Monthly Archives: October 2014
Expected release date: November 12th, 2014
Meet New Protagonist and Mystery
By Jillian Hillcrest, Character
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you to Brynn Bancroft, a new protagonist in Joyce T. Strand’s most recent mystery, HILLTOP SUNSET.
I’m Jillian Hillcrest. I solved the murders in Strand’s first three mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE. In those books, Brynn Bancroft served as Chief Financial Officer of my company and also as my boss.
Strand’s newest book, HILLTOP SUNSET, features Brynn Bancroft as the star. Oh, I’m still around, but Brynn dominates. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, Brynn had an affair with the CEO of the company. Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do.
In the meantime, her husband of 14 years, Liam grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce, even though He understood that Brynn grew up in an abusive household. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif.
Much like me in the previous Strand books, Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.
Like all Joyce T Strand books, HILLTOP SUNSET is drawn from an actual California case.
HILLTOP SUNSET: A BRYNN BANCROFT MYSTERY
A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.
Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim. Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to enjoy supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-threatening events.
About Joyce T. Strand
Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.
Her most recent novel, HILLTOP SUNSET, is the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s novels ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.
Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.
Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.
She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
HILLTOP SUNSET is available November 12, 2014 on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. For a peek, check out an excerpt at: http://joycestrand.com
Barnes and Noble Nook Author Link – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/joyce-t-strand?store=allproducts&keyword=joyce+t+strand
Web page – http://joycestrand.com
“It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.” ~Erin Morgenstern
With Halloween around the corner, many of us partake in reading ghost and horror stories. Imagine you close the book only to find its creepy creatures, ghouls and goblins have come to life. Write about your ghoulish adventures.
Get creative, write and have fun!
Recently I had a chance to interview author S.G. Lee about the release of her new book “Dreams Can Kill” and get some insight on her thoughts on writing. Welcome!
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
My interest in writing began as a child when I read my first book and I wanted to tell my own stories. My first taste with fame I won a speech contest in grade six, a story about my mother’s talking pet crow.
Congrats on your new release! Tell us a little bit about your new book Dreams Can Kill.
“Sharron Alexander has awoken with no memory. Sharron vaguely recalls the shooting in dreams and knows someone shot her and left her for dead. Sharron must remember or she will learn Dreams can Kill!”
Available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/373190 (Smashwords)
Although both are important, what is the most important thing for you when writing your novels~ the characters or the plot?
I can’t choose; I focus on both. I want the character to be revealed layer by layer so the reader will grow to like the character and care about that character and the situations they might find themselves in. In order to create believable characters, the author must live in their minds, experience their emotions, and in essence be the character. The plot is also important because you really can’t have a story without it. You need to carefully nurture it and make it all make sense.
Do you outline/plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea leads you? Has your process changed from when you first started?
I outline the main premise and then let the story take it from there. The muse often decides the story should go another way. My process has changed in that I edit more as I go along.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you get through it?
Yes of course, I think every writer does. I do something else whether going for a walk or watching something enjoyable, or reading a book in another genre to distract me.
What genre are your books and what draws you to this particular genre?
My books are in mystery and paranormal. I love mystery because it presents a puzzle the reader has to solve. Paranormal just appeals to me because it presents the reader with different scenarios and situations that make you think.
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
When I was a child I read ’What Katy Did’ and I greatly admired Katy and how she overcame a physical disability and how she learned patience. This helped me when I had my own medical challenge at age eighteen.
If you could spend a vacation with one of your characters which one would you choose?
Sharron~ I identified with the main character. I lived with that character in my mind as I wrote about her life. She became like a sister or close relative to me.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you?
I have recently written and e-pubbed short story anthologies for Christmas and Hallowe’en. Available only at Amazon.
I am also working on three other projects:
I am also working on a murder, mystery, paranormal book tentatively called “Third Eye”:
“Mary Katherine Kendall survived a horrific sinking of the ferry the Victoria on May twenty fourth, 1881 in London, Ontario only to fight back for her health and to find she now sees ghosts. Katherine must now accept the changes in her life. Katherine meets a handsome policeman as ghosts seek her help to solve their problems and murders, and she seeks to hide her abilities from all lest she be judged insane.”
This book expected out 2016.
I am working hard on an idea for a follow up to A Diller a Dollar A Really Dead Scholar which I am outlining called “Betty Blue Lost her Holiday Shoe” . This book isexpected out in 2015 .
Lastly, I started working on a book loosely based on my grandmother’s life, but due to unknown facts about parts of her secretive life, that I am unable to obtain; I have decided to fictionalize the story changing names and situations to protect people and advance the story. This book is called “As the Blackbird Sang”. This book is expected out in late 2016.
Where can we find you online?
