Holiday Ransom

Yep,  it’s that time again. We’re all bustling to make that last dime that’ll pay off the massive list that grew on us. We just have to get “the” gift that’ll make our friends and family smile. Why?  Because we’re all crazy in our own way.

So, knowing just how crazy busy we all are I’ll keep this year’s challenge reasonable. Hahaha! Did I say reasonable?  I meant less overwhelming.  

The holidays are being demanding again. They didn’t bother with kidnapping this time on account of me driving them crazy last year. This year, they threaten to steal my bonus.  We can’t let that happen. 

Here’s your challenge. It’s a fun one.  No demanded word count. They just want to know about your most hated relative. We all have one of those relatives we could go the rest of our lives from seeing without feeling bad. That’s the one you should write about. 

Tell the holidays why you dislike them. Then,  if it’s possible, tell them of one good memory of them. 

Please feel free to share in the comments. I too have such a relative.  That one relative that always has a negative comment about everything.  And I do mean everything! You could look at the rain and say “It is raining” and he’d say “You’re full of ****. I don’t see a drop.” (No sarcasm present.) Yeah, that argumentative. I even suggested that as a Christmas game we tie him up and everyone gets a good slap in. My grandmother liked  that idea. That’s how bad. She’s such a sweet woman. I was surprised to hear her agree. I wish I had a good memory of him.  But I don’t. 

But that’s the relative the holidays want to know about. Maybe they’ll feed them to Krampus. 

Good luck. 

Why are you still here? 

Seriously! Go write!  And don’t forget to share. 

Delirum

It rots, hides, deep inside
Sharp claws, knashing teeth
Shadows in the dark
Caging me, changing me
Warping me in and out

Pain so acute
A knife in my breast
Pain so severe
A shattered, bleeding heart
Overflowing blood

Midnight skies, eclipsed sun
Black waters
Reflecting a void
Tar pit trap
Holding me captive

Fists against steel
Silence, alone, abandoned
Broken, bound, ensnared
Inside my mind
With no way out.

Stardust Always Authors (Debbie)

DebbieWelcome Debbie Manber Kupfer, thank you for joining us today. Tell us what Stardust Always is to you. Why did you write something for it?

Like many people I was shaken by the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and was excited about the idea of an anthology in their honor.

Tell us about your story.  What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

My story, The Big C, is a memoir about my time going through cancer treatment. By sharing my story my hope is that I can help others going through treatment to know that they’re not alone in their journey.

How did Rickman and/or Bowie influence your life?

I consider Bowie’s music the soundtrack of my youth. I was surprised how profoundly shocked I was after his death. Starman ran through my head for days on end.

If you could tell them/ him anything what would it be?

For Bowie just how much his music meant to me and for Rickman how perfect he was as Snape.

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Are there another story you would have liked to include with this anthology?  If so, where can people find it?

When I wrote the first story in my short collection, Will There Be Watermelons on Mars? I had the Bowie song Five Years running through my head, so that might also have fitted well in this collection.

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Anything you’d like to say to those whose lives have been affected by cancer?

Enjoy the moment – we never know how long we have so we need to cherish each moment on this earth.

Below are the links you can find Debbie at. Thank you Debbie for your time.

Paws4Thought: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor

Twitter: @CiciCat42

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Manber-Kupfer/e/B00DHPNJ5I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142164.Debbie_Manber_Kupfer

Get your copy of Stardust Always.

Your Beloved Author,

Sandra Easter

Stardust Always Authors (Dr. Perry)

Hello, Dr. Perry,
thank you for taking the time to talk to us about Stardust Always and your involvement.  Tell us what Stardust Always is to you. Why did you write something for it?

It’s a way to use words to help fight cancer. Charity anthologies are one of the few things we fiction writers can do to help. I like to submit to as many of them as I can.

Tell us about your story.  What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

I wrote a poem. I hope to help those grieving to know that others have been through that, though it’s different for everyone.

How did Rickman and/or Bowie influence your life?

Bowie’s music did for me exactly what I hope my poem did; helped me feel less singular during hard times. And Alan Rickman helped me remember that it’s okay to start a creative career late in life. I started publishing at the same age he did his first film. His name was part of my mantra.

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If you could tell them/ him anything what would it be?

Thank you.

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Anything you’d like to say to those whose lives have been affected by cancer?

We’ll beat this disease someday.

You can find Debbie here:

Website: http://www.drperryauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRPerry22

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drpperry/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8588997.D_R_Perry

Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/drperry

Please pick up your copy of Stardust Always. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Your Beloved Author,

Sandra Easter

Christopher D. Morgan’s Portallas Series Interview

Welcome my avid reading friends! Today I’d like to introduce you to a fellow writer.

