Sunday, July 26, 2015

25 Writing Tips From Champagne Book Group Authors

  1. A writer should write 'something' everyday, even if it's just a page. Sometimes life gets in the way and if you don't make time, it can be difficult to get back on track and stay focused. –Angela Ashton

  2. Don't allow distractions such as phones or social networks while writing. –KD Fisk

  3. Don't limit yourself. –KD Fisk

  4. I like to read aloud when I'm editing, it slows me down and often I can find mistakes I've missed—it's also good to hear how sentences sound when spoken for rhythm. –Ute Carbone

  5. My main writing tip is Never give up, never surrender (and it is a super cool Galaxy Quest reference) truly though, you have to want it to get it. And that means you will face rejection and just need to keep on, keeping on. –Colleen Laughlin

  6. Turn off Editor Brain and let Writer Brain rule. Let your first draft be messy. Edit later. –Celia Breslin

  7. Write a lot, then write some more. I write about three pages for every page that ends up in the story. –Ute Carbone

  8. Write every day. I wish I could live up to this one. I don't. I do write each day... that I can write. That I want to write. Other days, not so much. Discipline in this arena eludes me - I write when the words knock on my brain insisting on their right to emerge. When they don't, when the words seem deeply buried, I read. When I need inspiration, I read. When I am lost in uncertainty as to how to proceed with a manuscript, I read. Perhaps this should be "write or read or both every day. –Elizabeth Fountain

  9. Write what you love. This one truly works. Love begets effortless writing. Write what you love, love what you write, and the rest will follow. –Elizabeth Fountain

  10. Write every day. –Celia Breslin

  11. When I get stuck on character motivation, I'll write from that character's point of view, to answer some questions. I've also had them 'write me letters' about what they're thinking. –Ute Carbone

  12. Take breaks if writing is stressing you. –KD Fisk

  13. My latest trick is to download the manuscript to my kindle and read it there, the different format gives me a new perspective while editing. –Ute Carbone

  14. Feel free to write anything in the first draft, that's what revisions are for. –KD Fisk

  15. Don't get distracted!! *cringe* –Angela Ashton

  16. Always schedule time for writing. –KD Fisk

  17. Read: reading lots of books, and lots of different styles, authors, and genres, will help you develop an ear for "voice". If you're the kind of person, like me, who isn't able to sit down with a good paperback and are always "on the go", invest in audiobooks. Listen to them in the car, when you're grocery shopping, at the gym, etc. –Brantwijn Serrah

  18. Take a writing class. Classes benefit every writer at any stage of development. Learn how to structure writing, learn correct grammar and syntax, learn how to write from different prompts and challenges. Even if you are one of those blessed individuals who just has a knack for writing, a writing course will help you hone your talent into something even better. –Brantwijn Serrah

  19. Two most common things I see are 1. lack of dialogue while the author begins the book with too much backstory and 2. use of passive voice i.e. was, being, have been, were. It is easy to check on most writing programs for percentage of passive voice used in a manuscript. Anything over 1% is too much. –Veronica Helen Hart

  20. Remember the five senses in your scenes. –Michael W. Davis

  21. Write what you know. This seems to be the most common advice given to writers, and it's sound. But if you are like me, you also want to write what you don't know, write what you seek to learn, write that which you crave to discover. Let writing be your exploration of all aspects of this expansive human life. –Elizabeth Fountain

  22. Preparation, the first phase in writing, this is largely right hemispheric and active. Freeing yourself at this in this stage, research whatever relates to your story. Plunge into your depths. Open yourself to the emergence of inspiring ideas and emotions. Surrender uncritically to and become absorbed in the story. Tempting as it may be, set aside critical thinking. No matter how incongruous, minute or absurd, record budding ideas as they arise. The end product will be a crude collection of ideas, dialogue, etc., in no specific order. This will be the bedrock upon which you will erect a story structure. –Alan Joshua, Website

  23. Dialog tag vs. dialog beat

    As an editor, I encountered this problem in many manuscripts: writers often confuse dialog tags with dialog beats. This is a grammar problem, easily fixed.
    A dialog tag is an indication of who is talking. It could appear before or after a line of dialog and it could include any verb that produces language: said, whispered, commented, asked, etc. In all cases, a tag is a part of dialog and it uses commas to separate it from the dialog proper. Below are several examples with the correct grammar and punctuation:

    Sarah said, “I think you’re right, Kat.”
    “I’m hungry,” she whispered.
    “I hate you,” he shouted, “more than anyone else in the world!”

