Tag Archives: fiction

#SaturdaySeven #LASReviews

I’m at a conference this weekend, so I’m going to make this short and sweet.

The 7 elements I think are essential in any great romance story.

  1. a heroine with backbone that I can imagine myself being
  2. a hero I can fall n love despite foibles and flaws
  3. a villain/protagonist who isn’t a characature
  4. a plot that is plausible with conflict that is real not contrived
  5. a setting that is real
  6. an HEA ( duh!)
  7. secondary characters that are more than just walk-ons and that enrich, contribute to, and foster the h/h’s journey to love

Check out the other authors in this hop to see some of their favorite “7 things” Seven Saturday

 

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#SaturdaySeven #LASreviews


I’m that girl who picks up a book in bookstore and turns to the first page, not the back blurb, first. If the book gets me with the first line, I’m sold. Here are my 7 favorite opening lines in books. ( I really have about 1,000 but this is Saturday Seven not  Saturday 1,000, so…heehee)

The seven best opening lines in books.

  1. Call me Ishmael – Moby Dick by Hermann Melville

2. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. “It was a bright, cold day in April. And the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984 ~George Orwell

4. “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electricuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” The Bell Jar ~ Sylvia Plath

 

5. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

6. “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

7. “It was a dark and stormy night” Snoopy via Peanuts & Charles Shultz

 

Since this is a progressive blog hop, let’s see what some of the other authors’ seven favs for the week are: SaturdaySeven

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#SaturdaySeven #LASreviews Agatha Christie is my home girl!

I may write romance but I lovelovelove to read MYSTERIES. This love was created when I read my very first AGATHA CHRISTIE novel when I was 10 years old.  She died when I was 16 but before she did I’d found and read every single one of her books in my local library. The way she constructed her plots; the over-the-top characters she breathed life into, even her protagonists like Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple and Tuppance and Tommy, were all valued friends to me during my teen years. So, in no real order, here are my 7 favorite Agatha Christie books

The ABC murders

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans…

Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.

However the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot.

Murder on the Orient Express

“The murderer is with us—on the train now . . .”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again

And then there were none

Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…

Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

***this was a great stand alone book and has been made into innumerable movie & television adaptations.

Curtain

The crime-fighting careers of Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings have come full circle—they are back once again in the rambling country house in which they solved their first murder together.

Both Hercule Poirot and Great Styles have seen better days—but, despite being crippled with arthritis, there is nothing wrong with the great detective and his “little gray cells.” However, when Poirot brands one of the seemingly harmless guests a five-time murderer, some people have their doubts. But Poirot alone knows he must prevent a sixth murder before the curtain falls. *** Poirot’s last case.

 

 

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorp and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary—from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary.

With impeccable timing, and making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. *** His very first case.

 

 

 

 

 

The Murder at the Vicarage

Miss Marple ( in her very first appearance) encounters a compelling murder mystery in the sleepy little village of St. Mary Mead, where under the seemingly peaceful exterior of an English country village lurks intrigue, guilt, deception and death.

Colonel Protheroe, local magistrate and overbearing land-owner is the most detested man in the village. Everyone–even in the vicar–wishes he were dead. And very soon he is–shot in the head in the vicar’s own study. Faced with a surfeit of suspects, only the inscrutable Miss Marple can unravel the tangled web of clues that will lead to the unmasking of the killer.

Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to the other writers in the series to see what they’re writing about today concerning the number 7! SaturdaySeven

 

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#SaturdaySeven #LASReviews; my 7 favorite Movie/book plot twists

Plot twists that lead to endings where you scream out, “NO FRIGGIN’ WAY!!” are just delightful to me. Remember the Agatha Christie book The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? At the time, many book reviewers accused Christie of playing unfair and being underhanded with the ending. But I’ve re-read that book recently and my thought: it’s masterful the way she manipulated the reader. If you’ve never read it, you should.

Because I like twisted endings, the kind you really should have seen coming, but the writer/director was so brilliant in how she laid out the story you didn’t, I give you my favorite 7 movie endings that you should have seen coming – but probably didn’t!

The Sixth Sense – really, folks, you should have realized where the movie was heading the minute the kid said, “I see dead people.”

Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened by visitations from those with unresolved problems who appear from the shadows. He is too afraid to tell anyone about his anguish, except child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). As Dr. Crowe tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, the consequences for client and therapist are a jolt that awakens them both to something unexplainable.

