Category Archives: Awards

Author Bette A. Stevens, Inspired by Nature

Today Bette A. Stevens is joining me for the Wednesday Author Interview series.

Welcome, Bette.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I am a writer inspired by nature and human nature.  As a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five, I live in Central Maine on a 37-acre renovated farmstead where I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature.  I advocate for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies–an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).  My husband and I raise our own fruit and vegetables organically and share the bounties of our labor with family, friends and neighbors.  We retired in 2005 after spending several years working at traditional jobs in Maine, California and Virginia.  My childhood years were spent in California and New York, enjoying daily life and hoiliday events with family, including dozens of cousins.  Now that our human children are grown, we have had the privilege of being the adoptive parents of a delightful black feline named Midnight.  Life is good and adventures abound.

Q:  When and what made you decide to be a writer?

A:  I’ve been writing most of my life–initially it was in the form of photo blurbs and poems to celebrate family outings and events over the years.  During the 1980s I worked in the business world as an editor/writer/photographer, honing my skills in business writing.  By the early 1990s, after taking courses in journalism, creative writing and poetry at University of Maine Orono while pursuing a degree in education, I discovered that writing was a strong point in my repertoire of skills and one that pursued with passion.  Teaching became a career and sharing my passion for reading and writing with upper elementary and middle school students for over a decade before retirement was a genuine delight.

Q:  Can you tell us something about the genre of your books and why you write in that genre?

A:  Children’s Books–written to educate, entertain and inspire (Ages 4-11).

Amazing Matilda, A Monarch’s Tale (Children’s picture book based on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly inspiring kids to reach for their dreams)

The Tangram Zoo & Word Puzzles Too! (Children’s educational/activity book integrating language arts, science, social science and math)

Historical Fiction–written to inform, entertain and inspire (Middle grade-Adult).

Pure Trash, the Story (Short story prequel to Dog Bone Soup)

Dog Bone Soup, A Boomer’s Journey (Novel) (Compelling family drama-Shawn Daniels grows to manhood in a society where the poor are often quickly wrongly judged)

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?

A:  Ideas come from the world around me–whether in people, places, or things-inspirations abound.

Q:  Are you working on a new book at the moment?

A: Front and Center is a poetry collection that follows my personal journey through Maine’s four seasons.  I’m also working on another poetry collection that centers on gardens and nature in addition to historical research for a novel.

Q:  Which writers inspire you?

A: There are so many, but here are the first ones that come to mind: Beatrix Potter, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Mark Twain, C. S. Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Diane Siebert, Tony Johnston, Khaled Hosseini, and Shel Silverstein.

Q: What book are you reading at present?

A: Nomadland (Surviving American in the Twenty First Century) by Jessica Bruder.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: READ. READ. READ.  Reading is the first step to becoming a better writer.  One of the top writer’s resource on my shelf is On Writing by Stephen King.  It’s not one of those stuffy book of Do This and Don’t Do That, it’s the story of King’s own writing journey and the book is packed with the nuggets he’s discovered along the way.

But the reading doesn’t stop there.  I belong to local and virtual book clubs, where we read and discuss books.  I’ve never read a book that I didn’t learn something from–and when I’m engaged in a book, my writer-self is right there with me learning how to improve my craft.

WRITE. WRITE. WRITE.  Get writing. Yup, that’s what writers do.  One a single piece for my blog, I may write, edit, and rewrite several times before publishing a given post.  When I’m working on a book–now that’s a different story.  Ask for editorial help from two or three readers along the way.

Save a copy of every draft just in case.  Email those drafts to yourself, labeling each one.  If your computer crashes, you’ll be so glad you did.  For novels, I do this chapter by chapter and date them.

Between edits, take breaks so you can look at the work with fresh eyes.  It’s amazing what you’ll discover as you travel the path to publications.

FINALLY--Be sure to hire a professional editor before you publish your book.

Q:  Do you have any advice on how to market your books?

A:  For me, marketing is all about building relationships.  Join groups that share your interests and book themes.  Don’t forget to actively support fellow member writers.  Be sure to use tags and categories for all of your blog posts and include descriptions and book links for your book covers and photos.  Follow, read and share book marketing posts that are helpful to you and thank the bloggers who post them.

Q:  What would you consider to be the worst thing about being an author?

