Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Author Spotlight: Joanna Lee Doster!

Today, please welcome Joanna Lee Doster to the spotlight!






1.  What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?

I have written both non-fiction and fiction. My first book was on interior design and my new book is the first of an action-thriller series

2.  When is your next book being published?
          
I have just recently released Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit and the next book is still in the draft stage.

3.  When did you start writing?

I seriously began writing in the mid 1990’s.

4.  How did you get into writing, and why did you pick the genre that you currently write in?
            
My family is comprised of writers. Writing was always a creative outlet for me. With all the characters in my head, I guess I’m compelled to write about them. I’m not exactly sure how I started writing an action-thriller in motorsports. But I fell in love with the sport and this young character and his family developed in my head. The story just exploded out of me and I did my best to capture all of its energy. I also love heroes and characters overcoming bad situations.

5.  What is your creative process like?
          
I begin with the characters, learn about their world and let them tell me the story.

6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?
          
I love to read; from the classics to the latest pulp mysteries. I have so many favorite authors –too numerous to mention them all. Favorites from the past: Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. Current favorites: P.D. James, Elizabeth George, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, and Pat Conroy to name a few.

7.  What motivates you to continue writing?
          
I have epic stories to write.

8.  How do you get ideas for your stories?
          
They come to me in my dreams. My brain never shuts off.

9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?
          
I have had several careers. I am a licensed interior designer, I taught language impaired deaf children, and have held executive positions in the entertainment industry. One of my beloved Maltese dogs Jumping Jack Flash, is an animal actor in operas at The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He has sat on the laps of world famous sopranos, one of whose was Renee Fleming’s.

10.  Tell me about your latest book.
        
Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit is an action adventure thriller. The story spans three generations of a prominent family with deep roots in stock car racing, but mainly focuses on the life and loves of a young hotshot racing driver Sean Devlin, the protagonist, a true hero who after surviving a horrific childhood full of bullying and abuse due to a terrible stutter, goes on to become a champion racer and the number one driver of his family’s racing team. Wrapped around the family drama is the adrenaline-packed world of stock car racing.

The action heats up when the Devlin Motor Sports team becomes the target of sabotage and betrayal right before the most prestigious race of the year. Caught in a web of danger, the Devlins must band together to solve the mystery of who is behind an elaborate plot to destroy them. Everyone becomes suspect. The shocking truth will blow the Devlin family apart. The action never stops; the secondary characters pull at your heart strings, and the edge of your seat racing and chase sequences, as well as intrigue, revenge, romance, heroics and forgiveness all make for a great read.

11.  Your movie has made it to the big screen!  Tell me, who would you want to play the key characters?
          
Stephen Moyer plays Sean Devlin
Angelina Jolie plays Dakota Phillips
Clint Eastwood plays Taylor Clayton Sr.
Ray Liotta plays Ace Devlin

12.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?
          
I’d say doing the research and prep work was the hardest part of writing. But when the book is finished and gone to press, cracking open the binding of the proof copy is an absolute thrill!

13.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?
          
Perhaps involved in the producing of my books-to screen or to episodic television.

14.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?
           
Maximum Speed Blog:

Author’s Website:

Online Bookstores:



On Facebook:



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Friends & Birthday Wishes

B.F.F.  

That one friend that you have this undeniable, unshakable, unending connection with.  You know the kind of friendship I'm talking about: the one friend that would help you hide the body with a brilliant, wicked smile gracing their lips?  The one friend that, Heaven help you, ever decided to write a novel, you would have to kill her since she knows every single dirty little secret you have?  

The friend that has a shoulder with a permanent indentation of your tear-soaked face from all the times you slobbered all over it, boohooing over some major tragic event? (events, of course, which have morphed over the years from not making the cheer team to your husband just left or a beloved family member passing on).

The one that has the bail bondsman's number on speed dial from rescuing your pathetically stupid self from yet another rough night after said "tragic" experiences above?  The one that hates all of your ex's with almost as much passion as you do?  The one friend that will tell you, straight up, "Yes, those jeans make your ass look big."  

The friend that risks your friendship by telling you the truth when asked for an opinion, rather than just gently tinkling your ear with the meaningless dribble you want to hear?

The friend that intuitively reads your facial expression or body language and instantly knows what you are thinking without you utter one single word, and then responds to your innermost thoughts accordingly?  

