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Friday, May 29, 2015

Heaven's on Fire / Guest Post by Roland Yeomans


BLOG TOUR:

Sage Covered Hills – Author Interview



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Today Roland Yeomans is taking over my blog with a deep guest post about writing, pain, and life that’ll get you thinking. Take it away, Roland!


HEAVEN’S ON FIRE

The bronze mists swirled about my table at Meilori’s like veiled bereaved women going to prayers.

I looked at my blank laptop screen and asked myself the most important question a writer can ask: What do I have to say?

Writers write best when the answer to that is “Something Important” (at least to themselves so that the fire is there at the tips of their fingers and within their hearts.)

To be important, what we write must not only be true to the human spirit, it must also not go over old ground.

How many times can you re-use the same tea bag before the brew you conjure is tepid and tasteless?

What we write must be relevant to the world in which our readers live.  Yet, America has become the Evening Land. 

September 11th.  Ferguson.  Baltimore.  Isis.  A Maryland mother pushing her dead son on a swing all night.  People go on their daily concerns as if the shadows were not deepening.
It is not getting lighter; our eyes have just adjusted to the darkness.

I jerked in surprise as the ghost of William Faulkner sat beside me.

“As I stood behind you, Roland, I couldn’t help but read what you were writing.”

He sighed, “Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained that by now we can almost bear it. Of course there are still problems of the spirit. Yet one question looms above all: when will life end for me?  And how will it happen … by terrorist plot, by Nature’s increasingly hostile hand, by the cruel strangulation of mishandled economics, or by my neighbor’s hate.”

The ghost of Mark Twain sat down on the other side of me.  “A beast does not know he is a beast, son. And the closer a man grows to becoming a beast, the less he realizes it.”

Faulkner nodded, “Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing, because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat of wresting something from nothing.”

He tapped the screen of my laptop. “You must learn them again. You must teach yourself that the basest of all things is to be afraid. And teaching yourself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in your writing for anything but the old truths of the heart ….”

Faulkner’s voice trailed off and then picked back up, “ …the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until you do so, you labor under a curse.”

Mark said, “You write not of love but of lust, of defeats in which no one loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. Your griefs grieve on no universa
l bones, leaving no scars. You write not of the heart but of the sex glands.”

Title: Death in the House of Life
Author: Roland Yeomans
Genre: Egyptian Mystery / Paranormal
Length: 245 pages


BOOK LINKS:

The poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, sat down opposite me and pointed to my laptop screen.

The blank page is the dragon that faces all authors. But like St. George, we have sought that dragon of our own volition.  Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

He smiled sadly, “I know our novels are like that: they are helpless to shape or birth themselves.  We must do it for them. And they are born of those seeds which are the books we have read.”

Faulkner nodded, “Authors read because we want to be with those who know secret things or else to be alone with our thoughts.”

Mark gruffed, “I’m just a common pilgrim, Bill.  So tell me, what are those secret things?”

Rilke sighed, “Answers to every soul’s basic questions:

Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you?

Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going?”

Mark Twain blew a cloud of cigar smoke.  “Poet, you got a handle on those questions, but I didn’t hear any answer.”

Rilke smiled even sadder.  “We must each decide for ourselves those answers.  But my answer to myself is:

‘You know that you are in the midst of transitions and as a child you wished for nothing so much as to change, to grow, to mature.

If there is anything unhealthy in my life, I must bear in mind that a fever is simply the means by which an organism frees itself from that which is harmful.

So I must simply ride the crest of that fever until it breaks since that is the way both the soul and body gets better.

Do not assume that any who seek to comfort me live untroubled among simple and quiet words, for such words were born in pain.

Their lives may also have had such sadness and difficulty that it is far beyond mine. Were it otherwise, they would never have been able to find the words to give me healing.’”

Mark nodded his head in agreement. “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things and yet still rise to try again with greater discernment.’”

William Faulkner murmured, “My own answer was:

‘Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart ... live in the question, in the uncertain moment.  That is the human condition … and realizing that fact will make you a better, more perceptive writer.’”

Rilke turned to the ghost of Mark Twain, asking, “And what would your answer be, Mr. Clemens?”

He waggled an eyebrow at me.  “Welcome the blank page, son, full of things that have never been, for the only worthwhile journey is the one within.”

All three turned their eyes to me in silent request for my own answer.  What would you have said in my place?


BOOK TRAILER:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan.  But his last memories of that city are hub-caps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.  The hitch-hiking after their speeding car from state to state was a real adventure.  Once in Louisiana, Roland learned strange new ways of pronouncing David and Richard when they were last names.  And it was not a pleasant sight when he pronounced Comeaux for the first time.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology.  He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate since he once worked at a tax preparation firm.

