Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Summer Readers Circle: Why Did You Write Your Story? TWO Guest Authors Join the Circle, Reed Stirling and Connie Vines, Prizes

Summer Readers Circle
Hello and welcome to the Summer Readers Circle. I will be hosting guest authors the last Tuesday of the month. These talented storytellers will let us in on why they wrote their books and share an excerpt from the books to hook you on that story. Yes, there will be prizes too just as in previous Readers Circle events. A lucky commenter will win the prize, so be sure to enter!!

Today is a first for the Readers Circle. We have two guest authors, Reed Stirling and Connie Vines, joining the circle to share about their books. Double the fun, double the authors, double the books and prizes! Yes, prizes for 2 lucky commenters, so be sure to leave a comment to enter the drawing. The deadline for entry is Sunday, April 2 at 9 pm ET.

First up today is Reed Stirling explaining why he wrote Shades of Persephone. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing for the eBook novel, Shades of Persephone.
Shades of Persephone by Reed Stirling
A literary mystery filled with exotic settings, foreign intrigue 
and the unmasking of mysterious characters.

Why I wrote Shades of Persephone.

While traveling around the Mediterranean, I fell in love with the old Venetian harbor of Chania, a city on the north coast of Crete, reputed to be the oldest site of western civilization in Europe. What a setting for fiction! What plots might have unfolded here given the fascinating history of the island! Why not a contemporary one?

Inspired by ubiquitous mythical signage, but especially by Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet and John Fowles’ The Magus, novels I was reading at the time, I began sketching out plausible characters of varying backgrounds, foremost among whom, Steven Spire, a young ex-pat as narrator and central character of artistic temperament in need of purpose. Bar and café conversations led to hints of foreign intrigue. Ancient ruins gave way to Nazi runes. Crooked laneways led to mountain retreats and buried secrets. Hydra-headed truth demanded a place on the table along with the ouzo and artichoke hearts. And love, naturally, raised all expectations with the birth, mirroring Aphrodite’s rise from the sea, of Magalee De Bellefeuille.

A short excerpt from Shades of Persephone that introduces the reader to the Pan Pub & Bacchus Bar, where oblivion is an item on the drinks list.

Chania noir

New Year’s Eve. All dark and quiet at Circe’s, and given my predilection for reading Greek signs, I should have read the dark and quiet as portentous. Calypso’s Cave, dark and quiet as well. Housed in edifices centuries old, the discos were populated by ghosts that night.

As I trudged along the deserted quays, I heard few familiar sounds. The waters were silent and ill-defined by either moonlight or streetlamp. Faros seemed far away. Except for an occasional figure darting over the sheen on the flagstones from rain recently fallen, I walked alone.

The door to the back entrance of The Paphos Hotel had been left ajar. Why I associated The Paphos with opulence and the realm beyond my reach I could not say. I had been in only once previously. Catching sight of Magalee from the other side of Halidon, I mistakenly thought she had entered the old hotel. Intimating to the desk clerk a need for accommodation, I was invited to inspect the premises freely. I did, but I did not find Magalee.

Subdued lighting, dark veneer furniture, decadent decor, a subtle redolence that seemed to stimulate more than a single sense: there was a touch of the bordello about The Paphos as well. Here officers of the Third Reich had been entertained by whores. The floors leaned at discernible angles as though designed to usher a visitor into the first available room with a bed. Located on the second floor, the bar was small and intimate, with a partial view of the Old Port. A pendant sanctuary lamp gave just the simplest of signals, that along with the Metaxa and Johnnie Walker spirits, and the sprites that lingered there with them.

Another incongruity. A straight Bob Service stood behind the bar. I ordered a double scotch. He pointed his chin at Emma Leigh Trüger sitting with a man and a woman, looking as though she were conducting a séance. Perspectives narrowed. She looked to me out of the feint light and allowed her eyes to scan the space behind me as if she half expected because I had appeared, David Montgomery to appear. Another presumption, of course, on my part.