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Christopher D. Morgan. Meow. I love the face painting. So Chris, tell us a little something about yourself.

Ok, let me think. During an 18 month back-packing tour around the world with my wife, Sandy, I was nearly killed numerous times. I was charged by an angry bull elephant in the Okavango Delta in Botswana; I fell off a quad bike (it landed on top of me) whilst racing over the dunes in the Namibian desert; I narrowly escaped injury from a Lion in the Kruger National Park in South Africa when the animal captured a baby baboon just a few meters from our position; I ran out of air on a SCUBA dive off the west coast of Thailand; I found myself in the midst of a military coup whilst in Quito, Ecuador; I was in a high-rise hotel in China when there was an earthquake; I was nearly bitten by a sea-snake, which I was later told was about 10 times more venomous than the most venomous land snake; oh, and I missed the Thailand tsunami by just a couple of days.

Wow, not really what I was expecting to hear. It sounds like you have another book you could make just from that. I also love that you’re wife’s name is Sandy. I don’t meet many with the same name as myself. What book would you like to tell us about?

At the moment, I’m promoting Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies, which is book 1 in the Portallas series. It’s a thrilling adventure set in the magical world of Forestium, where weird and wonderful creatures abound.

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Ooooh, I absolutely love fantasy and that cover. I’ll have to add this to my reading list. Do you have a blurb or a synopsis?

My synopsis is:

Joshua’s life is on the line as he attempts to navigate through the magical world to find the truth about his father. He and his companions will need to use all their cunning to stay alive and avoid the dark forces of the Goat. Will Joshua find the magical orbs and open the Portallas, a gateway to other worlds, before he is killed?

Joshua sets out to learn the truth about his father. Along the way, he finds friends, enemies, adventure & romance. Most of all, he finds himself.

The Goat? I haven’t heard a story with a Goat as the enemy yet. I’m intrigued.

My Blurb is: 

Joshua, a young woodsman, is approaching the age of decision. Despite the tales of his father having died in a skirmish with another tribe, Joshua’s dreams are telling him otherwise. The young man yearns for the truth and decides to enlist the help of his village elder to guide him. Armed with little more than the cryptic musing from the ailing elder, Joshua sets off to find the Oracle with his best friend and an imp, who is travelling the land to find others of his kind. It isn’t long before they stumble into a beautiful and ingenious young woman who is herself on a journey of discovery.

On the way to the Oracle, Joshua comes by some curious magical artefacts. Can these help him to find his father? An evil and malevolent creature of the underworld known only as the Goat learns that Joshua has possession of some of the magical orbs needed to open the Portallas, a permanent gateway that links worlds together. Enraged, the Goat sends his dark forces to thwart Joshua and to prevent him from fulfilling his destiny.

Travelling through fantastic landscapes, the four travelling companions meet strange people and creatures alike, and must use all their cunning and ingenuity to find the remaining magical orbs. Will Joshua find all the magical artefacts needed to open the Portallas and free his father?

PORTALLAS – FORESTIUM is full of twists and turns, as Joshua goes on a veritable roller-coaster ride of challenges that will test his courage and emotional strength.

What, out of all your own characters, is your favorite and why?

I like all my characters but I do have a soft spot for Sarah and Galleon. I deliberately wrote Sarah to be a runaway enthusiastic young woman who is extremely intelligent and ingenious. She has a solution for every problem and the traveling companions must rely on her abilities on multiple occasions. She is everything I would like my daughter to be when she grows up. Galleon makes me laugh. He has a slicing wit that is reminiscent of the kind of humour I’m familiar with from growing up in the UK.

What make this books so special to you?

I think an author’s first published book will always be very special to them. For me, it’s not only the culmination of all the hard work that went into it but it has proven that I could do it after all.

I have found that my first book is always in revisions. Never satisfied I guess. Who is your favorite author?

JK Rowling.

I love her Harry Potter Series. Of course. What inspired you to write for the first time?

I’m quite late in the game with my writing career but for me the main inspiration was to put my writing skills to some practical use. I always felt I was good at writing and my travel journals have brought many people lots of pleasure. Taking on a full-sized novel and a piece of fiction were both firsts for me, however, so I was always very nervous about whether I could pull it off.

It’s never too late. What keeps you coming back to writing?

Ask me again in a few years! So far, I’m really enjoying the process and all the positive attention I’m getting from book 1, so I’m really happy to be continuing to churn out more books. only time will tell whether I can sustain my current levels of enthusiasm.

It is a very rewarding hobby and career. If you could say anything to your fans, what would it be?

