Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Authorsday - Mary Reid and Eric Mayer

Co-authors Mary Reed and Eric Mayer are here today to answer some questions.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?




Mary had made her mind up by the time she was nine or ten. She used to remark that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer and live in a garret, probably inspired by Jo March in Little Women, who didn't actually live in a garret but wrote in one. Jo is the only fictional character with whom Mary identified herself.



Eric can't remember when he wanted to be a writer, at least in the sense of wanting to spend his time writing, because he was drawing picture stories in crayon before he knew the alphabet. Probably when he began checking science fiction books out of the library was when he decided that it must be wonderful to be able to do nothing but get paid to make stuff up, like all those science fiction authors. In that sense, he's still hoping to be a writer when he grows up.



--How did you pick the genre you write in?



Mary loves mysteries and has always been interested in history, so writing historical mysteries was an easy choice. She also prefers Golden Age mysteries to modern ones and those older books are, in some sense, historicals now. It was Mary who first sold mysteries, to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and she suggested Eric collaborate with her. He'd read some mysteries, along with other genres, and he also loved history, so it seemed like a good idea. We both read a lot of science fiction and fantasy when we were younger and the historicals allow us to incorporate some of that sense of exotic locations and alien societies we both enjoyed reading about.





--Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?



When we write together we plan the books out in detail, using a scene by scene outline. Since we trade chapters back and forth, writing and rewriting each other's work, it would be too easy to become confused without having a master plan to refer to as necessary. Especially since we need to keep track of the clues involved in the mystery puzzle. This is fine for Eric, who always outlines, but Mary, left to her own devices, prefers to dive in and see where she ends up. She's happy enough to call a character. "Fred" until she knows his real name. Eric, on the other hand, can't write the first sentence until he knows "Fred's" first, last, and middle names, his eye color, the identities of his father and mother, his place of birth, and his mother's maiden name.



--What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?



We weren't aware of the importance publishers place on authors' promotional efforts, or anything about how to promote our books. We learned, for instance, that a website is vital, as a calling card when querying publishers, and for giving the writer a presence on the Internet, a place where people can go to find information about the work.



Also, we knew that it was difficult to get published, that it took not only skill but a lot of luck and that many deserving writers never do find a publisher. However, we didn't realize just how difficult it is. It's probably fortunate we didn't know. We might not have been quite so blithe about submitting our manuscript.



--How many rejections have you received?



Lots. Sometimes it seems like we have both had endless rejections so altogether...well, what's twice infinity? Neither of us are any good at math.



When Mary was writing nonfiction her record was twelve rejections in 24 hours. They were all eventually published. Her theory is to always get the rejected piece out again immediately.



Eric tried, briefly, to keep track of his rejections when he started to make a serious effort to publish nonfiction and essays. He had six rejections before his first essay was accepted. That seemed like a pretty good record. Forty-four rejections later, without another sale, and decided maybe he wasn't the record-keeping type.



One for Sorrow, the first novel we sold, only garnered five or six combined rejections from agents and publishers before it sold.



--Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?



When Mary saw in the Mystery Writers of America newsletter that Poisoned Pen Press had a nonfiction book nominated for the Edgar she wrote to congratulate them and asked whether they planned to branch out into fiction. They did intend to do so. It transpired editor Barbara Peters had often thought that someone should set a mystery series during the Byzantine period. Not only did One For Sorrow, which takes place in sixth century Constantinople, fit the desired time period, it also matched the description of the sort of books the new press sought to publish -- well written but not the sort of thing big publishers, with their enormous sales expectations, might want. We're not sure how often writers choose their publisher. It is usually the other way around. But in this case Mary might well have chosen the only publisher who would have published the series.



--What three things would you want with you on a desert island?



Mary could do with a working computer, a complete collection of all Golden Age mysteries, and a large tent. Eric would go for Mary, our cat, and a lifetime supply of coffee.





--What’s your favorite food?



Mary likes egg curry, peaches and custard, cheese sandwiches, and cheese cake, ignoring the blandishments of long ago favorites such as liver and onions or tripe. Eric will agree with those likes (and heartily agree to ignore the "old time favorites") but he also enjoys pizza and Chinese take-out, or the mid-eastern cuisine he had when he lived in Brooklyn, but which doesn't seem common in other parts of the country.



--What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?



Mary reckons she would like to learn to play the accordion or juggle, preferably both at the same time. It might come in handy at book signings. Eric wanted to play professional baseball even before he wanted to write. Of course, being a bookworm and writer, he never played organized baseball even as a kid. He suspects he will never get started on his baseball career since he is too old to join the Little League.



--What was the hardest scene to write?



There is a scene in Eight For Eternity in which the excubitor (palace guard) Felix finds himself in the midst of a riot in a narrow alley. The fighting is chaotic and bloody. After having hinted at the chaos in the streets as mounted imperial troops battled the mobs, we felt it necessary to finally show the reality. It was difficult, however, since neither of us have ever been in a street riot, or served in the military, or wielded swords or spears, or sharpened sticks, or thrown bricks and stones. At least not at other people. Nor have we ridden horses, except on carousels. Eric could at least imagine how terrifying it must be to see a horse bearing down on you, even without an armed rider. Mary recalled having queued up outside a store on the opening day of a sale. With that little to go on the scene did require some heavy lifting from our imaginations.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Dorothy Francis

Mystery author Dorothy Francis has a killer recipe for Crab Bisque today. Killer? Would Kate serve it to Jon?

Hmm.

Dorothy Francis is an award-winning author who for years has written mystery novels and short stories from her home offices in Iowa and the Florida Keys. She is a member of MWA, S-in-C, Key West Writer's Guild, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.


Eden Palms Murder:



Key West visitor Bailey Green faces death at the hands of blackmarket thieves when police ignore her claim that her brother's homeless friend was murdered.