I asked about Heinrich.

“My friends don't matter to him too much. He’s probably at the Pan Pub & Bacchus Bar acting out his fantasies.”


The Pan Pub & Bacchus Bar. Some said the Greek Mafia owned it. Kurt Krantz always maintained that Trüger was a silent partner. One habitué, a poet from The Hague, who frequently held forth in the fashion of the Beats, said he had proof an immortal owned the pub, but the proof had gone missing the night of a particularly memorable bacchanal when his creative powers had reached a height never before attained. Patrons debated the issue with waiters, but no one knew for certain the identity of the proprietor. Waiters got paid cash every night by big Kostas, known also as Corunetes, Cudgel Man, because of his extraordinarily large fists, at the end of long muscular arms made even more imposing in rolled-up shirt sleeves. He was butcher, cook, bouncer, and personified kamaki, male macho Greek style.

A grape vine growing by the entrance, old enough to provide extensive shade in other seasons, had been hacked back at this time of the year, though it still blew about giving the place a kind of wild, natural look set against the rock of Kastelli. The doorway, balanced on either side with arched windows, resembled those of many old Venetian structures housing the bars and cafés along the quays. Four large speakers, two in the rear, and two up front and hung outside for convenience in warmer weather, pumped out Punk and heavy Rock. Inside on the right, a large Pan figure greeted entrants with a lascivious look, while on the left, a bronze satyr cavorted, very much amused at his very large erection. The Bacchus Bar, also cavernous, was a louder and more riotous extension of the Pan Pub. Both provided for the visitor in ways that the discos and chic tavernas did not. Once in, you got the impression that people wore masks and that costumes were de rigeur. Here the eccentric behavior of Krikri passed as normal.

“Within,” Montgomery observed one night as we made our way past, Jim Morrison and The Doors wailing after us about liars and fires, “one is tempted by life’s variety in its seriocomic mode. Underworld, under the table, under the influence of.”

“Sometimes I feel out of place,” I said, “and sometimes I feel right at home.”

Though not a regular, I was known here and would enter of my own accord, when not induced to do so by Damen Van Raamsdonk, especially when in a less Socratic mood, or less given to rational and Apollonian influences, or when I felt like getting down and dirty, more interested in life’s underbelly than its spirit. Here I could be entertained by Trüger when he talked suggestively about Magalee. These were nights of denial, spiritual betrayal, and pornographic wish fulfillment for which I would later make amends at the altar of her praise. Something like that. Perhaps it was the graffiti in the men’s room. Magalee sucks goats!

Pulling on a beer, I meandered through the crowd. Krikri appeared for a while, hopping around as though on a bed of coals, opening and closing his long coat in feigned attempts to take flight. Whenever firecrackers exploded outside, he would retreat into that coat and then be reborn as Elvis. His impersonations exhausted, he would grab sleeves and get his hair ruffled.

“Hey, Spire,” New York Nick called out to me. “You lost?”

Nick sat with Heinrich Trüger in the company of two big redheads, Amazons in tights, tattooed and silver ringed. And friendly. As for his part, Trüger had suited himself in large tweed, with a light brown shirt and black tie. He introduced the women as associates from Berlin, ordered me a drink, and insisted I sit down. Their table was near the entrance. How could I have missed them?

“Tell me, Steven Spire, which face Herr Montgomery wears tonight? I think this one.” And here Trüger reached over touched the bronze satyr, at which point everyone at the table erupted into laughter.

As midnight approached, and as the noise level reached hellish intensity, Damen Van Raamsdonk in the get-up he wore Christmas Eve pulled me up by the arm and ushered me towards the back of the place. We passed the large open fire pit where Kostas held sway, and where (you were told) goats had been sacrificed. Damen stopped and pointed to posters advertising dramatic productions, tragedies, and comedies both, that decorated much of the space on the rounded black walls, many pasted over others, giving the impression of seasons having come and gone. He made to say something but then indicated by a twist of the hand that the noise was still too intense. He led me down narrow, winding stairs to where the washrooms were located.  The entrance to the women’s room was identified by a kind of montage, three bloodied maenad faces looking on the hysterical side of ecstatic.

