Guest posts

Monday, December 26, 2011

Guest post by Majanka Verstraete

First of all, I would like to thank Brenda for letting me post this guest post on her blog. So, I’ve written a supernatural horror novel. Two, actually. The first one, The Blood That Defines Us, dealt with family and the cruel things family can do to each other. It dealt with loss, tragedy, the feeling of being forgotten, abuse, confinement and prisons built by misplaced love. It also dealt with guilt, and how the mistakes of our ancestors can affect us, even today.
My second novel, Mirror, Mirror, deals with guilt as well, but another form of guilt. It focuses on those of us who are unable to deal with our guilt, which they hide away in the darkest corners of their mind because they can’t cope with it. Additionally, Mirror, Mirror talks about friendship, and about how important friendship truly is, and how messed up it can get when something goes wrong. But it also deals with letting go, forgiving yourself and moving on. On the other hand, there is also a strong theme of vengeance going on in my second novel.
I write supernatural horror novels because I enjoy writing them. But I don’t just write about ghosts, mirrors, hauntings, demons, curses and the likes. Contrary to what some people believe horror is all about, in my opinion, horror focuses on people. More even, it focuses on people at their worst. When we are being threatened by invisible opponents, when we are being banished out of our own home, when we are being terrorized by forces of the supernatural. And that's why I  enjoy writing horror so much. Because it looks at humanity in general, and one single human (or a group of humans) in particular, and judges us by how we behave at our worst. Some go crazy, others try to run, and some of us are brave enough to stay and fight.
If I were to write a story about a house being haunted for no particular reason, by a ghost of whom we know absolutely nothing, I wouldn’t enjoy that story myself. I want to know reasons. I want to know the deep, dark secrets that caused spirits to be stuck on this plane, unable to move on. I want to know how they behave and interact with us, humans. And when the reason of the haunting lies in the evil of humanity, I find that all the scarier.
For me, blood and gore movies don’t cut it. I laugh at them. Saw doesn’t even make me remotely scared, nor does Texas Chainsaw Massacre or From Dusk Till Dawn. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be scared if I were in such a situation myself, but I don’t consider that terrifying. What I do find terrifying is the more subtle kind of horror, gothic horror if you want, that drips into the story from page one, but by the time you very well realize it, it’s already too late. Take the movie The Others with Nicole Kidman for example. Although you might not exactly be terrified by the ending of it, I certainly felt uneasy. Why? Because it told a story. A story about suffering, regret and guilt. And those are the kind of stories that make us both uneasy and scared, but intrigue us beyond belief.
What do you think makes a good horror story? Should it focus on the horror only, or should it provide a backstory as well? What elements do you think are necessary to make something really scary? Do you believe in ghosts or hauntings? If so, do you think guilt and regret might be a possible factor to keep spirits glued to this plane? Please let me know. 

Synopsis ------Genre: Supernatural Horror, Thriller, Young Adult
Piper is nearly as obsessed with antiquities and century-old houses as her mother is. It's no surprise that she immediately falls in love with the old mirror she discovers on the attic of their new home. Despite the warnings of her best friend Alison, who senses something isn't quite right about Piper's newest discovery, she puts the mirror in her bedroom. 

Tormented by nightmares and haunted by eerie voices in the middle of the night, Piper realizes she has made a terrible mistake. But is it really the fault of that antique mirror, or is her imagination playing tricks on her? Maybe the truth is even more terrifying...

You can find the book cover as a separate file included in this email.
Author Bio
Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-one year old female from Belgium. She’s currently studying law at university. Her greatest passions in life are writing and reading. She especially enjoys writing books in the young adult genre, ranging from young adult horror novels to epic fantasy and paranormal romance. She has currently published two books, The Blood That Defines Us and Mirror, Mirror. She’s working on a collection of horror short stories, The Thirteenth Hour, which is due for release on June 1st 2012. Her current writing project is a paranormal romance series under the working title “The Angel of Death Series”. Volume one will be entitled “Soul Thief”.
Important Links
Author website:
Buy Kindle:
Buy EPUB from Lulu:
Buy Paperback:
Buy Mirror, Mirror from Smashwords:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Guest post by

Anna's website is and her publisher's site is

by Anna Patricio

My debut novel 'Asenath' is about the wife of Joseph of the coat of many colours. Many people do not know about Asenath, for she is mentioned only in passing. So when I wrote my book, I was at great ease to take as many liberties as possible.In fact, all we are told about Asenath is that she was a priest's daughter who married Joseph after he interpreted Pharaoh's dreams. So in filling the gaps before and after that event, I stretched my
imagination to no end.

