Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Silver-White by Shawn Underhill

Silver-White by Shawn Underhill

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
~ Robert Frost

*Evie’s family has been holding out on her …

Big time.

On an unexpected visit to her grandparents’ house in New Hampshire’s secluded North Woods, the sixteen-year-old literally runs into the truth of the long-hidden family secrets, and finds herself thrust without warning into the clandestine world of the Great North Pack—a wild and exhilarating world of rugged beauty, heart-pounding adventures, and long nights running under a sea of stars … but as she’s set to discover, a world also fraught with potential dangers lurking in the shadows.

"Simply put, this book was amazing. I've read more fantasy novels than than I can count, but this one is certainly one of the best. The heroine isn't some wishy-washy pansy that screams at everything, and the focus of the story isn't on some unbelievably beautiful teenage girl who suddenly becomes the biggest, baddest member of her species falling in love with some big, bad, sexy member of her newfound species. It's about a girl becoming something she never knew existed, finding her place within the pack family she values more than ever before, and an age-old feud that threatens everything she loves." ~Morgan

Purchase ~ just .99 cents

Author Shawn Underhill

Shawn is a part-time writer from New Hampshire, where he spends his free time hiking in the mountains, camping, racing dirt bikes, or anything else that keeps him outdoors. Dogs are his very favorite people. He is also the author of the novel All Things Different.

BookBlast $100 Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/13/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Wicked Whispering by Calinda B






Updated on 28th December 2012

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Kai Williams thinks he’s a mutant. He’s got crazy-strange eyes that are a mash up of colors from green to blue to gold; crazy-strange red, brown and blonde hair and this Twilight Zone ability to know way more than he cares to know when he gazes into someone’s eyes. Not only that but all these voices whisper inside his head, rattling around like ball bearings in a metal pie pan, making him feel full-on schizo.

When he’s in the natural world, he can sense an animal’s electro-magnetic “vibrate, hum and buzz” soul essence long before he ever sees it. When he’s in or on the sea, he goes ga-ga over Thunder Pumpers – those great beasts we call whales – and not just the kind of “Oh, I’m in love with whales” nuts that tourists on the Whale Watch Boat experience. He gets loony-bin psycho when he’s around them.

His solution to this madness? Stop looking. Don’t feel. Keep to yourself. He stays contained, keeping his secrets locked inside, exploring the underwater world as a scuba diver. That’s the only time he’s at peace – at least when whales are nowhere to be found.

But when he meets Cassandra, his world starts to fracture. Fissures form in his heart and mind. His body starts to sizzle and fizz like overloaded household copper wiring with the circuit breaker reset nowhere to be found. A mighty war ensues between his desire to connect and his unwillingness to face his destiny. If he thought he was strange before, he becomes convinced that he’s a real nut-case, certain to be destined for the lock-down lunatic ward. Unable to stop all the changes that occur, he reaches out to a friend for assistance. Only thing is, this friend has a star dreamling inside his chest and a girlfriend who waltzes through the galaxy. That’s when the real fantasy-funfest begins.

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance (R)

Connect with Calinda B on Facebook or Twitter

Website - http://www.calindab.com/

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Wanting Rita by Elyse Douglas





Updated on 28th December 2012

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When his high school sweetheart experiences a devastating tragedy, Dr. Alan Lincoln reluctantly returns to his Pennsylvania hometown to see her. It’s been 15 years. Rita was a small town beauty queen—his first love whom he has never forgotten. He was a nerd from a wealthy family. Her family was poor. They formed a strong connection during their senior year, but Rita married someone else, and the marriage ended tragically.

Alan’s marriage of three years is disintegrating, and he sees in Rita the chance to begin again with the true love of his life. Rita has been mentally and emotionally shattered, but she reaches out to Alan and fights to build a new life with him. During a passionate summer, however, the past and present converge and threaten their rekindled love, as Alan and Rita must struggle with old ghosts and new secrets.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction (PG)

Connect with Elyse Douglas on Facebook or Twitter

Website - http://www.elysedouglas.com/

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Frizzy, Dizzy & The Brute by ME Langlands

Updated on 28th December 2012

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For children from 7-12 years of age with colour pictures.

In the garden the vast dog roars. He leaps into the misty air. He pulls hard on his chain, pushing nose first into the stable. He sniffs frantically, ferociously, tearing the straw from under him.

Secretly, Sid the cat and Windy the horse hide the animals from the moody Brute and his dog. Join the animal family on their adventures to escape from the moody Brute!

Leap into the sky with Rip the rabbit and visit the Bit Bobbers. Be pampered with Mauritia mole in the underground spa. Dare to peep into the scary workshop. Help Mr and Mrs Magpie save their fledglings.

Do the hiding animals escape?  How do they help each other? Can they all learn to live  together with Clare’s help?

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Genre – Fantasy (G)

Connect with M.E. Langlands  Facebook or Twitter

Monday, January 28, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - A Wicked Beginning by Calinda B





Updated on 28th December 2012

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Cam Tyson’s just an ordinary guy, living an ordinary life, pursuing the things that he loves – rock climbing, his ex-girlfriend, kayaking, his ex-girlfriend, river surfing, his ex-girlfriend…oh, and did I say his ex-girlfriend? The guy’s lovesick with his ex, even though she, well, she glimmers like a set of Christmas lights when she gets turned on and she’s out dancing in the cosmos somewhere. That’s a real mind bender for Cam because he only believes in the here and now and Planet Earth, baby. Leave the paranormal to the freaks and weirdoes.

So, while he’s tracking his “Wish She was Still My Girlfriend Ex” like a prowling alley cat, what the heck kind of creature is tracking him? He’d really like to know. Was it the same creature that made the radio-active, green-glowing gash down his thigh and leers at him from secret places? His best bud Mano says it’s a star dreamling. Now that’s weird!

And what about these freakish, red-eyed bat swirling nightmares he keeps having? Until recently, his dreams were always considered the kind of stuff you pitched when you took out the trash. Did the psycho-bitch he dated a while back forget to take her meds? She’s stalking him with Zombie like intensity in his dreams and scaring the Bejeezus out of him. And quite frankly, as a result of all these crazy encounters with phenomena he doesn’t believe in, he’s starting to become un-hinged.

When Cam decides to face this supernatural freak-fest, the Tilt-a-Whirl reality begins. His life takes on the white-knuckle intensity that only an adrenaline junkie can appreciate. And while his heart may say he’s on the right path, his mind keeps telling him to stop believing in the paranormal…because it just doesn’t exist. Right….

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Genre – Paranormal Romance (R)

Connect with Calinda B on Facebook or Twitter

Website - http://www.calindab.com/

Sunday, January 27, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Arrogant Wealth by Thomas Thompson



Updated on 28th December 2012

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The year is 2031 and United States economy is on a roll as the President rules with an iron fist. Joey Sans’ romantic adventure uncovers government secrets from the past leading to present day events and finds out more about the ghost of his father.

Jobs are plentiful, roads and bridges are being revamped and new travel technology has been invented. The Federal Bureau of Collections has pumped billions upon billions of dollars towards the cause through aggressively collecting a controversial new tax assessed on the ultra-rich. Crime and drug activity are under control, but organized crime has infiltrated private industry and controls important aspects of major construction of new technology projects. And Joey Sans is re-introduced to a face from the past.

The Solar industry is the key to the future as the new travel technology will significantly reduce costs for commerce and millions of Americans. The world is taking notice and attempting to follow the United States lead in collecting the new controversial “Wealth Tax”. The action goes international as the solar company expansion into China and the rest of Asia has confused the issue.

