Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don’t we always write what we know?

Author: M. Flagg
I write vampires. I like writing vampires. Some people say write what you know. Well, not knowing any vampires (of the undead variety, that is) The Champion Chronicles needed a baseline in reality. I chose redemption. Not only did it sound intriguing, the hero’s journey to redemption is also a classic “Can he pull it off or revert to his old, evil self?”

My vamp had to pull it off. Sounds risky, huh? You bet, and even more so for an inexperienced novelist. Although I’d written educational pieces, to pen a tale with a cast of characters was way out of my comfort zone. The redemption concept began with a specific scene in mind: a commanding, mysterious creature of the night steps through a portal to end his existence, but instead, he is thrust back into the world with the ability to know right from wrong. Jeez. Wish some humans could do that. Of course, he had to have motive, a good one readers could relate to. I let him father a (mostly) human son, but fall in love with another woman. That said, after 110,000 words, Retribution! was born. Two years and a few rejections later, The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for Book One as well as Consequences, Book Two. Another year passed before the end of the trilogy, His Soul to Keep, was contracted.

To be honest, I didn’t know a damn thing about writing a full-length book when I began the first story. I’d never heard of critique groups, professional organizations like LSFW or NJRW, a query letter or all the detailed ‘stuff’ that follows. I read a variety of genres. Why this particular one jumped out and threw my imagination into overdrive is a very personal reason I can’t share, but it worked. Hooked on learning more about the craft of writing, I networked with other authors and hung on their words of wisdom. By the time Book Two was in edits, I knew much more about my author voice. RT Reviews gave Consequences 4 STARS; called it “a compelling read, a very enjoyable story,” which proved I had grown. Every workshop, conference, and writers meeting still teaches me something new.

His Soul to Keep comes out in July, and chatter about The Champion Chronicles’ final installment is positive. In more ways than one, I’ve gained the confidence to move towards a different genre – YA. The WIP is a thrilling tale of adventure with a dragon and an obsidian dagger. Might even throw in an evil sorcerer…

Back to the saying “Write what you know.” Think every emotion under the sun. Take apart the spectrum of feelings to experience. Pick a genre. Pick a theme. Then go for it! What you breathe into your characters is writing what you know. The way the story’s told is your author voice.

One last thing. As M. Flagg leaves the sensual vampire behind, author Shela Sky now takes up the cause of bringing new romantic tales to readers. We’re both proud to be with the Black Rose Line at TWRP. Please visit and take a peek at the gorgeous hunk on the cover of The Vampire’s Touch. Shela’s novella debuts at the end of 2011 in e-book format. So get your Kindles, Sony e-readers, and iPads ready.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Chris.

Happy writing to you and all writers everywhere ~ Mickey

Bio – M. Flagg

Named a Distinguished Music Educator by Yale University, Mickey Flagg is and always has been a strong advocate for the arts in education. She didn’t set out to write about a heroic creature of the night, but the process became a thrilling journey, full of insights to nourish her creativity and vivid imagination. Blessings in her life are many, and she’s eternally grateful for her supportive children, a loving family, and a close circle of friends. Her novels can be purchased at on-line book stores including Amazon and



The Champion Chronicles: Book Two by M. Flagg

Every action has a consequence. And some are harder to face than others. A mystically enhanced vampire survives the wrath of three evil sorcerers. Rescued by Alana Ciminio, a Guardian of Souls, and members of the Georgian Circle, Michael Malone is taken to Portofino for an unprecedented healing. When brought to consciousness, nothing in Michael’s undead life is familiar. Unwilling to face what he’s done, he doggedly rails against every essential truth until he is forced to accept his actions. His dream of survival had revealed every deep desire. As the most difficult part of this journey begins, he realizes his destiny is with Alana and his troubled mortal son. Salvation lies in their unconditional love. And Michael’s road to redemption will lead to a destination never thought possible—by him or anyone else.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Authorsday: Alain Gomez

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, even since I was very young. I actually considered making a study of it when I went to college. But I worried that making a career in the field would ruin the fun for me. I think deadlines would just start to feel draining after awhile.

How did you pick the genre you write in?

I write short stories but I like to dabble in a variety of topics. Thus far I’ve done western romance and science fiction thrillers. I want to try fantasy next. Short stories suit me. I have a more concise writing style. So I suppose the genre picked me.

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

A little of both. Usually I have a general idea as to story direction before I start. But I think the best stories are the ones you just let play out naturally. See where the characters take you.

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

“Payroll” is my first story. Before turning it into an ebook, I didn’t even try to publish it.

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

There’s a whole lot more to the advertising and promotion part of self-publishing than I expected. Blogs such as this definitely do help spread the word about your work. I wish I had done “blog tours” sooner.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

Someone mentioned to me in passing that if you aren’t getting negative reviews, you aren’t being widely read. I really liked that. It stuck with me.

If you have a day job, what is it?

I’m a self-employed violin instructor. But I do a variety of music-related things. I teach private violin lessons, I have a quartet that plays for weddings, I run an after-school violin program and I do some freelance writing for music magazines.

What’s your writing schedule?

Write when I can. Generally in between violin lessons or in the evening if I have some free time.

What’s your favorite food?

It’s a toss-up between deviled eggs and French onion dip.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m all over the place. Aside from teaching the violin, I like golfing and playing racquetball. I took up Tai Chi about a year ago. I really like playing strategy board games like Settlers of Catan. I also enjoy going beer and wine tasting.

Here's my author bio:

Alain Gomez lives in San Diego and has been writing since she was sixteen. She works in the field of music but has continued to pursue her passion for writing as an independent author. Though she generally sticks to writing shorter stories, Alain enjoys experimenting with a variety of genres including romance and thrillers.

Here's a blurb for my short story, "Celebrity Space":

Set in the not too distant future, a worker hopes that his new job at the spaceport will allow him to get his life back on track. While taking passengers to the space hotel "Moonwalk", a collision with an unknown object brings his dreams... and possibly his life... to a screeching halt.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Living Your Character’s Life by Robert Bennett

I’ve never believed in the concept of fiction. To my way of thinking everything I write comes from who I am, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had over the course of life. Whether I write with a conscious knowledge of these people and experiences or not is a matter for a different discourse, at a different time than now. Whether other writers agree with me is not at issue here. My point, and I think all writers can agree with me on this, is that no matter how we come to our writing, we have to know our characters. We have to know how they feel and what they think. Only then can we know how they will react to the scenarios we place them in.

