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Archive for January, 2008

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Blurb:

At a trendy Turkish tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated by her beauty as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. Soon, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her–her skin’s abnormally high temperature, her obsession with milk products, her child-like and bizarre behavior as she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience.

The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. In spite of his heavy workload and the disturbing visions and nightmares about his sister’s baby that is due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.

But nothing, not even the stunning splendour of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of her nature. In a place where death dwells and illusion and reality seem as one, Gabriel must now come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister’s unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul…

Reviews

“Mayra Calvani is a masterful storyteller… Dark Lullaby is complex and compelling…”
— Habitual Reader

“Dark Lullaby is an atmospheric paranormal horror that grips you from page one and refuses to let go until you’ve raced, breathless, to the end. The prose is so smooth there are no speed bumps as you devour the entire novel in one or two sittings.”
— ePinions

“If you like chills, foreign settings, and moral dilemmas, this book is for you!”
— Gloria Oliver’s Blog

“Dark Lullaby is a page-turner. A horror story from the top shelf! You’ll love it.”
— 5 stars from Euro-Reviews

“This is a terrific horror tale that hooks readers who in spite of knowing that Kamilah is malevolent from almost the first siren meeting with Gabriel wonder what her motive is and who she is. Fans will assume due to Gabriel’s descent into paranoia and Elena’s increasing manic panic attacks and anxiety-depression that borders on bipolar that this is a psychological thriller; but the Turkish locale and Kamilah make it so much more. Mayra Calvani will have fans hooked in a one sitting read as the author’s appreciative attentive audience will want to know is it madness or something more paranormally chilling.”
— Harriet Klausner

“The next time you feel like curling up with a scary book, get a copy of author Mayra Calvani’s Dark Lullaby, a riviting page turner that will keep you reading straight through until the end… Dark Lullaby is a must read for those who enjoy novels of horror. Calvani keeps the tension tight throughout this gripping novel.”
–Patricia Altner, Vampire Notes

“A master storyteller, Calvani hooked me from the first moment in the tavern to the very last page. This is truly a unique story that I look forward to reading again… Dark Lullaby will capture you with its rich descriptions, its exotic location, and the need to uncover the dark secrets hidden within its pages.”
–Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

Excerpt:

“Who’s that woman?” Gabriel demanded.

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t tell me you don’t know. I saw the way she looked at you–the way you looked at her.”

“She’s just an old woman, a silly superstitious old woman.”

Gabriel was sure Kamilah lied. He grasped her by the shoulders and turned her to him. “Why was she afraid of you?”

Kamilah laughed, her cheeks flushed. “Listen to what you’re saying. Why would she be afraid of me?”

“I don’t know. But it’s a fact that she gasped when she saw you, that she was afraid.”

She shrugged. “She must have mistaken me for somebody else.”

“But why did you look at her like that? I saw your face.”

She scowled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Obviously you misread my face.” She wrestled away from his grip. “I want to go home.”

“Home?”

“Yes, home. To the forest. To the cottage.” She stomped her foot and kept going, leaving him behind.

Craning his neck, Gabriel looked back toward the scarf stand but the old woman was gone. “Damn!” he muttered.

He trotted after Kamilah.

Kamilah started running, her shrill, childish laugh defying him. Never stopping, she ran all the way to the mountain trail. With the heavy backpack and his sore leg muscles, Gabriel had a hard time keeping up with her. People turned to stare at them. Desperate to catch up with Kamilah, Gabriel clashed into a man as he crossed the street.

Gabriel muttered a curse. He felt like strangling Kamilah. Her erratic behavior was wearing thin.

“Wait!” he shouted when he saw her going up the trail.

She glanced back over her shoulder and flashed him a feral grin, her flushed cheeks contrasting deeply with her brilliant eyes. “You cannot catch me, you cannot catch me!” She sang loudly in monotone, between gasps. “You cannot catch me, you cannot catch me!”

As Gabriel ran after her the dull pain on the right side of his ribcage came back. He halted, panting. He leaned forward with his hands on his slightly bent knees and his eyes shut to concentrate on the ache.

Massaging the painful area, he made an effort to regain his breath. When he looked again to the trail Kamilah had vanished into the woods.

The hell with her. If she thought he would run after her and play her little hunting games, she was mistaken. He would very calmly find his own way back to the cottage. He reached into his backpack for the bottle of water and took a big gulp. After resting for several minutes the pain lessened and he felt better. In the deep chambers of his brain an alarm went off–for the first time the pain in his torso began to seriously worry him. He didn’t think it had anything to do with indigestion or any exotic virus or bacteria. Words like tumor and cancer flashed through his mind but he tried to shove them away. He couldn’t think about this now. Once back in Baltimore he would go to a doctor and have a complete examination.

