Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween everyone.

Today is the day that Elizabeth Mueller's novel DARKSPELL launches. Elizabeth is an amazing author and blogger friend so do drop by her blog here and find out all about DARKSPELL and check out the wonderful illustrations that she's created for it. Order it here from Amazon.

In honor of Halloween and Darkspell, Elizabeth is hosting a SPOOKFEST! And it is such a fun one too. "If I had all the magic in the world, I'd ... " Could you imagine the fabulous possibilities. SO for today what would you answer? We'd all like to know...

If I had all the magic in the world, I would definitely use it for good. I would cure the people of the world... NO cancer, NO aids, NO diabetes, NO high blood pressure, NO crippling arthritis, NO mental illness, NO ___ (fill in the blank). And lastly, NO anxiety for my writer pals. We'd all have best selling books.  So everyone in the world would be happy and healthy and therefore create peace....

As a special treat for Halloween I would like to share with all of you an excerpt from my first book AMBER AND THE WHISPERING WILLOWS.

Like Elizabeth I also illustrated my novel This excerpt and illustration is from chapter 13, Nina's Revenge.

Amber gaped at the former gymnasium. Dozens of carved pumpkins flickered; each one illuminating a different expression: some scary, and some smiling. Life-sized scarecrows guarded the haystacks and the straw covered floor. The spider-webbed ceiling attracted hundreds of black bats accompanied by dozens of waving ghosts. 

Justin combed the crowd for his friends. 

“Have a good time, kids,” Uncle Paul said as he left to chat with the other chaperones.

Amber and Nina searched for Elise, Cindy, and Denise. As they hunted, the “Monster Mash played over the loud speakers. Amber spotted Cindy’s zebra mask and took Nina by the hand, weaving through the crowd toward her. 

“Hi, Cindy. I just love what you and the others did to the gym ... it looks amazing! I’d like you to meet my best friend, Nina Landau. She danced in the recital with me.”

“Hi. I remember you — you did that sweet solo.”  

Nina blushed. “Thanks, Cindy. It’s nice to meet you. I’m so glad Amber has met some friendly girls at school ... it’s such a nice change from Lucy Carpenter.”

“Oh, so you know Lucy?” Cindy cringed. “That’s right, you’re in the same ballet class.” 

A few minutes later Amber introduced Nina to Elise and Denise. They had a wonderful time bashing Lucy and the wannabes. Mr. Easterbrook soon joined the group and complimented them all on their costumes.

“Amber, can we get something to drink?” Nina asked.

Amber nodded and they excused themselves from the others. At the far end of the gym four large tables set with orange and black tablecloths seemed to groan under the weight of all kinds of sweets: cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cakes with orange and black icing, candied apples, caramel apples, trays and trays of candies, apple cider, fruit punch and sodas.

They each took a frosted cupcake and some punch. Students as well as teachers chatted and danced to the upbeat music. 

Amber and Nina munched on their cupcakes and were just about to return to the others when Nina heard a familiar sneer.

“What are you doing here, mouse? You don’t go to this school,” Lucy said, stepping into their space. 

“I invited her!” Amber glowered. “We’re allowed to bring a guest.” 

“Vermin don’t count,” Lucy chided. Heather and Colleen burst out into fits of laughter.

“So why are you here, princess? If I’m a mouse, you’re a rat!”  

“Come on, Nina, let’s go ... they’re so not worth our time.” 

As the turned, Lucy clutched a handful of flowers, ripping them off Nina’s leotard. 

“They’re way too pretty for the likes of you.” Lucy laughed. 

Nina didn’t react at first, but Amber’s face flushed.

Lucy, Heather, and Colleen continued laughing as a thick green vine sprouted from a nearby jack-o-lantern. It crawled along the straw covered floor toward the three girls. Within seconds it wrapped itself around them, binding them before they could react. Amber heard three muffled screams as they hit the floor, disappearing under the table. The orange tablecloth covered up the incident. 

