Monday, 22 May 2017

Hero Lost blog tour - guest post by Sean McLachlan

Today, I'm delighted to take part in the blog tour for the IWSG's latest anthology with a guest post from contributing author Sean McLachlan. I'm especially intrigued by this story as it features some old folklore that I've never heard of before.

The Witch Bottle

Hello everyone! I’m Sean McLachlan. I write fiction and nonfiction full time and recently had the honor of being in the Hero Lost anthology put out by Dancing Lemur Press. My story is called “The Witch Bottle” and is based on an actual bit of folk magic from England.

If someone thought they were being bewitched, they summoned one of the cunning folk to create a witch bottle. This bottle was filled with the victim’s urine along with bent nails, pins, fingernail trimmings, belly button fluff, hair, thorns, and similar items. The body parts would attract the witch, the thorny items would injure the witch, and the bottle would trap the witch.

The bottle could then be heated over the fire to boil the witch, or buried in some spot such as beneath the threshold or in a hedge or graveyard to catch the evil spell caster.

Archaeologists were fortunate to discover an intact witch bottle dating from the 17th century during an excavation in Greenwich in 2004 and analyzed its contents. It had been placed upside down in a pit. Various forms of inversion were often used in warding spells, such as the old custom of turning your coat inside out when passing a fairy mound. The bottle contained urine, bent nails and pins, fingernail clippings, naval fluff, hair, and a nail piercing a piece of leather in the shape of a heart. Interestingly, when the urine was analyzed it showed that the person had been a smoker. Tobacco was still quite expensive in the 17th century. That and the fact that the fingernails were those of someone who didn’t do manual labor shows the elite also believed in this sort of magic.

Witch bottles are first recorded in the 17th century and lasted in rural areas of England and Scotland well into the 20th century. Witch bottles were even made in former colonies such as Canada, the U.S., and Australia. Now, like so much of rural folk culture, the practice of making witch bottles has been forgotten.

This
strange silvery witch bottle was collected from a Sussex village in 1915 by the
famous historian of witchcraft Margaret Murray. It is on display at the
Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. The witch is apparently still inside and the woman
who gave it to Murray warned that it should never be unstoppered or “there’ll
be a peck o’ trouble.” Photo copyright Sean McLachlan.

The earliest and most common type of bottle used for witch bottles are the so-called Bellarmine jugs from Germany from the 17th century. They sported a distinctive “wild man” face that probably added to their mystic appeal. This one is broken. Perhaps it was used in a spell? Strangely, witch bottles have never been found in Germany, only in England, Scotland, and the British colonies. This bottle is on display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Photo copyright Sean McLachlan.

Sean McLachlan writes fiction and nonfiction under his own name and also works as a professional ghostwriter. Learn more about him at his blog and Amazon page. His post-apocalyptic story The Scavenger is free on Amazon through May 22.


Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die?
Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering
become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever
the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured
hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and
thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay,
Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth
Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and
Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of
agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes
who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!




Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Marked Beauty cover reveal

Title: Marked Beauty

Author: S.A. Larsen

Publisher: Ellysian Press

Release Date: October 2017



Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

ADD to GOODREADS

About the Author

S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.

Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads

Giveaway

This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:

  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.

***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)

"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0

"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit

An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit

The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Goals for May 2017

I know we're already halfway through the month, but better late than never when it comes to goals, eh? As well as taking a bit of down time after the A-Z Challenge, I've been dealing with a situation over the last two or three weeks. Hopefully it's under control now and I can turn my attention back to some writing and editing goals.

So, here we go...


  • Continue writing the ending for the final book in the Black & White trilogy.
It feels like this has been going on for the longest time, especially after not doing any writing during April, but I hope to get closer to the end this month. 5000 words at a minimum.

  • Go through CP notes for part two of the trilogy.
Yes, thanks to my lovely CPs I now have a full set of notes with aspects for improvement. One particularly large plot point needs to be reassessed, so I need to give this due consideration.

  • Start putting together a marketing plan for the release of part one.
Hoping for a release in late summer or autumn, so I need to start drawing up plans for a blog tour, advertising, and other aspects, as well as sourcing cover art.

In other news - I'm delighted (and somewhat flabbergasted) to have been invited to become the newest member of the IWSG admin team, so another goal is to familiarise myself with my duties! Can't wait to get stuck in!

Do you have any mid-month goals?

Monday, 8 May 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017: Reflections

Yes, it's time to think back on the merry month of April and reflect on another A-Z Challenge. This was my fourth year taking part, and this challenge felt different to me for a variety of reasons. I'll get more into those below, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.