    Unlike the dialog tags, a dialog beat is a piece of action that
    sometimes accompanies speech. The verb in a beat could be any verb except the ones producing language (said, shouted, demanded, and so on). Any dialog beat is an independent sentence and must be treated as such with punctuation. The examples below use the same lines of dialog as the above, but instead of the tags I use the beats, which changes punctuation and capitalization.

    Sarah laughed. “I think you’re right, Kat.”
    “I’m hungry.” She turned to the wall.
    “I hate you!” He spit on the ground. “More than anyone else in the world.” –Olga Godim

  24. I have a bad habit of getting hung up on the "Point B" scenes... by this I mean, the scenes that connect Point A and Point C. The "in between" scenes. The "boring" scenes where I'm filling in the details between scenes of action and suspense. You can't ignore the Point B scenes, though...your reader needs them for pacing, to take a breath and digest what's happened and anticipate what's to come. So when I get to a Point B scene and I feel I can't write it as eloquently or as impactfully as a Point A or Point C scene, I usually find myself blocked. What I've learned is that you just have to power through it. Write the scene, even if (at the moment) it's not your most powerful prose.  You'll come back to smooth it out later, but get your foundation in so you can build a really good bridge later. –Brantwijn Serrah

  25. My tip would be leave the sentence that you are working on at the end of the day unfinished.  I find that this helps my mind to stay in flow until the next morning. –Kim Leady

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lotus Petals Excerpt

Warning: This is a rated-R book. Please read the following excerpt at your own discretion.

Lotus Petals
By Brantwijn Serrah
Paranormal Romance/Lesbian/F-/F

Aijyn, human slave to a ruthless vampire Lord, would never dare do anything to incur his wrath. Then, she fell in love... with his bride.


"Rhiannon-sama," she began again, well aware she might be broaching a subject Rhiannon would easily wish to avoid, even to the point of sending her attendant violently away.

"Hm?" the vampire murmured.

"Your bodyguard...she likes to see you in pain."

Rhiannon waited a long time before she answered.

"Perhaps I like pain, mortal."

Aijyn did not argue...but she had seen the expression on Rhiannon’s face when Sölva had tormented her.

"You must hide the scars from the daimyo," she chided gently. "And you cannot allow her to leave any more marks on you, if you do not wish to anger him."

"And if I do wish to anger him?"

"Do not be petulant," Aijyn scolded.

"Does he believe his bride will be untouched? That his kin-born bastard bride will not have experienced acts of the flesh? I am over half a century a living birth-child. Does he realize how most kin-born are meant to earn their keep in demon houses?"

"He expects you will be untouched for him," Aijyn said. "Whatever has gone before, now you are his. And Gohachiro is not a man to share his treasures."

"Doesn’t he like to use pain?" Rhiannon asked. She rolled over under Aijyn’s hands, lying on her side and reaching out to touch the scar she herself had left on the courtesan’s wrist. At the light caress of her finger, a delicious tingle of pleasure ignited under the skin, making Aijyn shiver as the vampire had a moment ago.

Rhiannon pulled Aijyn closer, and lowered herself over the wound to kiss it a second time. The warm arousal intensified, and Aijyn caught her breath as her body awoke to the sensation, nipples stiffening under the soft silk of her kimono.

"Here," Rhiannon whispered, reaching up to brush the dark strands of hair from Aijyn’s shoulder, revealing the tiny, neat scars of bites past. Scars that would never heal the way the vampire’s did, white little lines and half-moons, memories of Gohachiro’s affections.

"Doesn’t he give you pain…" Rhiannon said, following their contours with light but deliberate pressure.

"…so he may turn it into pleasure?"

"Rhiannon-sama…" Aijyn murmured vaguely. One hand had dropped into her lap; the other rested on the vampire’s warm, lean arm. Strange awareness filled her: the touch stirred up the first bloom of eagerness in her loins and the pit of her belly.

"Pain is what we are, courtesan. Pain, hunger, pleasure, death. We are the undead. I am just over half a century old, more than twice your age, and I have been Sölva’s for longer than you have been alive. There are scars you will never see, all over my body: the marks of her fangs, of her whip, the cut of her blade, the pierce of steel needles. And every one of them sings when she touches me, screams when she hurts me...and it is ecstasy."


Aijyn realized with some dread she had made a mistake. The vampire’s touch brushed against her, terribly light, terribly fleeting, but her voice...soft, beautiful, rich, like strong liquor.