So far he has written thirty-three books.  You can find Roland at his web page: www.rolandyeomans.blogspot.com  or at his private table in Meilori’s.  The web page is safer to visit.  But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you.



Thank you, Roland, for giving us a wonderfully insightful post.

Please leave a comment for Roland!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nature in a Frame - A Kid's Project



BLOG TOUR:

DCRelief - Flour Tortilla Pizza Recipe 

Tasha's Thinks - Witch Facts 

Lori L MacLaughlin's Blog - Witch of Death Character Profiles

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I’ve got a kid’s nature project that you can do with your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews. I did this project with my nephews when they were younger. It’s easy and fun.


Nature in a Frame

Need:

·         A picture frame
·         White glue
·         Flowers, leaves, etc.
·         A paper bag or basket for collecting
·         Glitter for extra decorating

Steps:

1. Take the kids to a park, your backward, or some other area that is rich in nature where the kids can pick up leaves, flowers, petals, grass, and whatever else they see that catches their fancy.
TIP #1: Give the kids a paper bag or basket to hold their nature goodies. 
TIP #2:  Keep an eye on them. Not only can they wonder, but they may end up picking something up that is not good, such as a cigarette butt. My oldest nephew found a bottle cap. When I told him he couldn’t use it he said, “But you said anything.” Yes, the one time he listens. :P
Carmello, my youngest nephew, loved his big leaf.

2. When you’re back home, lay out the items they found on a table. Cut a piece of paper (any color) that they can glue their findings onto.

3. Give them glue and let them apply glue to the items and stick them on the paper in whatever pattern they want. (My oldest nephew said he made a ninja.)
TIP #3: Make sure they leave a little edge so the flowers, etc. don’t get crushed by the frame. 
TIP #4: Teach them how to use only a little bit of glue. (Just a dot, not a lot.)


4. When they are done, put the frame back together. Show them their masterpiece and find a place for it on the wall.
TIP #5: If they want to use a stick, find a deep frame or remove the glass.

TIP #6: You can have them write their names at the top of the paper and even put glitter on it like my nephews did.
Mello's Nature Ninja.
Carmello's Nature in a Frame.

Happy Spring!


QUESTION: What's your favorite project to do with kids in the spring?


Monday, May 25, 2015

How to Create an Author Tagline + The Muse Party Blogfest


BLOG TOUR:


Stephen Tremp's blog: My Favorite Witch Entertainment


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An author tagline is a lot like a book tagline, but instead of it describing your story, it describes your writing.

For more information on a book tagline, GO HERE

An author tagline is commonly used at the top of websites and blogs, and in the signature of emails. It’s meant to give readers an idea of who we are and to tell them why we write what we write.
1.    Consider the common themes in your writing. 
Example: romance, mystery 
2.    Consider what tones and moods you use the most.
Example: dark, funny, heart-warming
3.    Do you frequently use the same settings?
Example: small towns, Great Britain, the South

4.    Do you tend to write about the same kinds of characters?
Example: cowboys, tough heroines
After you answer these questions brainstorm tagline ideas using a few of them. Author taglines are short and usually range from three to eight words.

Example: “Cowboy Stories with Heart.” would be perfect for an author who wants to brand him/herself in the romance and western genres.


My tagline is: Thrilling and Romantic with Heroines of Steel.


I've talked about my heroines being "Heroines of Steel" before. I came up with that thanks to a short essay I wrote about the spine surgery I had as a kid. It was titled Woman of Steel.


SHARE: Do you have an author tagline? Share it!


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Sarah Foster and her muse Jordan created this fun blogfest for writers to talk about their muse. Well, how could I pass that up? To see the posts by the other participants, go HERE.

These are the questions:

1. Who is your muse?

My muse goes by the name of Ena, which was also the name of my imaginary friend when I was a kid. Ena tells me that she was my imaginary friend first so she could active my imagination to new, higher levels. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be as creative as I am now.  She went off to Paris when I was about eight and returned as my muse when I was twelve. True story.

2. What are you guys wearing?

I’m wearing black dress pants and a pretty shirt. Ena is in a beautiful dress of soft, pastel colors that blend together over layers of silk. She has her lavender hair flowing down her back between sheer fairy wings.

3. It's a potluck! Did you bring something yummy?

Of course, we did! I brought a cold rice salad, which is a lot yummier than it sounds. And Ena brought her favorite dessert...cheesecake.

4. Open bar! What are you both drinking (booze or otherwise)? 

Booze isn’t really for us, so we’re both enjoying a cup of spiced chai tea with a splash of milk and a bit of sugar.