Amber marveled at Nina’s skill. Her timing couldn’t have been better. No other people happened to be at the table and the music played too loud for anyone to hear. 

“If I hadn’t seen it. I never would’ve believed it,” Amber whispered. 

Smirking, Nina lifted the tablecloth, and smiled at the three girls with a gleam in her eyes. 

“Enjoy the rest of the party, girls ... I know I will.” She waved to them and dropped the tablecloth back over them. 

Well everyone I hope you enjoyed my Halloween excerpt and illustration ... please let me know what you think.


Friday, October 28, 2011


Happy Friday everyone.

Once more I must apologize for posting my entry later than I should have. I wanted it to be something special, so I took my time and even added a hundred or so extra words. Since I am no longer in the competition and took creative license. Don't forget to read the other bloggers entries. There are some amazing stories in this blogfest. Drop by J. C. Martin's blog.

Also my dear friend, Denise (L'Aussie), had asked to write an entry for this week's Romantic Writers Friday Challenge. Theme ... HAUNTING. So drop by her blog for the more exciting entries to read.

If you would like to read the first three segments here are the links...

Part One: The Escape ... here.

Part Two: Renaissance ... here.

Part Three: Resurrected ... here.

And now for the conclusion. I hope you all enjoy it. "We meet again sonny boy."

Aidan joined Tanya in the early morning hours. He flashed a smile before taking a seat at the kitchen table. His eyes lingered a second longer than usual on her curves as she maneuvered between the stove and sink.
Tanya’s face flushed and matched the freckles that sprinkled across her nose and cheeks.
Aidan grinned. He tore his eyes away from Tanya’s tight butt, craned his neck around the room like a submarine periscope, and then cleared his throat. “Ah, where’s your dad?”
Still flushed, Tanya faced him. “He went into town to pick up supplies.” She moistened her lips, “He should be gone most of the morning.”
Aidan raised a brow and his eyes brightened.
A moment later, the lights flickered before blowing out. Only a faint stream illuminated through the window from the street lamp.
“What the hell just happened Tanya?” Aidan tensed and twitched like a nervous cat.
“Relax. A circuit must’ve blown.” She shook her head. “Do you always get this freaked when the lights go out?” She stepped around the table and over to the counter, opened a drawer, and pulled out a flashlight.
A few drops of sweat trickled down Aidan’s back, sending icy shivers up his spine. the memory of his dad locking him in a dark, mildewed cellar penetrated his mind. “For two days the sadistic bastard left me there,” he grumbled.
“What was that, you said?”
“Er, nothing.”
“i’ll be right back.” She stepped toward the cellar door, opened it, and disappeared. 
Aidan’s eyes stared at the beam of light glowing softer with each of Tanya’s steps. 
I really should go with her. Willing his foot to move, it remained glued to the same spot. Several more drops of sweat mingled with the first ones and saturated his t-shirt.
A muffled scream raised the hairs on the back of his neck. “Tanya!” he called out.
She didn’t answer.
Lead-like legs managed to reach the cellar door. “Tanya!” His voice cracked. 
A trace of a snicker echoed up the stairs and into the kitchen. 
“Cut the crap Tanya ... this isn’t funny.”
Once again, silence louder than gun fire assaulted his ears.
Aidan’s breath caught in his throat. His mouth dried to sawdust. Only one drop coated his throat as he tried to swallow.
He inched closer to the opening, straining his neck. Widened eyes searched the gaping dark hole.  
A lit flame from a candle caught his eye. “Tanya?” His raspy voice whispered into the chasm. 
Moving ever so slowly onto the landing, a deep voice vibrated the rickety wooden steps. “Join us, sonny boy.”
Aidan froze. Sweat poured down his face. “No? I-It can’t be? Y-you’re dead. I killed you.”
“Guess again.” His voice cut like a razor into a vein. “I’ve got a friend of yours. She’s quite a babe. Ah, to think what I can do with her? Care to watch?”
Aidan’s stomach churned. He sucked in a deep breath through gritted teeth. “Let her go, you bastard. It’s me you want.”  Racing down the stairs, he came to a halt on the last step. 
The captain’s right hand covered Tanya’s mouth, the other cupped her right breast. Tears streamed from terrified eyes and collected on the captain’s broad fingers.
Adrenaline pumped through Aidan’s veins. Think fast. 
His eyes set on the flickering candle just behind them. 
Tanya cried out. Aidan’s eyes darted, locking onto to his father’s.
“Let her go, Dad.”
“I don’t think so.” He ripped her blouse, exposing her breasts. “Nice. Very nice.” 
Tanya kicked and screamed. As his father tried to control her, Aidan grabbed a can of W-D 40 sitting on the side shelf. He ripped off the top and aimed the aerosol at the candle flame.
It ignited with a sizzle. The flame shot, setting his father’s jacket on fire. Cursing, he released Tanya, who ran behind Aidan. 
Aidan continued to douse his father. Within seconds the cursing turned to screams of torment. The captain desperately tried to put himself out, but the flames engulfed him. 
“Let’s get out of her before the place blows.” Aidan dropped the can, grasped Tanya’s hand, and sprinted up the stairs. 
He pulled off his shirt and handed it to her as they ran out the front door.  
Seconds later, the house exploded into flames.  
Tanya jumped into Aidan’s arms, trembling. 
“It’s over now. He’ll never hurt either one of us again.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *  
 And now for the Casting Call blogfest. This was is truly fun. Chose characters from your novel and show a picture of them either through photograph or illustration. Drop by our host's site Carrie Butler.