Shutter Island ( the book and the movie!)  “Baby, why you wet?” One of the classic lines in fiction!

  The implausible escape of a brilliant murderess brings U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) to Ashecliffe Hospital, a fortress-like insane asylum located on a remote, windswept island. The woman appears to have vanished from a locked room, and there are hints of terrible deeds committed within the hospital walls. As the investigation deepens, Teddy realizes he will have to confront his own dark fears if he hopes to make it off the island alive.

The Others. When you watch a movie about ghosts, you expect to see ghosts, no?

Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the English coast during World War II. She awaits word on her missing husband while protecting her children from a rare photosensitivity disease that causes the sun to harm them. Anne claims she sees ghosts, Grace initially thinks the new servants are playing tricks but chilling events and visions make her believe something supernatural has occurred.

The Prestige. So bloody obvious…so bloody brilliant!

An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each other in a bitter battle for supremacy. Terrible consequences loom when the pair escalate their feud, each seeking not just to outwit — but to destroy — the other man.

 

 

 

 

 

Psycho. The movie that made the American public switch to taking baths!

Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.

 

Seven. The last 90 seconds are everything!

When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills’ wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.

 

 

Planet of the Apes ( the 1968 version with Charleston Heston, not the asinine remakes. ) Can anyone say, “it’s the future?”

Complex sociological themes run through this science-fiction classic about three astronauts marooned on a futuristic planet where apes rule and humans are slaves. The stunned trio discovers that these highly intellectual simians can both walk upright and talk. They have even established a class system and a political structure. The astronauts suddenly find themselves part of a devalued species, trapped and imprisoned by the apes.

This post is part of a blog hop. Click on to see what some other authors find 7-worthy! SaturdaySeven

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#Saturday Seven #LASReviews

Nora Roberts/JD Robb is my favorite author of all time. Bar, none. Many of her books deal with families ( as do mine) and as secondary characters with investment in the plot resolution, she typically adds children into the mix. Gotta love a bad boy who loses his heart to his lover’s kids! So, in no real order, these are my favorite Roberts/Robb books with kids as a major driving force to the story.

The Heart of Devin McCade

Sheriff Devin MacKade has always known his destiny was to serve and protect the small town of Antietam, Maryland—and for a long while he thought that future would include Cassie Connor. But when Cassie married the wrong man, Devin did the honorable thing and kept his feelings to himself. Now that Cassie’s divorced, Devin can finally follow his heart. Question is, can Cassie?  Cassie’s children, Connor and Emma love Devin and he them. I sigh every time I read the interactions between him and Emma.

All I want for Christmas

Single dad Mac Taylor is about to find out the lengths to which his mischievous twin boys, Zeke and Zach, will go to find him the Christmas gift of new love when they send a special wish for a new mom to Old Saint Nick… The twins wish for a mom for Christmas from Santa. Le sigh…..

The Next Always

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett has little time for a social life. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Though busy, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look…at both the building and the man behind it…  The scene where Beckett asks Clare’s boys if he can marry her is so heartwarming, I’m sighing writing this just remembering it!

Sea Swept


A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world spending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father calls him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changes overnight.

After years of independence, Cameron has to learn to live with his brothers again, while he struggles with cooking, cleaning, and caring for a difficult boy. Old rivalries and new resentments flare between Cameron and his brothers, but they try to put aside their differences for Seth’s sake. In the end, a social worker will decide Seth’s fate, and as tough as she is beautiful, she has the power to bring the Quinns together—or tear them apart… The relationship between Cameron and Seth is more father and son than brother to brother, and it’s endearing. Talk about a bad boy with a  heart of gold!

Red Lily

Hayley Phillips came to Memphis hoping for a new start, for herself and her unborn child. She wasn’t looking for a handout from her distant cousin Roz, just a job at her thriving In the Garden nursery. What she found was a home surrounded by beauty and the best friends she’s ever had—including Roz’s son Harper. To Hayley’s chagrin, she has begun to dream about Harper—as much more than a friend…

If Hayley gives in to her desire, she’s afraid the foundation she’s built with Harper will come tumbling down. And that wouldn’t be the only consequence, since her dreams are tangled up with Roz and the nursery. Hayley will have to put the past behind her to know her own heart again—and to decide whether she’s willing to risk it…

The In Death books – Bella Eve (Born in Death)

Just as Eve Dallas begins to investigate the grisly double homicide of two young lovers—both employees of the same prestigious accounting firm—her friend Mavis need a favor. One of the moms-to-be in Mavis’s birthing class has gone missing. Normally, such a case would be turned over to Missing Persons. But Mavis wants no one else on the job—and Eve can’t say no.