He’d been hiking for about an hour when a sound came from deep within the woods.

Gabriel stopped, his head turning to the source.

The sound was familiar… the distant shrill murmur of children playing.

As suddenly as the sound had appeared, it vanished.

Goose bumps rose on his arms. Had he imagined it? He massaged the sides of his head while drops of sweat trickled down his back. The burning sun and the humidity didn’t help clear his mind.

After taking a few deep breaths, he continued his way up the trail.

About a quarter of an hour later he heard the sound again. This time it appeared closer.

Gabriel stopped and peered into the woods. He closed his eyes and concentrated on identifying the sound. Yes… the shrill murmur of small children playing. Ridiculous but true.

Gabriel decided to investigate.

Once under the canopy of the trees, moist coolness and shadows enveloped him. He welcomed the feeling and continued deeper into the woods, the ground soft and mushy under his boots.

After a few minutes it struck him the sound wasn’t getting closer or farther. Even though it was distant, it seemed to be everywhere, all around him.

Tilting back his head, he stared at the dense canopy of trees. Soft beams of light filtered down. He turned around slowly, light-headed and somewhat dizzy. For an instant he felt himself floating as the distant murmur of children caressed his mind.

“Kamilah!” he shouted. “Kamilah!”

He stopped turning and stood immobile, listening to his own heavy breathing, to his thudding heart.

“Kamilah, I know you’re here somewhere! Stop playing games!”

He scanned the surroundings. Something about the tree trunks caught his eye. Their surface wasn’t smooth as normal tree trunks. Lines marred the surface, natural lines which seemed to come from within the bark itself.

The lines, as if carved by a human hand, appeared to be forming something.

As realization dawned on Gabriel he gasped and stumbled back, nearly falling on the ground. He looked around him, terrified. Each tree trunk portrayed a different face… a baby face, crying, the mouth wide open in anguished misery.

The shrill murmur of children became louder than ever.

And then Gabriel understood it, heard it clearly. This wasn’t the murmur of children playing. This was the sorrowful crying of infants.

He ran back toward the trail as fast as his legs would allow him.

Note: A Spanish version of this excerpt appeared in El Nuevo Dia newspaper, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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Welcome to The Dark Phantom Review! It’s nice to have you here.

Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?

Hi Mayra,

Thank you for inviting me to share your blog space and your readers. Part of the reason for my writing Small Town Secrets is the dynamics of small towns where I have lived. Each one is different, yet the same. Everyone knows everyone so when anything happens to one person it affects the mesh of the whole town.

Sometimes, someone’s past comes back to haunt them. Sometimes the gossip mongers dredge the sludge to come up with something to try to ruin, or at least make life miserable, for someone they have a grudge against for whatever reason. I had some composite characters running around in my head from all the places I’ve lived – plus a set of twins who I promised to put into one of my novels. As luck would have it one day NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] came along and I needed a story to write – so I began to put these characters on the page—Small Town Secrets is the result. I think the story was writing itself in my mind much longer than just that brief month of frantic writing though.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?

For Small Town Secrets as with all of my work so far — I start out with in depth character sketches. By the time I have the sketches done for the main characters the plot is strong and has an end goal. I do the character sketches before the NaNoWriMo so I will have access to all the pertinent information I need about my characters and where they live so all I need to do is write toward the story-worth-telling-goal. Then, on November 1 I begin and literally write like the wind of a Northern Wisconsin blizzard. I wrote over 54,000 words of this story in that month. Then I took a long deep breath and went back to the chapters that needed expansion or other work and did that. So in the end I had an 80,000 plus word novel to submit. It probably took me three months to write – and edit a couple times (I am my own worst enemy when it comes to edits – I read what I thought I wrote not what is actually on the page. So normally I will let a novel rest before I check it one more time and submit it.) When it finally comes back with edits from my editor, I *see * those errors I missed even if they aren’t all caught by the first editor.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