Getting to know a character, particularly a protagonist, can be a difficult endeavor. The protagonist for my Blind Traveler mysteries, Douglas Abledan, is a blind man who uses advanced technology to move through his world and, quite literally, stumble on mysteries and murders. The problem with creating such a character is that I am not blind. I do not live in a blind person’s world and do not have a blind person’s experiences. So, I’ve had to rely on interviews in order to gain the perspective I need. Sometimes, though, life has a way of giving you what you need, whether you want it or not. Sometimes it can even provide the truth behind your world view, again whether you want it or not.

Last week I went to an acupuncturist to deal with a pain that neither pill nor modern Western medicine was able to alleviate. What I got instead of relief was something I couldn’t have expected. The morning after the treatment I woke up to a new world, a world visually out of sync. We’ve all had the following experience. You go to a movie and suddenly the film slows just enough so that you can see each individual frame flipping by. Usually this only happens for a moment or two. Eventually the projectionist fixes the problem and the movie continues as it should. Well, just imagine what would happen if your entire world rolled by in this fashion. The images you see, your mother, your dog, a tree slipping by frame by frame. Maddening isn’t it? This is what’s been happening to me for the past week.

As I sat down to write this blog I began to wonder if perhaps this was life giving me a view from my protagonist’s perspective. Douglas Abledan is blind. His world is visually out of sync. The trouble is that he, like the rest of us, lives in a very visual world. But, many of the cues that give life meaning to the rest of us are missing from Douglas’s life. He literally and figuratively has to feel his way through life, just as I’ve had to do over the past week.

I don’t write this as a means of eliciting sympathy or empathy. Instead, I write this as a way of telling other authors that they need to dig deep inside themselves in order to create the characters they put into their stories. Sometimes we have to find a way to live the lives of our characters. We have to get into their heads, their hearts and their experiences. One way of doing this is to dig deep inside yourself, to see who you are, who you meet and what you’ve experienced in life.


Blind Traveler Down a Dark River is the story of Douglas Abledan, a blind man using a GPS unit to navigate the world. One day the device malfunctions. He stumbles upon the scene of a murder about to take place. Due to the confusion caused by the failure of his technology, it isn’t until he hears a radio announcer reporting an accidental shooting that pieces start falling into place. Unable to convince authorities to look into the matter, he launches his own investigation.

In the year 2021 increasing global earthquakes threaten civilization’s infrastructure. Unimat Incorporated is trying to stop the destruction by introducing a new building material. Special interests are up in arms. Environmentalists blame technology for the problem and want a different solution. Steel workers worry about jobs and safety. Now someone has hired a contract killer to stop the project. How can Abledan expose the killer without becoming a target?

Monday, April 25, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Karen McCullough

Excerpt from A QUESTION OF FIRE by Karen McCullough

Cathy wasn't paying attention to traffic, so she wasn't sure when she first noticed the dark blue Toyota that kept popping up in her rearview mirror. When she changed lanes, it did, also, and when she turned right and then right again, the Toyota stayed in line behind. She made a sudden left turn and zigzagged around the next couple of blocks, to come out a half mile further up the road than she wanted to be. A look in the mirror confirmed the Toyota was still there, two cars back. She continued to watch it when she swung into the employees' parking lot at the newspaper building, but the blue car cruised on, down the street and out of sight. She was too far away to get a look at the driver.

Ray was in his office, so she knocked and entered at his nod. She filled him in on the conversation with Lowell and added her belief that she'd been followed back from his office. He expelled a long sigh and picked up a cigarette that had been smoldering in the ashtray.

"Off the wagon again?" she asked.

He looked at the cigarette and nodded. "Brief trip this time. It's all your fault. Worry sets me off."

"Forget it. I'm carrying all the guilt I can handle right now."

He sucked in another long pull and expelled slowly, trying to blow smoke rings that never quite achieved circularity.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I talked to Lieutenant Norfolk," he said. "No line on the killer yet. They searched Bobby Stark's apartment, but didn't find anything that looked like evidence."

"They checked the air vents and conditioners?"

"Of course."

She heard more in his tone. "Well?"

Ray blew a perfect ring for a change, then put the cigarette down. "They did find a stash of crack."

A QUESTION OF FIRE: When Catherine Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it, but she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms and becoming the recipient of his last message. Bobby Stark has evidence that will prove his younger brother has been framed for arson and murder. He wants that evidence to get to his brother's lawyer, and he tries to tell Cathy where he's hidden it. Unfortunately, he can only manage to give her a cryptic piece of the location before he dies. The man who killed Bobby saw him talking to her and assumes she knows where the evidence is hidden. He wants it back and he'll do whatever it takes to get it, including following her and trying to kidnap her. Cathy enlists the aid of attorney Peter Lowell and Danny Stark, Bobby's prickly, difficult younger brother, as well as a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.

Order Here:

Bio: Karen McCullough

Karen McCullough has written and published nine novels in the romantic suspense, mystery, and fantasy genres and won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres.

Her most recent publication was a Christmas paranormal novella, VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL, publised by Cerridwen Press in the anthology BENEATH A CHRISTMAS MOON. Forthcoming releases include a Gothic novella from Red Rose Publishing, which will be part of the SHADOWED HEARTS anthology, and a mystery novel, AGIFT FOR MURDER, from Five Star/Gale Group, with hardcover release scheduled for January 2011.

A member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the Writers’ Group of the Triad, she is a former president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

She invites visitors to check out her home on the web at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Authorsday: Douglas Corleone

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

Both. When I set out to write a novel, the idea is to create a full-length outline that covers every scene, beginning to end. But it never quite works out that way. Usually I’ll have a beginning and end in mind, but the middle always turns out to be an adventure. Outlining is a fine strategy, so long as the outline isn’t too rigid. But I do love the process of discovery. Events occur to me while writing that I never would have thought of had I worked from a stepsheet. Writing by the seat of your pants can be anxiety-inducing, but ultimately, so long as the writer remains in control of his work, it can produce an amazing story.

2. What drew you to the subject of NIGHT OF FIRE?

Ever since seeing Backdraft, I’ve been fascinated with arson investigation, and I wanted to learn more about the process of determining point of origin, discovering what accelerants were used, how investigators go about identifying a suspect. Research for a novel is a great joy for me. Writing is one of the few professions in which you get the chance to learn about and become expert in such a wide variety of subjects. In the past few years, I’ve researched everything from George Mallory’s attempted ascents of Everest to the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, and I feel richer for the experiences.