Rhiannon’s hand came to rest on the back of Aijyn’s neck. She gently pulled the courtesan closer, resting forehead-to-forehead and searching deep into Aijyn’s wide, dark eyes.

"You do this for him, too?" she whispered. "You...perform anma for him? You touch his body with such delicate affection?"

"Yes," Aijyn whispered.

"And does it make him want to fuck?"

Before she could think better of it, Aijyn lifted up a hand and slapped her.

The strike was not a hard one. At least, to Rhiannon it would not have been hard. Aijyn’s palm stung as though she had struck it against solid rock, and she quickly pressed it in her other hand, hissing with pain.

Rhiannon did not strike back. She remained perfectly still, her expression unchanging. After a moment, once Aijyn had collected herself, the vampire leaned closer and pressed her mouth against Aijyn’s own.

"It makes me want to fuck," she said. Then she stood, one smooth, languid motion, and retreated to her coffin to at last submit to her daytime sleep.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Unspoken - Review from Coffee Time Romance and More

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Rate this (1 Vote)
ISBN#: 9781771551731
January 5 2015
Champagne Books
121 pages
Urban Fantasy Romance
Rating: 4 Cups

Myka Quinn, a lone werewolf and bounty hunter, finds her mark, little did she know finding her will be just the start of big changes coming. As soon as she finds her, a dark witch named Tara they are shot, leaving her dead and Myka gravely wounded. She escapes and is rescued by Ari, a local alpha. The next day she is greeted by a lawyer, a witch sent by her old alpha, telling her she has been charged with Tara’s murder and offers his help. The offer makes her wary, as her old pack hates her for being a bitten not born werewolf. Framed for murder, death threats, and meeting a sexy alpha who wants to take care of her are just a few things she was not expecting to have to deal with.

Ari Hudson is a werewolf and alpha of a Washington pack, after finding Myka near death he makes an immediate decision to take care of her and brings her home. He is extremely attracted to Myka, who is defensive and skittish and works to do everything right to not scare her away so she will stay and be his mate. Ari uses his knowledge and influence with the locals to keep her from jail and works to help her with her problems with the murder charges, threats, and understanding her magic which does not seem to follow the usual rules. Despite her history with her old pack her trust issues her magic that is supposed to be impossible to have and the feelings of his own pack he is determined to have her.
After her near-death, another attack, and to protect her Ari has his pack guard her. One night her werewolf maker dies the result sending a magic backlash to her where she has to accept Ari and his pack or die. The next day unexpectedly she is visited by her ex-fiancé A Daniel, heir of her old alpha and brother to her dead maker, who invites her to his brother’s funeral. After a fight between her an Ari she heads home and is confronted by a trio of witches, Tara’s sisters, who tell her to find the real killer or else. Investigating the witch’s death will reveal answers to a sinister plot whose origins lead back to the night her family was slaughtered and she was made a werewolf. Then there are her feelings for Ari, can she trust him after all of the lies and betrayals she finds?

I enjoyed reading this book. I especially liked the imagery and descriptions used to draw the events and feelings of the story. It was action packed, both in the physical sense and the emotional sense and I did not want the story to come to an end. I was eager to read more about Myka, Ari, the pack, and Myka’s brother’s family. The world the author created was great, because along with the familiar use of werewolves a twist was added to make them totally unique and not like the cookie cutter creations made by other books in this genre. Myka felt real, even though she was tough she still had her vulnerabilities, was defensive, and was adamant about being able to do things on her own and her duty to take care of her brother. I really liked ari, he was sexy in a smart guy kind of way, knowing how to treat Myka and her defensiveness without being an over bearing jerk
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
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Dream Job Excerpt

Dream Job
By Mickey J. Corrigan
Contemporary/Sci Fi Romance

He's the man of her dreams and her boss. But someone else is dreaming about her, someone more dangerous…


On the Friday I would test drive the DCI software for the first time, we went to  lunch at Harvey’s. Bob leaned forward, his voice low. “I have to tell you guys this,” he said.

“What’s up?” Matta asked, running her manicured nails through the loops of her unruly hair in a halfhearted attempt to tame some strands. “Tell mama,” she said to Bob, but he didn’t laugh.

“Okay, I hate to be the one that breaks it to you, but Mr. Charlton Hamm is a phony,” he said. Matta and I leaned in simultaneously. “He’s a fake. An impostor.”

Bob sat back and frowned, then shrugged. The color had drained out of his face and his scalp was less rosy. “I kind of bumped into the facts about him when I was fiddling around online last night. If you look up old photos from his college years when he played varsity lacrosse at Yale, you can see what I’m saying. It’s a totally different guy. Not our Hamm, some other tall blonde kid who only looks like him.”

