas” And Promises There’s A Lot In Store For This Character

Earlier this month, “Eight The Hard Way”, an anthology of short stories contributed by eight masters of the Mystery and Thriller genre, hit publication.

I set up an interview with R.S. Guthrie to not only discuss his short story “Veritas: Concubine” within the anthology, but to catch up with the author and bring his readers up-to-date on what he has going on in the months ahead.

Eight the Hard WayFirst, about “Veritas: Concubine”: The synopsis off the Amazon page describes it as “How far would you go to find the truth? Shale Veritas is not his real name, but that’s not important. What’s important is why he’s taken an interest in you – and what you’ve done to deserve it…This dark, atmospheric tale of revenge, justice, and redemption is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned.” 

From my own reading of  “Veritas: Concubine”, I can share with you that Shale Veritas is nothing like anything R.S. Guthrie has written before. This character is edgy, calculated, driven and highly intelligent. Skilled with natural-born talents honed by none other than Delta Force, Shale Veritas is a seeker of justice. And, he will dispense that justice in a way that fits the crime. Oh, and I should mention ladies….he’s very easy on the eyes. Shale Veritas is a truly lethal combination of brawn, brains, looks and compassion. (I can hear a collective of sighs now – mine included.)

At the conclusion of the short story, “Veritas: Concubine”, I didn’t feel like I had read a short story but a lengthy novella. So packed within the pages, R.S. Guthrie told, and showed us, a history; a setting; an injustice and then imparted on the reader the feelings of suspense, sorrow, vengeance, and retaliation. At the conclusion, all expectations were met and exceeded and you felt you had yourself lived the character of Shale Veritas.

A big thank you to R.S. Guthrie for taking time out of his busy schedule to indulge me in answering a variety of questions relating to his work, while having some fun at the same time. 

Veritas is a very unusual name – what inspired that name?

Veritas means “truth”. The core of the series is that we all, in some way, yearn for the truth. And truth comes in myriad packages, not all of them pleasant. Shale Veritas is the person you want standing on that wall when the truth needs a defender willing to do whatever it takes to keep good people safe.

If Shale Veritas were to show up in Wind River, the town setting in your mystery/thriller Blood Land, would Sheriff James Pruett have anything to worry about?

If Veritas showed up in Wind River (and who’s to say he might not one day?), he would clearly have come to take care of some ugly business; Sheriff Pruett understands nothing if not the need to do what has to be done to protect his town. My guess is Pruett and Veritas would like each other very much. Then again, that’s the beauty of a story: not knowing just what will happen in the end!

Having read your short story in Eight The Hard Way, I am so intrigued and enthralled by this character. Will this be an on-going series, or do you have a set number in mind? And, if it’s any influence on your answer, this reader is hoping that your answer will be that it is on-going indefinitely.

Well you are in luck, because my plan is to release Veritas novellas—succinct, enthralling, action-packed reads—two or three at a time. In my mind, there is no limit to the number of Veritas novellas to be written; there is a lot of truth that needs defending out there in the world.

In the Detective Bobby Mac Thriller series and the Sheriff James Pruett Mystery series, you’ve shown an ability to appeal to the male reader by creating a strong, man’s man, tough-guy persona; yet, using those same traits to attract the female reader and also portray a sexual and intimate side to these characters. It’s certainly a tough line to walk. Will Shale Veritas also be the kind of man every woman wants?

You know, when I wrote Detective Bobby Mac in 2011, I made no secret he was patterned after John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee, a tough-as-nails, tender-hearted hero. My readership on that (as well as the Sheriff James Pruett) series is well over two-thirds female. I see Veritas appealing to both men and women—men because he is a product of Special Operations training, ruthless toward the evil in this world, and as expert and tough as they come; females because, like Travis McGee, he knows what a woman appreciates in a man and is able to both protect, respect, and treat her with love and tenderness.

What does 2014 hold in store for the fans of R.S. Guthrie books?

The completion of the third James Pruett mystery, Honor Land! That one has been a while coming. After that, as mentioned before, a good number of Veritas novellas. I’d like to have a dozen of those out by year’s end. We’ll see. A writer’s eyes are often bigger than his or her “stomach”.

Congratulations on being named one of the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading”! Is there an award you aspire to receive?