The stability of the nation depends on the continued success of “The Program” and certain men will do anything to ensure success. The future is bright, but the bumps in the road could lead the country back into darker times.

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Genre – Action, Adventure (PG13)

Connect with Thomas A Thompson on Facebook & Twitter

Blog - http://arrogantwealth.com/

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Protector by Vanna Smythe


Updated on 28th December 2012

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? At this point I am most proud of having written and published two books, Protector and Decision Maker, Book One and Book Two of my fantasy series Anniversary of the Veil. I’ve always dreamed about being a writer when I grew up and now I guess I am ;)

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I moved around a lot as a child, which has given me a wide perspective on the world and the different cultures living in it.  I think this has greatly enhanced my own writing and made the characters I create feel more alive.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Not exactly. Even before I could write I was fascinated by books, and I loved when my grandparents and parents read to me.  According to my grandfather, I had all the stories he would read to me (Disney’s Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,…) memorized after the first couple of times he read then, so he could never skip ahead in the story without me knowing ;)

When and why did you begin writing? I began writing in Middle School and got a little more serious about it in High School. But I didn’t start writing with an aim to be published until after college. As for why, I just don’t know, it made me happy to write.

What inspires you to write and why? Lots of thinks ignite my imagination, a bit of a conversation, a random idea, the way the light glistens off a lake.  I’ll see or hear such things, then imagine a character being the one hearing and seeing them, and a story will be born.  I also like to listen to music while I write; classical music is great, as are those sounds of nature recordings. They really help me get into the story.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I like to write fantasy the most, though I am also quite comfortable writing literary fiction

What is your greatest strength as a writer? That would have to be creating realistic, life-like characters. I am also very good at writing realistic dialogue.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I did, in the past, and I find the best thing is to just write through it.

How did you come up with the title? I usually title things after I finish writing.  The title is always there in the end of a story, but it is not always there in the beginning of one.

Can you tell us about your main character? My main character is Protector Kea. He is a strong, kind of arrogant soldier who suddenly finds himself with very powerful magical abilities. His whole world is thrown upside down as a result off it and he must make sense of it all and rediscover himself in the process.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I think of a direction I want a story to go it, what it will be about, and who the main characters will be, and the rest just kind of falls into place as a result of it. For example, in Protector, I started with a Princess who was facing an arranged marriage she didn’t want, and the rest just grew out of that. Even Protector Kae, who ended up my main character, even though I originally intended for him to only be one of the supporting cast, so to speak.

Who designed the cover? I did ;)   I initially paid a cover artist, but I wasn’t satisfied with the result and ended up designing my own.  I must say I really enjoy the process.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Definitely the revision. I literally didn’t touch the book for a year after I first wrote it, because I didn’t know how to revise it. I ended up taking a course on revision, which helped a lot. I no longer fear revision, and I think I’m even getting pretty good at it.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I think there’s a part of me in everyone of my characters.  Though some are more like me than the others.

How do you promote this book? I promote through my social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. I also have a blog, and occasionally do interviews and guest posts.

Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, definitely. I love fantasy and am soon going to start on Book 3 of my Anniversary of the Veil series. This book will conclude the series, and then I will start a new one. I’ve had the idea for it in my head for the longest time, and I’m eager to start writing.

What is your favorite color? Black.

What is your favorite food? Pizza.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? To thine own self be true.

What’s your favorite season? Spring. I love watching nature wake up after the long winter slumber.

Buy now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy (PG13)

Connect with Vanna Smythe on Facebook & Twitter

Website - http://vannasmythe.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day by Rachel Thompson


‘So ridiculously amazing, I can’t take it’ ~ Gabe Berman, Author ‘Live LIke A Fruit Fly

‘Engrossed. It is a grippingly brilliant work’ ~ Frank Feather, author and blogger

‘Any woman who has had a former lover (or two or three) will be able to relate to this. Her writing is very poetic.’ ~ LS Hullinger, reader, writer

‘A brilliant and intense must read’ ~ Jeffery Rowan, reader

Out less than three weeks, Broken Pieces already hit the Paid Top 10 list on Women’s Studies!

Welcome to bestselling author Rachel Thompson’s newest nonfiction work! Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collections A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, BROKEN PIECES is a collection of pieces inspired by one woman’s life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again.

This is NOT a humor book! It IS a book about relationships, a study of women, a book with heart.

Want to see why people love it? Why they call it ‘riveting, powerful, insightful?’

Read it and see why Broken Pieces is tearing up the lists for Nonfiction, Women’s Studies, and books for women!

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – NonFiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Rachel Thompson on Twitter & Facebook

Saturday, January 26, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Much Ado About Mavericks by Jacquie Rogers


Updated on 28th December 2012

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Tell us a bit about your family. I live in Seattle with my husband and cat—not sure which will be trained first. Might be a lost cause. Currently, my daughter and her four little boys live here, too, so lots of noise and hopping going on. We made monster cookies this afternoon and the kitchen will never be the same. This is not conducive to either page production or fitting into cute jeans. LOL. But they’re fun.

What is your favorite food? I always say strawberry shortcake but I’m originally from Idaho, so the real truth is I love potatoes just about any way you can think of. Yes, I make killer hashbrowns.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I come from storytellers on both my mother’s and father’s side, so it’s only natural that I’d be one, too. Also, I grew up on a farm in Owyhee County, Idaho, where my Hearts of Owyhee series is set. That area was perfect for someone who dreamed a hundred or so years in the past, especially since the culture hadn’t changed much. People ask me all the time about researching, and the truth is, I have to research far less than some of my sister WHR authors, so I was lucky to grow up there. The vernacular, the mindset, the manners, and just how daily life was lived are all part of my childhood. Lucky me!

When and why did you begin writing? I started writing after a bout of pneumonia laid me up for a month. The only books left to read were Romances and I refused to read one. But my daughter finally convinced me and I was so hooked, I started writing my own for fun. That book is well hidden from the public, but it was a grand adventure.

When did you first know you could be a writer? Probably when the first review came in. I thought she was just being nice but then I found out this particular reviewer rarely ever gives five stars and never gives pity reviews. So I felt like I earned my badge, and I’ve been working hard to better my craft since then.

What inspires you to write and why? I don’t know for sure. Great books inspire me. Poor books don’t. I’ve never had the “I can write a better book than that” moment that I’d call inspiring. But give me a book that pulls me in so much that I become the heroine, and I can hardly wait to get back to writing my own book.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? Two genres—fantasy romance and western historical romance. Fantasy is so fun because you can make a whimsical story world and do whatever you want as long as you follow your own rules. I love faeries, dragons, unicorns, sorcerers, and the works. Western historical romance is easiest for me to write because I come from the West and it’s who I am. Plus, I have a jillion story ideas that I’m just dying to write. And more keep coming!

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? I’m in a great critique group. In the beginning, we held classes, figuring that if we had to learn something well enough to teach it, we’d get a much more solid understanding of each craft element. It’s the best thing we ever did. There have been numerous authors who have been very supportive and taught me a lot outside our group as well. Romance writers are a lot of fun and wonderfully helpful.

What made you want to be a writer? I never did want to be a writer. My first heart’s desire was to be a television baseball announcer, but I gave up that notion by the time I was about ten. My mother wanted me to be a writer so obviously that’s the last thing I wanted to do. But sometimes professions choose you, not the other way around, and that’s what happened to me.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Actually doing the writing. I love creating characters and getting to know them. I adore plotting and plunking these people in ludicrous, dangerous, or exasperating situations. And of course, typing The End is the ultimate high. But the 90,000 words in between are a lot of hard work. You have to turn the crank every day.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? I’m currently writing the fourth book in the Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Miners. The heroine in this book is the sister of the heroine in the first book, Much Ado About Marshals. In fact, she shot the hero in that book, so you know she’s going to shoot from the hip in this book, too.