5. Wallflowers or social butterflies? 

I’m a wallflower, but Ena is a social butterfly. She’ll flit around for me and come back to whisper some ideas into my ear about stories and characters.

6. What song(s) will you and your muse sing for karaoke?

Nsync. We will shout the lyrics at the top of our lungs and not even care what anyone thinks of our performance. Actually, everyone would probably join in. Admit it, you would.

1. Tearin Up My Heart
2.  I Want You Back
3.  Bye, Bye, Bye

7. What's your favorite party game?

Anything with words or something that involves writing or stories. Hey, I’m a writer! What do you expect?

8. Which one of you is more likely to end up dancing on a table top?

Neither of us. We are more restrained than that. We only dance on top of furniture when no one is around. :P

9. Has your muse been a good date and would you ever hang out with them again?

Ena is the best date! We hang out every single day. We’re like Siamese twins. ;)


SHARE: Tell me about your muse!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Interview with an Amazon Reviewer (Douglas Meeks)


Blog Tour:


Joanna Guidoccio - Why I Love Heroes with Titles

And Sandra Dailey - How I Name My Characters

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I have a special reader interview for everyone this month...I grilled an Amazon reviewer! Okay, so grilled isn’t the right word. But Douglas Meeks did agree to be interviewed while reading and reviewing quite a few books, so lets all give him a hearty welcome!


1. Hi Douglas, how did you become an Amazon Reviewer?

It kind of happened by accident, I would leave a review every now and then (my first Amazon review was 1997 of the CD Captain Beyond). Then once I started reading Paranormal Romance (PNR) and Urban Fantasy (UF) for some reason people started reading my reviews and voting them as helpful. My rating fluctuates but today I am around Top Reviewer 260 and a Goodreads Top 1% Reviewer.

2. What do you like most about being an Amazon Reviewer? And what do you like least?

I enjoy being able to share my opinions and try to give good solid reasons for my ratings (yes I fail at times) and to be honest it helped identify me to authors and publishers when I was begging for ARCs a few years ago (I get TOO many now LOL). The thing I hate about Amazon (other than the VINE Program) are trolls that seem to be able to run wild and downvote reviews for no reason. I have some of my best reviews buried due to a few trolls (or possibly other reviewers with ghost accounts).

3. That would aggravate me too. Who is your favorite author and why?

Why don’t I just give you my first born male child, at least that would not make any author mad at me. J  Seriously, I read over 200 books a year and to actually say any one of them was my “favorite” would be impossible. I can say that a few of the authors that constantly get 5 Star reviews from me are Ilona Andrews, Grace Draven, Elizabeth Hunter, Faith Hunter and Anne Bishop (and yes there are many more)

4. That's a lot of books! What book can you read over and over again?

The thing with being a reviewer is you really don’t have time to reread books and really the best ones stick with me and don’t require a reread BUT there are three exceptions to that rule:  Written in Red by Anne Bishop (possibly the finest UF novel ever written IMHO) – Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes (have read this over a dozen times and it still chokes me up) – The High Crusade by Poul Anderson (reread too many times to count, many people can’t suspend their belief system enough to really enjoy this madcap tale of adventure). First published in book form in 1960 by Doubleday, it has been published in (at least) 1968, 1983, 1991 (by the SFBC and again by Baen Books), 2003, and most recently in 2010 (it has its own Wiki page).

Image found HERE.
5. I'm going to have to add those three to my TBR list. Do you judge a book by its cover?

I really don’t but a professional cover helps and an obvious amateurish cover does detract.  Note to authors:  It is worth the money to get a professional cover artist.

6. Who is your favorite fictional character?

Again, I can’t name one BUT at the risk of upsetting some of my author friends I can name a few that I am sure I have left somebody important out:

Kate Daniel (you might as well add Curran since they come as a package) and they are just the ultimate couple and Ilona Andrews makes their stories unforgettable.

Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter who is the do it all, ultimate kick ass heroine. Be afraid, be very afraid!

Gin Blanco by Jennifer Estep – The most deadly of the bunch in many ways and NEVER try to harm one of her friends, it seems to be fatal in almost every instance.

I love Diana Rowland’s heroines, she took 2 everyday people and then made them  more than they ever thought they might be (even if she had to make one of them a zombie).

Skinwalker by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock series)
Image found HERE.

7. Those are some awesome characters! Which author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I have many authors I love and only one that I hate/detest (no I won’t tell you here) but only one author seems to be driving me crazy recently and that is Kristen Painter who writes amazing stories and just as I am being sucked into a subplot the book ends and you have to wait on the next one, pure evil!

