Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ; a renewal of the faith so many hold so close. Those who believe take the time to reflect on their blessings and honor their Lord. These stories show faith tested and renewed during this special season. Will they hold dear to that faith or stumble?
Faith tested and renewed in many different ways. An abandoned child; two people must trust all will turn out right. A family moving west following bigotry. Hope lost; a yearning to believe. A return home to discover faith. Faith and renewal versus loss and grief. Her rocky path leads her home. A teen struggles for answers.
April Erwin, Eden S. Clark, Donna Patton, E.B. Sullivan, J.E. & Carla Holling and Jeannie Anderson, Leah Hamrick, and K.C. Sprayberry present stories of strength and hope, of struggle and desolation, of returning to what has always sustained them.
When ChrissyBell loses the only father she has ever known, will his teachings and faith sustain her? Childhood can be such a confusing time, especially when your biological father is absent. Christina (ChrissyBell to her closest friend) never knew hers, but Universe sent a replacement in the form of Indian Jim, who taught her the ways of his people. Her life path, and spirituality, were written in the lines of his hands and the words on the petals of flowers.
Yesterday afternoon, I attended Wordup: Long Island Litfest at the Madison Theater at Molloy College with two author friends, Kimberly Amato and Lisa Diaz Meyer. This annual event, in its third year, featured popular Long Island authors and was kicked off with a choice of two free writing workshops. My friends and I selected the Storytelling Workshop presented by Tracey Segarra of the Now You’re Talking Show. After treating the attendees to one of her own stories, Segarra broke down the structure of a story and invited everyone to try two storytelling exercises. The first consisted of prompts to help generate ideas. The second was a group activity involving object description and active listening. Although the workshop was short, it was quite informative. Segarra also invited everyone to her May 6 event, The Tipping Point, at the Merrick Theater and Center for the Arts at which several authors and storytellers will share stories.
The main event of the Long Island Litfest commenced at 1 pm and ran to 4:30 pm. It consisted of two sessions of speakers followed by questions from the audience, book sales, and author signings. The Emcee and first speaker for the event was Barry Dougherty, author of How To Do It Standing Up, The Friars Club’s Guide To Being A Comic and other books on comedy. The first-session speakers included Caroline Leavitt, author of the novel Cruel Beautiful World and New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, and many other works; and Steven Gaines, co-founder and a past vice-chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival and author of numerous books, including Philistines at the Hedgerow and his memoir, One of These Things First. The last two speakers of the session were Cathi Hanauer, New York Times bestselling author of three novels and editor of two anthologies, The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage and the recent The Bitch Is Back:Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier;and Gail Sheehy, author of seventeen books, including internationally acclaimed best-seller Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. Hanauer and Sheehy spoke alone, and then Hanauer interviewed Sheehy about her recent memoir, Daring: My Passages,.
Session two featured George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, writer, actress, producer, monologist, and Internet radio host, and author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George; Bill Scheft, Emmy-nominated and long-time staff writer for David Letterman and author of five humor novels, including his latest, Shrink Thyself; Alan Zweibel, an original Saturday Night Live writer, who has won multiple Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards for his work in television, which includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Late Show With David Letterman, and Curb Your Enthusiasm and has also won a Tony Award and the Thurber Prize; and Dave Barry, Pulitzer-Prize winning humor writer whose columns and essays have appeared in hundreds of newspapers over the past 35 years who has also written a number of New York Times bestsellers including the recent, For this We Left Egypt, a parody of the Passover Haggadah, co-authored with Alan Zweibel (and Adam Mansbach). After Barry spoke, he and Zweibel opened the floor to questions.
As a writer who also works full-time as a librarian and is married with a soon-to-be-teen daughter, each minute of my day is precious. However, I also realize the importance of taking a break to wind down. Recently, I started to watch shows on Netflix and other stations with my husband. It was great to be able to view them every night instead of waiting each week and then until the following season to continue the series, but I had no idea how addictive this type of binge watching could be.
Since I prefer shows based on books and also enjoy mystery and murder with a touch of romance, we started with Bones, the series about the forensic anthropologist and FBI agent that’s based on the novels by Kathy Reichs. We watched 2 to 3 shows a night and finished all 11 seasons way before the anticipated 12th season was scheduled to be aired. By that time, we’d moved on to Castle, close to my heart because it featured a mystery author and a homicide detective. Based on books by the actual Richard Castle, a pseudonym for an unknown author who is not the actor, we enjoyed these shows very much. I found some episodes funny especially the paranormal ones, but I also enjoyed the dramatic action scenes and the cameo appearances by James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and other well-known actors during the poker games. My husband also related to Castle’s relationship with his teen daughter since we have a 12-year old daughter. I even got him a pajama set for Valentine’s Day with Castle’s “ruggedly handsome” slogan.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two shows we tried, we were worried we wouldn’t be able to find something else after they were finished. However, three is definitely a charm because we gave Dexter a go. Even though it seemed different from the others, starring a serial killer who murders killers, it turned out to be an incredible show mixing dark elements with humor and containing emotionally gripping scenes, as well. It was based on the books by Jeff Lindsay.
