Category: Guest Posts



Words of wisdom from a very wise man and great writer Seumas Gallacher.

Seumas Gallacher

…blasphemy?… heresy?… ravings of a mad writer?… signs of an author finally succumbing to the madness that years of tilting at imaginary characters bring?… that this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler should posit that the purpose of creative writing is NOT to achieve perfection?… p’raps, Mabel, but just hold on a minute with that frantic phone call to the lunatic asylum to come and cart me away… in a lifetime of reading, my choices of literature have been as broad as can be… Steinbeck, O’Hara, Ruark, Christie, Dickens, Eco, Fitzgerald, Child, Austen, Churchill, Burns, Chaucer… an endless list of library index heroes… every name there acknowledged as classic in his or her own metier, regardless of genre… sparkling storytellers all… but equally, I have noted in many instances, flaws, sum’times, in their narratives… incomplete closure on certain endings… use of language occasionally misplaced… part of that may be attributed to…

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     Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters.

     Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. Linda has two grown sons and lives with her husband and rescue dog in Michigan. You can follow her at her WebsiteFacebookand Twitter

Linda

When did you write your first book?

     I wrote and illustrated my first book in grade school. My elementary school had this contest called “Calbery”. The term “Calbery” was derived from the names of the Caldecott and Newberry Awards. Students wrote and illustrated their books each year. The winners received awards and the winning books were sent on to compete with other students from surrounding elementary schools. It was a big deal and I looked forward to making my book each year. I still have the ribbons and certificates in my writing box that’s followed me from place-to-place. That deep-seeded passion for writing shadowed me through life, got pushed to back burner, but surfaced later on when my boys were young. I wrote my first women’s fiction manuscript about ten years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun.

How long did it take to write your first book?

     To be honest, I’m not sure how long it took to write that “first” full length manuscript. It’s still sitting in a binder on my shelf. Probably a year or so. Maggie’s Way is a different story, though. Maggie’s Way was my debut novel and I completed that manuscript in about three months.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

     Cancer was my catalyst. Being published was on my life’s list of things to do, so I buckled down upon being diagnosed. I put all my other projects to the side and let new characters drive my stories. When I began writing Maggie Abernathy and Chloe McIntyre, I found my voice. Within a year’s time, I’d written first drafts for the three books in my Montana Bound Series. (I’m happy to report, it’s been five years since radiation and I’m cancer free. Grateful!)

What is the best thing about being a writer?

     Connecting with readers, most definitely!

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

     The characters that won’t leave my head until I entertain their story. It’s very difficult for me to turn off my brain, even if I’m exhausted.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

     All. The. Time.

What are some of your favorite books on writing?

  • On Writing by Steven King
  • the 90-day novel by Alan Watt
  • Storytelling Made Easy by Michael Hauge

What are you working on now?

     I’m finishing a Women’s Fiction short story with paranormal elements. It’s in the final stages of editing and it’ll be out mid-June 2018. Here’s the blurb:

     Burdened by heartache, can a whisper from beyond give middle-aged Paula Murphy the courage to just pedal?

     Coming back to her Bay View summer home in northern Michigan means more than planning beach picnics and working in her daughter-in-law’s bicycle shop. Her avoidance to embrace her grown son’s death isn’t the only tribulation weighing on this self-reliant social worker’s mind. Reluctant to believe the unfathomable, Paula Murphy’s world is turned upside down when she’s reunited with the only man she’s ever loved.

bike

Linda is a multi-published author. In 2016, her debut novel, Maggie’s Way was a finalist in The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Award and the Greater Detroit Booksellers Best Award.

Maggie's Way Fork montana xmas

Linda’s books can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2bakz7T

Barnes and Noble:

Maggie’s Way: https://bit.ly/2rJwNhs

Maggie’s Fork in the Road: https://bit.ly/2Inq0R3

Maggie’s Montana: https://bit.ly/2L4kzIy

A Montana Bound Christmas: https://amzn.to/2iprs9w


      Today we have the pleasure of welcoming Author Sheryl R. Hayes as our guest blogger who shares her insights about writing and tells us about her exciting debut book “Chaos Wolf”.  Take it away Sheryl…  

Sheryl R Hayes Author Photo

Stringing Words Together To Create A Yarn

    Aside from using tools that are stick-shaped, you wouldnt think that theres much similarity between writing and knitting. Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels.

      I have been a knitter and crocheter for about ten years, and creating costumes for the last six. I have been writing in some form or another for over twenty years, but started my novel about six years ago. My processes for writing a book and creating a costume are strikingly similar.