Can you tell us about your main character? In Much Ado About Mavericks, the hero is Benjamin Lawrence, a highly successful Boston attorney who has to return to Owyhee County in the Idaho Territory to settle his father’s estate. He’s hoping a week will give him enough time to take care of everything, pack up his mother and sister, go back to Boston, and marry the boss’s daughter. The last thing he wants is to lose his heart to his father’s foreman, a beautiful redhead called Jake (Janelle Kathryn, shortened to J.K., aka Jake).

Jake O’Keefe has been on her own since she was twelve years old and is regarded as the best foreman in Idaho Territory. Her goal is to build her own horse ranch and to do it, she has to get clear title to the Circle J, which she can’t do if Ben sells off his ranch and hightails it back East. There’s no room in her plans for any greenhorn lawyer, that’s for sure.

How did you develop your plot and characters? First a situation and one character happens. I don’t know how, it just does. Then I ask who would antagonize both the character and the situation the most, and that’s how I get the love interest. Once I settle on the two main characters, I start filling out forms that I designed through the years, borrowing questions from just about every writer that ever gave me advice. After that, the characters marinate for a while, and then I channel them and write an autobiography. Here’s an example from the first book in the Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Marshals: http://www.jacquierogers.com/maam_cole.html.

When the characters are solid and I know them as well as I know myself, then the plotting starts. I use a form to plot out the bones. Not one word gets written until I know my characters through and through, and I have a destination. The actual story rarely ever follows my plot, but that’s okay. The destination is what’s important.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? Much Ado About Mavericks came about because I was daydreaming about the fun my sister and I used to have playing cowboys when we were kids. We had horses and thought ourselves quite accomplished riders. Truth is, I always wanted to be better—better at roping, for sure (never did get the hang of it), and much better looking. I was a good rider and an excellent shot, but of course you can always improve. Jake O’Keefe is what my ten-year-old self wanted to be like and I thought it would be fun to bring her to life.

Will you write others in this same genre? Besides the Hearts of Owyhee series, I have a Soiled Dove mini-series planned (a spin-off of Much Ado About Madams) and another book started, set in 1883 on the railways of Colorado, which could be the beginning of a new series. So yes, I plan to continue to write western historical romance. But I also intend to write both fantasy romance and traditional westerns as well, and I even have a YA fantasy started.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? No, other than an optimistic outlook. I write to give readers a little vacation from their daily stress. I want them to have fun right along with me, and be able to rest their brains. Yes, braincandy. I love that word. I love to read it and I love to write it. Enough people are dealing with serious issues that I feel absolutely no compulsion at all to add to the pile.

How much of the book is realistic? Much Ado About Mavericks, and all the Hearts of Owyhee books, are very realistic in terms of setting, social values, jargon, and life style. I grew up in Idaho with little outside communication—the Old West lives and breathes in Owyhee County to this day. Also, the women in Owyhee County weren’t shrinking violets. You can read more about the two strong women, Kitty Wilkins and Joe Monaghan, who influenced Jake’s character development. http://tinyurl.com/cvn654z

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Oh yes. Bwahahaha. Some of my friends haven’t found out yet, either. I’ve used my childhood neighbors who played music for the Grange dances in most of the books, and my sister is in Much Ado About Mavericks. She owns the general store. My publisher and his wife are in Mavericks, too. (That was especially fun!) My heroes are all based on various aspects of the men in my life—my husband, my brother, and my dad. I have a notion of what a real hero should be like because I’ve always had good men around, and some not-so-good ones for comparison.

How important do you think villains are in a story? The villain makes or breaks a story, in my opinion. A hero can’t show any more strength than what it requires to overcome the villain, so in a way, the villain is the very most important character. I spend just as much time developing villains as I do the hero and heroine. Sometimes more, because it’s a lot harder for me. The villain I’m most proud of is Hannibal Hank Turell in Much Ado About Madams, but the villain in Much Ado About Mavericks was very challenging just because of the circumstances, and I was happy how he shaped up.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I no longer live in Owyhee County, Idaho, so I have traveled back several times to research and to smell the sagebrush. The alkali dirt and the hot desert air always inspire more stories. I’ve also gone to Colorado to ride on the steam train from Durango to Silverton in preparation for a manuscript in progress that I set there. But no, not much travel, unfortunately. I love to go museum-hopping in small towns but there’s not enough time to do everything I want to do, that’s for sure.

Who is your favorite author and why? I’ve never read by author, probably because I’m name-challenged and have a hard time remembering anyone I haven’t met. In fact, when I joined the writers’ world, I was shocked that others had autobuy authors. It’s something I’d never heard of. But if I had to pick an author, let’s go back to my college days and visit my Comparative Mythology class. We read Mary Renault’s A King Must Die and that book fascinated me so much that I read all of her other books except the last one. Mary Renault passed on and now I just can’t bring myself to read the last one because I know there won’t be any more.

What are your current writing projects now? Current projects are:

Much Ado About Miners (Hearts of Owyhee #4), April 2013
An untitled (and unsold) western romance set in 1883 Colorado
Faery Hot Dragon, a fantasy romance novella
A YA fantasy
A traditional western short story for a Wolf Creek anthology
A mini-series, Soiled Doves, a spin-off of Much Ado About Madams
And a western fantasy romance serial—yes, faeries in the Old West

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I’m reading The Last Honest Seamstress by Gina Robinson. Great book. Before that, I read a biography of Louis L’Amour, and before that, The Handsomest Man in the Country by Nancy Radke, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? I’m excited that some excellent authors are now published. I’ve been reading their works for years and scratching my head, wondering why no one had picked them up yet. Some outstanding authors are Eilis Flynn, Gerri Russell, Ann Charles, Nancy Radke, Heather Hiestand, Joleen James, Judith Laik—all who have titles available now. Wendy Delaney will be published by next summer so if you like mystery, give her book a try. Some western authors whose books I enjoyed and are new to me are Troy D. Smith and Matthew Pizzolato.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? Get an ergonomic keyboard and make sure your workstation promotes good posture. Every author I know either has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or is gonna get it unless they take measures to prevent it.

Read voraciously in several genres. Learn point of view, not only the easy stuff—the advanced techniques. Reading is by far the best learning tool there is. Just about every article on writing emphasizes it and for good reason. I’ve read and re-read books—the good ones to see how they did it, and the bad ones to see what didn’t work. It’s important to read work that is poorly written as well, because you learn as you go. Contest judging is an enlightening experience for a relatively new writer. If you’ve finished and polished one manuscript, give judging a try.

What do you do to unwind and relax? I like to watch movies with my husband (if I get to pick them), go to baseball games, the rodeo, or drive on the ferry and go island hopping. I also love to travel to small towns and visit the local museums—the very best information is at places like that. At home, I like to bake and I like to watch other people do yard work.

Final thoughts:
Thanks to the blog host and Orangeberry Tours for interviewing me today. I appreciate the time and effort a good blog requires. I’d also like to thank all those who took a chance on the Hearts of Owyhee series, and I hope you enjoy the next book as well.

For readers: if you post your sincere opinion in a review, send me the URL and I’ll send you the first chapter of Much Ado About Miners (unedited). You can contact me at jacquierogers@gmail.com. I love hearing your opinions and always strive to make my stories better. My hope is that I’ve given you a few hours of respite from the daily grind. There’s nothing like a smile to lift a person’s spirits. 