You can find me at:
http://sheilaghlee.blogspot.com/ (writing blog)
http://poeticyearnings.blogspot.com/ (my poetry blog)
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SGLee/833668436645335
I understand you wish to give one lucky reader you’re e-book Dreams can Kill
That’s correct. If the reader likes or leaves a comment below they will be entered to win. The contest will end next week.
Thanks so much for taking time out to speak with me! Sounds like you are one busy lady!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
~C. S. Lewis
Do you dream about pursuing your creative goals only to push them to the wayside because you feel it’s too late? Every now and then, does that nagging question “what if?” rear it’s ugly head? Now really think about it, what is stopping you? Do you feel you lack skill? Lack time? Lack resources?
Let’s pretend you’re writing a letter of encouragement to a dear friend who wants to become a “insert your dream here” (writer, artist, musician,sculptor etc.). What would you say to encourage them? What would you tell them if they kept making excuses? Brainstorm and help give them ideas of how to accomplish their goals. Would you take your advice? Reflect and write! 🙂
I started my writing journey on 8 September 2008. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I sat down at my computer with nothing more than an idea. If I’d known then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort. I hope you will benefit from my experience.
At the time, I didn’t know the best way to write a beginning, middle, or an ending. I didn’t know what “beats” were, or what “foreshadowing” was–and it didn’t occur to me that I was foolish not to ask for, or look for help.
I think when it comes to creative things, people have some idea that needing help somehow implies that they aren’t actually talented. Nothing could be further from the truth. So, without any more delay, I will list the books that I have found most helpful.
100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein–This was the first book I bought, and I referred to it a lot. Great starter book.
Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress--Before writing line one, buy this book. It’s fantastic and will save you a lot of revisions. I’ve written three books and am working on number four–this book is sitting on my desk right now, opened. I always have trouble writing the middle of the novel, this book helps me get through that difficult transition.
First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke–Hate to, but will repeat myself–before writing line one, buy this book. But especially before sending to agents.
Last but not least, How Not to Write A Novel by Howald Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. See if you’ve committed the sins they list, and fix them before sending your book to agents.
I’ve used/referred to other books, but these are my favorites.
MaryAnn Kempher writes mystery novels with a dash of humor.
She is the author of three books: Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder; a romantic mystery set in Reno NV. Forever Doomed, a mystery set aboard a cruise ship, and Sweet Mystery—another “I did not see that ending coming.” mystery. All three will make you giggle, and keep you guessing until the very end.
Her influencers include Janet Evanovich and Agatha Christie.
If you’d like to connect with MaryAnn Kempher, that will be easy:
A Day In The Life Of Eri, the unorthodox author ~ Guest Post and New Release Announcement @Dearharts
A Day In The Life Of Eri, the unorthodox author:
“Holy freaking crap is it seven in the morning already? Grrr, it is. Remind me to change that rooster chime one of these days.”
Typically from here it is a half-hazard stumble to the alarm and a debate to go back to bed or not (she says with a wicked grin). After another hour or few, I am up with a toothbrush in my mouth letting the dogs out to do their business. Which considering that both of my dogs are seniors might take a tad (smirk).
Finally harvesting my dogs from their sun bathing because who goes out to pee in the morning, it is another twenty minutes ushering the dogs along before I can spit out the now foaming toothpaste from my mouth.
With a final rinse of the oral cavity, I am toting the bare feet style up the stairs in my PJs to start the coffee. Nothing is accomplished without the coffee… truly. As the pot is brewing, it is the gathering of food for a few barn cats and my feathered stock. This morning ritual is always a dangerous encounter for you see, they see me coming and in my yard the feathered few and fur bound rustlers work together to accomplish their goals. Hence, my stumble and cursing as I try to make my way like a bad juggler in a back yard play across the yard to the barn. (snorting giggle is heard from the author).
A very breathless sigh is heard as the barn doors are closed and everyone inside is content snuggled up in the bale of hay forts. It is getting cooler so I make this routine even more now to fatten them up for the upcoming snow.
Now as I once again enter the basement doors, I make the trek upstairs to feed my pooches and few inside cats. Yes, the same working masses are formed as they had been outside. Therefore, it is a stumble into a wall type of day once again.
Finally, in my office I have realized I forgot my coffee (wicked grin for the words I use at this moment). However, with cursing aside I am back now with coffee in hand to sit down at my screens, for I have three, counting my phone there is four in which to carry out my day.
With click and a clack of the keys I answer my emails, tweet attack my following, Facebook posts my favorites, update my blog postings, Instagram my morning, and down the rest of my coffee. Which sadly takes me at least a few hours to accomplish and always makes me feel like it is a job in itself just to keep up with social media. Makes me miss my personal assistant who is back in college now…. Sigh.