Now Eve’s trying to track down the missing woman, while simultaneously unearthing the deals and double-crosses hidden in the files of some of the city’s richest and most secretive citizens, in a race against this particularly vicious killer. Luckily, her multimillionaire husband Roarke’s expertise comes in handy with the number crunching. But as he mines the crucial data that will break the case wide open, Eve faces an all too real danger in the world of flesh and blood..Mavis goes into labor and Roarke and Dallas are her birth coaches, which, if you’ve read any of the series, you know is so comical it’s more than laughable! But the first time Eve holds her name sake in her arms is the stuff great writing is made for!

(Apprentice in Death)

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil… the last 10 pages of this book are priceless as Roarke and Eve finish up the case they are on and then hastily make their way back to Bella’s birthday. When the toddler sees their bruised and battered faces, she kisses their bruises away and even the perpetual snarky Dallas looses her heart.

Since this blog hop is inspired by the Long and Short Reviews site, click on these other authors and see what their #Saturday Sevens look like

1. ELF the Reading Addict 4. Marianne Arkins 7. Megan Slayer
2. Lisabet Sarai (giveaway too!) 5. Welcome to my World of Dreams
3. Peggy Jaeger 6. Lydia Schoch

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#SaturdaySeven #L&SReviews

As a writer, I never like to give advice on writing because I don’t feel I’ve suffered enough for my art yet. And yes, I know how pretentious that sounds. Hee Hee. But I do listen to the advice of writers who are much better than I am and probably always will be. So, here are my 7 favorite pieces of writing advice from what I consider masters of the written word.

1. “You fail only if you stop writing” ~Ray Bradbury

2. “A writer never finds the time to write. A write makes it. If you don’t have the drive, the discipline, and the desire, then you can have all the talent in the world and you aren’t going to finish a book” ~Nora Roberts

3. “Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself… It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” ~ Harper Lee

4. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

5. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

6. “Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”  ~William Faulkner

7. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”  ~ Stephen King

This is a weekly blog for writers. Click this link to see 7 other things writers are talking about. Saturday Seven

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#99centsale; Escape from Behruz

One of my Wild Rose Press sistahs is having a book sale! For a limited time ESCAPE FROM BEHRUZ by Judy Meadows is available for just 99 cents.

Rashid will help Olivia and the baby she’s been caring for escape the violence in Behruz, but he must guard his heart. He can’t risk being hurt by her again. Olivia has her own reasons for keeping her distance from Rashid. If Rashid learns that the baby is actually hers—and his—the sultan of Behruz will make sure she loses everything that matters to her. Their escape involves traveling with a group of nomads across the mountains into Iran. As they trek together by day and sleep beside each other in a nomad tent at night, the attraction that has always drawn them to each other grows ever stronger, Can Olivia survive the trip without revealing her secrets and without losing her heart to Rashid once again?

On sale now for just 99cents.

Amazon // Wild Rose Press

A little about Judy:

Judy grew up and went to college in Minnesota. She and her husband Jim now live in a small town in Oregon. When not writing (well, she’s nearly always writing), she likes to read, travel, swim, garden, and spend time with her grandchildren.

Judy’s first career was designing computer software. Since retiring from that field, she’s worked as a childbirth educator, doula, and now, writer.

Published under the name, Judy Gabriel, a non-fiction book: Touching Bellies, Touching Lives, Midwives of Southern Mexico Tell Their Stories

YOu can find Judy here:

Website // Facebook 

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#SneakPeek at PASSION’S PALETTE; #comingSoon #TWRP

So my last MACQUIRE WOMEN book will be out soon ( no date yet, but this year!) and I just got my cover and blurb approval, so I, of course, wanted to SHARE SHARE SHARE.

Passion’s Palette, Book5 in the MacQuire Women, tells Serena MacQuire and Seamus Cleary’s story. I’ll be posting excerpts next, but here are the basic:

Blurb:

Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

 

When buy links become available, I’ll post them. For now, remember this cover!!!

