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Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday, Trippin' Thursdays,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Monday, April 27, 2015

PUBLISH THE STORY by C. Marie Bowen



MUSE MONDAY
Please welcome my guest, C. Marie Bowen, to Discover Yourself. Be sure to leave a comment and you'll be entered in a drawing for a free eBook of Passage! You have until Thursday to leave a comment and the winner will be chosen on Friday.
 
Hello, Brenda, and thank you for having me as a guest. I’m excited to be here on Muse Monday.
I’m currently working on an edge of your seat, paranormal trilogy. Mix up a near-death experience with a past life, flavor with epic romance, and then stir in a few mouthwatering cowboys, add a dash hostile conflict, and you’ll have Passage—book one in The Soul of the Witch trilogy.

The story takes hold from the first chapter and heads straight into a soul splitting journey. I am in the last stage of editing book two, Prophecy, and cannot wait to have it released so I can latch onto the final piece of the story in book three, Paradox. My goal is to submit Paradox, to my publisher by the end of this year.

Soul of the Witch first began to take shape back in 1980. I had given birth to my oldest son and taken an extended maternity leave from work. Although the story had been fighting to get out of my head for years, this was the first time I put pen to paper. Literally. Back then, I used a pen and spiral notebooks labeled #1, #2, etc. I still have those spiral notebooks.

When I returned to work, I put the notebooks in the closet and let them sit for another nine years. In 1989, I gave birth to my second son, and again, my internal muse sparked. I pulled out the old notebooks, and with the help of a friend from work, put my handwritten words into a WANG word-processor. Of course, back then, there were no PC’s or word processing applications, and no way to preserve the digital work. But I finally had a printed copy of my story. Back into the closet it went, and life moved on.

Fast forward to August, 2012. Both boys had grown, finished college and moved on to pursue their lives. I found myself extremely unhappy at work. A large corporation had purchased the company I worked for and many of my long-time co-workers and friends had left or were let go. The new management wanted their own processes and people. The times, they were a-changing, and the pressure began to affect me physically. My hair began to fall out. I developed stress related nerve pain. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Out of the blue, my wonderful husband suggested I take some time off and regroup. I couldn’t resign fast enough. After that, I made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish during my break from work; clean out the closets, paint the hallway, and rework the flowerbeds. In my closet, I found the box with my typed story, along with a bag of spiral notebooks. I quickly added another item to my TO-DO list. Publish the story.

The first order of business was to put the book into an actual Word document. As I began typing the story, my imagination took flight. The story took over and I was filled with enthusiasm. I became a different person, happier, with all my remembered friends from the closet arguing inside my head. But I knew I needed structure and direction. I joined RWA and enrolled in editing and writing classes. I eventually ran into a few like-minded writers who also worked on their first books and we formed a critique group. I discovered my fabulous, passionate epic had to be edited with extreme prejudice. I had written each precious character with their own point of view, and included all their character-building back stories. The original work was well over 150,000 words. Yikes!

During the long edit/re-edit process, I read about an open submission at a small publishing company, Prairie Rose Publications. They were asking for Western Halloween short stories for an anthology. I had a western character and paranormal was right up my alley. I retrieved one of the “cut” back-stories, reworked it into a short story, and submitted Hunter and Lily Graham to PRP. When the acceptance email came from the acquiring Editor, I had to have my husband read it again just to be sure I understood what the email said. They loved my story and my characters and wanted to include my short story in their Halloween anthology.

Since then, I have written two more short stories for PRP anthologies. All my tales have a paranormal twist, suspense and romance. I finally submitted Soul of the Witch, Book 1, Passage, to PRP at the end of last year, and it was accepted for publication. Passage, Soul of the Witch, Book 1 published on March 12, 2015. 

I was thrilled to put a big CHECK beside Publish the story, although I have yet to paint the hallway. 

Passage - blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.

A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.

Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.


Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.

LINKS:

Connect with C. Marie here: Website: www.cmariebowen.com

Friday, April 24, 2015

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING by Mary Gillgannon



FEARLESS FRIDAY
I love Fearless Friday. Mary has a fun story for us so read on!