I honestly must say I don’t allow writer’s block. I’m not sure if it’s because I always have several projects going at once, or if I should attribute that to writing my morning pages every single day. It’s to the point that after my husband leaves for work in the morning I sit down with a notebook, and immediately begin to write. Even if I need to get ready to go to work that 15 minutes to ½ hour that it takes to get those pages down seems to serve my muse for the day. If I am hung up on one project I move on to a different one. Sometimes that will be non-fiction, or it could be an article, or a poem. Maybe it is the routine and I must admit that my writing routine is pretty strict. I never thought it was, but I think I missed something, because even if there is snow to shovel (and I love doing that) or garden weeding (I love that too) I write those pages and try to do one chapter at least of my current WIP fiction project before I allow myself to move from my writing table. Aren’t you glad I’m not your mentor, coach or mother? {smile}

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

Every time I tell this story I thank my lucky stars because I fell into a perfect situation. A friend told me her cousin had received a contract from Wings ePress, Inc. and loved them; perhaps I should check them out. They were a fairly knew publisher. I did. I submitted my first manuscript and they accepted it. I have published nine books with them since and have two more under contract. They, of course, are not the only publisher I have. I had to try several other publishers just to prove to myself this was not a fluke and I really could write.

I think the single best piece of advice I can give a new writer is – don’t ever give up your dream. Keep submitting until you get that yes! There is room in any publishing house for that story that tugs at an editor — the right time, the right place, the right editor. I believe it’s all in the timing providing you have a story-worth-telling and you tell it well.
So never quit reading other writers to learn the craft. Take classes, read books on writing and your turn will come. I just know it!

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

I’m an introvert so I don’t really get out there and promote like I know I should. I’ve resorted to post card mailing (which works well), online chats, finding reviewers to review my books, stuffing every piece of outgoing mail with a business card that tells about a book, complete with ISBN and my contact information – I get these and postcards free from Vista Print, the only charge is postage and that’s nominal.

I use pens and pocket planner calendars that I get from National Pen for very reasonable prices.

I hold contests and try not to make the prizes my books – if people think they are going to win a book they will not as readily buy one. OR if I give a book away I will offer to give them any book of their choice if they purchase the book and then win a copy —so that they can have their pick of my books, that encourage them to buy first.

If I give a book I use one I’ve made like a cook book tied to my book specifically. I did this for Bed and Breakfast Murders – at the end of the cook book I give information about preparing for a blizzard and how to stay safe, since the characters in Bed and Breakfast Murders were trapped with a killer in their midst in a bed and breakfast by a blizzard. I have done it again for Small Town Secrets since the protagonist owns the Golden Kettle Café her recipes are in the cookbook. Everyone who comments on your blog will get a download copy of The Golden Kettle Café Cook Book that Chaneeta Morgan (the protagonist) and I have complied for Small Town Secrets. [As long as we have an email address where we can reach them.]

Those are some of the ways I market and promote. I make up bookmarks to leave with a tip at a restaurant, or the local library—they love to have give aways for their customers. This winter I took a stack of pocket planner calendars to the library along with some pens for them to give to their patrons.

Another essential promotion is a web site and a blog. Both of these are becoming increasingly more important. On your website, be sure to have a page of freebies – things that your visitor can grab while they are there. A recipe, a small report, or article, a e-book download. I have a number of freebies on my website that may give you some ideas for your own. I have one small e-book that tells how to write a book report aimed at the kids. I have a 17 step book for designing your own website on the free Yahoo Geocities. I make these booklets using PDF995 a simple to use program similar to Adobe Acrobat only its free – you can pick it up at www.PDF995.com . I use this same program to format my books that I want to print at lulu.com it makes the conversion so simple. And you can add a link to your website so that the person can download the PDF file instantly.

I am currently working on a Marketing and Promotion book if anyone has any questions I’ll try to answer them or steer them to a couple good tools such as Janet Elaine Smith’s Promo Paks (now out in print format from Star Publish) or Carolyn Howard Johnson’s Frugal Book Promoter ,another book from Star Publish.
If you have some marketing hints you’d like to share I will try to use them in my book and if I do, I will give you space for a signature line to advertise your books, website, blog etc.

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

I struggle with this question constantly. I have so many favorites – I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank when I was about ten or eleven…I recently bought that book again because it has hung in my mind all these years. Is it my favorite? Not the only favorite for sure. My frame of mind, what I’m working on in my own writing has much to do with what I want to read at the moment and thus what comes to mind as my favorite, for the moment.

So many writers have such unique talent that sparks things in me, I read Jude Devereaux and Francis Hodgson Burnett for the pure joy of their words, the beautiful way they create a vision in my mind.

I read Stephen King or J. Gayle Kretschmer for characterization.

