Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Page Straight From Alison Sky Richards #apagestraightfrom

A Fine Line:  Herrick's Tale
Alison Sky Richards

“I’ve been paying all my life; just add it to the tab.”
The ghost screamed out and charged again, but this time Herrick was ready. He knew a soldier lost their skill when they were angered. By staying calm, he would finally get the upper hand. As the soldier charged, Herrick saw his chance. He brought his sword up and under the chest of the soldier, aiming to catch him in his ribs, and make a straight cut across his stomach.
The soldier saw that cut coming, but too late. The sword entered his semi-transparent body, then whet straight through it. He collapsed on the ground, holding his stomach in pain.
Herrick pointed the sword at the downed soldier, who had turned to look up at Herrick. “A curse on your family, for as long as you trust the elves, you are just as bad as they are.”
“It isn’t what you are that makes you evil.” Herrick responded. “It’s who you are and how you live your life.”
“Believe that and you are a bigger fool that I thought.” the soldier stated, and he started to cough up more of the clear blood. Herrick turned his face away, but he could not help but listen to his dying words. “You will see that trusting those who are different is the way to pain.”
Herrick bit his lip. He was about to give a reply when he heard Price scream out in pain.
Price stood a few feet from Cairan, holding his side in pain. Cairan held his sword, the tip now dark red from blood, in a position ready to lash out at the young half-elf again. “You are dead, elf,” Cairan stated and he swung once more.
 Cairan’s sword met another as Herrick placed himself between the red-haired soldier and Price. “Not tonight he isn’t.”
“Stand down, boy; this is not your fight.” Cairan lowered his sword and stared at Herrick straight in the eye.

“He is my friend.”

Here's the buy link for it.  I link through Amazon Smile because if people use that version of Amazon, they can select a non-profit to have a portion of eligible sales donated to that charity.  My default is for Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee since that is also my employer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Common sense should tell us when we can or can’t use certain words.  I’ll bet your inner voice will caution you when you’ve typed a ‘dirty word’ and your character woudn’t have said it.  Know your genre and what words aren’t allow.  A lack of knowledge on your part will sabatage your career?
Certain magazines and publishers don’t allow many common-place words such as ‘edgy,’ ‘workaholic,’ or even ‘super-woman.’  Ask your editor if he/she has a ‘no-words’ list – they’re usually quite vocal about it. 
We’re a society of jargon, empty words, rambling on, and endless clichés.  It’s an inevitable way to get your manuscript tossed in the rejection pile.
Some tips to follow – that just might keep an editor from rejecting your book?
  • Unless it’s pivitol for your character – avoid slang altogether. Think about it, slang is timely and will only date your book.
  • Pay attention to the words you use – and be sure to use the correct one.
  • We’ve heard this said many times – because it’s true – adjectives and adverbs are empty words, don’t use them.
  • If you can cut a word(s) and maintain the meaning of the sentence – do it.
  • Best tip I can give you – cut all clichés from your work.  You might think they sound clever, but your reader won’t.

Monday, September 29, 2014


I must admit – I’m on the fence about swearing.  It seems more and more people are swearing and I’m seeing it more in books.  So what are the rules – or are there any?

I rarely swear myself (and I never say the ‘F’ word), and if I must swear it seems my Polish flies before I’ll actually cuss in English.  That’s because swearing is offensive.  Yet, our characters must be themselves . . . right?

I think I shocked my family and most likely my readers when I had a female character using the ‘F’ word in No Ordinary Killer.  It wasn’t natural nor was it easy for me to use such words.  But I don’t think we always have a choice.

If our character naturally swears – you have to write it.  Fighting your character’s natural personality just won’t work.
I cringe when I hear the ‘F’ word and as a parent- I hate it even more.  But, if our characters were all perfect, polite, and saintly we’d have a pretty boring book.  You can balance the scales with bad language and refrain from being crude.

If your character swears naturally . . . if it feels natural . . . and in character, I say he should swear.  Use these words sparingly and when he’s making a point.

The bottom line is your readers will accept swearing if your character(s) credibly utter them.

IA agent, Dallas Fortune, is investigating Cooper Reynolds. Although there is more incriminating evidence proving his guilt than innocence, she instinctively believes he is being framed. Together they fight to stay alive while unraveling the clues the killer leaves behind . . . with the hope they'll discover his identity before Cooper is sent to prison for six murders.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Welcome Brenda Whiteside and her Rafflescopter Giveaway #contest


Thanks so much for having me today on Dishin’ It Out. I’m excited to have your readers learn about my latest release, The Art of Love and Murder, the first book in my Love and Murder series. I hope everyone enters the Rafflecopter drawing for a tote bag of items that relate to the book. The more you enter, the more chances you have to win. This link will direct you to all the blogs on my tour:

Stories come to me from a phrase, a song, people I know or any other number of ways. This isn’t unique to me. Writers find inspiration in many different ways, at times not even recognizing where or how the idea came to them.

