Monday, March 21, 2016

NEED SOME INTRIGUE?....

Words and thoughts swirl through my head. Each intake of air adds a new facet to the glimmering kaleidoscope of colors. Ruby flashes on the crisp white background.

The murmur of voices grows louder. My mind barely understands. "Murder" rises above all others. And then, an invisible steely blade rips through my heart. 


  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Murder:

noun

1.
Law. the killing of another human being underconditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S.,special statutory definitions include murdercommitted with malice aforethought,characterized by deliberation or premeditation oroccurring during the commission of anotherserious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degreemurder) and murder by intent but withoutdeliberation or premeditation (second-degreemurder)


Obsession:

noun

1.
the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by persistent idea, image, desire, etc.




Put them together and you get...





Welcome my friends to the blog book tour of Yolanda Renee.

Murder and Obsession often goes hand-in-hand, just like "Cat and mouse" mysteries. My talented friend, Yolanda Renee, has woven both aspects into the final book of her amazing Detective Quad mysteries.

AND, today I have the honor of featuring her as my guest. 

I wanted this interview to be on a more personal note. Yolanda's novels speak for themselves, but we know very little about the woman behind them...




Michael: "Welcome!

We all love your adventurous soul, Renee… it’s quite obvious in your spectacular writing with mystery, horror, and intrigue… but your story began in humble beginnings…tell us about it. When did you know your life would take you to the snow covered, crystalline state? The Alaska so little of us know about…"

Yolanda:"I lived in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, attended college in Steubenville, Ohio, and worked as a receptionist for a Steel Company in Follansbee, WV. During that exciting time, I met a young genius. A microbiologist headed to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks for his graduate work. When my vacation came due, I was on the first plane. I knew immediately that Alaska was my future, and even though I no longer reside there, writing about it proves I was right. The funny thing is everyone who knew I was flying to Alaska described it almost as you did – only they referred to Alaska as an iceberg. Alaska was anything but – lush, green, and wild. An adventure waiting for an adventurer."

Michael: "Amazing. It sounds incredible. 

Almost every writer is asked these questions, but I think they’re so interesting to give us a true feel for the writer. When did you start writing seriously? Did you always write as a child? Or, did one day something clicked in your head?"

Yolanda: "I excelled at composition (story telling), and while my grammar was atrocious, my teachers gave me a pass because I could write a winning paper. I wrote and produced my first play in the 6th grade. Won third place in a writing contest in the 10th grade, and was told by my college English teacher that one day I would write a book. Letters to friends about my adventures in Alaska brought praise, and writing classes convinced me to pursue the impossible. Numerous rejections almost convinced me otherwise but meeting a writer made my goals achievable."

Michael: "It's not surprising that another writer can really help put things in perspective.  

At Denise Covey’s blog… one of the first stops of your tour, I was blown away by a true horror in your life. Many of us have had situations thrust upon us unwillingly, and it’s how we react in these situations, that show us what we can endure and how to survive. What impressed me most was how strong a woman you are. To face your fears and conquer them and turn this horrific situation into a positive. At what point did you say, ENOUGH? I am a survivor and I will move on and grow from this..."

Yolanda: "Honestly, that lesson came at a very early age. An abusive childhood made me a survivor; being thrown out on my ear at the age of seventeen made me a fighter. But the rape, in Fairbanks, Alaska was almost my Waterloo. I think that's why I completely suppressed the event. After everything I'd already come through – I simply couldn't deal.

Even though I didn't recall the event, I immediately made changes to my employment. I took a job on the North Slope, and in doing so went from the pot into the frying pan. By that, I mean a good percentage of the men who worked there were subhuman. When I got off the plane and on the bus to camp, the naked pictures of women from Hustler magazine greeted me. That was proceeded by crude comments and obscene suggestions. Staying took courage, and I'm proud to say, I found mine. Although, it took one hell of a conversation with myself to achieve. The tradeoff was the ability to hike the Brooks Range. So while I found heaven, it meant a serious walk through hell to get to it." 

Michael: "Thank heavens you had that to pull you through. You found your inner strength...

I am thankful to have the great fortune to know you on a more personal level than most of our blogger buddies. I know your writing well and have the pleasure of creating the blurbs, taglines, and even your bio for your amazing series. What I read in your bio pages that I wish to share with our friends is your bucket list. Please tell us yours… I found it fascinating~"

Yolanda: "I would love to learn to play the drums. In grade school, I passed the music test and had the choice of instrument. I chose the drums, but I never took the form for my parents' approval home because I knew my family didn't have the money for such luxuries. I've always regretted that decision. Especially when a year later, my sister took her form home and Dad made sure, she got the clarinet she wanted. Although, in high school I did learn to play the guitar, one I bought on my own.

