• Virtual Book Tour

    No Innocent Affair by Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.

  • Science Fiction

    Renegades by Sara Mason

  • Inner City Strength by Dwight Slaughter

    Sometimes the game is all you have to save your life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When A Character Fights You by Shelly Frome - Twilight of the Drifter Virtual Book Tour Guest Post


When a Character Fights You
by Shelly Frome

This topic reminds me of an issue I once had with a patriarchal in-law. Every time he would say, “The party was quite acceptable, everyone was well behaved,” I wanted to counter with, “I’d call this a party that died.” But I held back for fear of upsetting everyone. But that, of course, is what fiction is all about--making a scene. Initiating some action that causes complications, greater effort and greater resistance as the storyline becomes self-generating.
Something even more to the point comes to mind. A renown writer confided to a few of us at the University of Florida that whenever he tried to manipulate any of his characters, they stopped talking to him. In fact they refused to do anything until he gave them free rein. It was only then that something surprising yet inevitable would happen and his writing took off and rang true.
In other words, imagine if J.D. Salinger was frustrated with Holden Caulfield because Holden was dead set on leaving prep school, taking off for New York in flight from all “the phonies,” getting into all kinds of scrapes and eventually spending time with his kid sister Phoebe. What if Salinger insisted that the story took place solely inside the school? No more Holden. No Catcher in the Rye. What if Kathryn Stockett was having trouble with the maid Aibileen who kept all that pain and anguish seething inside. Since Skeeter was on deadline to submit a piece about maids in Mississippi for a New York magazine, suppose Stockett stepped in. Just had Aibileen suddenly throw all caution to the wind and divulge the dreadful things that happened to her during the Jim Crow era? No more Aibileen. The Help would have simply become one of those safe and predictable tales about social conditions in Jackson at that time.
On the other hand, if you’re only interested in making sure readers keep turning the pages, you can use the one about a code and a secret religious society as a guide. The author of this bestseller (who shall go nameless) had no trouble with his characters at all because he made them one-dimensional. Robert Langdon is only described as a crackerjack symbologist from Harvard who looks like Harrison Ford. He doesn’t even have to worry about abandoning his class or telling his department head where he’s off to. And when he examines a mutilated body at the Louvre, he’s given no time or inclination to respond to the victim’s plight. All that matters is solving this juicy puzzle. Even Sophie, who turns out to be the victim’s granddaughter, doesn’t so much as shed a tear. As a cryptographer with tunnel vision, her job is to play second fiddle to Langdon and run here and there as they both skip over to London and cross paths with a crazed albino and all sorts of other stock characters. .
Problem solved. All you have to do is pigeonhole everyone in the cast and send them where you will.
Admittedly, I can’t help preferring the more honest approach. As an actor I learned to keep each performance alive by playing the moment. In a way it’s a trained-in sense of danger and dynamics. Something I look for in choosing the novels I read and a guideline every time I sit down to write.               


About Shelly Frome:

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of mysteries, books on theater and film, and articles on the performing arts appearing in a number of periodicals in the U.S. and the U.K. He is also a film critic and a contributor to writers’ blogs. His fiction includes Lilac Moon, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Tinseltown Riff and the trans-Atlantic cozy The Twinning Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are the acclaimed The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Twilight of the Drifter, his latest novel, is a southern gothic crime-and-blues odyssey.


Genre: “A laudable crime thriller with a Southern setting”—Kirkus Reviews
Publisher: Sunbury Press; released in January 2012

"Twilight of the Drifter" is a crime story with southern gothic overtones. It centers on thirty-something Josh Devlin, a failed journalist who, after a year of wandering, winds up in a Kentucky homeless shelter on a wintry December. Soon after the opening setup, the crosscurrents go into motion as Josh comes upon a runaway named Alice holed up in an abandoned boxcar. Taken with her plight and dejected over his own squandered life, he spirits her back to Memphis and his uncle's Blues Hall Cafe. From there he tries to get back on his feet while seeking a solution to Alice's troubles. As the story unfolds, a Delta bluesman's checkered past comes into play and, inevitably, Josh finds himself on a collision course with a backwoods tracker fixated on the Civil War and, by extension, the machinations of the governor-elect of Mississippi. In a sense, this tale hinges on the vagaries of chance and human nature. At the same time, an underlying force appears to be driving the action as though seeking the truth and long awaited redemption. Or, to put it another way, past sins have finally come due in the present.