Seal-2013Winner-300Like any Mystery writer, I don’t think I will feel fully accomplished unless, one day, I am considered for an Edgar. I mean, how could any actor be honest if their ultimate goal was not a Golden Globe or Academy Award? I’d also feel pretty satisfied if one (or more) of my books landed one day on the coveted NYT Bestseller list. Small goals, you see. ;)

We’re starting to see a lot of anthologies hit the market. Do you see that as a trend? Is it a statement to how busy we’ve gotten in our lives or another genre that has been stagnant too long and now coming to the forefront?

I think anthologies have always had their place. For me, they’ve always been a great source of finding new authors to read. If an anthology has one or two authors I love, the chances are pretty good that the other authors in the collection will appeal to me as well.

Your non-fiction “INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book” is lauded by writers as being one of the best how-to’s on the craft they’ve ever read. Do you anticipate following that up with a sequel?

Yes, my intent with “INK” was to provide a short, concise, no-frills list of actionable tools an author could use to make their book better. Period. I always envisioned it a smaller book, not unlike Strunk & White’s Elements of Style; a book to keep next to your computer for quick reference. This year I plan to publish a much more extensive book for writers that delves into the murky necessities of book marketing, author branding, what works, what doesn’t, as well as some more plentiful writing advice.

In Veritas, you take the reader inside the Army Delta Force; in Detective Bobby Mac, the Denver Police Department and FBI; in Sheriff James Pruett, the local Sheriff’s Department and inside hometown politics. What’s next?

Great question. The Secret Service and the areas for which they are responsible have always fascinated me. We all know they are tasked with the crucial duty of protecting the President and other high-ranking government officials, of course. That’s all I want to say at this point, but there is a book coming, and it will not be what anyone expects.

Finish this dialogue:

Shale Veritas sat with his arms folded across his chest. An untouched whiskey sour sat atop the oak table engraved with graffiti.

Rockin’ Rita and the Glory Hole Band just finished playing their first set.  Rita takes the mic and says, “Any requests from the crowd?”

Veritas calls from the back, above the rest:

Sympathy for the Devil.”

He catches her eye when she scans for the requestor. He smiles sardonically and motions to the whiskey sour and the empty seat across the table.

“Hold that thought,” Rita says to the crowd, the verve and energy of the moment draining like fluid from her already gaunt features. In the poor lighting, she looks to have instantly aged ten years. She turns to the band. “Take twenty.”


Eight The Hard Way” is available at all online retailers. Among them, the majors: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

While there, please check out all the books written by R.S. Guthrie: Blood Land (FREE on ebook), Money Land, Black Beast, LOST, Reckoning, and INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book.

You can follow him on Twitter @RSGuthrie; “Like” him on Facebook; Visit his website RSGuthrie.com; and, subscribe to his popular blog RobOnWriting where he gives writing advice and shares his humor, snippets of life, and great taste in movies!

There Is No Such Thing As Too Many Books

There Is No Such Thing As Too Many Books

Posted in Books, eReader, Interview, Mystery, R.S. Guthrie, Reading, Writing | 5 Comments

Latest Release from Author Elena M., “A Scent of Gardenias” Is Now Available.

A Scent of Gardenias,” the most recent book from Author Elena M. has gone live on ebook and paperback retailer sites. I had the good fortune of being approached by Elena prior to its release to preview “A Scent of Gardenias” and, having been so touched by the life the author developed in her lead character, Sarah Ann Baker, I have been anxiously anticipating this moment where I could help in promoting “A Scent of Gardenias.”

Sarah Ann Baker starts off with a child’s idyllic life, in a home by the seashore surrounded by loving parents. It’s not long before it’s all ripped away from her and Sarah is forced to begin a journey of discovery – of her strength, of her freedom, and finding love.

If you think it’s just your typical love story, you’re wrong. Elena M. weaves within the pages, a mystery of the paranormal kind. Sarah Ann Baker was born with a unique gift of sensing bad things to come (you’ll have to find out how she receives this foreboding in the book); but, what she doesn’t see coming is a suspicion that she is not the only one to share the home in which Sarah hoped to finally find peace.


Elena M. pulls you into the story and won’t let you go until the end. The mark of a good storyteller is when you can experience the emotions of the characters. Elena M. is a good storyteller. You will feel anger, shame, grief and failed expectations but are rewarded with joy, laughter, surprises and elation.

I asked Elena a series of questions so you can get to know her better. I’m pleased to introduce to you, Elena M.:

First, I want to thank you, Gail, for the invitation to be interviewed about my new book, “A Scent of Gardenias.” It’s a pleasure to be here.