Wow, that’s a tough question. I’m itching to tell everyone about all the exciting things that are going to be happening in the next books in the series and the direction the whole series is going more generally, although I would never do that, of course. I guess my message would simply be ‘Watch this space!’

Be careful not too give too much away. What is the first book you’ve ever read that pulled you into its world?

For works of fiction, it was the Harry Potter books, for sure. I was absolutely captivated. I used to sneak off from work in London to find a quiet spot somewhere to absorb another chapter or two. I probably lost quite a bit of productivity doing this at the time.

That explains her being your favorite author. What would you say to future authors you might inspire?

Just do it! Stop thinking about it and have a go. If you don’t think you can pull off something substantial initially, then do what I did and attempt something smaller first, like a short story. Don’t be put off by criticism. Use it to your advantage and go back and make improvements. By all means get your friends and family to read your work but expect them to all tell you just how wonderful it is. Seek out strangers, like beta readers, to check your work. It’s the only way you’ll truly find out whether it’s actually any good.

Great advice! What are the best ways for your readers to reach you?

My Facebook page is: https://facebook.com/portallas

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14880470.Christopher_D_Morgan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28601190-forestium

Book links:
http://amzn.com/B01CH8BGY6

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forestium-christopher-d-morgan/1123485635?ean=9780994525727

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/forestium

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/forestium/id1089787299?mt=11

My blog:
http://portallas.com/blog

Do you have any special offers for your readers?

Readers who sign up via http://portallas.com will automatically go into a monthly draw for a FREE autographed HARDBACK copy of Forestium: The mirror never lies, as well as receiving special offers and other advanced notifications about upcoming releases.

Thank you Chris for your time and I wish you the best of luck. Keep writing.

The Loss of time

There never seems to be enough time.

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For anything. This seems especially true for writers. One would think with all the technological advances we’d have a lot more time. Instead, we’re  trying to fit more into less time. Even if someone were able to unfold space and time to make the days longer, we’d still try to do more than we have time for.

So,  how do we manage the time?  As authors, we spread ourselves thin trying to post to every social media we’re apart of, write, read,  edit, send out queries, and work full time (in most cases). 24 hours isn’t enough,  even if we didn’t have to sleep.

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Over the past few years I’ve been trying to find a solution to this particular problem. Much like a Rubix Cube, there seemed no end in sight. (To tell you the truth,  it still seems that way.) I never found a complete solution to ‘do it all’, but I  came to a conclusion.

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I put myself in the shoes of my readers.  I’ve signed up for so many writer’s advice emails, books, and so on. It’s exhausting to sift through them all and absorb all the advice. Not to mention trying them all out. I kept wondering; what are they doing that I’m not? It was simple,  spending a ton of time sending out emails to other authors.  Authors were their main source of a platform.  While this is effective,  I want more.  I want readers.  I want to inspire the lost. Yes, that’s a tall order. 

If you’re still with me, you’re probably in the same boat.  Here’s what I do. It’s slow going right now,  but everyone must start somewhere.

1. I post where most of my readers/followers are.  If those outlets connect to other sources, I’ll share it. But be careful not to post the same thing everywhere.  Have variety. You want them to seek you out.  Not the other way around.

2. Post stories for your readers and interviews/reviews for your fellow authors.  I currently have the following sources for my stories. 
Wattpad: where a portion of my published stories can be found. This way they can get a good view of the book to determine if they want to buy it. 
Wordpress: short stories,  poetry, mini series. Avaliable to everyone.
Email/mail chimp: A never before seen, and never to be seen again, short story series that can only be found in my reader’s email. An exclusive treat for my most loyal readers. These stories will never be published.

So, I have something for everyone. How do I manage the time? Simple. 
I write one story a month (occasionally more) for the email.  The reader had something to look forward to with out feeling overwhelmed by the mass content. 
I try to write two to four things a month on WordPress.  Again, less is usually more. Then I share these in my Facebook page, Twitter page and tumblr.
I, very slowly,  add half my books to Wattpad. I sometimes share these on Facebook and twitter.
Is this working? Yes. With the help of hashtags, I’ve managed to grow my reader base by a few hundred in 6 months. Slow, but getting there. 

This isn’t a guaranteed method,  but for the busy author,  it’s better than nothing.

I hope this helps you struggling authors out there. Comment below if you try it and how well.

Your Beloved Author,
Sandra Easter

Ophelia: Asylum VII

Years had passed since Christina had thought of her doll.  Her mother helped make it from scratch when she was only eight.  They gave her curly bond hair,  blue eyes, and a pretty pink dress.  It was just as Christina wished she herself looked like. Instead Christina was born with nearly black hair that always frizzed, so she looked more like a poodle than a little girl with ringlets. Her tan skin looked pale against the dark color of her hair and eyes. She never looked cute in little pink dresses.  Not like Ophelia. Not like the doll she and her mother made together.

