Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger Simpson on a Saturday #frifreebits

Since I let Diane Scott Lewis use yesterday, I'm officially declaring Saturday, a second Friday... and sharing another six paragraphs from my debut novel, Destiny's Bride.  I really loved this book, and was so flattered when one reviewer compared me to Laura Ingalls Wilder.  She was my inspiration, and I grew up on a steady diet of her books.  Hope you enjoy todays final six:


Cecile rocked back and forth, pondering the possibility of motherhood. Footsteps on the porch interrupted her thoughts. Funny, she hadn’t heard the rumble of wagon wheels in the yard, but then she'd been preoccupied. Her heart fluttered in anticipation. Walt was finally home! Her lips spread into a wide smile. 

Tossing her crocheting aside, she prepared to jump up and welcome him home, but before she got out of the chair, the front door flew open and hit the wall, vibrating the whole house. In staggered a stranger…an Indian. Fear seized her throat. Frozen to her chair, she wondered if this was her time to die. 

The man before her was a mirror image of the red-skinned people she’d seen before only in storybooks and magazines, and those tales didn’t portray them kindly. This one wore fringe-trimmed buckskin leggings and shirt, and had long ebony braids. He towered over her; his cold, steely black eyes bored through her. 

Cecile stared back, her mouth agape, trying to accommodate the scream rising in her throat. Strangely, she couldn’t make a sound. Escape entered her mind, but even if her trembling legs supported her, where would she run? 

As quickly as the Indian entered, he fell to the floor at Cecile’s feet. She remained seated for several minutes, dazed, confused, and frightened, waiting for him to move. When he didn’t, she slowly slid off her chair and knelt beside him. 

Was he dead? She gently poked him, and then quickly drew her hand back. Seeing no reaction, she rolled him onto this back and gasped. A spreading crimson stain colored the front of his shirt. He was hurt, and she had to do something. But what? How she wished she wasn’t alone. 


Aha...the story takes a turn.  Today I end my sharing from Destiny's Bride and move on to something new.  If you want to know more about Cecile and her adventure, guess you'll have to get your own copy of the book.  Click the link for my Amazon Author's Page.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday Freebits with Diane Scott Lewis #frifreebits #halloween

Throwing in Vampires with Napoleon on the remote island of St. Helena, by Diane Scott Lewis

Years ago I spent untold hours researching a remote island and the history that happened there during a famous man’s exile. Napoleon’s last six years of life (1815-1821) fascinated me, as well as the strange flora and fauna of his final island, St. Helena.

Back in the days of no internet, I pored over rare books at the Library of Congress for my research. I published a book, with an alternate twist to the story with a publisher I won’t name. They put the book up for sale at an expensive price (the book was quite large) and my precious novel sold little. The publisher refuses to give me back my rights, even though neither of us is making money from it.
So, I decided to use all that wonderful research with a new story. I added even more research on the island, a place I wish I could visit, but it’s thousands of miles from civilization—especially in those days of sailing ships for transportation.

On a whim I put vampires (which were so popular at the time, and I hope will be again) on this island near the bottom of the world. I tried to make my vampires as real (even if many don’t believe in them) as possible, did more research, read some terrible vampire books, and produced my adventure with romantic elements: A Savage Exile.

Here’s the blurb: Isabelle, a young French maid, follows her notorious mistress to the island of St. Helena after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. She discovers quickly that a “beast” roams this remote island, and people are vanishing or found drained of blood. She falls in love with Saint-Denis, Napoleon’s valet, but this enigmatic young man hides a deadly secret. Hudson Lowe, the island’s governor—a vampire himself—plans to destroy the French. Isabelle rushes with her lover to stop the vicious outcome, and save her own life.
It took two and a half months for Napoleon’s entourage to reach St. Helena, a volcanic fist spewed from the edge of the ocean, and his followers fell in despair at where they were forced to live. Imagine the complication of creatures that creep and fly through the night in search of prey.
There’s humor, drama, murder, sex, and of course, vampires. Some are loving and sexy, others are vicious and driven, haunted by their curse and thirst for blood.  A spooky story for a Halloween night 

Click here to purchase A Savage Exile
For more on my historical novels, check out my website:

What's up? #usingwords

Just a little humor - and great use of the word UP. Hope you enjoy!  :)  Rita

I won’t take UP much time – but before I get started I thought I’d STRIKE UP a conversation about the word UP.  This English two-letter word has more meanings than any other two-letter word.   