You know, the one you can't imagine living your life without them in it?  

If you have never experienced this type of bonding with another soul, then I am truly sorry, for you are missing out on one of life's most precious gifts.  The "best friend forever" friendship is different than the love you have for your spouse, children or family members by a landslide.  No romantic love here, so the intensity is quite different, and of course, you must love your children and family (yes, even the unlovable ones)...but the relationship with a friend is entirely hinged upon the common connection that two originally complete strangers forged from nothing and made it into something glorious, something treasured and priceless.

I have been blessed in my life to have such a friend.  God placed this precious soul in my path when we were just mere idiots, er, teenagers, many moons ago (and no, I am not saying how many other than A LOT) and we have been inseparable ever since.  We have weathered some major life storms together, each grabbing on for dear life to the other for support as the howling winds blew about.  As I look back and reflect now on all those times, I find it quite interesting that during each hurricane, God provided the other with a calm weather so they could steer the other away from the raging winds and waves back over to the serene lake.  

My very first dabble with writing came about as my way of providing the calm lake during one of her darker days in the form of a poem entitled Troubles, so it is this incredible friendship that initially sparked the flame of writing's desire in me many years ago.

Tomorrow is her birthday and no, I will not embarrass her by telling you how old she is (because she is younger than I am!) and for the first time in years, we won't be able to spend her birthday together. So, in honor of a tradition that started a few years ago, this is my present to you, sweet T.R.C.:

I present you: Edward



Monday, November 14, 2011

Author Interview with Linda Hawley!

Author Interview Questions:

1.  What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?
I am currently writing a paranormal science fiction book series, called The Prophecies.  One reader called it a mix of Bourne Identity meets Inception.  Two of the books are published, and the third will publish at the very end of Dec 2011, or Jan 2012. 

Book 1 of The Prophecies is called Dreams Unleashed (2nd Edition)
Book 2 of The Prophecies is called Guardian of Time

I simply *love* the dystopian genre, and plan to start writing another dystopian adventure in 2012.

2.  When is your next book being published?
            (see above)

3.  When did you start writing?
             I fell in love with the written word when I was about five.  That’s when I started to write poetry.  When I was twelve years old, I was involved in an accident and sustained a major head injury. The result was that I had to re-learn the English language, not remembering the simple difference between a noun and a verb.  Because I re-learned English phonetically, I am still spelling-challenged, and employ a proofreader when I finish a manuscript and before anyone else sees it.  (If you need a proofreader, she’s fantastic and affordable—JJProofing.com.)

4.  How did you get into writing, and why did you pick the genre that you currently write in?
             Dystopian books and movies have always appealed to me.  I think I like how they are full of drama, but yet there is always that sense of real hope in the end.  If I have done my job well (with The Prophecies book series), then my readers may fall in love with dystopia too.

5.  What is your creative process like?
            I am 100% intuitive in writing.  When you read The Prophecies, you may think that I wrote it from an outline (because there are so many pieces to the plot), but I am exactly the opposite.  If I foreshadow something, it’s because I felt—in my gut—that I needed to at that point, not that (technically) I thought about it my head.  I am an outside-the-box, free-thinking author.  It goes as it flows out of my brain.  It’s almost effortless for me.
           
6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?
            Favorite authors include:  Justin Cronin (a dystopian genius!), Dan Brown (I learned suspense from reading his books), Nicholas Sparks (the genius of characterizations & emoting), and I must mention Cormac McCarthy (author of The Road) who taught me what dialogue is.

7.  What motivates you to continue writing?
            I feel 100% alive when I write.  It absolutely delights me that something  created from my own heart will live on when I am in the dirt. 

8.  How do you get ideas for your stories?
            Simply put, I’ll say that many of the adventures in The Prophecies series are snippets taken from my own life.

9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?
            Before I was an author, I did everything I wanted to…so now is when I live the dream (not before).

10.  Tell me about your latest book.
            The Prophecies synopsis:  It’s the near future, and society is government-controlled.  Technology tracks everyone, and personal privacy does not exist.  The hope for freedom lies in the operations of an underground organization, GOG, which fights against worldwide oppression.  Their most powerful weapon is Ann Torgeson, a paranormally-gifted operative.  It’s her powers that release the seal of The Prophecies, changing the world forever.