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

I wish I knew that publication was just the beginning of the struggle. Many aspiring novelists believe that publication is the ultimate objective and are shocked to learn that the largest challenges are faced after your book hits store shelves. The novelist today is expected to do the lion’s share of promoting, which includes setting up virtual tours and book signings, making radio and library appearances, investing in bookmarks, postcards, and print ads. Promotion is expensive and time-consuming. Just when the writer expects to be working on his next book, he finds himself doing everything but.

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

I consider dialogue to be my greatest strength. I attribute that to devouring the novels of Elmore Leonard. I love to read quick, snappy dialogue, and I feel most confident when I’m writing it. Another of my strengths, I think, is creating exciting courtroom scenes. To be honest, I don’t know whether I can attribute that to my experience as a criminal defense attorney, or to my reading the legal thrillers of John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Steve Martini. Probably the latter.

5. What authors do you admire?

Of course, I admire the legal thriller writers mentioned above. But the writers who really inspired me to take up novel writing were a much different breed. I count among my greatest influences authors such as Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson. I think it shows in my work. I try to inject a good deal of humor, some of it rather edgy, and my characters are typically very flawed. My protagonist Kevin Corvelli and others suffer real-world problems such as addictions and alcoholism, deep-seated commitment issues, and a maelstrom of internal conflict concerning what’s right and wrong. I think that’s what most sets my novels apart from typical legal thrillers.

6. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
Living in Hawaii, I’m exposed to a good deal of Japanese culture, and I’d love to visit Japan someday soon. One of my favorite movies is Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Although the film leaves me a bit melancholy, it doesn’t seem like a terrible way to experience Tokyo for the first time.

7. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
I’d have to say the ‘60s. The Civil Rights movement, the moon landing, Woodstock and everything that came with it. I think I would have fit right in.

8. What do you do when you are not writing?
I spend as much time as possible in the ocean. When I’m on dry land, I’m usually reading or having a drink with friends. I enjoy movies, of course. And my toddler son Jack keeps me busy, and I love every second I spend with him. It’s one of the tremendous benefits of working from home, being able to watch your children grow up every hour of every day.

9. Who is your favorite character in your book?
My favorite character is the protagonist Kevin Corvelli, a hotshot criminal defense attorney who moved from New York City to Honolulu to evade the spotlight, only to find himself right back in it with every big case he takes on. Kevin’s the narrator of the stories, and he’s truthful, almost to a fault. Hero or anti-hero, love him or hate him, most readers will form a definite opinion of Kevin Corvelli, and I think they’ll be richer for having been introduced to him.

10. What was your favorite scene to write?
My favorite scene to write in NIGHT ON FIRE was the scene in which Kevin Corvelli wakes to find himself trapped in a hotel room while a deadly fire rages outside his door. The tension in that scene, I hope, will grab readers as it did me. Even now when I read that chapter, it fills me with a sense of dread.

Author Bio
DOUGLAS CORLEONE is the author of the Kevin Corvelli mystery series published by St. Martin’s Minotaur. His debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Douglas Corleone now resides in the Hawaiian Islands where he writes full time. His second novel NIGHT ON FIRE will be released on April 26, 2011.

Book Blurb 
Kevin Corvelli---a hotshot New York defense attorney who packed up his bags and hung his shingle in Hawaii to dodge the spotlight---is deep in his mai tais at a resort when an argument erupts down at the other end of the bar. It’s a pair of newlyweds, married that very day on the beach. And since Corvelli doesn’t do divorces, he all but dismisses the argument.

That’s at least until the fire breaks out later that night, and he barely escapes his hotel room. Most weren’t so lucky, including the new husband. His wife, Erin, becomes not only the police’s prime suspect for arson and murder but also Corvelli’s newest client, and she has a lot working against her, like motive and opportunity, not to mention a history of starting fires.

Monday, April 18, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Melanie Atkins

Marked for Murder: Keller County Cops Book One by Melanie Atkins

April 2011, Desert Breeze Publishing

Buy link:


He found the crime scene with no problem and pulled off the side of the narrow two-lane

highway behind a single cruiser with flashing blue lights and Mitch's steel gray departmental sedan. Muggy summer air swept over him as he climbed from his matching vehicle and slammed the door. Dusk would soon fall, bringing with it a thick purple haze, and unless they hurried they would need lights.

"What have we got?" he called to Mitch, who was standing with a uniformed deputy at

the edge of a wide, grassy ditch.

The detective turned. "Another body wrapped like a burrito. The same sick bastard's hit


Jonah fisted his hands. Three dead women had been found rolled in tarps in Keller

County during the last two months.This made four.

He skirted Mitch's pristine ride, halted at the edge of the ditch, and studied the long

bundle. A kernel of foreboding settled in the pit of his stomach. "Who found this one?"

"A guy on a bicycle who stopped to take a leak," the deputy said. "He had to get to a

meeting in town, so I let him go. I got his information for you, though."

"Good," Jonah said.

Mitch blew out a sigh. "I haven't examined it yet. I saved that job for you, since you're on

tonight and I'm about to head to the house."

"Thanks a lot, my friend." Jonah snaked his way through the tall grass lining the ditch

and crouched beside the rolled tarp. The metallic scent of blood met his nose. He paused to gather his courage, and then carefully peeled back the tarp's frayed edge.

A hand flopped out. His blood curdled. The hand was small, pale, and bruised. Definitely female.

Blood was caked beneath two of the victim's fingernails. Bile surged up his throat. He turned to Mitch. "Are the coroner and CSU on their way?"

"Yeah." He glanced at his watch. "Shouldn't be long now."

With a brisk nod, Jonah lifted the canvas and examined the body more closely. The

bruises on the woman's arm looked suspiciously like fingerprints, telling him she'd been

manhandled before she was murdered -- just like the other three.

Wanting a peek at her palm, he gingerly touched her thumb. Shock streaked through him. The digit was warm.