The main thing that comes to mind when I think about this Challenge is "quality over quantity". Not that there weren't vast swathes of quality participants in previous years, but it seemed pretty definite that there were less signups this year - the old linky list was hitting over 2000 but there only seemed to be around 300 daily comments on each Challenge blog post. Now of course, we have to account for the fact that many of those 2000 would drop off throughout the month, and that more than 300 might have been participating but just not leaving their daily comment (in which case, it would be that much harder to find them). Even so, this year felt more cosy. Manageable. Petite, perhaps. I felt like I had time to really take in what each person was saying and leave a considered response, rather than skim reading in a frantic effort to get to as many posts as possible. And this isn't to say I was short of people to meet during the Challenge. On the contrary, I met some wonderful writers who broadened my mind with amazing facts, made me laugh with some whacked-out stories, moved me with stunning poetry or inspired me with some uplifting quotes. I hope to nurture these connections by getting to know these people even better over the coming months and years, and in the end that's worth much more than just hitting high numbers of posts with one-off comments. I'll give a shout out to some of my favourite themes below.

Other thoughts: While I am very happy with how the Challenge went, I'm not entirely sold on the daily linkup list yet. I think it made it harder to meet more people as I kept running up against the same ones every day. With the old list, you could just keep working your way down, and although there would be many that had stopped taking part, you just closed that blog and moved on to the next. I definitely didn't manage to meet five new people every day, but as outlined above, that didn't take too much away from the experience. At the moment, I'm not sure what the best way forward is, but I realise that maintaining the giant list places too great a burden on the Challenge hosts.

Another thing is that perhaps if you comment too late on the daily post, less people are likely to see your link. Each post seemed to go up the day before that for the letter concerned, and I noticed a lot of participants doing this too; was this to post their link as early as possible? I tried to stick to posting at 5am GMT on each day, but I was often later than this; that was entirely my fault though, as I didn't have all the posts prewritten ahead of time. In fact, for the final week they were done on the fly. Definitely an area of improvement for next year!

In terms of commenting issues, I didn't notice anything too bad. Captcha seems to pretty much have been stamped out. The only thing I noticed were some comment systems were linked to Facebook and required you to respond to an email for the address you sign in to Facebook with. Unfortunately for me, that's my old address, which I don't check any more. Again, that's a failing on my part for not updating things, but I still think having to go and check your emails before being able to leave a comment is unreasonable.

Okay, I think that's my main thoughts dealt with. I didn't mean for this to get so long! Now it's time to give some props to some of my favourite bloggers and themes. Some were new to me, others I'd met before. Inevitably I'm going to forget some people, for which I apologise in advance. Some I might not even have got to that many posts - I suffered some issues towards the end of the month that affected my participation slightly, but I'm getting back on track now - but I enjoyed what I read all the same.

Megan Morgan - 26 Things to Hate about Writing. A brilliantly funny theme, lambasting all the pitfalls of being a writer in a deliciously sarcastic manner.
Debbie D, the Doglady's Den - Musical Memories. Just what it says, some of the author's enduring memories and the musical moments that soundtracked those times. Funny and sometimes poignant.
Shalini, Kohl-Eyed Me - Travel experiences in Thailand. Stories and advice about visiting this wonderful country. I've only spent five days in Bangkok and now I want to experience much more.
Nilanjana Bose, Madly-in-Verse - Brilliantly informative posts about Arabic culture, soundtracked by some excellent music. I felt educated by every post I read.
Pamela and Ken's Days of Fun - A tour around the Highlands of Scotland from a couple who moved there last year. They've packed a lot in already and collated some great posts about the quirky sights and experiences to be found in this beautiful region.
Debbie, My Random Musings - Motivational quotes for each day of April.
John Davis Frain - One of the most brilliant themes out there, the author got killed by an outlandish method corresponding to each letter before being resurrected for another unfortunate demise the next day. Just sorry I didn't get to more posts.
A Tarkabarka Holgy, The Multicolored Diary - Weird Things in Folktales. Bizarre and often grisly tales from around the world.
Sophie's Thoughts and Fumbles - Dragon Diaries. A dragon for each letter of the alphabet. Some great flash fiction and characters.
Carrie-Anne, Onomastics Outside the Box - A walk through some of the weird and wonderful characters from (mostly) Greek mythology.
Anna Tan, Deeply Shallow - Cute and whimsical stories about the misadventures of various princesses.
True North Bricks - Of course I was going to follow a theme about Lego. Pure fun.
Rae Squiggle, The Quiet Writer - Very educational theme about Britain's abbeys and cathedrals.
C.D. Gallant-King, Stories I Found in the Closet - The surprisingly weird history of Canada.
Anmol Rawat - Delightfully creepy flash fiction. Again, I'm sorry I didn't get to more of these.
Click's Clan - Touching and often funny letters to the author's frozen embryos.
Darla M. Sands - Excellent musical selections.
Patricia Lynne - Flash fiction based on unusual words.
Keith's Ramblings - An entertaining introduction to the eccentric residents of the village of Amble Bay.

All in all, I really enjoyed taking part this year, and I'm already getting ready for 2018. How about you? Did you take part and, if not, would you consider doing so next year?