11.  Your movie has made it to the big screen!  Tell me, who would you want to play the key characters?
             Julianne Moore would make an excellent Ann Torgeson (my protagonist).

12.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?
            Best experience:  The day I finished the first manuscript.  I looked at the book (which I had just printed out) and said to my family:  “Look at that…” pointing to the 2” thick stack of papers, “…that actually came out of my head!”  My family laughed with me in sheer delight.
Worst experience (if I dare even tell it):  A book blogger read my “author cloning recipe,” and called me a paranoid, mentally ill woman.  That felt bad.  The reason I wrote my “author cloning recipe” is because I hate author resumes.  It reminds me too much of trying to convince people that you can write, or that you should read their book.  But in reality, Doctorate degrees do not prove a person fit to write a great story.  The truth is that I have a proper University education from a fine school, I have held substaintial positions in business, and my resume is impressive.  But that has nothing to do with me writing good novels.  That takes a different gift all together—heart.   That is why the book blogger’s rant hurt, because she was 100% off the mark, thinking that I wrote my cloning recipe because I didn’t have a proper writing resume.

13.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?
            Hmmm, five years would put me at 25 books, 15 of them novels, and 10 of them volumes of poetry (already written—to be published Spring 2012).

14.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet? 
My books:
Dreams Unleashed (2nd Edition), Book 1 of The Prophecies  [link:  http://www.lindahawley.com/Book-1.php]
Guardian of Time, Book 2 of The Prophecies  [link:  http://www.lindahawley.com/Book-2.php]

Author Website:  http://www.lindahawley.com/
Follow the author on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ThePropheciesSeries
Follow the author on Twitt

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Author Interview - Lohrainne Eckhart

Welcome!  Today's featured author is Lohrainne Eckhart, including a synopsis of her latest book,




1.  What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?
           
I write mainly write women’s fiction. Although I’ve written two contemporary romances, and a young adult christmas story, which will be published in early November.

2.  When is your next book being published?
           
The Forgotten Child will be released November 1, 2011, it is a contemporary romance.

3.  When did you start writing?

I started writing seven years ago, after my youngest was born.   

4.  How did you get into writing, and why did you pick the genre that you currently write in?
             
Writing was always in the back of mind. I have stories to tell, and a need to write. I enjoy writing women’s fiction, about relationships and problems between a man and a woman.

5.  What is your creative process like?
           
When I have an idea for a book, I’ll sit down and start writing. The characters come to life as does the story, which takes on all kinds of twists and turns. I don’t know how a novel will end when I first start writing. Once I have a rough draft, I research the details, make sure I have all my facts. Researching takes a lot of time. Editing is not a quick once over its a long process, and I do hire a professional editor.
           
6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?
           
I have a lot of favorite authors. There is a talented bunch at Orangeberry Book Collective. I encourage readers to check them out.

7.  What motivates you to continue writing?
           
I have a need write. A story will come to me, from a news article, social or moral issue in the community, or just an idea for a story. I love writing, its who I am. And I can’t imagine not being able to do it. It is a lonely isolated occupation, which is one I was made for.

8.  How do you get ideas for your stories?
           
I probably answered that question above. Stories come from anywhere. My first novel, The Captain’s Lady, the idea for it came to me in a dream. Other than that an idea for a story may come from a news article, social or moral issue in community. Or just out of the blue.

9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?
           
Well I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I maybe would have considered being a lawyer.

10.  Tell me about your latest book.
           
The Forgotten Child –

He wasn’t looking to love again. But what he got was a woman who shook his lonely bitter world upside down, and touched him in a way no other woman could.
Emily Nelson, a courageous young mother, ends a loveless bitter marriage and strikes out on her own. She answers an ad as a cook and live in caregiver to a three-year-old boy on a local ranch. Ranch owner Brad Friesen hires and moves  in Emily and her daughter. But Emily soon discovers something’s seriously wrong with his boy. And the reclusive difficult man that hired her, can’t see the behavior and how delayed his son is. So Emily researches, until she stumbles across what she suspects is the soft signs of autism. Now she must tell him. Give him hope, and help him come to terms with this neurological disorder—to take the necessary steps to get his child the help he needs.

