Introducing Sylvia Grayson and her book, Suspended Animation

Suspended Animation Cover

Sylvia Grayson is friend of mine and former critique partner. Smart and talented, she has decided to maintain her image as a woman of mystery, by leaving us to guess what she looks like. Having read her book myself, I can personally say it kept me up half the night reading which is high praise indeed. Like her, I too read a wide variety of authors and just happen to be listening to Ian Rankin’s Witch Hunt on an audible recording.

 

 

Thanks for inviting me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts on all kinds of subjects to do with writing. The topic is endless, isn’t it?

I started writing years ago, and by the time I got my first book out last month, September 2014, I was working on the second draft of Book 12. (I’m that kind of person – I have to stay organized or I’ll die of confusion. That’s why my books are numbered before they have a title.) Not that all twelve books are finished. I’m working on the editing for my second novel, Legal Obstruction, to be released in November this year.

I write romantic suspense. I like a love story but for me there has to be more than just boy meets girl and they fall in love. I’ve read just about every author going, not just in this genre but all over the map. Some of my favourites are Ian Rankin, always set in Scotland, Greg Isles, set in the deep south of the US, Neil Stephenson, some fantasy and most set along the west coast or in the Philippines and south east Asia, John LeCarre, especially Little Drummer Girl. I also like Linda Howard, Sandra Brown, Lisa Kleypas. They all write differently but are great entertainers. My early authors that I read were Daphne DuMaurier, Taylor Caldwell, Mary Stewart.

Life is rich and deep and it’s much more enjoyable if we open ourselves up to all kinds of ideas. They mix and percolate in my head until I’ve come up with another idea for a story.

I come from a family of story tellers. My mother wrote short story fiction, and poetry. My father told stories as a form of entertainment. We were raised with the speaking of tales, a great deal of reading of all kinds of literature, from Zane Grey to Edgar Allen Poe, and lots in between. It was a fabulous background for someone who decided to become a writer.

 

Suspended Animation

Be careful what you go after…

 Katy Dalton worked hard to finish college, holding down two jobs, and she saved money. Then she gave it all to her friend when he convinced her to invest in a local business. But her job disappeared and she needs her money back fast, everything her friend Bruno has already loaned to Rome Trucking.

When Katy insists he return her money, Bruno stops answering his phone and bad things start to happen.

Brett Rome has a career in hockey and the last thing he wants to do is leave a promising opportunity as coach to come home and run his father’s trucking company. But Paddy is sick, can’t handle the day-to-day business, and Brett has to return.

What he discovers is not the picture of a successful business that he remembers, but one that is teetering on the very edge of bankruptcy. To add to the chaos, a young woman walks in demanding her money, the money his father borrowed from her.

With the company in chaos, Brett hires her. Then bad things start to happen.

Can Brett put this broken picture back together, and is Katy part of the solution or the problem?

Amazon: Suspended Animation

www.sylviagrayson.com

 

 

 

 

The Power Of A Great Opening

Lips, lips pressing down on hers. Kate’s eyes fluttered open and she found herself looking into soft, brown eyes that were liquid pools of concern. Kind eyes. Without thinking her arms went up around his and she found herself responding to him. Applause burst out from the bystanders around her.

Opening from: Amsden, Pat. “Lost In Vegas.” Lost in Vegas Cover

Hopefully that makes you want to read further. In a short presentation on writing best selling novels earlier this year, Phyllis Smallman said “great writers are great readers.” We all nodded sagely. Then she clarified. You not only have to love reading but you have to read to learn how others write. Oh.

She suggested going to the nearest library and reading the first paragraph from best selling novels. I’d like to think the above example from Lost In Vegas works. It has at various times made it into the top 100 books on Amazon. Below you’ll see an opening line from one of Phyllis Smallman’s books. It definitely draws me in.

Do you think you can catch crazy? In Dutch’s, where I mix martinis and pull drafts, some nights a madness swirls through the air, like a virus infecting everyone.


Opening from: Smallman, Phyllis. “Jack Daniels And Tea.”