"Oh, God." He jerked back. "Call an ambulance. She's alive."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ExcerpTueday: Bri Clark

Preface of Glazier
As I sat among the group of obnoxious youth, I considered my options. I was far away from home, arrested and without hope of release. This was my third arrest and this one was serious. I had stolen a diplomat’s car. My family would not come to my aide. They hadn’t a clue where I was. Therefore, I would go to either jail or I could escape. Suddenly as the overwhelming force of being cornered enveloped me that all too familiar cold crept inside and I felt no more fear. All I knew was survival. It was as if hidden strength pulsed through me and just before I thought, I would burst an officer came, fitted his sausage like fingers under my arm and pulled me up. I allowed him to lead me down a secluded hallway. At the end was a door to the right within it was a man I could only describe as a living serpent…and I loathed snakes.

“Thank you officer that will be all.” The serpent said as he slyly passed a bill. The officer left. As I stood motionless yet still unafraid in the middle of the room, the snake inspected me. I reciprocated the action.

He was short with a stocky build. Dark hair with the tiniest hint of salt framed a round head boasting a long pointed nose sitting high above tight thin lips. Muddy green eyes roamed up and down my frame as he continued his glaring inspection circling me. The cold that swept across me earlier was violently replaced by ice. It moved like a fine mist through me and then solidified into hard shards within my skin. It wasn’t a feeling of pain but of protection. He finally stopped and stood in front of me. Even as a girl of sixteen and five foot eight inches he had to look up.

“Yes, yes…” he exclaimed. His voice added to my edginess. “Marie you are definitely what I have been waiting for.” When I met his eyes, he jerked away and smiled a wicked grin. He sat down behind a desk and indicated I sit in the chair opposite him. I chose to stand. An intake of breath, the continued smile and shake of his head communicated his irritated amusement.

His demeanor seemed to change as he looked through the papers on his desk. “It seems you are in a bit of trouble.” he commented as he picked up a paper read it and then chuckled. As he cast it aside I saw my name in bold red ink. “The ambassador of Egypt’s personal car. That is no easy feat,” he exclaimed. Then the smile vanished and the arrogance came out in full force “This is exactly what got my attention. I have a proposition for you, Ms. Gallagher.” The enunciation of the s in Ms reminded me again of how much I hated snake. I could tell by his posture and use of my last name he was trying to comfort me but also assert his dominance. I arched an eyebrow in response.

“My name is Abram. I am a man of many talents and unlimited means.” Sitting straight up in his chair and interlocking his on the desk he continued. “One such talent is that I am never refused. Keep that in mind as you consider my offer.” I considered his name instead, after only hearing it once before by my grandfather. He had told a story of a righteous man from the Bible. As I compared the two Abrams I knew this man was not worthy of his namesake.

“You can either do a lengthy jail sentence in an adult prison, which I can assure you the ambassador will pursue…or you can come work for me. You have no family, no money, or friends. Your little cohorts out there are cutting pleas as we speak.” As I felt cornered again my relief didn’t come from ice or cold but from the deep growl of a furious Irishman.

“MARIE AILIN GALLAGHER, WHERE ARE YOU?” Patty, my angry Irish grandfather bellowed. He had learned to yell over the noise of a crowd while in command of the Irish Republican Army. Abram looked toward the door. I bent down low over the desk and forced him to meet my eyes. I don’t know what he saw but he began to sweat, couldn’t blink or look away. As I opened my lips the voice that spoke was not my own but something much more fearful.

“Then let me be the first to oblige you Abram.” My lips spread into a wicked involuntary smile as a sense of deep satisfaction filled me. “I refuse.” I said and left. Walking down the hall toward the sound of my furious Patty’s voice I knew two things. One I would never forget that man. I had never reacted that way with anyone before. And two, facing my Patty was a whole lot better than whatever Abram had planned for me.

Bri Clark

Author /Speaker/Marketing Liaison for Astraea Press

Friday, April 15, 2011

Skin by Joanna Aislinn

Hi, all! So glad to be here again, Chris. Thanks so much for inviting me—always appreciated. 

Lately I’ve been writing these posts on Saturday, after a morning walk, which seems to inspire me. I use that walk time not only for exercise, but for prayer, reflection, quiet time and working writing-related things in my head as I go. So what’s been nagging at me this entire past week? Skin.

Huh? Yes, skin. Our body’s biggest organ: that multi-layered barrier between us and the elements. A post about taking care of it has been nagging at me, so being a pantser, I need to go with it. (I’m sure I’ll wind up somewhere, lol.)

I’m lucky enough to have been blessed with decent skin—far from perfect, and only at its best when I’m tending it regularly with the products that work best with my unique chemistry. For me, those come from Mary Kay cosmetics. Prior to being introduced to the products, I’d shush my friend whenever she told me my skin looked good—you know something erupted just to show her different every time she said that. (And I swear to you a patient commented on my skin within three days of having started using the basic line, and for the first time, my skin behaved.)

Anyway, I’ve had a (mostly ‘on’) love affair with these products ever since. Through the years, I’ve tried different things here and there. Sometimes I’d run out of product and buy something at the drugstore. For a while, hubby and I looked into direct sales; that particular company included skin care so I tried those products. Nothing has ever worked for me like my Mary Kay products. (Several years ago, I stopped messing around. Now, since my kids are using the products as well, I always keep a reserve of every item we like.)

So where am I going with this? First: when it comes to who I am, what I do and my general make-up as a person, certain things work for me. I can look around, read about other products, possibilities and strategies then compare to my track record and know, fundamentally, the best way to approach a given situation. That applies to writing my stories, posts OR reports; to the way I eat, or exercise or deal with my kids. Is it foolproof? Of course not. Being an analytical person by nature, I don’t take a leap of faith unless I feel I’ve educated myself to some degree and I’ve also learned to be quiet and/or not act until I know for sure what it is I want to say and/or do.

Next: foundation/protection. (Don’t ask where this is coming from. I’m just going with it.) Because I make skin care a priority, I often take note of others’ skin. Disclaimer: I consider this MHO—and what works for me—but my history with Mary Kay products (and my background as a now inactive consultant) taught me foundation is the barrier that protects my face from the elements: dirt, UV light—who knows what else? I hate the myth that foundation ‘clogs pores’ (uh, more the exact opposite for two decades or more now) and should be used sparingly or not at all.

