Sunday, September 27, 2015

See Ya Soon!




Monday, September 7, 2015

My Orphan Book

In 2008, I signed a six-book contract with Bell Bridge Books, a small but thriving publishing company based in Memphis, Tennessee. Moonstone, the first book in the Unbidden Magic series, introduced my protagonist, Allie Emerson. It took five books to wrap up Allie’s story.

 I had one more book to write. I decided to explore a subject I’d been mulling over for a long time, namely, a teen-age boy living in an all male household who is suddenly forced to parent his infant daughter while finishing his senior year in high school. And, wouldn’t it fun to throw in a little magic along the way?

It took me nine months to write Baby Gone Bye. Yep, the same amount of time it takes to produce an actual baby. With some helpful suggestions from my editor, Pat Van Wie, I was happy with the end result. So, how did my book become an orphan?

First of all, it was released between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time period I soon discovered is the dead zone for book sales. More importantly, it was not part of a series, and my loyal readers expected more than one book with my new characters. Sadly, my contract was not continued, so that was not possible. The book garnered good reviews, but sales were less than impressive.

Why am I re-hashing ancient history? Because, I just discovered Baby Gone Bye is on sale for $.99 at Amazon and will be for several more weeks. I’m hoping to introduce new readers to hunky teen father Gabe Delgado and his precocious baby girl, Birdie. I promise you interesting characters, exciting plot twists, a teen romance and a satisfying conclusion.

You can find the book here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Renegades, Rebels, Rabble Rousers and Rogues

Most writers listen to music when they write. I’m no exception. However, it took a while to find my groove. I have satellite radio in my office with dozens of stations. What to choose? Semi-highbrow Classical Pops seemed appropriate. Surely, it would inspire me to create pages and pages of beautiful prose. Not so. After fifteen minutes, my eyelids began to droop. Time out for a nap. Jazz made me twitchy. Under the influence of New Age, I fought the urge to rip off my clothes, drape my body with diaphanous sheer curtains and twirl around the living room.

Then I found Outlaw Country. Warning: if your idea of country music is Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney, Outlaw Country is not for you. No, I’m talkin’ Waylon and Willie. Johnny and June. Hank 3 and Shooter Jennings. I’m talkin’ cringe-worthy grammar like ain’t got none and she don’t love me no more, along with some truly creative cuss words. I’m talkin’ real life, podnah. So, grab hold of that saddle horn and hang on tight.

It’s all there. All of life’s challenges. Religion. Relationships. Break-ups. Drinkin.Lots of drinkin’ songs like You Ain’t Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin’. Why, you may ask, would a person pick such an inappropriate and occasionally degenerate genre of music for inspiration? Killer question, indeed. Here’s my excuse.  I am the product of many years of living. Hopefully, my life experiences will help create a richer, more three-dimensional character. Oh, who am I kidding? I like to laugh and Outlaw Country makes me laugh.

Searching for a spiritual facelift? Here are a couple of songs for you: Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through the Goalposts of Life. I’ve Been Roped and Thrown By Jesus in the Holy Ghost Corral. Heaven’s Just a Sin Away.

Relationships are always tough, especially when the object of your affection is flawed—Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure—or a teenage romance, Billy Broke My Heart at Walgreens and I Cried All the Way to Sears. Can a man be too impressed with himself? He certainly can! I Wish I Were a Woman So I Could Go Out With a Guy Like Me. Who could forget the following heartfelt ditty, There Ain’t Enough Room in my Fruit of the Looms to Hold All My Lovin’ For You.

But, when love goes wrong, as it inevitably does on Outlaw Country, there’s a song for that. It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long. You’re the Hangnail in my Life and I Can’t Bite You Off. If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Ain’t You Dead Yet? Your Negligee Has Turned Into a Flannel Nightgown.

Family Values? You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly. Mama, Get the Hammer/There’s a Fly on Papa’s Head.

Feel a little naughty? These songs are for you: There’s a Party in my Pants and You’re Invited. How Can I Get Over You if You Won’t Get Out From Under Me? Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed.

