Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest Author: Beverly Stowe McClure

Paranormal adventure 
It is my privilege to welcome accomplished children's author, Beverly Stowe McClure, as a  guest on the J.Q. Rose blog. Beverly is giving away a copy of her new adventure, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat, to a lucky commenter. You'll want to leave a note here after reading her article on writing a series or not.

After reading all about Beverly's new book, please visit Beverly's site to find out about my  book for middle grade girls, Girl's Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, AND leave a comment at her blog to enter to win a copy of Girls Succeed!


WRITING A SERIES, OR NOT
by Beverly Stowe McClure

Series stories are popular. Many readers, myself included, are so intrigued by the characters and their lives that we aren’t satisfied when a novel ends. We want to know what happens after the first book. Authors gladly continue writing, satisfying our needs.

I write single stories, however. Or I did, until recently. My characters have a goal or a problem. They strive to fulfill their desires or to overcome the situation(s) in their lives¾parents, bullies, self-image, or whatever they’re dealing with¾that cause them trouble. Sometimes they succeed. Other times, they reach a new understanding about themselves and/or others and see a different side to their goals or their problems.

No sequels or series were in my thoughts. Then, a nice reader wanted to know what happened to Breeze in my tween contemporary novel Just Breeze. Gee, I don’t know. I thought her story was over. But I started thinking about the kids in the story. Did they want to tell us more about themselves? What other adventures awaited them? Well, Breeze whispered in my ear. And I liked what she had to say. So, I wrote a second book about Breeze and her friends. It took over a year because I was also working on other stories, but the manuscript now is at the publishers. I’ll soon know whether they like it or if the story ends with Just Breeze.

Also, with A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat, my latest tween paranormal novel, it’s been suggested I write a sequel to this book. I hadn’t planned to, but plans do not always turn out the way we expect them to. So, ideas are bouncing around in my head. What could the kids do next? More ghosts? Possibly. Why not? Even a dear writer friend, who has written two popular series, has offered her thoughts. I like them. So, maybe we’ll hear more from Erik and his friends. Maybe not.

One thing I’ve learned about the writing world. “Change” is the normal. And if we as writers want to succeed, we need to be flexible and change with the times. Let’s see. Do I have other novels that the characters are waiting their turn to continue with their stories? Hmm, maybe I should talk to Lizzie or Rebel or Jade or Jennifer. I wonder what they’ll say.

###

Beverly, I bet your characters are clamoring to tell more stories. Because you are a good listener and a great storyteller, we can look forward to more wonderful books about our favorite characters. Thank you.

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of her new release,


A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT

Blurb:

Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.

A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.

Excerpt:

“Have you seen the lights?” Star asked.

On the day we met she told me to call her Star or Starry. Either way she was from outer space. I glanced over my shoulder at the football field length of tall grass separating the beach from the nearest houses.

“You mean those?” I pointed at the hazy glow around a street lamp. “What’s the big deal?”

“Not those. Over there.” Star tipped her head in the direction of the water. “Look.”

“I’m looking. I’m looking.” Why was she so excited? All I saw was a faint beam of light floating across the inlet. “So? It’s a reflection of the moon.”

Star shook her head. “No moon tonight.”

She was right. Yet stars (the heavenly kind, not the girl) glittered between the layers of gathering clouds. “Okay, it’s only the starlight.”

“The light comes from the lighthouse,” Star said.

“You can see it blink on and off,” Storm added.

Morris Island Lighthouse stood several hundred yards into the water. According to Mom, who was big on history, the water was land during the Civil War. Over the years the sea had eroded the shore and water now surrounded the lighthouse. I couldn’t deny the yellow glow flowing from the top of the building. I couldn’t explain it either.

“Impossible. Mom said the lighthouse has been out of commission for years. The lantern was removed. Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse across Charleston Harbor replaced it.”

“Then tell us what it is, Erik,” Star said. “You see it. Storm and I see it. This isn’t the first time, either. On cloudy, rainy nights the light flashes on.”

“It’s not raining,” I said.

“It is raining.”