Here Damen put his arm on my shoulder and declared with friendly insistence: “Just once to see her, my friend, clad only in her cloak of darkness!”

“Sounds good, Damen. But what does it mean?” I turned towards the men’s room. Phallic horns on the head of a satyr marked the entrance. I began counting Magic Bus decals on the wall.

Damen grabbed my wrist. He looked at me, his eyes now full of wild surmise. “We have to get Magalee to come here. It would make a good start. Maybe at midnight, my friend”—and here Damen’s clamp on my wrist tightened—“she comes to this sacred place.”

Oddly, I thought of Montgomery’s coming to “this sacred place.” Would one as straight as he have in fact crossed the threshold? Could he really have sought information here? Asked questions?

“Hey, my friend—”

“I figure Magalee’s at Manolis’ tonight.”

And when Damen released my arm, I headed into the john. He followed. After finishing at the urinal, I read some graffiti, much of it anti-NATO. I shrugged my shoulders, not really knowing what else I could tell him.

“Don’t have much time,” I said finally and left him there staring at the wall. I headed over to Manolis’ with just a couple of minutes to spare before midnight.

BWL Publishing Author Page  Reed Stirling

Click here to download Shades of Persephone from your favorite online bookseller


     About Reed:

Reed Stirling, my alter ego, lives in Cowichan Bay, BC, and writes when not painting landscapes, or traveling, or taking coffee at The Drumroaster,

a local café where physics and metaphysics clash daily. Before retiring and taking up writing novels as a past time, I taught English Literature. (Joyce Carol Oates oversaw my M.A. thesis. Several talented students of mine have gone on to become successful writers.)

My wife and I built a log home in the hills of southern Vancouver Island, and survived totally off the grid for twenty-five years during which time the rooms in that house filled up with books, thousands of student essays were graded, and innumerable cords of firewood were split.

Output — Shades Of Persephone, published in 2019, is a literary mystery set in Greece. Lighting The Lamp, a fictional memoir was published in March 2020. A third novel is presently undergoing revision. Shorter work has appeared over the years in a variety of publications  including Hackwriters Magazine, Dis(s)ent, The Danforth Review, Fickle Muses, The Fieldstone Review, Humanist Perspectives, and StepAway Magazine.

Intrigue is my primary interest, with romantic entanglement an integral part of the action. Greek mythology plays a significant role in underpinning plots. Allusions to art, literature, philosophy, and religion serve a similar function. Irony is pervasive. Having coffee out or nursing a beer in a pub can lead to observations that connect to themes I’m developing. It could be snippets of dialogue, a bearded face, the shape of a table leg, or a tune playing in the background.

I sit down to write every day and try to leave the desk having achieved at least a workable page. Frequently what comes of my effort amounts to no more than a serviceable paragraph, a single sentence, or a metaphor that might work in a context yet to be imagined.

Connect online with Reed:

Reed's Website 

Amazon Author Central

Email: reedstirling@gmail.com


Let's welcome Connie Vines who is one of the great authors contributing to the boxed set, Last Chance Beach, Summer’s End box-set.

Why I wrote Paradise Perfume.

Perfume and the art of perfuming as always fascinated me.  The ancient Egyptian, Persian, and Arabian Tales.  The notes which make up a fragrance, like wine, and music to create a symphony.  I wished to share my love of perfuming and the healing properties of fragrances.  Perfume is much more than a fashion accessory.

While I am a writer, novelist, and retired educator, I also have a background in perfuming.  While I am not a master-perfumer (a ‘nose’) like Tempest in my short-short story, Paradise Perfume, or Persia Richmond in my upcoming release by BWL, Gumbo Ya Ya, I was employed by a perfumery as a fragrance consultant.  I tested the PH levels of each client, selected fragrances, and discussed the notes and the impression of each fragrance (signature). The proper way to ‘wear’ and store perfumes etc.