Excerpt:
Wolf Creek was silent again, shrouded and hidden away in the fading early December light.
Then the cracking sound of wood as the old hunter’s blind gave way somewhere in the near distance, a sudden scream and a muffled thud. The cracking sound was not nearly as sharp as the first gunshot or the second, the scream not at all as piercing as the first cry or as grating as the moans that followed and faded.
The coonhound took off immediately, ignoring the touch of frost in the creek water, the obstacle course of fallen tree limbs and bare forked branches, the muddy slope and the snare and tangle of vines and whip-like saplings. Within seconds, the hound was bounding higher until he came upon a prone scrawny figure totally unlike the one that had just fallen on the opposite bank.
Sniffing around, barking and howling, the hound snapped at the flimsy jacket and bit into it. As the scrawny little figure began to stir, he tore into the sleeve, ripping it to shreds and barked and howled again, turning back for instructions. The sight of the skinny flailing arms sent the coonhound back on its haunches—half guarding, half confused as it turned around yet again, looking down the slope to the creek bed, still waiting for a signal.
Presently, a tall, rangy man made his way across the same obstacle course, long-handled shovel in hand. But he was only in time to catch sight of a girl clutching her head, staggering away from the scene through the tangles and deepening shadows. Then again, it could’ve been a boy for all he knew, but he settled on a girl, a flat-chested tomboy, more like. Casting his gaze up to the snapped rungs of the tree-ladder, he spotted the broken edge of the rotting hunters blind some eight feet above where she could’ve seen everything.
The coonhound began circling around him, displaying the shards of material dangling from his jaw. Instinctively, the man rushed forward. Then he thought better of it as his overalls got snagged in the brambles. From the look of things, the girl was probably dazed and confused and wouldn’t get as far as the dirt drive, if that.
Wrong guess. The slam of a hood as the flat-bed’s worn V-8 motor fired-up, the grinding of gears and the familiar whine and squeal of tires signaled the tomboy was away and well out of reach.






Monday, November 26, 2012

GFP Excerpt Tour: Over the Mountain and Back by Marie Astor



Don't you just love this cover? Please welcome Marie Astor to the blog today, on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions with her book, Over the Mountain and Back. Marie is also offering a chance for you to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win.

Welcome Marie!


Dear Reader,

Thank you very much for joining me for Over the Mountain and Back blog tour. The story of Over the Mountain and Back began over twenty years ago when I was fourteen years old and decided to write a novel as an anniversary gift for my parents. It was going to be a fantasy adventure about a boy named Peter and a girl named Lara set in a magical country, Transadonia. I remember writing studiously on the pages of an ornate notebook I had acquired especially for the occasion. Back then computers were not yet widely used, so I had to pay extra care to my handwriting. A year later, Over the Mountain and Back was completed, or at least I had thought so at the time. Needless to say my parents were very surprised with their anniversary gift.

Years passed; I finished high school and went on to college. Lara’s and Peter’s story faded from my mind, replaced by the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Then, one day – the day that happened to be my thirtieth birthday, my parents presented me with a gift: it was oblong in shape and wrapped in shiny paper. After I opened the wrapping, I was stunned to find the long forgotten story I had written all those years ago.

Long story short, after two years of extensive work, I rewrote and expanded Over the Mountain and Back into a novel of 95,000 words. For me it had been an exciting journey to be reunited with my old friends: Lara and Peter, Forest Witch Ramona, Chancellor Libra, Bookbrownies, and, of course, Carnelion, among the many others.

I hope that you will join Lara and Peter on their adventure in Transadonia.

If you would like to find out more about my books, please stop by website: www.marieastor.com.

Regards,
Marie Astor


With his father gone missing and his mother losing her grip on reality, Peter Bailey’s life is nopicnic. Peter’s gray existence changes unexpectedly after he takes his new snowboard for a ride in the mountains of Colorado and is stunned to find himself in Transadonia – a hidden world
that coexists alongside with the Earth.

Lara Grover never listened to her elders, so warnings like “do not talk to strangers” mean nothing to her. When a boy from an unknown world saves her from an avalanche with the aid of a snow dragon, Lara is not stunned in the least. Instead, she joins Peter on his quest to help him realize the purpose behind his arrival to Transadonia.

Together, Lara and Peter embark on an adventure filled with perils, trickery, betrayals, and unexpected alliances.





Excerpt:

When Peter walked into the store, his eyes immediately darted to the glossy display of newly arrived snowboards propped against the wall. In the center of the display stood a beautiful snowboard painted in bright neon colors with a sign underneath: The unbeatable Jamie Fox rode this snowboard when he won last year’s Snow Rider competition. Ask the store owner how you can ride Jamie’s board.
Peter could not turn his gaze away from the magnificent snowboard. How amazing it must be to ride a board like that, he thought, reaching out to touch the brightly colored plastic surface. Suddenly, his reverie was rudely interrupted.
“What have we here? Peter Bailey wants to ride my board?” sounded a mocking voice from behind.
Even without turning around, Peter knew that the sneering voice belonged to none other than Jamie himself - the reigning champion of the Snow Rider competition for the past five years. Jamie’s father owned the ski resort, and it was largely argued that it was not Jamie’s prowess, but his father’s connections that ensured Jamie’s unchallenged success.
“Hi, Jamie.” Peter nodded curtly.
As usual, Jamie was surrounded by a posse of boys who were willing to put up with his bullying in exchange for free lift passes and other perks that his father could provide. Today, though, someone else was with them: Beverly Nooner, the most popular girl in school. Beverly’s blond curls and blue eyes drew wistful glances from all the boys in the school, yet most would not dare so much as speak to her since Beverly was Jamie’s girl, and no one wanted to challenge Jamie. For her part, Beverly enjoyed the attention fully and used it to her advantage. She was in the same class with Peter and had copied his math homework on several occasions, but now she averted her eyes, pretending that she did not know who he was.
“Planning to ride in the competition?” Jamie smirked.
“As a matter of fact, yes,” answered Peter, determined not to let Jamie’s mockery get to him. Deep down he knew that Jamie would never go beyond verbal assaults, and Peter was not going to give him the satisfaction.
“I wouldn’t if I were you,” said Jamie smugly. “The board I’ll be riding is even better than the one you’ve been ogling. You don’t stand a chance.” This statement was accompanied by cheering from Jamie’s gang.
“It’s not just about the board, Jamie. It’s the riding skills that matter,” replied Peter calmly. “And if I were you, I’d spend more time practicing and less talking, or your lucky streak just might run out.”
At the sound of Peter’s words, Jamie’s clique began to hoot, but Jamie silenced them with a snap of his fingers.
“If I were you, I’d keep an eye out tomorrow, or things might just end badly for you,” hissed Jamie, his face contorted in an ugly grimace. “Let’s get out of here,” he called to his gang. Grabbing Beverly’s arm, Jamie shoved past Peter toward the exit, almost knocking him down to the floor.