As their lives become intertwined, it’s unavoidable the attraction—the connection that sparks between them. And just as they’re getting close, Brad's estranged wife Crystal returns after abandoning them two years earlier. In amongst the shock and confusion there’s one disturbing fact Brad can’t shake. How does she know so much of his personal business, the inner working of the ranch and Emily's relationship with his son?

Crystal must’ve had a plan as she somehow gains the upper hand, driving a wedge in the emotional bond forged between Brad, Emily and the children. The primary focus for care and therapy of three-year-old Trevor is diverted. The lengths Crystal will go—the lies—the greed, just to keep what’s hers are nothing short of cold and calculating. Emily’s forced out of the house. Brad fights to save  his boy—to protect what’s his. And struggles over his greatest sacrifice—Emily, and the haunting question—has he ultimately lost her forever?

11.  Your movie has made it to the big screen!  Tell me, who would you want to play the key characters?
           
Sam – would be a younger Toby Keith I’m still looking for his look a like
Marcie -  Emmanuelle Chriqui or Felicity Jones
Dan – Justin Timberlake
Jesse – 50 Cent
Diane – Gaby Hoffman (with a few pounds added on)


12.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?
           
 I haven’t had a bad experience. Of course rejections from agents, and bad reviews can be bothersome, I  just shake it off and get back to work. The best experience as a writer was the day I was offered a publishing contract for my first novel.

13.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?

Five years from now, I see myself as a New York Times best selling author, with several novels published. And of course enjoying life with my family.
           

14.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet? 

Go to my website at http://www.lorhainneeckhart.com/index.html. I also have two Blogs,  The Choice of Giving and Illusions.

Now, for a brief peek at The Forgotten Child:

He wasn't looking to love again.  But what he got was a woman who shook his lonely bitter world upside down, and touched him in a way no other woman could.


Emily Nelson, a courageous young mother, ends a loveless bitter marriage and strikes out on her own. She answers an ad as a cook and live in caregiver to a three-year-old boy on a local ranch. Ranch owner Brad Friesen hires and moves  in Emily and her daughter. But Emily soon discovers something’s seriously wrong with his boy. And the reclusive difficult man that hired her, can’t see the behavior and how delayed his son is. So Emily researches, until she stumbles across what she suspects is the soft signs of autism. Now she must tell him. Give him hope, and help him come to terms with this neurological disorder—to take the necessary steps to get his child the help he needs.

As their lives become intertwined, it’s unavoidable the attraction—the connection that sparks between them. And just as they’re getting close, Brad's estranged wife Crystal returns after abandoning them two years earlier. In amongst the shock and confusion there’s one disturbing fact Brad can’t shake. How does she know so much of his personal business, the inner working of the ranch and Emily's relationship with his son?

Crystal must’ve had a plan as she somehow gains the upper hand, driving a wedge in the emotional bond forged between Brad, Emily and the children. The primary focus for care and therapy of three-year-old Trevor is diverted. The lengths Crystal will go—the lies—the greed, just to keep what’s hers are nothing short of cold and calculating. Emily’s forced out of the house. Brad fights to save  his boy—to protect what’s his. And struggles over his greatest sacrifice—Emily, and the haunting question—
has he ultimately lost her forever?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Author Interview - Margaret Millmore

Today's blog is dedicated to the author of Doppelganger Experiment, Margaret Millmore!



Enjoy!

What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?

Margaret: I write thrillers/suspense (with a little paranormal twist). I have one published work, however I have another completed novel, which I hope to ‘clean up’ and have published in the next year or so.   

When is your next book being published? 

Margaret: As I mentioned above, I have another book that was completed prior to my published novel Doppelganger Experiment, and I’m working on a third, I’m not really sure though when the next two will be published, hopefully within the next year.
   
When did you start writing? 

Margaret: The opportunity came up for me to write seriously 3 years ago, but I’ve always made up stories and hoped some day to have the time to write them down.
   
How did you get into writing, and why did you pick the genre that you currently write in? 

Margaret: When I was young I really wanted to be a writer, but life took me on a different course, and then as life often does, it switched courses and now I’m writing. I’m an avid reader and a huge fan of almost all fiction (particularly Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Dean Koontz … and so many others) so that sort of set the tone for the genre.