Connie says, "I hope you enjoy Tempest and Sam’s story.  It is a heart-warming and sweet romance."

Paradise Perfume by Connie Vines, Award-winning Author
Sweet romance Short Story
Fragrance and love cannot be hidden.

Tempest Javid, master-perfumer, returns to the family cottage to begin a new life. Sam Bennett, single-dad, is on vacation with his pre-teen daughter. While his daughter strikes up a friendship with Tempest. Sam is worried his daughter will become too attached and be hurt. But after spending time with the beautiful perfumer, Sam realizes he may be the one headed for heart-break.

Last Chance Beach: Summer's End
Romance--short stories

Title: Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End

Last Chance Beach is the island paradise where dreams go to live again and wishes may come true. It’s Summer’s End on the island, and the cottages, condos, hotels, and bungalows are filled to capacity.

This is a special collection of 14 short stories from bestselling authors—all-new, never published before—that will thrill the hopeful romantic in you. Some stories are sweet, some are sizzling hot.  All will touch your heart and make you want to book a vacation to LAST CHANCE BEACH!

Click here to pre-order your copy from Amazon now for 99 cents.

About Connie:
Connie resides deep in the quirky suburbs of SoCal with her family and a sassy toy poodle. Recently retired from the education field, she is thrilled to be writing full-time. When Connie isn't writing, she's trying out her kitchen gadgets (each with a bazillion attachments), or helping the dog dig-up her garden.

Connect online with Connie:

AmazonAuthor Page



Readers--Let's ask questions of our authors about their writing process, books, and all other writerly wonderings you may have. Leave your comments below---and you may be one of the two lucky commenters to win a prize.

Thanks so much, Connie and Reed for sharing with us today!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Book Reviews: Their Importance and How to Write Them

Book Reviews: Their Importance and
How to Write Them
The Importance of  Book Reviews for Readers and Writers

Book Reviews. Oh the pressure of reading the required book and then writing the review brings back the picture of my sixth-grade teacher hovering over me. And don't even go there about her criticism about the grammar and spelling or even neat handwriting. Visions of all the red ink that covered the page come to mind when Miss Oldaker noted every error. And then, the command to "re-write" the entire review.

Okay, relax. You can breathe now. We are not talking about a sixth-grade book report. Far from it. I'm discussing online book reviews, a kinder, gentler exercise written because you want to share the great book you read with other readers so they can enjoy the experience as much as you did.

Word-of-mouth is the best advertising when one receives information about a product or service from a friend, neighbor, or family member. Online book reviews work in a similar fashion. Do you read product reviews online to help you decide whether to purchase? Click here for a study showing that 85 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Book reviews can make a difference in influencing readers to buy a book.

Book publishing has changed the way it does business. Authors and small presses are able to publish their books with easy access to readers instead of having to go through only the elite few of big city publishers. The advent of super booksellers online allows readers to share their opinion about the books they read to help readers find a book as well as authors to get noticed.

No longer is a book published, then off the shelves after a few months. Instead, the book is available for a long time on virtual shelves and its popularity can grow through time. Sales can occur throughout its lifetime rather than a flush of sales when first released. 

Readers and their reviews drive this new model and mindset in book publishing.