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Western Historical Romance

(PG17 – one love scene, not graphic but onscreen)

Connect with Jacquie Rogers on  Facebook  & Twitter

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - The Fisher's Paradise by Rachael Preston




Updated on 28th December 2012

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Turning people onto or back onto reading. I taught creative writing for years and had a book review a part of every course outline. Often people thanked me at the end of the course for renewing their passion for reading. Yesterday I received an email from a reader who had just finished The Fishers of Paradise. Since a car accident last winter that almost claimed her life, she has been unable to sit long enough to concentrate to read.Fishers was the first book she’d read since the accident, and she was so moved by it she now has a list of others.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I tend to write about marginalized people, people who are somehow displaced, or about to be displaced, probably because once you emigrate to another country, even from one English-speaking country to another, as I did, you are forever stuck between the two places and never fully reconciled to one. You are displaced. A sense of belonging (or not) is a common theme in my work.

When and why did you begin writing? I wrote my first story when I was 11. There were a lot of gypsies living near us. They had ponies that to my child’s eye weren’t treated well. I wrote “Three Steps to Victory” about a girl who rescues a pony from gypsies, nurses it back to health and then wins a ribbon in a jumping competition at a local gymkhana. I read the nursing of the sick horse section to my brother and looked up to find him crying.

What inspires you to write and why? Reading. I’m moved by other books and the places they take me to.

What inspired you to write your first book? The inspiration for my first published novel, Tent of Blue, came from a situation where we living in an apartment in a converted house and in the apartment across the tiny hall lived a daughter and her mother, who was in a wheelchair. Emotionally, they were both trapped, the old lady was physically trapped too, as the house had no ramp. I listened to the woman scream at her mother day and night and tried to devise a plan to rescue her. In the end I could only do it in fiction. I made her a grumpy former WWI pilot and her rescuer a young naive boy with a clubfoot.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Reading. Always reading. Other writers and other books, well-written, moving and gripping books are my key influences.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The plot. Definitely the plot. I wrote my first novel knowing where I was going but with no idea how to get there. However, I wrote The Wind Seller and The Fishers of Paradise without any outline and found I had to undo a lot of plotting and throw away a considerable numbers of chapters in order to get the story to line up. Pulling elements from real life and transposing them straight to the page doesn’t always work, either. What is believable in real life isn’t necessarily believable in fiction. It has to work on the page.

Do you intend to make writing a career? It’s the only career I’ve ever wanted.

Have you developed a specific writing style? My dad used to say that he could easily pick my writing from a pile of papers. I never felt conscious of developing a style, but I do write my sentences based on euphony. I choose their length and rhythm based on how they sound to me, and to achieve this I read all my work aloud.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? I’ve been told it’s my ability to convey drama in description.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Writer’s block is debilitating.  I employ many tricks. I write around the subject, write a letter from one of the characters to another character, rewrite a scene from a different point of view. Give myself permission to write garbage. Free write. Read a good book. Read a novel on a similar subject or set in the same era. Set small achievable goals–a paragraph a day, say. Big word counts can be overwhelming and I set myself up for constant failure when I can’t achieve them. I tell myself that it will pass.

Who designed the cover? Mark Timmings, an award-winning designer of art books and catalogues for art galleries and museums. He happens to live on the small island where I live (population 325), and graciously agreed to work on the cover for me.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? I was walking around the recently completed waterfront trail in Hamilton when I came upon an information plaque that featured a photograph of a group of carefree young boys standing on the decks of a straggle of boathouses in Cootes Paradise, ready to jump in the water. It seemed an idyllic childhood. When I learned that the city tried to drive the community out in the middle of the Great Depression I felt compelled to write about the area and the people whose lives were disrupted.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Trying to let go of the facts and let the fictional characters and their lives shape the story. I felt strangled at several stages by the timeline of real events and trying to tie it to the lives of my fictional characters. Also I was too hung up on the facts behind certain events and the real reasons behind such as the city’s expropriations.

Will you write others in this same genre? Yes. That is I’ll set other books in the same time period. I keep thinking I’ll write a book set in present day, but then another idea presents itself and invariably it takes place sometime in the first half of the twentieth century. I’m drawn to the era, to the wars, the depression, the change, the struggle, the loss, the upheaval in people’s lives. But I would like to reach beyond the family drama this next time and write on a larger canvas.

How much of the book is realistic? The boathouse colony was real. Probably sometime around WWI the community sprang up on the shores of Cootes Paradise at the head of Lake Ontario, and families lived there until the late 1930s when the city managed to throw all but a few stalwarts from the property. I conflated two real fires in the community, one in which two children died, into one fictional fire. A fireman did live in the community. I changed his name. Thomas B. McQuesten, or Mr. McQuestion as he was known to the area locals, was a civic-minded politician who was obsessed with making Hamilton a part of the City Beautiful Movement. The King of the rum-runners body was dragged from the lake. The Model and Normal Schools, Dundurn Castle and Leo the Lion, the market and McNab Prebyterian church are, or were,  all real. The last of the boathouses was torn down in the mid 1940s.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? I wrote closer to the bone in Fishers than I have in my other books. The experiences are transmuted, but they are based on circumstances and events in my life. My father was a gambler; he left suddenly when I was a kid. In dire straits we had to live with my grandparents.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Villains are good as foils for the protagonists to show off their better qualities. And villains often make for more interesting reading. There is nothing more boring that a story where everyone is good and decent. That said, there is a real danger in making villains two-dimensional and predictable. The challenge is to make the reader care about them too.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? A fascinating novel by Robert Hough called The Final Confession of Mable Stark, a fictional biography of a diminutive female tiger trainer from Kentucky, who was a centre-ring attraction for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1910s and 1920s.

What contributes to making a writer successful? The ability to tell a good story and tell it well; the sensibility to choose the right story to tell. And luck. Buckets and buckets of luck.

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction (PG13)

Connect with Rachael Preston on her website


Blog http://www.rachaelpreston.com/blog/

Friday, January 25, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang – Hot & Enchanting by P. T. Macias




Updated on 28th December 2012

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A hot-blooded saga of the De La Cruz familia and their fortunes is centered on romantic relationships of the explosively passionate nature. Hot & Spicy, the bachelor wars the Mexican cartel to protect his amor, familia, and fortune. Hot & Forbidden, star-crossed lovers break taboos and fight the chains.

Hot & Enchanting, Ricardo Emmanuel De La Cruz is the sexy alpha playboy of la familia and is an attorney. He’s enjoys all the chicas that chase him. They have been chasing him his entire life.

Ricky literally runs into Jacqueline Cortez in the hallway. She’s a bella, shy, and quiet certified public accountant that works for la familia. Jacki turns his world upside down.

Jacqueline Cortez has been in love with Ricardo her entire life. She never dreamed that running into him will unleash the amor that she locked up a long time ago. Will she be able to outrun Ricardo and avoid being his next conquest? How long can Jacki resist Ricky’s attention? Is she doomed to fall under his enchantment and into his waiting arms?

Why is she pushing me away? Do I repulse her? I have never had a chica react like this. What’s wrong, thinks Ricky.

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Romance Thriller (PG13)

Connect with PT Macias on Twitter

Blog http://ptmacias.blogspot.com/

Website http://ptmacias.com/

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - A Wicked Awakening by Calinda B





Updated on 28th December 2012

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What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

When I was in the 7th grade we were asked to create a poster with a meaningful quote. This quote, credited to Jack London, moved my little adolescent soul. I was a shy, awkward, gawky young thing at the time of this art project. Little did I know that the quote would actually resonate with my life journey – I have lived, and continue to live, a remarkable life.