Bob paused and licked his thick lips.

“And if you dig for them, you can find photos of him at Mar-a-Lago, some high-fly dinner Trump hosted years ago. The photo caption says Charlton Hamm, but it’s somebody else. I mean, the guy from Yale is standing there in a tux with his arm around a busty blonde dish. The caption says she’s Mrs. Charlton Hamm.”

“I didn’t know he was married,” I blurted.

I tried to remain calm, but inside I was shrieking. He doesn’t wear a wedding ring. There’s no photos of a wife in his office. Plus, he’s sleeping with me.

In my dreams, that is. But still.

Matta snickered. “All Adrianna cares about is the man’s marital status.”

That wasn’t completely true.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Coup de Grace Excerpt

Coup De Grace
Amazing Grace, 6
By Misa Buckley
Science Fiction Romance

Rescued from the evil clutches of Hammel, Grace gathers the mutated ex-residents and goes to war, determined to strike a finishing blow against the evil company.


My nose tickled. Wanting only to sleep, I batted at it in an attempt to push the itch away. Hands gripped my shoulders. Someone called my name. The floor beneath me trembled. A sound rumbled, both close and yet oddly distant. As if I’d heard it through water.

No, not water. Memory surged, and shock cleared the fog in my brain. I opened my eyes and pushed up.

“It’s okay.” Charity put an arm around me. “You’re safe now.”

“Well, not really,” muttered Emery. “There’s bombs. The whole place is going up.”

I looked around. Charity knelt at my side, Emery stood close by. Heidi was a little further away, wringing her hands as she glanced from me to an open door and back. Lucas waited in the doorway. His expression sent a frisson of fear through me.

“Where’s Benedict?” I asked, my voice faint for reasons that had nothing to do with my recent reawakening.

“Here.” He jogged into sight, sooty and rumpled, but still the best thing I’ve ever seen. The worry on his face turned to a tired smile. “Hello, Grace.”

I snorted and got my feet under me. My knees wobbled as I stood up. I locked them and put my hands on my hips. “Hello? I go through utter hell and all you can say is ‘Hello’?”

He laughed and closed the space. His arms crushed the air out of my lungs. Then his mouth was on mine, starving me of more oxygen. Not that I cared. I held on tight as fractured recollections of what had happened made me shiver.

“Um, could you two save that until we’re out of the burning building?” Charity asked.

Benedict pulled away with a rueful chuckle. “Good point.” He looked at me. “Can you walk?”

“I think so.”

“Come on, then.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Blood Under the Midnight Sun Excerpt