Star had barely said the words when a gust of wind whipped across the beach. Sand spiraled like a Texas dust devil. Something wet slapped me on the nose. Several somethings wet—raindrops. The space girl predicted the weather. So what? Dark clouds usually brought rain. “Yeah, it’s raining.” Under my breath I mumbled, “And I’m getting wet.”

In a lame attempt to pep me up about my new home, Mom had promised many adventures waited for me in Charleston. Adventures? Yeah. If you called ocean waves slurping against the shore and neighbors with two grains of sand each for brains adventures, I was up to my wet nose in adventures.

The twins stared into the gloomy night, watching the light fading into a dim sliver.

The rain seeped into my T-shirt, gluing it to my skin. Lightning raced across the sky. I shivered. I’d had enough.

I shook Stormy’s shoulder. He kept his eyes focused across the inlet. Star didn’t budge. They could drown if they wanted. I was outta there. I jumped to my feet, turned, and took one step, before Star snagged my ankle.

“Wait. Where are you going?”

“Home, before I turn into a duck with webbed feet,” I yelled above the whistling wind and growling thunder.

She freed my ankle and stood. Raindrops plastered her carrot-red hair against her face.
“Besides the light, we’ve seen a ship, Erik. It always comes during bad weather.”

Stormy sprang up. “We think someone in the lighthouse is warning the ships.”

“Who? How? They can’t.”

###

Available at:

Amazon                       

ABOUT BEVERLY

When Beverly Stowe McClure was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write. Nevertheless, she managed to squeak through high school, where she played the clarinet in the band and was a majorette, and graduated.

Then she got married, had three sons (one an angel in heaven), and attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she had ever imagined. What was she thinking? Finally, she graduated cum laude with a teaching certificate and had a fourth son. She taught children in elementary school for twenty-two years. And along the way she discovered that reading was fun and writing was even more exciting. Forty years after her poem was published, she sent an article on fire safety in the home to Happiness magazine, and it was published. She was on her way.

Beverly and Jack have five granddaughters (one also an angel in heaven), two grandsons, two great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter. They live in the country, with two cats that adopted them and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a visit. To relax Beverly plays the piano, enjoys discovering ancestors in her genealogy research, and takes pictures of wildlife and clouds and sometimes people. She teaches a woman’s Sunday school class. And she writes most every day.
###






Monday, January 28, 2013

Guest Author: Scott Caseley


Today it is my pleasure to welcome Scott Caseley to the J.Q. Rose blog. Scott is sharing a letter written by one of his characters in his newly released Young Adult – Coming of Age Mystery, Romance novelIsosceles.



Madeline Edwards is a principal character in the book. As a high school student who lives in the town of Noone, Madeline is applying for entrance into Monadnock University.

Dr. Jason Gerard
Dean of Admissions
Monadnock University
309 Swift Way
Monadnock, New Hampshire


Dear Mr. Gerard,

            Noone is more than a community of people; it’s more like—family. I was born here just under eighteen years ago in Lariviere Hospital. My parents brought me home, to the house that’s been in our family for generations. And, this is the kind of town where everyone it seems has roots here going back to the founding in the 1740’s. There’s a genuine sweetness to everyone you meet.  People are always saying “Hi” when they pass you on our main street, Zoe Avenue, or any other neighborhood in town.

I really like being a student at Oakes High School. Those people who say that high school is the best years of their lives are absolutely right. I have made lots of friends having been in the town of Noone my whole life. It’s nice too, I think, the familiarity of the faces. Because everyone has known each other since the first grade, we all get along. Maybe I’m na├»ve, but I don’t find there to be any real cliques in the halls of Oakes.
           
            Okay, my life hasn’t all been that easy, my mom passed away when I was nine.  After that happened, my dad became a super-dad of sorts. He worked real hard, and was very devoted to me. When the bottom fell out of the economy a few years back, he lost his full-time engineering position at a tech company downtown. He didn’t stay out of work long though. Six months later, he took the first job that came up, a clerk position in a hardware store across the Plausawa River in Carver. While the money hasn’t always been great, and he’s had to work of overtime, he still managed to have an active role in my life. He’s taught me a lot about having a strong work ethic and how to be an exceptional parent one day. He’s my hero.