If you're a writer, be prepared to market your book forever! Just because your book is a year old or two years old or more, celebrate each birthday and in between with fresh new ideas on promoting it.
Tips on Writing a Book Review
Tips on Writing a Book Review
Consider these tips when writing a book review.
* Go to the page where you bought the book and near the book review comments area, you will find a place to click that says "Write a Review."
* Rate the book using the bookseller's ratings e.g. 1-5 stars. 5 Stars means you really really loved the book, 1 star is you didn't like the book. 
* Because you are on the book's sales page, you do not need to explain the whole plot of the book because it is on the sales page.
* Don't worry about a title for the review yet. Write the review first, then pick out a phrase you used in the review as the title.
* You need not write a long review. Three sentences or more are fine as long as the reader understands if you liked the book or not and why e.g. I liked the book because I really identified with the main character or I liked the way the author described the setting of the book.
*Write as if you are talking to a friend on the phone or at a coffee shop. Keep it casual and write how you talk. 
* Compare it to another book you liked and why this book reminded you of the other book.
* If you feel you'd like to read another book by the author, say so.
* Recommend it to readers of the genre such as cozy mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.
* If you received the book as a gift from the author or publisher, amazon requires you to divulge this. But just say you are voluntarily leaving a book review. 
*You'll receive an email from the bookseller allowing you to read through the review and make changes if needed.
* You can leave your book review at goodreads, amazon, kobo, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and booksellers where you have an account.

The information in the diyMFA newsletter by Gabriella Pereira inspired this blog post. 

Articles on Book Reviews by Sandra Beckwith contributed to this post. 
Click here to visit Sandra's site at Build Book Buzz.
Thank you Gabriella and Sandra!

This article was originally published in February 2019. Because it was a popular one, I thought I'd re-cycle it this week so I can enjoy a lovely summer week!

Do you leave book reviews online? I hope so. When my publisher turned my mysteries into second editions, I lost all the reviews. Sad. If you have read my books, I would appreciate it if you could take the time to add a review to the book sales page. Thank you.

Meet authors and discover new books
at the Summer Readers Circle.
GOOD NEWS: Double the fun next week when two guest authors visit to explain why they wrote their book and to answer questions from readers in the Readers Circle. Stop in to meet my BWL Publishing pals, Reed Stirling and Connie Vines. 

Have a fantastic week full of summer fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Are Podcasts for You?, Facebook LIVE Experiment #Authortoolboxbloghop


Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Author Toolbox Blog Hop #AuthorToolboxBlogHop which meets every third Wednesday of the month to 
share resources and tips for authors. Thanks to Raimey Gallant for hosting this venture. 
Please join us to learn more about the craft of writing and to meet bloggers who are dedicated to helping each other become the best writers possible. Click here to visit other blog hop participants.

Podcast image-BedexpStock from Pixabay 

Are Podcasts for You? by J.Q. Rose

Have you incorporated time to listen to podcasts in your busy daily schedule? Podcasts are convenient ways of learning about the writing industry and a worthwhile link in keeping up with the fast-paced world of books. 

I like to listen to an audiobook while I'm cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, but I thought sitting around listening to a podcast was a waste of time. I felt guilty if I weren't baking, cooking, cleaning, folding laundry. 

But, I have changed my mind. Since discovering a writer's podcast with so much inspiration and information, I do not feel I'm wasting time. During The Creative Penn program presented by prolific author, Joanna Penn, I take notes and learn about other author's writing journeys Her pleasant voice with that British lilt in her conversations is delightful. She interviews writers and pulls out the best responses from them offering helpful tips on writing, publishing, marketing and support for writers. I always pick up a nugget I can use for my writing projects.

Click here to visit  Joanna Penn's podcast, The Creative Penn.

A whole new world of help and inspiration has opened up for me because of podcasts available to writers. Here's a list from The Write Life for you to get started. I hope at least one of these may be helpful to you on your writing path.

Click here to grab the list in the article, 33 Inspiring Writing Podcasts to Subscribe to Right Now by Breanna Bell and Farah Daniel.

If you have a favorite podcast for writers, please leave the link below in the comments.
Thank you.
FB LIVE Experiment
Wednesday Write-In on Telling Your Life Story and Memoir Circle

FB LIVE is another tool in your marketing toolbox. I started trying it out in 2018 at my FB author page, J.Q. Rose, Author. I feel a bit more comfortable now, but I'd feel so much better if I could make my hair look good on camera! 