Books by Marie Astor:

For Young Adults:

Over the Mountain and Back – a fantasy adventure novel

Kindle link:

For Adults:

To Catch a Bad Guy – romantic suspense

This Tangled Thing Called Love – a contemporary romance about overcoming one’s inhibitions, learning to tango, and finding one’s true love match.

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.

A Dress in a Window – a collection of short stories about love, coincidences, and fate.





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: Chatting with Shelly Frome - Twilight of the Drifter



Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today in Litchfield, Connecticut.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...
If you don’t mind, perhaps the blurb on the back cover of a recent novel might do as an intro. In any case, it was written by someone else and will spare me any self-promotion which, frankly, I’m just not good at:     
Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of mysteries, books on theater and film, and articles on the performing arts appearing in a number of periodicals in the U.S. and the U.K. He is also a film critic and a contributor to writers’ blogs. His fiction includes Lilac Moon, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Tinseltown Riff and the trans-Atlantic cozy The Twinning Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Twilight of the Drifter, his latest novel, is a southern gothic crime-and-blues odyssey. 

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....
Twilight of the Drifter centers on Josh Devlin, a thirty-something drifter. He finds himself down-and-out in a homeless shelter in Paducah, Kentucky where he comes across a troubled 13-year-old girl shivering in an abandoned box car. This moment signifies one last chance to make amends for his squandered life. It also sets him on a collision course with a backwoods tracker and, by extension, the governor-elect of Mississippi. All of this eventually involves him in deep dark secrets dating back to the Civil Rights Movement.
  
BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
            It all started when a friend of ours invited us down to the hill country of Mississippi. It seems he’d inherited a cabin and was in the process of fixing it up. At one point, he suggested that he and I explore the grounds and take a long walk. Following a narrow overgrown path, soon we became entangled in briars, edged past some barbed wire as the terrain sloped down and eventually came across waterlogged limbs sticking out like menacing pitchforks. At that moment, I turned to him and said, “Bob, do you have any idea where we are?”
He gave me a half-wary half-mischievous look and said, “Shelly, I believe this here is Wolf Creek.”
Then and there something began to percolate. A feeling there were buried secrets here that would never see the light of day.
            When we did manage to make it back, something about the cabin in the deep woods evoked a vague image of a Confederate outpost, and then a retreat during the Civil Rights Movement, and then an equally vague notion of a caretaker for whom time was telescoped. That is, for him almost simultaneously it was the memory of skirmishes with Yankee troops, Federal marshals at Ole Miss during the 1960s, and anxiety over the government inflicting more mandates threatening his way of life. By this point, I simply had to explore where in the world all of this was leading.
  
BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
            I suppose I’ve always been an incurable story teller. I remember some time ago
creating a series of cliffhangers for my friends in study hall back in the eighth grade in Miami. But I really didn’t consider myself a bona fide author till both my book on playwriting and my novel about an embattled young man in the Black Hills of South Dakota were published at about the same time.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?
            I get so involved I truly want to know what this is all about and what’s going to happen next. Also, as a film buff, I tend to see the story unfolding as a movie or, literally, as motion pictures. If I get too wrapped up in a character’s thoughts, everything seems to stop and just hang there. Like a Henry James novel.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?
            I do get stuck sometimes. For instance, at present I’m trying to work out what the  victim had been doing for the past three months. She couldn’t have just been in limbo, knowing she was a material witness, fearful of being discovered by a certain criminal element. After all, up to this point she was a responsible professional choreographer. And so I’m consciously trying to solve the problem while relying on my subconscious as well. Sometimes I even wake up thinking perhaps she was working on a new piece while hiding out and doing research over the Internet in the hopes the police at the Manhattan precinct received her letters and would intercede. And/or, perhaps she slipped out from time and drove to a studio in the nearby foothills and tried out certain movement ideas with a dancer she knew. At the same time, what would the perpetrator be up to? And how would all this interplay effect what happens next?

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?
                              This question reminds me of something a noted playwright once told me.
Colleagues were always inquiring how his latest work was going. Months later he would finally tell them, “It’s finished. Now all I have to do is write it down.” So my chief quirk is, I give myself permission to count the time I’m daydreaming, working through a stubborn scene till it “catches fire” in Tennessee Williams’ words. Like the example of the lady in hiding. Only then can I type it on the computer, polish it a bit and move on. For some reason, I can’t leave anything alone until it rings true  

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
            As long as I keep getting inspired, I see my work reaching a wider readership through Kindle etc. as well as traditional print media.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
            I hope readers sense there is something worthwhile here that’s worth the candle. That each and every tale was doubtless not only inspired but backed up by research, imagination and experience. That, in effect, they’ve vicariously lived through the spirit of the moment and are sorry to see it end.   
    
BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?
            An instructor at NYU’s School of the Arts once told me you have to love the process, the doing of it above all else. It’s simply something you have to do and should do as long as you receive some encouragement from worthwhile sources along the way.

BK: That's great advice. What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
            By the same token, there are so many so-called author websites that seem to be  fixated on hawking a product. No energy at all is spent on appreciating the works of great writers or even talented writers who have gone before and are writing now. Instead of joining the multitudes who seem to think anybody can crank out a novel and self-publish in e-book form or what have you, it might be much more satisfying to read the best in any chosen genre. Write and rewrite according to some literary standards, seek out professional editing or at least feedback from a writer who has earned his or her stripes  and take it from there. Develop your craft and hone your gifts first. Then submit to agents and publishers if you want to go that route or any route you decide to take. And, of course, seek out the company of kindred spirits so you can back each other all the way. Needless to say, writing fiction can be a pretty lonely pursuit.   

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?
            I’ve just received a contract from my publisher for a Hollywood escapade that will be released some time next year.

BK: Where can readers find you?
               Facebook, Twitter @shellyfrome, Amazon and Author Central, and linkedin
  
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

  Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of mysteries, books on theater and film, and articles on the performing arts appearing in a number of periodicals in the U.S. and the U.K. He is also a film critic and a contributor to writers’ blogs. His fiction includes Lilac Moon, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Tinseltown Riff and the trans-Atlantic cozy The Twinning Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are the acclaimed The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage.  Twilight of the Drifter, his latest novel, is a southern gothic crime-and-blues odyssey.


Genre: “A laudable crime thriller with a Southern setting”—Kirkus Reviews
Publisher:  Sunbury Press; released in January 2012



Blurb:
"Twilight of the Drifter" is a crime story with southern gothic overtones. It centers on thirty-something Josh Devlin, a failed journalist who, after a year of wandering, winds up in a Kentucky homeless shelter on a wintry December. Soon after the opening setup, the crosscurrents go into motion as Josh comes upon a runaway named Alice holed up in an abandoned boxcar. Taken with her plight and dejected over his own squandered life, he spirits her back to Memphis and his uncle's Blues Hall Cafe. From there he tries to get back on his feet while seeking a solution to Alice's troubles. As the story unfolds, a Delta bluesman's checkered past comes into play and, inevitably, Josh finds himself on a collision course with a backwoods tracker fixated on the Civil War and, by extension, the machinations of the governor-elect of Mississippi. In a sense, this tale hinges on the vagaries of chance and human nature. At the same time, an underlying force appears to be driving the action as though seeking the truth and long awaited redemption. Or, to put it another way, past sins have finally come due in the present.. 

Excerpt:

Wolf Creek was silent again, shrouded and hidden away in the fading early December light.  
            Then the cracking sound of wood as the old hunter’s blind gave way somewhere in the near distance, a sudden scream and a muffled thud. The cracking sound was not nearly as sharp as the first gunshot or the second, the scream not at all as piercing as the first cry or as grating as the moans that followed and faded.
            The coonhound took off immediately, ignoring the touch of frost in the creek water, the obstacle course of fallen tree limbs and bare forked branches, the muddy slope and the snare and tangle of vines and whip-like saplings. Within seconds, the hound was bounding higher until he came upon a prone scrawny figure totally unlike the one that had just fallen on the opposite bank.    
            Sniffing around, barking and howling, the hound snapped at the flimsy jacket and bit into it.  As the scrawny little figure began to stir, he tore into the sleeve, ripping it to shreds and barked and howled again, turning back for instructions. The sight of the skinny flailing arms sent the coonhound back on its haunches—half guarding, half confused as it turned around yet again, looking down the slope to the creek bed, still waiting for a signal.
            Presently, a tall, rangy man made his way across the same obstacle course, long-handled shovel in hand. But he was only in time to catch sight of a girl clutching her head, staggering away from the scene through the tangles and deepening shadows. Then again, it could’ve been a boy for all he knew, but he settled on a girl, a flat-chested tomboy, more like. Casting his gaze up to the snapped rungs of the tree-ladder, he spotted the broken edge of the rotting hunters blind some eight feet above where she could’ve seen everything.
            The coonhound began circling around him, displaying the shards of material dangling from his jaw.  Instinctively, the man rushed forward. Then he thought better of it as his overalls got snagged in the brambles. From the look of things, the girl was probably dazed and confused and wouldn’t get as far as the dirt drive, if that.
            Wrong guess. The slam of a hood as the flat-bed’s worn V-8 motor fired-up, the grinding of gears and the familiar whine and squeal of tires signaled the tomboy was away and well out of reach.





Monday, November 19, 2012

@GoddessFish: Guest Post & #Giveaway with Laurie Larsen - Keeper By Surprise




Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. Laurie! Laurie is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions with her book, Keeper by Surprise. Laurie will be awarding promo items at each stop so be sure to leave a comment with your email, PLUS...one lucky commenter from her tour will receive their choice of Kindle or Nook Basic. Good Luck.