I read Janet Elaine Smith for the simple joy of her fun loving and endearing characters. Ron Berry gives me humor, Joyce Anthony gives me depth and spirituality, Barbara Williamson-Wood and Tony Hillerman give me Native American spirituality. Barbara Kingsolver and John Steinbeck give me people and the nuances of class and life among them. Dean Koontz, John Grisham, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Mary Higgins Clark, Nevada Barr, they all sit on my shelves because they are a great read to get me in the right frame of tone, or mood for what I’m trying to write. If you’ve never read Nathalie Goldberg I encourage you to do so immediately – start with her Writing Down the Bones and you’ll read everything she’s ever written, she’s amazing.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

I certainly do Mayra. My website is www.billiewilliams.com ( a free serialized novel is available there under the bookclub tab http://billiewilliams.com/BOOKCLUB.html )or http://www.pensinmotion.com (a free 5 week writing course is available at Pens in Motion) I have two blogs http://printedwords.blogspot.com (all about writing) and http://onewomansgarden.blogspot.com (organic gardening articles)

Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.

I am working on the book that is currently being serialized at my bookclub http://billiewilliams.com/BOOKCLUB.html a chapter a week until the novel is finished, the title is The Capricorn Goat ~~ January Flannel. It is another mystery/suspense January Flannel the protagonist is another of my accidental sleuths who solves crimes with wit, wisdom and chutzpah. I began this project this year at NaNoWriMo got over 55,000 words done then and it will continue until I finish I believe about 80,000 to 100,000 words this time. She is embroiled in a plot that is murder by poison, her friend Echo owns a catering business and someone has poisoned a pair of her clients and made it look like it was her. She is to cater a New Years Eve party and an avenging lover is determined it will be her last before she is put in prison. Can January stop this from happening, especially now that someone tried to put her out of commission by running her down with his car?

I am also working on another book in the writing series I have out this one is Mystery, Muse and Manuscript about writing the mystery. (the three former books Writing Wide, Exercises in Creative Writing and Characters in Search of an Author are available from Filbert Publishing at http://www.filbertpublishing.com) the third is Spice up Your Writing! Write to Entice, and is available from http://www.lulu.com/content/1349866

I also have another couple novels in the works. Tracker, a mystery suspense about a young woman who raises and trains blood hounds for search and rescue teams. Her life may depend on how well she has managed to train a young pup in the methods and means to find her. And a new, for me, Romance that is a romantic suspense – titled Skye’s the Limit set on the Isle of Skye with a Scottish background. So I have plenty to keep my muse stimulated for the time being. I have so many stories I want to get to. Time to knuckle down and just ‘do it’!

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

Thank you so much Mayra for allowing me to visit and share your space, your time and your engaging questions with your readers.

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51qyfctpbjl__aa240_.jpgAlong the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace is the fascinating journey of two men who set out to travel on foot the legendary road once used by the Knights Templar to reach Jerusalem — a staggering pilgrimage encompassing 2,620 miles. More than the mere adventure of two brave men, it is a grand and noble quest for peace, as well as a spiritual voyage that will leave readers emotionally and intellectually replenished.

The travelers are the author, American Brandon Wilson, and his 68-year-old French companion, Emile. The starting point: France. Destination: Jerusalem. In between these two points are Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. Indeed, it is a daunting challenge, to say the least, and Wilson and Emile suffer all sorts of inconveniences along the way — insufferable heat, painful foot blisters, uncertainty as to where they will spend each night. Not to mention the possible dangers they might face, from thieves to anti-Americanism in the Muslim countries. Simple things like taking a shower, clean clothes, and comfortable sleep become a luxury.

Fortunately, they often encounter what the author refers to as ‘angels’, good souls beyond the boundaries of accepted conventions who are willing to offer the pilgrims food, drink, and a place to spend the night. Who would do that in America, where people are so conscious of danger at all times? But in the context of this journey for peace, it’s as if human beings are transformed and the best of their nature comes through. Also, for Wilson and Emile traveling together becomes difficult at times, as they differ in age and stamina. Will they finally reach their destination?

I immensely enjoyed reading this book. Besides being a skillful traveler, the author is also a skillful writer and this shows in his beautiful flowing prose, keen observations and wit. His writing combines a marvelous sense of Zen with good humor, and his personal style makes you feel as if you were there taking part in it all. This book is about a journey both physical and spiritual in nature, and its essential message is one all peoples of the world should be aware of. Though I had the pleasure of reviewing Wilson’s two previous travel books, both fascinating, engrossing reads, I have to confess Along the Templar Trail is my favorite.

Purchase from Amazon.