Okay, I confess I’ve listed the most outrageous song titles I could find for this post. Most of the time, O.C. plays solidly good, old school, down-home country music that reflects America’s roots. And, they also feature wonderful new singers/song writers like Elizabeth Cook, Lucinda Williams, Jace Everett (he sings the True Blood theme, Bad Things), Elliot Randal and Kacey Jones whose song, 222nd Wind is featured on my website. So, give it a whirl. You might be pleasantly surprised.

What inspires you? 80’s rock? Blue grass? Heavy metal? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Special Report from Auggie Doggie

     Since it’s the Dog Days of Summer and my true name is August, it’s time for my special report. As you know, I have a very important job. My human mom, Marilee, writes books and I’m her muse. In other words, I’m supposed to be her source of inspiration. It’s a hard job because she has a bajillion ways to actually avoid writing. The woman never runs out of excuses.

“Oh,” she says. “My computer screen needs cleaning.” Out comes the spray bottle and cleaning rag. Squirt. Wipe. Repeat. And it doesn’t end there. Suddenly, the printer needs dusting, the trash emptied, the bookshelf re-arranged. She also needs what she calls thinking time. Looks a lot like naptime to me, but what do I know? I’m just the muse.

Now for my favorite excuse. She says,“Is that a spider on the ceiling? It might fall into my hair, make a nest and deposit a bunch of spider eggs. I can’t possibly work under those conditions.” If I had the ability to speak, here’s what I would say. “Hello! You have a laptop. Move it to the kitchen.” Instead, I just sigh and look reproachful. If that doesn’t work, a cold nose nudge on her bare leg does the trick.

There are days when I must be doing a great job, because she gets a certain look in her eyes, plops down in her chair and writes for hours. When that happens, I curl up in bed and think deep thoughts. I call it napping.

I guess you can tell my line of work is exhausting and requires special snacks, namely liver treats along with an occasional slurp of frozen yogurt. All in all, not a bad gig. A muse’s job is never done. Just saying . . .

Until next time, Auggie Doggie, signing off.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

After a long stretch without a new book, I’m pleased to announce I’ve signed a contract for Affliction. The book, intended for adult readers, is a mash-up of several genres. It’s basically romantic suspense but also has a touch of fantasy since my protagonist, Honor Melanie Sullivan (Mel), has the ability to read souls. In addition, it is targeted for a genre called New Adult. New Adult features characters in their early twenties who are away from home for the first time. After a brush with the law, Mel leaves her home in Southern California and travels to Bend, Oregon where she meets Harley-Davidson riding William McCarty (Billy the Kid) and stumbles upon a human trafficking/baby selling scheme involving foreign girls from Kazakhstan. As with most of my books, there’s never a dull moment. I’ll soon begin the editing process for Affliction and will continue to share information about the book on my Facebook author page:

Great Summer Reads

Need a good book? I asked my friends what they’re currently reading and, wow, did I get a great response. So, if you’re looking for something new, read on!

Writing coach and editor extraordinaire, Pat Van Wie, just finished True Colors by Judith Arnold and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Rach Lawrence recommends two books by author Suzanne Bierman Laqueur, The Man I Love and Give Me Your Answer True.

My writer friend, Donna Scofield, is reading Sherwood Nation by Benjamin Parzybok, a post apocalyptic novel set in Portland, Oregon.

Belle Book author, Skye Taylor, just finished Call Sign Karma by Jamie Rae

My Montana friend, Jean Brubaker, is enjoying All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Virgin of Small Plains, a mystery by Nancy Pickard and Hello Love by Karen McQuestion (a happy dog story).

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein is on Vivian Carl’s reading list. You might remember his first book, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

British author, Sue Roebuck, now living in Portugal, says she couldn’t put down Look Behind You by Sybil Hodge. Sue latest book, Rising Tide, is currently in the clutches of Chef Jean Denham’s.

My bookaholic sister, Beth Cazel, is also reading All the Light We Cannot See, as well as Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille and Handle With Care by Jodi Piccoult.

From my longtime friend and high school classmate, Sharon Van Rooy McCagg – Ordinary Grace by Kent Krueger and A Man Called Ove by Bachman.

As for me . . . I’m on a David Baldacci kick. I’m currently reading Memory Man, but also recommend the John Puller series, Zero Day, The Forgotten and The Escape.