    I start by deciding on what I am going to make. Be it a Cruella De Vil or an urban fantasy novel about werewolves and vampires, I need that seed idea to nurture.

Cruella De Vil

    Next I figure out how I am going to do this. I study other costumes similar to what I want to do. I choose my yarn and pick out patterns to modify. I read other novels in my genre. I make up my characters and write my outline.

     You would assume this is where I dive in, but Im not quite there yet. If Im not sure if this will work, I make a few samples. Ill make what is called a swatch by knitting a four by four inch square. From that I will get an idea of how the finished project will look and can estimate how much yarn it will take. I will write a short story or a few scenes to get the feel for my characters. Once I feel comfortable, I begin the actual creation.

     Now begins the hard part. I begin the fabrication, which takes up the bulk of the work. At first its cheery because I am MAKING SOMETHING AWESOME. (Yes, I think about it in capital letters.) But as my fingers start to get sore and my brain stops providing the words, I start to wonder WHY DECIDED TO DO THIS and WILL I EVER FINISH???

     Then, I start noticing the errors. Plot holes appear in my beautiful prose. I discover on row ten that I knit row seven twice, or worse yet, dropped a stitch. Sometimes they are small holes that you can fix easily with a few stitches or a few words. Occasionally they are large holes that require you to rip parts out and, in a bad situation, start over. I pull the yarn off my needles, open a new file, and begin again. Lather, rinse, repeat until to my surprise, I have all the parts made. No more holes to fill. Now it is time to put it all together.

     Once I have all my pieces in place and all my prose written, I work on assembling the finished product. I start sewing pieces together to create the base of the costume. I pick any accessories that I need to add that finishing polish. I send my writing out to editors and beta readers to find out what needs to be rewritten to make the prose sing. Ill hire a cover artist and write the bits and pieces that will be used to promote the book.

     And when Im done with all the knitting and the typing, I have something I am proud to show off to the world.

Bio:

     Sheryl R. Hayes can be found untangling plot threads or the yarn her cats have been playing with. In addition to writing, she is a cosplayer focusing on knit and crochet costumes and works full time at a Bay Area water company. You can follow her at her blog http://www.sherylrhayes.com, on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/sherylrhayes, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sherylreneehayes

Chaos Wolf:

Bitten by a werewolf. Taught by a vampire. At this rate, shes going to start a war.

     Literature major Jordan Abbey ordered a double mocha latte, but it wasn’t supposed to come with a side order bite by a love-sick werewolf. When a vampire comes to her rescue, gut instinct tells her he has questionable motives. But hes the only one she can trust to help get in touch with her inner animal.

     Within a week, her smart mouth lands her in trouble with the hostile alpha of the local pack and the stiff-necked vampire elder. She now has less than a moon cycle to master shape changing… or else. And the besotted werewolf who started this whole mess is stalking Jordan and killing her friends. He won’t take no for an answer.

     In the Northern California town of Rancho Robles where the children of the Wolf and the Bat share an uneasy coexistence, one woman makes an epic mess of the status quo.

ChaosWolfFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700

Chaos Wolf Excerpt:

     He gestured toward the couch. “Would you like tea, coffee, or soda?”

    “Soda, please.” Although she wasn’t thirsty, accepting what he offered seemed the polite thing to do. She sat down on the leather couch and rested her elbows on her knees. “Don’t you only drink… um

     “Blood?” Montgomery finished the question for her. “No.” He stepped into the kitchenette. “I can and do drink and eat other things. It’s kind of like eating junk food. There’s no nutritional value. I enjoy the flavors and textures. I don’t like to do it too often, though.”

     Jordan tilted her head to one side. “Why not?”

    His lip curled into a half smile. “I can’t digest matter like when I was mortal,” he explained. “I have to purge it in a different way.”

    She blinked, puzzling it out. Understanding dawned on her face. “Oh… Oh!”

    One red-and-silver can in hand, Montgomery stepped out of the kitchenette. “When I last saw you, you were hightailing it out of here, never to return.” He gave her the soda and took a seat in the chair sitting at a right angle to the couch. “What happened?”

    Jordan stared down at the soda and rubbed her thumb over the frosty top. “After I left, I went home. I didn’t tell anyone about you.” She gestured in Montgomery’s direction. “I went out to try to forget what happened. When I came back, I found out my roommate’s boyfriend had been mauled to death.”

    Montgomery stiffened. “Did you see the werewolf?”

    “No,” Jordan said. “I didn’t even think he was real until” She paused and shivered, sloshing the soda in the can. “All I could think about was finding you.”