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP
Why do we speak UP
and why are the officers UP for election (if there’s a tie, it is a toss UP
and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? 
We call UP our friends,
brighten UP a room,
polish UP the silver,
warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the  kitchen. 
We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.
At other times, this little word has real special meaning. 
People stir UP trouble, 
line UP for tickets,
work UP an appetite,
and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: 
A drain must be opened UP because it’s blocked UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. 
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, you could look UP the word UP in the dictionary. 
It takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and you might find UP to about thirty definitions.

When the sun comes out, we say it’s clearing UP
When it threatens to rain, we say it’s clouding UP.
When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. 
When it doesn’t rain for a while, things dry UP. 

I could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now . . . my time is UP!
Oh  . . . One more thing: What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?

U P!   Did that one crack you UP?   Now I'll shut UP!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Page Straight From Joan Donaldson-Yarmey #apagestraightfrom

The following is from the first chapter of my novel Illegally Dead, the first book of my Travelling Detective Series. All three books of the series come in a boxed set.
After scouting the yard Dick backed his truck into the driveway, trying to maneuver as close as possible to the septic tank. He grabbed the handle on the concrete lid and pulled. It didn’t budge. He gritted his teeth and tried again. This time he was just able to raise it and then drop it on the grass. Dick caught his breath. In his younger days he would have lifted it off easily. Peering in, he immediately noticed the crack in one wall, not big enough to allow the liquids to dry up but probably the reason the other tank had been installed.
       Dick grunted as he unraveled the hose. It seemed to get heavier every day. He dropped it in the solids before starting the suction motor. The hose vibrated slightly as it sucked up the sludge.
       Letting the machine do its work, Dick took refuge in the shade beside the house and breathed in the fresh air. He'd been in the business for a total of thirty‑seven years, first with his father and then on his own, and he still hadn't grown used to the smell. As he waited, he thought again about retiring. It was time. But if he wanted a change he'd have to sell. Unlike his father, he had no son or daughter to carry on the business, and he'd never married. The only love of his life had rejected him many years ago.
      Ben Drummond's offer to purchase his truck might be the best way out. It was a fair price, since the truck was an older model but Ben wasn't interested in paying for the customer base. After all, as he said, there were no signed contracts. Dick knew Ben could set up his own business and quite competitively too if he wanted. Retaining his customers would be a fight and he didn’t have the desire to do that anymore. So he might as well get what he could for the truck and be finished with it.
       As he walked over to check the progress of the pump, something leaning at an angle in one corner of the tank caught his eye. He stopped in mid-stride then scrambled to shut off the motor and went back for a closer look.
       A bone. Only the whitish, knobby end showed but by judging the remaining depth of the tank, he could tell that it was long. Probably a leg bone. However, it wasn’t as thick as cow bones he’d seen and looked sturdier than deer bones. He tried to remember the X-ray he’d been shown of his own broken leg many years ago. Didn’t it have a knobby end something like this one?
       A chill ran down his back as Dick straightened up and moved away from the tank. His mind began to race. If it was a human leg bone, what was it doing here? Whose was it? Even more disturbing, who had put it here?
Joan Donaldson-Yarmey was born in New Westminster, B.C. and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She married soon after graduation and moved to a farm where she had two children. She has worked as a bartender, hotel maid, cashier, bank teller, bookkeeper, printing press operator, meat wrapper, gold prospector, warehouse shipper, house renovator and nursing attendant. During that time she raised her two children and helped raise three step-children. She also had travel and historical articles published in magazines.
       Between 1990 and 2000 Joan researched and wrote seven Backroads Series books about Alberta, B.C., the Yukon and Alaska that were published by Lone Pine Publishing in Edmonton, AB.
       Joan has now switched to fiction writing and has written and had published three mystery novels, Illegally Dead, The Only Shadow In The House, andWhistler's Murder in what she calls her Travelling Detective Series. She has also had poems and short stories published.
       Joan loves change so she has moved over thirty times in her life, living on acreages and farms and in small towns and cities throughout Alberta and B.C. She now lives on an acreage in the Port Alberni Valley on Vancouver Island with her husband, four female cats, and one stray male cat.
Books of The Travelling Detective Series boxed set:
Illegally Dead
The Only Shadow In The House
Whistler's Murder
To buy the boxed set of The Travelling Detective Series click on the link below.