Blood Under The Midnight Sun
By Steven Ure
When Julie’s twin brothers are declared MIA in Nazi-occupied Norway, Julie risks everything and heads over there from Scotland to find them.
“We have to move, girl,” her father said calmly. There was not a trace of fear in his eyes, and she wondered how that could be. “Hurry now,”he said in a hushed tone, and led Julie away from all the lights.
Together, they weaved through the forest, ducking under branches and jumping over bushes, but it never felt like they were going fast enough. The lights were always behind them. They looked to Julie like they might be catching up. Julie’s father looked back and his eyes went wide. The fear was getting to him and it was then Julie started to get really scared.
“Hurry, hurry!” he muttered and ran. They were making a terribly loud noise running, as twigs and leaves broke and crumpled underneath their feet, but when Julie looked back, the lights seemed to be getting farther away.
They had been running for fifteen minutes and Julie was winded and had to rest. She sat down on a rotten log covered with moss and tried to catch her breath.
“They won’t stop looking,” her father said, facing away from her, like he was talking to himself rather than Julie. “They saw the crash, and they can’t assume the people inside died with it. No, they’re not like that. They’re not going to stop looking. Not until they found us, that is.” He wasn’t even breathing hard, even after the hard run.
“What are we going to do?” Julie asked.
He turned to face her. His eyes darted back and forth and looked down to the ground. Julie could tell he was thinking about doing something dangerous.
“What?” she said. “What are you going to do?”
“Shhh, girl,” he whispered, and put his finger to his lips. “Or they’re going to hear us.”
“What are you going to do?” she said, this time in a whisper.
He sighed. “I have to draw them away. If the maps Mr. Ward lent me are correct, then there should be a large farm about a mile that way.” He pointed uphill and Julie followed where his finger pointed. It looked so desolate and lonely there. “Just follow the North Star—see there? And you’ll find it in no time. There are a lot of outbuildings to hide in at the farm and Ward says the owners are resistance, and I believe him. Hide in one of the outbuildings and wait till morning.”
“And where will you go?” she asked.
He unholstered a pistol. “I have to distract them and throw them off your trail.” He gulped and stared in Julie’s eyes. “You have to run now, girl. Run as fast as you can, and don’t look back.”
Julie hesitated and looked back at her father one last time.
“Go on now, girl. I told you not to look back.”
Julie turned tail and ran. She didn’t dare look back this time. She followed the North Star, going at a full sprint. When she couldn’t run anymore it only urged her to go even faster. Her nose was running, her heart beating so fast, and her legs ached beyond belief, but she carried on. She only stopped when she spotted the farm and all of its outbuildings. There was a brown barn some hundred yards away that looked to be deserted. She hobbled over to it, too tired to walk upright.
The barn had a bed of straw and some bags of oats piled up in the corner. There was a single pen in the corner with some animals inside. She sat down on one of the oat bags and waited for her father to return. She didn’t wait long before collapsing into a bed of straw. The straw poked into her face, but she was too tired to care and soon fell asleep.
Julie was stirred by the creaking of the barn door. She didn’t know how long she had slept, but it was still dark out, so it mustn’t have been for long. The barn door was wide open and a cold draft swept into the barn. A rustling came from the front of the barn, but it was too dark for her to see who was making it. She didn’t dare whisper to find out. Then again, she didn’t have to.
“Are you here, girl?” her father called out from the darkness. His voice was hoarse and thin, but she still recognized it.
“Yes,” Julie cried. “Yes, I am.” Her father staggered over to her and slumped down on one of the oat bags. He held his hands tight to his stomach and his back bent over almost to his knees.
“Are you hurt?” It was still too dark to see him completely. She couldn’t see what condition he was in. All she could see was his silhouette.
“I’m fine,” he groaned. “You should get some sleep. It’ll be morning soon.”
“I can’t. I am too excited—and scared.”
“Then that’s the best time to get some sleep. Please, go to sleep and we’ll speak in the morning.”
“Okay then,” she replied. She lay back down in the straw and used an oat bag for a pillow.
She heard her father wheezing as she tried to get to sleep. His breath came out in choking rasps and when he inhaled, he made this soft squeal. Despite her concern for her father, Julie fell asleep. It had been a long and tiring day after all. She was soon awoken by the morning sun peeking through the barn windows.
Her eyes fluttered open and she strained to get to her feet. The straw bed hadn’t been very comfortable and made her back stiff. She looked around the barn with no sign of her father. He couldn’t have gone missing again, she thought, frustrated. Then she spotted him in the opposite corner of the barn. He was behind a stack of square hay bales, only his drooping head was visible at the top. His eyes were closed, and he had dried saliva around his lips. He didn’t look...
“Father!” She raced over to him.
When she turned the corner around the bales, she saw he was dead. His body sat on a bale, his back leaned lazily against another, and his head hung unnaturally to the right. Dried blood stained the bottom of his blue shirt and ran down his trousers. His hands were still there by his stomach, trying to hold in the blood—even in death. But what troubled Julie the most was his eyes. They were still wide open. His brilliant blue eyes had turned gray and not a trace of light seemed to reflect from its dim surface.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Damned Before Breakfast Excerpt

Damned Before Breakfast
By Jessica Gleason
Paranormal Romance
Sometimes it isn’t safe for two girls to go out for a night on the town, and it has nothing to do with short skirts and spiked cocktails. 
“Urgle...” It took me a while, but I had managed to pry mycrusted eyes open and was met with darkness. “I think we drank too much last night.”
No response. “Rave... You alive? You even here or am I talking to myself? Fuck, my brain hurts—I think we did more damage last night than those idiot co-eds do ina year.” There was an inaudible gurgle from a few feet away.
“What the hell did we do last night?” Rave responded, slowly with the tongue of a half-conscious cotton-mouthed lush.
“I don't remember, but I bet it was fun.” The blinding headache was impeding my ability to sort things out.
“Why am I in my underwear?” Rave managed.
“Hrmpfhhh...You got me. Probably the same reason I'm in my underwear. I'm betting it wasn't some sweet lesbo action.”
“Yah, probably not, but there could have been some hard-core bestiality for all I know.”
“I don't even want to think about that. You're gross. So, where the hell are we?” I said, sitting up and rubbing my stiff neck. Cold concrete did wonders for the spine.
“From what I gather, we're laid out in the dark on a concrete floor.”
“Oh, thank you for pointing that out. You are grand-master of all that is obvious. It's good to see the alcohol didn't wipe away your winning sense of humor.” I padded around a bit searching for a wall with a light switch or something, to no avail. It was seriously dark and creep-tacular. “Well, from what I can tell there's a door over here—locked—and a few walls. I bet it's a basement or something, this place is tiny.”
“Dammit Mage, why the hell are we half-naked and in a random basement? There could have at least been hunky men here to wake up with. I would not have remembered them, but at least I could have probably deduced that I had been laid. That would have been infinitely better than waking up in a ten by ten windowless cell half-naked with only you to keep me company. This is some creepy Saw shit. If a ventriloquist dummy on a tricycle rolls on in here, you're dead.”