What is your creative process like?
Margaret:Once an idea is in my head I sit down and start writing, but after a few chapters I’m usually stuck, so I outline what I have and try to turn that outline into what I want. Generally the outline is useless to me because then a little thing will happen (I’ll see an odd looking tree, or it’s something someone says, a butterfly will cross my path, I mean really little, inconsequential things) and since I’m constantly thinking about what I’m currently writing on, that little thing will send me off in a different direction and the next thing I know, I have a book….
       
Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why? 
Margaret: I have two, I can’t decide between them so they’re both my favorites: Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. I love their imaginations, the characters they build, the way they make me feel when I read their books, honestly it’s like drug addiction when a new book of theirs comes out, I literally cannot put them down.  I actually will not read their books unless I can dedicate enough uninterrupted time to read them from cover to cover, that’s how much I love them.   

What motivates you to continue writing?
Margaret: I love it, but I’ve also got the most wonderful and supportive group of family and friends and they are relentless in their encouragement to keep going, plus these pesky ideas are in my head and they want out….   

How do you get ideas for your stories? 
Margaret: In the case of Doppelganger Experiment, the basic idea had been with me for a long time, so I started with that (a person waking up without any memory of their recent life), but it expanded and turned into what it is today due to something my father-in-law said. He had been dozing on the couch and mumbled in his sleep, he said “stay away from the green building on the left”, that one mysterious comment sparked my imagination and stuck with me the entire evening and I woke up with the rest of the idea for the book.  That’s basically how it happens, a general idea and then someone says something or does something or I see something and off I go.   

If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now? 
Margaret: I had a successful career in the commercial real estate field for seventeen years, I guess if I had continued with that, it’s what I’d be doing now.   

Tell me about your latest book. 
Margaret: Doppelganger Experiment is psychological thriller based in San Francisco with a touch of the paranormal: After more than four weeks in a coma, Jane woke up to find several things wrong; she didn’t remember the last three years, she was married to a man she didn’t know, and frightening dreams were infiltrating her sleep. But were they dreams or memories? As she struggles to recapture a life she doesn’t remember, she discovers clues that lead to flashes of memories and the discovery of horrific experiments that end in murder... and something worse than murder.  She must uncover the secret to the experiments to recover her life and end the horrible things that are happening.
   
Your movie has made it to the big screen!  Tell me, who would you want to play the key characters? 
Margaret: This may sound silly, but I hardly ever go to, or watch movies, I’m a bookworm and prefer to read over TV/movies, that being said I’m just not familiar with today’s big screen stars (or even small screen stars).  Most of my characters are in their thirties and I can’t think of anyone in that age range, although I do think that Leonardo DiCaprio would make a great Brett and I think Samuel L. Jackson would make a great Franklin (although he may be too tall).
   
What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer? 
Margaret: Bad reviews and good reviews top the list. But overall I think the worst part is the process of finding an agent or publisher, it’s an endless process of submissions and rejections and it really can get depressing and make you want to give up. On the bright side, I think finishing a manuscript and feeling good about what you created is a fantastic experience, having a publisher feel the same way, well that is priceless.
   
Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life? 
Margaret: I hope to have written a few more books and entertained a lot of people with them.   

Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?  
Margaret: It’s available at most on-line retailers, here are the links:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review of: Kill Me Now!: A Middle Aged Man's Maneuvers through the Frontline of the Dating Battlefield

4 Stars


Kill Me Now! A Middle Aged Man's Maneuvers through the Frontline of the Dating Battlefield


Welcome to the crazed, tongue-in-cheek world of one lonely man, his mind constantly set ablaze by the utter confusion that his battlefield adversary, the enigma known as “woman”, constantly launches at him as he schlepps through the dangerously deceiving landscape commonly known as “dating.” 

Parts of this book had me rolling with laughter at some of the more outrageous, precarious predicaments he finds himself in as he attempts every single known dating strategy, including having friends set him up, online dating and even procuring the services of a matchmaker. These overly exaggerated battles with his wily feminine opponents leave him dazed, bleeding and down for the count, yet somehow, through the magic of sheer determination, he stands stoically back up, ready to face the next combat zone. 

Cleverly written and full of over-the-top scenarios that you can't help but laugh at, this caustic book gives you a deeply sarcastic peek "behind the stoic curtain" most men wear as the author/main character attempts to find THE ONE. 

