Monday, April 29, 2013

Special Guest - Colby Marshall

Today I'm pleased to welcome Colby Marshall, author of the thriller Chain of Command, who's sharing her thoughts on the unpredictability of success.  Take it away, Colby... 

As writers, I think we often wonder if our work has the potential to break out and be a hot commodity. But never fear, writers! There seems to be more and more evidence that no matter what is said, there's room for what you're writing, and no one can predict what's going to sell, sell, sell in entertainment today. We need only to look at some past successes to realize that sometimes, no one sees it coming...

Honestly, who ever thought that a television show following the "love lives" of real live meerkats would catch on? But nevertheless, Meerkat Manor is about to start what I believe to be its fourth season, and even I have to admit I'm enthralled by sexy Meerkat Mitch, that hunka burnin' love...

Another one I didn't see coming? Twilight. Yep, even as an avid Harry Potter fan, I must admit  Twilight's  success shocked me a little. After all, whoever heard of vegetarian vampires? I guess that's one reason the book didn't soak me in, because I'm a little too violent. I guess I needed some blood-sucking goodness to keep me interested. I suppose most people were okay with the fact that the opening chapter didn't include any neck biting, though, considering how well it's done. I wonder what that says about me? But I digress.

 And, last but not least is The Secret. Really? Really. Really! Really?!?!? I guess people just want to believe so badly that there's a way to make their lives better, a way to make it all simple. Maybe if they think about it really hard, meditate on it, exactly as they want it, that twenty bucks or so they paid for that book will come back to them.

 What book, tv, or movie successes surprised you?

A little about Colby...     

Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic.  In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.  She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer as well as sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress.  She lives in Georgia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status.  Her debut thriller, Chain of Command is about a reporter who discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency.  Chain of Command is now available, and the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, is due for publication by Stairway Press in June 2013. 

 Chain of Command is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, iBooks, Kobo, other major e-readers, or in select independent bookstores.

Watch the official book trailer for Chain of Command here:  You can learn more about Colby and her books at 
Thanks, Colby, for being my guest today.  And let me be the first to answer your question.  On TV, it's the whole unscripted quasi-reality show genre.  I just don't get it. 

Thanks to all my blog buddies for coming by. Please say hi and make Colby feel welcome.

Definition of the Day:

Yawn - An honest opinion, openly expressed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Incredibly Sad

I just returned from a mini vacation to New York City.  The friends we joined there (from the west coast) had never been to NY so we did lots of touristy stuff - went sightseeing, saw a couple Broadway shows, ate ourselves silly, etc.

At the end of each day, we turned on the TV in our hotel room and watched the latest news on the search for those responsible for the tragedy in Boston.

I grew up in the fifties and sixties. Life wasn't exactly Leave It to Beaver and Happy Days, but it was certainly different. You could travel by air without taking off your shoes, coat, sweater, etc.and standing in a full body scanner. Friends and family seeing you off or coming to meet you could come right to the gate area, which were filled with goodbyes and hellos.

You could visit a national landmark then without placing your bags, coat, and the contents of your pockets in a plastic bin before a man ran a metal detector wand all around you.

No more.  This weekend our bags were even examined at the door of St. Patrick's Cathedral. And, of course, there was close to airport level security at the 9/11 Memorial - where most of this began.

9/11 Memorial
Is all this security necessary?  I suppose so. Every effort must be made to keep people safe. We saw that last week in Boston.

Can it keep us safe? Not completely. We saw that in Boston, too.

I read today that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told authorities he and his brother were planning to go to New York from Boston, to set off multiple bombs in Times Square.

Our hotel was in Times Square.

Frightening? Yes, a little.  But more than that - incredibly sad.

Would you care to share a thought on all this?

Sad thoughts aside, I hope you have a lovely weekend. I promise a more upbeat post on Monday.

Good Thought for Today:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thank You's and Blogfests and Funnies, Oh My!

Happy Hump Day

My hump day post has to serve as a multi-purpose blog this week.  

First, I need to thank everyone for their good wishes on the release of Flights of Fiction on Monday, especially those who ordered a copy. I really appreciate your support.