Now that we’ve mastered binge watching, it’s hard to watch one show a week. We started watching Emerald City and The Catch, but both are new series. We either have to view them once a week or wait until a season has passed to binge watch them. We also checked out Limitlessand was pleased to see that it featured our favorite actress, Jennifer Carpenter, who played Dexter’s sister but then was sad to learn the show was canceled after just one season.
Although my husband claims I may be getting ideas for my next novel from the mystery-themed shows we watch, I’m still concerned that I’m wasting time I could be writing, exercising, or sleeping. However, I still make time for those activities.
What about you? Is there a series you enjoy binge watching? One you would recommend to others? Comment with your suggestions. I’d love to hear them.
I hope you’ve all been following the stops on my new release book tour for the first book of the Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw. The tour runs through Wednesday, March 22. Those who enter the rafflecopter giveaway are eligible to win a $15 Amazon gift card and e-copies of my new book.
Have you ever wondered why cats get so much attention on the Internet? According to Wikipedia.com, “Images and videos of domestic cats make up some of the most viewed content on the web.” The New York Times describes cat images as “that essential building block of the Internet.” A past exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image was even devoted to “How Cats Took Over the Internet.” http://nyti.ms/2mQftWu
The Internet even has its cat stars such as Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub as well as the favorite feline duo of Cole & Marmalade. But a cat doesn’t have to be special to be on the Internet. People love to post about their own pets. There are a large number of social media groups devoted to cats, and Pinterest and YouTube overflow with cat images and videos.
As a cat lover, I don’t object to the proliferation of felines online. In fact, I enjoy posting photos of my handsome Siamese, Oliver and his tabby brother, Stripey.
Here are ten reasons I believe cats are so popular on the internet. Feel free to add more in the comments:
They’re cute – from kittens to seniors, cats are aesthetically appealing. Artists have painted, drawn, and photographed them.
They’re funny – cats can get into the oddest situations and do the strangest antics. YouTube has an abundance of Funny Cat Videos. Check this link for a recent compilation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njSyHmcEdkw
People Love them – Cats are very popular household pets. Approximately 35% of all households in the United States have a cat (Source: American Pet Products Association 2015-2016 (APPA))
They are intelligent – Cats are very smart. They can be trained to do many interesting things. Some have traveled miles to reunite with their owners. Others have saved their human companions from house fires and other disasters by alerting them to danger.
They have spirit – Cats can be very independent, but there’s something about them that allows them to wrap their paws around you. No one owns a cat, as most cat owners have learned.
Cats have played interesting roles in history – from being treated like Kings in Egypt and saviors after they killed the rats that carried the Bubonic Plague to being feared as Witches’ familiars, cats always seem to make the news.
Cats are very intuitive – Cats have highly tuned senses and can almost appear to be psychic the way they can tell when you’re arriving home, not feeling well, or angry over something.
Cats are good for your health – numerous studies have shown the benefits of petting a cat and the relaxing affect of their purrs on people.
Cats are loyal and loving but not smothering – Although cats are independent creatures, they can bond closely with humans still retaining their own space.
Here are photos of my cats. I’d love to see some of yours.
I’m proud to announce that my first Cobble Cove Mystery, A Stone’s Throw, is back in print with a new chapter and excellent edits.
A Stone’s Throw: the first book in the Cobble Cove mystery series
Welcome to book one of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. In this book, you will meet widowed librarian, Alicia, and follow her through the mystery that brings her to Cobble Cove and her meeting with John McKinney, the small town newspaper publisher with whom she becomes romantically involved before realizing that he may play a part in the death of her first husband. This book is a second edition that includes a new chapter and cover.
After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.
Secrets stretch decades into the past…
Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.
Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered …
When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…
Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her three published novels include Cloudy Rainbow, A Stone’s Throw, and Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Solstice Publishing, 2016) that has been on the Amazon bestseller list for cozy mysteries. Her romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, was published in February 2017. Debbie has also written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. Her third Cobble Cove mystery, Written in Stone, will be published in Spring 2017. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.
It’s my pleasure to feature the following guest post by my fellow Solstice Publishing author, Leah Hamrick, who shares some information about herself and her writing.
Hello, everyone! My name is Leah Hamrick, and I’m the author of Frost on my Pillow, numerous short stories of all genres…amongst other unpublished novels that I have yet to grace the world with. (He-he)
I live in Michigan with my husband, daughter, and plethora or turtles, fish, and a spoiled tree frog named Sticky.
I decided to start writing one day because I was bored… yes, I had nothing better to do than sit at the computer all day and type off of this nonsense that was spilling out of my little mind.
Well, I’m going to tell you about my novel, Frost on my Pillow, book one of the Fire Bringer series.