I did, however, write the novel in such a way that her life was intertwined with Joseph's even before he became a ruler. In doing this, I stayed close to the Genesis account. However, there are other accounts of Joseph outside the Bible which I had previously come across, and which I thought to draw from as well, as they seemed
pretty interesting. Some of these tales even centre on Asenath, which astonished me seeing as she is so obscured in Genesis.

Such a tale would be 'Joseph and Asenath,' which apparently dates to 1st century Alexandria. The background of this story is that some early rabbis didn't think it feasible for one of the patriarchs to marry a pagan priestess, and thus wove a story which had Asenath convert to Joseph's faith. This is a rather fantastical tale - indeed
nearly like a fantasy - as it involves Asenath seeing an angel who ooks like Joseph as well as some bees which feed her "sacred" honey, thus marking her conversion. Because this seems to be the most famous tale of Asenath, I wanted to give a nod to it in my novel but wasn't sure how. When going through the final draft with my editor, she suggested that in a garden scene with butterflies, I replace the butterflies with the bees. I really
liked the butterflies, as they were beautiful not to mention butterflies are my second favourite animal after dogs. But I also thought it would be cool to acknowledge the 'Joseph and Asenath' story, plus I like the way my editor wove it in. So I wholeheartedly agreed.

There is also a part in the novel in which, during a banquet at Potiphar's house, a female guest is so entranced by Joseph's good looks that she accidentally cuts her hands instead of her fruit. This was derived from one of the Islamic accounts of Joseph - if I recall correctly, it is even in the Quran (there are many poems and songs
recalling this event as well). As we know, Potiphar's wife sought Joseph. In the Islamic tales, her
friends, upon hearing of her desire for her steward, mock her for it. So one day, Mrs Potiphar holds a banquet and orchestrates things in such a way that Joseph will enter the room for everyone to see him - and to see the "torture" she has been going through, of wanting something she cannot have. She then serves her friends fruits, along with knives to peel the fruit. When Joseph appears, her friends are so caught up in his good
looks, they slice their hands instead of the fruits! Mrs Potiphar then says, "This is what I've had to endure every day!"

Also, the name which I used for Potiphar's wife - Zalikha - is a variant of the Islamic stories' "Zuleika."

I also took liberties with Asenath's parentage as well. It's probably best I don't elaborate here, though this has already been echoed in some reviews of my novel. But I got the idea from a Jewish folktale which has Asenath as Dinah's daughter. Again, some folks didn't likethe idea of Joseph marrying a pagan, so they rewrote Asenath's life in such a way that she was secretly a Hebrew. In this story, Asenath was born as a result of the unfortunate events of Dinah at Shechem. Dinah's brothers then abandoned the infant Asenath in the wilderness, where she was rescued by an eagle and taken to Egypt. Many years later, Joseph would recognise his "niece" from a special medallion she wore, inscripted with Hebrew letters.

I did not realise that there were so many interesting stories of Joseph out there. But I am glad I came across them, especially as they greatly aided me in the writing of 'Asenath.'


Two Destinies...One Journey of Love

In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman's daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.

When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.

Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.

Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?


Anna Patricio is a lover of ancient history, with a particular interest in Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. She is also intrigued by the Ancient Near East, though she has not delved too much into it but hopes to one day.

She undertook formal studies in Ancient History at Macquarie University. She focused mostly on Egyptology and Jewish-Christian Studies, alongside a couple of Greco-Roman units, and one on Archaeology. Though she knew there were very limited job openings forancient history graduates, she pursued her degree anyway as it was
something she had always been passionate about.