For those who asked about an e-version, Flights of Fiction will be available in e-format in early May. I don't have an exact date from the publisher but I will certainly make an announcement here as soon as I know. 

Next I want to tell you about a very cool new blogfest from the Ninja Captain, Alex Cavanaugh, and friends.

I love one day blogfests (no A to Z challenges for this kid), especially when movies are involved. This one should be lots of fun. Get the details and sign up here.

 I also want to mention that I'm going to be off line for the next week. I'm going on a little vacation with some dear friends.  I'll be back with you on Friday, April 26.  Try to stay out of trouble while I'm gone. 

Now for your hump day funnies.

 Here are some actual label instructions found on consumer goods. 

On a Sears hairdryer -- Do not use while sleeping.
 (but that's the only time I have to work on my hair.) 

On a bag of Fritos -- You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
 (the shoplifter special?) 

On a bar of Dial soap -- "Directions: Use like regular soap."
 (and that would be?) 

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding -- "Product will be hot after heating."

 On packaging for a Rowenta iron -- "Do not iron clothes on body."
 (but wouldn't this save me time?) 

On Nytol Sleep Aid -- "Warning: May cause drowsiness."
 (well, I certainly hope so)   

 On a Japanese food processor -- "Not to be used for the other use."
 (now, somebody out there, help me on this)  

On an American Airlines packet of nuts -- "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts." 
 (oh, good grief)

 On a Swedish chainsaw -- "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."
 (Oh my Lord..was there a lot of this happening somewhere?)

Oh, don't worry, I've got your weekly "aw".

How about this one?

I know you said it.
Okay, that's it. Did we get you over the mid week hump and on the slippery slope to the weekend?  Good. Did you have a favorite?
Take care. See you next Friday. 

Thought for the Day:

I'm praying for my hometown of Boston and for everyone affected by yesterday's tragic events.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Flights of Fiction - Release Day

 It's FLIGHTS OF FICTION's Release Day.

Oh yeah, I'm jazzed.

I'm also delighted to be in such fine company.  The Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) is a wonderful group of talented authors and I'm proud to be part of the group and of this anthology.

Flights of Fiction came into being in rather an unusual way. Instead of a book in search of a publisher, this was a publisher in search of a book.  Handcar Press, an independent author imprint of Loconeal Publishing, LLC, wanted to do an anthology of stories based in southwest Ohio.  A representative from Loconeal reached out to Gery Deer, the founder of WOWA, and asked if we'd be interested in contributing. Gery grabbed the opportunity and ran with it.

Eleven stories were selected for the anthology.  Gery contributed the introduction, in which he points out that his story didn't make the cut. 

Here's a blurb on Flights of Fiction:

Pull up a comfy chair and lose yourself in eleven original stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region. Written by just a few of the talented authors from the Western Ohio Writers Association, these soon-to-be classic tales let you follow one man’s tragic story at the end of the world in “Dead of Winter”; experience a night at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in “Nose Art”; and get lost in a haunting image from the past in “Tabitha’s Portrait,” plus many more. From detective tales to a trek into the mysterious world of wrestling, Flights of Fiction has something for everyone.

Sound good?

One little note - If you would like to purchase Flights of Fiction (bless your little heart), the "Buy Now" button on the right will take you to Paypal to purchase it directly or you can click on the cover image to buy it on Amazon. If you use the Buy Now button, I'll cover the shipping and you'll receive a signed copy.

So, that's what's new and exciting in my world today. What's going on in yours?

Headline of the Day:

What were the chances?

Friday, April 12, 2013

More About Flights of Fiction

Following the cover reveal on Monday, a few people have asked me how Flights of Fiction came about, and since there's nothing I'd rather talk about right now...well, except for my exceptional grandchildren but I try to maintain some control in that area, which isn't easy they're all bright, talented, beautiful...oh, right - Flights of Fiction. (Sorry.)

Flights of Fiction is a collection of stories set in Southwest Ohio, written by Southwest Ohio authors. More specifically, by members of the Western Ohio Writers' Association. We're a pretty eclectic bunch and this anthology certainly reflects that. The stories include fantasy, suspense, horror, romance, and mystery. Mine's a mystery. The cover was also designed by one of our members.