What inspires you to write and why? You know, if I knew the answer to this, I could bottle it and make a fortune! All my friends ask me the same thing, adding, “My, you have a creative way of looking at things!” or, “It’s sure busy in the brain of yours!” I find inspiration everywhere. My current WIP was born on the Sea of Cortez in La Paz on a recent scuba diving adventure.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I loves me the paranormal, like to write a saucy, sexy story. The weirder the better; the hotter the more fun.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? I always learn from writing. Writing helps me integrate struggles I might be facing, issues I might be having. It helps me see the world differently as I craft each character. I often develop characters that I am least likely to give a second glance to in real life. Writing about them, I get to know them in a different way. I also tend to focus on one or more animals in my books. For instance, in Wicked Whispering: Book III in the Wicked Series, I met a humpback whale researcher and learned a lot about these fascinating creatures (the main character became a whale whisperer). Each book is a journey.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? Hmm, I’d have to say both my quirky mind, as well as the ability to take constructive feedback to heart (when given by trusted advisors). I am a sponge when it comes to learning and growing.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Sure. This is the one mentioned above, born on the Sea of Cortez. Tentatively entitled “The Beckoning of Beautiful Things,” it’s about a young woman, born to an opera singer and a conductor. Her parents are killed when she’s 12 years old and she becomes a recluse of sorts. At age 28, she drifts from job to job and has a total tool of a boyfriend – the guy’s a real loser. She meets a most intriguing man and from there her journey begins. He tells her that she’s a powerful bruja (sorcerer) and that she must learn how to develop her skills, lest she fall prey to one of the most powerful brujos in the world – the demented sorcerer El Demonio de la Muerte – The Demon of Death. I’m having a great deal of fun writing it.

How did you come up with the title? It just came to me. It plays nicely into the book.

Can you tell us about your main character? Marissa Engles, age 28, has two older sisters. She works as a graphic artist in West Seattle and thinks of herself as an ordinary woman (don’t we all!). She’s not sure whether or not she even likes her boyfriend, a slacker, surfer dude named Jason Harmonia Brown she met at a Tantra workshop, but he’s good in bed (A friend goaded her into attending the workshop and she wants nothing to do with the practice). Jason likes to exploit her abilities as an intuitive – she’s a gifted seer, something she thinks is no big deal. It’s just something passed on from female to female on her mother’s side. She has a dog – a big Doberman Pinscher named Sober Dober. Sober will play a key role in her growth as a bruja. She’ll travel through time to shape her skills as well as wreak mischief on her current life.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? The idea just came to me in La Paz. It is a departure from my highly erotic series, The Wicked Series.

Will you write others in this same genre? Yup, I have a whole series planned for the Beckoning. I also have A Wicked Ending: book IV in the Wicked Series underway.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I always want to remind my readers that they’re so much more than they might think.  A beloved teacher of mine told me once: “Your dreams are inside of you for a reason – you are to manifest them.” At the time she told me this I thought she was crazy. Now I know she was right!

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Oh, sure, my crazy life experiences leak out all over the place in my books. And, I admit it, I often use people I have loved and loathed as characters in my stories. It’s just something writer’s do. ;-)

How important do you think villains are in a story? My villains are some of my favorite characters! Angela Myers and Jill Primcott are the mental, crazies in the Wicked Series. El Demonio de la Muerte will be my Villain in the Beckoning Series. They add tension and depth to a story.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? We travel a lot to scuba dive. Each new place inspires something in the books.

Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? AJ Nuest and Arial Burnz of Mystical Press Services are rock solid mentors! Both of them editors at publishing houses. They also have their own business (mysticalpressservices.com) designed to help you get your work published. Tell them you know Calinda B and make them smile!

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Absolutely!

What contributes to making a writer successful? First off, being a good writer. I think it’s important to keep honing your skills. Don’t get complacent and think you know all there is to know – keep learning. After that, you need to be persistent and courageous in getting your book out there, whether you’re going for a traditional publisher or want to go indie. Don’t take bad reviews seriously – unless that’s all you get! If that’s the case, you might want to try something different! ;-) Networking with other authors helps me – we celebrate one another’s successes and support one another when needed.

What do you do to unwind and relax? I write! Seriously, it’s very relaxing to be in my creative mind space. Other than that, I scuba dive, kayak and occasionally bike ride.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? Writing books is not something I ever wanted to do – I just started it on impulse a couple years ago. Having done it, I find that I have learned so much about myself, I’m amazed! I’ve networked with all kinds of cool people, my self-confidence has soared, I’ve discovered new things about myself – it’s a very personal journey that has taken me to places I never expected to go.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Have fun. Loosen up. Laugh a lot. Do something that scares you. Before you know it, this party’s over – you may as well enjoy the ride.

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance (R)

Connect with Calinda B on Facebook or Twitter

Website - http://www.calindab.com/

Thursday, January 24, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Gastien – Part 1: The Cost of a Dream by Caddy Rowland





Updated on 28th December 2012

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What is your favorite quality about yourself? My imagination. I can imagine anything. I think it comes from being almost an only child (my brother was 13 years older) and having no one to play with much of the time.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I can get the feeling that I’m not doing what I should be doing. When writing, I feel a pull to paint. When painting, I feel I should be writing. When doing either, I should be giving my parrots attention.  When relaxing, I should be exercising, etc. I tend to beat myself up that way.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” –Eleanor Roosevelt. Why? Well, I really like to talk about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going; all of the possibilities of that. I really LOVE a good, deep discussion of ideas with open-minded people?

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I’m proud that I am still married (after 39 ½ years) to my high school sweetheart, and that we’re still in love. We got engaged my senior year of high school! We married 2 weeks after graduation. We were too young, from two economic backgrounds, had four different religions between the two sets of parents, and decided not to have children. No one thought it would last, but here we are; and happy besides!

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I can’t say that my upbringing has much influence on it, but childhood and life experiences have. For instance, I was made fun of daily in 5th and 6th grade. It was relentless. I had a stomach ache most of the time, but was too afraid to tell my parents why. I reasoned that if they found out, they would see me as a loser, too, and they wouldn’t want me around anymore. I had a wild imagination and that made kids more “grown up” than me see me as odd. That came out in book 3 of The Gastien Series. The main character in that book gets teased a lot, making him feel alienated. I could write about that alienation. The situation was much different but I had legitimate experience with those feelings. I was also quite a rebel. That helped me write about Gastien, a bohemian artist who breaks all conventions and does things his way, after growing up under the abuse of his father back on the farm.

What inspires you to write and why? I wish money did. If it did, I would be writing to please whatever current trends happen. I don’t write paranormal or erotica. I do write graphic sex, but I want something other than sex to be the main thrust (pardon the pun) or my novels. I guess humanity with all of its glory and ugliness inspires me. I write drama, family saga, historical fiction. I never set out to write historical fiction, in fact, it sounded boring, but once the book was done I realized that it had a lot of historical details in it regarding the whole nineteenth century bohemian artist era in Paris. What a decadent time in history! I like to show the bad in good people and vice versa. A series gives me time to do that. To sum it up, my novels showcase the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Yes, it taught me that I could actually finish a long novel. It also taught me that historical fiction can be extremely exciting, graphic, and emotionally charged. Lastly, it taught me that some people actually think you indulge in all of the activities you write about. Ha! I would be long gone if I had.