A:  When it comes to being an author, getting any book to the stage where I’m ready to publish can be exhausting.  But after all the hard work, once that book is in my hands, I’m exhilarated.

Q:  What do you like to do when you are not writing, your hobbies, etc.?

A: Spending time with family is top on a very long list.  Then there’s reading, gardening and preserving our abundant produce  from the farmstead (and watching for those amazing monarch butterflies searching for the milkweed interspersed in our flower and vegetable gardens), bird watching, playing with Kitty Middie, walking trails on the farmstead and taking photographs, reading to children at our local library and schools, visiting with family and friends, Bible study on Tuesday mornings, day trips to the coast with hubby Dan, supporting friends who are involved in local theatre productions, book club at our local library and the list goes one…

Q: How long on average does it take your to write a book?

A: For me it’s been about a year from first draft to publication.

Q: What is your schedule like when you are writing?

A: Being a night-owl, I generally write for two or three hours in the evening.  But, my schedule changes drastically when a new book is about to be born and life gets CRAZY!

Q: Who designed your book(s) cover(s)?

A: I’ve designed all of my book covers with CreateSpace’s Cover Creator.

Q: How are your books published?

A: I use CreateSpace for print books and Amazons KDP for eBooks.

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: The quote below always reminds me that books provide us with a free and fantastic mode of transportation that can take us anywhere any time.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” Mark Twin, (“Innocents Abroad”)

Q: What is your favorite books?

A:  The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye.

Q:  How can readers connect with you?  Facebook, Twitter, Website, etc.

A: Website/Blog: http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorbetteastevens.officialfanpage?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens

Q: Where can readers purchase your books?

A: All of my books can be purchased on Amazon where I invite you to take “A Look Inside.”

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author.betteastevens

Q: Would you give us an excerpt from your book or one of your books?

A: Here’s an excerpt and a page illustration from Amazing Matilda, A Monarch Butterfly’s Journey (Children’s Literature/Ages 4-110 written and illustrated by me.

Excerpt:

“I do so want to fly,” Matilda sighed. Just then a cottontail rabbit hopped up onto the ledge where Toad had sat.

“Why, you don’t look like you can fly,” chuckled Rabbit. “You don’t have any wings!”

“Sparrow said that I must have patience and follow my instincts. You and Toad say that I need wings, too. Where can I find all of those things?” Matilda asked Rabbit.

“As for wings, I don’t know where you can find them. In fact, I don’t care anything about them. But I am an expert on patience and instincts,” Rabbit boasted as she twitched her black nose, making her whiskers sparkle as they danced up and down.

“When I was just a bit of a bunny, Papa told me that I must have patience, too. I so wanted to bound up onto this rock ledge where I could see the whole world. But, I could not do it. I could barely hop a short distance before I would fall backwards, flip-flop, right into the tall grass. But, Papa said that I must not give up. He told me it would take patience to learn to do all of the things I wanted to do. He said I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.

“Papa was right. I kept trying. I kept hopping and hopping and hopping, until at last I could bound. Every day I would land a little farther. Now I can reach this very ledge any time I want to see the whole world,” Rabbit boasted as she bounded across the field.”

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Children's Books, e-books, Genre, Historical Fiction

The Writing Lesson – a guest post by C. Hope Clark

The Writing Lesson

By C. Hope Clark

 

“Use the senses in every single scene,” I emphasized to the adult writing class, only for a rebound of clueless stares to bounce back at me.

A middle-aged, bottled-brunette lady who I’d heard had two self-published books to her name already, asked, “In every scene?”

I smiled and nodded. “In every scene. You understand show don’t tell, right?”

In rote union, the class nodded, but I could almost smell the insecurity.

“Get rid of passive voice and you’ve halfway mastered show don’t tell, right?” Don’t plead, I reminded myself. They’re trying to learn.

Half the people in the class had self-published books yet didn’t understand what I was trying to instill into their eager, storytelling brains. They looked to their left and right, seeking validation from seat mates, confirmation that others weren’t understanding either.

We sat in a library meeting room, the accordion doors opened to accommodate tables for 35 students. Nobody chatted amongst themselves, meaning I had their attention, unfortunately accompanied by their confusion.