What was your inspiration for “A Scent of Gardenias”?

I wanted to write a ghost story, however my story evolved into something more along the way. There is always a story in the news unfortunately, about one child bullying another. And, how bullying can be instrumental resulting in a tragedy like Columbine or even suicide.

I wanted to explore how with the support of a loving family and, perhaps a friend or two, a child could overcome these threatening roadblocks in life.

From start to finish, how long did it take you to finish the piece?

I started writing this book three years ago, and set it aside partially finished because of writer’s block.

At the time, I was taking a Creative Writing Class hoping to free the block. However, because of the subject matter in class, I got involved in another storyline that resulted in my other book, “Lake Charm,” a murder mystery that takes place in a trailer park alongside Lake Charm, Florida. The trailer park is fictitious, as is the story.

I became friends with a well- known FanFiction author, Jane Harvey-Berrick who wrote, “Fifty Shades of Grey and The Story Continues,” and many more published works in her own right. I told her about the book I started at the time entitled, “Bailey’s Cove.” Jane encouraged me to complete it.

By then, another author by the name of Sylvain Reynard came along with his bestselling books, “Gabriel’s Inferno” and “Gabriel’s Rapture.” He spoke about faith, love, grace, hope and redemption, which was like a light bulb going off in my head. At that point, I knew how I wanted to continue my unfinished story of Sarah Ann Baker and her struggles through life.

Do you have any other writing projects on the horizon?

Yes, in fact I do, however, I’m undecided about the name because I’ve only just begun. It’s another murder mystery.

While A Scent of Gardenias is mainly romance, it did have a bit of paranormal in it, specifically ghosts. Can we expect more from you in the romance/paranormal sphere?

Perhaps one day I will. I rather enjoyed Hazel Mueller’s ghost. I have a fascination with the spirit world, and know people who have experienced things after a loved one has passed away.

You made the scenes of domestic abuse amazingly real in A Scent of Gardenias. Have you been touched in any way by that in the past?

I thank God I haven’t. I was fortunate to come from a very close and loving Italian family. However, I knew of some school friends who experienced some domestic abuse. There are many stories on Lifetime TV that deal with this issue as well.

Do you have a favorite all-time book or author that influenced you as a writer?

Yes, Sylvain Reynard is my very favorite author. I have never been addicted to an author’s writing as I am to his. He touches my heart and soul with his brilliant prose. His characters actually become part of your life, and you never want the stories to end. He not only entertains you with a wonderful story, but he educates you in the process. His stories are based on the Italian Renaissance, and the famous love story of the poet, Dante Alighieri and Beatrice Portinari. However, it is in current day form. He makes me want to write better.

You’ve written three other books under the name of Ellen Totten. Why did you decide to use a pen name with A Scent of Gardenias?

That’s an excellent question, Gail. I decided to write it under my real name, which is Elena Marie, because I felt this was the best book I’ve written. I feel I have grown over the past few years as an author. Writing was something I took up when my husband and I retired. It was actually on my bucket list with golf. I learned to play golf first.

What is your favorite line from A Scent of Gardenias?

I guess it would be the following when she reflects about John:

“He promised to keep in touch and always love her when she had to move away. Now she felt they were empty words that people did not intend to keep. They bandied them about as conversation fillers and nothing more.”

I think this is probably true with many people. Have you ever experienced this when you had to move away or out of state? I think we all have.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I can’t remember the essays I wrote in my English classes, because it was too many years ago. My first attempt to write a book was when we moved to The Villages. The book was “Fatal Choices.” I’m rueful of the day I allowed certain people to influence me on the storyline, as well as the editor I chose. I was embarrassed with the result. I relied too heavily on someone’s recommendation.

What was the hardest part of writing A Scent of Gardenias?

I guess the abuse scenes were difficult because I had to act it out in my mind.

Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

I’m a native of Boston. In 1967, I was transferred to Washington, D. C. because of my job and based at National Airport with Delta Air Lines.  It was there I met and married my husband, Jerry, who worked for Naval Sea Systems Command. Because of our work, we were able to travel the world and meet some wonderful people who became lifelong friends.

After my career of thirty years, my husband and I retired to Florida in 1992 where we both took up the game of golf, and I found I had a love for writing.


Thank you so much, Elena. It has been such a pleasure to have you here.

You can find “A Scent of Gardenias” on Amazon.com/US, Canada & UK, Barnes & Noble.com & Books-A-Million

Never Enough Books

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