When I’m not editing soon to be released books, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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A visit with #author Gary Guinn; #TWRP #mysterywriter

interviewheadercircle1

This is a first for me. Actually 2 firsts. One, I’m introducing you to a male author today – something I’ve never had the pleasure or opportunity to do before, (yay!) and two, he doesn’t write romance – but mainstream mysteries and thrillers (Yay, squared!) Gary Guinn is a fellow Wild Rose Press brothah, not sistah, and he’s got a new book out titled SACRIFICIAL LAM.  He graciously answered all my nosy questions recently and agreed to be featured here today. After the interview, he’s sticking around to give you a little sneak peek at his brand new release. So, let’s get to know a little more about Gary….

Gary Guinn,  The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write?

I wish I knew. The rewards are there. When someone tells me about their emotional reaction to something I’ve written, it makes me happy. A woman once told me she gasped when she read a particular passage in my first novel. That felt really good. But there have to be intrinsic motivations that keep you coming back day after day, sitting there alone, pecking out words in a narrative. For me, the most intrinsic motivation is a beautiful line, in which the language itself makes me smile. When later I read a passage I wrote, and that little emotional bubble of joy trickles up my spine, it makes me want to sit down at the computer and do it again.

  1. What genre(s) do your write, and why?

I write both mainline literary fiction and mystery/thriller fiction, and occasionally I write poetry. I write literary fiction because I like to get lost in the language and let a couple of characters go wherever their yearnings take them. No formulas, no expectations except that they will act like predictably unpredictable human beings. I write mystery/thriller fiction because I love working out the plot, creating the thrill of discovery, the intensity of the action scenes.

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  1. What genre(s) do you read, and why?

I read the same genres that I write, and mostly for the same reasons. I read Louise Erdrich and John Irving to get lost in their beautiful language and to fall in love with their crazy characters. I read Georges Simenon, Colin Dexter, and Hakan Nesser to be mesmerized by murder and the quest of the inspector who finds the murderer. I have a special affinity for what is called Nordic Noir, the dark Scandinavian crime fiction that reflects in its ambiance the land in which it’s written.

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

I try to write every day, but I average maybe five days per week. I wish I were an early morning person, who got up before the house stirred and wrote for two hours in the beautiful silence. I do get up fairly early every day, but there are other things I do to start my day—yoga, exercise, Tai Chi. And so I might get a little writing in before lunch, but most days I write for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and if I’m really in the flow of a piece, might write into the evening. I do have to stop for Happy Hour, of course, even then.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

            My writing space looks pretty traditional. Being a retired college English professor, I have a study, with bookshelves covering most of the walls. Desk by the window. Persian rug covering most of the floor. There’s not much wall space because of the bookshelves, but on the little bit that is available, I have a black-and-white print of the Eifel Tower. Hanging at the corners of the second window, a Keffiyeh I brought back from an archeological dig in Jordan and my old doctoral Tam, the only piece of academic regalia I kept when I retired from teaching.

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?

            I prefer total quiet. Occasionally I put on music that reinforces a particular mood for a scene I’m writing. But I usually have no trouble filtering out extraneous sounds, except for excited conversation with loud laughter.

        7. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

Fairly early in my career at the university, a disturbing incident occurred, which stuck with me through the years. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms. The university was a very conservative place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion. The threats created a tense environment, and though nothing could be proved, there was a pretty strong suspicion of who was responsible. As it happens, nothing further came of the threats, but that situation became the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso, a liberal who teaches at a small, conservative southern college. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am about halfway through, has the working title A Lam to Slaughter.

         8. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

I would say usually character comes first. In most of my short fiction and in my four novels, I begin with a character that intrigues me and build a plot around the character. The reason is simple. I find certain people, and certain character types, fascinating. When I come across someone who grabs my attention, and when that person sticks in my mind and keeps popping into my thoughts, then I have a character for a story. I begin to imagine that character in a situation, and the story builds from there. The exception to this rule is that for several of my short stories I have been attracted first to a news story that becomes the catalyst for a work of fiction. The best example of that is a story published in Carve Magazine about ten years ago, titled “The Scar.” It grew from a newspaper story about a pickup truck that ran off a curb and drove through the back wall of a country church

         9.What 3 words describes you, the writer?

        Rational, Patient, Empathetic (Peggy here: I think those are fabulous qualities for a professor!!)

Gary, The Guy

1.Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

            I brew beer. Good beer, all-grain, from scratch. I hand-grind the malted barley. For my two grandkids, I brewed a strong beer, a barley wine, that will age until they come of age, at which time the family will celebrate their birthday by drinking it. Of course, I have to drink a bottle once a year to be sure it is progressing satisfactorily.