I've also always loved cars, the faster, the better and I would love to own a racecar, actually any muscle car, or even a Model T. 

But more importantly, I want a pet dragon. I even had this silly idea of buying a piece of property down the road to install a Putt Putt golf course, just so I could have an enormous fire-breathing dragon of my very own. But truthfully, who needs a golf course just to own a dragon?"

Michael: "Very true... lol

Now on an even more personal note, I’d love to know more about your home life. Just a line or two about Where you live now? What does your hubby think about your writing? And, do either of your kids have a creative side like you?" 

Yolanda: "We currently reside in central Pennsylvania. Settling here had to do with job availability; we were both downsized from the same company in Tacoma, Washington. But we grew up and graduated high school in western PA so it's not an odd fit. My husband has always had more faith in my writing and me than I do. He supports me one hundred percent, literally and figuratively. 

I have two wonderful sons that I'm trying to marry off, and an old house that I love even though the remodeling is never ending. I love to cook, and I still love hiking. Walking is how I achieve true peace; it always was and still is. Yes, my sons are creative but they don't see the benefit in it. Maybe someday they'll achieve what I couldn't.

Thank you, Michael, for allowing me to discuss my journey and my books. Your friendship means the world to me."

Michael: "To me as well! It was a true pleasure, and all the best with your third book!"

If you'd like more information about the Detective Quaid mysteries here are all the links. I know you will tremendously enjoy this trilogy.

Thanks for dropping by today everyone. Please visit Yolanda Renee at her blog Defending the Pen...
And more info on her books and blog tour....here.



Have a great day Everyone!

86 comments:

  1. Our spouse is always our biggest cheerleader.
    That new town in Alaska sounds like it was run by wolves.
    And you play guitar! How cool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Alex, I haven't played in years, but I could be inspired to, especially if a set of drums were involved. Yes, spouses are great cheerleaders!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks again, Michael! You rock! Love the Intro!

    ReplyDelete
  4. LOL. Now, who doesn't want a pet dragon? After reading Anne McCaffrey's books, I wanted both my own white dragon and fire lizard.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Michael and Yolanda - what a great interview ... for someone who's been through such trauma - and come out obviously very strong. Thank goodness for happiness now - I'm sure your kids will realise in due course.

    Now a golf-course with a fire dragon that would be fun ... as long as I'm out of fire range! Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hilary, so nice of you to visit. I've truly been blessed and try hard to remember that during the rough times. I hope the boys find their creativity a blessing, right now they're too busy. As for golf course dragons, I've seen several in Ocean City, and honestly if I had a truck and some muscle, I'd have a dragon in my back yard. :)

      Delete
    2. Hi, Hilary,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the interview... Renee has a truly fascinating story to tell. And, I'm not talking just in her books.

      Delete
  6. Oh Yolanda. What a great interview. I can't wait until we can have lunch. Maybe work out a strategy for marrying off boys and getting old houses rehabbed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a plan I can get behind! LOL
      Thanks Elizabeth, I'd almost forgotten my comment about marrying the boys off. :)

      Delete
    2. Hi, Elizabeth... glad you enjoyed the interview!

      You ladies will have TOO MUCH FUN! LOL

      Delete
  7. Re-modeling never seems to end with jobs that never seem to finish when promised! That Alaskan town ... sigh ... there are no adequate words. A great interview, Roland. A great intro, Michael!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roland, Michael always does such a fabulous job. It a real treat to visit his site, whether as a guest or a visitor.

      Delete
    2. How nice of you both to say... Thank you!

      Blushing...

      Delete
  8. Awesome how supportive your husband is. Glad you have survived your hard times. And yes, Michael does a fantastic job with these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Natalie... so nice to see you! Thanks, Glad you enjoyed the interview. Renee was a wonderful guest!

      Delete
    2. Hi Natalie, My hubby is a real champ, but honestly I never would have attempted to publish if not for him! Love Michael, my blurbs and taglines wouldn't work at if not for him!

      Delete
  9. Writing winning papers in grade school! That should have been a warning to you that you were headed this direction. And I should have seen this post coming with Michael's super intro. Here's to our husbands and significant others who see us through these manuscripts and their publication.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lee, my favorite classes, but truly, I loved school and learning. He does do that intro beautifully doesn't he! Love it, and yes, our significant others are priceless!