For this blogfest I chose my first novel: Amber and the Whispering Willows. This middle grade fantasy was a pleasure to illustrate. As I wrote about each character, I had a visual, so all I had to do was create them visually. Most of you know I illustrate as well as write, but for those who don't here is an introduction I hope you enjoy the visuals.

These images are from the cover that I created. And please remember this is an original work of art, so please don't reproduce it without my permission.

The full cover.
Click to enlarge.... Center is Amber. To the right, Nina, her best friend, Jasper the rabbit, Uncle Paul, and Justin.

To the left of the tree: Dak, Commander-in-chief of the fairies. The blue fairy is Liah, princess of the fairies.

For more fun illustrations check out the top of my blog. In the banner click onto My Illustrations.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! What fun plans do you have?  I plan on catching up with my blog friends and reading lots of Rule of 3 segments and checking out some other fun characters.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Hi, all,

First, I would like to thank all of you for the encouraging support on my last post. Your comments meant so much to me and my friend. She couldn't believe what an amazing support system our community has. You are all SO special to me.

Since my time with her was constant, I never had the chance to finish my third segment for the Rule of 3. It saddened me to be disqualified, but my friendship means more to me than any prizes. Friends should be cherished.

So for all of you who have supported me by dropping by for the first two segments, here is the third. I hope you enjoy it. I will definitely have the fourth on time for those of you who might want to wait until Wednesday.

Thanks again for your friendship and patience.