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  1. Who was your first love and what age were you?

Truthfully, the first woman I remember being in love with was the oldest of my three older sisters. She was beautiful, popular, the homecoming queen, the whole nine yards, and my best friend and I, who were six years old at the time, were always asking her for a kiss. When she left home a year later, I was broken hearted.

Then there was my second grade teacher, Mrs. McElvane. Every boy in the class was in love with her. Many years later, her daughter was a student in one of my first-year English classes at the university, and when I met her mother at a school function, my heart still fluttered just a bit.

But when it comes to a real first love, the one that made me toss and turn and sigh at night, it was the typical high school sweetheart story. Pursued her, had to beat out my best friend for her, spent every waking moment with her or wishing I were with her. We planned our lives together, named our kids. Then we graduated from high school and, like most high school sweethearts, drifted our separate ways. ( Peggy here – as a romance writer, I can see 3 potential books from these answers. Bravo!

  1. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one– you’ll have to live it over and over and….

For our twenty-fifth anniversary, my wife and I spent a month in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District in England and in Paris and the surrounding area and finally the French Alps. One of the days in the Alps, I might be able to live again and again. We stayed in the little town of Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, popular with skiers and climbers, the highest mountain in the Alps and marking the border with Italy. We spent a full day in the mountains, ascending to the Aiguille du Midi, a stark, forbidding, and stunningly beautiful peak, by cable car, then descending halfway again by cable car and hiking along gorgeous mountain trails, stopping for a picnic lunch with broad views of the Chamonix Valley, and finally descending in time for dinner and wine at an outdoor café in the village. Our room at the little hotel opened out onto a small balcony with Mont Blanc rising across the valley. As dusk settled over the mountains and the lights of the village came on around us, we might have agreed to do it again. And again.

          4. What three words describes you, the person?

Rational, Introverted, Impatient (grandkids call me Grumpy Granda)( Peggy here: awwwwwwwww!)

          5. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

           6. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

I love this question. Thanks for asking it. There are so many beautiful characters in fiction who have stuck with me for so many different reasons. John Irving’s character Owen Meaney, with his strange voice and crushing guilt. Nicole Karuss’s character Leo Gursky, from The History of Love, waiting to die, trying to connect with the son who doesn’t know him. Lewis Nordan’s unforgettable alter-ego Sugar Mecklin, living in Arrow Catcher, Mississippi. The list goes on, but I’m convinced that, if I were going to spend a day with one of my favorite characters, it would be with one of three great detectives—Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret, or Hakan Nesser’s Inspector Van Veeteren, or Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse. All impatient, thoughtful, quiet people, they catch the killers more by sitting in a pub drinking beer and thinking than by chasing them through the countryside. I’d choose Inspector Morse because he drives an old restored Jaguar and listens to recordings of the great operas. We’d sit in an English country pub and drink draft beer, then drive to the station listening to Verdi’s La Traviata.

Bonus round

  1. Favorite sound: The silence after I mute a commercial (Peggy here: my husband agrees!)
  1. Least favorite sound: A sitcom through the hotel room wall
  1. Best song every written: Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin
  1. Worst song ever written: Christmas Don’t Be Late, by Alvin and the Chipmunks
  1. Favorite actor and actress: Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca; Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.
  1. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or

dead)

            Barak Obama because now that I am no longer president I could forget about the world and spend the day with Michelle at the beach and then take her out to dinner at a great little restaurant at the end of the pier and eat lobster sautéed in butter and garlic and drink a really good Pinot Noir and then walk the boardwalk hand in hand and then, well, and then see where it goes from there.

  1. What turns you on? The moment just before my lips touch her earlobe and then her neck. (Peggy here: are you sure you’re not a romance writer???!!!!)
  1. What turns you off? Belching
  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date: My mother’s coming with us.
  1. What’s your version of a perfect day? An island. Yoga on a deserted dock before breakfast. An egg, bacon, onion, cheese omelet with fresh pineapple and coffee. A walk on the beach. Reading a good book under the palm trees, the fronds moving gently in the breeze off the sea. Lunch from a street vendor—jerk chicken, grilled plantain, rice and beans, beer. A nap. Writing on the front porch of the cabana, a cold beer at my fingertips. A dinner of Red Snapper sautéed in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, with maybe a touch of Allspice, and a good Merlot. Watch Casablanca for the hundredth time with my wife. A few minutes back on the front porch, a fingernail moon with Venus close by. Bed.

