A.G.S. JOHNSON TALKS ABOUT HER WRITING PROCESS, "THE SAUSAGE MAKER'S DAUGHTER"

I write a little, sometimes a lot, first thing every morning, when the house is quiet and just my dogs and cats and I are stirring. As one writing teacher or writing book I may have read put it: writing everyday helps one learn to put truth on paper.
Sometimes my truth looks no more interesting than a to-do list, a schedule, or needed groceries. But sometimes, veritable chunks of gold appear beneath my pen. And yes, this particular writing is not done on a computer, but the old-fashioned way, pen to paper, collected in notebooks. It’s so peaceful this way, and completely mobile. I can gravitate to the garden on nice mornings and smell the roses in more ways than one.

I’ve saved every notebook, too, filling a whole crate of them now, though I cannot think exactly why. The basis of my memoirs? Doubtful, highly doubtful. The only referring back I’ve ever done was to carry my notebook down to my computer when I started back to work to transfer the ideas I’d received to a current project.

This morning process is especially helpful when working out plotting or character issues as a story is being developed. It’s amazing what my subconscious mind can fix while the rest of me sleeps. Answers, insights, new directions miraculously appear out of thin air, literally.

I’ve realized that when I do get stuck in a story, problems are more easily worked through when I’m writing the way we all learned to write, with paper and pen. Don’t get me wrong, the computer is essential, a huge leap forward for long-form fiction writers, all writers I’m sure. I could not do without. But for especially sticky or tricky or deep questions, this process has really helped me move through.

This part of my morning ritual is a little more California-esque, but I also use that silent morning time to meditate on channeling God’s own truth through me onto the page and out into the world. Whether He’s cooperating or not, it’s a moment of solitude that is a wonderful way to start each day.

All of this has helped me take the last big step I needed as a writer, in my opinion. I have learned deep respect for the power of language. After a lifetime of too often shooting from the hip, enjoying my own sarcasm, being flip, I’ve come to appreciate how severely words can cut, and how impossible it is to ever take them back or have them be forgiven and forgotten. On the flipside, words can move us together and help us understand. And since as a writer, I would want my legacy to be the latter, then being circumspect, at least being extremely conscious of the words I use and their potential once I’ve released them, becomes job number one. That has turned something I initially hated into something I now enjoy, that is editing once the writing is done. It’s true, writing is editing, at least good writing, conscious of its potential effect, is editing.

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"Conversations with a Dead Man" by Doug Lucas

Is a story of a man who reached 91 years 7 months and 5 days of life before dying. He is buried and even in death we connect with our loved ones and he knew this. So he is reaching out to a youngster telling him with a witty dry sense of humor about his life and his war experiences. .

This story brought memories back to me of sitting on the stoop of my grandfather's house located in the Bronx. In his Irish brogue he could relay stories of his life and experiences in World War I. I would sit there enthralled imagining the scenes in my mind so it was refreshing to read about another’s experiences during the birth of a nation.

This tale was written about the riches and sacrifices he John Wesley Elder and others lived through during the birth of the American Nation. He was a man of many talents and enlisted in the militia and mingled with the great forefathers of our nation and expand on their actions. He described in vivid details his experiences of fighting the British, the French and the Indians and how it was an emotionally and physically exhausting battle but he'd do it again to be a free man and he believed everyone deserves the right to have authority over their own life, no master or king should be dictating their freedom.

The character, John Wesley Elder chats graciously about his victories and losses in life and how it affects him and everyone he loves. He even after death, is a teacher and reminds the youngster that he needs to respect, help and have dignity for everyone and strangers in our lives. He believes that paying forward there would be rewards and he does receive the greatest reward of all his children, his boys and girls visit his grave and they play pranks on each other. In all it was a colorful, witty tale and gave the reader a glimpse into American's birth, the hardship and love the colonists survive through. It ends with his dream of being united with his love once again. There were tears in this reader's eyes.

Here is an excerpt from the story; dry humor and warm but some graphic details about the first pioneers of this great nation.

John Wesley Elder

"Aged Ninety nine years, seven months and five days
Departed this earthly life on the 22nd day of May 1834
Servant of God and Patriot
I'm dead now, so leave me alone.
On the back of my marker, I had my son Seth carve:
I helped you when I could, I can't help you now.
You will have to do it on your own.
Good Luck"

This is a biography of a witty and charming Irish lad that came to America to help her become a free nation and win in the fight against Mother England aiming for everyone's freedom; to become their own person and was the catalyst to create a powerful nation for future generations. Cheers to John Wesley Elder for being a warrior and gentleman in the times of creation of the good old USA and sharing his story life. In all it was a delightful tale reliving the days of being pioneers in a harsh nation, John shared his memories and history of a birth of a nation with a youngster and help him find insight to life.
5 ravens

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AN ODE TO BLOGGERS BY TERRI GIULIANO LONG, AUTHOR OF "LEAH'S WAKE"
Last May, a month or so after I began marketing my novel, In Leah’s Wake, a former agent told me that I would never sell 500 books. A rookie, I had no idea what to expect. When I published the novel, I’d dreamed of selling a 3,000 – 5,000 books, hoping healthy sales numbers would attract the attention of an agent or traditional publishing house for my next novel.