That takes me into writing. Foundation (a.k.a. ‘base’) is akin to setting, the canvas on which an entire story evolves, takes place and finally, is. Recently, I attended my writers’ association annual conference and got to visit with many of my local writer friends and associates. One in particular caught my attention, mostly because she is such an attractive woman—but no foundation! Her skin seemed pale and blemishes jumped out. I couldn’t help thinking how the right color would have evened out the skin tones and made the rest of her makeup really bring out her features. Done right, no one notices the foundation; rather folks tend to compliment skin and/or how ‘great’ one looks.

Foundation is backstory: background work, character sketches, outlines, etc. (Eep! Is that my problem lately? No outlines???) Without it, a story falls flat and lacks the blend that makes a reader sorry it’s over. I just finished reading a friend’s debut novel, and I have to say it blended characters, setting, details, subplot and EVERYTHING together so seamlessly, I barely noticed I’d finished the book, that she’d brought the story full circle. That’s how makeup should look too—so beautifully blended you can’t tell it’s there.

Foundation is subtext: it’s there but its presence should be understated, if noticeable at all. Reminds me of a moment during my high school days, when I was hanging out with a friend who was complaining about how much he hated makeup. He put his finger on my cheek and moved it around, commenting how he knew I had none on because my skin ‘moved’ when he touched it. LOL, I was in full make-up form—one of my best compliments ever.

And taking this back to skin care: basic, consistent skin care with the right products for you are the foundation for the foundation. (Did you follow that one?) Knowing what works for you as a writer is part of the groundwork of your story. Following it consistently is the discipline, whether it’s writing every day or figuring out who that new hero is. Foundation, on your face or on the page, sets the stage on which your story will play out; it’s the canvas on which the colors will pop in a picture that’s all you.

So who knew ‘skin’ would take me here?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Authorsday: Sylvia Ramsey

What is the title of your mystery book?

An Underground Jewell, is espionage, mystery novel set in a possible near- future.  The story revolves around the power of language and how it can change the way a society thinks and acts.  One reader's review said:  "An excellent read for all.  Even though it is fiction, it smacks with a lot of truth of what the future may bring. As one reads, it becomes rather apparent that this could all happen, and the last page says it all. I enjoyed reading and had a hard time putting it down. Hooray for the new writer on the block.”
The story is set in the near future when man is living as much underground as above.  All things are controlled by a central computer system.  There is no such thing as "printed" material, it is all digital.  The main character in the story, Elizabeth Jewell a sage and well-known author, finds herself caught up in a plot of intrigue.  She decides to become her own sleuth to clear herself of all accusations, and in the process discovers there are multitudes of mysteries to solve. 
One reader said, “I just read a newly release book, An Underground Jewell by Sylvia L. Ramsey. I found this book on Amazon. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down until I finished. It is an espionage novel set in the near future. The plot kept me intrigued, there were other mysteries along the way to be solved, and the main character was fascinating. I recommend this as a good read for anyone who likes mystery, espionage or even just a good novel. I usually read Clive Clustler(adventure, Michael Connely (Detective stories), and John Gardner(spy),WEB Griffith( War and Spy).This novel also reflects what William Lutz, a Professor of English at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, talks about in his book, New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore. The novel takes this current trend to manipulate language, and projects it into a future that provides a scenario where a group of terrorists realize that they can use language as a weapon to take control of our nation.”
Another reader said, "This is an excellent book. It would interest people from 13-100 years of age. Although it is fiction, so much of it could actually happen. Considering all the problems within our governing bodies, it could be happening right now! I would recommend this book to anybody."
This book is available to purchase in both soft cover and in ebook formats.  It is available online at Amazon and Amazon UK as well as Barnes & Noble.  The links to purchase any of my books, and to learn more about me is available on my Authors Den website.

Growing up in a rural area of Missouri and being the child of a father born in 1898, she feels that her interpretation of life spans several generations. This influence can be recognized in both her poetry and her short stories. She has experienced life at many levels. One of her most prized possessions is a personal letter that was written to her by Rosemary A. Thurber giving her permission to adapt her father's short story "The Last Clock" to be used for Readers Theatre.

She is presently a Communications professor and the Academic Resource Center Coordinator at GMC Community College in Martinez, GA. She describes herself as a determined scrapper who will wrench all the very best from life that she capable of conquering. Her philosophy of life is reflected in her poems. "Armor For Survival" and "A Tired Vagabond." More about the author can be found on her website or on the authors den website.
Her novel, An Underground Jewell, was a labor of love.  She explains, “The ideas for stories all come from my life experiences and knowledge I have gained along the way.  The book, An Underground Jewell, spawned from a short story that was written about a Christmas Eve in the distant future when life on earth had changed drastically.  That story was written in 1989.  The idea to create a novel originated because I let imagination loose to wonder about the possibilities of this story.
I first began by creating a character who would write the story, and the reason why she wrote it.  At that point, I began to develop other characters and a plot.  I finally began writing the book.  At one point, I had to stop writing because my husband became very ill, and I became his caregiver.  At the same time, I was diagnosed with T3 bladder cancer.  To add to the delay, my computer crashed and I had to start over.  I was lucky that I had part of it printed out.  After my husband died, I began writing again.  Finally, 20 years later, it was finished and published. “