Recipe:



CRAB BISQUE



1 small onion chopped

4T butter or margerine

1can celery soup

1can potato soup

1 can milk

1 can half & half

5 to 7 oz. can of crab meat

1/4 c sherry

salt to taste



Saute onion in 2T margerine until tender. Add soup, milk, cream, and drained crab meat. Heat to just boiling. Add sherry, salt and pepper. Heat. Add remaining butter.
Makes 4 to 6 generous 3/4 cup servings

Monday, April 26, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Gwyn Cready

Today Gwyn Cready she shares an excerpt of her latest Flirting with Forever.
Hi, I'm Gwyn Cready. I write sexy, romantic time travel novels. Publishers Weekly called my debut, Tumbling Through Time, "a joy." Seducing Mr. Darcy, my second novel, won the 2009 RITA Award for Best Paranormal Romance. My latest, Flirting with Forever, tells the story a long-dead painter who comes back to Earth to settle the hash of the author of The Girl with a Coral Earring, whose series of sexy, tell-all biographies is driving the dead art world nuts. It got 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times and a starred review in Publishers Weekly. It's my most romantic book yet.

Covent Garden, London, 1673.


Peter pressed an exquisitely-cobbled shoe against the side of the desk drawer and rubbed his aching temples. Despite all the appointments of success--the fine clothes, the freedom to paint when and what he choose, the admiration of a highly-appreciative king, row upon row of apprentices doing his command, a full waiting room and an even fuller account with his bankers--he felt nothing but despair. Even the fat emerald ring, once such a prize, was a torture for it reminded him of Ursula and how he had treated her. It had been heartbreaking to live through part of his life the first time. And now to be asked to live through it again was a sorrow so exquisite, he could barely speak.

"Peter," Mertons said, "I hope you know how much the Guild appreciates this."

Peter grunted. The Executive Guild managed the souls passing through the Afterlife, specifically those within the artists section, and Mertons was the time jump accountant who had been assigned to this case. Time jump accountant was his official title, but Peter knew the unofficial reason the Guild had sent him was to ensure the moody, unreliable painter they'd enlisted managed the mission properly and stayed within the prescribed rules, so perhaps 'nursemaid' might be more appropriate.

"It wasn't as if I had a choice." Peter slitted his eyes and let the dying November sun warm his face. The evenings were the hardest. During the day he could lose himself in painting, but at night… At night, all he had was wine and his memories. How could he have once held success in such esteem?

Mertons shrugged. "You will get what you want, Peter--a new life as an artist." The Guild had the power to choose the new life into which a member of its constituency, in this case, painters, would arrive, bundled in his or her new mother's arms, with only an obscure hint of the sadness or joy of their former life to tint their memories.

And while Peter desperately wanted a new life as an artist--he couldn't imagine himself, or at least his soul, spending the next sixty years as a barber or dairyman--what he really wanted was a chance to redeem himself, which he knew he would never find. He had finally agreed to slip back into the pinched, desiccated skin he had sloughed off at his death two years earlier for one reason only--to try to return Ursula's good name to her, an intention he had purposefully not shared with Mertons, who had been assigned by the Guild to accompany him and who monitored the attacks on his precious time travel constraints with the ferocity of mother lion.

"Tell me again what we know." Peter had heard the story several times since their arrival a week ago. Nonetheless Mertons liked to tell it, and it would give Peter time to prepare for acting out his plan. He glanced at the clock and then at the small storage room off the office. Just before five. Good.

Mertons sighed and looked down at his clipboard. "To be honest, we know very little. The writer's name is Campbell Stratford--a Scot," he added as if that added a significant detail to the understanding of the event. "The book will be an embarrassment to the Guild--"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nebula's Music Virtual Book Tour Stop - Aubrie Dionne

Today instead of Kate Gosselin, I welcome Aubrie Dionne on her virtual book tour. She's graciously answered my questions.

1. What inspired you to write Nebula’s Music?
The genre of Space Opera. Wikipedia describes Space Opera as, " a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities."
Now, how can that not be fun to read and write?! I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Serenity, Pitch Black, Aliens, pretty much every single science fiction movie out there. Why not try to write one of my own! And why not try to write it on a large scale with melodramatic action, romance, and adventure?

Nebula's Music was one of the most fun novellas I've ever written, and believe me, it took me for a ride!

The character Data from Star Trek The Next Generation. I watched star Trek growing up at 7pm and 7:30pm every night for about seven years. Data's journey to become more human fascinated me. There was one scene where he plays the violin and I marveled at the fact that he can take up an instrument and play it perfectly in minutes compared to a human that has to spend a lifetime perfecting their skills. But did his music have emotion? Probably not.

Nebula is not entirely an andriod. She's made from a real human and experiences that woman's past memories. In a way, she's closer to being human than Data can ever be, but can she break some of the barriers that he never could? Can she experience fear, triumph, or fall in love? Would a human reciprocate that love?



2. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
To write every day! And that persistence leads to success.



3. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
Lyrical Press has a gorgeous website and breath taking book covers. They say in their submissions, “If you dare to write it, we dare to consider it.” That line resonated with me. I dared to write Nebula’s Music, so why not send it in?



4. If you have a day job, what is it?
I’m a professional flutist in New England. I teach at a University and a community music school. I love to make up stories to go along with the music to make my students understand the music and play with more emotion. Over the years, my students told me that I should get them published, and here I am today!



5. Describe your book.
When the cyborg Nebula plays the piano she experiences memories from a time before her creation. These memories…which involve a captive rebel fighter being held on their ship…bring with them complex human feelings and awaken a desire for her to discover her origins.

Radian is the long lost love of the woman from which Nebula was made. He’s vowed to avenge his finance’s death and rescue her sister from the Gryphonites, a fierce race out to enslave the galaxy.

Nebula grapples with her identity and how much of who she is comes from someone else’s past. She is not the woman that died, yet she is undeniably drawn to Radian.

Together Nebula and Radian seek to rescue his fiancé’s sister and end the Gryphonites’ cruel reign. But can Radian learn to love again and can Nebula accept a past made from someone else’s memories?



6. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I love writing different worlds. I’m very good at descriptions and fantasy settings.



7. What’s your writing schedule?
I write every day in the mornings and early afternoons before I go to work.



8. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
My mom is my greatest cheerleader. Then comes my two critique buddies, Christine and Cherie.



9. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?
I love Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel. He’s an experienced literary agent that gives inside advice on how to write a bestseller!



10. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved writing in the setting of outer space!

