Jacqui Murray: Against All Odds

It is ironic, I suppose, that my first post while learning how to use the new WordPress Block Editor is on Jacqui Murray’s latest novel Against All Odds. I say this because I am not very techy but Jacqui is a tech geek and trainer. I am quite certain that we’ll soon find some WordPress Block Editor tips on her blog.

https://jacquimurray.net/blogs/my-techie-side/

What has taken me hours to maneuver around this new WordPress editor and listening to YouTube tutorials would surely have taken Jacqui a much, much shorter time to process this new information.

Tech training requires analytical skills and sound research, two qualities which are present in her novels.

Spread throughout her novel are lovely literary gems bringing life to the many prehistoric settings the novel takes us to.

Xhosa increased their pace, up and down one rise and another, through a copse of lonely trees, and then around a rock formation as big as a family of elephants.

Xhosa trotted into the grove of narrow trees with spiky leaves, over a carpet of ankle-high leaves that muffled her footsteps. Her feet made a soft swishing noise as she walked, like the murmur of stream.

The enchanting names for her characters (Pan-do, Red Wolf, Spirit, Black Wolf, Seeker, Rainbow… give the story a fairy-tale fantasy genre. Although, Against All Odds is a fictitious story of migration in pre-historic times it also based on pre-historic reality.

Xhosa is the heroine and leader. She is on a mission to find for herself and her People a home base. She exhorts leadership traits such as empathy, caring for others, and collaboration with other tribes. Her kindness and persistence bring other tribes to join her fight for survival

…despite extreme adversity, well-equipped predators, and a violent natural environment that routinely asks them to do the impossible.

Jacqui Murray is a writers’ writer as well as being a writer for lovers of pre-historic fiction and strong female heroines.

If you’re feeling, like me, frustrated with learning this new editor, take a break and read Jacqui’s book. It will take you far away from the world of technology. Now how can I add a smiley emoji?

Blogger Recognition Award

 

Blogger recognition award

Award Plaque by Sally Cronin

Thank you to D.G. Kaye at dgkayewriter  for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award.

With each award there are rules of courtesy to follow. Here are the rules:

Rules:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

How my blog got started

This was one of my first posts on a blog I named A Girl Called Brenda.

Posted on July 24, 2010

Writer: A Profession Like No Other

Brenda had just completed all the revisions on her novel. She’d been working steadily on it for three and a half years and now it was finished. She had sent her synopsis to a publishing house and the editor now asked to see her manuscript. She felt elated.
The next morning her sister called. “I’m having a bar-b-q for the family,” she said. “Do you want to come?”
“Guess what?” Brenda said, “I’ve finished my novel.”

“That’s nice,” her sister said. “What do you want to bring?”
“I’ve got a publisher and I’m sending it this morning to the editor.”
“Bring potato salad. Our mother’s recipe.”
At the bar-b-q Brenda placed her potato salad on the table and took off the plastic wrap over it. Her aunt who was standing next to her said, “How have you been, dear?’
“I’ve just sent out a manuscript to a publisher.”
“It’s nice to have a hobby,” her aunt said. “Your potato salad looks good. Is that your mother’s recipe?”
Then a cousin whom she hadn’t seen in a long time spotted her. “Hey,” he said, “How it do, Brendy? Long time no see.”
There were reasons for that, Brenda thought but was keeping them to herself. No sense ruining her sister’s bar-b-q. “Yeah, well, I’ve been busy writing my crime novel. I sent it out yesterday.”
“No shit, Sherlock. I always thought I could write a novel. Can’t be too difficult. I’ve got a few crazy tales up here myself,” he said pointing to his head.
“I bet,” Brenda said. “Excuse me,” she told her cousin, “I have to talk to grandma.”
“I heard you say that you finished your manuscript,” her grandmother told her.
At last, someone in her family was taking an interest in her writing.
“I did, grandma,” Brenda said glowing. “Three and a half years and I finally sent it out.”
“Oh my, how many pages is it?” her grandmother asked her.
“Five hundred and thirty,” Brenda said. “Double spaced.”
Her grandmother’s face lit up. “Do you have any ruined sheets?”
“What do you mean?”
“I just thought that maybe if you had any extra pages that didn’t come out you can give them to me to line my budgie’s cage. Newspaper is so messy.”