She is a 16yr. survivor of bladder cancer, and looks at the experience as another learning peak in life. She is very much aware that even though this is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, it is very much underserved. She serves as the Vice-President of the American Bladder Cancer Society because she knows how important to provide support to those who have experienced this cancer, and how important it is to create more awareness around the world. That is why all of her royalties go to the American Bladder Cancer Society,  Her books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
When did you start writing?
I began writing when I was nine years old.  I was the reporter for our 4-H club, and a new reporter at the local paper took me under his wing.  He encouraged me to write feature article in addition to community news.  By the age of twelve- years-old, I was getting bylines and a small paycheck each month.  I have been writing something ever since. I do not remember thinking, “I want to be a writer”.  It was just a part of who I am, and what I do.
I am always writing something, but not as a “profession”.  I do a lot of writing at the college, blogging, and on my Facebook page.  Currently, I am doing a blog series on Living with Bladder Cancer for the Healthy Women website.  I am a sixteen-year bladder cancer survivor, and even though it is ranked fifth in prevalence over all, ranked fourth in males and as prevalent as cervical cancer but deadlier in women, it is very underserved.  There is little awareness in the public sector, and even the medical community as a whole is basically under educated.  I have a new blog that I just launched, Thoughtful Reflections, on which I hope to feature a variety of people in the field related to the publishing world. 
What type of writing do you do?
In the very day world at my “job”, I write lesson plans, reports and various types of writing that is done within the field of higher education.  I have had research articles published in professional journals.  In the mass media area, I have written news and feature articles for newspapers and magazines.  In the creative realm, my love is poetry.  Over one hundred of my poems have been published in literary journals.  In 2004, my first book of poetry, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World, was published; in 2009 my first novel, An Underground Jewell, and in December of 2110, my first children’s book, Merchild Land was published.  Currently, I am working on a novel that I think its title will be, The Dark Crystals of Miradirth.  I have not put myself in a peg hole by only writing in one genre.  If I have a story to tell, I tell it. 
How did you get started writing professionally?
I am not sure I have ever thought about myself as writing “professionally”, because I have been writing so long and published that it just seem as if that is what I do.  I may say something like that when I retire, and I can devote my time completely to writing.
What was your path towards publication of a book like?
The story of how my first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World, was selected to be published is rather unusual.  I had been invited to perform some of my poems at an Open Mic program.  It just happened that a small publisher was present, and the publisher liked my poetry enough to ask if I had more.  I said I most certainly did.  The publisher wanted to know if they could see some of my other work.  After looking at the addition poems, they asked if I had more.  When I replied that I did, they wanted to know if I would be interested in having them published as a collection.  I was excited, of course, and I said yes.  A couple days passed, and I had time to think about how I really want my work presented.  My poetry is very personal, and a myriad of reflections of over various stages in my life.  Before I would sign the contract, I made it clear that I wanted to design and create the layout for the collection.  I grouped the poems in sections: Pulse Points of Youth, …of Love, …of Reality, and finally Pulse Points of Wisdom.  I purchased the art work that reflected an Art Nuevo atmosphere.  I wanted each poem to be illustrated so that the reader would get an additional image of what each poem portrayed.  Once the layout was complete, I submitted it to the publisher for approval.  At that point, the publishing part of it was out of my hands.  
What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to pitching yourself as a writer and what steps have you taken to overcome that obstacle?
The first obstacle was the learning curve that the author is expected to do their own publicity and marketing. The next, was learning how to do this when the author has little or no help from the publisher.  An additional obstacle at that time, was time.  My job and my advocacy work are fairly demanding, but I had an additional situation that prevented me from really marketing my book, and me as a writer.  My first husband was very ill, and I was a caregiver.  The time required to take on many additional tasks was limited.  However, the book sold.  It was first published in 2004.  After it had sold a few hundred copies, and the publisher discovered that I was donating all of my royalties to bladder cancer awareness, the publishing rights were returned to me.  This was when I decided to become my own publisher.  Since the initial publishing of the book, it has sold over 1200 copies; it is still selling, and is now available in a revised edition. 
What is your best advice for getting past writer's block?
Try to write something, anything each day.  It does not have to be the project you are working on at the moment.  I find that the more I write, the more ideas I get.
What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?
Write!  Write what you feel.  Write what you believe.  If you have a story to tell…tell it in your own voice without worrying about genre. 

What do you feel is the single most detrimental thing a writer could do to destroy his/her career as a writer?
I feel that the most detrimental thing a writer could do is to give it up if he or she really loves it.  I, also, feel that went the writer’s goal becomes so focused on what “sells” and gives up his/her own voice it will tell.  The readers will lose interest because they can tell when this happens.

What other things do you do other than write, and teach?
I am a public speaker.  I have presented at several conferences over the years on one topic or  another.  Right now, most of my presentations are to increase awareness of the risks for bladder cancer.  I frequently speak on this topic to classes of nursing students at other schools.  I don’t try to be the “medical expert”, but the person who was diagnosed with invasive bladder cancer and had a radical cyscectomy with an Indiana pouch to replace the bladder I lost.  I talk about the prevalence, the risks, the symptoms, the treatments, and the “after-life”.

There two very memorable moments in my speaking career.  I was speaking to a delegation of 5,000 teachers, and my presentation was geared around decisions the current governor had made that would (as we felt) be detrimental to the education.  The speech I gave was one that denounced the governor’s plan by           comparing him to the story about the “emperor who wore no clothes.”  When I finished my presentation, I           learned that the speech was televised, and one of the governor’s aides approached me wanting to know if I had a typed copy of my speech.

One of my most memorable presentations occurred when I was the guest speaker for the White HouseCommunications Agency’s observance of Woman’s History Month. Needless to say, I was very honored.

Monday, April 11, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Jennifer Jakes

He rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman.

For hunted recluse Rafe McBride, the raven-haired beauty on the auction block is exactly what he doesn't need. A dependent woman will be another clue his vengeful stepbrother can use to find and kill him. But Rafe's conscience won't let him leave another innocent's virginity to the riff-raff bidding. He buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis untouched. He only prays the impending blizzard holds off before her sultry beauty breaks his willpower.

She wanted freedom, not a lover.
Whisked to the auction block by her devious, gambling cousin, and then sold into the arms of a gorgeous stranger, outspoken artist Maggie Monroe isn't about to go meekly. Especially when the rugged mountain man looks like sin and danger rolled into one. But a blizzard and temptation thrust them together, and Maggie yearns to explore her smoldering passion for Rafe.

But when the snow clears, will the danger and secrets that surround Rafe and Maggie tear them apart?


Maggie wanted freedom, not a lover…

Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss her. She shouldn’t want this. She was confused enough.

Respectable women didn’t kiss men they barely knew, certainly not men who made them have wild,

exotic dreams.

It was crazy. He was making her want crazy things. Making her not give a damn about her reputation

or her virginity. Or her long-awaited freedom. All she could think about was that dream, and the way

his sinful mouth had felt. The table was only a step away, and honey was just as sweet as peach juice…

She swallowed hard and looked up into his hooded eyes.

“Maggie,” he groaned. “Don’t be scared. I’d never hurt you.”

Her mouth parted to object, but firm lips covered hers, hungry, demanding. She gasped, shocked at his

hunger, but even more at the illicit response coursing through her. An aching heat unfurled low in her

stomach, pulsed between her legs. Oh, yes. It started just like in the dream.

He deepened the kiss, coaxed her lips with his warm tongue. Long, languid strokes teased the inside of

her mouth, encouraging, tempting before he pulled back to nibble the corners of her lips.

Oh, God. Is this what all kisses felt like? Hot, lethargic? Melting her like molasses over warm bread?

