David Misch | Explores Comedy
Author Guest / July 31, 2016

David Misch was born in a humble log cabin in 1946, then again in a split-level thatched roof cottage in 1950. Growing a remarkable twelve inches a day (though, unfortunately, entirely in his shins), David was recruited by both the Boston Celtics and AAA Ceiling Repair before his fourth birthday, but opted instead for a career as a professional snitch. After ratting out literally dozen of ne’er-do-wells to the FIB, Mr. Misch realized he should have been dealing with the FBI, not Fellas In Basements, a special-interest group devoted to the study of La-Z-Boy armchairs. He then retired to an underwater colony of scuba gear scavengers who, unable to find scuba gear, drowned. He will be missed. Wait, he’s back!, this time with something roughly approximating the truth. And in the first-person yet. Quote… Though I’m now an internationally-recognized author (if you count one interview with Radio Ireland as international recognition), I began my career as a funny folksinger, back when such a description was accepted by the IRS. My big break was being clueless enough to think drunk college friends thinking I could write songs meant I could write songs. I sustained this delusion for five years before dropping…

L.A. Witt | An Excerpt from HIATUS
Excerpt / July 30, 2016

“Hey.” My mouth went dry. Staring out at the city, I said, “So, um. I talked to Nate. About what’s going on.” “Oh.” Something rustled in the background. Was he still in bed? I wasn’t even sure when he got up these days. “Um. How did he take it?” “As good as we could’ve expected, I guess.” Theo exhaled. “I should call him. It might be good for him to hear from both of us.” “Yeah.” I turned around, watching Nate’s sleeping form through my semitransparent reflection. “Give him a little while, though. He’s not up yet.” “He’s—” Theo paused. When he spoke again, his voice was cold. “So he’s still there.” “Yeah, he’s—” I faced the city again. “Is that a problem?” “No.” His tone suggested it clearly was a problem. “Just…could you pass the message along for him to call me when he has a chance?” I ground my teeth and tried not to get defensive. If I’d been the one in his position, five hundred miles away while Theo broke the news to Nate, I’d probably not feel great about the situation either. “I’ll tell him.” “Thanks.” Silence set in. I fixed my gaze on the road…

Rebecca Thomas | The only constant is change
Author Guest / July 29, 2016

I’ve had more changes in my life in the past few months, than the past several years. Small or large, change can be difficult and wreak havoc on your soul. Small changes can be easily shrugged off. Like after 25 years we decided to switch insurance companies. We had to cut down a huge tree in our yard. Then we switched the providers for our wireless cell phones. Then, (gasp) we disconnected our land line telephone. Obviously, these changes may cause some minor inconvenience, you might have to pay more, or you might save some money, but all in all you get through these changes unscathed. However, when a beloved pet dies, your youngest graduates from high school, and you part ways with a close friend; these changes are a little more difficult to get through without some pain. At the grocery store, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in years. We were talking about all the changes in our lives. I was feeling especially melancholy about it and probably had my sad face going when she said, “But you know, I love change.” I must have stared at her for a good five seconds with my mouth…

Kira Archer | The Best Thing Ever (For A Chocoholic)
Author Guest / July 29, 2016

We found this store a few years ago. A surplus store where they sell discounted groceries – cans that are dented, food items that are almost-to-slightly expired, chicken nuggets that aren’t shaped exactly right. We love that place. We are really busy during the week and sometimes being able to pull out a huge bag of chicken strips to fry up really quick is a lifesaver. Plus everything is surplus or slightly irregular so it’s cheap. Cheap is pretty much my favorite thing ever. It’s also a handy place as it’s right across the street from the drive-in. So it’s a great place to stop in for big bags of popcorn and candy. Especially chocolate. I may or may not have a slight chocolate problem. If it’s in the house, I’m going to eat it. Oh, I try not to. But it calls to me…especially when I’m up until the wee hours either working or staring into space and pretending I’m working. My husband once said we should coat really important things in chocolate. That way if they ever get lost I’d be sure to find them. I’m not quite that bad. But…well honestly, probably not far off. So at…

Erica Vetsch | Why we love those cowboy heroes
Author Guest / July 29, 2016

John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Clint Eastwood, Alan Ladd…I am a sucker for a cowboy hero, and I am not alone. Since the days of Owen Wister and the Virginian, readers have been drawn to cowboy heroes. But what makes them so appealing? Here are a few ideas I have: The “Code of the West.” True cowboy heroes have a code of honor they live by that make them true hero-material. Things like: Your word is your bond. Ride for the brand. Don’t ask questions about a man’s past. Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. Don’t squat with your spurs on. Cowboys are men of action. Readers like heroes who DO things, and there’s not a much more physical job than that of a cowboy. Heroes look good on horses. J A man who can ride even better than he can walk? Yes, please! Cowboys are known for being chivalrous. Their code of honor extends to treating ladies like ladies. Cowboys give the impression of self-reliance, true loners who don’t need anyone…but every woman in the world knows this isn’t true. A real cowboy needs a good woman to look past the rough, tough exterior and reach the…

