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.
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
gotnone 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 andI Cried All the Way to Sears. Can a man be too impressed withhimself? 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
YouDead Yet? Your Negligee Has
Turned Into a Flannel Nightgown.
Family Values? You’re the
Reason Our Kids Are Ugly. Mama, Get theHammer/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.
inspires you? 80’s rock? Blue grass? Heavy metal? Inquiring minds want to know.
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.
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
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
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
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
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