Author Bio :

Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her writings have appeared in Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Lyrical Press, SynergEbooks, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Her epic fantasy, The Voices of Ire, will be coming out this summer at Wyvern Publications. Please visit her website: www.authoraubrie.com






On tap this week!

Aubrie Dionne stops by her on virtual book tour.

Gwyn Cready who was featured in Romantic Times Magazine as an up and coming mystery author shares an excerpt.

Dorothy Francis has a recipe for us.

Mary Reid stops by for an interview.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Authorsday - Cris Anson

Hot Hot Hot! Is how I describe how Cris Anson writes. Hotter than even Justin Beiber.
So here she is answering some questions for me today.

1. How did you pick the genre you write in?



Back at the turn of this century, I was published under another name and my editor kept telling me to tone down my love scenes. When I first heard about Ellora’s Cave, the company which put erotic romance on the publishing map, I was thrilled to know I could write as steamy as I wanted. Now reviewers call my work “incredibly, sinfully erotic”, “scorching hot”, “explosive and passionate”, “atomic fireball hot”—well, you get the picture.



2. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

Wish I didn’t, but it’s been seat of the pants for me. I start with two protagonists and, usually, an ending, and maybe an idea for just a scene or two. Period. That makes for lots of angst because I don’t know how to get where I’m headed, so I simply plod along until the characters come to life under my fingers. I don’t write the synopsis until I’ve written “The End” to any story. With PUNISHMENT AND MERCY, an erotic historical ménage from Ellora’s Cave released January 2010, I really struggled to come up with reasons to keep the characters apart and I kept sending chapters to my editor for comment and direction.

It wasn’t until I was invited to join the Ellora’s Cave Cougars (see Tempt the Cougar blog http://temptthecougar.blogspot.com/ ) that I had to write a synopsis for the group before actually writing the story to be sure I wasn’t duplicating anyone else’s ideas. Now, having a sketchy Trip-Tik for Giselle and Con’s story, I feel more in control of their destiny. Maybe this feeling will stay with me.



3. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?



How much time it takes for promo. I used to think that being published was the Holy Grail. Now there’s a whole new set of goals: getting my name known, finding and enhancing my “brand”, getting my books reviewed, doing blogs and interviews, having a website and a presence on MySpace, Facebook and other social networks, arranging book-signings, attending conferences with an eye to meeting new readers. And oh yes, actually doing the writing so that I can keep my name before the readers.



4. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?



See #1. When I submitted my first “hot” book to Ellora’s Cave, it took nine months for them to acknowledge my submission (it got lost twice what with editorial turnover and growing pains) but I was determined to be published by the premier publisher of erotic romance. Finally, in January 2005, DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS was released and I’ve been with EC ever since. I’ve done five full-length novels and two “Quickies”, with a Cougar novella coming up plus two books (romantic suspense and contemporary romance) for their mainstream imprint, Cerridwen Press. By the way, all of these are still available in downloads, and most are in print as well.



5. Describe your book.



PUNISHMENT AND MERCY takes place in 1694 Massachusetts Bay Colony. A young widow is flogged in public for sexual congress outside matrimony, and her irate father forces her marriage to a blacksmith. But the blacksmith’s apprentice falls in love with her. What’s a woman to do when she winds up loving them both? A reviewer (4.5 hearts, Shannon, The Romance Studio) says: “I dare any reader to have a dry eye by the end of this captivating story!”



Also, I just sold an older woman/younger man story to EC, tentatively entitled WHAT SHE NEEDS. A debut erotic romance author meets a Dom who wants to teach her the finer points of D/s—for research purposes, of course. They “click”, but horrors in their respective pasts lead to a frightening incident that breaks the fragile bond of trust between them.



6. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?



I like to think I’m good at dialogue, description, mood setting and emotional impact. The last draft before sending it on to my editor consists of going through the manuscript line by line, searching for weak words and substituting those with power, action and/or emotion. My problem is plot (which is why I write seat-of-the-pants style). Oh, and I’m a stickler for punctuation and spelling.



7. What’s your favorite quote?



Attributed to Shaquille O’Neal: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” In other words, Go for it. Don’t stop writing. Don’t ever give up.



8. What was your favorite scene to write?



Probably the beginning of DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS. I kept playing the music from Richard Strauss’ opera, SALOME, and envisioning the divorced, poor-self-image heroine, who was cajoled into attending an adult costume party, doing her own dance to that music with her own seven veils. This was the moment she realized she was a desirable woman and thus began her own coming-of-age story at the age of 39.



9. What was the hardest scene to write?



There’s a hospital scene in my Cerridwen book, SECOND BEST (the “bad” twin’s story, the sequel to FIRST TO DIE, with the “good” twin), where the hero is forced to make a “Sophie’s Choice” kind of decision between the two people he loves most in the world. I cried buckets while writing that. Here’s a typical reader reaction: “I sobbed watching Jack choose what was asked of him…” (5 bookmarks, Natalie S., Wild on Books)



10. Who is your greatest cheerleader?



It was, without a doubt, my late husband, Ed. As sick as he was (bedridden with emphysema for the last eight years of his life), he always had words of encouragement when I needed them, and he delighted in sharing my every triumph, whether simply finishing a chapter or first draft, or receiving a good review or that welcome royalty check. I’m grateful he was able to see my first two erotic romances published. I still miss him, but I know he’s still proud of every small or large success I achieve.



Author Bio

After the death of my husband of 22 years, it took me three years to come out of my grief and feel alive and open to new experiences. Now I consider myself a senior citizen and “cougar” —hey, one is never too old to dream about, or experience, romance. I’ve been writing since the ‘90s and read voraciously across all genres. I enjoy my garden during warm days and have just discovered Zumba for fun exercising. My wish list includes sleeping on the floor of the Grand Canyon and dancing a tango or two with Gilles Marini.