            In closing, I hope that you will take into consideration, not just my GPA from my work inside the classroom, but the lessons I have learned in my town and inside my home.  I find that to be a clinical psychologist, learning about, and from people is the best set of lessons and tests that one can take. I look forward to joining the community at Monadnock University, and learning from a new set of faces and minds.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Madeline Leslie Edwards


BLURB: 

When he finds his best friend Trey Goodsby dead and almost completely
submerged in a bathtub filled with bloody water, Sean McIntyre is determined to find
out if it was an accident or suicide. If it was suicide, why did he do it? And, did his
death accidental or intentional have anything to do with Madeline Edwards, the woman
who came between them constantly through their thirteen-year friendship? Isosceles, a
coming-of-age mystery romance begins with the death of Trey Goodsby, and explores his
relationships with family, friends, his romances, and which of the circumstances he found
himself in that led to the tragic event, and the repercussions for those he left behind.

EXCERPT

“Go over to the play area. I’ll deal with you once I’m done
with…ah…whatever his name is.” Carter nodded to where the rest of the kids kneeled,
stood, or sat on a blue carpet, watching a boy building with wooden toy blocks. Right
away, I could sense he intended on crafting something difficult, a scale model of the
courthouse down the road from Footbridge. While the boy’s physical appearance seemed
rather ordinary, his skills could not be beat. He hadn’t misused a single block. Without
any hesitation or second-guessing himself, he knew what to do to put everything in the
right place.

“That’s so cool, Trey,” I heard a soft voice like the melodious whisper of birdsong, my
intuition revealing the identity before my eyes did. Madeline swayed from side to side,
beaming with her pearly-whites.

Trey paid her no mind though, allowing himself to be distracted only by his overgrown
dirty-blonde hair, which kept going in his face. Sometimes, he didn’t even push it away.
His focus so intense, a few times, he almost knocked into other kids. He never apologized
for it, nor did most get upset. They seemed to understand he was in a zone, one with his
creation. He circled the perimeter to detect if it needed something. Whenever he snapped
his fingers, he’d call out “cylinder,” “triangle,” or “rectangle.” Madeline would select it
out of a decaying cardboard box, to present it to him like an obedient puppy bringing a
tennis ball to its owner.

Mr. Carter, with Sheldon behind him, returned from their business in the hallway.
They joined the rest of us, studying Trey’s handiwork. Before long, Mr. Carter became
entranced, too. It felt frustrating. Being an only child, I was used to being the center of
my parents’ universe. Here, someone else stole the attention so rightfully mine. Worst
of all, watching Madeline fawn over him drove me crazy. His hair was messy, his shirt
dirty, and he was just average. Why did he hold her interest? Shouldn’t she see me
instead? Mom knitted me this nice sweater and combed my hair before I went to the bus
stop. My head started pounding from over-thinking the situation when Madeline moved
toward him, letting her pigtail accidentally brush against his head. He didn’t seem to
notice, but I sure did. I needed to take action.

Creeping over to the box of blocks less than five feet from the audience, I reached in
blindly selecting a triangle-shaped one with green crayon on the side facing up. With
everyone so enamoured by the courthouse, they didn’t even notice my hands trembling at
my side with rage. Giving one last furtive glance to Trey, Madeline, Mr. Carter, and then
ending on my classmates, I felt ready to execute the plan.

Many of the other kids started to pick up on my actions, giving me a brief moment of
satisfaction. Their jaws dropped as they watched the projectile block following a jagged
path through their makeshift circle. Of course, motor coordination issues since birth and
anger clouded my vision. Translation: my aim was inaccurate.

The block went careening through the air, never even coming close to its intended target.
Trey knew no fear, however. He must’ve sensed my imprecise aim the moment it left
my unsteady hand. Without raising an eyebrow, let alone diverting his eyes from his
structure, his arm swatted the wooden toy away like a fly. It changed course to come
crashing down onto the bridge of my Madeline’s button nose. I’m not sure what started to
pour first, the blood from her nostrils or the tears from her green eyes.