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Release Day!

It's release day once again! We have five amazing new books to share with our readers, and can't wait to show them off.

Damned Before Breakfast
By Jessica Gleason
Paranormal Romance

Rave and Mage may seem unlikely friends, one is responsible (most of the time), and the other is more of a free spirit. They both come in their own shade of stubborn and sassy. But, as many Wisconsin girls know, alcohol can make for unlikely friendships, bedfellows and shiny new fangs. What started out as an end of the semester celebration turns into a permanent vacation to the seedy paranormal underbelly in the Mid-West’s least assuming state, Wisconsin.  

Blood Under The Midnight Sun
By Steven Ure

Julie has looked after her twin brothers since their mother died during childbirth. Now, fifteen years later, as World War II breaks out, she finds she can no longer do that as her brothers have volunteered to fight for the British military and head off to Norway to fight the Nazis. When they are declared missing, Julie risks everything and flies over there in the dead of night to find them.

Coup De Grace
Amazing Grace, 6
By Misa Buckley
Science Fiction Romance

Grace McKenna has been rescued from the evil machinations of Professor Edgar Smith, but not only has the scientist escaped – his scheme to force the next evolution of mankind is about to break.
Now Grace and lover Benedict Thomas, along with friends Charity Peterson, Emery Wade, Lucas Kaufman and Heidi Fische, are in a race to find a way to stop the poisoned rain from falling. Rain that will alter just forty percent of the population but will kill the remaining sixty.

There is one possible solution. One that brings Grace and Benedict full circle. Whether it'll finally bring an end to their fight against Smith is another matter.

Dream Job
By Mickey J. Corrigan
Contemporary/Sci Fi Romance

After Adrianna sleeps with her hunky boss, she has to face him every day at the office of DreamCorp International. She has to ignore the fact that his touch drives her to peaks of ecstasy she’s never experienced before. 

Something strange is happening to Adrianna. And it’s making her wonder about her dreams. Are dreams more than a random rehash of day-to-day images, repressed sexual urges, and memory fragments? Could it be that dreams are the entry way to another world? A real world? A hyper real world?

Whether she wants to or not, Adrianna is about to find outall about the dream world. Because an ex is stalking her in her dreams, and he's getting closer, more threatening every night. And she’s in love with the man of her dreams.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tattle and Wrye column July 2015



Tattle stares at a picture of a snowman and sighs.  "I miss snow."

Wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, Wrye gulps half his ice tea.  "It's snowing somewhere, I'm sure, just not in our neck of the world.  By the way, how do snowmen travel around?"


"By iceicle!"  After a quick two-step, Wrye adds, "Ta da!   What sort of ball doesn't bounce?  A snowball! What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?  Frost bite!"

"Errr, my remark wasn't a cue for you to become the snow-comedian, y'know."

"Ahhh, I get it, it was my cue to take you out for snow cones."

"By George, I think, he got it!  And since it is time for our Love of Literature Leap Interviews with two of Champagne Books Authors, let's leap into a couple of interviews with Julie Eberhart Painter and Ute Carbone.  Let's bring snow cones!"

"Great idea!  But, umm, who's George?"

Rolling her eyes, she snaps her finger and the two show up in an award winning and dedicated author's kitchen just as she is pouring her first cuppa of the morning. 

T:  (Paraphrases) There is nothing wrong with your vision. Do not attempt to adjust your sanity.  We are now in control. We control the interview and snow-cone flavor. We can deluge you with a thousand questions, or expand one single question to feel like a thousand.  We can shape your vision... 

W:  (Interrupts) In other words, we are here to interview you, Julie Eberhart Painter.  We had (grins and offers up a snow cone) a hankering for snow cones and mystery!  Interested?

J: What proof is that cone?