Book Blurb):



DANCE OF THE ROGUE, the final book in my DANCE series



Love-’em-and-leave-’em bad-boy Rolf has met his match, and she’s nothing like his usual dalliances. Older, plus-sized Fantine embraces her curves and her femininity. A weekend of pleasure that begins as a sizzling sexual distraction sparks a connection neither wants to relinquish. Fantine brings Rolf a link to the dark-eyed, dark-haired father he always suspected was his, not the blond-haired, blue-eyed sire of his brothers. Amid the joy of learning of his new family and a relationship of steamy sexuality and deep emotions, Rolf becomes the man he never thought he could be, and the lover of Fantine’s deepest fantasies.





http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-7517-14-dance-of-the-rogue.aspx




Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Janis Susan May

Cooking Up A Story




I have been asked to write – which I do moderately well – a post about cooking – which I do not do well at all! The fact that for several years I successfully wrote a cooking column testifies more to my generous cooking friends and a vast collection of cookbooks than to any personal skill. My years as a Food Editor were easy – I like to eat.

The more I think about it, however, there is a distinct correlation between cooking and writing a novel. No, I’ve never burned my fingers on a hot manuscript nor made a delicious snack out of several thousand words, but there is a unity of spirit in both disciplines forged in the act of creation.

First, with book or dish, you have to make the decision as to theme – is it to be hot and spicy? Exotic and redolent of foreign lands? Comforting and homey?

Just like cooking – is it going to be chili with lots of peppers or hummus and tabouli or meat loaf and mashed potatoes? To whom are you going to serve it? Your adventuresome and sophisticated friends or elderly Uncle Homer who’s never been more than fifty miles off the farm where he was born?

And there must be continuity and a similarity of purpose in your entire meal. Imagine a meal made of nothing but homely meat loaf and exotic hummus and fiery chili. While each is delightful in their own realm, combined in a meal those three dishes would be unsettling. That way lies digestion of the spirit as well as the stomach.

Books are similar. Today genre combinations are very popular, but even if your Victorian heroine does travel across the seas or in time, there is a continuity. Readers have a certain set of expectations that is based on any number of things. The author’s brand. The genre. The jacket copy. Primarily the jacket copy. If a customer buys a book that is touted as a cozy mystery and finds half-way through that it turns without warning into an erotic romance – or vice-versa – that is going to be one unhappy book buyer.

You don’t want to bite into a fried stuffed jalapeno to find it filled with mint chocolate fudge, do you?
It’s the same thing within a genre. Once the framework is set up within the book, it must be played out within the rules the author has set up. No fair to use the old deus-ex-machina device, where the skeins of the story are so tangled up that the only way for there to be a happy ending is to have a god descend from Olympus and straighten everything out.

This doesn’t mean you can’t push the envelope. If your heroine is afraid of water and of going out alone at night, there’s no way she should decide out of nothing but curiosity to go swimming in the lake at midnight just to see what it’s like. On the other hand, if the only way she can find the needed clue to save her kidnapped brother’s life is by going swimming in the lake at midnight her need becomes an interesting study in character. Just how much will she sacrifice of herself to save her brother? The believability of this scenario depends on how the writer has set up the framework. Are the heroine and her brother close? Are they enemies? Did she even know she had a brother until this scenario began?

A reader will suspend disbelief to accept almost any world a writer creates – the ordinary world of today we all inhabit or a planet with two moons and cool orange seas – as long as the writer plays fair and lives by the rules he has set up. You can’t have a perfectly normal heroine for twenty-two chapters who suddenly becomes psychic in chapter twenty-three just because the hero needs saving.

Just like you can’t serve elderly Uncle Homer meat loaf and mint chocolate fudge-stuffed fried jalapenos and expect him to be happy. At least, not the elderly Uncle Homers I know!

Now, for a recipe that can be, according to the number of peppers you put into it, either a mild or spicy dish. And easy. Not even I have ever been able to mess this one up!

This dish was created by one of the best cooks – and one of the best friends – I’ve ever known. Sadly she passed away several years ago, but her cooking will live forever.



Peggy's Corn Casserole



Mix :

1 stick of butter

16 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

salt and pepper

sliced or chopped jalapenos to taste



Heat over slow fire – stirring all the time – then pour over:



2 packages (plastic sacks) of frozen corn kernels



in a shallow casserole. Bake at 325o for 45 minutes.




ExcerpTuesday - Kelly A. Harmon



Justin Beiber says he doesn't like his picture on People Magazine. I think he should just be happy he's on it.




Today I welcome Kelly A. Harmon on her virtual blog tour for her latest Blood Soup. She's going to give us a little taste of the soup!





Blurb:

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, were convinced that the child would be a girl. With each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.”

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?


Excerpt:

Amalric didn’t know what he had expected to see—what he expected to feel—once he entered the catacombs. But it certainly wasn’t the empty void he experienced. Surely, these two women should mean something to me, he thought. He should feel sad for their passing. Or relief at his own existence. Or anger at his sister’s senseless murder.

But he’d never met them, and they meant nothing.

“Mother,” he whispered, trying to feel the relationship. He touched her loose brown hair, satiny in death, as if it had been oiled. Mummified flesh clung to her skull, her mouth hung slack with decay. But he could make out her features, even in abstract.

Piacenza’s arms crossed her chest, holding onto the baby she’d died birthing. The child lay on her stomach, her face turned out to the corridor. Smooth in death, the babe’s skin was stretched taut across her skull, her tiny mouth open as if searching for a breast. Amalric couldn’t picture this small babe as his twin.

“Sister,” he said, failing to convince himself of an emotional connection to the babe. He smoothed a thumb across her forehead, touched a finger to her puckered lips.

A scowl wrinkled his forehead, and he felt a tightness behind his eyes.

Now that he knew about them, how long would he continue to feel the emptiness that knowing them should have filled?

Had his father confirmed his sister’s existence in order to wring sympathy from his heart? Didn’t he realize that a man who had never known the loving touch of his mother nor felt the bond of his long-deceased sister would find nothing but apathy amid these moldering bones?
Amalric gazed at the wispy hair, the withered skin, and suddenly, he made a fist and drove it into his mother’s side. He felt her ribcage shatter beneath his knuckles, and saw his sister’s small frame sink as the bones of his mother failed to support her. A puff of dust rose above his sister’s head like a small halo in the torchlight.

He laughed, finding sudden humor in the situation. He should be rejoicing, he thought. Perhaps he should feel some harmony with his sire—the man who removed all obstacles from his path to the throne.