No point in advancing to the next topic if this one hadn’t sunk in. Not a person to enjoy presentations, much less adlibbing on the fly, my pulse quickened. I scrambled for an alternative, a new angle, anything that could give these students an AHA moment.

A deep breath, or was it a sigh? I should’ve brought more examples. Maybe vetted the students somehow.

Feet moved. One chair scratched the floor as someone shifted. The librarian sat in the back, scrutinizing, sending another jolt of adrenaline into my system as our eyes met, hers querying, They’re waiting, before shifting uncomfortably off me.

A seed of a half-thought took root. “Everyone pick up your pen.”

They did, anxious to be proactive and not so lost. The librarian didn’t, but she watched with interest.

Impromptu on anyone’s part snares interest. Most of us can’t do it. I wasn’t so sure I had it in me, either, but what did I have to lose other than my credibility? I reminded myself what I always did when speaking to groups, a mantra that I didn’t readily tell other about. If this doesn’t go well, remember you’ll never see these people again.

“Write down five things you see,” I said. “Remember, you’re a creative person so don’t just say tables, chairs, walls, and people.”

To show how united I was with their effort, I grabbed a pad and wrote as well. Once done, I waited until half had returned their attention back to me.

“Now, list five things you can touch and how they feel.”

Eyebrows raised on that one, and they began stroking anything within reach. They saw where I was going, and the body language told me some clearly accepted the challenge.

Heads up again.

“List five things you hear.”

The room went silent. I had to laugh. Pens went to paper when I did.

“List five things you smell.”

Frowns all around. I closed my eyes and inhaled. Coffee, cologne, body odor. Was that paper? I recalled the air freshener in the bathroom next door and cheated, listing it. When I peeked out from my own reverie, others still had their eyes closed, sensing, too.

“Finally,” I said, “let’s do taste.”

Lips smacked, and I had to chuckle again. A laugh rippled across the tables. “List five tastes you had today.”

“Ahhh,” came the relief as pens met paper.

As people came back to life, I realized how much more relaxed I was. “Do y’all feel better?”

Nods and yeahs from around the room.

Shrugging shoulders for show, I sucked in a deep breath. “Wow, that was rather soothing.”

More nods. The librarian was practically tranquil.

And in that moment, I had a revelation.

As a nature aficionado, how many times had I sat at the lake and just chilled? Closed my eyes and attempted to count the types of bird calls? Told my four-year-old grandson to take in the smells, sounds, and feel of nature? Weeded my garden and taken the time to smell the dirt, the rotted leaves, the honeysuckle on the fence.

“What we just did,” I soothingly said to myself as much as them, “is a writer’s version of meditating. Take a moment to settle into a sense of nothingness when you’re writing, then fill it in with the senses, taking note of each one.”

They listened.

“This is also how you can overcome the pressure of deadlines, writer’s block, and the discomfort of whatever scene you’re writing that won’t unfold to your liking. It’s also how you can challenge your sensory perception. Wherever you are, the mall, the kitchen, the job. . . take five minutes and meditate, for no reason other than to define your senses. All five of them.”

Palms out, I lowered them gently. “In each scene, step back and insert yourself into the setting. Do the exercise we just did. Because by you becoming the character in all this sensory detail, you write such that the reader can become the character. The reader smells, sees, hears, touches, and tastes. And with the least little attention also to passive voice, you–” and I paused.

“Show don’t tell,” whispered several people.

“Some kid would call that virtual reality,” said a man in the front.

What a keen observation. And I thought he hadn’t been listening. “And why can’t we do that as people, too? When we aren’t writing. When we need to settle into a scene and out of whatever road block or irritation it is we need to depart from as people?”

The class went on, and I wrapped up the lesson on constructing a scene. Time quickly expired, and before long I was shaking hands from thankful students.

“Best writing class ever.”

“I get showing now.”

“I’m going home and telling my teenager about this.”

Once everyone left, the librarian commended me, saying she’d be inviting me back.

I almost cried.

Then alone, the lights flipping off around the library, I exited to my car parked in the corner of the lot under a streetlight, stepping gently, not wanting to break the specialness of the evening.

Rather than telling the reader what’s going on, my students could now make the reader experience what the character does, when the character does it, tallying the stimuli in an attempt to reach some sort of summation about that point in the story.