Then, about a year after her graduation, the idea to tackle historical fiction appeared in her head, and she began happily pounding away on her laptop. ASENATH is her first novel.

Recently, she traveled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel, and Jordan. She plans to return to Egypt soon, and see more of it. In the past, she has also been to Athens and Rome.

Anna is currently working on a second novel, which still takes place
in Ancient Egypt, but hundreds of years after ASENATH.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trying to be a *writer*...

Trying to transition into a full time writer is the hardest thing in my world (well, other than watching my mom decline with Alzheimers, or one of my sons struggle with addictions, or another of my sons deal with bullying, and so on and so on) - I know that life is so much harder for almost everyone else. At least I have a career I love and we all eat every day and we all have warmth and shelter and good times. Okay, so I've got it, and I'm truly, truly grateful. Yet I still crab away because I can't earn my living the way I want. Now that I've admitted to my pettiness I'll just get on with this post.

I applied for an interesting writing job with a law related company that's expanding into other areas, it wasn't going to be full time but it would be a step in the right direction. I didn't get it but I did get short listed so that was something. I also applied for a part time curriculum writing job and since I've taught at college and the subjects were in my areas of specialty (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and autism) but I haven't heard anything back in a long time so I guess I didn't even get short listed on that one. Both of these were online and telecommute and that would have thrilled me.

In the meantime, I've put up another ebook (non fiction) on Smashwords and Kindle and I have a lesbian mystery - or actually, it's a mystery with a lesbian main character - that I will have in ebook form soon. And, then another non fiction coming down the pike and then, hopefully, I'll finish the second of a three book fantasy series. So, I'm writing, and that makes me happy. Why can't it be enough? Why do I need to do this writing thing full time? Do you feel like your not doing what you should be doing when you're not writing? Am I alone in this weirdness?

Oh well, that's hardly the greatest question in life, is it.

Have your best day possible.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Author spotlight on KD MCCRITE

April Grace

The Confessions of April Grace: In Front of God and Everybody

If God wanted April Grace to be kind to her neighbors, He should have made them nicer!
Growing up in the country is never easy, but it sure is funny—especially if you happen to have a sister obsessed with being glamorous, a grandma just discovering make-up, hippie friends who never shower, and brand new neighbors from the city who test everyone’s patience. From disastrous dye jobs to forced apologies and elderly date tagalongs, you’ll laugh ‘til you cry as you read the Confessions of April Grace
Here are just a couple of April's thoughts: On her sister, Myra Sue: "How anyone can be that dumb and still be able to eat with a fork is beyond me."  On senior citizen lovebirds: "What if they started smooching right at the table in front of God and everybody?"
In spite of all the loony characters in her life, April Grace is able to learn from her parents as they share the love of God—to even the craziest of characters! Buy the book here and check out KD's web site here. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

My newest book...

Check out my newest ebook -Family Matters: How To Strengthen Your Family (Without Paying for Therapy or Changing Your Lives). For those of you who don't know me as a non-fiction writer - I'm a long time therapist and have written other self help books regarding behavior disorders. This one is for families who are not dealing with major behavioral problems but would like to strengthen their family ties and ensure their children grow up knowing the strength and power of a close family. You can download this ebook for free till the end of November at Smashwords using coupon V9R5W. The book will also be available on Kindle. Anyone interested in reviewing the book?
Have your best day possible.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest post by Susan Helen Gottfried

Demo Tapes -- Year 2Trevor's Song
Susan's bio: the author worked in the music industry while earning two degrees in Creative Writing. She left the music industry to devote herself full time to writing. Her fascinating blog can be found at 