And today Brian Klems finishes up …. I hope you found this information interesting . . . I sure did!   Rita

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Check out my humor book,
Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl.
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Can You Use Someone Else's Character in Your Book?

Q: Can I use a minor yet intriguing character from a famous work as the protagonist of my novel? I know it’s been done with novels like Wide Sargasso Sea, using Mrs. Rochester from Jane Eyre, but would a secondary character from a novel published before 1950 (yet still in print) also be allowed?—Anonymous
A: Characters are protected by copyright as long as they’re original and well-defined—the traits that probably make them desirable to use in your own work.
“If a character has a distinctive name and well-defined personality—whether it’s Harry Potter or his sidekicks Hermione Granger or Ron Weasley—they belong to the copyright holder, and you can’t use them without permission,” says our legal expert Amy Cook. “Character names can even become well-known enough to warrant trademark protection.”
Now, just because you can’t use someone else’s work doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by it. And if the character has a rather common name and isn’t particularly fleshed out, she’s up for grabs (e.g., a perky young college student named Jennifer who used to baby-sit the main character and doesn’t play much of a role in the book).
One other avenue that authors are taking is “fan fiction.” Fan fiction writers take characters and settings from other works and build their own stories around them and, generally, share them online for free. Technically, it’s still copyright infringement. But some authors don’t mind this and, in fact, are flattered—especially if it’s not for profit. Some other creators, however, like horror author Anne Rice, simply won’t stand for their characters and fantasy worlds to be used by others. It’s going to depend on the litigiousness of the creator.
FUN NOTE: Bestselling authors Steve Berry, James Rollins and Brad Thor have been known to write each other’s characters into their stories (then again, they are all friends). They talk about it here in this video.
Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Using Famous Names and Proper Nouns in Fiction
Q: In a work of fiction, what restrictions exist on using the names of professional sports teams, TV networks or real people (e.g., the Los Angeles Dodgers, FOX Network or Rupert Murdoch)?—Jeff Stanger

A: If your character is a Dodgers fan or loves watching FOX news or happens to walk past Rupert Murdoch on the street and notices that he’s taller than he looks on television, you generally won’t have Alan Dershowitz calling for your head. You can use these well-known proper names in your text as long as you don’t intentionally try to harm that person’s or product’s reputation.
Normally you won’t catch much grief for writing neutral or positive words about real people, places and things. It’s the negative press you provide that could be considered trade libel or commercial disparagement—both ugly phrases that could cost you plenty of cash in a court of law.
Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.
(NOTE: When in doubt on anything it’s best to contact an attorney that specializes on copyright law.)

Monday, October 27, 2014


Back with Brian Klems …. I hope you’re soaking this up!  Rita

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Check out my humor book,
Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl.
Sign up for his free weekly eNewsletter:
WD Newsletter 

Can I Use Song Lyrics in my Manuscript?

Q: What are the legal ramifications of reproducing song lyrics in a manuscript? If permission from each copyright holder is necessary, what’s the best way to secure these permissions? Also, can I use a song title as the title of my book?—June Youngblood
A: Song lyrics are copyrighted, which means you need permission to use them. According to our legal expert Amy Cook, there isn’t any specific law about how much you can take under fair use, but it’s common for the music industry to say you need permission for even one line of a song.
“The music industry is pretty vigilant about song lyrics,” Cook says. “This is especially true if you’re using the lyrics in a novel to progress the story or add atmosphere. If you’re a music critic reviewing a CD, you have more leeway under fair use.”
One way you can check to see if the song is still under copyright protection is to visit This online site lists all copyright records dating back to 1978. For anything before that, you’ll need to contact the U.S. Copyright Office and may have to pay to have the records checked for you.
Another way to find the owner of the copyrights is to contact the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). These two major music performance rights organizations don’t grant permission, but they can help you find the publisher of the song you’re looking to use.
Once you find the rights owner, you must ask for his permission. He could offer you the rights for free, completely deny you the rights or ask you to rename your dog after him. The price is completely up to the music publisher.
“As a practical matter, you don’t need to worry about getting permissions until your work is going to be published,” Cook says. “And your publisher may help you in securing permissions. Most publishers provide their authors with their permission guidelines and forms.”
As for song titles, however, titles of any kind (book, song) aren’t copyrightable. But they occasionally can be subject to trademark or unfair competition laws.
“If you used a really famous song title or part of a song as a title —say, ‘Yellow Submarine’— that’s so closely tied to a specific group (or artists), then you’d probably get a letter from their lawyers,” Cook says.
What's Considered Fair Use and What Isn't?