Then start to think about how books you love are constructed. Chances are none start with a page on botany. Chances are you’ve met at least one of the main characters in the first page and there’s been an inciting incident within the first thirty. Whether it’s romance or mystery there’s probably a giant problem in the way that makes a neat resolution impossible and makes you wonder “how on earth will they solve that?”

That’s what makes you keep reading. Maybe the botanist is trying to save a plant in the middle of a proposed logging site. Conflict! The life blood of books everywhere. If the botanist is gorgeous and the logger a testosterone soaked version of man candy even better. Switch it up and make the botanist a male version of sex on a stick and the logger a pissed off blue eyed blonde who’d look more at home in a women’s magazine than at the job site decked out in steel toed boots. Excellent!

Depending on size you may have a sub plot or two. Maybe three. They should tie into the main story line, adding depth to the story and characters.

Then think about the ending. You want to end with a bang, not a whimper. There should be resolution that leaves the reader feeling emotionally satisfied. They should close your book feeling that the ending you wrote was the only way the book could have ended.

 


			

Because Everyone Needs A Little Fantasy

Andrea Buginsky cover #3Destiny (2) (1)

The Chosen Cover Final (1)

With kids still out of school and no end in sight for our local teacher’s strike this seems a perfect time to share the work of a friend of mine and fellow writer who writes YA. Fantasy to be exact with her work sometimes compared to a young Tolkien.

Andrea’s first publication is The Chosen, a middle-grade fantasy she worked on for about three years. The second book in The Chosen series, Nature’s Unbalance, was released May 2014. Andrea is currently editing Book 3, Striker’s Apprentice.

Andrea’s second series, New Avalon, is YA fantasy. Book 1, Destiny, is available on Amazon. Fate: New Avalon, book 2 is releasing on September 30th. Readers of the first book will find Elena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon even more challenging, if possible, than her first.

Andrea has also published My Open Heart, an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. Her hope is that it will give encouragement to young adults growing up with heart disease, or other chronic illnesses, as well as parents of children growing up with heart disease.

Andrea lives in the Kansas City, KS area. She grew up in Florida, but is originally from NJ.

She has generously shared with me details of her writing career. The following are some questions and answers on what it means to be a writer for Andrea along with an excerpt of her work:

My Headshot (1)

How did you start writing?

 I had to change my major towards the end of my sophomore year of college. I didn’t know what field I wanted to go into. My sister said, “You like writing, why not do that?” So I chose journalism. When I graduated, I started writing freelance web copy from home. I then decided I wanted to try to write a book. After a few attempts at different genres and storylines, The Chosen was born.

What is the best part of writing?

Creating new worlds and shaping my characters to be who I want them to be…until they take over.

Why do you write?

Because I want to.

How do you come up with ideas?

*laughs* Another tough question. They usually pop into my head when I’m watching television and movies, or reading books. I’ll see something that sparks an idea, and take off with it from there.

 If you had one super-power what would it be and why?

Flying. I’ve always wanted the ability to take off and fly away, hovering above everything and everyone, and floating through the clouds.

 One wish?

This is a tough question, but if I had one wish, I would use it to heal my heart condition. I would love to be able to know the freedom of running up a hill.

 What would you say to someone wishing to become a writer?

Never give up your dream. Keep working hard, and persevere.

Social Media Links

 

 

 

 

TEN BRIDES FOR TEN HEROES, An anthology

Ten Brides

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes spans the gamut of the ever-popular wedding romance genre—from heartwarming laughter to thrilling adventure, from sweet to steamy. This 10-book bundle features novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. So get ready to toss the bouquet and say, “I do!” as ten brides risk it all to find their happy ever after. 

 Patrice Wilton:

Wedding Fever by Patrice Wilton – The romantic comedy series, Serendipity Falls.

Mila O’Reilley owns Wedding Fever, a bridal boutique in Serendipity Falls Mall. She sells more than dresses, she sells dreams along with the belief in happily-ever-after – a sentiment she personally doesn’t share. Can a jaded bridal consultant and a cynical news reporter uncover the true mystery of Serendipity Falls without being swept away in the madness?