The captain stirred from a throbbing pain exploding inside his temples. A trembling hand wiped the dripping blood away from his eyes as he rolled onto his knees. 
His lips twisted into a sinister grin. “The kid’s got balls.” He spat out saliva mixed with blood. “Let’s see how long it will take for me to catch up to you sonny boy.” A maniacal laugh escaped through his stretched lips.
Standing on weakened legs, he straightened up to his full height, stepped into the hall and opened the linen closet. He grabbed the first aid kit tucked away under the bath towels. 
A moment later, he entered into the bathroom and flipped on the switch. Hallowed eyes stared at the crusted bump and congealed blood clinging to the side of his face.
After a quick wash, he swabbed the wounds with peroxide, smeared on anti-bacterial cream, wrapped his head with gauze, and then taped up the ends.
“This should do ... now where did my little mouse go? This cat’s hungry.” His eyes lit for a brief moment as he tore out of the bathroom and down the stairs.
He glanced at the clock. Cursing, he flung open the front door. Panes of glass rattled within its frame from the sheer force of the slam after he darted through over the threshold.. A sleek black Volvo awakened with a toot and a flash of headlights.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a rusted red pick up. Releasing the accelerator, the car coasted past the gas station and boarding house. He spotted a dirt road, turned onto it, and continued into a thick mass of Elm trees.
With the cunning of an alley cat, he slinked out of the car and moved toward the structure.
He hid in the shadows, only the meager lamppost cast an single beam of light. Peeking into the grungy window, he spotted his prey. Moistening his lips, he grinned. “I hope you enjoy your meal sonny boy ... it will be your last.”
Dark, brooding eyes flicked to a teenage red-headed girl. Hmmmm. Tasty. I hope he got some of that. It would be a shame to leave this world without one last roll in the hay.
The captain’s eyes swept the scene once more, zeroing in on the layout of the interior. A plan rippled through his brain like waves to a shore. 
“In just a few short hours, sonny boy, we’ll meet again.” He inhaled a long, deep breath and disappeared into the darkness.

Click here for part one.

Click here for part two.

I hope you enjoy them everyone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Hi, all,

I am so sorry I didn't get the chance to post yesterday. It has been CRAZY the past few days. But before I get into that, I would like to welcome my new friends to my blog.

Twelve in the past few weeks. I am almost at 500... I still have less that two weeks to my blogaversary. Of course I will do something special for all of you. This year has one of THE most amazing years I've had and it is mainly because of all of you.

My new and old friends ... Thank you. Lee, Natzers, Joshua, In luv with words. Daina, Lynn, Patty, Khlemoyne, Ann, Mish, Jeremy and Kristen. I am looking so forward to getting to know all of you a little better.

Something unexpected and wonderful happened to me today. An old college friend, who after so many years, faded from my life because of her obligations with work and family. Although I tried to keep up the friendship, it had been one sided for many years and frankly, I got tired of it.

I finally wrote an direct email to her explaining how I felt and what I expect from a real friend. We had been through so much together for years, even after we graduated.

Months went by with now response. At that point I buried the past and looked ahead. Never expecting to hear from her again.

Two weeks ago I received a phone call from her. After an extensive apology, she asked if she could visit. This was not the first time she had wanted to visit and it never happened.

I was skeptical. Why wouldn't I be? She ran by a few random dates. We picked the week and the conversation ended.

Ten minutes later, I received an email. She had booked her flight. She was coming on the Oct. 17th. My jaw dropped. She was really coming to visit.

Well, yesterday she flew in and I have to say it was like we saw each other last week instead of a decade ago. She's staying until Saturday and we have the best itinerary. With fall leaves blustering about and temps in the low 50's it will be great walking weather.

We have reconnected and it feels GREAT! She is practically like a sister to me. Sometimes you just have to let your friends know how you really feel. And if they are true, they WILL endure the test of time.

Has this ever happened to you? I would really love to hear your story.

Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Don't forget my third installment of the Rule of 3 will post either tomorrow or Thursday. It will be tough to write because of my friend's presence, BUT, of course I will do it. She is amazed that I am an illustrator turned interior designer and now writer. Life is FULL of surprises.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I hope I made this on time. Just barely behind the wire. This the second installment in the RULE of 3 blogfest. By now must of you know what it's all about. I do have to reveal my prompt and for this segment I used, a character lies to another on an important matter.

If you'd like to read my first segment click here.

And know Welcome to Renaissance.