“Kiss me, Maggie,” he breathed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Authorsday: Rachel Firasek

1. How did you pick the genre you write in?
I didn’t pick it, it picked me. I’ve been haunted, had near death experiences and sometimes wonder if I’m not at least a little psychic. It was only natural that I explore the paranormal world.

2. What drew you to the subject of Piper’s Fury?
Well, my hubby calls me evil. My children run in terror. LoL. So, of course, demons had to be in it. And necking to me is the hottest thing on the planet. I still remember my young adult years and backseats. Biting, fangs, and hot vamps are the more adult version of necking. So, there you have it—Demons and Vampires!

3. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I’d like to brag that I can twist a plot tighter than a hangman’s noose. You’ll have to decide if my brag is justified. Lol.

4. What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
Slade, my vampire hero, sorry hubby! Mocha Frapps from Starbucks—I’d find a way to keep them cold. And, my email. Need that, I’m kind of addicted..

5. What is your favorite word?
Not suitable for all audiences.

6. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
I’d love to go back to the Caveman era. I’d wrench that club away from my hairy man, and teach him to pull my hair!

7. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
I’d like to take the Kama Sutra and learn every position. Better yet, I’d love to physically be able to practice all. May mean some surgical enhancements and repairs are needed.

8. What is the one thing your hero would do that you wouldn’t?
She’ll protect those she loves at any cost, me not so much. I have a deep sense of self preservation.

9. What was the hardest scene to write?
Well, you’re not going to believe this, but it was actually the first sex scene. I was rather shy about it. Took me two weeks to write those ten pages. My hubby finally had to sit me down, point a finger at the screen, and say, “Quit playing with it.” I was like, really?

10. What was your favorite scene to write?
Again, the first sex scene. You’ll just have to read it. It’s the best representation for my writing.

Rachel’s writing career began at the impressionable age of twelve with a poem dedicated to the soldiers of Desert Storm. A dark macabre affair that earned her a publication in an anthology and many raised eyebrows from family and friends, she hid her poetry and artistic style for years…

Tucked away in the heart of Central Texas, with the loving support of her husband and three children, she dusted the cobwebs from her craft. Returning to those twisted regions of her mind, she creates dark urban fantasies and soul-searching paranormal romance.

To learn where love twists the soul and lights the shadows, visit Rachel at

It's an empath thing...

Using your "powers" to help the Dark Hills Police Department hunt down serial killers doesn't leave much time for dating. Not that Piper Anast is complaining. The last thing she needs is some guy brushing up against her and pumping his pornographic thoughts into her head.

When she meets Bennett Slade, a sexy, tormented vampire, Piper stumbles headlong into a telepathic connection with his missing daughter. She can't leave the kid to the evil surrounding her unwanted visions, nor can she resist her draw to Slade. He's the first guy she's been able to touch vision-free in, well, forever.

As she and Slade close in on the evil creature holding his daughter, Piper's powers morph into a deadly fury. To save Slade's daughter-and herself-Piper must face down demons she never knew she had and trust the one thing she keeps from everyone.

Her heart.

Buy Here:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pitch Workshop by Angela Drake

Good morning, everyone! Chris, thank you for having me today. I’m really looking forward to sharing the information. This workshop was created with the help of Editor, Chris Keesler when I needed to make my first pitch. The information was later confirmed by an agent at a conference. It was like she was reading from my handout!

Incidently, if you’d like a copy feel free to email me –

Perhaps the question asked most of editors or agents is – “What’s your best advice to someone making a pitch?” The response 99 percent of the time—“Don’t be nervous”.

Easy for them to say! Have they ever lost sleep or alienated their family, laboring late into the night over a crucial scene? This manuscript is your sweat and blood. Why wouldn’t you be nervous?

In essence, this is a job interview and it is human nature to be nervous. You are asking them to trust your ability to tell a great story and make their deadline. In return, they are asking you to trust them to do what is right for your manuscript and for you.

So how do you prepare yourself for that all-important five minutes? Just as with any job interview, there are certain steps you must take. You know the position you want, you learn about the company, dress appropriately, and build your confidence.

Keep in mind that each editor and agent is a different person. Their styles and questions will vary. There is no such thing as a “text book” interview. And while no two appointments are alike, the steps are basically the same. Today I’m giving you a brief overview of the Top 10.

#1 – Have the book done. This is crucial! Often times, ‘is it finished?’ will be the first question your interviewer will ask. Whether you are asked to submit a partial or a complete, it had better be finished. Know your characters. Know their goals and their conflicts. Be able to synopsis the story in one hundred words or less.

Not only should the manuscript be finished but also edited, in proper format, and flawless. They can’t do their job if you haven’t done yours.

#2 - Know your qualifications. In the case of fiction, your resume will vary. Do you have firsthand knowledge of the setting of your story? Do you have any experiences in the issues your heroine is dealing with? When writing non-fiction, you should have credentials to list.

Do you have any publishing credits? Do you teach a class on writing, lead a critique group, or have a degree in English Literature? Anything that lends credibility to you and your work is important. This is the time to pat yourself on the back.

#3 - Know the house. Who is the acquisitions editor? Are they publishing what you write? What is their expected word count? How many titles do they release in a month? A year?

If you can not answer these questions, how do you know your book is right for them? The best presentation you can give is the one that does not waste their time or yours.

#4 - Know the editor or agent Not only do you need to be familiar with the house but know who the acquisitions editor is. What are they looking for? Is there a new line being launched in the future? Does this editor look for non-traditional stories? If you are marketing a historical, is there a time period or setting they prefer? The interviewer may even ask if there are any authors you share a similar style. Do you know? If your can bring the story to life for them, they’ll know their readers will have the same reaction.

If you are pitching to an agent, a lot of the same things apply. However, there are other important facts you need to know. How long have they been in the business? Who do they represent—both now and in the past? How many new clients are they looking for? Which houses do they work with the most? How reputable are they?

#5 - Prepare the pitch. The pitch is the flap-copy synopsis. Be prepared to answer any other questions the interviewer will ask. This is accomplished by your knowledge of the manuscript.

Sit—don’t stand—in front of a mirror and recite your pitch. Look at your reflection. Eye contact is important, displaying your confidence. Let the passion for your story come through.

Pitching to a fellow writer is also great, particularly if they have pitched before. Another writer will understand your nervousness and recognize what you need to correct. This is a great exercise for your next chapter meeting!