      Delete
  10. I loved hearing about your younger days and writings in middle grade. Fantastic interview, Michael. So much fun to read. Best of luck to you, Yolanda; although, I don't think you'll need it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you S. A.
      I appreciate your kind words. Michael is the best at this touring stuff, but oh yes, I do need it! :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Sheri,

      So glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  11. So much happens while I'm asleep! Lovely to see Yolanda here, Michael, and to get to know her more through your personal questions. Always lovely to learn more about our special blogger friends!

    'So while I found heaven, it meant a serious walk through hell to get to it'. Oh, wow!

    Enjoy the rest of the tour, Yolanda!

    Denise :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey traveler, thanks to you the tour got off to a great start, and Michael has added his magic touch. I feel so blessed to have such great blogging friends Thank you, both!

      Delete
    2. I couldn't agree more, Renee! I treasure my blogger friends. We are a family!

      Delete
  12. You're tough and talented! You would love the hiking here in Asheville. You're welcome to visit anytime during dragon hunting season. And I'm sure we can raid one of my drummer friend's studios if you're ever in LA! *waves hi to Michael*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dragon hunting season, sounds like fun, cameras only, right? Oh gosh, I'd forgotten you are the music queen. Don't know when I'll be in LA but it's a date! :)

      Delete
  13. hey buddy! sorry it's been so long! i've been working and writing away, as usual, but not going to book events like i would like!
    another stunning intro and fun interview!
    also looking forward to reading your piece in the anthology!
    hope things are well with you =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tara, Michael does have the magic touch. I know what you mean by not having time to read, it is a precious commodity. I'm looking forward to having the anthology released too, but glad they're at least a few months apart. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks Tara,

      It's great to see you. I am really looking forward to the Anthology, TOO!

      Delete
  14. Hey Mr. Blurb King!
    Another winning intro! You nailed it, as per usual.

    Yolanda, you wrote and produced your first play in the 6th grade, won third place in a writing contest in the 10th grade, and was told by your college English teacher that one day you would write a book? The writing was already on the proverbial wall!
    It was lovely to read more about you.
    Good luck with the tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle, it really was, wasn't it. And yet it took a while for me so read the message. :)
      Michael is the KING!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Michelle! You ladies are too sweet!

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. Thanks Richard, appreciate your kind words!

      Delete
  16. I loved those definitions. Nice opening. :) When I was younger I considered learning to play the drums but I don't think I'd be coordinated with those drumsticks. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never thought about coordination, but I think it'd help. LOL Thanks, Chrys!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Chrys,

      I really wanted to tie in the title with the meanings... it gives it such a nice segue for the novel.

      Delete
  17. Really terrific interview you two. It’s great to hear about Murder & Obsession (my two favorite literary subjects), but it’s learning more about Yolanda that makes checking out her work irresistible.

    VR Barkowski

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, VR! I thing that's one of the nicest things any ones ever said to me. Nice to meet a fellow, um, writer! :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks VI,

      I'm glad we got up close and personal with Renee... she has an amazing story.

      Delete
  18. It was horrifying to read about your past, Yolanda. I so admire your strength and perseverance. Clearly you are the definition of a survivor.
    Congrats again on this fantastic series!
    Hi, Michael! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julie!
      Your words make me blush. I'm sure many of us have more than one scar. I'm blessed to have writing as an outlet.

      Delete
    2. Writing, art, and exercise are THE best outlets for such traumas.

      Delete
  19. OMG!!! I didn't know about your past Yolanda!!!! You are a true survivor!!!

    I had the greatest of pleasures to read Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem, and Murder & Obsession sounds amazing!!!

    Fantastic interview Michael and Yolanda!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cathrina, I've always been careful about what I shared. I wasn't sure I could talk about it. A wonderful change. I'm thrilled to learn that you enjoyed the first book!

      Delete
    2. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Cathrina!

      Delete
  20. Replies
    1. Thanks, Shelly, Michael is the expert!

      Delete
    2. Aw... thanks, Renee... blushing...

      Thanks for stopping by Shelly.

      Delete
  21. An enjoyable read. Although the early life you lead was pretty terrible, it probably made you a better writer. Michael is good at this kind of thing isn't he?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jo, you're right on both counts. Thanks for phrasing it the way you did. And yes, Michael is the best!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Jo,

      I really enjoy featuring talented friends! It makes my job very easy.