A few extra coffees have come and gone and now it is time to move my writing in due course. I won’t get into specifics because you see I have another office that I use like a court. No crown is worn but the throne is always warm for my word count to commence upon.
Once my writing for the day is accomplished it is a cleaning of the clutter, doing the washing of the week, dishes to load, a dog to scratch, felines to take over my lap, editing of prior work to be done, even a lagging format to commence, and a cover to create maybe for myself or another word working wrangler. This last bit is probably where I am most happy but don’t let my own words hear me or my characters might cast their own mutiny.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my day in a life of an author with you and all of your readers. It has been a pure joy.
About the author:
Eri Nelson is a nontraditional indie author who manages all areas of her fiction, fantasy, paranormal, action, adventure and sometimes-erotic writing. Eri handles all the groundwork of her books, even the editing. Because of this Eri strives to improve her abilities along with trying to explain to readers her far from traditional sentence structures. However, she will openly admit that typos follow her.
Join Eri and her shadowy side of writing as she takes you along to explore new desire hunger filled worlds where your mind can share in the heat of the read.
From the unorthodox author Eri Nelson arrives a humorous twist to a witchy succubus whose hunger sparks more than desires, but troubles from the council. The first in the ‘All About The Sauce Series’ comes ‘The Hidden Witch’.
Unlike any other murder mystery our far from heroine type realizes she is wanted for a murder that she mostly likely could have committed. Although, she doubts her hunger could have drove her to it. Well at least not again…
Join Eri and her unusual telling of a tale in this fictional paranormal of a murder mystery that will hopefully have you giggling all the way through it.
Fate: New Avalon, book 2
by Andrea Buginsky
Available September 30, 2014
Elena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon may be more challenging than her first. The demons she was warned about show up, a visitor who greatly affects her arrives, and her best friend, Izzy, has to deal with her painful past. Can Elena survive everything that’s coming at her at once? Or will the future Lady of the Lake take on more than she can possibly handle?
Excerpt “In Alchemy the next day, Elena could tell Izzy was still distracted. She never did that well mixing the potions, but she was getting better studying with Elena. Today, however, everything she mixed kept exploding. Elena knew she was still preoccupied with their conversation from the other night. “Damn!” Izzy coughed as her third attempt to mix the potion exploded in her face. Elena ran to her side. “Are you all right?” “Yeah, I’m fine.” The rest of the class rushed over to make sure everything was OK. “You alright, Izzy?” “Yeah, Mia. Just ticked. I can’t get this to work right! Lady Bittle, what am I doing wrong?” Lady Bittle sifted through the ashes in Izzy’s cauldron. “I don’t think you used the right amount of herbs. Remember, you need to be very careful when tossing each one in. You don’t want to add too much or too little of any herb.” “I know that! I’m a third-year. I’ve been mixing potions for over two years now. I know I’m not the best at it, but this is ridiculous!” “Izzy, is everything OK? You know you’re powers are linked to your emotions, and you seem to be in overdrive right now. Perhaps you should stop for the day. I’ll still give you full credit for your attempts.” Izzy looked like she was about to explode. But a scream from Elena broke her out of her anger. “What’s wrong?” “I don’t know…” Elena stood there, holding her head in her hands, nearly collapsing. “It hurts!” “What hurts, Sweetie?” Mia tried to calm her down, but they were all freaking out over Elena’s outburst. “My head! It feels like it’s going to explode.” Lady Bittle rushed to her and took her by the elbow. “I’m going to take her to Isabel. The rest of you can use the remaining class time to work on your own potions, if you’d like. I’ll see you all tomorrow.” “Wait! I want to go with her.” “No, Izzy, that’s not a good idea. You’ll see her later, back in your room.” She led Elena out of the classroom and down the hall to Isabel’s office. Isabel was waiting for them. She sensed something was wrong, as she always did, and helped Lady Bittle carry Elena to the couch in her office. She gently caressed Elena’s head, her eyes closed, her lips moving. Finally, Elena calmed down enough and took a deep breath. “What was that?” “Tell me everything that happened.” Elena told Isabel about Izzy’s trouble in class and her outburst. “I know she’s been upset lately, but I’ve never seen her like this. She just became infuriated, like she was about to explode!” “And then you felt like your head was exploding?” Elena looked at her, shocked. “Yeah, how did you know that?” Isabel sighed. “Lady Bittle, I’ve got this now. Thank you for bringing her to me. Will you return to the classroom and let the other girls know Elena is just fine?” Lady Bittle nodded, touching Elena gently on her shoulder. She left her in Isabel’s capable hands and returned to her class. Isabel gently stroked Elena’s hair. “I think congratulations are in order.” Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Print
Tour Dates September 30: Missuswolf’s Storyland October 1: Bonnie Trachtenberg October 2: Sheenah Freitas October 3: Confessions of a Reader October 4: Sheila Deeth October 5: UnorthodoxBlog October 6: Regan Black October 7: Emerald Barnes’ Dreaming Awake Blog October 8: Annamaria’s Writing Corner October 9: Belinda Witzenhausen October 9: Ignite Your Creativity October 9: WriterzBlox October 10: Martha Emms Cognitive Dreamer October 11: Teen Books and Other Stuff October 11: Brandi Breathes Books a Rafflecopter giveaway
What Sparks My Creativity
Most writers have a set schedule and/or word count that they meet every day or week. They know when they’re going to sit down and write, and how many words or pages they will write in that session. But that’s not me. I write when my energy level and my muse are around. What sparks my creativity? There are a variety of things.