T:  (Settles down at the table across from Wrye and Julie) Now, to get down to a bit of gossip... errr... queries about you and your work.  Tell us, Julie, which of your female heroines do you feel is most like you? 

J: Ellen in Mortal Coil.

She’s the administrator in a nursing home in Marietta, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta. She’s honest and sensitive, recently widowed – courtesy of the Pony-tailed Perp. Her ten-year-old daughter, Patti, is the spitting image of my real daughter Lynne at the same age. Wonder how that happened.

W:  Now, for those of us who need to know.  (Becomes very serious) Do you consider yourself a good liar?

J: I’d be lying if I said yes. My face is a dead, not-quite-dead, giveaway. I get hot flashes just thinking about it.

T:  Have you ever been so into plotting and writing that something important was left undone?  For example, I once kept putting off laundry and ran out of clean underwear.  So, have you ever experienced anything similar?  If so,  tell... tell... tell.... 

J: Often, especially before my husband retired. Now he keeps me on my toes. FYI: I keep a stash of extra drawers in my drawers.

W:  Very good planning!  (Looks at Tattle pointedly) Any hoo, you need to think like a killer to write about killers, so 'fess up.  Do you enjoy creating those nasty little souls?  And even more importantly...  (narrows his eyes and peers at Julie intently)  Do you kill spiders or carry them outside? 

J: The bug man kills the spiders; he’s a hired killer. I carry the geckos outside, all the while telling them I’m returning them to their families.  They are usually dehydrating, so I put a drop of water in two clear plastic cups, scoop them up and redeposit them near their homes. They are, in real life, just as cute as the one on TV.

On the evil side, I have a devious mind, short
earlobes, and a wild imagination.

Killer plots are another matter. In my unpublished memoir, Pathways Home, an adoptee's story, I show myself at age 15 bereft of a boyfriend. I describe it thusly:

Toward the end of our sophomore year, Bobby (a tuba player) added a trombone to his collection. Her name was Henrietta.
(Then a friend told me a secret about her, and I grew up fast.)

…I was speechless.

            “…Henrietta’s mother loved the man so much she couldn’t give up her daughter.” 

Johnny pointed to where they lived across the street from his house. “It’s that third floor apartment,” Johnny said.

I looked up at the four story brick building with its twisted fire escape precariously clinging to the side.

            “Her mother’s got that fire escape stacked with magazines and old newspapers. It drives Henrietta crazy. She’s always moving them away from the door—scared to death of getting trapped in there.”

            “A metaphor for her life, trapped in this town,” I said, thinking, for one fleeting moment, I could destroy Henrietta.

            But I didn’t.

            Losing Bobby to such a pathetic girl gave me new insight. Passion was replaced by compassion and empathy. I saw the irony: “There but for the grace of God go I,” the adopted one. I recognized that if my birth mother, equally downtrodden and disapproved of, had chosen to keep me, I could have been Henrietta.

            I never told anyone, not my tight-lipped adoptive mother, Henrietta or Bobby. Not until now, more than sixty years later, when no one cares anymore, am I revealing her secret. I learned people are not simple, sketched onto velvet. They are complex and three-dimensional.

            Keeping Henrietta’s secret empowered me and helped me forgive her. Yet in the fifties, we didn’t speak of or define such things in psychological terms. Yet, that’s how kindness works for good. I could not be Henrietta’s friend. I’d never trust her—ever.  But the sick feeling, the intense desire to murder her in ways not yet been invented went away. I was healing. …

T:  Oooh, thank you for sharing that intimate part of your life with our readers.  (Pauses to gather her thoughts)  Which of your characters would make their bed and which one would leave it messy?

J: Ellen’s daughter, Patti would leave it messy, probably strewn with sports equipment, but her mother Ellen would tidy up.

W:  Unlike my cohort in tattling, I have a serious inquiry, is your muse a night owl that keeps you up till all hours or a morning bird that greets the dawn?

J: A bird that greets the dawn, after the night owl of my subconscious wakes me up early. “Stupid bird!”

T:  Now, think food, savory or sweet, meaty or veggie, creamy or gritty?  If you were a food, what food would you want be?” 

J: Savory, meaty, and textured: Beef Burgundy over wide noodles, al dente.

W:  Thank you so much for allowing us to invade your kitchen.”  He offers a gentlemanly bow. 

T:  We fully appreciate your time and totally enjoy your books.  We impatiently await your next book, especially since hearing Champagne Books has invited you into the
Cozy mystery/quirky character club with a deadline for a full manuscript by September. The novel takes place in my home town, a beach town in Florida known for odd crimes, and nutty seniors. Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen have already harvested some of the funniest mysteries from Volusia County where the novels about New Smyrna Beach are set…  Looking forward to reading it!