How pathetic of him, thought Amalric, if he felt any pride at all for getting rid of these women. Women, he thought, who are frail beyond measure and easily subdued. How pitiable that Father should take pride in such an achievement. And worse, how contemptible that he might think my seeing their mortal remains would create in me a sudden change of heart.

Bio:

Kelly A. Harmon used to write truthful, honest stories about authors and thespians, senators and statesmen, movie stars and murderers.

She found reporting by turns exciting (covering a murder trial) and excruciatingly boring (covering itty-bitty town council meetings). Most other stories managed to fall in between those extremes on a sliding scale of interesting.

When not crazed with the need to freelance, Ms. Harmon writes fantasy and dark fantasy with the occasional science fiction piece. Her story, Lies, short-listed for the 2008 Aeon Award and Blood Soup won the Fantasy Gazetteers Novella Contest prior to Eternal Press publishing it. Look for her story “Selk-Skin Deep” in Bad @ss Fairies 3, debuting in May, and Establishing a Good Critique Group in How to Write Paranormal, coming this fall.


Links:

Blood Soup at Eternal Press: http://www.eternalpress.biz/searches.php?genre=22
Kelly A. Harmon’s Web Site: http://kellyaharmon.com/




Friday, April 16, 2010

Kelly A. Harmon stops by on her tour

Next week. Don't miss it. An excerpt from Blood Soup!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's coming up on my blog.


I know ya all cannot wait to see what's next. Nope, Jon and Kate are not here.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Authorsday - Diane Madsen


If you're looking for answers to healthcare reform, you've come to the wrong place.

Instead I have an interview with author Diane Madsen.


1. How did you pick the genre you write in?
I like to write what I like to read. Mystery, mystery -- murder, murder. That’s what interests me the most. Mystery readers are a discriminating lot, and it’s fun working the plot and the clues to try to mislead them while also entertaining.. Of course I like history and biography as well and tried to combine both these interests in writing my “DD McGil Literati Mystery Series.”

2. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I’ve attended author talks where the guest of honor is very cavalier and he or she swears they never do outlines and don’t know what’s going to happen in the book. While this is amusing in a talk, and while it may very well be true for them, it’s not true for me. I don’t outline – too restrictive; but I do have a plot line worked out before I begin. It may have some holes in it, and that’s okay. While writing, things may change – let me rephrase that – things DO change and sometimes change again, but the path is there.
I like to amuse myself and the reader when I write. I like to get from here to there, but in doing so, I like to take the scenic route and look at all the interesting things along the way. To make the book interesting and entertaining is my goal.

3. What drew you to the subject of A Cadger’s Curse?
I read about a very interesting incident in Robert Burns life which led me to do further research and incorporate it into the plot of “A Cadger’s Curse.” It was August 25, 1787, when Robert Burns stopped in Stirling at the Golden Lion Inn on the way to Inverness. Burns wanted to see Stirling Castle, the ruined state of the former home of Scotland’s kings, and the sight greatly aroused his Jacobite feelings. The next day, Burns took a diamond-tipped pen and scrawled a verse on the window of his room at the Golden Lion Inn. The poem is called Written by Somebody on the window of an inn at Stirling On seeing the royal palace in ruins. Word of this verse spread quickly among travelers and was immediately attributed to Robert Burns. Burns had just published his first book of poems and was the “rock star” of his day, but this poem was considered treasonous by the current monarchy that had come to power after the overthrow of the Stuart kings. Burns was extremely concerned about the rumors and was worried about being charged with treason and executed – a very real possibility. The rumors kept growing, and a few months later in October of 1787, Burns returned to the Golden Lion Inn, and sometime during this visit he broke the windowpane with the butt end of his riding crop to eliminate the evidence.
Burns stayed on for a few days at nearby Harveston House because of bad weather and visited Mrs. Katherine Bruce of Clackmannan, a 95 year old woman descended from Robert the Bruce, the revered 14th century Scottish ruler. Burns’ traveling companion, Dr. Adair, wrote that during this visit, Katherine Bruce “knighted” Robert Burns with the sword of The Bruce during this visit. According to the present day Lord Bruce, the Bruce family maintains to this day a portrait of Katherine Bruce as well as Robert the Bruce’s sword she used that night.

4. Describe your book.
“A Cadger’s Curse” is the first in the DD McGil Literati Mysteries. It mixes modern day corporate treachery and murder with an incident in the life of Robert Burns. Lippy ex-academic DD McGil uncovers murky Chicago business ethics and priceless Robert Burns artifacts that lead to murder. She’s set to be blown to bits on New Years Eve unless her rare book dealer friend who’s passionate about puzzles and her quirky Aunt who’s passionate about Scotland can save her.
Thirty-something Chicago insurance investigator, DD McGil, had been a rising star in the academic world until the suicide of her fiancé, Frank, altered the course of her life. Now she freelances, and she’s asked to vet some new employees for a high-tech company over the Christmas Holidays. Nothing goes well, and the first thing she runs into is the corpse of her dead fiancé’s step-brother. Then her Aunt Elizabeth - just arrived from Scotland – wants her to authenticate a rare Robert Burns artifact. The plots converge when DD walks into a trap that could send her and the Burns artifact to smithereens along with the Consolidated Bank building at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The book is fast paced with plenty of wit and historical data about Robert Burns. A pet wolf and a real life Chicago rare book dealer add interest to what I call a “Slice of Life” mystery that mixes mystery and history in the first of the DD McGil Literati Mysteries. The next one in the series is “Hunting for Hemingway” which is due out in September 2010.

5. What’s your favorite quote?
Other than reading a good review for my book, I like the Ernest Hemingway quote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”


6. What authors do you admire?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Dickson Carr and Josephine Tey have always been in my top tier.
I like Patricia Wentworth and every Dick Francis book. I really enjoy Stuart Kaminsky, especially his latest series set in Sarasota, FL, and I never miss reading a new Michael Connelly. I like John Dunning, Caroline Graham, Sharyn McCrumb, Thomas Cook, and Carolina Garcia-Aguilera. I’ve also just read Michael Gruber’s “Book of Air and Shadows” and Arthur Phillips’ “The Egyptologist.” And I enjoy Ann Rule’s true crime books. I could go on an on because I think there are so many good mystery and true crime writers out there today.


7. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
I’d love to step into the Restoration Period (1660), which John Dickson Carr did so very well in his historical novel, “The Devil in Velvet.”


8. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
I wish I could play the piano.


9. Who is your favorite character in your book?
In “A Cadger’s Curse” that’s an easy choice. Aunt Elizabeth, aka The Scottish Dragon, was great fun to write. La Dragon is uninhibited and outspoken with a lot of foibles; but she’s got a lot of romance in her soul and she’s likable. She just kept saying amusing things as I typed the dialogue.

10. Where do you write?
I live in Twin Ponds, 5 acres located on Cape Haze in southwest Florida. It’s quite rural and my office window looks out over Sunrise Pond. I admit it is sometimes distracting, like the time I saw a Florida Panther skirting the edge of the pond and approaching my office window. He (or she) sat down for a minute, then went around the house to my garage apron where it sat down, rump against my garage door with paws extended out in front like a Landseer Lion at the base of Nelson’s Column in London. What a sight! I had three cameras in my house – none of which worked! But it was a wondrous sight - one I’ll always remember.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Pat Brown



Coincidentally I have two bananas that need to be used right away! Guess what I'll be doing this evening. I welcome Pat Brown with her recipe for Banana Muffins.

Canadian author Pat Brown, who writes as P.A. Brown, loves cooking and baking and has a dangerous passion for all things chocolate. She is the author of the L.A. series featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine and his lover Chris Bellamere. The series includes the first book, L.A. Heat, followed by L.A. Mischief, L.A. Boneyard and the latest L.A. Bytes. She is also the author of the Geography series, including Geography of Murder and Forest of Corpses, and standalone suspense novel Memory of Darkness.

Banana Muffins
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) unbleached Flour1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar3 1/2 teaspoons (17 mL) baking powder1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt1 cup (250 mL) mashed ripe bananas* (2 to 3 medium)3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips1/2 cup (175 mL) milk
1/4 cup of plain yogurt1/4 cup (50 mL) neutral vegetable oil1 (1) egg
1/2 cup (175 mL) brown sugar
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).2. Grease muffin pans or use paper inserts3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.4. Add banana, milk, yogurt, oil and egg.5. Blend with wooden spoon or spatula scraping sides and bottom of bowl.6. Mix just until blended. (Do not over-mix.)
7. Fill each muffin holder 3/4 and sprinkle brown sugar over top8. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
9. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove and store covered.

*Freezing well-ripened bananas for a day will make them mushier and easier to blend


Canadian author Pat Brown, who writes as P.A. Brown, loves cooking and baking and has a dangerous passion for all things chocolate. She is the author of the L.A. series featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine and his lover Chris Bellamere. The series includes the first book, L.A. Heat, followed by L.A. Mischief, L.A. Boneyard and the latest L.A. Bytes. She is also the author of the Geography series, including Geography of Murder and Forest of Corpses, and standalone suspense novel Memory of Darkness.

Blurb for L.A. Bytes:

Los Angeles' Ste. Anne's Medical Center has been hacked by a brilliant, malicious cracker. Christopher Bellamere has been hired to find out who is behind the break in. When tampered medical records nearly kill Homicide Detective David Eric Laine, the stakes go up and Chris goes after the cracker with all his skills.

It quickly becomes clear the cracker's intentions go far beyond just breaking into a hospital's computer network. He has the skill to bring the city of Los Angeles to its knees. Can Chris and David stop him in time? Or will a digital Armageddon descend on the city of Angels? At what cost to the two lovers?

Monday, April 12, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Penelope Marzec


Tiger Woods didn't win this weekend, but author Penelope Marzec is an author I've known for a number of years. She's very enthusiastic when you meet her. Here is an excerpt from her latest



Blurb for The Fiend of White Buck Hall:

They say Thomas Hillyer, a wizard, is in league with the Devil and that the white buck roaming his estate hypnotizes people and steals their souls. Molly is a fugitive, wanted for a crime she did not commit. Seeing a want ad for a secretary in a sleepy town, she sets off for White Buck Hall but ignores the warning about the albino stag who lurks in the woods. When she meets him on the forest path, her life is forever changed.


Excerpt from The Fiend of White Buck Hall, by Penelope Marzec


He walked up to the desk. The letters were not there. However, the blue ribbon he
had untied sat on the blotter exactly where he had left it. Hesitantly, he reached out and
lifted it up. It smelled of honeysuckle.
Dammit.
Heat coursed up his arm as he clenched the ribbon in his hand. He closed his eyes
and pictured Molly removing that ribbon from her luscious hair while the sweet scent of
honeysuckle wrapped him in a cloud of longing.
He was deranged!
Forcing himself to open his eyes, he jammed the ribbon into his pocket but he was
sure he could feel warmth seeping from his pocket to his skin. It was as if she was there,
touching him with her heated skin. Blood pounded in his brain, surging towards his loins.
He slammed his fist on the desk. Fighting to maintain his equilibrium, he swirled
the wand in the air and pointed it at the desk. A whirlwind appeared and grew into a gray
twister that swept through the drawers, the pigeonholes, and under the desk—and found
nothing.
Frustrated, he stamped back into the dining room. The platters of food were now
cold. Molly had eaten everything on her plate. She did not look up at him, but sat idly
twirling the stem of her empty wineglass.
He set the wand down on the stack of papers, grabbed a platter and began heaping
food on his plate.
“Did you … burn them?” Her voice was high and breathy.
He saw the ostrich feathers in her hair trembling. He turned his gaze back to his
dinner. He must ignore her! He had to hold himself together—he could not allow himself
to feel her pain. He had more than enough of that already. She had completely destroyed
his concentration. He put a forkful of cold chipped beef into his mouth.
“If you threw them into the fire, it was for the best. I should have burned them
myself.”
He closed his eyes and saw the image of that one tear-stained letter. Had she held
that letter in her hands while her tears washed away the ink? He wondered what the salty
flavor of her tears tasted like. He knew it had to be better than the chipped beef in his
mouth.
He put his fork down and rubbed his eyes. He had to send her away. Soon.
What had Rafe said? If you want her to recover quickly, you must not trouble her
mind.
He stuck his hand into his pocket and felt his fingers ignite with heat. He pulled
out the blue ribbon and threw it on the table. It was the wrong thing to do. He saw the
color fade from her face, making her eyes appear huge—like the eyes of a doe.
The pain of his wound returned full force, searing him as if he had been cut anew
with a hot knife.