Do you intend to make writing a career? I am trying right now. We may lose every material thing we have in the process, but I have to try to achieve my dream. I know painting is even tougher than writing to be successful at, so I write a whole lot more than I paint. It takes time to build a readership, but it is happening slowly. I am getting good reviews and people email me to tell me how much the books moved them.

Have you developed a particular writing style? I just write. Funny, I have had reviewers and readers say that at first they found my writing a little strange, but after a few chapters they were totally immersed.  They call it Caddy Omniscient. I suppose some love it and some stop reading. Those who stop I don’t hear from! But then, that’s true of any writer. Not everyone’s going to love you.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? I will tell it how it needs to be told, even if it gets real ugly. I’m not afraid to stretch boundaries, possibly repel someone. If it’s a brutal scene, it needs to be brutal. That’s what drama is. I don’t shy away from giving main characters traits that people will hate them for at times. I want people to both love and hate my characters. All of us are part decent and part, well, assholian. Some just have greater degrees of one or the other. Even those with bigger “warts” make interesting characters. I want to make people think, feel, and react. Many people refuse to think, but I can make them feel and react. Writing that way makes people feel deeply about your work. Most times it has been positive, but whenever an author writes emotional stories, some people are going to have a negative reaction. That’s good. That means my work isn’t bland.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? I am writing the rough draft, so I won’t share it literally, but I can tell you about it. Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream is the first book of The Gastien Series. There will be five books in the series, and four of them are currently available. I am working on the fifth book right now. The series is generational, a family saga. The fourth book just released recently. I am about 25% done with the first draft of this last Gastien book.

Can you tell us about your main character? Gastien was brought up on a farm in France, the eldest of eleven children. Although they were more successful than most farmers, they were definitely peasants. His father was a tyrant, who beat and verbally abused Gastien for eighteen years. Gastien was supposed to take over the farm, which had been in the family for generations, but he wanted to become an artist. To his father, that was an insult and not becoming to a man. He has a confrontation with his father when he is almost eighteen and leaves home on foot. The story is about his determination so achieve both the dream of having his own studio and to become a great lover, in spite of the horrific struggles he faces on the streets of Paris. He learns a lot about sex, power, class struggle, betrayal, and friendship in less than two years. He has no idea what will be asked of him in order to make his dream come true. The tagline is this: “Sometimes the “impossible” is possible – but the cost can be extremely high”.

How much of the book is realistic? Much of it is. I made sure that items the characters used, wore, etc were appropriate for the times. Different historical information is brought into play. The research took longer than the writing. I want to make sure I didn’t mess up. For instance, when Gastien got introduced to sex, if I had him unzipping his pants people would be jarred right out of the scene. Zippers were not invented yet, and pants were called trousers. Still, Gastien is a rebel and an artist. This was the time of Impressionism and other cutting edge forms of art. Those bohemians were not formal, so the dialog is earthier and less formal to show how they stood apart. Their world was eons ahead of the rest of society in many ways. Dialog was one way to show that. Plus, Gastien was eighteen! There’s no way young men wouldn’t be talking trash to each other. Please!

How important do you think villains are to a story? Without villains, there would be no conflict. Although I will say sometimes “villains” aren’t actual people. Some of the worst villains live in our minds, as Gastien eventually finds out.  But villains give readers a reason to root for your character, to hope that he overcomes them and achieves his goal. If a writer can’t get readers pulling for their main character, the story will fail. Readers can hate the main character’s decisions or actions at different points, but they must care about him, too. Without conflict, the reader has no reason to become emotionally involved with the character.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? I learned a lot of history, although some of it I knew because I am an artist. Because of that I have always been interested in that period in Paris. I think the main thing I learned is that writing male POV comes very naturally for me. I actually prefer it over female POV. Only one book in the series is female POV and that is the fourth book. I enjoyed writing it, but male is easier for me.

What do you do to unwind and relax? As mentioned earlier, I paint. I also enjoy playing with our two parrots. We like to hike and walk in the woods, play Texas Hold ‘Em and other card games. We enjoy movies, especially independent films. I read. We do yoga. Kicking back with a few good friends is great, too.

Do you have any advice for writers? I will pass on the same advice I read somewhere on the internet. What had kept me from writing a novel for so many years was fear. The thought of storyboards and working over every sentence paralyzed me. Then I read someone who said, just write. Set aside a specific amount of time for a specific number of days each week and don’t break that promise, no matter what. I picked one hour a day, five days a week. The next advice he gave was to just keep writing every day, instead of going back and reading what you had written previously. Just keep going until you reach the end.  Don’t edit during this time. Why? Because until you have a completed book, there is nothing to edit. He was right. That did it for me. All of those words later, you better believe I was going to make sure it was polished up and published.

Who is your publisher? I am. I don’t have the time or patience to wait a couple of years for acceptance and then being put off for months until the book hits the market. I have always been independent about my careers. I like to control my own destiny and was self employed for years. As an artist, I see indie publishers as the excitement of the industry, just like in music and film. They aren’t bound by what others expect of them and are free to write what they want to. Yes, there are some poorly edited and proofed indie books. Read the description. Read the free sample. Read the reviews. That gives you an idea of if the work is professional. Take a chance on paying for indie books, instead of just downloading free or .99 books. Many times you do get what you pay for. I mean, seriously, what do you pay for a good beer or a movie ticket? Isn’t hours immersed in a novel worth at least that?

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Oh, yes, indeed! I have a couple of series dancing in my head and some other ideas as well. I may even switch genre, who knows? Fasten your seatbelts!

Do you have any last thoughts that you want to share with your readers? As readers, you have no idea how much it means to an author, especially an indie, when they get an email from you. It sounds like a prepared speech, but truly, you are the reason I write. It means the world to me every time someone lets me know that they loved my work.

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Drama, Historical Fiction (R)

Connect with Caddy Rowland Facebook

Blog - www.caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Pimp Ur Blog 3 by Paul Rice




Updated on 28th December 2012

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Many bloggers and authors have experiences with Google and Amazon that they would like to share. Many more people will benefit from these shared experiences.

The third eBook in the Pimp ur Blog series is now open to multiple co-authors. My offer for Pimp ur Blog Episode Three: Working with Amazon and Google is to publish another edition each time I receive another co-author’s material. I will, of course, publicize each Episode Three edition with press releases, bookmark links on three-dozen social bookmarking sites, blog posts, social media, and inclusion of blurbs for each co-author’s other works.

I will add permanent links to each co-author’s blog or website on each PimpUrBlog.com page. The eventual result will be that each co-author’s name and/or blog will make its way into 100 or so associated links and references in Google’s search results!

The initial Episode Three edition starts with my experiences in working with Google as a blogger by describing how to access the wealth of information that Google Webmaster Tools stores for every blog. I share the details of the tests I ran with a $100 Google AdWords credit, and briefly review what effect the recent changes within Google have had when they filter down to our blogs’ Google search results.

I continue with my experiences in working with Amazon as an author who does not participate in Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. Episode Three wraps up with some items of interest from the previous eBooks in the Pimp ur Blog series.

Except that Episode Three does not really conclude at all. Anyone who wants to contribute as a co-author will always be welcome!