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Visiting the Dark Phantom today is Aaron Lazar, author of the Legarde and Moore mystery series. Lazar is promoting the release of his latest novel, TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON, a beautifully written, coming-of-age story set in Maine in 1964. Look for my review of this book soon!

The Author:
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Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in-law, dog, and four cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at NexPress Solutions Inc, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending “time” with the French Impressionists whenever possible. Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his “two little buddies” to be one of the finest experiences of his life.

In addition to receiving publishing contracts for Double Forte’, Upstaged, Tremolo:cry of the loon, The Green Marble, and Mazurka,

Mr. Lazar writes “Seedlings,” a monthly column featured in Bob Burdick’s The Back Room, A Cozy Retreat for Writers & Readers newsletter and the Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine (FMAM). It was also debuted in the Mysteryfiction.net literary newsletter entitled “Voice in the Dark.” in the September 2006 issue. Numerous articles on writing have been published by writers’ sites such as Absolute Write. His short essay, “Word Paintings” was included in the 2007 Bylines Writers’ Desk Calendar. Check out the Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine for the flash fiction piece, “Follow the Leader.” Visit his blog at http://www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com and his articles on aplazar.gather.com.

The Book:
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Summer, 1964: Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For eleven-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.

After Gus and his best friends capsize their boat at his grandparents’ lakeside camp, they witness a drunk chasing a girl through the foggy Maine woods. She’s scared. She’s hurt. And she disappears.

The camp is thrown into turmoil as the frantic search for Sharon begins. Reports of stolen relics arise, including a church bell cast by Paul Revere. When Gus and his friends stumble on a scepter that may be part of the spoils, they become targets for the evil lurking around the lake. Will they find Sharon before the villain does? And how can Gus–armed only with a big heart, a motorboat, and a nosy beagle–survive the menacing attacks on his life?

Visit the author’s website.
Read the excerpt.

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Today on the spotlight is civil rights biographer Anita Hackley-Lambert, author of F.H.M. MURRAY: FIRST BIOGRAPHY OF A FORGOTTEN PIONEER FOR CIVIL JUSTICE, now available from Booksurge and online retailers. Anita will be touring the blogosphere this month with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours.

Bio:
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Anita Hackley-Lambert is the former President/CEO of a fifteen year old information technology and engineering services firm and current founder of Hackley-Lambert Enterprises, Inc., an emerging portfolio of business opportunities, including HLE Publishing from which she has launced her new writing career.

Anita has envisioned a career in writing ever since the age of twelve, when she wrote her first unpublished book, NO WHERE TO RUN, a compelling story of sexual assaults she suffered beginning at age five. She was inspired to write the life story of F.H.M. Murray, because of a promise she made to her mother to acknowledge and honor Murray’s legacy. With publication of this book, the author hopes to spark the interest of historians, educators, scholars, educational institutions, black history collectors, genealogists, students, and family members of this outstanding historical figure. Her greatest desire is that each reader will come to know the essence of the man, F.H.M. Murray.

Anita currently has 3 new books slated for publication in 2008, plus 12 works-in-progress. Her future writing projects include such genres as autobiographical, biographical, inspirational, true ghost stories, suspense, and fiction. You can visit her website at http://www.anitahackleylambert.com.

The Book:
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A large percentage of professional historians, researchers, authors, and many others have passed over this astounding pioneer and visionary. Anita Hackley-Lambert delivers on this tribute to F.H.M. Murray, a forgotten civil rights activist and successful businessman.

She was recently credited as an “accomplished author and biographer.” Hackley-Lambert spent twelve years of intensive research into the life of Freeman Henry Morris Murray to uncover his fascinating life’s story and legacy. She introduces Murray to the world for the first time. F.H.M. Murray’s biography is a compelling story that traces his lineage back to 1235 A.D., follows his life’s journey, and reveals his numerous historical accomplishments.

Read the excerpt here.

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Nancy Minnis Damato is the author of the exciting Taylor family saga. The last book in the series, Separate Worlds, was just release last month by Wings ePress. In this interview Nancy talks about her inspiration, book romotion and her forthcoming projects, among other things.

Welcome to The Dark Phantom, Nancy. It's nice to have you here. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?

SEPARATE WORLDS completes the Taylor banking family trilogy. The third generation of the famous Taylor banking family, Taylor, Lily and Amanda Pickett leave the US for France with James in pursuit of his title Duke of LaFevre. In 1914, Château Rose finally becomes a paying endeavor in time for the invasion of WWI. Lily’s trapped in Brussels where her only chance of survival is to betray her family. James decries Lily’s murderous ways then becomes caught in a similar web. When Amanda becomes a victim of her mother’s obsessive ex-lover, they both pay a heavy price. Unable to communicate they each fight their private war and fault the methods used by the others to survive.