Bio of Penelope Marzec:

Penelope Marzec started reading romances at a young age even though her mother told her they would ruin her mind, which they did. She became hopelessly hooked on happy endings. She is a member of the New Jersey Romance Writers, the Liberty States Writers Fiction Writers and EPIC. Two of her inspirationals won the EPPIE award and The Keeper’s Promise was a finalist as well. Her paranormal, Irons In The Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.

Links:

Website: http://www.penelopemarzec.com
Blog: http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/penelopemarzec

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Authorsday - Nancy Means Wright



Today I interview Nancy Means Wright who has a delightful story about voices in her head.



When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


Well, like Harold Crick in the film, “Stranger than Fiction,” I hear voices. They started early on, and really, I’m grateful for them. I’ve carried around all manner of diverse voices in my head ever since I was a child and would walk to school with strange accents murmuring in my ears. Back then they were the voices of rabbits and cats and funny little creatures I called snurds (which happened to rhyme with words). We’d chat or argue togther like Frog and Toad all the way down through the glen in the small town I lived in and then up the hill to my elementary school. I loved those imaginary conversations and scenes—especially when my teacher said, “Now, girls and boys, it’s time for arithmetic.” I knew then that I wanted to write.



How did you pick the genre you write in?


I write in several genres, but since my current book is a mystery, I’ll pick that. In 1990 I read about two elderly farmers who were assaulted one night and left for dead. The police found the perps because they were throwing stolen money about in bars and it reeked of barn. At the time I was divorced and desperately wanting to put some kind of order back into my life. And though I’d read few mysteries, I knew that their ultimate purpose was to turn chaos into order. So I wrote one called Mad Season, with a single mother dairy farmer sleuth, and lo, it was accepted by St. Martin’s Press—and four books after that.



Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?


A good way to phrase it! No, I can’t seem to outline. Outlining would take away all the surprise, which is what I love about writing mysteries. If I knew what was going to happen next, I think I’d quit. A writer to my mind should be open and ignorant and let the plot come largely out of a flaw in the character. For Stolen Honey, the fourth in the series, St Martin’s asked for an outline, and so I rushed to write the whole book so I could do the outline! I do have a general idea at the start of Who dunnit, but again in Stolen Honey I got two-thirds of the way through the book and discovered that the perp I’d had in mind couldn’t possibly have done it--murder just wasn’t in his character. So back I went and found another of my red herrings to replace him. You don’t win every time!



What was the name of the first (adult) novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?


It was a mainstream novel, called The Losing.I had an agent who found a publisher, Ace Books, but it was exactly that: a losing. The cover depicted a naked woman taking a shower, and a hairy hand pulling back the diaphanous curtain—a scene that wasn’t even in the book! So I sent my four kids down to the local Vermont Bookshop to buy up copies. And thinking they had a best seller, they kept ordering more! Moreover, I thought I was writing a feminist novel, but Ace called it a romance. It was a no win situation all the way round!



Describe your (new) book.


Midnight Fires is the story of a bright, feisty, impecunious young governess struggling with three unruly aristocratic girls in Mitchelstown Castle, home of the notorious Anglo-Irish Kingsborough family. and seeking justice after a young Irish rebel and a roguish aristocrat die in cold blood. The governess is based on real life 18th century Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and led a wholly unconventional, revolutionary life, and ultimately gave birth to Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame. In Paris during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, Wollstonecraft fell madly in love, bore an illegitimate child, was abandoned by her lover, and tried to do herself in by water and then laudanum. Most of these events, however, are still to come in Midnight Fires, the first in a projected trilogy.



How many rejections have you had?


Like Mary Wollstonecraft, lots. Back in 1792 they called her a “hyena in petticoats” because she advocated divorce, coeducation schools, and called marriage “slavery.” No one has called me a hyena, but I’ve virtually papered my bathoom with rejection slips (poems, stories, novels). Despite it all, I’ve managed to publish 15 books and dozens of stories and poems. I even got ten bucks once for a rejection slip printed in Writer’s Digest. The rejection was from Saturday Evening Post for a story called “Petticoat Strip” and signed by President Nixon’s daughter Julie, who was then Post editor. Obviously I got the tenner because of Nixon’s ultimate “rejection.”



Tell me one thing about yourself that few people know.


My grandmother was illegitimate. Even my mother claimed she didn’t know! I was in Scotland doing research for a novel, and decided to look granny up. And the archivist came back with a lifted eyebrow and a page of spidery handwriting that read “Jemima Brown, illegitimate.” That pious Scotch Presbyterian great-gran! Jemima came over to America at the age of 17 to be nanny to my widower grandfather’s seven children, and eventually married him. So I sat down to write a story and sold it as a “novelette” to Seventeen magazine. Of course by then everyone knew the story—if not that it was my story.



What’s your favorite quote:


Only she who attempts the absurd can ever achieve the impossible.” It’s by Anonymous. I abide by it—although I haven’t yet achieved that “impossible” and never will of course. But I like the dream of it!



What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?


The 18th century, to be sure. It was such a period of enlightenment—all those revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, brotherhood. Sisterhood, as well, with Wollstonecraft planting the seeds of women’s rights—although it would be centuries before they took root. Of course there were major drawbacks for women: midwives were replaced by male physicians with forceps—one baby died out of every 15 born at the British Lying-in hospital, and Mary Wollstonecraft herself died when the doctor used his unwashed hands to pull out her placenta. A married woman couldn’t divorce or own property or make a will, and her husband could lock her up in a madhouse with impunity. Moreover, women were thought to have inferior minds, and female erudition was called “affectation.” “A woman’s noblest station,” Lord Lyttelton wrote, “is to retreat.” The list goes on and on. Still, I’d like to go back and meet Mary, along with Abigail Adams in Massachusetts, who was a Wollstonecraft disciple.

What is the one thing your heroine did that you wouldn’t?


Back in 1792, just after her Vindication of the Rights of Woman was published, Wollstonecraft fell madly in love with the celebrated artist, Henry Fuseli. She was in love with his mind, she said; it would be a platonic affair, but she simply had to be with him day and night—never mind he was married. She was so obsessed that she couldn’t write a word for several months. And he toyed with her, used her, realizing she, still a virgin, was finally coming into her sexual self. At the same time, he was jealous of her new celebrity as a writer—he felt that a woman could never create anything that would endure. Well, one evening she went to his home, told his wife Sophia that she had come to move in with them—an innocent “ménage à trois,” said she. Naturally, Sophia was outraged and ordered her out, and Henry Fuseli stood by, quietly furious himself, and said nothing. And didn’t speak to Mary again. Me, I don’t think I would do this! But Mary was desperate with love.

Nancy Means Wright
http://www.nancymeanswright.com/






Midnight Fires Review blurb

From Publishers Weekly:
Captivating… As Mary snoops around in search of the culprit, she is bound not to lose herself to the mystery, her job, or the charms of any man. Wright…deftly illuminates 18th-century class tensions.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Geraldine Evans


Author Geraldine Evans has posted a yummy recipe for Shepherd's Pie. I love Shepherd's Pie. Every father's day we eat at a British pub so my dh can drink British beer.

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb Minced Beef
1 Large Onion, Sliced
Dried Mixed Herbs
Cube of Beef Stock
1 Pint Water
2 lb Potatoes, Mashed
4 oz Strong Cheese, Grated

Put potatoes on to boil.
Put minced beef and sliced onion in a frying pan and brown. Pour 1 pint boiling water over stock cube and good pinch of mixed herbs. Pour over meat and onion and place in oven dish.
Once cooked, mash potatoes, and spoon on top of meat etc.
Grate Cheese and place on top of meat.
Cook in oven on medium heat for 45 minutes.
Serve with green beans and tinned tomatoes

BLURB
All the Lonely People

When Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty visits his local watering hole for a quick drink, he's looking to forget his troubles, not add to them. His fiancee, Abra, is still refusing to talk to him, and he's fast losing hope of a reconciliation. But then, after a very public argument, a man is found dead - stabbed to death in the pub's car park - and a gloomy Rafferty takes on the investigation and what first appears to be an open and shut case quickly becomes a lot more complex. The witnesses all plead alcohol-induced memory loss, and Rafferty's habitually cautious sidekick Dafyd Llewellyn isn't helping either - casting doubt on all Rafferty's conclusions.

As Rafferty wrestles with the case, he has also to wrestle with Abra's intransigence and determination to avoid their problems. Soon he is in despair on both counts...

BIO
Geraldine Evans is the author of sixteen novels (fourteen crime). She started out writing romances for the Harlequin/Mills & Boon market. She wrote a book a year for six years, only the last of which was published, but not by Mills & Boon (Robert Hale, 1991).

She then switched to crime novels and her first effort in the genre, Dead Before Morning, was taken from Macmillan's slush pile and published, both in the UK and the US in hardback and paperback. That was in 1993. In total, Macmillan published four of her novels. and apart from a second lengthy blip when no one wanted her books, she has been published ever since and is now with Severn House.

She lives in Norfolk in England and is married to George.



Latest Novel: All the Lonely People A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel
'The ending is as satisfactory as it is uplifting; the case is cleverly solved. A very good read and highly recommended.'
Mystery Women

Monday, April 5, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Robert Walker



I'm baaack!


And ready to begin a new week. Robert Walker has graciously shared an excerpt today form his latest Children of Salem.






Excerpt from Children of Salem
Chapter Four

…this soft-spoken, cat-padding little woman had been around Samuel Parris for more years than most of his flock. She’d come with him and his wife and child from their last known residence, Barbados, where general knowledge had him trading in his sea legs to become a trader, a businessman.
Does Tituba hold the key? She appeared to both fear and hate her master. Not the best of relations.
Jeremy had an enormous task facing him. What had drawn this former merchant of Barbados to Salem? Not the mere promise of the parsonage and its damnably small apple orchard and rickety out buildings? There had to be more.
Jeremy thought of how Parris had ordered the black woman out of her bed as if she were a detested cur. And that look the servant had shot the minister when he turned his back on her—pure, unadulterated hatred and venom.
How that venom came to be, wondered Jeremy.
A great deal could be learned—and thus reported—about a man just in the manner of how he handled those in his care, and those he called his servants, and those he called his congregation.
Jeremy had uncinched and unbridled the horse, and he now placed the saddle on a rail. He used his own bedroll to place across Dancer’s back.
“May I have it?” asked Tituba in a surprisingly resonant, deep voice that filled the small outbuilding.
“May you . . . have what?”
She pointed, her nail like a talon. “Your saddle, Massa . . . ”
“My saddle?”
“For my head rest with pillow.” She lifted her pillow.
“You miss Barbados?” he asked as he placed the saddle where she’d created a bed of hay.
“I do . . . my family all there. My baby, too.”
“You left your baby in Barbados?” Jeremy was incredulous, and he heard Parris’ warning again at the back of his head. “Don’t talk to the woman.” All the more reason to speak to her.
“Dead baby . . . dead an’-an’ buried.”
“I . . . I’m terribly sorry. I can imagine no worse torture on earth than to lose a child.”
“There can be worse.”
“Really?” Jeremiah squinted at her. “Such as?”
Her eyes met his squint. “Not never holding your child, ever.”
“I . . . I don’t understand.”
“N-Nor seeing it.”
“You never saw the child?”
“Not never no.”


"What happens in Robert Walker's novels shouldn't happen even to fictional characters." JA Konrath.


A graduate of Northwestern University, Rob Walker has published consistently since 1979 and has to date over fifty titles in print and ebook publication. Children of Salem has been his life's work, begun as his dissertation at NU for his Masters in English Education and now a Kindle Original title. His long-running critically acclaimed Instinct Series, his Edge Series, and his City Series have sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies over the years. He currently teaches at West Virginia State University and is working on a novel tentatively entitled Curse of the Titanic, a retelling of that fateful night with a wild twist that makes it a thriller. Rob lives with his writer wife, Miranda Phillips Walker and four children in Charleston, WV. His website is http://www.robertwalkerbooks.com/