The bloodstained triangle ricocheted off her face to the courthouse, knocking it down
like dominoes. At the same time, Madeline wailed in pain. Trey’s eyes cast down at his
destroyed masterpiece, over to her, and finally to the crowd of spectators, with a cold,
soulless expression. He breathed heavily out of his nose, needing to know who ruined his
work. Sheldon, along with two other snitches, fingered me for the crime.

BUY LINKS



ABOUT SCOTT CASELEY

Scott R. Caseley was born in Nashua, New Hampshire. He gained an interest in writing in elementary school in nearby Hudson. Growing up, he carried a small notebook or pen on family trips making observations and frequently turned them into poems or short stories. While attending Franklin Pierce University, he co-wrote and co-directed a student film. After graduating, he wrote and directed a dramatic feature, co-wrote and directed a documentary and conducted interviews for an online magazine. He's also passionate about acting, and he's enjoyed performing on stage, in bit parts on film, and is also a trained voice actor. In addition to his creative pursuits, he is passionate about healthy living. He follows a fitness regimen consisting of several activities such as; weight training, walking, swimming, yoga, and hula hooping. He complements this by cooking several nutritious examples of international and American cuisine. Last, but certainly not least he also enjoys just spending time with family and friends until the early morning hours with plenty of laughter and coffee.

Twitter: @scottrcaseley
Website: https://www.scottrcaseleyauthor.com






Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gone Flamingo Because of Delilah Stephans


Yes, I have gone flamingo. I now have a flamingo on the front of my house.


No, at least they are not the pink flamingos usually displayed in the yard. This is a classy one I found on sale at Old Tyme Pottery. The bright flamingo welcomes visitors to our home.


As if that welcoming flamingo isn't enough, inside my home there are more flamingos--on mugs, in photos, and even on my t-shirts for heaven's sake.This delightful figurine was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law. They were so excited when they found it in a jewelry store, they called me from the store and asked if I would be home. They wanted to drop something off.  This beautiful figurine was the perfect way to celebrate. I posted a blog about it if you want to read about this very special surprise.

Celebrate what?


We celebrated the launch of my first mystery novel, Sunshine Boulevard, from MuseItUp Publishing in March 2011. Look at the cover and you can see why the flamingos have taken over my life. It's all Delilah Stephans fault. She is the book cover artist and selected the flamingos to grace the front of my book  and signal readers the story takes place in Florida. Notice this little caveat, the flamingos are in a heart shape.--because the main characters in the story are Jim and Gloria HART. Pretty clever of Delilah. I smile every time I see the flamingos.

As much as I loved the book cover, I look forward to moving on with my next mystery/sweet romance novel from MuseIt Up Publishing, Coda to Murder. It will be released in February and as soon as I get the book cover, I will put it up on display here. Hmmm....I wonder what I will be collecting to celebrate this new story!

stained glass window

Coda to Murder--Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Available Now--Study Guide for Girls Succeed




The Study Guide to accompany the non-fiction e-book for middle grade girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, is now available.The stories chosen for this e-book are designed to inspire and empower girls to pursue their dreams for their futures. The fifteen successful women within the pages are excellent role models for girls. 

The guide is organized into themes that are found in the stories.You may jump around and use the themes/chapters in whatever order you wish. I have included questions  for discussion and activities to expand on the themes of Passion, Persistence, Trailblazers, Feeling Different, Being the Best You Can Be, and Overcoming Obstacles.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Lovely Blog Award!!


lovelyblogjpg


My author pal, Tess Grant, gifted me with this award, the One Lovely Blog Award. Pretty picture isn't it? Tess has a fantastic YA series, the Kitty Irish Trilogy. Lots of suspense, witty, and entertaining read. .The first in the series is Trajectories.

Trajectories -Kitty Irish has heard all the rumors swirling around Daniel Phinney. Most of them involve a gun, a flask, and a temper. One chance encounter with the WWII veteran over a grisly find in the woods pulls the cover off the dark secrets of their small town, and Kitty is drawn into an unlikely partnership.

Armed with an antique rifle and a handful of homemade silver bullets, the two form an efficient team. Unfortunately, their game is werewolf hunting, and disaster is only a bite away.