More Reflections posts can be found here.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

IWSG May 2017

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and of course that means it's time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! The group was started by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh with the aim of offering a safe haven where writers can talk about their doubts and insecurities and offer encouragement to others. Today's co-hosts are Nancy GideonTamara NarayanLiesbet @ Roaming AboutMichelle Wallace and Feather Stone!


Today's optional IWSG question is "What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?"

This is a great question! All stories require research to a certain extent; even if speculative, it is often based on aspects of the real world. As writers, we can be led down by some pretty strange and intriguing avenues. Neurology was a key part of my novella A Change of Mind, in which an introverted man undergoes brain surgery to make him more confident. Of course, such procedures aren't actually available (and hopefully they won't be!), but I still had to research the parts of the brain that control our emotions, reactions and personalities. Really informative stuff.

I'm sure there's more, but that's the one that springs to mind (pardon the pun...)

In terms of insecurities, I'm doing pretty well. I thoroughly enjoyed the A-Z Challenge this year and was pleased to get a great response to the snippets from my forthcoming trilogy. Now I'm going to gear up for the release of the first book, looking at cover art, tour schedules, and everything that comes along with it. Nerve-racking, for sure, but hopefully in a good way. I'm going to try and enjoy it!

What are your insecurities this month? Have you joined the IWSG yet? Check out more posts here.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - Z is for Zimpano

Welcome to Day 26 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. Can you believe it's over? Hope everyone had a blast! This month I've been sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's Z for Zimpano.


Zimpano was excited about the prospect of a whole new life in the other country. Although things had improved here no end, his eyes had been opened to the possibilities of what lay outside Loretania’s borders.

The problem would be in convincing his best friend, Pettifer, to come with him. Inseparable since they were little mites rolling in the dirt, they’d both been cured of the crippling disease that had plagued their land and had been given another shot at life. However, there was a complication. Pettifer had run an errand to his uncle’s house in the neighbouring village – there were a lot more comings and goings now the land was disease-free – and fallen head over heels with his cousin. A nice enough girl, but now he spent most of his time over there, and when he did come back she was all he talked about. And she wasn’t for leaving.


Zimpano had made up his mind: today was the day he was going to talk Pettifer into coming to Harmonia. If it meant the girl tagging along as well, so be it. He just hoped he could stomach it if she did.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - Y is for Your Lordship

Welcome to Day 25 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's Y for Your Lordship.


“Just... gone?” said Lord Histender, the protruding veins on his forehead seeming to provide a physical map of his anger. “How is that possible? What about their tracking chips?”

“There’s no trace of them, Your Lordship,” said Dontible, legs apart and hands behind his back, focusing on his usual spot on the wall behind Histender’s head, his expression unreadable. “Gone completely offline.”

“That has never happened, Dontible.” Histender’s voice was so quiet as to be almost inaudible. “You must be aware that, realistically, there is only one thing this can mean. And it is disaster for this government.” He rested his fists on the desk, clenching them so tightly that the knuckles were the same colour as nearly everything else in the room – and in the country.


Dontible nodded. “Yes, Your Lordship.” There was no need for either of them to say it.

Friday, 28 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - X is for eXaminer Tharl

Welcome to Day 24 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's X for eXaminer Tharl. Okay, I stretched things a little.


Examiner Tharl’s services hadn’t been called upon for a long time. He was kept on as a retainer by the government, and his job was to re-educate people so that they saw things more clearly.

His last case had been a while ago. People tended to accept the status quo, especially after a select few had not returned from the Centre. But this boy… he was stubborn, Tharl had to give him that. He constantly countered Tharl’s officially sanctioned version of events with the things he claimed to have seen. What did he have to gain from it? To help someone out who should have meant nothing to him?


Tharl cracked his knuckles and checked the time on his pad. Almost time for Round 4.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - W is for Wellesbury

Welcome to Day 23 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's W for Wellesbury.


Wellesbury Noon. Ordinary name, ordinary kid. Well, maybe not that ordinary. He was captain of the school gravball team after all. But he’d be the last one to make a big deal about it. No, he just got on with it like everyone else – doing his studies (everyone was guaranteed a pass in the exams, but doing extra bits of work gave you bonus points that helped you later), sitting and eating his synthesised dinner with his parents while they discussed their day (which was invariably the same), going to practice and goofing off with the guys…

All very well, and he didn’t have any complaints about his life. So why did he have the feeling there was something more, something he was missing?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - V is for Vapourise

Welcome to Day 22 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's V for Vapourise.


In Harmonia, things were neat and tidy to a fault, which was helped by several key scientific breakthroughs. One of those of which the people were most proud was the vapourising technology that dealt with messy and extraneous bodily products. Tears vanished before they hit the ground. People could blow their noses with the same handkerchief an endless number of times, while it remained spotless. General health and sanitation was vastly improved by the toilet vapourisers, which did a great job at taking care of business. Finally – and best of all – once citizens reached the end of a long and happy life, their remains conveniently vapourised upon expiry, leaving nothing but pleasant memories in the minds of their loved ones. After all, a dead body was terribly unhygienic.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - U is for Under-Region

Welcome to Day 21 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's U for Under-Region.