      Delete
  22. A terrific interview, guys! I learned quite a few new things about Yolanda. The drums, huh? Cool. I play the guitar, too, and as far as drums, is there anything cooler than beating out the "Wipeout" drum solo on a table top with your hands? (If you wanted to play drums, surely you've done this!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Susan,
      Are you kidding that's always been my favorite! LOL I can see our impromptu band forming now!

      Delete
    2. I can see it, too!

      Do I see a musical version of OLD BROADS, Susan? LOL

      Delete
  23. So great to learn about Yolanda! I read her post at Denise's but still found things that surprised me here, like drums, muscle-cars, dragons, and her supportive home life even if her sons are still single. Wishing her the best & much success!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lexa!
      Thanks for coming by, it's funny, you don't realize the impact of all the influences on your life until you put it out there. I'm truly blessed. As far as my single sons, I'm ready to start going through mail order bride catalogs. Truthfully, I just want them to find the happiness I know awaits them! Oh, and move out of my house. LOL

      Delete
  24. Wow! That is quite a story, Yolanda. Thank you for asking such good questions, Michael. How inspiring to know about your courage, Yolanda. Good luck with your writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary!
      Michael knows exactly what he's doing. A good friend always does.

      Delete
  25. Congrats, Yolanda. Great interview you two. An interesting author makes for an interesting story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Loni, I never thought of it that way, but you may be right. Another reason to feel blessed.

      Delete
  26. If you ever figure out how to get real dragon let me know. Congrats on the book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know it S.P. wouldn't it be wonderful. We all love dragons. Funny thing is, they'd probably make us their pets. :) Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  27. Hi Michael and Yolanda, nice to know more about Yolanda..in school I too was obsessed with learning how to play the drums.
    Micheal, I just adore your introductions...."Each intake of air adds a new facet to the glimmering kaleidoscope of colors." Your writing conjures up wonderful images.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Rachna, drumming rocks! So cool that you do too!

      Delete
  28. Hi, Rachna! Nice to see you it's been ages... Thanks! So glad you enjoyed the intro!

    I love the drums, too, but I always wanted to play piano...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too wanted to play the piano, but when I approached a piano teacher when I was 13 years old, she said I am too old to learn to play a piano :( After that I never tried.

      Delete
  29. I have been seeing this series around, but didn't know a lot about the author. Wow! It sounds like she has had some very tough life lessons that she has made it through. I have never been to Alaska- but her description of the land is enticing.

    Wishing Yolanda the best of luck! :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jess!
      I hope you make it to Alaska. Words will never adequately describe it.

      Delete
  30. Very clever lead-in to this post. The interview was well done--very compelling. I wish you great success with this novel, Yolanda. You're an excellent writer.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi, Arlee, thank you, your words really touched me. Michael is the master of introductions.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Excellent interview!

    Yolanda, you're an amazing person. Proud to know you, even if it's just at a distance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Misha, ditto. Me too! I've met the most amazing folks via the blogosphere! Love it!

      Delete
    2. We all have... This community is our extended family!

      Delete
  33. Wonderfully Done!! YOU two make a dynamo duo~ I, too love your lead in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ella, thanks. He is amazing with the intro, the blurb, the tagline - actually, all things creative!

      Delete
  34. Wow! Thanks for sharing your journey through hell into heaven - that's a tough share, but an important one. Survivors need to share their stories! You're an amazing lady.
    And, I feel like we must have brushed shoulders at some point in a crowded place in Tacoma, WA - wish I had met you then.
    Way to go with all of your writing and life, Yolanda!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Tyrean: You are probably right. I hope the next time we share a cup of tea! Thank you, for your kind words. They mean the world!

      Delete
  35. A wonderful introduction and interview, Michael, hope all is well with you. And Yolanda, You've been brave through the trials you've had, and why shouldn't women be able to do any job without harassment, IMO. Women in the RCMP and in the Fire Department have been speaking out about this sort of male harassment. In this day and age, equal still doesn't mean equal does it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, after that I forgot to say Best of luck with Murder and Obsession - it sounds like a great read!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, DG, it is a sad state of affairs that women are still suffering at the hands of men, and never more atrocious than our own presidential election and D. Trump. He sums it up perfectly! Unbelievable!
      Thank you so much for stopping by, this makes my day.
      Thanks, Michael. I didn't even realize this past was still up. :) And the picture arrived perfectly. Thanks again!

      Delete