The title? That's in honor of Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace of aviation. Yeah, I know, the first flight took place down in North Carolina, but Orville and Wilbur Wright designed and build that first airplane in their bicycle shop right here in Dayton.

On Monday, I'll have the links up and more information on our release and our local launch party.

In the meantime, do you have any plans for this weekend? Hope it's a great one.

Thought for the Day: 

A clear conscience is often the result of a fuzzy memory.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hump Day Shame

Happy Hump Day

I'm really dying to tell you more about FLIGHTS OF FICTION, but it's hump day and my goal for today is just to help you over the mid week hump with a few laughs.

These pictures came to me in an e-mail, uncredited. I wanted to credit the "pet shame" website they came from but there appear to be several sites where people can post pictures of naughty pets and I don't know where these originated. Well, actually, I think it's safe to say they originated with frustrated dog owners.

If you share your home with a dog, or even if you don't, I think you'll appreciate these.

Some of the signs are hard to read so I'll repeat them in the captions.

I ate the tooth that the little human was saving for the tooth fairy.

  I ate an entire child's birthday cake from the kitchen counter.
Mom had to tell a six year old that she didn't get a cake that year.
I pooped blue for days.

Peed on a child's sandcastle...while the child was building it.
Never went to the beach again.

I get on the dining room table, but I'm too afraid to get down.

I've got to admit, this one's my favorite.

Peed on Yoda I did.

And I'm going to be able to stay with this theme and still give you your "aw" of the week.

I think this one works.

I steal pacifiers.

Did it work? Did you get the grin, giggle, or guffaw you needed to get you over the hump? 
Yes? Okay, my work here is done.

Did you have any favorites?

If you have a pet, do you ever have the urge to place them on a wall of shame?  What would their sign say?

Thought for the Day:   If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cover Reveal - Flights of Fiction

Okay, I'm excited. 

Next Monday is the release day for FLIGHTS OF FICTION, published by Handcar Press.  

Why am I excited? Because one of the eleven stories in this anthology is "Motive" by LD Masterson.

It's my first real honest-to-gosh publication.

Here's the cover.

I'm saving the details for next Monday's post but I had to show off the cover.

Can I get a woo woo?

Mind Boggler for Today: Since this was a short post, I offer this...

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, (AAFS) President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death.

Here is the story:

On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head.
Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a 10-story building intending to commit suicide. 
He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency.  
As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly.   
Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife.  
They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun!    
The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.    
When one intends to kill subject 'A' but kills subject 'B' in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject 'B.'     
When confronted with the murder charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant that they thought the shotgun was not loaded.       
The old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her.      
Therefore, the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded.    
The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about 6 weeks prior to the fatal accident.     
It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.     
Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger.    
The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.    
Now for the exquisite twist...     
Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus.  
He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder.   
This led him to jump off the 10 story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window.    
The son, Ronald Opus, had actually murdered himself.     
So the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

(I said it was mind boggling.)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Why I Write Fiction

Our writers' group met last night. We do group critiques, up to three pages. No empty, feel-good, back patting here - just good, solid, rip-it-apart critiques. I usually come away with great information I can use to improve my work.

I write fiction. Mystery, suspense, sometimes a little sci fi.  Usually, I only write non-fiction when I do humor because, let's face it, sometimes you can't make this stuff up. But last night I took in a piece I had written about losing my mom. It was purely non-fiction, just as it happened, and it had been hard to write.

It was the first time I've ever felt defensive receiving critiques.  One person suggestive I change a location and I thought,"But that's where it happened." Another argued a reaction and I thought, "But that's how I felt." Someone suggested I inject a little humor and I thought, "My mother was dying. I don't remember laughing at all that month."  I even resented it when someone referred to the first person POV character as "she". That was me, damn it.

I know my reactions weren't exactly rational. The others were doing what they're supposed to do. They were critiquing the writing, not the events being written about. But for me, it was just too personal. I think I need to stick to fiction.

* * *

Last week, blog friend Maryann Miller presented me with this lovely award.