Buy at Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Non-Fiction, How-to (G)

Connect with Paul Rice on Facebook & Twitter

Blog - http://pimpurblog.com/

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Dead Perfect by PG Shriver



Updated on 28th December 2012

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I am most proud of the eleven books I have written and published. I think about the years I spent writing, the amount of time that went into each book, especially the novels, and the fact that I completed them, me, the great procrastinator. I completed eleven books. Even the picture books, for which I drew or painted the illustrations, took so much time. I did it, though! I completed them and I am still working on others. As an instructor, I’ve been told by a few students that my advice saved their lives. As a mother, I have a beautiful, talented, intelligent daughter. I am proud of both of these, also, but those had a choice and made the right one. Those decisions are their accomplishments. My daughter made the choice to give life all she has. That is her accomplishment. My accomplishments are those eleven books.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? My favorite place in the world is my office. I love sitting at my computer and writing. I could write all day and forget about every other aspect of life. My office, in my room, in my large country home, is my very favorite place. I didn’t write my first book until we moved out to our seventeen acre ranch. It is so peaceful and quiet out here, especially when the neighbors are all at work. I can go for a walk, go to the barn, walk out to our back fence, or just look out the window on a cold day and find the peace I need to go on.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My upbringing wasn’t perfect, but then life isn’t perfect. I dealt with a great deal of 70s issues. My father is an alcoholic and spent my youth in and out of rehab centers, and on and off jobs. Once or twice, my mother had to go to work to provide for our family of five. We moved a few times to get away from what my parents thought to be the triggers for Dad’s alcoholism. There was some violence in our family life, and I learned to fear my dad, and his belt. Mother forced his hand when he came home from his out of town job one week and told her he had met somebody else and was in love with her. She packed his bags and gave him the ultimatum. He chose the other woman and left when I was seventeen. Mom couldn’t find a job or get assistance. It was a very trying time. My boss gave me a promotion just so I could provide for my family until my mother found a job. There are some parts of my upbringing that I could have done without, but most of them I wouldn’t trade because I do believe that all of the issues I dealt with as a youth made me who I am today. Those events recreate themselves in my books, and the main character overcomes whatever happens. The upbringing I had makes me a more disciplined person, which also transfers to my writing. Those issues provide the not-so-perfect world in my books that my characters face, and the feelings my characters have that reach out to the reader, and maybe give the reader some comfort knowing they are not alone.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I am most comfortable writing in the Young Adult genre, though I am dabbling a bit with adult paranormal romance and suspense thrillers. I much prefer the more innocent nature of YA. Paranormal and fantasy are my favorites. I can work in real events to both types of stories without making the events too real for the reader. There have been times while I was engrossed in a book that a detailed event hit a little too close to home and I put the book away. I would go back to them later when I was ready to deal with that particular event. I don’t want my readers to feel that way. I want to approach events subtly, allow them to read about it without even realizing what they just read and when it’s over stop and say, “Wow, I’ve been in that situation!” Fantasy and Paranormal allow me to achieve this reaction.

What inspired you to write your first book? Believe it or not, a spider bite inspired me to write my first book. My husband complained about having been bitten on the bottom of the foot and we had had some spider issues, so he believed a spider bit him. Much of my inspiration comes from nature. The next book I wrote transpired from a true event in our yard between a visiting skunk and our cats. Life is full of inspiration for writers. I don’t usually look for it, but the events always find me and I think to myself, “That would make a good book!” I even have my husband saying that, now, though we disagree a bit on what a good book is.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Writing this book taught me that I could write a 50,000 + word novel in a month. I wrote Dead Perfect for NaNoWriMo in 2011. It was the most grueling month of my life, with my husband and daughter taking over many of my household and farm duties. I wrote for twelve hours or more a day on the weekends, every morning for a couple of hours before class, and every evening for about four hours, instead of relaxing with my family. It was frustrating, exhilarating, and extremely stressful, but I accomplished it! I was so thrilled to have written an entire rough draft for a novel in one month that it kept me on a high for two more months! In fact, that semester was the only semester that I received a negative student survey comment. The student commented that my “personal goals should not come before my professional work”.

Do you intend to make writing a career? I absolutely intend to make writing a career! I love teaching literature and writing, but I would much prefer dedicating all of my time to writing. At the moment, it appears that it will be my retirement career, but I would love to crank out six novels a year! I have so many ideas for books, so many characters in my head, so many books started, that with a full time job, I don’t know how I will ever get them all completed. I would have to live to be a hundred and twenty to get all of the books written that I have started now. If I could dedicate my entire day to working on them, then I might be able to complete them in six years and keep coming up with new ideas, characters and storylines. I love writing, and it would make me incredibly happy to have nothing else to do but write. I have always desired to become a well-known, popular author. Since the age of seven, that is the only career to which my aspirations always returned.

Have you developed a specific writing style? Yes, I have developed a specific style. When I read a book, I like it to read fast. When I write a book, I try to stay with that style. I prefer to write many short chapters that keep the reader moving forward, then to write less long chapters. I also try to maintain a straightforward approach. I appreciated that in Hemingway’s books, and found that it was much easier for me, the reader, to identify with the characters when the style is straightforward. I also prefer first person narrative because I can really get into the characters’ hearts and minds to develop them. I’ve had success with my series in third person, but my preference is first.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? I think my greatest strength as a writer is my ability to get into character. In the past, I aspired to become an actor, tried out for the one-act plays in high school, but always ended up backstage. I guess I was just too withdrawn to “perform”. With writing, I’m always more outgoing. I prefer email to in-person chats and texts to phone calls. I believe that’s because I can be who I want to be when I write. I can address the recipient with the candor and the confidence that speech does not allow me. The hermit side of me is cropping up here. I suppose it also has to do with lack of confidence in public speaking, always being afraid I’ll say the wrong thing. In writing, I don’t have to worry about that. I can revise it before it’s read. This allows me to be whomever I want, female, male, dog, cat, horse, and any age I want to be. It allows me to get on stage and become the character. Many reviewers comment on the strength of my characters. When a reader states, “I just wanted to wrap my arms around her…” to make the character’s life okay again, then I know I have done well with that character. She’s not just a part of my imagination, or part of some story; she has become real to the reader and made it into the outside world. How many times do we refer to actors by the names of their characters instead of their name? That character has become a part of our lives. That is the strength I have in writing, to make my characters a part of the reader’s life, to bring my characters to life.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Writer’s block? Absolutely! When I get writer’s block, it’s usually due to stress. I have so much going on in my life, so many aspects to keep up with, and so much work to do, that I sometimes become overwhelmed with it all. During these times, I find it difficult to focus on my work. The only way I can get back to work when writer’s block keeps me from it is to exercise. Exercise clears my mind, refocuses my breathing, relieves my stress, and allows me to think through problem areas. My favorite exercise is walking, because if have two big dogs, a Great Pyrenees named Reba who is a pound puppy, and a Heeler/ Mastif mix named Domino, who love to walk with me. They love walking so much, that on mornings when I walk back from the barn after feeding the cows and horses, Reba and Domino bounce up to me–even when it’s only 30 degrees like this morning– and expect to walk. Taking these mile and a half, brisk, nature walks help me the most. When it’s too cold, like this morning, then it’s Wii bowling, boxing or step aerobics. No matter the exercise, it always opens my mind back up and releases the characters within.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?Certainly, I will share a little of my current work. I love to give my readers a glimpse of what’s coming up. Here’s an excerpt, mind you this is a rough draft, of The Gifted Ones The Dream, which will be out in 2013. It’s the second book in my series, The Gifted Ones. I need to tell readers that this might be a bit graphic. It is a young adult series, though adults seem to appreciate it, also.

“Daddy! No!” the house glowed orange and yellow as the flames licked through the windows in an effort to reach the little girl on the lawn.

“No! Don’t think about it! That’s not your dad! Focus!” the voice of a girl filled Cheater’s mind, refocusing her eyes to the present.

Not her dad, but the faceless man stood before her, his iniquitous laugh filling her ears.