Thank goodness this peek behind the scenes is all in good natured humor, because guess what ladies? If it were true, then it's just as we have suspected all along: men are pigs. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

4 Stars for While the Angels Slept by Del Garrett

While The Angels Slept



4-Stars!


Del Garrett possesses the fantastic ability to spin a suspenseful tale, full of vivid imagery and a strong attention to the detail surrounding each scene. However, the staggering detail oftentimes overshadowed the core of the story and I found myself a bit lost, but then POW, something visceral would happen and I was fully engaged once again!

While I won't go into plot detail, I will say that I enjoyed the numerous plot twists and turns that Del wisely crafted. Once the action started after a slow beginning, it went full throttle until the very last word.

The thing that I found most interesting about this book was the fact that, although set in modern time, Del's great writing skills somehow made you feel like you were immersed in another era, perhaps in the midst of a "Sam Spade" novel. 

If you like mystery, international intrigue, budding romances and the exposing of secrets, then you will love this book!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Heroic Women

Fictional heroine, Audra Tanner, is portrayed in my novels as a strong, educated and empowered woman that, through circumstances that lecherously attached themselves to her life, becomes a warrior seeking justice.  While this character's life makes for good fiction, she is just a conglomeration of words strung together in a book.


However....


There are multitudes of women out there in the real world that fight every single day to just wake up in the morning.  Ones that have suffered tragic events in their lives, ranging from survivors of sexual and physical abuse to those incredible women that valiantly "hold the fort down" while their spouses serve bravely in the military, to those who live inside bodies that seem, through no fault of their own, to rebel against them.  


Today, I would like to take a moment and pay tribute to two such women that I personally know and have the utmost respect and love for, as they face their biggest battles.  Both women could not be more of polar opposites in terms of their backgrounds, lifestyles, ages and diseases, yet they both are united by the bonds of fighting their own bodies for survival.  


The first, a 40+ year old mother of two and a lawyer that champions the cause for justice always being served, full of laughter and love for all those she knows, now battling for the FOURTH time, cancer.  


Yes, I said fourth time.  


Even during the horrific side effects of chemo, she still manages to keep the most positive attitude as she exudes this Warrior mode from every pore, standing strong as she looks this demonic thing that cowardly resides inside her and screams, "Bring it!"  


Her unyielding determination to rage against the ugly monster seems to stem from the smoldering fire that tends to lay dormant in the very core of human existence in all of us, silently waiting until necessary to stoke: our need for survival. Additional fuel is added from her maternal instincts to protect her children from any sort of harm or pain, even if that means waging war against herself.  And the match that sets her on fire, blazing for all to watch in silent awe, is prayer.




Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.





The second heroic woman is barely just that: she only turned the magic age of "21" a few months ago, which for most people, is a time to celebrate the final transition to adulthood by usually partying the night away with friends and family, but not her.  Reaching the age of 21, for her, was a mixture of "in your face" to the doctors that told her should wouldn't make it, to complete exhaustion from her long battle with her unknown assailant.


For her, and others suffering symptoms similar to hers, a name to call the savagely attacking internal villain didn't exist, so not only was she fighting a mysterious, ghostly presence, but the doubts and misconceptions from her myriad of doctors, friends and even some family members.


It took close to a year, countless surgeries (some necessary, some not), numerous misdiagnosis', exhausting hospital stays, bouncing from one doctor to another as she was poked, prodded, cut, scanned, drained and down to a mere weight of around 80 pounds for this 6'1" beauty to finally have her phantom given a name:


Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome (SMA).


Extremely rare and often mistaken for a host of other ailments, SMA is a slow, silent killer. 


And she has survived, beating the 1:3 odds!  Even while fighting the unknown, this incredible woman NEVER GAVE UP, even after be handed a death sentence from numerous doctors.  Once again, the power of prayer, the support of family, and the strength and determination to fight until the bitter end prevailed and today, she is recovering slowly but surely.


Due to the rarity of her condition, as well as the length of time for a proper diagnosis to be made, this brave young soul walked through the valley of the shadow of death alone.  Oh yes, her unbelievable mother, sister, family and friends loved her and prayed for her, but there was no one she could share this with that would truly understand the agony, fear, pain and desperation she felt, since she couldn't find anyone anywhere close to her that shared her mysterious ailments.