Find Patrice at: www.patricewilton.com

 Helen Scott Taylor:

The Army Doctor’s Wedding by Helen Scott Taylor – The Army Doctor’s Series

Major Cameron Knight throws himself into the danger of front-line, battlefield medicine to keep the demons from his past away. When he rescues an injured charity worker who’s saved a tiny newborn baby, he marries her so they can take the orphan back home for surgery. With this brave woman he finally has the chance to redeem himself and find love.

Find Helen at: http://www.helenscotttaylor.co.uk/

 Mona Risk:

Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk – The Holiday Babies Series

Claire and David faced many challenges over the years. Finally, Claire’s dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she loves is about to come true. Two weeks before the wedding, Adriana, the high-school classmate who’s tried to snatch David several times, makes an announcement that threatens to destroy the couple’s happiness. Is Claire and David’s love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

Find Mona at: www.monarisk.com

 Alicia Street:

Tomboy Bride by Alicia Street – The Dance ‘n’ Luv Series

Kendra returns home for her brother’s wedding determined to get her age-old crush to finally see her as more than a tomboy. But will her game of making him jealous with a hot and handsome faux-beau make him fall for her—or backfire and leave her in ashes?

Find Alicia at: http://aliciastreet-roystreet.com

 Rebecca York:

Destination Wedding, by Rebecca York – The Decorah Security Series

From the moment Nick Cassidy signed on as one one of Camille Norland’s bodyguards, sexual sparks flew between them. Although determined to keep his emotional distance from her, Nick is forced to admit his real feelings when she’s kidnapped by a ruthless Russian mobster with matrimony in mind.  Can Nick rescue her before the wedding night?  Can they escape from Victor Zanov’s tropical island death trap?  And can they come to terms with their complicated relationship?

Find Rebecca at: www.rebeccayork.com

 Annie Jones:

Summer of Love by Annie Jones

Brides, Beehives and Barbecue! Can mother daughter mayhem be far behind? Bless her heart, it’s 1967 and a determined southern bride isn’t sure love is really all she needs.

Find Annie at: http://theanniejones.com/

Donna Fasano:

Return of the Runaway Bride by Donna Fasano

Savanna returns to her hometown to explain why she fled on her wedding day, but she never imagined how her escape all those years ago changed Daniel. Can she make him understand—and forgive?

Find Donna at: www.DonnaFasano.com

Rita Herron:

Single & Searching by Rita Herron

A woman looking for love… A reporter looking for a story… A mad rush to find a criminal… When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them?

Find Rita at: www.ritaherron.com

Theresa Ragan:

Here Comes the Bride by Theresa Ragan

Samantha Johnston, a reporter for the LA Beat, attends the wedding of one of America’s hottest actors in hopes of learning the identity of his mystery bride, and ends up saying, “I do.”

Find Theresa at: www.theresaragan.com

Mimi Barbour:

Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour – The “Elvis” Series

After her year in Texas as an exchange student, Annie leaves pregnant and heartbroken. Nine years later she returns to introduce her eight-year-old son to his American family. And to the man who still haunts her dreams – the handsome, embittered rancher who never knew he’d fathered a son.

Find Mimi at: www.mimibarbour.com

LINKS:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/tenbrides

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Brides-Heroes-Theresa-Ragan-ebook/dp/B00KXFTOJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402588246&sr=8-1&keywords=ten+brides+for+ten+heroes

Apple Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ten-brides-for-ten-heroes/id888146286?mt=11&utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Sitting Is The New Cancer

Sitting is the new cancer. Really? Because I’ve never heard of anyone going through chemotherapy for excessive sitting. Still, when I hear the stat of 9.3 hours a day sitting for the average person,versus 7.5 hours sleeping I see a problem.

I even see a link. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get lean and buff – in a chair. And obesity is linked to cancer, heart disease and a whole host of degenerative diseases which fell us on a regular basis

Most of us could use a little more time walking. But when? The average work place isn’t designed for walkers. And when we’re not working writers write. Add in family duties and going to the gym during the slim piece of time we have left – isn’t going to be top priority.