Flames danced and swayed inside the circle of the Gifted Ones, forcing each to tighten the grip they had on each other’s hands.

“It’s no, the present, that we need to focus on,” Jaz yelled over the billowing flames.

“Yes, if we don’t stop him, the world will suffer as we did!” Rebecca concentrated solely on the missing face.

“But we don’t know who he is! Look at his face!” Thad pointed out.

The whirlwind pulled at them, attempting to lift them from the ground and they fought to hold each other down.

“Wait! I know this place,” Nathan dared a glance over his shoulder,” I know where we are!”

“Remember it!” Cai ordered over the roar. “Try to see the others, too! We need to know who they are.”

Jas turned his head right, his eyes following the path from the hand he held, upward to the shoulder, and to the light hair of a girl. Squinting through the flames, he barely glimpsed her cheek before her face glowed orange with the hunting fire.


At the center of the circle, Mr. Johnston’s imposter stood with the man who tormented their dreams. Flames clawed at the imposter’s body, licking his face, singeing away his beard, tiny trails of orange traveling toward his chin. His screams overtook the roar of the fire as each of the Gifted Ones turned away opting to tighten heir handhold instead of cover their ears.

The gruesome screams grew to an unbearable level, and suddenly stopped. All eyes turned to the circle, the large man a crumple of smoldering flesh at its center.

“Defy me?” the evil voice roared into Cheater’s face, the breath of the dragon touching the tip of her nose. “And you also will burn, just like your family!”

“Leave her alone!” Jaz kicked at the tormentor without success.

“Keep your head! Stay focused! Don’t let him anger you; he will win!” Cai’s limbs trembled with control as her words reached Jaz’s ears.

Cheater’s feet lifted from the ground as the whirlwind wrapped its heated tentacles about her. Her hair rose and twisted with the wind. Jaz and Thad tightened the hold on her hands tugging her downward.

She had to let go of the past, of her family. She had to focus on the mission, the story, the ending. This was it. It was time to let go.

“Sarah! Sarah!” Outside the flames, as she spun to one side, Cheater’s mother called to her. “I’m here baby; I’m here and I will never leave you again. Come with me,” she held her hand out to Cheater.

“Mom!” Cheater struggled to let go of Thad’s hand, but he grasped hers tighter. “Let go! My mom’s here, right there.”

“Yes, Sarah, I’m here. Come home with me. Stevey’s waiting, so is Daddy. Come on,” the reaching arm closed the distance between Cheater’s body and her mother’s waiting hand.

“Mom,” Cheater smiled at the image over her shoulder, pulled her left hand free from Thad’s grip and reached behind her.

“No!” Thad yelled as her body rose further with the gusts twirling about her.

He jumped, catching a gust of hot hair to rise on, and grasped at her forearm, but his fingers barely grazed her skin.

How do you promote this book? Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule, I cannot promote my books the way I would like. Dead Perfect has been on blog tours; this tour is its second. I also advertise my website through Google and promote on Facebook and Twitter. I prefer not to spam people. I don’t pay any attention to spam, so I doubt they do, either. I like to talk to people through my blogs, too. I like to meet people, and my books give me the opportunity to do so. I also take my books to festivals. Dead Perfect has been to six festivals so far.

Will you write others in this same genre? I will absolutely write more books in the paranormal romance genre. I love that genre. In fact, I have an adult paranormal romance started. The title is Hog Island Love. I can’t wait to get back to work on it. Once I complete the rough draft of The Gifted Ones, The Dream, I will pick up where I left off with Hog Island. I also have another young adult paranormal romance in the works that has a unique plot and unusual characters. I want to get back to work on that one, too.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I think the message I tried to convey in Dead Perfect is that love can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Love can span time and find a lost soul in any dimension, and that our only deterrents to finding true love are ourselves. What keeps us from having our dream love is what we hold within our hearts. In order to accept love, we must first let go and love ourselves.

How much of the book is realistic? Dead Perfect doesn’t have much realism in it. There are situations that could really happen, but as far as my life as it is in the book, there is very little realism. The mall trip, the first love, the first kiss, I suppose are events all people encounter. None of the events in the book actually happened to me, or anyone I know personally. The characters in Dead Perfect came to life while I wrote it, and have their own life, their own situations and experiences, although bits and pieces form from realistic situations and people, for instance, a phrase a character uses or reaction they have to certain people. The car accident at the beginning of the book did not happen to me; although, I have had two car accidents and know the reactions that take place as a person spins around within a car. Losing a loved one has happened to me. The conflict Mel feels about the loss of her mother stems from the conflict I felt when my father left us. So none of the book is realistic, but there are elements of realism within its pages. I think realism is important in order for all stories to reach the readers.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Each of my books contains some of my life experiences. My book Moon Thief contains some family violence. Dead Perfect makes use of an alcoholic parent. The Gifted Ones series encompasses death of loved ones. Even the Bobby Jay series contain experiences stemming from my school life or teaching life. My characters are not based on any one friend or person, but a multitude of people. One of my characters may have one of my qualities, but look like two or three of my friends and my sister combined. All of the people I meet, the conversations I have, find their way into my memory, my creativity and extend themselves into my books in some way.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Villains are important for stories where they are necessary. Some stories don’t require a villain because the character deals with inner conflict. There may be a secondary character in the story who sways the main character one way or the other, but there isn’t a villain. In stories where the conflict is external, a villain is definitely necessary. Readers love to hate the bad person. They need someone to blame for the challenges that come upon the main character, and someone to be angry at when events don’t go the way they expect. Villains are great! My favorite approach to a villain is one that is not visible until the conflict climaxes. In the adult suspense novel I’ve been working on for about twelve years now, the villain has still not materialized, though her presence has definitely been established. It’s so much fun to write the part of a villain! I think that’s because of the balance of good and evil in every person.

What are your goals as a writer? My goals as a writer are many. First, I want to complete all of the books I have started. Second, I want to reach as many people as I can with my stories. I want to tell good stories, too. My main goal is to make writing my only career. I love to write more than life and nothing would make me happier than to channel all of my creativity and ideas into my books. I have shared knowledge, character and life with many students. I’ve affected them, and they have affected me. I’ve never wanted to win an award for teaching, but writing, I feel so differently about writing. Awards don’t really matter to me, but reaching my reader and maybe helping them in some way through the story I tell, that is what is important to me.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I don’t have to travel much with my books, I get to travel! I love taking my books to book festivals, arts and crafts festivals, and to schools to visit teachers and students. I don’t have much time to travel, as a full time instructor, but I love to travel. My dream is to travel on book tours. That’s how I plan to spend my retirement days. I love meeting new people, seeing new places, and becoming the author in me. Most of the time, I prefer to be a hermit, but when it comes to my books, I love to get out in the world with them. I’m still waiting for the one book that will get me to that place of travel, and it will come. The more I write, the better the ideas get, and the better chance I have of achieving that dream.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Can you expect any more books from me? If I had to say no to that question, I would just give up now. I don’t write books just because I have always wanted to write ‘a book’. I have so many books in the making, so many ideas every day, that my books will not stop coming until I cease to exist. The next book on the list is the second book in The Gifted Ones series. After that, you should see a couple of paranormal romances, and then my suspense thriller. If I had all day to write, I could realize all four of these books this year, actually publishing the first one before the middle of the year, and another by the end of the year. I am a storyteller, and I don’t plan to stop telling stories any time soon. I didn’t start writing to become a one book, overnight success. I write for endurance and time. I want readers to read my books hundreds of years from now. Yes, you will be seeing many more books from me.

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Genre – Paranormal Romance

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