SACRIFICIAL LAM

Blurb:

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When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off. A liberal activist teaching at a small Southern conservative college, he’s used to stirring up controversy on campus. It’s just part of the give and take of life. Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it has to be a mistake. He can’t imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife’s business vandalized, Lam is forced to face facts. The police can’t find a single lead. Lam’s wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan must examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by a different set of beliefs.

What will it cost to survive?

Excerpt:

The sudden shock of something hitting him hard from behind knocked him into the bike and the rack. His glasses fell to the pavement, and his stocking cap came down over his eyes. His first thought was that someone had tripped and fallen into him, and he pushed away from the bike rack, sat up, and turned.

He shoved his cap up, but without his glasses, he saw only the shape of a person standing over him and reaching down toward him. “That’s okay,” he said, “I can get up all right.”

When he rolled to one side to try and stand, a sharp blow struck him in the back of the ribs, and he grunted in pain and went to the pavement face down.

A distorted, almost metallic voice said, “You don’t get it, do you?”

“Jesus!” Lam groaned through gritted teeth. “Get what?” The pain in his ribs and the strange sound of the voice disoriented him.

Then came the kick to Lam’s thigh, and he yelled with the pain. “What the hell are you doing?” But he knew the answer to his question as soon as he asked it. This was it. Someone was attacking him. No matter what he had thought or felt over the past few days, the threat had not been real until that moment. Fear shot through him at the sudden clarity that this person was carrying out the threat. He said between tight breaths, “I’m Dr. Corso…from the English Department… Settle down and…we can clear this up.”

The distorted voice said, “You think I don’t know who you are? The mighty Lambert Corso, who thinks he can stop the earth from warming? Well, suck it up, and take what’s coming, Dr. Corso.”

Lam patted the pavement for his glasses, but he was grabbed by the back of his coat collar and jerked up and thrust hard back down on the ground. His head bounced on the pavement, stunning him. He kicked out at the dark figure, who picked up a bicycle that wasn’t chained and slammed it down on top of him. Lam roared at the pain, the bike pedal digging into his stomach. The attacker threw the bike out of the way, grabbed the front of Lam’s coat, and punched him hard three times in the face before he could raise his arms in defense.

When he dropped Lam back to the pavement, he said, “You dodged a bullet Friday afternoon. My bad. I won’t miss this time.”

And then the attacker stepped away and waited, breathing hard. Another shock of fear and clarity ran through Lam. The car had been trying to kill him. He’d been a fool. He thought of Susan, sitting with the boys on the sofa, watching TV and sipping a glass of wine. He couldn’t let go of her, he couldn’t bear to leave her and the boys, the thought of himself lying dead in an empty parking lot. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He had imagined dying hundreds of times—cancer, car wreck, drowning, plane crash—but never this, beaten to death by a lunatic who didn’t like his politics.

A desperate sound, short, high, and strained, broke from him. Blind without his glasses in the dark, he was helpless, but he refused to lie there and be killed without a fight. He tried again to stand. But as he struggled to his knees, a blow to the side of his head sent him sprawling against the bike rack, and he thought he was passing out.

The voice came again, “Time’s up, Lambert.”

When Lam looked up, the man stood above him with something—a knife Lam thought—in his hand. The voice said, “You were warned.”

Laughter came from the far end of the parking lot, and a girl’s voice yelled, “Last one to the bike rack buys the lattes!” Racing footsteps echoed on the pavement.

A split second later the figure standing over Lam slipped the knife into a side pocket, turned, ran over the lip of the hill behind the cathedral and was gone.

Buy links:  Amazon // B&N // KOBO // TWRP

Book Giveaway

BIO

gary2

Gary Guinn taught literature and creative writing at a small private college for more than thirty years. His short fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and anthologies. His first novel, A Late Flooding Thaw, was published in 2005, and his second novel, Sacrificial Lam, is scheduled to be released March 3, 2017. He loves traveling, dogs, and brewing beer.

You can connect with Gary here:

Website // FaceBook // Goodreads // Twitter

 

 

Peggy here: Gary, thanks so much for agreeing to be tortured – I mean INTERVIEWED  – today! It was my pleasure hosting you and getting to know about a fellow Wild Rose Press writer. Be well and happy writing!

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What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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