#6 – Business Cards. Business cards are a must and serve multiple purposes. Black print on a white background is best. Although a graphic is fine, your personal information should be the predominant feature.

The BACK of the card should include Title, Target line or Theme, and Word count. Back at the office, this bit of information will be your stepping stone in the white water of dozens of pitches she has heard.

#7 - Dress Appropriately. Basic business attire is best. If you are a woman, pants or skirt, with a blouse and blazer, or a nice dress is perfect. Shoes should have a low heel.

For a man, dress pants with a nice shirt will work. Depending on the genre, you may even be able to wear new denim jeans with a shirt and blazer. When it comes to business, navy blue or black is preferred. Stay away from bright colors or prints.

No cologne, perfume or distracting jewelry. No gum. A breath mint before is fine and often available at the check-in table. Neat, clean and tidy is the key. You are not out to impress with your fashion sense. Dress with confidence.

#8 – Be On Time. 10-15 minutes early is recommended. It isn’t unusual for someone to lose their confidence at the last minute, moving everyone’s time slot up. Check in, find a seat and breathe.

#9 – Be Confident. You are ready—or are you? How do you feel? Are you still wondering what you are doing here? If you have gone through each step, you have nothing to worry about. The only thing left to do is ask yourself, “what if?”. What if you do not go through with this appointment? What if you do not give this your best shot? Then what?

You have to believe that your manuscript is the best it can be. You have to believe in your ability as a writer to tell a great story. You believed in your ability enough to get this far, do not throw it away now. You are doing great!

#10 – The Pitch. If you are called into the room before the previous appointment is through, stand quietly to the side until you are signaled. At that time, approach the table, extend your hand, smile, and thank her—by name—for setting aside this time for you. This is not brown-nosing. It is basic etiquette. This serves two purposes. It is a great icebreaker and puts the meeting on a business level. Remember, she is your client as much as you are hers.

Ask to begin. This gives her a chance to ask any preliminary questions. Do not let the questions throw you—they are not meant to. The interviewer is just trying to make the transition from one appointment to the next.

Tell your story. You have rehearsed this flap until you can say it in your sleep. Let your characters take over, as we know they can. The passion for your story should come through naturally.

Once you are finished, the interviewer will ask questions. These are not meant to trip you up either, so do not let them. To gain a better understanding of where, if at all, their house can fit your story into their line, these questions are important. Answer them with the same confidence.

When the meeting has concluded, thank her again. Exchange business cards and shake hands. You have just breezed through five minutes.

If you have been asked to submit either a partial or a complete, congratulations! Plan to mail the requested material when you get back home. As soon as you leave the interview, make a notation about the appointment on the back of your business card. A detail as small as the conference date or a suggestion the interviewer made will serve the purpose. This will further allow your appointment to stand out. Paperclip this card to your cover letter with your submission.

Should your story not be what they are accepting, ask what they will be looking at over the next six to eight months. In either case, you will come out of the interview a winner.
Kelly Henkins, writing as Angela Drake, began actively pursuing a writing career twenty years ago. Since then she has won many awards for short pieces, partials and poetry and published in art magazines.

Kelly is member of Ozark Creative Writers, Mid-South Writers Group, Sleuths Ink and Ozark Romance Authors.

For eight years, she hosted a weekly workshop on AOL. She continues to moderate a yahoo group extension of that workshop, The Writers Zone, and is owner of the World Romance Writers and World Romance Readers loops.

When not writing, she speaks at conferences and enjoys time with her granddaughter, gardening, journaling, and a myriad of artistic pursuits. Her husband and best friend of twenty-seven years, Bob, supports her many avenues of creativity.

Monday, April 4, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Michael Murphy

Scorpion Bay Excerpt

Parker awoke in a hospital bed, hooked to an IV drip while an annoying heart monitor beeped beside him. Only a florescent light above a mirror and the green glow from the monitor illuminated the dimly lit room.

The window blinds showed the darkness and soft glow from a parking lot. A flash of lightning briefly illuminated the room.

Closing his eyes, Parker replayed the accident as the details of the night began to emerge from his foggy memory. He remembered the abduction, his escape and shots fired by Carl as he and Lenny pursued Parker outside the drop house. His Kawasaki might be totaled, but at least he’d escaped the clutches of Raymond Camino’s men and was safe in the hospital.

Wanting to know about his condition and how long he might be hospitalized, Parker reached for a call button. A moment later, a nurse entered the room and closed the door.

“What time is it?” Parker asked, aware he was slurring his words. What kind of drugs had they given him?

“Time for another pain pill.” She stepped forward, poured water from a pitcher and handed him the pill and a plastic glass. “I’m going to take good care of you, Parker.” A lightning flash revealed the nurse’s smiling face.


“So you haven’t forgotten me.”

Parker palmed the pill and pretended to place the drug into his mouth. He sipped the water and tried to set the glass on a tray beside the bed.

Kimberly set the glass on the tray then slid a chair beside his bed. Her employee-of-the-quarter smile twisted into a scowl as she looked down at his balled fist. She pried his fingers apart and grabbed the pill.

Turning her back to him, Kimberly crossed the room and stopped beneath the light. “If you won’t take the pill, Mr. I’m-too-busy-to-call Anchorman, I’ll have to give you an injection.”

Parker tried to shake his drug-induced stupor. He reached for the call button but only managed to send the device clattering to the floor. His mouth went dry as Kimberly approached the bed holding a long syringe with a two-inch needle at her side.

Kimberly’s eyes burned with contempt. Her voice choked with bitterness. “Before I give you the Demerol, explain why, Parker Knight, after I sent all those beautiful roses day after day, you never called me.” She brought the syringe closer to the IV line in his wrist. “Never!”

Scorpion Bay Blurb

When a car bomb kills the prosecuting attorney and a key witness against a powerful bioengineering industrialist, the blast shatters the life of the attorney’s husband, popular Phoenix television investigative reporter, Parker Knight. After authorities hit a dead end, Parker risks his career and his life to seek his own revenge. Riding a high tech motorcycle and wearing a black disguise, the crusading newsman inadvertently becomes a media created superhero jeopardizing his quest for justice.


Award winning novelist Michael Murphy and his wife make their home in Arizona with their two cats, four dogs and five chickens. He enjoys writing mystery and suspense novels with twists and turns and splashes of humor. Scorpion Bay is his seventh novel.