The Under-Region. A convenient myth to sell a population that had had its borders closed off by a fiercely xenophobic government. Well, “xenophobic” might be an understatement. Denying that any other country even existed probably required a whole new word. Due to what might be called an admin error, there was the faintest chance that someone from Harmonia’s nearest neighbour might find their way to this brave new self-sufficient society, but such a visitor wouldn’t be welcome. To avoid any awkward questions, the powers that be had decreed that that country was a hellish wasteland from another plane of existence, whose resident demons might occasionally try to infiltrate the utopia that had been created. And over the course of centuries, it stuck.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - T is for Tindleson

Welcome to Day 20 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. Who can believe there's one week left? The time is flying by. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's T for Tindleson.


Tindleson liked these kids. He hadn’t thought about them for a long time, but he was glad they were more questioning of things than most of their peers. Just because the circumstances of their birth were out of the norm, didn’t mean that was guaranteed.


In fact, they were doing things he’d only dreamed of doing, and for that, he had 100% admiration.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - S is for Swarbrick

Welcome to Day 19 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's S for Swarbrick.


Swarbrick savoured the taste of the mead in his mouth. Perhaps the processes behind its manufacture didn’t bear thinking about, but it certainly did taste good, and he couldn’t fault the Loretanians on their hospitality. Unlike back home, where alcohol had been banned as counterproductive to efficiency. That new boy in charge should do something about that. Despite their dire situation – or, perhaps, because of it – the Loretanians really knew how to enjoy themselves.

Friday, 21 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - R is for Rosebury and Where Words Fail, Music Speaks release blitz

Welcome to Day 18 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's R for Rosebury.


Mayor Rosebury didn’t like disorder in his town. In fact, it was pretty much an unknown occurrence. He liked people going about their business in a predictable fashion, and that’s what he got.

So when a mysterious, bedraggled child materialised in the high street, wearing clothing that was torn, dark in colour and made darker by some grimy substance that also coated his skin, he took the only sensible course of action that was available. He spoke to the boy as kindly as he could, asked him where he was from, and then slung him into the city jail while he figured out his next move. A crowd of onlookers had gathered and rumours were already spreading that the boy was a demon.


Decisive action was needed, but that was for the higher authorities. As mayor, he fulfilled a mainly ceremonial role. Issues like this were way out of his comfort zone.


*

I'm also excited to be taking part in the release blitz for the Where Words Fail, Music
Speaks Anthology, which is out now!




Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - Q is for Quirnum

Welcome to Day 17 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's Q for Quirnum.


Mr Quirnum didn’t like this new lot much. A pair of young upstarts in the middle of things who didn’t know the first thing about running a country. Say what you like about the old guard, at least they got things done. He couldn’t get this new-fangled heating panel to work – it was freezing during the day and too hot at night – and he didn’t feel comfortable with all these outsiders coming into the country. People should stay where they belonged. His wife adopted a “put up and shut up” approach and got annoyed with his constant grumbling, so he’d decided; he was going to go to this “Meeting of Minds” tomorrow and have it out with the people running the show.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - P is for Perfect Avenue

Welcome to Day 16 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's P for Perfect Avenue.


Perfect Avenue. It lived up to its name to… well, to perfection. But then everything was perfect in Whitopolis. However, if there were scales of perfection, then this street would be that little bit more perfect than everywhere else. This was where the high-end shops were, where people came if they wanted their clothing, bedding, furnishings to be that little bit better. But still white. Everything was white, and nothing could be whiter than anything else. Still, people could tell if you’d been to Perfect Avenue. In a country where total equality and uniformity were meant to have been created, the citizens had still managed to find subtle ways of asserting their superiority. Human nature couldn’t be reprogrammed that easily.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - O is for Olivia

Welcome to Day 15 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's O for Olivia.


Olivia cried herself to sleep every night. Six months Alistair had been gone, and still no word. She didn’t understand why the need for secrecy meant there could be no contact between a loving husband and wife. And the girls… well, they were remarkably resilient in the way that only kids could be. They were probably doing much better than she was. But something of the spark in their eyes was gone, and any mention of Daddy was sure to end in floods of tears.

But right now, there was something else to focus on. An email marked “urgent” had ordered her and all three girls to attend for an appointment at the new government-run clinic the very next day. She would have to pull them out of school. What would require such hastily arranged treatment?


Actually, she didn’t want to think about that.

Monday, 17 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - N is for Nettlesby

Welcome to Day 14 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's N for Nettlesby.


Nettlesby was way out of his comfort zone. Why had he even signed up for this trip? These people were savages. Out hunting for wild animals – until recently, he’d never even seen an animal in the flesh before. He huddled in the tent with his knees up close to his chest, trying to make himself as small as possible. And it was so damn cold.