This is where Nilofar Merchant’s idea comes in. Have meetings where you walk.It’s an idea I for one, could embrace. I like the idea of having meetings where we walk, rather than sit in a stuffy room. She explains it brilliantly in the following video:

I can see where being outside in fresh air would engage our senses, possibly allowing us to come up with fresh ideas and solutions to our problems, whatever they might do.

I suspect taking notes or writing as you walk might not work so well,so walking meetings might work better when they are only between one or two people. And should decisions have to be made, including a brief wrap up session, in a seated area might be of benefit.

Perhaps combining the two with a ten to fifteen minute walking portion where people walk and brainstorm together and then another ten or fifteen minute portion at the end, where business is taken care of, decisions made, voted on and recorded, where necessary, would work best.

I think I’ll propose this for our next meeting. So, if you see a bunch of us walking along and talking you’ll know, we’re having a meeting. Important stuff happening here. Don’t let the odd bit of laughter fool you. It’s a meeting!

WHO WOULD YOU BE?

Some of the most popular shows on television right now are based on Marvel Comics. Whether it’s the agents of Shield or Arrow these characters are larger than life.

They’re escapist entertainment for sure. But I think they’re particularly popular when people are feeling stressed and over-whelmed. Super-heroes don’t have the same problems mere mortals do. They’re stronger, smarter, faster, and bigger than life. Whether they’re able to leap the tallest building, transform themselves or harness the forces of nature their special powers mean they’re not subject to the same limitations as ordinary people. And their powers are used to protect the innocent.

In the Xmen we have Storm able to harness the powers of , well, a storm, to wreak havoc when necessary. Then there’s Rogue, Jean Gray and Emma Frost. In Batman, Cat Woman has been known to give him a run for the money although I’m not sure her big screen incarnation truly captured her abilities.

I’m having a hard time thinking of a major motion picture and box office hit whose main character has been a female superhero. Have I missed one or is it time for someone to create such a character?

What super powers do you think would make a great female superhero? Women are better known for being nice and able to get along with others than for their destructive powers. But could some of those powers be made into super powers?

What would these be? Empathy, intuition, caring, mediating are strong female characteristics but how would they work in a superhero? X-ray vision, super-wealth and the ability to harness the forces of wind, water and other elements could also come in handy and are not male only traits. In fact I think any small child would tell you his mother can see things in the back of her head….lol!

Marvel has a free Create Your Own Superhero page.It’s fun to play with!

So tell me, what super powers would you want if you could have any? And which super powers would you like to see in a superhero?

Chocolate Marble Cake

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The cake on the cover of Chocolate Worth Dying For is a stock photo but the following recipe is how I think it would taste and the pictures are of this cake. It’s delicious and really not that hard to make.

4 oz (113 gr) dark chocolate melted – allow it to cool so it’s no longer warm to the touch but still fluid

1 cup (250 ml) sour cream with ¼ cup separated.
6 egg yolks at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks (1 cup or 250 ml) butter at room temperature

3 cups (750 ml) cake flour sifted into cup and leveled off
1 ½ (375 ml) superfine sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
• In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks, ¼ cup sour cream and vanilla until combined.
• With flat beater of stand beater mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed.
• Add butter and remaining sour cream beating on low speed until ingredients are moistened. Beat at medium for 1-2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl.
• On medium low-speed add the egg mixture a little at a time beating until ingredients are mixed together.

• Remove 1/3rd of the batter (1 ½ cup (375ml) and mix in the melted chocolate until evenly mixed.
• Put 1/3rd of batter in 10” pan that has been sprayed with pan.
• Top with half of chocolate mixture spreading evenly
• Put other 1/3rd of batter on top
• Top with remaining half of chocolate mixture spreading evenly.

• Use teaspoon to marbleize batter. Dip the teaspoon in without touching the bottom or sides and lift up and over in a roll like waves.
• Smooth the surface

Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and then remove from pan

TO GLAZE

4 oz (113 grams) dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp cognac of raspberry vodka

Melt chocolate and slowly whisk in heavy whipping cream. Add another Tbsp if it seems to thick or you might want to add in a Tbsp of cognac or raspberry vodka. Pour over cake.

Serve with strawberries and whipped cream if desired.