Anyway beginning Wednesday, July 15, at 9 a.m. on my FB group, Telling Your Life Story and Memoirs Circle, I am going to offer a write-in challenge for 3 Wednesdays in a row. I'll let you know how that works out next month. If you'd like to do some timed free-writing in a live group with interaction, click here to find out more. If you can't make it live, the replay will be available.

Have you done FB Live or do you watch them? Please tell us about your experience in a comment below. Thank you.

Thanks so much for stopping in. I hope you'll visit more bloggers and pick up tips and inspiration along the hop. 
Click here to visit other blog hop participants.

Sign up for The Rose Courier
Click here to get the updates from J.Q. Rose, articles,  newsworthy events, giveaways--sorry no comics--in the Rose Courier. Delivered to your inbox once a month.   
Thank you!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Dog Knows, Excerpt from Mystery/Paranormal Novel Terror on Sunshine Boulevard #MFRWHooks

Book Hooks Blog Hop 
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today we're joining the Book Hooks Blog Hop sponsored by the Marketing For Romance Writers Group. Each participating blogger shares an excerpt from their book. I'm sharing from my mystery/paranormal novel, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard.

What readers say about Terror on Sunshine Boulevard

Back of the Book: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose
Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed or investigating mysterious murders are not the usual calls for first responder Jim Hart. He expects slip and fall accidents or low blood pressure emergencies in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge Senior Community and Golf Resort. The ghastly crime scenes turn the winter time fun into a terrifying season of death and mystery when the authorities cannot track down the predator responsible.

Jim and his wife Gloria could escape the horror and grief by returning to their northern home, but concern for their friends and residents keep them in Florida. With the entire community in a dither over the deaths, the Harts participate in the normal winter activities of golfing, dancing, and pool parties with their friends to distract them from the sadness and loss.

Can Jim and Gloria work with the authorities to discover who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard and stop the increasing body count?

Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Excerpt: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose
A few nights later, Mr. Tweeble woke up with a start when his dog Jingles began barking loud enough to wake him even if he wasn’t wearing his hearing aids.

“Jingles! Jingles! Hush up, will you? It’s three o’clock in the morning. You’re going to wake the neighborhood with your barking.”
He remembered Jingles barking and whining like that when he drove his electric scooter near George McConnell’s house that afternoon. He had finally picked up the feisty terrier and put him on his lap to join the other curiosity seekers near the house. The dog jumped off and raced the other way until he was brought up short on his leash and howled until his master turned the cart around and left the area.
Jingles’ pitiful yowling broke into Mr. Tweeble’s memory.
Fearing his dog was sick, Mr. Tweeble rolled himself out of bed, fumbled putting on his glasses, and shuffled into the kitchen. Using the night light in the hood vent over the old stove to see the dog, he discovered the animal scampering back and forth near the back door.
“Jingles, come ‘ere, boy. Are you sick?” Mr. Tweeble picked him up and gently held the dog close to his chest. He switched on the ceiling light and studied the precious face he dearly loved. He checked Jingles’ brown ears and his brown and white furry body for any injuries and then cradled him to his rotund belly.
“It’s all right, little guy. Come on. Come on to bed with me. You must want to go out to chase a rabbit, eh?” As he slowly shuffled his way back to his bedroom with the dog, he wondered what was wrong. Mr. Tweeble made a mental note to check behind the couch for an “accident” in the morning.

He lay down on the rumpled bed and enfolded the trembling dog in his arms. Suddenly, Jingles wriggled free and sprang up barking non-stop. He leaped from the bed and raced out of the room. A flash of searing yellow light filled the room blinding Mr. Tweeble.The smell of his own scorched flesh burned his nostrils.
Click here to download now from your favorite digital bookseller.

Also available at amazon:


Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Click here to visit bloggers who are participating in the Book Hooks Blog Hop. Discover new books, meet new authors and/or visit your favorites. 

Thanks for stopping by.