Q: Is it necessary to ask permission to reprint an article if the reprint is used in a strictly academic setting?—Anonymous
A: Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 of the U.S. code states that “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies … for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” But not all material is protected for your free use. There are provisions, and our legal expert Amy Cook says the writer must weigh some factors before considering the work fair game.
“If an article on a hot issue was published, and you distribute it to a large class without permission—ostensibly to examine the writing style—those students wouldn’t go buy the magazine,” Cook says, and the magazine would lose sales. “You can’t destroy the market value for the original.”
Courts also take into account whether the original work is more factual (which more readily falls into a fair use) or if it’s more creative (less likely to be a fair use). The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work can come into question, too; so taking an entire article is risky.
“The bottom line is that writers or users should take only the smallest amount they need to comment on it,” she says. “The mere fact that it’s an academic use doesn’t automatically protect you. If in doubt, simply get permission.”
Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Round Robin With Ginger Simpson #rndrbn1014

Rhobin Courtright keeps us going with the most interesting questions. This month's is "What is the scariest thing that's ever happened to you."  While God has blessed me with good heath and free from terminal diseases up to this point, I stole my entry from "My Gusty Story" that took first place.  It's no picnic when you find yorself ending  marriage at a time when most people are planning for retirement and a way to enjoy their golden years together. is my answer to Rhobins Round Robin Question:

At a time when I was looking forward to midlife security and being proud of our achievements as a couple, I instead had to decide if I wanted to live in the continuing fear of what I’d find on the other side of the front door when I walked inside. I’d already found him passed out more times than I could count, with a cigarette smoldering in the carpet and the house in disarray. Our younget son had long ago stopped asking his friends over because his dad didn’t grasp the concept we all shared the same home. Our feelings ceased to matter.

The day I came home and found my husband...this man I had loved for so many years, passed out, naked, and soaked in urine, his usual cigarette burning yet another hole in the carpet we couldn’t afford to replace, was the day I decided I had to be the one to make the change. I couldn’t stand one more day of questioning my own integrity. Had I caused him to turn to drink? I went to an AA meeting and listened to stories like mine, but no one there had solutions either. Others continued to live in the same hell, day after day, but that wasn’t what I wanted. Choices are pretty limited when you find yourself facing a difficult one. If you want someone to change and they won’t, your only option is to remove yourself from the situation. I’d movedd right from my parent’s house to a duplex I shared with my new husband, so I’d never been alone. Could I find the inner strength I needed?

Starting over at forty-nine wasn’t an easy decision. Somehow, I mustered my determination, packed some clothes and walked out, leaving him with the house I once loved, and everything except the few things I needed. Luckily, I had shared my story with a co-worker who left me a key to her house and told me she had an extra room. I took her up on the offer. Living in one bedroom, surrounded by nothing that belonged to me was hell. I don’t know which was worse–my living arrangements or still trying to work things out in my head.

I’d tried to make my husband understand that love is comprised of trust and respect, and everytime he lied or I saw him in such a repulsive state, the loss of trust and respect chipped away at any love I felt. I’d often wondered about the saying “I love him but I’m not ‘in love’ with him,” meant. Suddently I knew what those words meant. God granted me sisters for moral support, and one, gratefully, for financial. With her help, I was able to get into my own apartment for the first time in my life and see what being independent was truly like.

Once the house we shared sold, my husband relocated to the apartments next door to mine. I tried several times to tell him I was moving on without him, but he seemed not to believe me–or didn’t want to. In desperation, Iput my feelings in writing, and explained I couldn’t be the one to help him heal.In my written plea, I also told him I wished him well, would always care for him, but in order to open new doors, I had to close the ones I’d left open. That was my gutsy moment–picturing him standing on the other side while I moved blindly into a new life, not knowing what to expect. That decision was the most frightful I’d ever made, but you know what? Sometimes, the unions we consider are the best are missing elements we never realize until we seize the moment and make a change.
These magnificent authors are also participating.  Please visit their sites:

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