Welcome Laurie! We're ready for you...



Craziest Thing/Idea Ever Wrote About
  Guest:  Laurie Larsen, author of Keeper by Surprise

BK, thank you for having me as your guest blogger today.  I’ve really enjoyed browsing through your wonderful content.  You definitely know how to party and entertain here!
Readers, BK thought you’d enjoy hearing about the craziest thing I’ve ever written about, whether it was published or not.  I really had to wrack my brain to come up with something, because my writing is not what you’d call crazy.  I don’t write about zombies or ghosts or vampires or anything like that.  My tagline is, “Everyday life with just a touch of worst case scenario.”  

But never fear!  I do have a crazy story to tell you about my early writing career.  It’s actually the story of how I first got published.  It was back in the dark ages before our years had a “2” on them!  I had written my first manuscript, opened up a huge reference book full of publishers, closed my eyes and pointed to one … and decided that publisher was a perfect fit!  I printed out and mailed my chapters and a query, and lo and behold, got a request for a full manuscript.  With shaky breath I mailed it off, sending along with it a little prayer for success.  According to the publisher, I should hear something sometime around February of 2000.

In my newbie naiveté, I was convinced that I would hear something from this publisher ON February 1.  I had it circled on my calendar and everything.  They had wanted an email address to contact me with, but back in the dark ages, I didn’t even have an email address.  But my mother did!  Well, sort of.  Do you remember an old invention called “Web TV?”  You got a keyboard that connected to your television and you could actually get email through it.  I had given this publisher my mother’s web TV address and figured she would keep me informed.
That is, until their annual trek down south came along, the time every year that they escape the cold winter of the Midwest and head to the beach.  Can you blame them?  So, armed with their house key, I drove across town every few days to check the web TV and, oh yeah, water the plants while I was there.  (I’m such a dutiful daughter.)  On February 1, a coating of snow covered the ground.  I parked in their driveway and tromped to the front door.  I went inside, pulled up the web TV, and … no dice. No email from the publisher. Oh well, good things are worth waiting for. I headed back to the car.

I came back a few days later and despite digging through my purse, my car tray, my glove compartment and my coat pocket, I couldn’t for the life of me locate my parents’ house key. Frustrated with myself, I went home, where I proceeded to tear my house apart, looking for the stupid key.  Which I NEVER found.

A few days later I got a phone call from the sheriff of my parents’ neighborhood.  Knowing when my parents leave for the winter, he was making his rounds, stopped by my parents’ house and got out of his car.  Looking down at the now melted, wet pavement of their driveway, something sparkled at him in the sunlight.  Picking it up, he saw that it was a house key.  And that it opened the front door!  Not real secure. He checked their records and saw that I was their contact person.
I raced over and refrained from hugging and kissing the man.  After proving who I was, I grabbed the key, raced inside and waited torturous moments for Web TV to pull up.  My delight turned to horror when I saw that the publisher had sent not ONE, not TWO, but THREE emails!
The first, “We love your manuscript and want to offer you a publishing contract,” (I’m paraphrasing).  “Contact us in the next 48 hours if you’re interested.”

The second, “Second notice that if you want us to publish your book, you have 24 hours to respond.”

And OH HORRORS the third, “We didn’t hear from you, but …”  I didn’t even wait to read THE BUT!  I immediately responded to each and every email practically SCREAMING at them that I wanted the contract!  Then I printed it out and took it to the Post Office and mailed it overnight so they’d get it in the morning.  No way was I going to miss out on this!
And I didn’t.  That book became my first published book, Whispers of the Heart.  The book that made me a published author and changed my life forever.  And guess what, that first email did actually arrive on Feb 1! What’s the odds of that?

Now, I’m celebrating the release of my seventh book, Keeper by Surprise, the story of Keith Hanson, a carefree college student loving life away from under the thumb of a strict upbringing when suddenly, everything changes.  He’s named guardian over his three siblings when Mom and Dad die in a car accident.  You’ll cry, you’ll laugh and you’ll root for Keith as he rises to the challenges of his new responsibilities.  Good thing beautiful Lisa Carle, the social worker assigned to his case, is there to help him and steal his heart.  She’s a woman to be reckoned with!

So, in the Comments, please tell me … what’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you that turned out with a happy ending?  Or just stop by the Comment board to say hi.  I will be drawing a name from my Commenters for a small prize today.  Thanks so much for having me!

 Laurie Larsen is the EPIC Award-winning author of Preacher Man, Best Spiritual Romance of 2010. To date, she has published seven books in the romance and women’s fiction genres, including one Young Adult romance.  Keeper by Surprise is her latest release.  She lives in the Midwest with a strenuous day job, a husband of more than two decades, two amazing sons and Gracie the Wonder Dog. To keep up with Laurie and her books, visit her at www.authorlaurielarsen.com  , on Twitter or Facebook.