It was also on this blog that I posted my Ten Great First Dates series which I eventually migrated to my current blog and shut down A Girl Called Brenda.

Two pieces of advice for new bloggers:

  1. Check out all the WordPress Tutorials for beginners on YouTube. There’s lots of easy to follow advice.
  2.  Remember that you are not the only one who bloggers are reading so be efficient. Avoid Anna Karenina length posts on your blog. Short and sweet is better than seemingly endless.

I’ve chosen to nominate some new bloggers I’ve discovered whose blogs are inspiring, positive and beautiful.

Lost in Nowhere  

Pups&Prose

Site Title: Pictures

Show Pictures  

Ideal Inspiration

Aria-Bela Rises  

Debby

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/signote/

 

 

 

Sally Cronin’s What’s In a Name? Vol. 2

I like to read in bed to get drowsy. Short stories are gratifying in this way because they allow me to hold my eyes open long enough to reach the end of the story. However, in reading Sally’s stories I found her endings reeling me in for just one more story as I fought sleep.

What’s In a Name Vol. 2 contains 16 stories.  Sally Cronin writes honest fiction that reaches the depth of real life, yet her stories are like bubble bath in a warm tub.
It was D.J. Kaye’s post that got me to read Sally’s book:

Cronin’s writing has a way of taking us into the character’s emotions, evoking an emotion in us in return, be it angst, fear, passion or grief. 

The characters in these stories – fortune tellers, con artists, arrogant narcissists, lovers – display courage, revenge, disappointments, romance and sacrifice. Some of the stories are bittersweet, some with surprising endings, many imaginative and all with just enough to satisfy.

Like D.G. Kaye, my favourite story was also about two beloved Xenias -a tender love story among three generations set in a lovely Greek garden.

If you feel like a little luxury treat read this book  – maybe while soaking in a bath.

whats-in-a-name-volume-two-by-sally-cronin

Available:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Volumes-1-2/dp/1905597797

Visit Sally’ blog at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Annika Perry’s The Storyteller Speaks

 

I have been following Annika’s blog for some time now and am always eager to hear what she has to say. Whether she writes about her reflections on the extraordinary-ness of life; providing tips for writers; reviewing books; or writing about journeys taken, Annika writes with a sense of profoundness mixed in with whimsy. 
Such is also the case in her collection The Storyteller Speaks.

 

annika perry

Her descriptions shine. Take as example where, in Biding Her Time a young girl  “…smiled sweetly, shaking her head, her long pigtails waving apologetically, the red bows catching the sunlight.” Or her humorous side in Chillies in My Handbag where she “feel(s) the reassuring caress of soft leather – my red Hermes handbag. Subconsciously I bend over and stroke it, with a final pat on the side. My surrogate pet.”
Then there are her stories of death. In A Bouquet of White: “First when they were young its reality as remote as the planets they gazed upon, with the unflagging belief in their own invincibility.” And her most touching and loving piece in memory of her grandfather in Loss of a Patriarch – “A farewell hug to last a lifetime.”

Perry’s stories are emotional pieces. Moving and honest. Filled with love and beautiful imagination.

The Storyteller Speaks Available at:

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/STORYTELLER-SPEAKS-Powerful-Stories-Heart-ebook/dp/B0789KZVF8/

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/STORYTELLER-SPEAKS-Powerful-Stories-Heart-ebook/dp/B0789KZVF8/

Jacqui Murray’s Blog Hop

I am extremely proud to be part of Jacqui Murray’s amazing Blog Hop for  Twenty-four Days, the latest in her Rowe-Delamagente tech-thriller series.

I first got to know Jacqui through her tips for writers on her blog – which, btw, I am envious of its clean and easy to navigate interface. https://worddreams.wordpress.com/

Jacqui Murray, as far as I can tell, is a techy and – dare I say – a little bit of a geek?