As Christina grew, so did the appearance of her doll. In middle school she changed her hair to a brown color, still with perfect curls. She no longer dressed the doll in pink dresses but in blue jeans and t-shirts she’d made on her sewing machine. A tomboy, just like Christina.  Her eyes however were now different.  One blue, one green.  A genetic trait of Christina’s best friend.  Something she envied.

In high school, Christina went through a dark phase.  She removed everything from the doll one evening that she considered the worst day of her life, the divorce of her parents.

Christina replaced the tomboy clothes with a gothic dress that had a dark red bow on it.  The short sleeves showed the cracking skin of the doll’s arms. Her hair was now straight and ink black that ran nearly the length of the doll.  Her green eye was now black so that Ophelia now had one black and one blue.  She painted her lips a deep red. In a fit of painful emotions, Christina stabbed Ophelia  through the heart with the sewing needle and threw the doll into a shoe box.  The last place Christina remembered seeing the doll.

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Until now. Sitting in this small room with her. Staring at her.  The needle still plunged through her heart and out the back. She sits innocently in the sterile metal chair; seemingly watching Christina as she fights the meds forced down her throat. Blinking rapidly, she tried to make the vision disappear. The doll remained. It didn’t move, didn’t talk, didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Other than be there that is.

Christina’s heart began to race. What had her cousin gotten her into? She was the reason they were in here. Always with her wild imagination. Christina should have known the end of the road would have led to the asylum. People always joked about being crazy, but to actually be committed; it was not fun and games.  She wasn’t crazy. She knew that. But she might be heading there rather quickly. How else would she be seeing a doll that couldn’t possibly be?

Christina took a few cautious steps toward the doll. Her eyes watching it warily. Two sharp banging noises made her jump and nearly pee her pants. A yelp made it’s way out as her cousin called her name from the other side of the wall behind her.

“Christina.” A pause followed by two more quick raps against the wall. “Christina.”

“What?” she asked growing irritated. Sandra already caused her to receive the double dosage of medicine today. Any more and they might roll her down the hall, strapped to a gurney, to shock treatment.

“I’m sorry.” Christina heard foot steps echoing down the hall and didn’t dare test their ears.

Scratching following, nearly begging for the acknowledgement that she’d accepted the apology. It was times like these that Christina wondered if Sandra really was crazy. She did have an unusual imagination for writing. That stuff had to come from somewhere.

Shaking her head from the distraction of her troublesome cousin, and making the room spin at the same time, she returned to look at Ophelia. She was gone. The chair hadn’t moved. No one had entered. Obviously. Fear caused her breathing to hitch before coming in near quick gasps. Another panic attack. Just what she needed.

“Ophelia?” Was she really talking to a doll? Christina pulled on her hair in frustration. She walked to her bed as she thought of the strange hallucination. The drugs must be having the opposite of the intended effects. Putting aside the strange event she began to take a seat to take off her shoes and ready for bed.

A scream ripped from her chest as she turned toward her bed. Her attention stuck on the impossible doll. The frightening, Chucky  mimicking doll. Ophelia lay against her pillow. Just as Christina always set her up when she was younger. Just so Ophelia could see her when she got home from school.

Christina looked from the empty chair to the occupied bed. The doll didn’t move. Didn’t speak. Nothing. Impossible, Christina thought. The medicine was messing with her. Scrubbing her eyes she tried to rub away the sight. Ophelia remained.

More knocks vibrated the wall.

“She told me she missed you. I told her where you were. You missed her didn’t you? I miss you.” Sandra said with the voice of a child she wasn’t.

Christina shook her head. The meds must be on full lock down in her mind. Nothing was real. She was just swimming in chemicals.

“She told me she missed you. I told her where you were. You missed her didn’t you? I miss you.” again with the child’s voice from her past.

Christina; growing angry, confused, and frightened; picked up the doll to throw it against the wall her cousin was talking through. The doll moved. Talked.

“You hurt me Christina. You broke my heart.” Ophelia’s tiny hand removed the needle from it’s chest and plunged it deep into Christina’s chest where it barely pierced her heart. The pain immobilized her. She was having a heart attack. The meds were killing her.

The doll smiled, stopped moving, and fell limp. Christina looked down, the needle’s eye glinted in the light.

“She told me she missed you. I told her where you were. You missed her didn’t you? You shouldn’t have broken her heart. Now she’s broken yours.” The words echoed in that voice again and again until the world turned black.

 

For my loving cousin Christina. I love you.

Your Beloved Author,
Sandra Easter