To accept the award I have to tell you seven quick facts about me. (Try not to fall asleep through this, okay?)
1. I can't swim. Nope, I grew up in the corn fields of Central Illinois--no water playgrounds there. 
2. But I made sure my daughters could swim. One in fact was on the high school swim team and taught swim lessons!
3. I like potato chips dipped in ketchup. Especially good with a cold glass of chocolate milk.
4. I taught third grade. It is in my genes. My grandmother and mother were school teachers.
5. My dad was a funeral director. 
6. I swore I would have nothing to do with the funeral business, but I didn't keep that oath. My husband and I went into the flower business. I made tons of floral arrangements for...funerals.
7. I am a snowbird spending summers up north and winters in Florida. I still believe we should be known as sunbirds because we follow the sun.

To pay it forward, I’m tagging  a few fabulous bloggers for you to get to know better. Check them out!

Lorrie Unites Struiff

Gail Roughton

Pat McDermott

Joylene Nowell Butler


Monday, January 14, 2013

Writers on the Move Host Me: Self-publishing with Smashwords

Writers On The Move
Writers on the Move will help you with your writing career.

I'm a guest blogger today on the information-packed website for writers, Writers on the Move. I am sharing my experience of self-publishing on Smashwords with the readers.  According to Smashwords information, they are the largest distributor of self-published e-books in the world. Their service is free to upload a manuscript and churn out a finished e-book. They publish the work on their site in all the formats used for reading on the many devices available now for e-reading. Then, if your e-book passes the strict guidelines for getting into the premium catalog, your words will be distributed to major online booksellers in order for you to reach more readers.

Click on over to my blog post at Writers on the Move to read about my experience and to discover this helpful site for writers.

BTW, the book I published on Smashwords is Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, a non-fiction e-book for middle grade girls. Take a peek at it. 



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Travel Time: Ringling Circus Museum and John Ringling's House of John on Sarasota Bay, FL





In the Ringling Circus Museum, the calliope and stilt walking performer costume are from the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus circa 1918-1938
Ladies and Gentlemen--Welcome to your arm chair travel tour of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus and John Ringling's home on Sarasota Bay. My husband and I spent a few days over New Year's in the Sarasota, Florida area and loved it. We winter only two hours north of Sarasota and yet, the feeling in the Sarasota air is so different. Much more tropical and lush than where we are. Gorgeous flowers and landscaping. So green.  I thought I was in Ireland. (Okay, I'm sure you Irishmen don't have palm trees and hibiscus, but I do envision Ireland as green and gorgeous too.)

Today I am sharing some of the photos we took on our small adventure. (Also today I am a guest at Penny Ehrenkranz blog, so click on over when you get done here. Thanks!) So sit back and picture the colorful sights and sounds of the circus as you munch your popcorn and eat that delicious cotton candy. Can you hear the circus band, the elephant trumpeting, the excited buzz of the crowd waiting for the first parade of performers and wild exotic animals? Oh yes, I'm sure you can imagine the smells of the saw dust, the earthy perfume emanating from the animals, and oh the delightful fragrance of fried onions and popcorn.

The performer in the picture above would definitely be found in the opening parade called the spec. The circus always packed as many performers and animals into the spec to wow the audience. What a sight to see. The calliope, which circus people pronounce as callie-ope, was always the last wagon in the parade. Can you hear it as it exits the big top and performers take their places in the three center rings? So much excitement and magical sights to take in, it almost overloads our senses. 

Me and my favorite wagon, the calliope

Below, the band rides the music wagon in the parades. 

Did you ever watch the circus train arrive in town, then follow the elephants and performers as they paraded through town? Did your parents let you stay to watch the workers set up the big tents?

Musicians sit atop the music wagon.  What superior craftsmanship is on display in the construction and decorations.

There is so much to see in the Ringling Circus Museum. I only shared a couple of photos with you. We moved on to Mabel Ringling's rose garden taking in the scents and vibrant blooms on display surrounding the lovely gazebo in the center.
Just one of the gorgeous plants in the over 25,000 square foot Mabel Ringling's rose garden.

The House of John (Ca' d'Zan) is the name of the gorgeous Italian influenced Ringling Mansion overlooking Sarasota Bay.

The walk up to the front of the house.


The front entrance emulates the Mediterranean architecture found in Venice and Spain.