 So, it’s no surprise that her novel is heavily heavenly sprinkled with – in her own words – “edgy science.”

In this novel you’ll encounter a robot that’s capable of self-awareness and expressing emotions. You’ll get a front row seat to invisible warships and dive into the inner workings of the warship cruiser, the USS Bunker Hill ( a cruiser which Jacqui’s daughter served on as an officer – talk about having a great research connection!).

I have a lot of admiration for Jacqui’s accomplishment in writing this series, not only because of the authenticity of the technology detailed in the novel but also because of her talent in putting together believable characters in an intriguing plot about a subject reflective of our times.

Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.

Twenty-four Days

 

http://twitter.com/worddreams

http://facebook.com/kali.delamagente

http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://plus.google.com/u/0/102387213454808379775/posts

Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle Canada

The Writing Job Description

It’s been ages since I’ve posted and it feels great to flex these muscles again. But, like any activity, it’s best to go easy at the beginning of a routine. So, I’m going to start off by re-blogging Belinda Williams’ witty and spot-on article on The Writing Job Description.
See if you have what it takes to be a writer.
Please leave all comments on Belinda’s blog. I’m still not 100% back!

Belinda Williams

Whether you’re a writer or not, you’ve probably come across one of these memes:

What writers do

While you chuckle, there is an element of truth to some of these. And that truth is:

Writing is about a hell of a lot more than just writing.

When I started writing, I had a vague idea of what I was getting myself in for. With the release of my latest contemporary romance, The Pitch, later this month, I’ve got a much clearer idea. It’s the third book I’ve released (with two more due for release late this year and next).

A writing job description (Or, if only someone had told me all this earlier . . .)

Here’s all those things I’ve discovered are part of the job description for ‘writing’ but are not actually writing:

  • Editing. That’s writing, you say! Huh. To a writer, editing is not writing. Editing is the…

View original post 745 more words

DATING EDITION SUMMIT: Get Your Access Pass

 

 

My blog

 

I am both honored and excited to be alongside top experts in Heather Debreceni’s Empowered Divorce Summit, the Dating Edition.

“Here you will find tips and strategies on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your children while intentionally creating the life & loving romantic relationship that you crave.”

The summit begins September 7. Get your all access pass to this ground breaking online summit here:

http://bit.ly/1Euq24N

 

My experiences in dating after a divorce were transposed into a series of novellas and a novel where I write about mid-life dating (and some not so mid-life dating) experiences and other womanly concerns. The silver lining. 🙂

GettingToMrRight_Kindle_Small15%                    81k5oOpEzVL._AA1500_                      

 

Check out these amazing women who will be there alongside little ole me. 🙂

http://www.empowereddivorcesummit.com/experts/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour Through Blogland

tourthroughblogland

Meet Ellie Marrandette.

She is one of the busiest and nicest persons I’ve meet online.

As a certified nutritional counselor, she blogs and gives seminars on “…how to use practical Biblical applications to overcome temptations and become your healthiest mental, physical and spiritual self.”

If you are a chocolate lover, as I am, you will be happy to learn of the amazing benefits of chocolate, including strengthening teeth enamel. Click here for more on this post.

She recently published her delightful debut novel Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime and is writing a sequel to it.

Product Details

If that is not enough, she has just released a new book titled Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese. What a fantastic title!

Ellie has asked me to participate in this Tour Through Blogland. Thank you Ellie for thinking of me and for all the wonderful things you said about me on your tour.

 

 Describing my creative process

 What are you working on at the moment?
Missi's Dating Adventures

These days I am editing my second crime novel and working on  a revised edition of Missi’s Dating Adventures.

In this second edition I am inserting lessons Missi has learned from each unsuitable date.

 

How does my work differ from others in my genre

My contemporary women’s fiction is about middle aged women who find themselves single again. In my novel Getting To Mr. Right I explore the effects of father abandonment on a woman’s relationships with men.