When I realized that absolutely nothing could convince Trevor Wolff to stop being the lead character in my first four books, I had to take a step back and look at this rock star who had flung himself into my imagination, fully formed and raring to go. I was shocked to discover what a complex, multi-dimensional man he is. After all, he's a bass player. The cliches for bass players are nothing like the man Trevor turned out to be.
On the surface, he's perfect for us girls who love Bad Boys. Trevor is a king of Bad Boys, flagrantly flaunting every rule he can get away with. Trevor pushes every single envelope he can find, and he gets away with it almost every time.
Yeah, I know. Part of being a really good Bad Boy is breaking the rules.
So let me be more specific: it's the WAY in which Trevor does it that sets him apart.
Trevor Wolff and the phrase Carpe Diem are pretty synonymous. Trevor's all about embracing life, milking it for all it's worth. He's one of those people who's too busy living to repeat the famous phrase about how life is meant to be used up, sliding into home plate all beaten and bloody but screaming WAHOO all the way. You know the phrase, I'm sure. Trevor embodies it.
This gets interesting when you consider where Trevor comes from. He should be nothing more than trailer trash, abused by his father to the point where escape meant more than ending the beatings -- it came down to life or death (probably not in the way you're thinking). Trevor should be bitter, angry, and caught in the cycle of abuse.
Instead, he's happy-go-lucky. Carefree, even.
This is because he's resilient, our Trevor Wolff. Good thing, too, considering what comes at him during Trevor's Song.
Without meaning to, I wound up creating a character more complex and real than some real-life people I've met. Trevor can't take the easy way out. Ever. And so instead of sinking into despair and doom and turning himself from a Bad Boy into a Dark, Brooding Hero, he becomes something else. Flip. Brutally honest. And, underneath the insecurity and attitude, sensitive and happy.
Okay, maybe that happy part is a stretch. Trevor likes to be grumpy. It's part of the Trevor Wolff persona. But underneath hides a very complex person, someone who -- I'm told, because I'm entirely too close to judge -- transcends the stereotype of a Bad Boy and becomes something entirely his own. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finding my darkness...

I continue to watch Breaking Bad from my writer's perspective and with increasing awe. The point I'm belaboring with myself, and with my 19 year old son, is how do the writers (and actors) manage to keep us entranced with a bunch of people who are rotten to the core? There are no truly decent people in this show - even the *good guys* have some pretty serious flaws. Generally, it's easier to be captivated by characters for whom there can be some redemption and who experience feelings that the reader, or viewer, can attach or relate to.

I don't know about you, but I sure can't find anyone I can relate to. I know I'm not perfect, and I don't pretend to know how low I could sink if I was desperate enough - but I'm not in that place so I can't relate at the moment. I also don't typically like shows about crime or drugs. I never watched the Sopranos because criminals just don't interest me - and I hate shows about drugs or addictions and high risk life styles (I'm the mom of 14 so really, is there anything riskier than that?). So, what keeps me racing to the tv for each new episode.

My son, who has spent the last 3 years just communicating with me through grunts, has recently rediscovered his verbal skills and his articulated opinion is that it's the relationships that pull us in. He finds the complex dynamics between Walter and Jesse fascinating, as well as the relationship between Walter and the man who is going to kill him. Yup, I can see that, but for me, I know I should be turned off the show by the rest of the story.

I've written in a previous blog about how impressed I am by the lack of limits in this show. The writers are fearless in where they will take the viewer, and perhaps that's what I'm getting out of this . Maybe I can learn to break past my own boundaries in writing and find some darker places within my creativity and within myself. Don't get me wrong, some of my stories go to some pretty intense and emotionally scary places,  still, it just might be that I can go further, and darker, than I have so far. Time to find the door to my own dark places.....

Have your best day possible.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Out of Many One FamilyThis is the latest book by Claudia Fletcher - co-written by Matthew W. Hoffman. Claudia is an adoptive mom of 12 who also wrote these two books.   A Glimpse of God's Heart My PhotoClaudia and her husband,  Bart, also have 3rd Degree Parenting which they describe as :The mission of 3rd Degree Parenting is to utilize the written and spoken word of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to encourage, educate and strengthen parents of children with special needs, professionals working with these children, and the general public.  Our hope is that our words might aid in the efforts of others like ourselves who are seeking to change the world . . .one life at a time.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Stephen Brayton

 Distractions:  by Stephen Brayton

I’ve been a member of several writers’ critique groups over the years and I’ve come to realize a major factor in each group’s downfall has been the lack of writers. This may seem quite logical, but it’s true for any group. Knitters, martial artists, foreign language studies, puzzlers…if you are a part of a group and aren’t involved in the activity, the group suffers. Add in a few more people and the group collapses, becomes less fun, or has less worth for those who are serious.

When I first started attending a critique group, there were about 15-20 or more who showed every week. I had heard many more used to attend. Why the dropout rate? Probably it started with something like this. “Sally, do you have anything to read tonight?” “No, I’ve been too busy this last week to write.” “Okay, but we really want you to read.” “I’ll try to have something next week.”

Well, as Yoda once said, “Do or do not do. There is no try.” You’re either writing or you’re not. So, the attendance dropped. By the time I stopped attending my first critique group, we were down to a core of about four or five with maybe two of us reading per week. It was a waste of my time to read for others who weren’t writing. I worked hard to have something every week, either a short story or another chapter from the ongoing book. I ceased going to the meetings not because I stopped writing, but because others did. I wasn’t going to go to a meeting where two or three people read and the rest of the time we just chatted. Plus, I didn’t feel those who weren’t writing, who weren’t keeping up with improving their craft, had justification to critique my material.

So, is it lack of interest or distractions that keep people from writing? Television, radio, Internet, phone, mail, email, kids, pets, spouse, something interesting out the window…all are part of a large group of distractions. I’m not perfect; my attention wanders at times. Much of my writing is done at a facility where people could come in at any moment. They’re distracting. I understand distractions and I’m willing to let a few excuses go by. When they become consistent, however, then I know the person really isn’t serious about writing.

In a recent interview I mentioned my ideal place to write. I likened it to a deserted island with no phone, no TV, no radio, no Internet, no people, with enough food and water to sustain me until I felt like rejoining society. Serious writers will make time to write, or will set aside a portion of the day or week and tell the rest of the world to leave them alone until a certain period has ended. Behind a closed door, with the TV, internet, and cell phone turned off. If the radio is on when I’m writing, it’s tuned to a classical music station.

Don’t let your writing be a distraction to your writing. What I mean is, don’t stop after every sentence or chapter to go back and edit or change things. So many times in those critique groups I heard chapter one from a few people over and over. They took home our comments, did a rewrite, then came back, took home more comments and did another rewrite. The cycle continued. We never heard chapter two. Soon, they either gave up or decided the particular story wasn’t working out, so they switched to a new story and brought in a new chapter one.

Another example of a writing distraction is too much preparation. I realize every person has his or her individual writing style. Outlines that may take eight months to picking up a pen and starting in on something without a direction. Whatever works for you, do it. However, if you are a type who sets up character profiles and setting profiles, don’t get bogged down in the minutiae. There must be a time when you start writing the first sentence.

One more example. Finish a story. Recently I have found myself falling into the trap of starting one story, getting partially completed, then jumping to another story, then a third, and I discovered I wasn’t completing a project. When I realized my problem, I stopped jumping around and set myself a goal to finish a particular story by the end of the year with at least one or two rewrites.

I’m not sure how long I took to complete “Beta.” I do know I did a few rewrites, character tinkering, scene additions, etc. Meanwhile, I was writing other stories. However, I never forgot I still had a completed story to ‘finish’ in the sense of polishing it up even more with each submission rejection. I’ve worked long hard on this book and even when correcting edits, still found it emotionally stimulating. I’m glad I persevered, and didn’t allow distractions to keep me from my goal.

Let your writing be your distraction from everything else, not the other way around.

Excerpt from Stephen's new book - The weather was warm for November and Mom said
they both needed a day of play. After a Happy Meal at McDonald's, they drove to the park where she wandered around the new wooden playground. She bounced from one swing to another, plunged down the slides, ran through the obstacle course, and teetered back and forth on the colorful
animals mounted on giant springs. Mom sat on a bench reading a book. Half way up a wall of tires, she realized Mom had disappeared. At first, she didn't notice the big man. He wore a zippered black jacket, black jeans, and his arms and legs bulged huge. His mean face was covered with a lot of
bumps and scars. Before she could scream, the man grabbed her and held a cloth over her mouth. When she breathed, she smelled something sweet and sickly. She tried to cough, but instead fell asleep.When she awoke, she found herself in a spacious room,with bright lights, a camera, a pile of clothing on a chair, and a box filled with toys and other strange looking items.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving...instead of writing...