The back of the mansion overlooks Sarasota Bay. The floor is stone imported from Italy.





Sarasota Bay



The Circus Miniature and Interactive Galleries are housed in the Tibbals Learning Center. All of you kids-at-heart will be giddy when you walk into the 3800 square foot room filled with the Howard Bros Circus Model. The design and set-up is based on the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus as it presented its Big Show in 1919-1938. The model is 3/4 inch-to-the-foot scale featuring eight circus tents and 42,000 objects--including the 7000 tiny folding chairs that seats the circus goers under the Big Top. The photo taken below was taken from the second story of the Tibbals Center looking down on the miniature circus. Notice the twinkling lights because this shot was taken as dusk falls over the circus-scape. After a few minutes, the house lights are brightened for a daytime look at the circus. 


You can spot the big top circus tent (center right) where all the magical performances in the three center rings are displayed. Sadly my photos cannot show you the craftsmanship and detail by the artist, Howard Tibbals, circus historian and philanthropist. He has worked on this model over fifty years and continues his work in its present day permanent location at the Tibbals Center. (Yes, he toured with it. Can you imagine packing this model up and then setting it all up over and over again in another location? His work is truly a delight to see.)

Unloading supplies from the train and pulling it to the circus location.

Fruits and veggies for the circus workers and animals. Ordered way ahead of time to be sure to have 1000  pounds of meat each day!

Dining tent--no paper plates and cups or dishwashers in 1918!

Side show and vendors keep the crowd happy before the Big  Show begins.

Remember the Bearded Lady and the two-headed horse? LOL

Animals in their cages waiting to perform their very special acts.
Whether you have never been to a circus or if you are an aficionado of this exotic performance art, you will love the Ringling Circus Museum. The artifacts, posters, memorabilia are everywhere to jog your memory and nostalgia of the circus days. After visiting this museum, I wonder if I made the wrong decision NOT to run away and join the circus!

The 1952 film, The Greatest Show on Earth starrring Cornell Wilde, Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, and Betty Hutton, was filmed in Sarasota with the Ringling Bros. Circus as the backdrop. You may have figured out that this is one of my all-time favorite movies. That may be the only way I will experience being a part of the circus. I can also recommend the book, Water for Elephants, as a great circus read!

If you get in the Sarasota area, be sure to take time to see the Circus Museum. Besides the museum and mansion, there is also an Art Museum and historic which we did not have time to visit. Perhaps next time...Tip--The Art Museum is free and open to the public every Monday.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guest Author, Lorrie Unites-Struiff Visits




Our first guest author of the new year is talented and creative Lorrie Unites-Struiff. Perhaps you all will identify with what Lorrie believes is her biggest weakness. You're lucky to be here today because this entertaining author shares an excerpt from a story in her funny, paranormal Call on the Dead series. I think you'll get a kick out of Lorrie's unique characters and her humorous storytelling.

Welcome, Lorrie. So glad you are visiting with us.


Thanks so much for inviting me here today, J.Q.
*Looks around*
Wow, what a nice blog. I feel honored to be here.
I would like to tell you and the folks about my weakness. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I will.

You might not believe it, but I’m basically uncomfortable promoting my work.

 I can’t write that my books are great, they’re entertaining, have great plot twists, full of humor, etc. Of course, I think they do, I wrote them. *laughs* But, I have to promo to get my name and stories out there. Why does it have to be so hard for me?

The reviews I’ve received have all been good. But, taste is so subjective, especially humor. And, I write across the genre board.

For instance, Gypsy Blood and Wild Blackberries are paranormal. They are both creepy and thrillers.
HEAP OF TROUBLE is a western romance, humor, action. The readers that read it fell in love with the characters.
The COD (Call on the Dead Club) is a humor paranormal series. Winnie develops a crazy gift that she doesn’t want and gets into all sorts of trouble.
The Last Dance is a story about the 50’s, a high school first love.
I’ve written historical fiction, noir detective, even a popular, somewhat romantic, dance story. So, you see my problem.

I also find it difficult to compete with all the other good authors who you see splashed across Facebook every day.

“Come read my blog, no, read mine.”