But in delivering that lesson, I’d realized I could choose to fall out of any negative in any part of my world, and step into the scene of my choosing via the practice of a writing exercise. Not only could I write like this, but I could live like this.

And I’d just helped 35 other people learn to love life more, too.

And a librarian.

 

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s newest release is Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder. The fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope speaks to conferences, libraries, and book clubs across the country, is a regular podcaster for Writer’s Digest, and adores connecting with others. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site and newsletter service for writers.  She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her federal agent husband where they never tire of spinning mysteries. www.chopeclark.com

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb:

Beneath an idyllic veneer of Southern country charm, the town of Newberry hides secrets that may have led to murder.

When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock – a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again.  Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.

Forces to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy.  Something is rotten in Newberry.  Her personal life is spiraling out of control.  She can’t protect her co-worker.  And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it become clear that Slade is right.

One wrong move, and Slade may lose everything.  Yet it’s practically out of her hands…unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed

 

Be sure to check out all of C. Hope Clark’s book on her website www.chopeclark.com

Sign up for C. Hope Clark’s FREE newsletter FundsforWriters and get writing tips, lists of contests, and so much more!

 

Purchase Books Here:

Amazon link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BYD5T4P/

Kobo link https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/newberry-sin

B&N link https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/newberry-sin-c-hope-clark/1128369562

Google link https://play.google.com/store/books/details/C_Hope_Clark_Newberry_Sin

Apple link https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/newberry-sin/

Review Link (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/review/create-review/ref=?ie=UTF8&asin=B07BYD5T4P#

6 Comments

Filed under Authors, Awards, Book Launch, Books, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Genre, Murder Mystery

I Am Magical

Title: I Am Magical: magnifiqueNOIR, Book One

By: Briana Lawrence

Publisher: Sewn Together Reflections

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

 

About the Book:

“The revolution will be magical”

There’s a city. It’s like most other cities. Buildings. People. Monsters who can destroy sidewalks by vomiting acid onto the ground, and an elite group of black, queer, magical girls who work to put those monsters in their place.

See? Just like most other cities.

Bree Danvers would’ve compared it to a video game, maybe a cartoon or comic book, except black girls are rarely the heroines of the story. But there her heroine stood, plus size and wonderful, rocking a dazzling amount of purple and defeating monsters with galactic sparkles. Galactic Purple, that was her name, and soon, Bree was joining her on a magical adventure full of transformations and after school battles to defend a city like most other cities.

And soon, others would join them, and each one would be magical in their own way… give or take a few bumps on the acid covered ground.

About the Author:

At the age of nine, like most kids, Briana Lawrence had a dream. She wanted to be the best “WRITER” in the whole wide world. Her fourth-grade class laughed and wondered how one hoped to become a “writer” if they couldn’t even spell the word. Back then her stories were created with crayons and construction paper. As she grew older they progressed into notebooks and colored ink pens of pink, blue, and purple. When she lost her older brother, Glenn Berry, in a car accident, she stopped writing.

Dreams, however, have a funny way of coming back.

Before she realized it she was grabbing her notebook and pens again. She would write stories that ranged from high school romance to her imagination running wild with the likes of Goku, Vegeta, and the other characters of Dragonball Z. This continued throughout college where she would always end up writing about the space exploits of the pilots of Gundam Wing and other works of fan fiction. Soon she realized that she wanted to do more than that. Her head was full of ideas, full of original characters and worlds that she wanted to share with others.

Thus, she stepped into an English Major with some Women’s Studies on the side.

She graduated from Iowa State University in 2006 and moved to Minneapolis with her partner. Here, she tried to get into graduate school, but things didn’t pan out the way she wanted. She ended up working retail, her dream becoming buried by Black Fridays and other busy times of the year. Once again, however, that dream returned. She went from immersing herself in geeky fan fiction to actually writing about the geeky things she loved such as  anime and video game review sites. However, it was her discovery of National Novel Writing Month that made her go back to creating her own characters and plots.

Now, here she is, an author in the writing world.