THE PAWN introduces this series. Historically based the trilogy begins with a single woman born into a strict, austere community of Elders who expect her to overcome the willfulness, ambitions and coveting that rules her. Her flight leads her to become THE PAWN in a plot to destroy everything and everyone she loves. BELONGING, book II, continues the Taylors’ pursuit of dreams and their need for roots.

The cover of each book is a “jewel”, i.e. blue sapphire necklace, emerald pin and ring, and ruby in a silver medallion. The gems serve a purpose in the stories with their purported emotional influences, i.e. peacefulness, envy, and rage, but in contrast to the battle each wearer believes she is staging. The series is about strong women who butt heads with rules, survive by their own determination, fool themselves along the way and pay the price of their independence. And, about family relationships and how our flaws and personal desires weighed against the pressures of outside expectations can destroy our dreams or force us to fight harder.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?

The series begins in Illinois where I was born and is based on religious followings of my Grandparents. The story travels to St. Louis and onto Bisbee, Arizona, places near where I have lived. Each of these communities bubble with history and influenced me heavily on how we repeat what has gone before–adding very little except modern conveniences. Our basic desires and coping mechanisms remain the same. I researched for years building a timeline, a theme, until Josefina Taylor invaded my nights to the point I couldn’t sleep and interrupted my days with such blatant intrusion it became impossible to conduct a normal conversation without her butting in to “tell her story.” Once the writing process began, THE PAWN and BELONGING flowed for two years–as steady as my physical strength could handle. Editing and marketing ate up more time. Then SEPARATE WORLDS, researching WWI for accuracy and communicating with friends in Europe, took over a year. To answer your question, actual sitting at the computer writing time took three and a half years, but the total time beginning to end took almost seven years.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Writer’s block is a new experience for me with my current work, a romance of a couple separated twenty-eight years prior who are reunited by a third person for revenge. Music provides the best stimulant, if I can find a piece that feeds on the emotion I’m attempting to unveil in the story. And, when shut down, I retreat into Donald Maas’s workbook, Writing the Breakout Novel, to see if I’m attempting to force a situation that is implausible. Always, I tell my husband, dinner out and/or a good movie wakes up the creative juices.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

I submitted to two high profile agents, received encouraging rejections–but rejections all the same. I was bummed and not willing to face that prospect again. A fellow author suggested Wings Press and I got a contract and am happy there. Not the route I would suggest to most writers, but all I want to do is write. I’m not interested in fame, and am too old for world tours, however, a five figure advance could certainly change that idea. Persistence, multiple submissions, perusing the markets for the proper publishing house or agent, spending as much time uncovering a distributor that will answer what you want is as important as the actual writing. Look at history, how long it took our most well-known authors to finally get published–54, 79, 200+ submissions.
I’m not unhappy with my choice, and now I have agents who have contacted me requesting a “look see” at my next creation. We’ll see how seven years of work balances out with the next publication.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

Networking with friends and family sells the most and covers the greatest geography. With six children, fifteen grandchildren, and my husband and my membership in over twenty groups, we are blessed with some genuine promoters at a phone call. Personally, I do local book signings and talks with local groups. Our newspapers list them and a number as an invitation to join. I call and offer to speak for free if I can sell books. No one’s turned me down. The least profitable, definitely the three to four books sold at independent “fairs” that cost way more than earned. Reviews on high profile websites are invaluable and a number of emails hit my website that originate from these reviews. And interviews, like this one for Blogcritics, invite website hits on the internet.

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

Gone With The Wind, of course. The history in the story, the drama, and I admire the guts it took for her to write and publish “trash” as it was called back then.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

My website has the first chapter of each book, a little information about me, and details of the background that brought the trilogy into existence, and of course, a place to buy.
Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

PROMISES, A couple is secretly engaged, but circumstances separate them. Now, twenty-eight years later, they are reunited by a high profile project for the purpose of someone’s revenge. Romance, corruption, murder, intrigue…

EMBRACED BY STRANGERS, an orphan during the depression lives the seedy side of life until someone claims him–only to be faced with evil.

Thanks for stopping by, Nancy! It was a pleasure to have you here!

Thank you for the invitation, my pleasure. I wish you and your readers well and good reading.

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