The agent had left New York, but she’d been in the business for a long time, and her words stung. I hung up the phone, heartbroken, depressed. Had I not been in the midst of my first blog tour, I might have pulled my novel off the market that day.

Determined to see the tour through, I soldiered on. On the tour, I met wonderful, caring people, book bloggers, whose kindness buoyed and sustained me.

Over the next few months, In Leah’s Wake appeared on hundreds of blogs. Bloggers opened their hearts and spread the word about this quiet literary novel. In August, In Leah’s Wake hit the Barnes & Noble and Amazon charts. Now, seven months after my talk with that agent, the book has been in the Amazon top 200 for over five months, and we’ve sold just shy of 80,000 copies.

Book bloggers rock! I don’t know how to say it any better. Book bloggers are the fairy godmothers and godfathers of the literary world. They invest their talent, their energy, and their time into reviewing and promoting books – and keeping dreams alive.

Even today, traditional media refuse to recognize or review indie books. In this very real sense, book bloggers are the heart and soul of the indie revolution. Their vision, their energy, and their determination have enabled this amazing populist movement to take hold.

Today, we have the great good fortune of hearing the funny, poignant, intelligent voices of new authors from around the world - voices that, just a few years ago, might have been silenced by the gatekeepers of the old guard. These voices reach into hearts and minds, forging connections, uniting us in a community of readers and writers, searching for and finding, through words, the better part of ourselves. Because, truly, at heart, this is what reading and writing is all about.

Here’s to you, book bloggers! You are and always will be my heroes!

AUTHOR BIO

Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the award-winning novel In Leah’s Wake. Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her free time, she enjoys walking, traveling, and listening to music. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook. In an alternate reality, she might be an international food writer. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel.

Website:www.tglong.com
Blog:www.tglong.com/blog
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tglong
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites


This week, Terri and Inspired Quill Press (paperback edition), launch a newly edited edition of In Leah’s Wake. The newly edited novel features a new chapter and several new scenes, adding new connections and insights, and tightens the book, cutting 60 pages – all while maintaining the integrity of the original edition.

For more information, please visit her website:www.tglong.com/blogor any of these retailer sales. (Your local library or bookstore can also order the book through major distribution channels.)

Amazon Kindle:http://www.amazon.com/In-Leahs-Wake-eboo....06533515&sr=8-3
Amazon Paperback:http://www.amazon.com/Leahs-Wake-Terri-G....18690782&sr=8-1
Barnes & Noble:http://search.barnesandnoble.com/In-Leah....BLeah27s%2BWake
Indie Bound:http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780975453391


BOOK INFORMATION

IN LEAH’S WAKE
Terri Giuliano Long
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback, Kindle
ISBN: 1456310542
Publisher: CreateSpace/Inspired Quill Press
Website:www.tglong.com

***Newly edited by Sara-Jayne Slack, Inspired Quill Press***

The Tylers have a perfect life—beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine—more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years—just wants her sister’s approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly “together” kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life…until everything goes wrong. Can this family survive in Leah’s wake?

Margot Livesey, award-winning author of Banishing Verona, calls In Leah's Wake "a beautifully written and absorbing novel."

When happens when love just isn't enough?

Recipient of the CTRR Award for excellence
2011 Book Bundlz Book Pick
Book Bundlz 2011 Favorites, First Place


Praise for In Leah’s Wake

"Sometimes scary, sometimes sad, and always tender."
Susan Straight, National Book Award finalist, author Take One Candle Light A Room

"In Leah's Wake is a beautifully written and absorbing novel."
Margot Livesey, Award-winning author of Banishing Verona

“Pulled me right along as I continued to make comparisons to my own life.”
Jennifer Donovan, 5 Minutes for Books, Top 50 Book Blog

“An incredibly strong debut, this book is fantastic on many fronts.”
Naomi Blackburn, Founder Sisterhood of the Traveling Book

TRAILER LINK AND VIDEO EMBED CODE

LINK:http://youtu.be/Yyfp5tIU_U4

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CIDNEY SWANSON, AUTHOR OF "UNFURL" , "RIPPLER" & "CHAMELEON" BLOG STOP TOUR POST

My story about a girl who can turn invisible, the boy she’s crushing on, and the neo-Nazi scientist chasing them both keeps getting reviewed with words like “refreshing,” “fresh,” and “breath of fresh air.” (Yup, there’s a theme, and it is the opposite of, um, stale.) I write in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal branch of YA, and it’s true I hadn’t ever read anything like my story before. And I read heavily in my genre.
So where did the inspiration come from? As far as the invisibility goes, an image in my mind led me to tell the story. The image was this: I saw a girl, relaxing while watching the Merced River (outside Yosemite) and suddenly she faded from view. Without noticing it herself.