Until one day, she found a support group on Facebook.  SMA Support and Awareness Group.


Finally, she found fellow sufferers and lifelong friends!


Below are links to a series of videos on a fellow SMA patient that aired on Mystery Diagnosis, as well as one video this other warrior-in-the-trenches, Samantha Mina, made herself of her own trek through hell, giving you just a small glimpse of the magnitude of the battle they fight daily.  


How these true heroines continue their epic battles for control over their bodies, I will never know.  Their strength and determination is beyond my limited means of comprehension, and my hat is tipped and knee bowed in their direction, as any grateful peasant does at the site of their hero.


Video 1 - Mystery Diagnosis
Video 2 - Mystery Diagnosis
Video 3 - Mystery Diagnosis
Samantha's Story





Thursday, November 3, 2011

Zero Balance Teaser!



This is just a draft cover that I am playing with for Zero Balance, but close the final product!  I wanted to share this with everyone, as well as the Preface for Zero Balance!

Enjoy!

“Revenge, at first though sweet, bitter ere long back on itself recoils.” – John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Jury selection for the trial of Olin Kemper, former managing partner of the Phoenix based accounting firm, Winscott & Associates, is scheduled to begin Monday at the Yarkema County Courthouse.  Mr. Kemper is accused of the murder of Gina Milligan over thirty plus years ago in Summerset.  His arrest last year for this local, legendary case has catapulted Summerset into the national spotlight, filling the hotels and restaurants located in and around this tiny berg to well beyond their capacity, as news crews from all over the United States have descended upon this normally quiet town like a horde of hungry locusts.
      Roger Clanton and Nicolaus Rancliff, lead attorneys of Mr. Kemper’s dream team of lawyers hailing from Scottsdale, refused to answer reporter’s questions moments ago as they entered the courthouse, but inside sources told us that Mr. Clanton and Mr. Rancliff filed a change of venue request due to the notoriety of this case and their concerns about obtaining a fair and impartial jury from the pool of local citizens.
      National legal analysts are divided on their opinions as to whether or not Judge Marshall Hall will grant a change of venue, as well as the odds on Mr. Kemper taking the stand in his own defense.  Key prosecution witness, Mr. Robert Folton, who was originally charged as an accomplice with Mr. Kemper, already pled guilty and in exchange for his testimony against Mr. Kemper, was given five years probation for his part in the case. 
      The debates on these issues, along with Mr. Kemper’s guilt or innocence, are just as heated between life long residents of this close knit community, which has caused an invisible line of stark contrasts separating longtime friends and close of family members on each side.
      Stay tuned for our continuing, live coverage of this trial, beginning Monday at eight o’clock a.m.  This is Jan Patakee reporting for Channel Six News.”
      “That’s a wrap guys.  Make sure you include the video clips from Kemper’s bond hearing as well as the security footage of the courthouse from this afternoon.  Oh, and don’t forget that picture of Gina!” Jan said, barking the orders to her camera crew as she tossed her microphone over to her lead assistant, Tony.  She stomped quickly in her four-inch stilettos back to the relative comfort of the news van and plopped down in the front seat, slamming the door quickly in her attempt to keep the fire brick oven air from sneaking inside with her.  She flipped open her compact and assessed the damage searing heat had on her makeup and cursed herself once again for taking this job in Arizona over the one offered to her in Mississippi.  Then again, if she were in Mississippi right now, she would be a slimy pile of sweat, makeup and hairspray from all the humidity, so maybe Arizona wasn’t too bad after all, since all the heat was doing was making her skin feel like dried out sandpaper.
      In the two years that Jan had been an on the scene reporter for Channel Six, she had begged, borrowed and occasionally broken a small law or two in her attempts to be the first to break a big story and up until eleven months ago, when the news broke about Olin Kemper’s arrest and the huge shakeup at Winscott, she had thought herself doomed to cover the boring, blasé life of Phoenix and its abundantly rich and snooty citizens.  Out of all the mundane reports she covered back then, the ones that were the worst involved the overly plasticized, hoity toity society wives that perched themselves high upon their gilded thrones as they perused the lowly commoners beneath them with their botox-frozen eyes, barely able to see over their inflated tire-lips.  On more than one occasion she forced herself to walk away rather than spend the night in jail for popping one of them in the face after particularly brutal comments about her ethnic heritage from a few of the nastier hags reached her burning ears. Of course, their faces were so full of injectable chemicals she doubted they would have felt a thing anyway.