     Montgomery’s lips moved to form a curse. “Did you come directly here?” He stood up and crossed the small space separating the chair and the couch. “Focus. It’s important. Do you think you were followed?”

     “No. The police took me and Molly to the station. We’re not allowed to go back to our apartment until sometime tomorrow after the super gets someone in to” Jordan’s voice broke. She swallowed. “Clean up. I spent two hours getting on and off buses to make sure I wasn’t followed.”

     Montgomery sat down on the couch. “Good thinking. If the werewolf was following you by scent, that should have thrown him off your trail. If he was tracking you by sight, you would have spotted him. Or he would have broken in here by now. You’ve been lucky.”

    “Lucky?” Jordan’s shoulders tightened and her fist clenched, denting the can inward. “I’m being stalked by something out of a horror film and you think I’m lucky?”

     “Yes,” Montgomery countered. “If you had been there instead of your friend, the werewolf would have finished what he started.”

     “Finished what he started?” Jordan put the soda on the table unopened. “You make it sound like he let me live.”

     “He did,” Montgomery stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

     She stared at him with an open mouth. All the movies and books she had seen taught that a werewolf would rip out her throat as soon as look at her. The female victim never survived the attack. “But why?”

     “You haven’t figured it out yet?” Montgomery appeared nonplussed by her reaction. “He wasn’t trying to make a meal out of you, Jordan. He was claiming you as his mate.”

Universal Book Link: https://www.books2read.com/chaos-wolf

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B2RTFCV/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


     Today I’m turning the reins over to guest blogger Tanmay Jain, who has just finished reading another one of Dan Brown’s famous Robert Langdon novels.    Take it away, Tanmay…

Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

Book Review

About the Author:

     Dan Brown is an American author of thriller novels, most notably the Robert Langdon stories: Angels & Demon, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno and Origin. His other books include Deception Point and Digital Fortress. He is mostly known for the book The Da Vinci Code. Three of his books, Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Inferno have been made into successful films.

Plot Introduction:

     The story starts with Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor and art historian being called down to Switzerland by CERN Director, Maximilian Kohler, when one of his most brilliant scientists, Leonardo Vetra, has been murdered with an ambigram seared into his chest, ‘Illuminati’. Robert Langdon, being a specialist in the satanic group, teams up with Vittoria Vetra, the daughter of the deceased to stop a seemingly-impossible plan of the Illuminati to carry out the plan they dreamed of for centuries, the destruction of their biggest enemy, the Vatican.

Book Review:

     Dan Brown is no doubt a mast of his game. His books are laden with intricate and complex plots filled with detailed and accurate research. Angels and Demons is no less.

     As with the majority, I read The Da Vinci Code before Angels and Demons. While the previous was a pure masterpiece, the latter obviously did not meet its standards. This book’s beginning was no that interest-ingiting. The first fifty pages are a little bit of a bore. One has to go through those to reach the real fun that begins after Robert Langdon reaches Vatican City. Before that, the book does not resemble the page-turning flavor that is usually found in Dan Brown books.

     One great marvel about the book’s narration is what a collection of short stories it is. In between the main narrative, which itself is joined with a few other smaller story-lines, there are little stories strewn in. The background stories, Langdon giving a brief about relevant history as the plot progresses really increases the depth of the story and helps in connecting the reader to the characters. The books I also quite informative about art history which is its main theme. The workings of the Vatican, art history of the Illuminati, and certain masterpieces are brilliantly added to the narrative without making it tedious.

     While the main suspense about the plot, that is, the identity’s of the killer is kept until the end, many smaller surprises are revealed and many smaller questions are answered regularly to keep the reader hooked. The book quite easily inspires an unnecessarily loud ‘WHAT?’ from the reader.

     The characters of the book were well-written and deeply explained. While Kohler remained a big mystery and Janus and Hassassin’s character showed the much darker tone of the book. The merging of the multiple story-lines and similarly a single story-line being divided into two story-lines is radiantly maneuvered.

    The writing is filled with creative metaphors and similes, some of which, again introduce small stories of the character’s past. The plot of the book while deeply informative and thrilly is not as complicated as the other books. The ambigrams in the book were quite a delight and seem to be the main flair of its popularity.

     The title of the book is quite poetic and resemble the two different tones of the book, as aforementioned, that of Langdon and Hassassin’s. While the original cover was not available to me, I saw it on Wikipedia. The title was also an ambigram.

Plot – 7.5/10                                                 Research – 10/10

Narrative – 9/10                                         Cover – 8.5/10

Title – 9/10

Thanks so much Tanmay.  For anyone wishing to see more of Tanmay’s insights and writings, here are some links:

Until next time my friends, keep writing.
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