My Love and Murder series started a bit differently this time. There was no zing of inspiration from something I overheard, a phrase I read or a song on the radio. I purposely set out to write a series – and I wanted suspense and murder to be part of it. My husband is an avid reader of suspense. One night at dinner, I announced my intentions and asked for some brainstorming help. He’s a big supporter, but I’ve never asked for input. Once I described my heroine and steered him away from his first suggestions involving the CIA, we rolled along. He’s been instrumental in helping me brainstorm the first three books – The Art of Love and Murder, Southwest of Love and Murder and The Legacy of Love and Murder.

Books four and five are still vague ideas, but I know who I can count on to help me brainstorm.

Blurb for The Art of Love and Murder:

Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn't what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.
Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.
Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past...until Chance's connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

Excerpt for The Art of Love and Murder:

Lacy quickened her pace. The footsteps behind her did the same. As fast as her feet touched the bricks, her heart beat twice that speed. If only she could clear the narrow alley, step onto the lit sidewalk… Like a magnet, the street light pulled her forward, and she lunged out of the darkness. Her hand slammed to her chest. After a hard intake of breath and a fast exhale, she cast a furtive glance over her shoulder. With the strap of her purse in a tight fist against her breast, she whirled around to cover the last block at a trot.

She didn’t see him until too late.

As if she’d hit a cement wall, she careened off balance, but his hands grabbed her shoulders keeping her upright. She gasped and reared back and out of his arms. Her fisted purse became a weapon as she hurled a defensive blow to his chest. Her knee came up, landing a jab to his thigh. “Ehhh,” she cried out from the pain of contact.

“Lady, I’m not going to hurt you.” He held his ground and loomed over her, his hands at his chest fending off the swing of her fist.

Her vision filled with the imposing figure, and a chill shivered her body. Run screamed in her head. This time the swing of her purse missed her target when she turned to escape. His hand caught her arm and pulled her close.

“Help, help me!” Her voice came high and hysterical.

“I am trying to help.”

Both hands gripped her shoulders now, and her feet came partly off the ground, forcing her to look into his face.

“What’s wrong? Are you in trouble?”

Her head swung side to side, but the empty street and sidewalks could have been a ghost town. In the distance, a jazzy tune drifted through the air with voices too far away to help. She gulped.

He waited.

Buy Links:




About the Author:
Brenda spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love. The rest of her time is spent tending vegetables on the small family farm she shares with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Together, they’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States - multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.

Although she didn’t start out to write romance, she’s found all good stories involve complicated human relationships. She’s also found no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or mystery, all her books revolve around those two facts.

Visit Brenda at Or on FaceBook:

Twitter:!/brendawhitesid2 She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at She blogs about writing and prairie life at a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Round Robin Blog with Ginger Simpson #RndRobin0914

Rhobin Courtright provides such interesting topics for our monthly posts, and this month is no different.
September's topic is about abandoned places. Do you have abandoned places near you that itch your curiosity about what happened and why? Does your imagination take over? Are these places haunted? What stories do you imagine?

I live on a street named after a Tennessee historical site, Wynnewood House.  The building of this beautiful two-story log structure was started in 1828 and probably not finished until a year or so later as a stage stop and mineral springs for those traveling the Avery Trace, at the time, the main east-west road across the state.  The complexity of the architecture surely took quite a while due to the size of the building. Because of my interest in writing western historical novels, I'm fascinated by this structure that has become an historic museum of sorts.  Guided tours open to the public, allow people a glimpse back in time by perusing the site.  I've borrowed the description from a blog that appears to have become defunct...Kenny's Sideshow describes Wynnewood:

"The inn was built of materials plentifully available on the site. The foundation walls, which raised the logs and other woodwork safely above the damaging effects of surface water and moisture, were formed of limestone blocks quarried from the adjacent hillside. The same material was used to build the six original chimneys, five of which are still standing. Sturdy hardwood logs - many as long as thirty-two feet and all cut from nearby trees - were squared to 8” x 16”, notched and put in place on the foundation for the walls of the two story building. Hand-hewn beams and joists whose ends rested on the foundation supported the first story. At the second floor level supporting joists were mortised directly into the log walls. Ceiling joists for the second floor served to tie the roof rafter sstructuretogether as well as to support the ceiling. The roof, latticed with wide boards, was originally covered with hand-split wood shingles. When acquired by the State in 1971, the roofing was asphalt shingles placed ca. 1936. When replaced in 1995, the roof was restored to hand-split wood shingles matching those removed in 1936.