They’d heard a whistling, followed by a distinct howl of pain. Did they eat human flesh, too? Who could say? Lunkin had laughed and gone out to introduce himself. Confirmation that the man was mad.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - M is for Mallinger

Welcome to Day 13 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's M for Mallinger.


Mallinger hadn’t been content to just sit around and wait to die, as had been the case for so many of his friends and family. There had to be an answer out there, someone who could help. So he’d given himself a week. He had that long, he thought; if he had no luck, he’d return home. He left without a goodbye. They’d only have tried to stop him.

A bar in a more built-up area of the city had called to him. He’d never seen one before. Sitting on one of the roughly carved wooden seats, the old man had bought him a cupful of the eye-watering brew that was distilled out back and told him about the portal.

“Just stand in the right spot, imagine a gleamingly white city, no disease, and you’ll be there.”

“I thought that place was just a fairy story,” said Mal.

He’d given it a shot, not thinking it would work. Worst idea ever. It turned out the likes of him weren’t welcome in Whitopolis, and now he faced dying in jail, with no prospect of seeing his family again.

Friday, 14 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - L is for Lunkin

Welcome to Day 12 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's L for Lunkin.


After showing a natural aptitude in school experiments, Lunkin had quickly been recruited into the government’s elite group of scientists and had spent the past twenty years working his way to the top. Well, almost to the top. Only one thing stood in his way: Professor George Tindleson.

Lunkin didn’t have much time for the Chief Scientist’s affable ways. Frankly, the man was a buffoon, as much a relic as the antiquated books and paintings he kept in his office. Everyone else seemed to love him, but could he command them in a crisis? Lunkin would do a much better job, he was sure. He just had to find the right opportunity to fulfil his destiny.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - K is for Kitson

Welcome to Day 11 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's K for Kitson.


Kitson liked working at the Centre. Really, there was very little work involved; a bit of admin, making weekly reports to the governor, checking that all the doors to the rooms were sound. They were definitely rooms, not cells. This wasn’t a prison, it was a correctional institution. As long as the doors were soundproof and he didn’t have to come face-to-face with the inhabitants, it was okay to tell himself that.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - J is for Jaffery

Welcome to Day 10 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's J for Jaffery.


Jaffery was incredibly excited about the trip. How many people ever got the chance to leave Harmonia? At 23, he was the youngest of the group – and in the new spirit of openness, he’d been bragging about the adventure to his friends. Tindleson was a charismatic leader and Jaffery would have followed him anywhere.

There was just one thing he didn’t like about the whole prospect – Lunkin. The deputy said all the right things, but there was something off about him that Jaffery couldn’t place. Everything he said was accompanied by a knowing smile, or more like a sneer. Like he knew something you didn’t.

Still, it was probably nothing. Jaffery told himself to concentrate on the bigger picture – doing something great for the benefit of humanity.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - I is for Inglefrith

Welcome to Day 9 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's I for Inglefrith.


Inglefrith was at his wits’ end. He’d been searching for Mallinger for a week – so had his other children, the neighbours… Fusterbury was a big place, and although some searchers had ventured out into the wild country, none had dared go too far out of fear of the wolves that prowled there.


Sitting at his modest dinner of spit-roasted rat, he tried to keep his spirits up for the sake of the other kids, but inside every nerve ending tingled with dread. Mal was in the terminal stages of the disease. There was nothing to be done for him, but you needed to be with your family at a time like that. If he’d gone looking for help elsewhere, he wasn’t going to find it. Mal needed to be back here now – but what if it was already too late?

Monday, 10 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - H is for Hedgeson

Welcome to Day 8 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's H for Hedgeson.


Hedgeson loved playing gravball. The feeling of freedom he got from being able to run across the walls and ceiling of the pitch – each of which had its own gravity field installed – was like nothing else. He was aware that the rest of his life – going to school, even mealtimes thanks to the preset times on the food dispenser – was regimented, and that was the way he liked it. Everything in its proper place. His friends and teammates felt the same, embracing the status quo. That was, except for Wellesbury, their captain. He couldn’t exactly put his finger on it, but this gifted player always gave the impression of being somewhere else in his mind. On the pitch, he was totally in the zone, but off it… some of the things he said gave Hedgeson pause. He’d snap out of it, hopefully. Everyone knew that questioning things wasn’t a good idea.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - G is for Gennikin

Welcome to Day 7 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's G for Gennikin.


Gennikin was woken by the alarm on his personal pad at 5am, as always. He liked to get an early start on the day, even when his services were not required. No sense wasting hours away on sleep – it was a purely functional activity. Dreams were for less practical people. If he had them, he never remembered them.