As for my crime novels I stay away from gore or explicit violence. I have often wondered how the wives, children and other relatives cope when they find out that their husband/father/brother/son is a serial killer. In it I tackle this theme where Annie, a nineteen year old woman falls for Niko not knowing how disturbed he is. I like to write about what drives people to commit a crime and I especially like to dwell into the effects crime has on its victims. I’m not too certain if that makes me different.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I write so that I might inspire, encourage, and entertain.  I write because I like doing so.

How does my writing/creative process work?

It’s a mystery and magical as well. The greatest skill I have is trust. I never force anything. I try to be as organic as possible. If I’m stuck, I’ll give my brain the problem to solve. I need to be patient for the solution to come. I think creativity works like this.

I’ve learned that solutions can come anywhere and anytime. Maybe during a yoga class (that happens) while listening to a podcast or overhearing someone in line at the grocery store. It’s a matter of being awake and making the connections.

As Ellie featured me on Tour Through Blogland, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you Ann Fields, a wonderful storyteller, author and co-founder of the Writers Block a non-profit organization that supports African American writers.

PUYB-Meet-the-Author - Copy

 

Ann Fields

Ann’s books have received national coverage in various media outlets and nominations for industry awards, including the Romance Writer’s of America’s Best Multi-Cultural Romance Award.

Before retirement from corporate, Ann Fields was a staff writer for an international ministry; a public relations and marketing professional for a sports management firm; a technical writer in the transportation field; an analyst in the telecommunications industry; and a manager in the regulatory arena. She values her nearly 20 years of varied corporate experience as it provides much fodder for stories and characters.

Now, as a full-time writer, Fields focuses on writing novels, short stories, and screenplays.

Fullers Curse Front Cover Promo                              Voices

Keep your eyes on Ann Fields. Not only is her writing vivid and engaging but she’s also a writer with a mission:

Through my writings, I choose to be part of the mass movement aimed at advancing this world in a positive way and aimed at helping humanity truly embrace “all that is good, noble, pure, and right.” If, through my writings, I touch people emotionally, or move people to think about long-held beliefs, or force people to engage in positive legacy work, then I consider myself a successful writer.

Ann, I wish you all the luck and success with your writing and your bucket list. And I am truly honored to have you as part of my blogging community.

For more on Ann please visit:

Thank you Ann for for accepting the nomination to Tour Through Blogland. 

Here are the simple rules:

1. Pass the tour to another blogger (up to 4 others).

2.Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post. (Ann has chosen March 23)

3. Answer those 4 questions about your creative process (allowing other bloggers  and visitors to know what inspires you).

 Feel free to choose your Tour Through Blogland Photo

Tour Through Blogland    tourthroughblogland

 

blogland      

 

Tour Through Blogland 2

Writing Process Blog Tour Relay

Thank you Bryan Stone, a fine author and blogger, for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

Bryan is working on his third Kay Francis cozy mystery novel. Kay Francis photo 2 (revised)

I’ve read the first two in the series (Murder at the Belmar and Midnight in Valhalla)  and can hardly wait to read what the actress is up to this time.

I also follow his blog  not only because I like the content he posts but also because of his eloquent style of expressing himself. Whenever I read either one of his novels or his posts I feel like I am getting a lesson on how to write well.

This blog tour requires that I answer 4 questions about my writing process and then nominate the blogs of two or three other writers who inspire me,  to do the same.

1)      What am I working on?

Right now I am in between large projects. I’ve just sent a short story titled The Benefit of Tears to ROOM Magazine’s short story competition. I have to thank Bryan for this as his post on Nathaniel West made me go back to reading The Day of The Locusts and came across this line: only those who hope have the benefit of tears, thus inspiring me for the title of my story. Thank you, Bryan.

My crime novel The Protectors is off trying to grab the attention of a publisher while I’m still debating about self-publishing my women’s fiction novel The Dating Club. I am in editing mode for this novel, preparing to send out to Beta readers. I also have a sequel to The Protectors in the works.

As for my blog, I like to have series. I am someone who can get bored fairly easily and so the notion of a series appeals to me. Once finished I can go on. You can read these series on my blog: Ten Great First Dates, Writers’ Desks, Female Nobel Prize Laureates and Femmes Fatales.

2)      How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think that The Protectors is more of a literary novel with a crime occurring in it rather than a traditional mystery novel. It’s not a who-done it for from the get go the reader pretty much knows who committed the crime. I am a criminologist by profession and  so I am interested in the whys of crime.

In The Protectors, I have three criminals: a serial killer, a destitute woman and a cop, each with different motives and past histories tangled up with their crimes. I like to push the social and psychological button.

As for The Dating Club, it’s different in that, although it can be categorized in “chick-lit” its protagonists are older and more concerned with issues such as death, mortgages and loneliness in middle age. The novel examines the effects of an absent father on  a woman’s future relationships.

 My novel Mourning Has Broken is also different in that it is a connected essays on grief. For those interested, I have posted excerpts on my blog.

3)    Why do I write what I do?

The simple answer to this question is because I must. In some ways it is the writing that chooses me and not the other way around. Oh, this sounds like such a cliché but it’s true.

4)    How does my writing process work?

I am such a disorganized person when it comes to writing. I take all these notes down that I never use. I started to write Mourning Has Broken when my sister died after a five year struggle with lymphoma. I told myself that I would write for a year whenever I fell into the grieving well. What surfaced was a collection of essays on mourning. After that year, I re-wrote, hired CreateSpace to edit it (which I have had pointed out still has mistakes) and published through Createspace. Otherwise, on a normal writing day (everyday) I make myself a cup of tea and read in bed to motivate myself to whatever it is I am working on that day, whether it’s my novels, a synopsis, a query letter or a blog post.

Who’s Up Next on my Writing Process Blog Tour?

The purpose of this blog tour is to offer support to fellow bloggers, to expose their writings to a larger audience and so I invite you to take notice of what these wonderful writers are up to and to follow them next week as they post their own writing process.

D.G. Kaye

Debbie Gibbs

She is a nonfiction writer of memoirs about life experience, matters of the heart and women’s issues. D.G. began writing using it as an emotional tool to sort and express her emotions back from her days growing up in an emotionally turbulent childhood. D.G. writes to share her stories about emotional conflicts, overcoming, and she digs deep within to analyze where emotions stem from and how they play into our older selves.

D.G. Kaye is the author of Conflicted Hearts and Meno-What? A Memoir.

conflicted hearts cover large ebook revised (2)

D.G.’s debut book, Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt delves into her emotional struggles as a child, growing up with a narcissistic mother.

Her newest book, Meno-What? A Memoir is a humorous and informative journey she shares about the pitfalls of menopause.

Get your copy of Meno-What?   D.G. also blogs about life, her opinions on people and events and she also shares helpful articles about the writing world. D.G’s favourite quote is: Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!

I have read both her books and have loved them equally as well. Her voice is authentic and writes with honesty and perception.

You can follow D.G. on twitter, facebook, her author page on Amazon and her website.

 

Claudia Anderson

Claudia (2)

Claudia Anderson is a writer who specializes in fantasy fiction and creative non-fiction. She authors a blog titled Humoring the Goddess: Managing the Madness and Magic of Middle Age (www.humoringthegoddess.com), sharing the humorous and often confusing side of life after 50.  She also is a frequent contributor to the blog at Retirement and Good Living (www.retirementandgoodliving.com) , and a Copywriter for Imagine Publicity (www.imaginepublicity.com).

She has been published in the Wisconsin Regional Writer, Paper Tape, and the Peninsula Pulse. She has written several novels dealing with time travel, romance, and mystery, and is working on getting them published.  When not writing, Claudia is an Internet Data Conversion Specialist Analyst for a catalog distribution company. She is happily married, with two grown sons and one adorable grandson.

One of my favorite quotes of hers is from her post Ten Ways To Become a Better Writerthe dreams of those who have only a high school degree are no different than those with a Ph.D.  It is what one does with those dreams that matter in the long run.  You can read the full post here

 

Grace Lessageing

Grace Lessageing writes a blog titled  Anecdotage  where she writes about what is important to her in her life: children, music, food, health.

Writing as Jane Dean she is the author of A Year of Familiar Strangers, a novel about a marriage falling apart as she faces the empty nest syndrome.

Product Details

She began writing about 5 years ago, starting with short stories &then penning the novel she always wanted to write

She runs a writing group called the Spokes and also writes a weekly, meandering blog about anything she think of, including ageing, life, society and current affairs.

She is also leader of a creative writing group and lives in Bournemouth UK.

Her novel is available here.

PEACE, JUSTICE & BEAUTY

Some time back I refused two awards.

One by D.G. KAYE  and the other by DREW DELANEYMy excuse was a question of time and the unforgiving task of having to nominate bloggers. Who would I choose? Would I offend someone?

I still don’t have any more time than I did then and I still find the task impossible of nominating only seven beautiful bloggers from the hundreds I follow.

The Beautiful Blogger Award is an honor bestowed by fellow bloggers to show how much they love reading your blog and appreciate the beauty in your words.

All the blogs I follow deserve this award. They are all beautiful.

In accepting this honor I am required to nominate 7 people for this award.

Number 1:

 ALL THE BLOGGERS I FOLLOW

I nominate all of you for this Beautiful Blog Award. Through your blogs I learn the craft of writing, I read amazing book reviews and wonderful short stories , you take me to incredibly beautiful places, you make me discover new music, shine my days with your photography, make me more aware of politics, make me laugh with your jokes, I follow your dating experiences and learn from them, you invite me into your world and soul, expose me to novels I wouldn’t otherwise know about (including your own) and movies to watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  You take me to adventures, be awed by amazing architecture and art and poetry. I travel with you on your journey around the world.  You give me ideas for supper and inspire me by your prayers and inspirational quotes and yes…there are cats.

So, feel free to copy and paste this award on your blog. But if you do so, please follow these rules:

1.  Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo.

2.  Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back.

3.  Nominate 7 (yes only seven) other bloggers and say a little something about them.

Beautiful_Blogger_Award

 

I want to thank  Marlyn at Kintal for nominating me for the Peace & Justice Award. No one deserves it more than she does.

Also warm thanks to  Karen at mytrainofthoughtson for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. She is certainly one of them.

Now, for the remaining six and not in any order.

If you don’t already know these bloggers have a look at their amazing sites.

PATTY NGUYEN 

I have a thing for grape pictures.

 I have a thing for grape pictures.

 

KERI (Keri’s Journal)

 

My heart has many cracks now, though I brought it to you whole.

 

JAZZYBEATCHICK

 

I want to awaken listeners around the world to the powers of jazz and literary arts that will heal and transform individuals and communities.   

ANN FIELDS

Fullers Curse Front Cover Promo

Through my writings, I choose to be part of the mass movement aimed at advancing this world in a positive way and aimed at helping humanity truly embrace “all that is good, noble, pure, and right.” 

OJIMA

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Ojima was one of the first blogs I followed. I love the freshness of her writing and the innocence of her graphic characters. It’s a fun blog with great African music to discover.

 

SCANDINAVIAN CRIME FICTION 

This blog is part of a project to document and celebrate the amazing amount of high-quality crime fiction

coming from the Scandinavian countries and being translated into English.

 

 The Peace & Justice Award

According to idealisticrebel, founder of this award:

“I am creating this award to honor WordPress bloggers who support Peace and Justice throughout the world and who are against Racism, Bigotry, Anger and Hatred. It is for the Heroes and the Sheroes who believe in One World and All People of all Races, Sexes, Religions, Creeds and Cultures Living in Harmony.”

here are the given rules for the award:

  1. Recipients should frequently write about Peace, Justice, Love — the goodness in the world, or putting goodness in the world.

  2. Recipients may also frequently call attention to the bigotry or racism that happens in the world.

  3. Link back to whomever nominated you and, since this is about goodness, politely thank them.

  4. Spread the love to whomever and however many you believe deserve it!

So if the hat fits go for it and post this award on your blog.

peace