The main building of the inn, approximately 110’ x 21’, contained ten rooms: five on each of the two floors. There were fireplaces in eight of the ten rooms. On the first floor a central open hallway or “dogtrot” led from the front steps to the back porch or galley which extended nearly the full length of the rear of the building. All rooms on the first floor opened onto the dogtrot or the gallery. Originally there were no rooms with connecting passageways. Rooms on the second floor were reached by one of the two stairways, the principal one rising from the dogtrot. The second ascends from the gallery at a point one room away from the west end of the building. The large room at the east end of the second floor, the size of the two first floor rooms beneath it, was used at one time as a meeting room for the local Masonic lodge. At other times it was used as a public sleeping room for male overnight guests of the inn. The original roof over the gallery was at the level of the eaves of the second floor. In 1899 it was lowered to its present first floor level.

The interior walls of the five first floor rooms were at first unfinished but later plastered. The plaster finish was applied in late 1836 is Almira Wynne was able to heed her husband’s written instruction from Natchez, November 4, 1836 suggesting that she “brave the difficulties” and have it finished before bad weather. Sometime since, plaster has been applied to the walls of the three westernmost rooms on the second floor. The large upstairs room at the east end was left with the logs exposed.
A large kitchen, approximately 20 feet square, with a massive stone fireplace was located in a story and half log house connected by its roof structure to the west end of the main building and separated by another dogtrot. It is thought to have been a part of the original construction of the inn. The kitchen floor was some six or seven steps lower than the floor of the main building. Five steps led down from the kitchen level into the spacious stone-walled cellar located beneath the two westernmost rooms of the inn. Separate open-riser stairs connected the kitchen to the room above it.

A two-story annex has formed an ell-type extension southward from the main building since it was connected to the inn in 1899. The log portion of this unit, approximately 20x20, is located at the south end of the ell and appears to have been built sometime before the inn. It is of two stories and originally was served by a stone fireplace and chimney, both of which were later removed. All of the logs used were of cedar; a fact that clearly sets it apart from the other buildings in which the use of cedar logs was consistently avoided. Differences in the squaring of the logs and the corner notching are such that suggest an earlier stage of construction. Could this have been the “comfortable cabin” and/or “workshop,” the only two structures mentioned in the published court notice of sale of 300 acres to settle General Winchester’s estate in 1829? On this point, no firm facts are available. Connection of the log house to the inn by board and batten walls created additional enclosed space that has since been used as a dining room.

Located about fifty feet south and west of the annex is the original smokehouse. The details of its log construction seem to match the inn in every particular and strongly imply that it was built at the same time that the inn was created.

Perhaps forty feet southeast of the inn is a log cottage containing a single room with a large stone fireplace. This unit is of the same period as the original construction. It was used for many years sa office and living quarters for the community medical doctor. In later years it was rented as a summer cottage and its accomodations carried the highest rates charged. In other times it was variously used as the Wynne family’s bachelor quarters and as a schoolroom.

As an inn, mineral springs resort, and spa, Castalian Springs saw two major periods of operation. The first lasted from 1830 until 1861, the second from 1899 until 1914. Though commercial guests were not sought between 1861 and 1899, the custom of taking local boarders did continue in this period."

Sadly, in 2008, an E3 tornado severely damaged Wynnewood house  It has since been rebuilt and reopened, but I can't help but imagine that Mother Nature drove away the "spirits" I imagine still dwelled there. If I could, I'd like to time-travel back to 1830 and view the hustle and bustle of travelers as they sought rest and relief from long stagecoach rides across bumpy and dusty roads.  If you listen really hard, you can still hear their "ahhh," as they slip into the relaxing mineral springs.

Here's a picture of Wynnewood after the tornado.  You can see the original wooden structure amidst the damage.

Now hop on over to the sites of the other participants and see how they've addressed today' topic:

 Skye Taylor
Helena Fairfax
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosnski
Marci Baun
Anne Stenhouse
Judith Copek
A.J. Maguire
Beverley Bateman
Rhobin Courtright

Romance Reviews

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Manic Readers

Manic Readers

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