A three-story ramshackle house hid behind a peeling one pump gas station on the outskirts of the small town of Renaissance. A withered sign scrolled with population 333 creaked in the blustering October wind barely holding on by a single piece of trembling barbed wire. 
Fallen dried leaves stirred and broke the silence of early dawn as a paled hand opened the front door. 
The filtered light from a nearby streetlamp highlighted the golden flame tresses of a teenage girl. An off-white chemise clung to her curves as she swept away the fallen leaves and picked up the daily newspaper.
She glanced at the headline unimpressed. “Doesn’t anything exciting ever happen here?” she huffed. “I can’t wait til I turn eighteen and I can leave this sorry ass town.”
Stepping back through the arched doorway, the faint sound of a rumbling truck piqued her interest.
She turned. Dust kicked up in the distance as the truck sped down the Villein. As it approached, bright head lights temporarily blinded her until it skidded to a complete stop. Dirt and debris collected at her bare feet.
“What the ...?”
A moment later, the rusted door squeaked open as a white bloodstained trainer hit the pavement.
After he stood, he shook his shaved head and rolled his shoulders, releasing a pinned up moan.
As quiet as a whisper, she disappeared back into the house, raced up the stairs, and entered a small, dingy bedroom. She peered at the stranger through a dew-streaked window.
He paced like a caged animal from the pump to the truck. After furrowing his brow, he kicked the tires. 
Curious, she slipped on a pair of faded jeans and a tight-fitted t-shirt bedazzled with rhinestones, accentuating her ample chest.
The bathroom door slammed, startling her. “Dad’s up. I better get down there fast.”
In a flash, she darted down the stairs and out the front door. 
Leaves crunched under her feet. His neck snapped around and hazel green eyes locked on hers. The corners of his mouth curled.
Was it a smile? She wasn’t sure. It disappeared in an instant.
“Is there something I can help you with?” The girl asked, pulling her eyes away from his.
“Ah, yeah.” He ran a trembling hand over his stubble. “I can use some gas. And maybe if you know of a place I can crash for a few days.”
“Dad should be out in a minute. He’ll unlock the pump. As for a place, we rent out rooms.”
He raised his head and glanced at the sagging roof and warped front porch. “Ah, okay. I guess it will do for a day or two.” 
“It includes breakfast, too. I was just about to make some. After you fill up, drive around to the side and come into the kitchen and I’ll fix you something.”
“I’ll see what’s keeping Dad.” She smiled and took a step toward the house. “Oh, I’m Tanya, by the way.”
“I’m Aidan.”
Tanya padded down the drive.
“Hey, Tanya,” he called out. “Where am I?”
She giggled and then turned. “Renaissance, of course. If ever there was a place to hide a secret ... this is the place.”

Aidan’s jaw dropped.
Tanya’s eyes brightened. Finally a bit of excitement.
“So what’s your story Aidan? How come a kid like you is traveling by himself?”
Aidan’s face hardened. “Let’s just say my parents are fine and they gave me some time off for good behavior.”
“If you say so.” I know you’re hiding something Aidan. I’ll find out soon enough.

Well that is the second segment. I hope it peeked your interest. Drop by next week for Part Three.

Let me know what you thing... 

Now for other news. THE PAY IT FOWARD BLOGFEST.

A brain child of Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNash. Drop by their blogs for the extensive list.

This is a great blogfest and easy too, just chose three blogger buddies to feature. Drop by their blogs and follow. East, right? Well, you have all weekend to discover blog love.

Here are mine... Drop by their blogs... They are all awesome!

Marcy @ Mainwords.

Laura @ The Daily Dodo.

Mood @ Moody Writing

Have a great weekend everyone!


Welcome friends to another author interview. Elliot Grace is visiting today. Of all the blogger author/friends I know, El is an amazing inspiration for us all.

A true artist and humanitarian, El's SOUTH OF CHARM explores hidden truths shown through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy.

Before the interview I would like to share with you an excerpt courtesy of Good Reads.

We're huddled in the far corner of my bedroom. Arms wrapped around our knees in the dark. The approaching footsteps grow louder. Ominous thuds. Our mother, but somehow not. She's standing outside my door. We listen to the creak of the hinges. My sister clenches my arm. "She's coming," she whispers. "She's broken."

Pretty powerful writing ... wouldn't you say?

I'd like for all of you to get to know the man behind the words. 

He is a special man with a big heart.

Welcome to In Time ... EL

Thank you, Michael

What intrigues me most El, is why you wrote such an intense story for middle graders. Even though I know many children fall victim to their parents's abusive behaviors, would a ten-year-old read this book? 

-Over the summer I coached a youth baseball team, a group of ten year old boys out to make a name for themselves.  Our third baseman was new to the area, a gentle giant who rarely communicated with little more than the occasional nod.  I later found out that he was a victim of child abuse, now being raised by his grandfather.  My son took a liking to him, who's since made it common practice to stop by the house just in time for dinner.  For this boy, my story is adequate.  Our starting pitcher on the team comes from a set of loving parents, high school sweethearts who are often spotted holding hands after two decades of marriage.  For this family, "South of Charm" would be better suited for his parents.  Every ten year old is unique in their own level of maturity.  For some, my story is not only acceptable, but perhaps something they can often relate to and take comfort in.  For others, well, perhaps waiting a few years would be the appropriate decision. 

I find it interesting that you played to this market. Will parents feel comfortable having their children read South of Charm?  Or, are you marketing to an older reader featuring an mc who happens to be middle grade age?

-When the book originally hit the shelves, my first reaction to finding it in the adult section was a level of angst.  Something that became an ongoing dispute with my publisher.  It was then brought to my attention that "To Kill a Mockingbird" was also an adult story with a younger mc, as was King's "Stand by Me."  Not that "Charm" is anywhere near the benchmark that those two stories eclipsed, the comparison eased my tension a bit.  I penned "Charm" without the genre curve, choosing instead to travel alone, allowing my readers to decide for themselves upon which shelf the book deserves to be placed.  My goal from the onset was to write a story capable of capturing the attention of our youth, while causing my adult readers to quietly ponder its content as well.

There are so many things that I admire about you. When had you and your wife decided to parent foster children? Giving of yourself in such a way is truly selfless and wonderful. Has the experience been more difficult than you had imagined? Has it been more rewarding?

-Fostering those in need has been a goal of my wife's since before we had children of our own.  Then, when we felt that our three kids were mature enough to handle a visitor or two, we pursued our licensing.  In all honesty, every day is an all new undertaking.  Currently we have four foster children, along with our own three, living under one roof, making for an interesting degree of dysfunction.  Every child whose entered our home, arrives with their very own bestselling memoir.  Some feel the need to share their stories, while others bottle it up.  The trick is in gaining their trust.  When that happens, regardless of what the weatherman is reporting, the sun's shining bright upon our home ;)

Do you plan to continue to foster children after the fledglings in your care fly the coop? I know these questions are rather personal, but your heart is so large, I think our community should know how special a person you are. Your novel was written to show the world the hardships of life that often start at the beginning of life. Sad, but with hope. Hope for a future where a child could have a safe and loving home.

-Thanks Michael for your kind words.  Yes, we have no plans of slowing anytime soon.  

Now that South of Charm is touching lives, what is your next project/projects? Will you continue to write about sensitive issues, or will you go in a completely different direction? Is there a genre that intrigues you that had always wanted to delve into, but for whatever reasons haven't?

-I've been playing around with two YA projects lately, both of which I'm excited about.  And while I'm not a fan of sequels, Danny Kaufman, the youngster from "Charm," may sneak into the drama as a teenager from time to time.

My last question. What is your escape? What secret place do you lose yourself in when entering the literary world?

-With a house full of kids, that can be a challenge!  I often sneak out the back door, laptop hidden under my arm, to our recently renovated shed along the farthest reaches of our property.  I sit under the porch and hammer on keys until my muse finds contentment, (or my wife needs help with the bathing of toddlers ;)

Thank you EL. It was quite the honor having you here today. I'll look forward, as we all will, to your next book. 

To purchase SOUTH OF CHARM, click here for Amazon.
Kindle edition or paperback edition. Also Amazon UK here. Kindle edition

EL is also having an amazing contest. For all the details visit his blog, So Close, but ...

For all you interested in my second entry for the Rule of 3 blogfest, I will be posting it later today.

Have a wonderful day everyone!