Thank you, Maryann, and I hope you'll forgive me but I'm going to play fast and loose with the rules on this.

First, I'm going to answer the questions you gave me: 

1. How long do you spend putting together a blog? - I'm a slow blogger. Even on a short post I've probably spend hours hunting for just the right a picture or joke to include.

 2. What other writing do you do? - Besides blogging? For years I only wrote book length fiction with the occasional short humor piece mixed in but I've started trying my hand at short fiction.  In fact, I've got an announcement coming on Monday.

3. Do you blog because you like to, or because you were told you have to by a publisher? - Honestly, some of each. I got started because I was told to. Most of the time I enjoy it but there are days when it feels like a time consuming chore.

 4. What is a story your family likes to tell about you? - Um, I really can't think of any. Maybe the stories they tell about me have to be told out of my hearing.

 5. When you visit another blog, do you promote it on social media?- Not often. I'm really not into the full social media thing. I don't even Tweet. Guess I'm going to have to get better at that.

Now I'm going to pass this award along to a few other bloggers but I'm awarding it N.S.A. No strings attached. No rules. No questions to answer. No pass-along requirements. I'm just going to let them know their blog provides a bright spot in my day.

If they want to post the award on their blog and mention my name, that would be great. If they want to pass it along, that's great, too. But neither are required. N.S.A - just enjoy.

So, here are the bloggers I'd like to share this N.S.A. award with (OMG, I ended that sentence with a preposition!):

DL Hammons
Linda Grimes
Liz Fichera
Arlee Bird 
Carol Kilgore

Okay, I hope Maryann forgives me for changing the rules and I hope those I've passed this award along to enjoy receiving it.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Joke of the Day:

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Johnny received his plate, he began eating.
"Johnny," said his mother, "please wait until we say grace."
"I don't have to," he replied.
"Of course, you do," his mother insisted. "We always say a prayer before eating at home."
"That's at our house," Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Three Jokes and Over the Hump

Happy Hump Day

Late last night I typed two of the sweetest words an author can type: THE END
Sure, now starts the editing and the fine tuning but still...I feel good.

I know many of you are participating in the A to Z Challenge and have a lot of blogs to hit today 
so for your hump day post, I'm giving you these three classic jokes. 

I hope you like them.

A drunken man walks into a biker bar, sits down at the bar and orders a drink. Looking around, he sees three men sitting at a corner table. He gets up, staggers to the table, leans over, looks the biggest, meanest, biker in the face and says: 

"I went by your grandma's house today and I saw her in the hallway buck naked. Man, she is one fine looking woman!" 

The biker looks at him and doesn't say a word. His buddies are confused, because he is one bad biker and would fight at the drop of a hat. 

The drunk leans on the table again and says, "I got it on with your grandma and she is good. The best I ever had!"

The biker's buddies are starting to get really mad, but the biker still says nothing. 

The drunk leans on the table one more time and says, "I'll tell you something else, boy, your grandma liked it!"

At this point the biker stands up, takes the drunk by the shoulders, looks him square in the eyes and says........................ 

"Grandpa......... Go home."

* * *

I finally got around to going fishing this morning, but after a while, I ran out of worms. Then, I saw a  Cottonmouth, with a frog in his mouth, and frogs are good  bass bait. Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth, I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog and put it in  my bait bucket.

Now the dilemma was how to release the snake without getting bit. I  grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth. His  eyes rolled back and he went limp. I released him into the lake without  incident, and carried on my fishing with the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge on my foot. There was that same snake....
 with two frogs in his mouth.
* * *

Father O'Malley  answers the phone. 
'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?'  
 'It is!'
'This is the IRS. Can you help us?' 
 'I can!'
'Do you know a Ted Houlihan?' 
 'I do!'
 'Is he a member of your congregation?' 
 'He is!' 
 'Did he donate $10,000 to the church?' 
 'He will.'

Of course, no hump day post would be complete with a good "aw".

Yeah, that did the trick.

Okay, did those do it? Did I get you over the mid week hump? Yes? Okay, my work here is done.
Did you have a favorite?
Thought for the Day:

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome My Guest, Carol Kilgore

Okay, fess up, people. How many of you are here because you read in my Friday post that guest author Carol Kilgore was here today to spill her deepest, darkest, most intimate secrets?