8. As a writer, I love to do that. ;) Growing up, what was your favorite children’s book?

The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum, I remember being so excited when I went to the library and saw that there were 14 books and not just one.

9. Currently, what is your favorite book or series?

Too many to name, I am dying for the next book by Grace Draven to follow-up Radiance, I may have to hunt Elizabeth Hunter down to get a copy of The Secret. I mean 2 YEARS I have waited. I am reading the whole Watchers series by Lilith Saintcrow at present. The best romance I have read in years (forever?) was The Kraken King by Meljean Brook, I just finished Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop and WOW .. OK, I better stop now.

10. What would you like to know about the authors you enjoy reading the most?

The one thing they can’t really tell me “How do you come up with these stories from nowhere?”


Hyper Round:



1.    Ebooks or Print books?  ebooks

2.    Movie Adaptations: Yay or Nay? Nay – most suck bigtime

3.    Favorite reading spot? In front of my computer
4.    Favorite reading snack? Goldfish crackers, no concentration required.




Reviewer Bio:

Well after spending a lifetime working in or with the military I finally had made enough to sit back and do as much (or as little) as I wanted to and since I had always been an avid reader the jump to making it one of my major pastimes was easy.  I have traveled all over the world, been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and to the Devil’s Anvil in Saudi Arabia, been on top of the highest mountain in the Middle East and the lowest in the USA. 

No complaints here, I have read many different genres over the years but stumbled into Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy after many years of reading mostly books in the Fantasy genre.  Found out I liked books that did not spend pages and chapters telling the color of grass and the feel of a rock, I wanted a good story about people of action and feeling that did not always end up in some tragedy.  I have been married (somehow) for 30+ years and have 3 daughters and one son (who is presently in the Mideast working for the military, runs in the family).

In my spare time other than reading and doing those myriad tasks that come with living in a house, I spend a bit of time honing my weapon skills.  I always felt that people should be able to defend themselves but people that did not take the time to get skilled in weapons were a danger to people around them.  I go to the range and take my daughters most of the time (and my son if he is in country) so they do not fall into that category of victims who did not know how to defend themselves with a weapon.

Reviewer Links:


Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Douglas! Happy Reading and Reviewing! :)


QUESTIONS: Have you ever read The High Crusade or any of the books/authors Douglas mentioned? Do you write reviews on Amazon?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

20 Random Facts About Me


Blog Tour:

Nick Wildford - Who Said What? (Guess my character dialogue.)

Shell Flower - Author Interview

And yesterday I visited Donna McDine - Story Behind my eBooks

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WITCH OF DEATH'S OFFICIAL RELEASE DAY!!!! :D

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their                                                                lives to dark magic, including her.

Book Links:

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Since the A to Z Challenge brought new readers to my blog, I decided to do a fun post for everyone to get to know me a little more. :)


Here are 20 random facts about me:

1.    I don’t usually listen to rap, but I can rap all the words to Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself.”

2.    In tenth grade, I rewrote the Declaration of Independence for a contest. I won first place in my school and third in the district.

3.    I don’t drive and have never owned a drivers license.

4.    I once dyed my hair black. (I was a teenager and stupid.)

5.    I donated 14 inches of hair to Locks of Love in 2013. 


6.    When I was fifteen I had spine surgery to correct scoliosis. Now I have a metal rod, screws, and fusion in my back.

7.    Autumn is my favorite season and Halloween is my favorite holiday.

8.    When I was younger, I dressed up like a pimp for Halloween. I drew a beard and uni-brow on my face with eyeliner and wore my brother’s clothes. My friends called me Christopher all night.

9.    I am a vegetarian. (Seven years now.)

10. I dabble in jewelry making. 




11. Neon green is my favorite color.

12. I have a dragonfly tattoo on my arm.

13. At the age of twelve, I stared writing a series of books that I later rewrote when I was seventeen. This is the supernatural-thriller series that I plan to publish someday. Avrianna Heavenborn from Ghost of Death stars in this series.

14. I have four cats that I rescued from an unknown fate. Read their story here: The Great Kitty Rescue.

15. I draw fashion designs. 

This is  my favorite design so far. It was inspired by
a picture of a woman holding a fan in front of her.

16. As a young girl, I started collecting nutcrackers but they all broke over the years. I still have the original...the one that started it all.

17. I adore movies about writers, but I dislike books with characters who are writers. (Usually.)

18. I eat pizza with ranch dressing.

19. I have a fear of fires due to a wild fire that almost took my home when I was ten.

20. My mom almost gave birth to me in Okinawa, Japan where my family was stationed (my dad was in the Air Force), but we left when my grandmother got sick. She died from ovarian cancer when I was two.


SHARE: A random fact (or two) about you!


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