FREE READ on Smashwords



AUTHOR WEBSITES: 

Website/blog:  www.authorlaurielarsen.com



Author co-op:  www.randommoonbooks.com



BLURB:

Life changes forever for Keith Hanson when his parents’ will declares him guardian over his three younger siblings. His new responsibilities are challenging, but he’s even less prepared to fall in love with Lisa Carle, a social worker with a devastating secret.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt One:

From Chapter One:

Keith pulled up in front of the Alpha Chi Omega house and parked. He tugged at the torturous bowtie and started up the sidewalk, then trotted up the steps to the massive front door. Once inside the sorority house, he gazed around the extravagant foyer. The walls were lined with scarlet velvet and the plush carpet was olive green. A huge vase of red carnations sat on the circular table occupying the center of the foyer. The house had always seemed to him like a metaphor for the girls who lived inside. Beautiful, classy, and just a tad out of his reach.

A movement at the top of the stairway captured his attention. Carly. He turned and his breath caught in his throat. He knew he was gawking at her as she began to descend the stairs. He couldn’t help it. She was gorgeous. She stepped gracefully onto the massive staircase and paused to giggle at his reaction.

My God, that dress. It was absolutely perfect on her. The emerald color gave her a regal look and it was form-fitting in all the right places. Like her breasts. And her tiny waist. Her auburn hair fell in graceful curls around her shoulders. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she turned away from him to brush the floor-length skirt and he caught a glimpse of the back of the dress. His heart quickened when he saw how low-cut it was. Her entire back was exposed in a V pattern, leaving absolutely no doubt in his mind there was no barrier between her skin and that fabric.

“Your mouth is hanging open, you know.”






Goddess Fish Partner

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Virtual Book Tour & #Giveaway with B.L. Brown - Halo-Orangees



One Body, One Mind, One Team. Words to live by. Please welcome B.L. Brown today, currently on tour with her book, Halo-Orangees: Employer-Employee "One Accord" Volume 1, at the Virtual Book Tour Cafe'.

Welcome B.L.!

B.L. Brown is the CEO and Founder of Halo-Orangees', international online job board (halo-orangeesjobs.com). Halo-Orangees’ international job board delivers candidates on time and under budget. Employers can post jobs and search resume database. Jobseekers can post resumes and search jobs for free. The genesis of Halo-Orangees Brand: Helping Advocate Longevity of Organizations by Obtaining Objectives through Redefining Above-Board New Generational Guidelines for Employer Employee Standards was inspired, developed, and birthed from her reaction to an unethical manager with whom she had the pleasure of working for and whose style of supervision made her stronger. 
In a one-on-one meeting with this executive director, he made the statement that another employee, who held the same title as B.L. Brown, was better than she was. In response, B.L. Brown informed him that this employee was not better than her nor was she better than the employee. From that one statement, she instantly realized her true purpose in life. "Best negative words spoken into my life thus far" (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown). Reckoning her experience with a newfound belief, the foundation of Halo-Orangees emerged.
In 2012 Author B.L. Brown launched Halo-Orangees/h-connect brand, international online dating website h-connect.net. The h-connect.net brand is empowering, motivating singles to find their best friend in love.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Linkedin | H-connect


Interview with B.L. Brown at BK Walker Books Etc.

BK:  What inspired this book?

BB: Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team book (Halo-Orangees: Helping Advocate Longevity of Organizations by Obtaining Objectives through Redefining Above-Board New Generational Guidelines for Employer Employee Standards) book was inspired, developed, and birthed from my reaction to a manager with whom I, B. L. Brown, had the pleasure—that is, in making me stronger—of working for. My executive director had perfected the art of insulting staff members on a daily basis. I could only surmise that this leader saw the entire group of employees as confined to a small shoe box. In a one-on-one meeting with my executive director, he made the statement that another employee, who held the same title, was better than I was. In response, I informed him that this employee was not better than I, nor was I better than she. I also asked him to explain the basis for his statement. He stumbled, stuttered, and finally replied that this employee was better than I, because she held two master’s degrees. “Best negative words spoken into my life thus far”. From that one statement, I instantly realized my true purpose in life. On that day, reckoning my experience with a newfound belief, the foundation of Halo-Orangees emerged. Halo-Orangees employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team Introduction is entitled, “Don’t Allow Anyone to Confine You to a Box, Disabling Your Growth”. Your life purpose is to take the totality of your negative experiences, roll them up into one, and use them positively to lay the foundation for your destiny” Excerpt~ B.L. Brown).

BK:  What is it about team work that you find most important?

BB: Team work is about “Eliminating the “I” and “ME” and Incorporating TEAM (“I and ME” = A Dysfunctional Team). Team success is measured by the group and not the individual person. Human beings have strengths and weaknesses; acknowledging them and using them to the advantage of the team is key. A good team member shares the spotlight, giving other team members the opportunity to shine. Furthermore, one must value the expertise of each team member, utilizing that expertise for the good of the team. “I” and “Me” stifle employer-employee “one accord” and create a non-cohesive work environment. Managers ultimately are responsible for shaping a cohesive environment within the team by eliminating “I” and “me” and incorporating “team.” A team member who puts personal gain above the team is, arguably, demonstrating a dysfunctional behavior. “I” and “Me” are the driving forces behind dysfunctional organizational employer-employee relationships.

The leader determines whether the team will be dysfunctional or a “one accord,” high-performing team. The leader’s role is that of a teacher. So, in order to clearly understand a team, start by observing the words and actions of the leader. “I” and “Me” are the destroyer of the Halo-Orangees’ “one mind, one body, one team”. A smart team member can rise above and adapt regardless of a dysfunctional team. Communication between employees can have a major impact on employee relations. Employees should be mindful of the fact that every role counts—that is, one person’s failure to perform can affect a department or an organization as a whole. Value is created when employees are loyal to one another. Much is to be gained when core loyalty lies within the group. Group loyalty in a team ensures that organizational standards are being met. Once loyalty is established within a team, the dysfunctional “I” and “Me” are eliminated, and team “one accord” is achieved.

Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team

BK:  When did you first realize you were a writer?

BB: I have always been a lover of words. One word can impact an entire sentence and stand out in the mind of readers. Words are the essential method of communications amongst human beings. As a child, whenever I felt isolated from the rest of the world, I would write. I had become accustomed to expressing myself by way of pen and paper verses verbal communication. My newfound motivations for writing are my life experiences. Whenever I am going through the unavoidable trials of life, I write.

BK:  What experiences did you face that you brought to the book?

BB: The best negative words spoken into my life thus far inspired the birth of Halo-Orangees employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team. The most valuable rewards in life are created from negative circumstances. My experiences in the workplace are incorporated through some of the characters in Halo-Orangees book, such as real life character Employee Strong. She is absolutely my favorite character.

I am also often inspired through my family and friend experiences. Halo-Orangees employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team has twelve chapters; nine out of twelve chapters contain real life on the job experiences of people I have some form of association with. The objective of Halo-Orangees book is to take the most difficult negative on the jobs conflicts and use them as a platform to show others. "Don't Allow Anyone to Confine You to a Box, Disabling Your Growth". (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown). “You are the only one who defines you, so don’t ever allow anyone to tell you who you are, or that you are not good enough” (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown).  “Don’t ever allow anyone to attack your self-esteem, kill your passion, or tell you that someone else is more worthy than you” (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown).

BK:  Tell us a bit about your book…

BB: Halo-Orangees is a nonexclusive on the job survival manual, mindset enhancer, and stress reliever for both employers and employees. This book will change your life both personally and professionally.

This book embodies the message that all human beings have a purpose and can rise above any situation or circumstance as long as they remain ethically true to themselves.

As you journey through this book, you will experience a multiplicity of real life work encounters such as, "A manager espoused her opinion that lower-paid employees should serve higher-paid employees". In this encounter, the manager also stated, "higher-salaried staff members are not paid to clean coffee pots" (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown). Halo-Orangees book is a movement with encouraging straightforwardness; Author B.L. Brown confronts real-life workplace issues occurring in organizations world-wide (negativity, drama, power struggles, backstabbing, and endless gossip). The Introduction is entitled, "Don't Allow Anyone to Confine You to a Box, Disabling Your Growth".

Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team confronts the real-life workplace issues occurring in organizations world-wide (negativity, drama, power struggles, backstabbing, friend-family hiring, and endless gossip). There are many relatable real life characters in this book such as, Tammy Poor Leadership, Joanna M. Miserable, and Coffee Pot Manager. Names, dates, places, and incidents in this book have been changed or omitted for a variety of reasons. I will leave it up to you, the reader, to realize what is what, who is who, and where is where.

BK:  What is it like being a business woman in today’s society?

BB: Inner belief is the awareness of knowing who you are as an individual and believing in who you have the power to become. It is your inner valuation that determines who you are. In life, it is of the essence that all human beings know their self-worth, both personally and professionally. In order to obtain any form of achievement, you must know who you are as an individual. In today’s world being a business woman is not easy! I am a single, divorced mother of five. On September 2011, our home burn down right before our eyes. We lost everything we owned! On top of this, I have encountered a lot of not so honest people in business. I have been through hell and back. Excuse my expression, however, I've found that some men will rape women in business. I wholeheartedly believe "Your life purpose is to take the totality of your negative experiences, roll them up into one, and use them positively to lay the foundation for your destiny". ~B.L. Brown. Therefore, my mindset does not comprehend the term “quit”, rather it is fully fluent in successful outcomes. The word “no” has become a massive tool that drives my determination. You will never pull off the success of hearing the word “yes”, if you are afraid to knock on doors by exceeding the goal of first hearing the word “no”. If you knock on doors and no one answers, build your own door of success, knock, open, and leap through! Lastly, but certainly not least, pursue your ability in which you possess the most passion, otherwise you will quit at the first sign of hardship

BK:  You run two websites, one for jobs and one for dating. What was the theory behind both?

BB:The philosophy behind Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee” international job board (Halo-Orangees: Helping Advocate Longevity of Organizations by Obtaining Objectives through Redefining Above-Board New Generational Guidelines for Employer Employee) is to facilitates organizations in hiring the right candidates on time and under budget. There are advantages of having a cohesive team. Being a part of a team that understands the goals and objectives of the organization is invaluable. This knowledge enables each team member to play a key role in the organization. Halo-Orangees job board is a component of Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team book, blog, and host of up and coming employer-employee tools.

BB: The h-connect (www.h-connect.net) vision is to facilitate sparks that incorporate real love connections by connecting best friends in love. The h-connect experience is based on real life dating experiences occurring in today’s dating world. If you are not looking to form a friendship with the agenda of having it blossom into a productive relationship, h-connect.net may not be the online dating brand for you. We pride ourselves in helping people build positive upward mobility empowering relationships. Our brand allows all customers total access at one of the most affordable/favorable rates ($10.95 annually) of all the online dating brands. Not only do we recommend profiles for you to review, we set you up for success by giving you total access to search our profile database. Our goal is to provide you with the best service possible.  We also allow our valued customers to select the blog questions and topics for the week.

BK: What is your ideal relationship?

BB: A balanced relationship that echoes respect equal contributions of deposits and withdraw from each person’s. The only thing to be gained from an unbalanced relationship is an excessive overdraft of unhappy emotions on behalf of the person making all the deposits

BK:  What can we expect from B.L. Brown in the future?

BB: I am in the process of completing Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee “one accord” Volume II One Mind, One Body, One Team. Halo-Orangees’ employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team is the first publication of a series of Halo-Orangees’ books.

In addition, Halo-Orangees employer-employee blog is under construction. I encourage all readers to purchase Halo-Orangees employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team http://www.amazon.com/dp/1432747584. Visit Halo-Orangees international online job board/website at http://www.halo-orangeesjobs.com. Jobseekers can create an account, post resumes, and apply for jobs free. Halo-Orangees international job board delivers candidates on time and under budget. Employers can post jobs and search resume database. Halo-Orangees resume database is searched daily by numerous organizations for qualified applicants to meet their organizational needs. Therefore, if you do not see a position in which you qualify at the time of your search, it is to your advantage to continue the process and upload your resume. Opportunities are available through the resume database component of Halo-Orangees website http://www.halo-orangeesjobs.com.
Visit Halo-Orangees/h-connect online dating website at http://www.h-connect.net. The h-connect.net brand is empowering, motivating singles to find their best friend in love. Halo-Orangees/h-connect is the first online dating website reinvesting back into it members community through monthly cash giveaway.

BK:  Where can readers connect with you?

BB: Direct Book Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1432747584           
For more information, please visit the author’s corporate website: http://www.halo-orangeesjobs.com
Dating Website- http://www.h-connect.net

Social Media Sites:

Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Goodreads

I would like to thank Virtual Book Tour Café for creating this platform for “Self-Published Authors” to share their book with the world.

Thank you for taking time to chat with us today. We wish you much success in the future.

Is your work environment infected with the dysfunctional "I" and ME" Team Virus? "I" and "Me" are the driving forces behind dysfunctional organizational employer-employee relationships. 
This book embodies the message that all human beings have a purpose and can rise above any situation or circumstance as long as they remain ethically true to themselves.
As you journey through this book, you will experience a multiplicity of real life work encounters such as, "A manager espoused her opinion that lower-paid employees should serve higher-paid employees". In this encounter, the manager also stated, "higher-salaried staff members are not paid to clean coffee pots" (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown). Halo-Orangees book is a movement with encouraging straightforwardness; Author B.L. Brown confronts real-life workplace issues occurring in organizations world-wide (negativity, drama, power struggles, backstabbing, and endless gossip). The Introduction is entitled, "Don't Allow Anyone to Confine You to a Box, Disabling Your Growth".
Halo-Orangees is a nonexclusive on the job survival manual, mindset enhancer, and stress reliever for both employers and employees. This book will change your life both personally and professionally.
“Don’t ever allow anyone to attack your self-esteem, kill your passion, or tell you that someone else is more worthy than you” (Excerpt ~B.L. Brown).
“You are the only one who defines you, so don’t ever allow anyone to tell you who you are, or that you are not good enough” (Excerpt ~B.L. Brown).

Excerpt Quotes
“Your life purpose is to take the totality of your negative experiences, roll them up into one, and use them positively to lay the foundation for your destiny” (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown).
“Don’t ever allow anyone to break your spirit of peace, control your mood, or suppress your workforce existence, making your tenure in the organization a horrible experience” (Excerpt~ B.L. Brown).

Book Genre: BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Angels & Spirit Guides / Business & Economics
Book Title: Halo-Orangees employer-employee “one accord” Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team
Purchase Links: Amazon

Giveaway: 4 Signed Books, plus 50 free total access dating packages – h-connect 50 free job postings, and $100 Cash Giveaway.



November 4 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
November 6 - Interviewed at Reviews and Interviews
November 8 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
November 8 - Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
November 14 - Interviewed at Angels & Warriors Radio
November 16 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
November 20 - Guest Blogging at Marketing Cafe'
November 23 - Guest Blogging at Mass Musings
November 27 - Author Fun Facts & Fav Recipe at Writing Innovations E-zine
November 29 - Book Feature & Excerpt at A Word Fitly Spoken
December 7 - Interviewed at From The Mind Of Omegia
December 17 - Book Feature & Excerpt at The Stuff of Success
December 19 - Review & Guest Blogging at A Book Lover's Library
December 20 - Reviewed at The Golden Pen Review


Change Your Mind...Change Your Life! 
1 Week with B.L. Brown
BK Walker Books Etc.
December 9 - Introduction to B.L. Brown
December 10 - Common Mistakes Employers Make When Dealing With Employees
December 11 - Common Mistakes Employees Make When Dealing With Work & Employers
December 12 - Maintaining Healthy Relationships
December 13 - Tips for a Healthy Mind & To Keep Your Sanity
December 14 - Readers Q&A Day
December 15 - Wrap-Up