That brought two questions to my mind, immediately: (1)Why did she disappear and (2)Why didn’t she notice that she disappeared? I wrote the story to get answers to those questions. But then, as I wrote, this dark back-story began to emerge and the Ripple Trilogy was truly born.

All three books contains numerous excerpts from the journal of a scientist working secretly in the late 1930’s. He’s the bad guy. He’s observing and interacting with children with names like “Fritz” and “Helga.” It doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out that the man running the experiments is politically and philosophically a Nazi.

However, when I wrote the first book, I had the experience of discovering his affiliations. At first, I only knew that he had performed behavioral experiments upon a group of children as part of an effort to create a new and perfected race. The word “eugenics” kept dancing around in my head, and one day when I’d written as much as I could for the morning, I hopped online and googled “eugenics.” Wow! As I delved more and more deeply into the world of this movement in the early twentieth century, I realized I’d found exactly what my scientist would have been attracted to.

What I read was deeply repugnant to me—this was not fun research. But gradually I came to see that to some of the people of that day, the goal of human “perfection” felt simply like an extension of the search to hybridize a perfect plum or breed a perfect milking goat. The really disturbing part was that many eugenicists felt that plums or goats or humans that fell outside of their set of standards should be eliminated. And of course at that point, we travel in a straight line to the Nazi “Final Solution” and the horrors of the Holocaust.

Did I start out to write a contemporary story with a Nazi bad-guy? No. However, as my research took me further and further, I realized that I couldn’t have placed him better in time if I’d tried. My bad guy is, of course, entirely fictional. But the methods he employs to create his übermensch are grounded in early twentieth century eugenics and behaviorism.

So, there you have it: something old combined with something new to create something that just might feel like a breath of fresh air to you, too, if you’re a fan of YA.


You can contact Cidney on her blog atwww.cidneyswanson.blogspot.comor by email at cidneyswanson@gmail.com If you like twitter, please say hi to @cidneyswanson, or if Facebook is your thing, stop by facebook.com/cidneyswanson Her books are available athttp://amzn.to/ripplers

[b]TODAY ONLY: YOU CAN GET YOUR COPY OF THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES "RIPPLER" FOR FREE! JUST FOLLOW THIS LINK:[/b]http://www.amazon.com/Rippler-The-Ripple-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0052ZLUQQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327436065&sr=8-2

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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "DIAMONDS & TOADS", K.E. SAXON

Thank you K.E. for allowing us to interview you. My first question has to do about one of your chief inspirations, your father. It seems he was a history lover. Can you tell us more about him and what he taught you as a child?

My father was a born story teller. He especially liked to tell us stories of his own ancestors, or of his own boyhood (which we loved to hear!) In fact, he (and my mother, for that matter) would read to us from a poetry book they had, entitled 101 Famous Poems. There was one, in particular, that he would read to us, literally, Jest ‘Fore Christmas, by Eugene Fields. By the last line, we’d all be chiming in “Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!” On long road trips, it wasn’t uncommon for us to beg him to tell us the story (one more time) of how Bonnie and Clyde came through his hometown when he was a kid, or how he got stationed in Nome, Alaska and would listen for hours to the old gold-rushers that hung out in the canteens, learning straight from the horse’s mouth their stories of success and failure, euphoria and woe. His passion was war history and he loved to read, so he didn’t always get Old Spice for Christmas or birthdays (*g*), instead, we gave him nonfiction books on war history. He especially loved learning about the Civil War, WWI and WWII. He was a veteran of the Korean War, but didn’t talk much about his own experiences there. However, one of my last memories of him is one in which he was relating the fact that the Korean War and its veterans were pretty much forgotten, sandwiched as they were between the second World War and the conflict in Vietnam.

He also loved old country western songs and would either be whistling one or singing in between relating stories of “the old days”. There was one song, in particular, that he sang many, many times. I don’t know the name of it, and I’ve never heard of any famous singers recording it. It goes something like this: I am a roving gambler, I gamble all around, and when I see a deck of cards, I throw my money down. I always wished I could find a recording of it and give it to him, but I wasn’t able to do so before he passed. Interestingly, not long after he passed, I was watching TV and a car ad came on. The music in the background sounded very much like the tune of that song, and I thought, “Maybe Dad’s trying to say ‘Hi!’ to me.” Well, who knows, but I like to think it was so.


Your romances range from historical to contemporary, if you had to choose just one to write which would be your favorite and why?

That is a tough question to answer. Honestly, I love writing both to the same degree. However, in this exact moment, as my brain is consumed in writing a short contemporary novella, my passion seems to be swayed in the direction of contemporary romance, so I will choose that genre.

Your historical romances are set in Scotland, is there a reason for the setting, perhaps a personal love of the area?

I’m definitely an Anglophile in general. I think it started first with my exposure to British rock bands as a very young child of five or six and then progressed when I began reading historical romance. But, more specifically, I love the magic, the stories of enchantment, that have been passed down from the ancient tribes of the British Isles. The stories of the Picts, the Celts, the raging and ravening Vikings, even how it all coalesced, to some degree, with the spiritual beliefs of the conquering Romans. I think that’s why I like to go back so far in my stories of that land, to a time when the mystical was still more reality than myth.

You mention being drawn to plants. I just know you must have a garden or perhaps a greenhouse of some kind. Where do you think your love of plants comes from?

LOL! I’ve actually thought about this myself, rather deeply, in fact! I actually think it must be in the genes. My grandparents on both sides were farmers. I’m sure my love of plants also springs from my love of nature. I was the kid that left the house to go play outside at dawn and didn’t come back inside until dark. I collected so many creatures as a child, and I won’t even count the number of strays that I adopted.

If you were to choose another genre to write in besides romance, what do you think it would be and why?

I’d really like to try my hand at memoir writing, in the vein of Augusten Burroughs, i.e., humorous. Of course, my family life was in no way as crazy as his evidently was!

Are there any other genres you have read or like to read besides romance?

I can get into classic science fiction. I love authors like Michael Crichton and Ray Bradbury. But when I’m not on a romance reading jag, my go-to books tend to be classic literature (Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath…the list goes on and on), more current literary fiction (Janet Fitch is my idol, with Anne Tyler coming in at a very close second), memoirs, biographies, poetry. Essentially things that afford a different flavor and texture to my reading palate.

What was the first book you ever wrote, and what was the plot?

The first book I ever wrote was a book I’m still determined to publish, if I can get all of the plot and character problems resolved. It’s entitled Highland Vengeance. The book is the first in a family saga trilogy of medieval Highland romances (all three have been written, by the way, just not finished—there is a difference, LOL!) The three book plots are so complicated and intertwined that I won’t release any of them until I have all three just right. Highland Vengeance introduces all three heroes and their heroines. It also introduces the catalyst (event) and villain that not only wreaks havoc in all their lives, but also brings them together. Set in the turn of the thirteenth century Scottish Highlands, it’s the story of Daniel MacLaurin, a handsome, rugged warrior-laird haunted by his past, and Maryn Donald, the beautiful, high-spirited lass destined to help him find his heart's ease.

After his family is viciously murdered in a surprise invasion when he is a lad of 13, Daniel spends years focusing on training as a warrior and rebuilding his fortress, determined to control the world around him so that nothing like it will ever happen again. Maryn Donald is a wild child; a lass who, as the only offspring of her widowed father, has been indulged in her high-spiritedness. When she sees that the neighboring clan is mistreating their horses, she impetuously steals them and as recompense for her crime, must wed the powerful, wealthy young laird, Daniel MacLaurin, about whom she's heard such disturbing rumors. He's a man who needs to be in control. She's a woman who doesn't recognize boundaries. He's a man who likes a plan. She's a woman who likes to take risks. But, they both are passionate, have wicked senses of humor, are caretakers by nature and have a deep desire to build a family. It makes for quite a degree of push and pull, heat and tension between the two.

Who are some of the other inspirations in your life, perhaps authors or even family?

Really good wordsmiths inspire me. Lyricists like Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant, Elvis Costello, Pete Townshend, Jim Morrison, John Lennon; poets like Sara Lier (an up-and-comer, must read: Coney Island Elegy), e.e. Cummings. Here is (for me) the most perfectly written expression of feeling I’ve ever read and it came from an entry in Sylvia Plath’s diary, which I assume was extemporaneous! o_0. She entered this in her journal upon having three of her poems accepted by Harper’s:

“Listen and shut up, oh, ye of little faith. On one certain evening in a certain year 1953 a certain complex of pitched tensions, physiological urges, and mental dragonflies combined to fill one mortal imperfect Eve with a fierce full rightness, force and determination corresponding to the ecstasy experienced by the starving saint on the desert who feels the crackling cool drops of God on his tongue and sees the green angels sprouting up like dandelion greens, prolific and infinitely unexpected.”

From: Plath, Sylvia, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath New York: Random House, 2000.

What can we expect from you in the near future, what are you working on now?

Along with the edits and revisions on the Highlands trilogy, I’m also writing a short novella, tentatively titled, Leap Year (or Down the Rabbit Hole), about a one night stand that brings a man out of his grief and guilt and a woman out of her self-hatred.

Is there any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

Yes! Too many cooks spoil the broth. In other words, too much advice will spoil your creation. Find the few people (and maybe, as Stephen King said in his memoir, it should only be ONE person) that you write for, and then LISTEN to their advice and fix whatever plot/character/motivation problems they find.

Thanks so much, Kitty, for having me here today!

Thank you again K.E. for this wonderful opportunity, I hope we get to do it again soon!

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Book Title:"Conversations With a Dead Man"
Author:Doug Lucas
Published By:Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing
Age Recommended:17 +
Reviewed By:Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating:5

Review:This book is a fantastic mix of both paranormal and history. It is the story of John Wesley Elder told after his death. The synopsis best describes it as the type of book everyone will enjoy and perhaps even walk away with a great piece of advice you didn't know before.

Mr. Elder's tale is a timeless one that allows the reader to truly feel what colonial times must have been like. It takes you behind the scenes and allows you to get to know the man, his family, his life and what true love is really all about. I had the vast pleasure of not only editing this book but publishing it as Great Minds first piece and I can honestly say I could not have chosen a better first endeavor into the publishing world. Please pick up this book today and read it, you won't regret it.

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Book Title:"Mercy Come Morning"
Author:Lisa Tawn Bergren
Published By:Waterbrook Press
Age Recommended:18 +
Reviewed By:Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating:5

Review:Having a grandmother in a nursing home, suffering from Dementia and the first stages of Alzheimer's this book really hit home. Alzheimer's is a disease that can really devastate a family and hurt so many. It's hard to watch a loved one drift further and further away from you every day and there's nothing that can be done about it.

In this novel, Krista Mueller has been out of touch with her mother, Charlotte for several years. Now an entire decade has gone by since her mother began her battle with Alzheimer's and she has recently been diagnosed with heart failure. Feeling her mother slipping further away, Krista returns to the home of her youth to spend those last precious days with her mother and hope to recapture a relationship they never really had the chance to have.

The book is beautiful and at the same time heart-wrenching. So many valuable messages are conveyed in this novel that reading it can give a person a much better understanding of just how important family relationships are. I highly recommend this novel and intend to read more of Lisa Tawn Bergren's passionately written works.

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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF
"THE GUARDIAN'S WILDCHILD"
FEATHER STONE


First, I must say thank you for allowing Great Minds to interview you and secondly, after reading your Bio you are an amazing woman! First I want to know more about your novel "The Guardian's Wildchild" tell us more about it and give us some insight into your writing process.

Thank you for those glowing comments about me. I’m just an ordinary woman. I simply have had too much energy and able to channel it in positive ways. Having a zest to learn and create has been something I have shared with my mother.

The Guardian’s Wildchild came into being following an intense paranormal experience. Normally my experiences with the paranormal have been quiet ‘wow, that was nice’ events, then forgotten or filed away as a pleasant memory. However, this event had been so powerful that it followed me for days. I decided that in order to silence the memory, the best thing to do was to write about it. Thinking that it would take only a few pages, I sat down at the keyboard and described the experience of the time/space travel, a journey to a ship on the ocean.

I wrote about the experience of physically standing beside a man in uniform, the captain of the ship; of seeing the ocean and the moon on the waves; of the man’s energy, quiet and strong, and troubled. No words were spoken but I felt we were deeply connected, a bond that transcended time and space. As I wrote, I asked questions. The why’s and what’s, where’s and how’s to gain insight into the man’s life. With each question, I received the answer. I typed on and on, keeping pace with the inspiration and information as it came, hour after hour until I was exhausted.

I’d written over 1000 pages. That now had to be reduced to 500. I then reduced it further to 277 pages. That’s that painful part. I learned a lot about saying something in one sentence that had been in a paragraph or a page. I learned how to decide what added to the story and what was just fluff. My ego to a beating.
You know, even with all that time and energy put into writing the story, the feelings of my encounter with the captain on the ship has remained powerful. In fact, while I was writing I’d often turn to the main characters and get their feedback. Especially about the ending, being that it’s quite bizarre. Many times I felt it was Sam and Sidney who were actually writing the story. You may be surprised to know that when I think of Captain Waterhouse, I still see him at the ship’s railing. He is still quiet and strong. But now he turns to me and smiles. He is pleased.

I have often heard that Canada is not only beautiful but perhaps one of the lesser polluted areas in the world. Tell us more about your home and one of the things you enjoy most about it.

It is beautiful but I see beauty in every country. Desert, rainforests, mountains, even swamp land – all have beauty. The beauty can’t always been seen until you stop, close your eyes, and after silencing the mental chatter, feel the energy. Then open your eyes again and see with uncluttered eyes, an open mind. I love to sit on a mountain ridge as much in a desert landscape.