Comments Off on I Am Magical

Filed under Authors, Awards, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre

Review of The Good Spy by Kai Bird

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames
By: Kai Bird
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015

 

Brief Review:

I was military, stationed in Germany in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I do not remember how many times my company was on high alert.  There were threats coming from the Middle East, especially on November 4, 1979, when a group of Iranian students stormed the U. S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages.  The rescue attempt on April 24, 1980, known as Operation Eagle Claw, failed, resulting in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, as well as the destruction of two helicopters.  The hostages were held captive for 444 days.  They were released on January 20, 1981, minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States.  This was only one incident that took place during “Peacetime” or during the “Cold War.”  Personally, I didn’t see “Peacetime” so peaceful.  We could have gone to war at any given time.  I had all of this on my mind as I read The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird.

Robert Ames was a CIA Operative who died in the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983. He was one of 63 people killed that day of which 17 were Americans.

What does Bird’s title, The Good Spy mean?  Ames worked hard and he was a devoted family man.  He appeared to be a kind and decent man who had a thirst for Middle East knowledge: he learned Arabic and learned about the history and culture of each area he was stationed at.  He made friends, not just contacts.  Ames was somewhat of a rogue who operated independently and didn’t always see eye to eye with his fellow operatives. Yet, he was “good” at his job.

The Good Spy, in my opinion, is best read in small chunks so that the reader can get to know Ames and all the many players, movers and shakers of the Middle East.   Bird does an excellent job with an overview history of the Middle East and the role that Ames played in that history.

This book left me with this question: If Robert Ames had lived beyond 1983, would the course of history, especially in the Middle East, been changed?

 

Listen to an interview between Kai Bird and Charlie Rose at:

https://kaibird.com

 

About the Author: (from Amazon)

Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer. His new book is The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. A biography of a CIA officer, The Good Spy was released on May 20, 2014, by Crown/Random House. Kai’s last book was a memoir about the Middle East entitled Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 (Scribner, April 27, 2010). It was a 2011 Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. He is the co-author with Martin J. Sherwin of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005), which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the Duff Cooper Prize for History in London. He wrote The Chairman: John J. McCloy, the Making of the American Establishment (1992) and The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy & William Bundy, Brothers in Arms (1998). He is also co-editor with Lawrence Lifschultz of Hiroshima’s Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy (1998). He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s writing fellowship, the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study Center, Bellagio, Italy and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. He is a member of the Society of American Historians and a contributing editor of The Nation. He lives in Miami Beach.

 

Comments Off on Review of The Good Spy by Kai Bird

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Genre, Non-Fiction

7 Upcoming Writers Conferences

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Los Angeles
July 7-10, 2017
https://www.scbwi.org/annual-conferences/

Thriller Fest, Grand Hyatt, New York City
July 11-15, 2017
http://thrillerfest.com/

Romance Writers of AmericaWalt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL
July 26-29, 2017
http://www.rwa.org/conference

Writers Digest Conference, New York City
August 18-20, 2017
http://www.writersdigestconference.com/

Killer Nashville, Franklin, TN
August 24-27, 2017
http://www.killernashville.com

Creatures, Crime & Creativity, Sheraton Columbia Town Center, Columbia, MD
September 8-10, 2017
http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/

Historical Writers of AmericaSanta Ana Pueblo, NM
September 21-24, 2017
http://historicalwritersofamerica.org/

 

 

Comments Off on 7 Upcoming Writers Conferences

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Children's Books, Christian Romance, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Genre, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Picture Books, Romance, Thriller

Coming in June 2017 – Adrift on Edisto

COMING IN JUNE 2017!

Title of Book: Adrift on Edisto
By: C. Hope Clark
Genre: Mystery

Book Excerpt: Blood rushed in Callie’s ears. With an embarrassed board frozen before her, stunned citizens behind her, Callie stiffened in defense. “Excuse me?” She crushed the papers in her hand, but she wasn’t sure she had the strength for Brice’s challenge, or the focus to handle it properly. Not without getting fired on the spot . . . or being arrested for murder.

And God knows there’d been enough murder on the island.
She’d been exonerated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in the shootout. But that fact paled in the shadow of Mike Seabrook’s death. The community had adored him. And he’d been the man she’d professed to love just twenty-four hours before he succumbed to a bullet and a knife on a muddy, desolate, rained-out road.

The room had gone silent. Silent! How many people still held her accountable?