When we decided we needed a rental car on our trip to Ireland and Wales, both my husband and I presumed he would be the driver. After all, he’s been driving since he took his mom’s car joyriding at age ten. For many years he had a commercial driver’s license and in the early years of our marriage, he drove trucks for his jobs.
But all those credentials didn’t prepare for him for the reality of driving on the wrong side of the road while seated on the wrong side of the car. We’d only gone a few blocks after picking up our rental car in Wales when he scraped the side of the car maneuvering through one of the crowded, narrow streets. Appalled, he pulled over and said, “I can’t do this.” So we switched places and I became the driver.
I really had no choice. The only other person in the car was our son, who was only 18 and not legally old enough to drive a rental car. And we knew we were already in trouble with the rental agency because of the long scratch on the side of the car. So, with knuckles white on the steering wheel, I maneuvered out of the narrow lane, found the main highway and we headed off.
It took all my concentration at first, and I could barely even risk a glance as we passed Conwy Castle or dare more than a glimpse of the ocean as we followed the coast. The lush green hills and picturesque mountain vistas I’d come to see also passed by in a blur. And I’m sure I left some swearing drivers in my wake. I drove slowly and cautiously, and hesitated at more than a few turns and roundabouts (more on those later). But I got us to our destination, and from then on I was the driver.
A few days later, we took the ferry to Ireland and met up with my husband’s brother and his girlfriend, but my driving tasks weren’t over. My brother-in-law has poor peripheral vision and didn’t feel comfortable driving. And his girlfriend, although experienced at driving “on the wrong side of the road”, wasn’t very enthused about driving. After all, she’d come on this trip to relax. So once again, that left me. I now had a whole carload of people to help me navigate. And it took all of them to get us out of Dublin, with its one way streets, streets that seem to go in circles, crazy traffic and highway construction. But once outside of Dublin, I discovered something even more daunting:  roundabouts. 
There had been a few roundabouts in Wales, but it’s a fairly rural country and I could at least catch my breath in between them. In Ireland it seemed like every intersection was a roundabout or, worse yet, a double roundabout. I approached each one with a sense of growing panic and confusion. And the whole carload had to coach me through them and tell me exactly where to turn. Even then, there were plenty of times when I turned in the wrong place and we had to backtrack. They finally convinced me that if I missed the turn I should just go around again and try to catch it the second time. For a while I had nightmares about driving endlessly around in a circle in a roundabout.
But we all survived and it was a wonderful trip in every other respect. And I did get better. With the result that when I went to England and Wales with my daughter a few years later, I planned an itinerary that included driving in and out London, navigating the narrow, serpentine streets of Cardiff during rush hour and a horrendous experience in
Reading where we followed the main “dual carriageway” in a circle around the city about a dozen times. We asked for directions in three different places, but were still hopelessly lost. It’s quite possible we would still be trapped there, going around and around, if a kind stranger hadn’t taken pity on us. He told us to follow him in his car, then literally stopped and got out and said “turn here” (while pointing) when we reached the road we needed to take to our hotel.
I’ve since driven on two more trips to Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I really feel I’m getting much better. I sail through roundabouts and only take the wrong turn and get lost about a third of the time. People are always amazed that I can do it. My secret is that I’m not an intuitive driver, which means I always have to focus very hard to figure out where I am in regards to other vehicles. So, driving in the UK just means concentrating a little more intensely. I’m also highly motivated. In these trips, I’m always on the way to some magical destination that I’ve dreamed of seeing, and if the only way I can get there is by driving, then that’s what I’ll do!

Mary’s next book is a Regency historical to be released on May 6th.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Feet and Hot

 Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.
Farm news is sparse and not much happening - like watching the garlic grow. Watching Sadi grow is a lot more fun. She loves to dance and can
Happy feet!
do her happy feet routine on a suggestion.

Frank and I are still spending weekdays in Tonto Basin. It's heating up during the day and in an effort to keep costs down, I sweat. Must be good for ridding the body of poisons, right? But it's cool at night and chilly when we wake. We've got a circle of friends here and birds of all species to amuse us.

As I type I'm in the clubhouse. We have a limited time we pay for
The youngest vendor last week.
Internet and I'm about out of time with over a week to go. The clubhouse has free Internet so I'm there. Trouble is, I keep getting dumped. I have to look at the budget and see what line item I can steal from to up our Internet time. Although, it is cooler in here so as long as no one comes in and turns on the TV or wants to strike up a conversation, I'm gold.
Al, from Two Bites Bakery

The farmers' market continues to take up our Saturdays. The winter one is about to end and the summer one begin back at Yavapai College.

Prescott Farmers' Market
That's about it from Tortuga Flats for Tortuga Thursday.

Monday, April 20, 2015

IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD by Deborah C. Wilding



MUSE MONDAY
Brenda, thank you for inviting me to Muse Monday. As a long-time reader of historical fiction, I enjoy watching history unfold through characters that become as real to me as though I knew them personally. I've found that almost any period provides a rich colorful background  for characters that live and walk through the pages of times past.  And sometimes the inspiration for a story can come from very close to home, when you least expect it.

That was the case with the setting for my new release--"Then I Met You." The glimmer of an idea was first sparked when I found an old map that identified a wooden building near my neighborhood in Hawaii as a former internment center for Japanese during WWII. I've passed the building a dozens of times without having a clue. In that moment it struck me that the makings of an historical romance can begin right in your own backyard. And I wondered, what would it have been like, in the days surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor, if two people were falling in love--and one of them was Japanese.

I began to do some research. What was Honolulu like in 1941? What happened to ordinary people on December 7th? My characters and their lives began to take shape. Though the main characters are fictional, the period in Hawaii's history is very real and affects their lives in meaningful ways. Conflicts, dilemmas, mystery, heroism and romance are woven together with actual events and historical figures--the theft of crown jewels really happened, and only a few diamonds have been recovered to the present day. But in the end, the book is an impossibly courageous love story.

To keep the threads of my story from getting tangled, I taped a gigantic home-made calendar on my wall with the dates running from early November to mid-December 1941. In ink I penned actual events that happened on each day; on post-its I wrote each character's activities and emotional reactions. At first, the post-its had to be shuffled around like crazy between the dates before I got them settled into a comfortable pattern. I was concerned that too much organization would stifle my characters, but they often managed to surprise the heck out of me!  And instead of worrying about where the plot was going, I could focus on my real loves: dialog and setting.

So, inspiration, research, organization.  Those were the first steps. In my story, prejudice, deception, and the devastation of war must be overcome. To find out how it all worked out you'll have to read "Then I Met You."    

Buy Links:
Amazon 
The Wild Rose Press 

Connect with Deborah here:
http://www.deborahwildingauthor.com/