After a quick breakfast and shower, and while ensuring that his hair was parted with military precision and held in place, he reflected on his wonderful role as Advisor to the Supreme Grand Ruler of Harmonia. Making decisions that others would be too afraid to make. “Ruthless”, they’d called him at school – but his uncompromising qualities had been noted and he’d soon found himself invited to join the upper echelons of society, adjudicating on matters that most people had no idea about.

It was better that they didn’t. They wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

Friday, 7 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - F is for Fusterbury

Welcome to Day 6 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's F for Fusterbury.


Imagine a city full of filth and disease. There’s precious little plant life as most of the streets are taken up by a quagmire of mud, while the houses are tumbledown shacks held together by spit and goodwill. People greet each other with smiles and nods, but the next minute will be gripped by a fit of hacking coughs that sees them bent double in agony. Children draw lines in the mud and construct elaborate games. Needless to say, people look out for each other, knowing that they haven’t got long. It’s a young population, with an average age of 25, a testament to this debilitating plague. There’s no governing structure, no system in place – but a lot of love.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - E is for Ez

Welcome to Day 5 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's E for Ez.


Ez always knew she was different. This society, its people – it was all so perfect. Everyone was happy, everyone had a job, everyone lived in a spotlessly clean home. That was all they’d known, of course, and she was the same, but somehow she felt different. What lay beneath the surface? Why was no one to know about what came before the Reformers?

She did well to keep up an appearance of normality, of course, knowing those who stood out could attract attention. She liked her friends – they were a good bunch – but their conversations were vacuous. Nothing good would come of asking piercing questions of them. Her dad, though, that was different – she sometimes tried to catch him off guard with questions about his work, but he’d given nothing away so far. She knew she had to be careful.

If only there was someone who felt the same way as her. They had to be out there somewhere, but how would she know?

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - D is for Dontible

Welcome to Day 4 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's D for Dontible.

Update: Hope everyone's enjoying the Challenge so far! I'm having a blast. A few commenters have pointed out that my posts so far are a bit on the grim side. Don't worry, they won't all be like that! It's not my intention to depress anyone. I should also mention that I've had some circumstances come up that mean I may not be able to get to so many blogs over the next few days, although I'll try my best. It's exciting stuff, though, so it's all good!


Randolph Dontible was discussing his daughter, Ezmerelda, with his wife, Marabel.

“I wish she would just buckle down a bit more,” he said. “She worries me.”

“She’s headstrong,” said Marabel, sipping her synthetic wine. “Nothing wrong with that. And she’ll go far – look at all these extra credits she’s getting for her school work. She’s practically a genius.”

“I know. I’m… proud,” he relented, “but these sorts of questions can get you in trouble. She’s always asking about my work.”

Was,” his wife corrected. “She gave up when you never answered.”

“Because it’s confidential! Even with family members. And now I’m worried she’s going to try digging around. We need to keep a much tighter rein on that girl.”

Marabel sighed. While it was fantastic that Ez was so bright, a large part of her wished her daughter’s thoughts were on make-up and boys rather than government business – the way all her friends’ seemed to be. There’d be a lot less to worry about.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - C is for Centre

Welcome to Day 3 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's C for Centre.


The Centre. A collection of low-lying buildings – gleamingly white, of course, like everything else in Harmonia – into and out of which moves a constant stream of guards and administrative personnel, busy, quiet, efficient. The place gives the impression of perfect order.


What you never see or hear are the inmates. Each trapped in a tiny room, with no need for human contact as meals are provided three times a day via a hole in the wall. They could be screaming their heads off, but the rooms are soundproofed. There’s no need to worry, though. No one can get hurt in Harmonia, so nothing too bad’s going to happen to them.

Monday, 3 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - B is for Beth + Learn a Word in 100 Words launch

Welcome to Day 2 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's B for Beth.


Beth felt like she’d had to grow up a lot in the past six months. Since Daddy had been away, she’d turned ten, had earned an achievement award at school, written stories about what they would do if they were all together again – all things she wanted to share with him.

But she couldn’t.

Mummy was vacant a lot of the time, dealing with it in her own way, which was to remain silent and clean the house like a robot – which meant Beth often had to be the one to wipe away the tears of her younger sisters, Lily and Molly, and tell them everything would be alright in the end.

She had no idea if that was true.

*

Today, I'd also like to give a shout out to Patricia Lynne who is launching what sounds like a very entertaining book.



Learn A Word in 100 Words
A collection of flash fiction inspired by unusual words. Each tiny tale is crafted around a word that is unique or no longer in use. Read them while waiting in line or before bed. They range from sweet and lighthearted to dark and disturbing. Look out for the supernatural, but don’t turn your back on the average human. A killer might be lurking underneath. Expand your vocabulary, and get some inspiration of your own.
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/708449

About the Author:
Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing. She writes Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Links:

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - A is for Alistair

It's here! Day 1 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. I hope you'll join me for the month as I share my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's A for Alistair.


Alistair couldn’t believe it. How could this be happening to him? In one way, he was glad this screening program had been introduced; he might never have known otherwise, but the idea of being sent far away from his wife and girls and having no contact with them was almost too much to contemplate.