Continue reading

Comments Off on Coming in June 2017 – Adrift on Edisto

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, e-books, Fiction, Genre, Mystery

Murder in Chelsea

TitleMurder in Chelsea

By: Victoria Thompson

Genre: Gaslight Mystery/Historical Fiction

Excerpt:

Frank knew the Upper West Side well.  He’d visited too many of the fancy town houses with their marble steps and their velvet draperies and their dreary furniture.  He’d listened to too many rich people make the pettiest complaints and give the paltriest excuses for committing murder.  He did not expect today would be much different.

The maid who answered his knock at Mr. Wilbank’s house looked him up and down and stuck her nose in the air.  “Tradesmen use the rear,” she said and started to slam the door in his face.

Frank gave it a shove and sent her staggering back.  Before she could recover, he stepped inside and closed it behind him.

“I’ll scream,” she said her eyes wide.

“Don’t bother.  Just announce me to Mr. Wilbanks.  Tell him I have a message from Miss Anne Murphy.”

“I shouldn’t ‘ve let you in.  He’ll give me the devil.”

“Not if you tell him what I said.  He’ll want to hear news of the child.”

“What child?”

 

 

About the Author: (from Amazon.com)

Edgar® Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest is MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE. She also contributed to the award-winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. A popular speaker, Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

Comments Off on Murder in Chelsea

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Fiction, Genre, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Happy Birthday to Me!

happy-birthdaybeautiful-hd-picToday’s my Birthday and I sent out invitations for others to join me, however, everyone seemed to be too busy so I am eating CAKE all by myself.

Like my invitation stated, I am promoting all genres today even though February is Romance month.

And since no one wanted to party…guess you all had to big of a night on Sunday night after the Super Bowl Game…I am partying by myself.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of one of the books below, subscribe to my newsletter before midnight (Feb. 7th).  I will choose the winner on Feb. 8th.

http://www.sparkinganvil.com/cindy.html

Take time to visit the authors below and sign up for their newsletters.

 

 

by Clementine Paddleford and Cynthia Harris

Stories Paddleford wrote about her childhood.

  • Hometown Appetites, The Story of
    Clementine Paddleford the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate

by Cynthia Harris and Kelly Alexander

You can only get this book in Paperback and Kindle, if you would like to purchase a hardcover, I will be happy to sell you a copy.

Website – http://www.sparkinganvil.com/cindy.html

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Cyn_Harris

*****

  • The Yellow Hoods Series

by Adam Dreece

unnamed

Twitter: @AdamDreece
Signed copies available at TheYellowHoods.com/Store

 

*****

by Jason B. Ladd
*****

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Cookbooks, Fiction, Genre, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Religious

Cindy’s Notebook First Book of the Year Award goes to….

My husband picked up a book that has been on my nightstand for a long time.

“Are you ever going to read this?” he asked.

“I have,” I replied.

“What’s it about?” he asked.

“Do you have the time for me to tell you about it?”

“Was it good?”

“Yes, it was!”

“So, what are you, book blogger, going to do about it?”

He had that glint in his eyes that says…”I know you want to.”

“I wrote a review and posted it on Amazon, to help promote it.  And I tweet, etc. about it every now and then.” I said.

“You are a book blogger.  Aren’t you going to do more?” he asked.

“More,” I thought.  Why would I want to do more than what I have already done or do when I think about it.  It is not my book after all.

Yet, this simple word “more” got me thinking.  What more could I do?

Then it donned on me.  I could start a book award of the year and this would be the first receiver of that award.

So, here is the first award that “Cindy’s Notebook” is giving away.

Congratulations:51spqu1ewl-_uy250_

2016-book-award

 

Award Logo Art Work by Cyra R. Cancel

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, e-books, Genre, Historical Fiction

3 Writing Contests

Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a short story contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. This contest is open to residents of the United States. All entries must be: fiction, less than 8,000 words, double spaced, written in English. Prize: One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Total value of all prizes: $10,000. Deadline: Closing date January 31, 2017.

El Chapo Review Essay Contest 2017. Genre: Creative non-fiction. Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: January 31, 2017.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. “The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America.” Genre: previously unpublished work of short fiction. Prize: $100.00. Deadline: January 31, 2017.

 

My husband and I are combining our websites into one.  It is a work in progress.  Visit:

www.sparkinganvil.com

Comments Off on 3 Writing Contests

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books