Tattle nods and winks, imitating Santa's up-the-chimney trick.  Except the two simply vanish and appear in Ute Carbone's writer's garret.    

T:  Be not afraid, we come bearing snow cones... and questions.  (Hands Ute a cherry snow cone)  Oh, everything in cyberspace, as you know, is calorie-free.  

U:  Thanks so much for having me. Mmm snow cone (she slurps at the cone) and red, my favorite. Did you know that if you eat these you don't need lipstick?

W:  So, Ute, be honest, how many clones do you have?    

T:  You can't ask her that!  

W:  Yes I can, look at all the books she has written in various genres, all the awards and the fabulous interviews.  There are only twenty-four hours in a day, how can she possibly do it all without having clones?  Hmmmmm?

T:  Ok, you have a point, but let us rephrase.  Ute, if you could clone yourself, how many clones would you have and just what tasks would you have them do?

U: Oh, I don't need clones.  I already have multiple personalities. But minions...Now there's something I could use. They could do all the housework I avoid by writing. And they'd bring me chocolate and coffee. They'd be very handy...yes, yes, very handy. (She nods in agreement with herself)

W:  Interesting, I’d like a few of them round about here as well.  Having said that, if you could be a character in any of your books, which one would you choose and why?  

U: Hmm, well, since they all live in my head and it's very crowded up there, anyone of them could actually be me at any one time. But, honestly, the answer changes like the weather. Depends on my mood. I'm a little funky today, so Lenora who is prone to adventure would probably get me out of my funk. Plus, she gets to bed hunky Anton and...I might need another snow cone.

T:  (Fanning herself thinking of Anton, Tattle gives Ute another cone and grabs one for herself)  Now that you've confided in who'd you'd like to be, tell us which antagonist in one of your books you loved to create and if there is any of you in the villainous character?

U: Oh, I think there's a bit of villain in all of us (laughs maniacally and rubs hands together)  I like creating all characters, villains and heroes, and all of them have (I think) some good and bad in them. Except for Abercrombie from the Sweet Lenora Series. That guy was just pure evil. He was fun to create, especially since in the next book I get to hang him.

W:  Does the tribe of weird and strange apply to you?  Or is logic your muse?  (Points to Tattle and mouths)  Weird.  (Thumbs his chest) Logical.

U: Well, since I play with my imaginary friends all day and write down their stories, I'm probably not too logical. Or normal. Then again, voices in your head are normal, right? Right??? 

T:  But of course they are!  Personally, I am proud to be a member of the weird persuasion, but I guess, (lets out a long breath) there is a place for logic now and again.  After all I am quite fond of Data and Mr. Spock.  Which brings me to another question.  Do you read the type of stories you write?  

U: Absolutely. I read an adage once—Write what you love to read. I think it's true, and so I try to write the kind of stories I'd enjoy reading.

W:  What does sci-fi characters have to do with....  Oh, never mind, like I mentioned earlier, weird!  Now, for a more sensible query.  If you could live on a planet of your own creation, what sort of planet would it be?

U: I do live on a planet of my own creation. It's very nice here, too. The inmates...I mean citizens...are very friendly. They give you snow cones. And wine. And they sing and dance around a lot. When they've had too much wine, they do.

T:  (Offers a dreamy look, muttering,) Can I live there, too?  

W: Did you say something?

T:  (Shakes herself out of her momentary trance)  Yup.  Was just asking Ute, if there was an alien invasion, and you could only take one thing, would it be your laptop, best sneakers, heels or your stash of candy?

U: Hmm, I'd take my kindle. So many books, so little time. And really, who needs a toothbrush when you've got books?

W:  Agreed!  Again, let me bring everyone back to a good ole basic interview question.  (Leans forward, rises a bushy brow and looks at Ute pointedly)  Do you prefer slippers or bare feet?  

U: (Stares back). Bare feet. Slippers are for sissies.

T:  Thank you so much for allowing us to steal a piece of your busy schedule.  You have been a dear.

W:  And exceptionally patient.  Next time we'll bring donuts.  (Eyes glaze over just like a sugary treat)

U: Oooh, donuts. I like donuts. Can I come back soon?

T: For sure, just bring us your latest release so we can review it!

Hope you all enjoyed our jaunt into the world of CBG authors.  Until next month, keep reading.

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat


Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane