Monday, May 25, 2015

Write What You 'Don't' Know

Writers often live by the rule: 'Write What You Know'. In doing so, a writer is comfortable in their surroundings, knows what they are talking about, and therefore, bring a sense of reality to their writing. It kind of keeps us from looking like idiots, I guess. However, I've discovered that I have a real problem with writing what I know. And the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem...

First of all, I have to say, I adore research. I love learning about something new. For me, it's like travelling to a different world, briefly, and getting a taste of something I've never had before. Like worms. Okay, I'm not eating a worm for research, although I did eat a rock once, but I digress. The point is, research is fun. And in writing my novel, They Call Me Crazy, I did some research on worm farming so I could make one of my characters believable.

Of course, I couldn't learn all there was to know about worm farming, but I learned enough to pick out what I considered the interesting aspects of it, and that's what I included in the book. As a reader, I don't want to know all the details about it, just the parts that get my attention. As a writer, I have to remember that the ultimate goal is to interest readers.

It seems that if I were a worm farmer, I would be able to give a lot of interesting information, because I would know so much. Right? Not always. I'm not a worm farmer, but I have been a Nurse for 30 years, and although I could tell you some great stories, I find that when I write about anything medical, I tend to instruct. I give too much information and try to be as detailed as possible. The result? Boring, run-on lectures about medically related subjects, when all I really wanted was someone to get a paper cut. I've been a Nurse for so long that choosing between 'the interesting parts' and 'the important parts' has become difficult.

Yes, I had someone that knew a little bit more than me about worm farming read the book for accuracy (Yes, there are worm experts). But the medical stuff? I've found that I have to 'consult' with other medical professionals for accuracy, and non-medical readers for interest and believability. If I were writing an instruction manual, it would be different. But I'm not. I'm writing novels, with a purpose to entertain, not teach.

So write what you know...Yeah, yeah, yeah---to a certain extent. But don't be afraid to dig through some subjects that you don't know anything about. 
How else are you going to learn how earthworms mate? 
(Well, I guess you could just read my novel....)  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Letter to My Students

The end of a semester is bittersweet for me.  Although I look forward to reading a book or ten over the summer, I will miss the past few months of teaching writing, literature, humanities, and speech. I will also miss reading all the essays from my students. I'm sure my students will have nightmares about the phrase "cite your work", but in the end, I hope they learned something of value that will help on their journey. What they don't realize is, I always learn from them, and this semester, thanks to some excellent work by my students, I learned quite a bit.

As a final thank you to all of my students, and an opportunity to give them some additional bits of wisdom from someone who has 'been there, done that', I've made a list of things to consider---academically and personally. Good luck---go forth and make a difference.   

1. Never underestimate your ability to change the world-I've thought about this my entire life. I am one person, what could I possibly do? As I've gotten older, I've realized that my small contributions add up. I've raised two wonderful men who will make bigger contributions than I ever could. I teach others the value of education and I teach them to express themselves through writing. You don't have to feed an entire village. Teach them to grow crops, and they will feed themselves.

2. Practice reading, writing, and speaking in public-In a survey of employers conducted by Hart Research Associates, eighty percent stated they wanted grads with better oral and written communication skills. Of course, taking courses that focus on these skills is extremely important, but just like everything else, practice is the key.

3. Listen to others opinions and arguments with an open mind- You may not agree with them, but hopefully you can gain an understanding of why they feel the way they do. This is a necessary skill for compromise and is important in all aspects of life.

4. Expect the unexpected- This semester, like every semester, there have been work conflicts, illnesses, new additions to families, and deaths. You can't always prepare for these things, but they are going to happen. Prepare yourself. Remember, you can't always control 'the problem', but how you handle the problem is completely up to you.

5. Education comes in many forms- As I've said, I always learn from my students. I have learned about conflicts around the world that I knew little about, different religions, lifestyles, and public health concerns. I can tell you about the fascinating social life of a ladybug and what fracking actually is. I even learned how to heel a calf in a parking lot at College of Southern Nevada. Look at every experience as an opportunity to learn something. You will be surprised at the knowledge you will gain.

6. Continuing on number 5, you will be amazed at the things you will remember.  A lot is two words. I can thank my high school English teacher, Phyllis Abbott, for drilling that into my head.
7. Read and write outside of your comfort zone-It's good to get angry once in a while. When you read something that gets under your skin, stop and ask yourself why. I have a few essays I assign every semester that are meant to do just that. It always works, and students begin thinking. Additionally, you may be surprised to find that you actually enjoy reading certain things that you thought you weren't attracted to. This semester, I have had students that learned that they loved reading plays and that they connected with Langston Hughes' poetry.  Try it, you may like it.

 8. Once in a while, take the 'other side'- Really. You might learn something about the issue, the opposition, and/or about yourself.

9. Question everything-In a world where we are bombarded with information, remember, it isn't always reliable information. Don't blindly follow what others tell you. Find the answers for yourself and make your own decisions.

10. Be yourself, appreciate others, show compassion-I know that a lot of students, fresh out of high school, are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. It's a tough time, but it is also an exciting time. Be yourself. Uniqueness is a fantastic trait. Do what you love. Appreciate the uniqueness of others. Life would be boring without human variety. Show compassion. Remember the essay we read about compassion? It is one of my favorites, because after thousands of years of teaching and preaching compassion, we as humans still can't do it consistently. Try.

Thank you for another great semester!

Teachers, Instructors, Professors: What did you learn from your students this semester?

Students: What did you gain from your studies?

Friday, April 24, 2015

‘Trial Run’ #Book Tour Kick-Off + 1st $40 Amazon GC #Giveaway #romance

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Trial-Run-Ella-Medler-Happy-Geek-Media-tour-banner  
Trial Run Virtual Book tour hosted by Happy Geek Media[/caption] Trial-run-about-the-book [caption id="" align="alignright" width="396"]Trial-run-3D-book-cover Trial Run by Ella Medler[/caption] Trial Run by: Ella Medler Genres: Romance, Comedy, Adult 340 pages Release Date: October 31, 2014 “Trust me, he says. You’ll be safe with me, he says.” Amelie Watts is sick and tired of being treated like a child. She might be willowy and delicate, but she has strength of the kind that doesn’t show on the outside. Plus, she learned all she needed to know so she could cope on her own. Now, if only her big brother would finally release her inheritance! She would fly to the Bahamas and kiss the backwater she grew up in goodbye. Jason Watts is fed up with picking up the pieces of his little sister’s life. If only she would grow up already and learn to live life without stabilizers! Her latest idea is insane, and bound to be her most enormous failure to date. But how to make her understand? Enter Rob Tyson, incorrigible bachelor and Jason’s best friend. For a laugh, they make a bet. Two people, a hastily acquired boat, and a tropical paradise. What could possibly go wrong? Trial-run-divider       trial-run-purchase-links



Follow the tour here

Trial-Run-about-the-author Author-Ella-Medler-Trial-Run
Ella Medler is a U.K. author and editor who lives in a corner of Heaven, on the south-west coast of Ireland, overlooking the Atlantic. She writes fiction in many genres – some after her own tastes, and some to make her readers happy. Sometimes, those two happen to coincide. Whatever the genre, her books are action-driven, and well-developed characters are her forte.
A fierce supporter of genuine talent, Ella Medler founded Paper Gold Publishing because she believes there are authors out there who deserve a chance to shine, authors who would otherwise fall between the cracks of a crumbling, forever-shifting industry. Feel free to join the site to access free resources, take part in competitions and enter your work in box sets and anthology collections.
As an editor, Ella Medler has the tendency to nit-pick on plot issues while ignoring the type of rule that doesn’t allow for a sentence to be finished in a preposition. If you want to win her over, make sure your books are action-packed, your characters real, and you bring chocolate.


Trial-run-divider 2nd Giveaway starting May 2nd
Good luck and happy winning!
Virtual Tour hosted by...
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"]Happy-Geek-Media Happy Geek Media[/caption]

Trial Run – the summer that inspired it
by Ella Medler

I grew up too serious. Before you ask “Why so serious?” in that tone of voice, let me tell you why that’s odd: Because I love to laugh. Unfortunately, times were tough, and my family never let me forget the sacrifices they were making for me so I could get a decent education. For that, I will forever be grateful. But really, why couldn’t they just smile about it already?

At eighteen, gratitude was not so high on my list of emotions. I was young, I was finally free of the grim nerdy high school I was forced to attend because of family expectations (one that specialized in mathematics and sciences – a path they had lined up for me since I was kicking blankets in my crib), and most of all, I was in love.

It was a hot sultry summer, and my sweetheart was back from his stint in the army as a trainee medic. His presence alone was all I needed to put a smile on my face. When he said he was reconsidering his career, and I figured I wouldn’t have to spend months alone, worrying about him, I skipped with joy. Riotous laughter bubbled up to the surface and no matter what happened – family frowning down on our youthful exuberance, lack of cash, the break-up of old friendships as people scattered to attend universities or just start up their lives – from then on, I let my happiness shine through. We decided a celebration was in order.

In a matter of hours, we were on the way to the coast. Beaches stretched as far as eye could see. Nothing could wipe the smiles off our faces. We rented a shared room with a poor local family of fishermen, but that was just so we could have somewhere to dump our bags. One night trying to sleep crossways in a double bed with three other people convinced us we had to rearrange our schedule. So we did.

Our summer of love turned into a whirlpool of night-time activity and slumber on the beaches. The weather was our friend, and so we used to nap through the day, between swimming in the sea and searching for the cheapest place that served fast food, while at night we came alive, hitching hikes to resorts up and down the coast, practicing dancing routines (which provided us with free entry to some nightclubs), and testing our stamina in all the possible ways. Yes, I’m winking here. I don’t think we left one tiny patch of sand un-ruffled in those two weeks.

As I write this, I have a big grin on my face. The relationship fizzled out, as most teen romances do, but those memories will stay with me forever. I am certain the reason why I stranded Amelie and Rob on a deserted beach in the Caribbean was partly because I was trying to give them the chance to have what I had in those fantastic moments, the summer when I was eighteen and free.

Maybe I wanted to relive those emotions through my characters, or maybe I was trying to inspire my readers. Did I manage? You can be the judge of that. When I write, I fling the gates open and let my feelings fly. My characters are reckless, living life to the full and playing with each other’s emotions, but they are young, they are real, and they are alive.

Sometimes, you have to go out and live your own life if you want to be able to breathe life into another, made-up, person. You have to say yes to every opportunity life throws your way, or else how could you know what it would feel like to experience those events? Be bold and dare to stretch outside your comfort zone. Take chances, like I did when I took a shortcut and got lost in the wilderness of a Siberian forest… but that is a story for another time, another book perhaps.

For now, enjoy Trial Run and the love story between Rob Tyson and Amelie Watts. And know that I’ve been there, done exactly that… though maybe just a little crazier.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Calling The Indies #Help #GivingBack #Auction

If you spend any time at all online, especially on Facebook and interacting with authors, you might have seen something recently about a GoFundMe campaign to help Deena with EBookBuilders.

For those that are not aware of the whole story, in November of 2014, an intruder came into Deena's house at 5 in the morning and attacked her, stabbing her multiple times in the face, torso, arm and pelvic region. We are thankful that she was awake, finishing up an author’s book so that the author could meet deadline. Because she was working such long hours, Deena was not asleep and able to fight off her attacker, going so far as to chase him out of her house saving herself and her children from further harm. Unfortunately Deena sustained some serious internal injuries including a liver laceration which is taking a long time to heal. Her recuperation time means that she is unable to work the extended hours she is used to clocking to pay her mounting medical bills and as sole means of support for her family.

This single mom is a part of the indie author community, helping authors and publishers, doing many things at reduced charge or even free in some instances, and now she needs your help. A group of her clients/friends/colleagues are putting together an online auction to help raise money to help pay some of the accumulated bills related to the attack and subsequent recuperation. If you would be willing to donate items - signed paperbacks, ebooks, swag, one-on-one mentoring with aspiring authors, professional services - please fill out the form or email



Want to know when the auction takes place or what the items up for bid are? Subscribe for updates (this is only for the auction updates and your information will not be sold)

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Other ways you can help Deena: Donate to help her overcome the hardship. Donation button is just below, and even a dollar makes a difference.
  • Print this campaign sign, and post them on bulletin boards in schools, churches, and other places permitted: Deena print flyer
  • Send the link to email contacts to help spread the word: CLICK HERE FOR DEENA’S FUND LINK
  • Share this post with others on social media.
  • Embed the below widget with picture on a website or blog sidebar if you have one.
<object classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ width=”258″ height=”338″ title=”Click Here to donate!” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash”><param name=”movie” value=”//” /><param name=”quality” value=”high” /><param name=”flashvars” value=”page=deenafund&template=3″ /><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent” /><embed allowScriptAccess=”always” src=”//” quality=”high” flashVars=”page=deenafund&template=3″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” wmode=”transparent” width=”258″ height=”338″></embed></object> Thank you so much!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Meant For Her by Raine Thomas


Photographer Sierra Stratton views the world through a lens all her own. She has an uncanny sense about people, something that often causes her trouble. When she meets the sexy and brooding Evan Dorsey, her intuition tells her he’s suffering, and she wants to be the one to help him.

Evan isn’t open to help from anyone, however. His focus is on his Major League career and making himself as marketable as possible for his upcoming free agency. He plans to ride out the season in Atlanta and then sign with another team, away from the painful memories that haunt him.

Someone’s eager to send him on his way, too. Between anonymous threats and equipment sabotage, it’s clear he’s earned himself an enemy along the way. To him, it’s one more sign that he’s right to move on.

But Sierra threatens his conviction. Her contagious smile proves hard to resist, as does her kiss. She tempts him in ways he never anticipated, making him question his plans for the first time. If he’s not careful, she might just convince him that he’s meant for her.

Buy Links

B&N | iBooks | Kobo 

About the Author

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She's a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn't writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida's beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Author Links 

Website | Twitter  
| Facebook  
| Goodreads 
Amazon Author Page | 
Pinterest | Linkedin  | Blog 


He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at her. It was all she could do to keep her eyes on his face. She’d already seen the black tattoo on the inside of his left forearm that read Strength, but she hadn’t seen his others yet. Across his pecs was a longer tattoo, some sentence or phrase that she couldn’t read from where she stood. He had another one on his right bicep, high enough to be covered by a sleeve whenever he wore a shirt.

She wanted to run up to him and touch and examine every inch of his tanned skin, especially where his spectacular abs disappeared into a V where his towel cut him off. If she didn’t already look like a whacked out, creepy stalker, that would be sure to do the trick.

After a long moment, he said, “It’s not broken.”

Relief flooded through her, both because he apparently wasn’t filing charges and because Beck’s paw was only sprained. She went back down to her knees to pet him some more.

“I’m so glad to hear it. Did Dr. Paulk give you the anti-inflammatories?”

Evan made a face. “Yeah. When I tried to give one to Beck, he puked on me.”

She made a sound of sympathy and kissed the top of Beck’s head. “Poor thing. You’re not feeling well at all, are you, big guy?”

“You know, I’m the one who got puked on,” Evan grumbled.

That was way too good a segue to pass up. Getting to her feet, she slowly walked over to him. His eyebrow lifted.

“Poor, Evan,” she said, her eyes on his as she stopped in front of him. “You’ve had a rough couple of days, haven’t you, big guy?”

“You petted Beck,” he reminded her.

Smiling, she reached out and placed her palms on his chest. As she ran her hands over his hard muscles, she read his chest tattoo.

Play as if you’ll live forever.

“An oversight I’m happy to remedy,” she murmured, meeting his gaze as her right hand lowered to his abdomen. “How rough have you had it these past couple of days, Evan?”

He grabbed her hand when it reached the waistband of his towel. She hadn’t had any intention of going beneath it…this time. But it pleased her to look down and see the results of her touch on his body.

Figuring he wanted her to stop teasing him, she stepped away. He yanked her back against him and brought his mouth down on hers.

All sense of teasing was gone like a snap. Desire raged between them. The kiss was hot, open-mouthed, carnal. She buried her fingers in the hair at the base of his neck, barely aware when he reached down to lift her so that her legs wrapped around his waist. She just knew how happy she was to have even easier access to his fabulous mouth.

She met the thrust of his tongue with hers, mimicking the mating that they both clearly wanted. Soft moans and growls filled the room, none of them from the dogs. They backed against a wall. His lower body pressed hard against hers, the towel and her clothing suddenly unbearable barriers.

When she reached for the towel, he stopped her, breaking off the kiss. The sound of their ragged breathing blended with her pulse racing in her ears.

“Mother of God,” he panted, bracing himself against the wall. “I could take you right here.” 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Authors Supporting Our Troops 2015 #ASOT2015

Recently, friend and fellow author, Pete Barber, told me about a wonderful effort that was started last year by author Armand Rosamilia called Authors Supporting Our Troops. It took me no longer than a quick read of their webpage to start signing and packing up books to send to them myself. I love the idea so much, I wanted to share it with everyone because even if you aren't an author, there are ways you, too, can help.

Pete is sharing the love...
Authors Supporting Our Troops collects signed copies of books directly from the authors to send overseas to members of the United States military that are currently stationed in remote areas. This is for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who don’t have easy access to read. Sure, there are other things they need as well, but there are several organizations that ship toothbrushes, socks, and silly string (hopefully someone is shipping silly string!). But, books can take you to different places, different worlds, for a short time, and as writers and readers, we know that experience can make the difference. 
Authors-If you would like to help, please visit Authors Supporting Troops website and email the coordinators for information on where to send your books. You decide how many to send, but please remember to sign them all.

Friends of the Military-ASOT needs names and shipping addresses of those overseas that are willing and able to receive a box of 50-ish books and will distribute them. Please visit their website for more information.

And I'm sharing some crazy...
Everyone-Authors are sending the books, but there are still shipping costs involved to get the books to our troops. Donations for shipping costs are accepted and appreciated. Additionally, there are t-shirts for sale on their website, and the proceeds go toward shipping costs.


Share their webpage, like their Facebook page to follow their progress, tweet, tumble, stumble, and whatever else you can do to get the word out.  

Facebook page to follow their progress

Thank you, Pete Barber, for introducing me to this effort!