Reading – reading a good book can definitely awaken my muse! When I’m reading a story, especially a really good story, I get ideas for my own story. Eventually, I’ll put the book I’m reading down and begin working on my current project. Other times, I’ll jot down some notes for later. If the book is really good, I won’t want to put it down until I’m done. So jotting notes down if needed allows me to continue reading without forgetting my ideas.
Watching TV – I’m a huge couch potato. I have dozens of shows I watch throughout the year. Sometimes when I’m watching, I get ideas of how I would tell the storyline I’m currently watching. This will spark ideas for my own stories. Once again, I either have to write down the ideas, or start writing after the show is over.
Watching Movies – Movies give me the same incentive for writing that TV does. I’ll create the storyline in my head the way I want to see it. Movies and TV shows also tend to continue developing in my head long after I’ve written them. I must have written about 20 sequels to Dirty Dancing by now.
Reading or Watching About Other Writers – When I’m reading a book about writing, it definitely stirs up my muse, and gets me into a creative mode. The same thing happens when I’m watching a show or movie that features a writer at work. I’ll see this writer working on her craft, and I just have to get to work on mine.
These are some of the ways my creativity is ignited. When the muse hits, I either sit down at my desk and take advantage of it, or risk losing the spark when I’m ready to do so. The lesson to be learned is to take advantage of it when it’s lit up like a Christmas tree.
Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer with a BA in Mass Communication-Journalism from the University of South Florida. She has always wanted to be a published writer, and decided to try to write children’s fantasy books. The Chosen is her first book, and was released on December 14, 2010, to her delight.
Andrea has written four more books since:
* My Open Heart, an autobiography of growing up with heart disease.
* Nature’s Unbalance: The Chosen, Book 2
* Destiny: New Avalon, book 1, a YA fantasy
* Fate: New Avalon, book 2, a YA fantasy
She is currently editing the third book of The Chosen series, and writing the fourth. Andrea lives in Kansas with her family, which includes her two precious puppies.
Closure by Sylvia Stein
Garrison James had it all. A terrific home life and a loving family. Together, he and his wife Lila built a successful ranch and construction company. His world changed the day he lost his wife to cancer. He turned to the bottle and became a monster. Sara, his daughter, tried everything to please him.
After years of abuse, Sara’s aunt visits. She recognizes the abuse and removes Sara. The frail girl begins the delicate journey of finding herself, while struggling to leave her father and the monster behind.
Despite the emotional and mental scars she carried, Sara manages to start a new life. She is finally happy.
A phone call changes everything.
Will Sara continue her new life? Can she face the monster, or will she find closure?
Author Sylvia Stein is a published author of 5 Anthologies. She began pursuing her writing when she joined a Writer’s group on Linked in led by Heather Marie Schuldt in 2012. The following year she along with the other writers published 3 of her first anthologies in 2013. This year she has published two of them. S The Anthologies are entitled, Giant tales from the Mystic Doors, Giant tales from the Misty Swamp, Giant tales World of Pirates, Lava Storm in The Neighborhood and the latest is entitled, Dangerous days. These are all three-minute stories that contain different types of genres. She continues to write and has been working hard to publish her first solo novella entitled Closure, which is now available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. Along with that she is happy to report that she has just published another Anthology with her Writer’s 750 led by 15 amazing authors led by Douglas Clarke entitled Trash to Treasure.
If you would like to be known more about Author Stein’s books here is a link of them
Closure e-books will be 99 cents from October 6-12 2014
Kobo e-books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/closure-23
Itunes: Sylvia Stein – Closure – https://itun.es/i6gy4yX #iTunes
Twitter Link: @sylvia_stein07
More from Sylvia Stein:
“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.” ~Werner Herzog
Write a story about what danger inhabits the darkest, hidden recesses on earth. Where does this “danger” call home? What makes it so dangerous? What form does it take? Is it easily enticed to the light or does it silently stalk its prey?
Get creative, write and most of all…have fun! 🙂