He didn’t even know when he would be back. A year? Five? Ten? The idea of missing just one day of his precious angels growing up was heart-wrenching.


But if he didn’t go, he would be dead within a few years and then he wouldn’t be around for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Book ephemera

Only three days to go until the A-Z Challenge 2017 kicks off! I'm busy finalising my posts and as part of this process, I've been going back through all the files for my books. Not just the drafts themselves, but lots of other little things surrounding them. So I thought it would be fun to have a closer look at some of these...
  • Out-takes
Erm, yeah, I've got a lot of these. I was surprised to discover I had 17,789 words of deleted stuff for Book 1. Most of this amounts to over-explanation of certain things and telling instead of showing. In contrast, I've only taken one 250-word scene out of Book 2. But I'm yet to get into serious edits for that. I'm sure it'll grow exponentially.
  • Timeline
I find these indispensable, as I always tend to lose track of what day it is. So far I've only got one for Book 1, which only takes place over a couple of weeks, but it's a busy couple of weeks. It's important to know what happens when.
  • CP Notes
It's essential to keep all these in one folder so I can compare and contrast what different people thought of each thing. That helps me weigh up what changes to make.
  • Book 2 Notes
Not CP notes, but a list of various things to be checked and verified, often in relation to Book 1. It's surprisingly easy to have things that contradict each other in a series so I need to make sure everything adds up seamlessly.
  • Book 3 Plan
I don't normally do a lot of planning, but for the final book in the trilogy it seemed a pretty good idea, so I wouldn't veer off down an irrelevant track. In a lot of ways this is the most important book as it has to tie everything together. Everything's still open to change as the story develops, though.
  • Book 1 Marketing Plan
I started this a while back, as I originally planned to release Book 1 earlier, but decided to have the rest of the series written first. It's a handy thing to keep a hold of, adding or amending certain items as trends change.

I'm sure lots of you have similar things for your books and probably much more - Pinterest boards, character profiles, storyboards, wall charts. (If I had my own office, the walls would be covered with WIP-related stuff!) I'd be interested to hear all about it.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Still Me... After All These Years blog tour


It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Blog Tour for STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging by Karen Helene Walker through MC Book Tours.

This is a charming, funny, and enlightening collection of essays about aging. In addition, Karen is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) of STILL ME and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME (International entries). See how you can enter to win below.

STILL ME…AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging
◊ By Karen Helene Walker
◊ Kindle: 2000 KB, 102 pages
◊ Genre: Biographies, Memoirs, Nonfiction
◊ Publication Date: April 4, 2017
◊ Language: English
◊ ASIN: BO6WWRK82K

Poignant...Humorous...Brutally Honest!



A collection of personal reflections guaranteed to keep you inspired and entertained on that journey we all travel together: The Journey of Aging.
With a blend of grace, dignity, warmth and humor, women and men from 60 to 90 and from all walks of life candidly share the blessings and pitfalls of aging – from keeping dreams alive and keeping sex lives active to dealing with retirement, loss of independence and a growing sense of mortality.

A BOOK ABOUT LIVING EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE!

STILL ME is available at the following sites: Amazon (print and Kindle), Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. Be sure to add it to your shelf on Goodreads.


I asked contributing author E.V. Legters why she decided to take part in the book and here's what she had to say...

"Karen Walker happened to post her call for submissions at precisely the moment I had made a major decision. During the months just prior, I had formally retired, published my first novel with the second due out in May, and was casting about for an entirely new arena from which to write my third. No longer bound by family -- my sons now out in the world -- or jobs, I would do what I had longed to: live in Europe. Giddy with the possibility, research revealed Portugal as viable.  I had never been there, but I have solved that. I am on a reconnaissance mission as I write this. Viable may become likely.

And so, when Karen's request for forward-facing, optimistic pieces on the up-side to being this age came in, I couldn't resist sharing my enthusiasm."

Here's the full list of contributors:

Rev. Clara Alexander is an ordained New Thought minister who creates and performs sacred ceremonies, including unique weddings, funerals, memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings. She is also a popular speaker, inspiring groups with her talks on how we cling to our grudges, how we overuse the phrase “I’m sorry” and how we can live the life we love.
Wendy Brown recently retired from a career in wildlife biology, where she studied sandhill cranes and whooping cranes as they migrated from Idaho to New Mexico. Wendy eventually found a permanent home in Albuquerque, where she and her husband enjoy the sounds of sandhill cranes from their deck. Since retiring from state government in 2014. 


Valerie Capps has bypassed the porch rocking chair to pursue her life-long passion for writing, thereby proving that in today’s world, life can begin again at 65! Valerie lives in Nashville with her husband and their spoiled-rotten Welsh Corgi. www.amazon.com/Valerie-Capps/e/B016VD9V72
Mary W. Clark retired from her law practice in 2007 and transferred her observation and composition skills to travel writing. She is currently working on a book about her father’s World War II experience flying “the Hump” from India to China over the Himalayas. Mary lives in Paris, Texas. www.maryclarktraveler.com
Fran Fischer: “I was born at a very young age and that happened 82 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I’ve crammed as much living into my life as possible, and I’m not through yet. I’ve traveled extensively and I even flew in the same zero-gravity plane that the astronauts trained in. I live in California with my first (and only) husband, and we celebrated our 62nd anniversary this year.”
Pat Garcia (Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack) is an American expatriate living in Europe. An accomplished musician as well as a writer, she has been writing (and reading) since childhood.
Mark David Gerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction, and compelling memoirs. Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients as coach and consultant, helping them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease. www.markdavidgerson.com
Holly Deuel Gilster plays “make believe” for a living. In other words, she is a professional actress and musician. Holly also loves painting with words as an accomplished poet, an award-winning short-story writer and a book reviewer for The Or Echo.
Aaron Gordon is a retired social sciences community college professor. He and his wife, Ellie, have been married for 65 years and have three children and grandchildren.
Ellie Gordon is a retired public school teacher who spent the best 20 years of her life in the classroom. A Chicago native, she now lives in New Mexico.
Karla “Rosie” Harper recently retired from teaching elementary school, freeing her to return to her early love of dancing. Today, when not helping out with her grandchildren, Rosie is taking dance lessons, spinning on a dance floor or performing in senior centers and retirement communities with Albuquerque’s Sugartime, as a singer as well as a dancer.
Linda Hoye is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, available through major online retailers. A native of Saskatchewan, Linda currently lives in British Columbia (by way of Washington State) with her husband and doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier. www.lindahoye.com
E.V. Legters hasn’t so much retired as she has exchanged one life for another — from rewarding years with career and children (while pursuing the arts on the fly) to a life with the arts at its center. She is the author of Vanishing Point and Connected Underneath and is currently hard at work on her third novel. www.evlegters.com
LD Masterson lived on both coasts before becoming landlocked in Ohio. After twenty years managing computers for the American Red Cross, she now divides her time between writing, volunteer work and enjoying her grandchildren. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies, and she is currently working on a new novel. www.ldmasterson.com
Kathleen Messmer not only runs a film production company with offices in the UK and the US, she is an avid photographer and wildlife advocate. In the unlikely event that she ever retires, Kathleen plans to live on a ranch with draft horses and pygmy goats and vineyards and fruit orchards, somewhere near the water. Oh, and a cowboy...maybe. www.kathleenmessmer.com
Karen Norstad has worked as cashier/gift wrapper, secretary, boutique seamstress, administrative assistant, manager of employee stock options, executive assistant, and budget analyst. Now retired, Karen’s life revolves around lounging about, wearing PJs until four in the afternoon, obsessing over the news, reading, fusing and slumping glass, practicing piano, keeping a small balcony garden and cooking.
Matt Nyman’s nonlinear career path has included working in the geological sciences, teaching high school, stay-at-home parenting and, currently, training tomorrow’s teachers. Poetry equently resides near the surface of his existence, occasionally erupting onto paper.
Jill Plaman was born and began aging in Milwaukee, but she has lived and worked in Albuquerque since 1977. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MSW from the University of Minnesota. Her special interests are travel, international folk dancing, reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends.
Maureen Polikoff is a clinical social worker/ therapist who has always pursued many other creative endeavors, including painting, playing music and, now, writing. A Connecticut native, she lives in New Mexico with her husband, Michael.
MaryFrank Sanborn left Boston 33 years ago, to apprentice with photographer Walter Chappell in Santa Fe. Still in love with the beauty of the Southwest, MaryFrank photographs, writes, hikes, travels, teaches yoga and meditation, makes soups on Sundays, and dreams of the ocean and whales.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of four mystery novels. The most recent is Wishing Caswell Dead. She lives in Northern Colorado with Sassy Dog, Katie Cat and her husband, Bill. www.patriciastolteybooks.com
Susan Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, where everybody calls everybody hon and eating steamed crabs is a sacrament. Although she’s happy in her adopted Georgia, part of her heart still lingers on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, explaining the setting for her novel, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. Susan is currently working on a trilogy, proof that this old gal is still a pathological optimist. www.susan-swiderski.blogspot.com
Jan Castle Walker is a retired teacher and an active artist. She lives in Davis, California with her husband, Mack. www.jancastlewalker.com
Karen Helene Walker is a novelist, memoirist and essayist and the author of The Wishing Steps and Following the Whispers. When not writing, Karen is tap dancing, folk dancing or performing with the musical group Sugartime at retirement communities. Karen is currently working on her second memoir. www.karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com 

You can follow Karen and the other authors along on their tour by checking out the schedule HERE.




This tour-wide giveaway is for two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out this charming book.



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