Flo Fitzpatrick | An Excerpt from Scarecrow’s Dream
Excerpt / July 28, 2016

The lights came on and I whirled around. A short, plump woman in her early seventies, with a mass of auburn-and-white hair untamed by a blue crocheted beret, dressed in jeans and an army jacket covered with protest slogan buttons, stood in the doorway holding a laundry basket. A small tan, mixed-breed dog, still a puppy, ran inside, danced around my feet, barked with much enthusiasm, then sat and looked up at me with adoration in its deep brown eyes. “Boo-Boo! Hush. What’s the matter with you, mutt? Have you gone loco? Chill, puppy.” I wasn’t in the mood to make nice. Two long strides brought me within a foot of the doorway in case I needed to make a quick exit. “Who the hell are you, and why are you waltzing into my apartment?” I demanded. A gasp, wider eyes, and then a beautiful smile flashed across her perfect peaches-and-cream complexion. “I am not waltzing. I am trudging. I save my waltzing for the dance floor, although I prefer the tango.” She squinted. “Oh sweet Mother Mary. I’m talking to an auditory hallucination. What the hell did my bartender put in the last margarita? Boo-Boo? Are you seeing this?…

Blockbuster Summer Of World War II Hits
History / July 27, 2016

With children out of school and folks going on vacation, summer is traditionally the time for blockbuster movies, usually action-adventure or comic-book-hero sagas designed to snag the interest of kids and families. Then there are “blockbuster books”—novels that strike the popular imagination and become runaway bestsellers. Though I tend not to like those extremely popular books, since several are set in one of my favorite time periods—World War II—for this month’s column, we’ll take a look at a few that have garnered rave reviews. First we have ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr (24,150 Amazon reviews.) This instant New York Times bestseller from the award-winning Doerr presents the story of a blind French girl and a German boy who meet in occupied France, both struggling to survive the destruction and privation of war. Daughter of a lockmaster at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, when Marie-Laure goes blind at the age of six, her father builds her a miniature of their neighborhood to memorize by touch so she can find her away around. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and she flees with her father to take refuge with a great-uncle in a house…

Sami Lee | All Hail the Aussie Bloke
Author Guest / July 26, 2016

Hi, I’m Sami and I write romance novels set in Australia. Not surprising since I live in Australia and have all my life. They say ‘write what you know’ and I know a lot, a LOT, about Aussie men. I didn’t mean that to sound like I’ve had a LOT of personal experience…more that I’ve been a life-long observer J. One of the best things about the new publishing paradigm is the freedom it allows me to write my Aussie blokes, the way I see them. Years ago when I first began reading romance—long before the e reading revolution when I could only get those little Harlequins from the library or my local K-Mart—there were very few Australian men in romance novels. The ones that existed were the uber rich type who lived in a posh part of Sydney, travelled a lot and spoke like British aristocrats. In the end these guys came off looking very cosmopolitan, and very unreal to me. The men I actually knew were nothing like that. They were big and loud and uncouth, sometimes volatile and often inappropriate. They were also protective and strong, hardworking optimists, decent salt-of-the earth individuals who laughed loudly and made…

Candice Gilmer | Fan Fiction Made Me a Better Writer
Author Guest / July 26, 2016

Hi. My name is Candice Gilmer, and I write contemporary and paranormal romance. And I used to write fan fiction. I wrote a lot of fan fiction. I had a fangirl love for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Star Wars, and wrote about my adoration of the character quite often. If he had as many girlfriends as I wrote about him having, well that Jedi would have never gotten anything done. I even wrote ongoing stories with him and an OC I made, (Original Character), a serial before serials were popular. And I loved it. I loved the world, I loved the rules of the world, and I loved Star Wars. (Still do.) Sure, I branched out and wrote some Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction (my latest release, FANTASY GIRL, the main character, Lynn, writes Buffy fan fiction) and a few other genres. It was fun to delve deeper into these worlds that I loved, and create more stories and explore the nuance of every scene or episode, weaving my own stories in among the cannon ones. Besides being fun, I learned how to do a lot of specific things writing fan fiction, too. Like dialog. Pacing. (Two simple things, but…

Tamara Gill – ONLY AN EARL WILL DO
Author Guest / July 26, 2016

As an author who’s fortunate enough to write historical romance, which also includes throwing in time travel every now and then, I have to say there is nothing better than sitting down and reading a book that has juicy scandal throughout it, or characters who skate on very thin ice that could possibly throw them toward ruin. I tend to write outside the box, which will probably never make me a household name, but then I don’t write to the market, I write books that I’d love to read, and hopefully others will as well. My new series which debuts with Entangled Publishing’s Select Historical imprint To Marry a Rogue certainly has scandal, sex and a villain who’s seriously in need of a good wallop. ONLY AN EARL WILL DO opens with the words, “You’re ruined!” Which should set you up for a read that will hopefully keep you turning the pages? It’s a tale of two people, ripped apart by financial status, and the devious plans of others with their own alternative motive. Of course when two people are separated by time, life happens, it certainly doesn’t stop for anyone, and things happen… needless to say, when my hero…