You wanted all the dirt, didn't you? All the juicy details. 
Well, remember what today is?

April Fool!


But not to worry, Carol is here this morning and she's dishing the dirt about her new book, Solomon's Compass.  Take it away, Carol.

Thanks for having me here today! I love your blog, so I’m going to do the best I can to keep your chatty spirit alive.

This is the first day of my blog tour for Solomon’s Compass. I’ll be out and about at various blogs over the next two weeks talking about everything you wanted to know about me and my books. Maybe more than you wanted to know, but I hope not.

Today I’m going to talk about the kind of novels I write. I call them Crime Fiction with a Kiss. Always at least one crime. Always a love story.

I think I write such a combination because of my favorite authors. If you envision the types of stories written by these individuals combined into one story written in my style, it will give you some idea.

Lisa Scottoline – Especially the Rosetti and Associates books
James Patterson – Especially the Alex Cross books
David Baldacci – Especially his standalone novels

For grins, add Lisa Gardner, Suzanne Brockmann, and Nelson DeMille to the mix. See what eclectic reading habits I have? And this doesn’t even venture into other genres I’ve come to enjoy. I have a few other favorites, but the authors I named have most influenced what I write.

Writing Solomon’s Compass brought me great pleasure and a whole menagerie of problems. From learning how to sail a catamaran on paper to learning how to scare the pants off someone in a car. From making myself really hungry for shrimp to drying tears from reading accounts of Coast Guard Point boat sailors about their tours of duty in Vietnam. And much more.

Tomorrow, April 2, is Solomon’s Compass Release Day. I’m nervous, excited, happy. Now I understand why authors say the second book is more stressful than the first.

People have read my first book. The second book is in the same genre, but it’s a different story with very different characters. The what-ifs in my head run rampant. I’ve tried to hold them in check, but they’re sneaky little devils.

Even with all that, I’m so excited I can barely sit still. Like a kid on Christmas Eve.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading Solomon’s Compass and learning about the world of Rock Harbor, Texas, as seen through the eyes of Taylor Campbell and Jake Solomon. If you do, I hope you’ll tell your friends about it.

Now, to continue in the spirit of this blog . . .

Here’s your Aw Moment:


  This is Wrangler, and today is his birthday. He’s eight years old, and he’s been a member of our family since he was seven weeks. He’s a border collie mix, and he was a rescue puppy.

He watches over me like a guardian angel. Or a crazed stalker, circling and circling. Your call.

And I love him dearly. Happy Birthday, Wrangler!

Now, here's a little something about Solomon’s Compass... 

A missing belt—her uncle’s prized possession. The lure of buried treasure. And a sexy former SEAL who makes U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell crazy. What more could any woman want. Right?

Taylor is in Rock Harbor, Texas, on a quest to unearth her uncle’s treasure—a journey far outside the realm of her real life. There’s one glitch. Taylor's certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy's dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.

Former SEAL Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses to protect Taylor from the fate that befell her uncle and the other members of a tight circle of Coast Guardsmen called the Compass Points who served together on Point boats in Vietnam.

Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with Taylor. That was his first mistake. Taylor is attracted to Jake as well, but she refuses to wait for him to locate the killer when she knows her plan will force her uncle’s murderer into action.

But the killer's actions are just what Jake is afraid of.

And a little something about Carol...

 Carol Kilgore has always had stories and characters in her head. She wrote short fiction for a few years and enjoyed a small success as a freelancer before giving it all up for her true love – novels.

As a Coast Guard wife, Carol has lived in locations across the U.S. She and her husband now live in a San Antonio suburb and share their home and patio with two active herding dogs whose mission is to keep them free from danger, real or imagined.  

You can find Carol and her books here:  blog . website . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon

Well, I know I can't wait to read Solomon's Compass. Thank you so much for being my guest today, Carol. I wish you all the best with your new release.

 Please leave a comment for Carol, let her know you stopped by.

Question for the Day:

Is it me--or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?