Canada has its pollution problems. I’m sure many people have heard about the issues we are having with the tar sands operations. The Great Lakes are a disaster. Our Polar Bears are in trouble up at Churchill. Grizzlies and other wildlife are being hunted to near extinction. And we have concerns about the salmon population. We are grateful for our world renowned scientist, Dr. David Suzuki, who has been passionate in educating people of the consequences of mishandling our lands and resources worldwide. We better smarten up soon!
What I enjoy most about Canada? That’s a tough one.

Freedom comes to mind. The people, too. I can travel with width and breadth of this vast country and feel at home. I’ve travelled extensively across the provinces, the North West Territories, Yukon, and always felt welcomed. Although we have different heritage, a variety of religions and language, being Canadian has unified us deeply. I think we are unified not in the ways of beliefs about politics or culture. We are unified in our love of the land, its beauty and diversity. We stand on guard for thee, as our national anthem says.

As an author how do you come up with ideas for novels and is there a certain way you come up with names for your characters?

So far, I have one published novel – my first attempt. That’s incredible since my many ambitions hadn’t included being a writer. I thought The Guardian’s Wildchild would be one my great achievement in the world of literature. However, one needs to be open to their path taking unexpected turns. No sooner than The Guardian’s Wildchild was published I once again was overwhelmed with another story. It is now half completed in the first draft – soooo looking forward to the next many months or years of research, slugging it out at the keyboard and my ego taking a back seat. It’s true, though. I do enjoy it. Not sure my husband appreciates my long absences, messy house, and sandwiches.

I didn’t go looking for the second novel. If anyone out there can explain why I suddenly must write a story that takes place in the Middle East, I’m listening. It’s intense. So, like the first novel, I obey the inner guidance. It works. I trust my spirit guides, my intuition, and my ability to create something special. Key word is ‘trust’, so important in our lives.

Coming up with a character‘s name is challenging. Not any name will do. Much of what I do is listen to my gut. So I will mentally rattle off name after name. When I get the mental ‘ding, ding’ the search is over. In the Guardian’s Wildchild, many of the names have some relevance to the subject of water (Davenport, Waterhouse, Bridge, Paddles).

You mention knitting afghan's and my grandmother did this a lot when she was able. (I want one by the way ;-)) Where did you learn how or are you self taught?

If you would like one of my afghans, I will happily send it to you. I have several and don’t know what to do with them. Knitting is one of my activities where I appear to be doing nothing.

However, unseen by all observers, I’m secretly creating more than a warm blanket. With each knit and purl, my mind is going over dialogue, plot, subplot, scene descriptions, facial expressions, character development, on and on. I will have to admit that I have had to undo several rows of knitting when I wasn’t paying enough to the knitting instructions.
My mother was a great teacher, especially all the arts that ladies in previous generations were expected to excel at. This was a challenge for her as I prefer to be out doors. Also because I’m left handed and she was right handed (poor lass).

You remind me a lot of my stepmother, she is an 'on the go' type of woman, but you also mention taking time to relax and sit in silence. When do you find the time to do this and where is your favorite place to go when you do?

I like to sit in silence in a forest. The energy there is both peaceful and vibrant with a myriad of life, thriving yet incredibly patient and accepting of each moment. Lessons for humanity. Digging in my flower beds is another time of relaxation. Stroking my cat’s fur and listening to him purr is also therapeutic. There is always time to relax, if only for a moment. Living in the moment is something I endeavor to become better at. Life becomes a spiritual experience when one awakens to living in the moment.

I have often argued with people over the existence of the paranormal and I'm glad to have found someone with a like mind! Can you tell us about other experiences that you've had in your life that has led you to feel as strongly as you do about it?

I could write pages about my experiences, but I will contain my enthusiasm. To begin, I met my spirit guide when I was about 7. It was an incredible event, and too difficult to describe. The English language is too limiting. Many experiences followed, small but powerful like the seed of a rose. The next major experience occurred when I was drowning in a lake. Exhausted from frantic struggling, I sank to the lake bed and accepted death. Again, I heard my guide’s voice calmly say, “If you stand, you can breathe.” Sure enough. I stood and my nose was just above the surface of the water.

Most of my paranormal events occurred spontaneously. Gradually I learned how to initiate these event. One lovely afternoon I was engaged in the breathing exercises to contact my guides from the Light. Suddenly and clearly I heard a voice of a guide that responded to my request. It was my dad. He had died two years previous but I had not expected him. Not even thought about him for some time. It was a wonderful experience.

Meditation is something a lot of people find relaxing, does this tie in or help at all with your writing process?

Meditation is powerful in the way it promotes a healthy mind and body. Balance is important in our wellbeing. And by that I mean in all aspects of our life. The body’s systems need to be in balance. Your mind needs balance, rest and learning activity. Your spirit needs balance in socializing with like-minded friends and quiet time alone. I have studied Buddhism and learned about finding the Middle Way. All of this lays a fertile ground for creativity.

But, if you do nothing else to ensure your complete well-being, I advise everyone to meditate. It takes practice. At first I was very discouraged, especially since I have chronic tinnitus. The ringing in my ears never stop. However, with daily practice going from five minutes to half an hour over a period of a year, I can stop the useless chatter in my mind. In so doing, I become open to my connection with the Higher Power and creativity, to answers to my troubles, to peace.

What other projects do you have in the works and when can we expect another novel from you?

Oh, you’re after all my secrets, aren’t you! Yes, a second novel is in the works. I have a ton of research to do as it involves the Middle East and an understanding of Islamic Law. I am reading books, meeting with an Imam and talking with Muslim people. I have discovered so much about the Afghan people and how hard they work, and risk, making their lives better, even though they have so little and suffered so much. The Middle East has a very complicated history, especially given that area of the world is ancient.

Unfortunately, much of the world has focused only on the extremists and terrorists in that part of the Middle East. I would like to tell you a short story on why I was inspired to write this book, the working title being, “Cursed Angel.”

A few years ago, after the tragedy of 911 in New York, I was driving home from work. It was a typical grey Canadian winter day. I noticed an older woman walking on the sidewalk in the same direction I was driving. Her head was down, focused on her steps, fearing she might slip on the ice. Her gait was awkward as though each step was painful. Each breath was evident by puffs of frost from her mouth. She was dressed in clothing I’d seen worn by our northern Inuit women – simple, practical long skirt and coat and boots.

I hesitated for a minute, but then I stopped my vehicle slightly ahead of her and lowered the passenger window. When she reached my vehicle I called to her, “Let me give you a lift.” She looked at me puzzled. Then looking around and down the long street ahead, she approached the passenger door. She appeared frightened when checking out the interior of my vehicle. She saw that I was alone. “It’s okay,” I tried to encourage her. “Come in.”

After another moment, she grabbed the handle and opened the door. I smiled at her and she climbed aboard. “Where are you going?” I asked. We were at the outer edge of my city, beyond any homes. She shook her head. “Where can I take you?” I asked.

She brought up her hands and waved them at me, “No speak English,” she said apprehensively.

“Oh, okay,” I said nodding. With my hands I motioned what direction does she wanted to go. She motioned for me to continue driving in the same direction. I proceeded, driving slowly so as to not alarm her and to be ready to change directions. I continued to chatter away, hoping it might make her feel safe. Each question I asked was received with the same answer, “No speak, no.” I kept driving for several more blocks and she indicated for me to turn down another street, then another. She knew where she was and her destination.
Finally I hit on a question she could answer. I asked, “Where are you from?”

She replied, “Afghanistan.”

I was shocked. I repeated her answer, “Afghanistan?”

“Yes,” she said with pride,” finally smiling.

I smiled back. I was astonished.

I dropped her off in a parking lot where her friends were waiting for her. I offered my hand to shake hers and wish her well. She took my hand but leaned over and gave me a gentle kiss on my check. Then she was gone.

All the way home I was in a state of shock. What were the odds I’d pick up a woman from a country for whom I’d been praying? For the people whose lives’ were so horribly troubled with continuous warfare. The civilians were as much traumatized by corrupt governments and terrorism as the American’s had suffered on the nightmare of November 11th.

The difference being Americans had the world coming to their aid with support and sympathy. The civilian Afghan women had nothing, poverty and no foreseeable future. I prayed for hope, prayed that in the dark night, they would be comforted by the Light of the One Most High. I even prayed for the dark souls orchestrating the terror that they might be open to receive the Light.

What other genres have you thought about writing in and when you read what genres do you like most?

I’m not a genre person or writer. I read all kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction. When I want to relax and enjoy light reading, I’ll pick up a romance novel. When I want adventure, I’ll read books like Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. I’ve read non-fiction about people who have been in extreme situations, like Sir Ernest Shackleton’s account of survival.

The Guardian’s Wildchild was difficult for me to pinpoint as one genre. I never intended it to be a romance novel. It started out as a murder mystery, then action/adventure of Sidney hoping to stop Madame, and paranormal of the Guardian’s mystic lifestyle of time/space travel. But you know what happens when a girl meets a guy, and the more she tries not to like him, well you know how it goes. Well, then it also became a romance novel. The Guardian’s Wildchild is all things to all readers, whatever genre you prefer.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other authors?

Its work, lots of work if you want to do a great job. And don’t give up with the first rejection. The Guardian’s Wildchld was rejected three times. Be prepared after it’s been published to dedicate a lot of time to marketing programs, websites, and book signings. The upside is that if you are passionate about the story you are writing, it will be a success.

When I finished writing The Guardian’s Wildchild, when it was ready to give it to the world, I had learned a lot about myself. It was an incredible journey. I had accepted that it may never be published, and I was okay with that. The time spent with Sidney Davenport and Captain Waterhouse borders on the sacred. I had taken pieces that were from my soul and allowed those pieces to become something more and different, better. I had become changed, better. It was enough.