How do I make mine stand out? I can’t write that mine is better, it might not be. There are a lot of good authors and stories out there.

I wish I could tout myself, and my stories, without feeling…uneasy…awkward. I also wonder if any other authors feel as I do. They all sound so gung-ho.

So, here I am, on your lovely blog, admitting my biggest weakness.

How do I overcome this problem? I’d sure like some suggestions.\

So, what story do I try to brag about today?

 How about my Winnie series? The COD Club (Call on the Dead)
Now, the uncomfortable brag begins.....

Wow! I think The COD Club is hysterical and so do others who have read it. This is the first story in the series. Actually, the first two stories are combined in one download. The Unwanted Gift, and Goin’ in Style. My lead character, Winnie, is a hoot. Her cohort Fat Phil is another funny character. If you readers enjoy the stories, more will follow soon.
I promise, it’s a hilarious read, a real humdinger of a comedy.

How did I do?
The COD (Call on the Dead Club) is a humor paranormal series. 
                   
                              Chapter one of the first story, The Unwanted Gift.

       I slouched as low as possible on the folding chair as ‘Fat Phil’ Phillips ambled to the makeshift podium at the front of his green-carpeted rec room.
             He cleared his throat. “This month’s meeting of the Call on the Dead Club will now come to order. We have a new member, folks.  You may remember the newspaper article about the fifty-five-year old widow who experienced a near death episode last month.”  He pointed a stubby finger at me. “Mrs. Winnie Krapski survived hugging her cherry tree when a lightning bolt split the trunk in half.”
            The wooden ridge of the chair pressed into the back of my thighs while I fidgeted and wished I could become invisible. The darn chair squeaked.  All six members turned and stared at me. Heat rushed up my neck into my face.  I used my newcomer pamphlet as a fan, pretending a hot flash.
            I glared back and fluffed my salt-and-pepper poodle curls with my fingers. “Well, I wasn’t about to let a downpour ruin my expensive new perm.” I fanned faster as a cheery chorus of “Welcome, Winnie,” resounded from the group.
            Three days ago, before this dratted meeting, I had seen a friend at the funeral parlor. My elderly Bingo buddy, Cora, had been sitting in a chair. . . next to the casket in which her body lay. 
           I fainted.
           Fat Phil had been there and revived me, then escorted me home since he lived only a few blocks from my small cottage.  He assured me I hadn’t been hallucinating. Apparently, my lightning accident had bestowed me with an unusual ability.  One I definitely did not want.  He possessed the same ability and insisted I attend this meeting with the other members who had also experienced the same phenomena. 
             At the podium, he ran his thick palm across his comb-over, then pointed to the map tacked to the wall.  Various colors portrayed sections of our fair town of Citiesville.  In the purple, my name stood out in heavy black lettering. “This will be Winnie’s target area.  Everyone okay with that?”
            A collective, “Yes,” too eagerly shouted, sent a foreboding shiver up my spine.
            We stood and repeated the pledge:
           ”I will faithfully read the daily obituary column.
            I will visit the dead in my designated area, avoiding visiting hours, and ask if they have one last request.
           I will perform said request to the best of my ability and vow to return with an honest report before the casket’s final closing, at which time their spirit must forever leave this earthly plane.”
            What had Fat Phil talked me into?
***
Buy Link for the Unwanted Gift


Now here's the "skinny" on Lorrie--


Lorrie lives in West Mifflin, PA, thirty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. She lives at home with her favorite toy—a computer.

 Once a gold medalist teacher/manager for a big-name ballroom dance studio she has retired and now enjoys the quiet life of writing and watching TV. But she loves to have lunches with local writers to keep abreast of the challenging world of publishing.

Lorrie writes in many genres so you never know what she will come out with next. She never wants to bore her readers and enjoys the thrill of entertaining them by writing a good story.

She would love to hear from her fans at struiff@msn.com. Please put “reader” in the subject line. Thank you.
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Guest Author

Today I am delighted to be Debbie Amadei's first guest author on her site for non-fiction children's literature, The Swimmer Writer.  Come on over and take a peek after reading and commenting on Lorrie's post. See ya' there!

Debbie's review of Girls Succeed appeared on her site on December 16.