      All of that changed the day she was the first one to hit the airwaves with the news of Olin’s arrest since one of her drinking buddies, Tiffany Hemscott, happened to work as a minority partner at Winscott.
      Jan was savvy enough to understand during those first few minutes of conversation with Tiffany that this was going to be an explosive story, and quite possibly, shove her into the national spotlight (and maybe the global one as well!) if she played her cards right and continued to stay one step ahead of the other reporters by becoming the new best friend, rather than just an occasional wine taster, with Tiffany.  She knew her well enough to know that a few glasses of Pinot were enough to loosen Tiffany’s tongue and made sure that they went out at least twice a week to the bar down the street from Channel Six for the latest insider scoop on Winscott. 
      As she finished her touchup and snapped her compact shut, she glanced around and realized that neither Tony nor her idiotic camera crew dorks had made it back in the van, so she reached over and blared the horn several times.  They needed to get moving and get this footage edited and ready for the evening news.  As soon as she finished her last honk, Tony slid open the side door and everyone piled in, with Tony jumping upfront into the driver’s seat.  He smiled over at her, his dark brown eyes dancing with feigned excitement and joked, “Yes ma’am!  We is ready!”
      Jan cocked her head and released one of her trademark evil smirks at him, her overly bleached pearly whites shining in the sun and said, “Let’s go boys!  I have a national viewing audience that is just dying to see my smiling face as I report on this case!”
      As Tony fired up the van and the glorious cool air blew Jan’s thick, raven hair from her face, she picked up her cell to call their producer and let him know they were on their way back, but before she touched the screen, it lit up with an incoming call from him.  “Ok, so Jason has E.S.P.” Jan quipped to Tony as she answered.  “Hey Jason, I was just about to call you.  We are on our way back.”
      “Change of plans, J.P.  Just have Tony upload what you have already and send to me.  You won’t have time to make it back to the station before cutoff.  You need to head up to Robert Folton’s ranch off of Highway 93.  Now.”
      The tone of Jason’s voice made the adrenaline immediately jolt through Jan’s system as she recognized it from numerous other occasions when a breaking story was about to hit.  She motioned for Tony to pull over and put her phone on speaker as she set it down on the console so she could grab her notebook.  She couldn’t contain the excitement from seeping into her voice as she said, “What’s the lead, Jason?”
      “We just heard through our contact in Summerset that a search is currently underway for Robert.  Apparently, he left Monday on horseback to survey his herd and hasn’t returned, nor contacted his family, although he promised his wife he would return yesterday.  She is frantic that he is a day late and contacted Summerset Police Department, who is now spearheading the mounted search and rescue.”
      Jan could hardly write as Tony had immediately sped back up and headed down the rough road towards the outskirts of Summerset.  Still trying to jostle words down as Tony drove, Jan asked “Jason, who else knows this?” hoping and praying that the answer was what she wanted to hear.
      “Only us, so let’s keep it that way.  Get there as fast as you can and set up for a live feed.  This could be the story of the year.” Jason barked, quickly disconnecting from the call.  Jan let her huge, toothy grin spread across her darkly tanned face as she looked over at Tony and said “Punch it!” 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bloodlines by Lindsay Anne Kendal

As promised, here is my review of Bloodlines by Lindsay Anne Kendal on Goodreads!

FIVE STARS!

Lindsay Anne Kendal did a fantastic job on this novel, and that took a lot for me to say, since I don't normally read this particular genre.

The plot line is extremely intriguing and contains a quite unique take on the hidden history of the Salem witch trials and the resulting generational impact that the actions of those individuals originally involved had on their subsequent "Bloodlines."

The main characters are immediately likable and the friendships that developed will make for interesting ties in the next books. The action is exciting and keeps your attention, yet it is written so well that the "gore" factor is not necessary, therefore, it is a perfect mixture for the target audience. 

Although I originally read this book to determine if it was appropriate reading material for my 13 year old daughter (which it is! - guess what she is getting for Christmas?) I am hooked on the storyline now, and will definitely purchase Torment soon, and Revelations when it is finished. 

You know, for my daughter. ;)