Here is a gift. If you read my book AND place a detailed review on Amazon.com and Goodreads, I will send to you a gift – a coffee mug with The Guardian’s Wildchild graphics.(Please be aware this offer is good for the month of February 2012 only).

Thank you so much for listening.

Feather Stone
http://www.featherstoneauthor.blogspot.com/




THE BAD BOY/GIRL YEARS

Tell me honestly folks. Have you ever fallen for the bad boy/girl, the one you know is poison, can't take home to meet your mother. But, oh damn, it sooo much fun to be wild and a bit crazy.I had a year of nothing but bad boys. Now, they weren't bad to the core, no jail time - that I know of. Well, except for maybe one. Yep, momma never met him. He and I got into more trouble in one year than, well, you get the picture. You probably don't want to hear about that, right?

You do? Shame on you (snicker). Let me give you a summary of just one night. Its midnight, and bad boy Hank and I are heading fifty miles past the city limits to who knows where. Didn't seem to be a big deal. The car breaks down. Motor has burned up cause the oil leaked out. Did I mention this is my car? We were always using MY CAR!

Anyway, Hank and I went scrounging around the back yard of homes along the highway looking for a can of oil. Hank figured no one would mind if we lifted one can of oil (first hint I'm really in BIG trouble, visions of my hands gripped onto prison bars). After a half hour of, yes, trespassing with the intent to abscond with a can of oil, Hank was tired. We walked down the highway to a hotel. You know the kind. One light bulb hanging from the ceiling, musty smells, curtains missing hooks, proprietor with a week's worth of stubble.

My boyfriend, Hank, bless his tiny black heart was oh so willing to pay for the night's rent. Of course, he figured I would understand that I should share the room with him. There was just one teensy problem. I had this policy, you see. The first man who qualified to put a ring on my finger would have the pleasure of .... you know. So dearest Hank slept in the room while I sat in the 'lobby' working up my nerve to call momma.

Hank was just one of a string of bad boys. Hank was good for a few beers when he was in town. The rest were one night stands - me standing in my doorway at the end of the date saying, "NO!" It didn't take me long to figure out that the night would end with me getting my exercise wrestling with some lush in his front car seat. Wrestling to get his hands off of me and making a quick dash to my apartment.

I figured eventually I'd meet someone worth the expense of clothes and makeup. It called for a new strategy. While on a date with the current bad boy, I'd do a bit of <em>social networking</em> and get next week’s date lined up. After all, I knew that the guy I was with wouldn't be back as soon as he learned about my policy. Usually took one night for the smart ones to figure that out.

After a year of getting my black belt in front seat wrestling matches, I quit dating. I had my fill of bad boys. I went cold turkey for almost an entire year. Cold turkey? Funny! A girlfriend felt sorry for me sitting home every Saturday night and invited me to her house party. Ended up getting a ride home with her friend, a turkey farmer. A year later, he put the ring on my finger.

Okay, it's your turn. What is your bad boy story? Come on. Confession time!

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Book Title:"The Chronicles of IDIOT"
Author:Erin Berry
Published By:Self Published
Age Recommended:18 +
Reviewed By:Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating:5

Review:By the cover you would not even begin to think that what you were going to read would be so funny! The Chronicles of IDIOT pokes fun at the government and other various big names over the years in such a way as to be candid, while being ironic. IDIOT is actually a name derived for a group of people specifically brought together to create strange phenomena and interesting sightings in the hopes of keeping the American people from getting bored with life.

It turns out that many of the people, such as actors and actresses that we though had expired had simply grown bored and taken on other identities. The El Chupacabra was a plant just to get people talking about the possibilities of a strange creature still around today and Hitler did not actually commit suicide but was murdered unwittingly by a weapon known as Excalibur laced with poison.

This book, basically a huge farce, was funny, exciting and interesting all at the same time. It will have you even questioning... what if? Very funny, very tongue in cheek, and something I think many would enjoy!

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Book Title:"Cataclysm: Married To Mars"
Author:Stephen H. King
Published By:Trestle Press
Age Recommended:18 +
Reviewed By:Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating:4

Review:I'm usually not one to read Science Fiction novels though this one had a bit of both Sci-Fi and Fantasy. When the end of the Earth is at hand, a man that is perceived to be normal in fact turns out to be Mars. Married with children he has a perceptive dream of Earth's destruction and decides to save those closest to him, those he deems worthy to take them to a new life, in hopes of rebuilding Earth once the disaster is over.

In this novel we learn more about the Gods and Goddesses of myth and see them as the infamous beings they are.

This book was indeed thrilling and had me enthralled from beginning to end. I can honestly say that Stephen H. King will likely do well in his chosen career path and I hope to see more from him in the near future. He could well be the author to change my mind about the Sci-Fi genre and make me a new fan!

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