The story is about a girl named Lyla Hall who lives an abusive life in her home, the Summer Solstice. Everyone in her little town is blessed with the ability to use Fire.
After she gets beat for the last time by her stupid step-dad, she makes a run for it, leaving her home, the only place she has ever known, behind.
She then finds herself in the real world, Toledo Ohio.
A young man named Rylan finds her and takes her into his home for her safety.
When she starts school, she finds a book about her kind in her new school’s library, and she steals it. When she finally gets around to reading it, she discovers that her necklace holds the power to end the world if fallen into the wrong hands.
When she meets Ethan Killman, an Ice Bringer, things are going to change… forever.
Demons start harassing them, and they will stop at nothing to get the necklace and the power it holds.
When secrets from the ones she loves come out, nothing will ever be the same again.
I know that is a bad description, but me trying to explain something? Yeah, right. You’d get a better explanation from a dog watching you throw away that cheese wrapper… I mean, I am so bad at descriptions that it’s a struggle for me to even get a blurb put together that even tells the reader half of what they will be reading…
Okay, I’ve taken up enough of your time… maybe you will join Lyla and Ethan in their adventures…?
Let’s face it. If you’re a new author or one who has not yet sold a million copies, you are not earning much through royalties. However, there are other ways that you can supplement your income using your writing talent and experience. Below are some suggestions. Once you determine what you’d like to try, you should speak with those already offering these services or research current rates so you can set your pricing. In some cases, such as with writing contests and speaking engagements, the payment is already specified in the rules or contract.
1. Editing/Proofreading/formatting Manuscripts – This falls under the category of Author Services. Most authors acquire experience editing and proofreading their own manuscripts. Some take courses and also know how to lay out eBooks. Fees for these services vary depending on whether one offers basic editing for spelling, grammar, punctuation or developmental editing which includes reviewing and revising structures and plots. You can do this as a part-time freelancer and/or seek employment from a publishing company. If you are detail-oriented, enjoy reading books, and have extra time (something most writers especially those with day jobs may not have much of), you might considering earning a few bucks this way. Associations you might consider checking out include the Editorial Freelancer’s Association: http://www.the-efa.org/, American Copy Editor’s Society: http://www.copydesk.org/ and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors: http://naiwe.com/.
2. Producing Book Trailers – If you’re knowledgeable about computer video software and have some talent for movie-making and a good visual eye, you could try creating book trailers for authors.
3. Designing Graphics for bookmarks, business cards, teasers, Book Covers, etc. – If you are artistic and familiar with programs such as PhotoShop, Canva.com, and other graphic programs, you could try your hand at designing promotional material for authors.
4. Writing Queries, Synopsis, and Blurbs. If you have more of a way with words than with art, you might give writing submission material for authors a go.
5. Speaking Engagements at libraries, bookstores, community centers – If you are comfortable with public speaking, you could give author talks about your books and/or publishing. I’ve done several talks about my books at nearby libraries. Although most of these speeches last between an hour or two, preparation time is necessary. As you gain more confidence and stack up more engagements, you can also join a speaker’s bureau to get more work. Payment for talks vary. Some venues will allow you to sell your books but will not pay you for the talk. Others will do the opposite. Some will do both. You need to inquire before you sign the contract. Here’s an article about ways to locate speaking opportunities: http://famousinyourfield.com/17-ways-to-find-speaking-opportunities/
6. Teaching Classes & Webinars – If you are an expert at a subject or are knowledgeable about specific areas of writing, you might want to apply to teach a continuing education class at your local school or college. If you have experience with video conferencing, you might consider putting together a webinar. I am applying to teach a course on Indie Publishing at my local high school this fall.
7. Entering Writing Contests for Prize Money – Although there are often fees involved in writing contests that offer prizes, if they are within your budget, you could try entering them. Just make sure they are legitimate. If they consider your work for publication even if you don’t win, more the better.
8. Freelance Writing for Magazines, eZines, Newspapers, blogs, etc. – Don’t limit yourself to novel writing. If you can write short, non-fiction pieces for print or digital publications, you can make some money. It will usually be a flat rate; but if you only sell first rights, you will be able to publish the article again if you want. Along with making a little cash, freelance writing also helps promote your fiction works.
9. Designing Websites – If you are both artistic and technical, you might consider earning some extra money helping authors create attractive and functional websites.
10. Arranging Blog Tours – If you are savvy with social media and have a lot of connections, you could start up a blog tour company.
11. Assisting Authors as PA’s – Authors looking for more time to be able to write often seek personal assistants to aid them in their social media updates and other writing-related tasks.
12. Ghost Writing – There are doctors and other professionals who would like to write a book but don’t have the time or the talent. They hire people to do it for them and usually pay well. The only drawback is that your name will not be credited on the book. It’s not for everyone, but some authors do well with it.
These are only a few of the opportunities for authors to earn extra income. If you know of any others, please comment on this post.