I've been figuratively pounding away at the neurons that house my writing capacity because they just aren't working very well lately - too focused on my real life at the moment. This weekend I'm doing the last of the packing up of my household of 6 kids + spouse + two dogs for our move back into town and a suburban lifestyle next week. It's going to be an adjustment as we learn to live on less than 5 acres, and we learn to keep our noise level down.  The kids won't be able to run off their energy and their angst and use their imaginations to build forts in the forest, nor will I be able to go hang out with my chickens when I'm too crabby to be decent company for humans. I'll miss sitting at my desk and looking at the eagles swoop around the tree tops of my *backyard*, and I'll miss the privilege of not being able to see any other houses when I look out of my window.

There are many benefits to this move - including more time for writing (once I get those non-compliant writing neurons working again) and on occasion I'll have a few moments for sitting on the patio and staring at the sky which is something I consider to be a highly important activity. I won't miss the constant work on the property, or the constant driving to get kids here and there, or trying to dig ourselves out of the property during our one or two snowfalls of the year.

It's always the same, isn't it. You gain a bit and you lose a bit. Well friends,  have your best day possible.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interview with Mary A Berger author of A Trip to the Water's Edge

A Trip to the Water's Edge


Book synopsis:
Take a couple of fun-loving gals who witness a murder, add to that a food poisoning problem, throw in some fun with an aerobics class and a laughable attempt to "cook from a real recipe," and you have the makings for another hilarious adventure with Mattie Mitchell in A Trip to the Water's Edge, the sequel to the equally comical novel, The Trouble with Mattie, the first in the Mattie Mitchell Mystery Series.

About the author:
A native of Michigan, where she earned her arts degree, Mary A. Berger is an author whose writing has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Lady's Circle, and Today's Family, as well as in various small press publications and her local newspaper, the Times News.

She currently occupies her time with the Friends of Henderson County Public Library, The Michigan Club, her homeowners association, her pottery, and her church. Married 52 years, Mary has two daughters, four grandchildren, and two "greats."

Book available for purchase through

Interview Q & A:

When did you first feel the urge to write?

I probably knew writing would be a part of my future, when I’d dash off six- or seven-page letters to my cousins.  The problem was, I rarely heard back from them.  They may have thought that if they didn’t respond, I might stop sending such long-winded letters.  In grade school, I once “wrote” a book for a class assignment.  My teacher praised my efforts.  She might have influenced me greatly, when she told me—in front of the whole class—that I should become a writer.  That’s pretty heady stuff for a fourth-grader to hear.

What finally got you started in actually writing a book?

The gift (to myself) of a laptop computer was a stepping stone on my road to writing, or I should say rewriting, a book.  Actually, I had composed The Trouble with Mattie some time ago but was unable to find a publisher.  So my Mattie book sat in a box in my closet for years.  After retyping and updating the entire book manuscript on my new computer, I felt in my heart that I had something important to say, not earthshaking, but important to me.  So I entered the world of electronic self-publishing, and here I am.
 What do you bring from your life that adds to your writing? 
Being a “people watcher” has always been a habit of mine, and it’s possible that’s had some influence in describing my characters.  Years ago, my husband and I would visit the airport, the mall, or other places where folks gathered.  We’d pick up ice cream cones and sit back watching people come and go, while we’d work on our ice cream.  Little did I realize how much of that experience got tucked into my memory bank. 
On another note, my family consisted of twenty aunts and uncles, plus 26 cousins, and an English grandfather.  “Grampy” would prop my sister and me on his lap and astound us with his stories of working in Australia and Africa, and of the people and their songs.  Again, watching and observing my own family members became a learning experience in itself.  It’s amazing—and fortunate, in my case—how much of our childhood gets locked into our brain, especially on the creative side.

Do you use external supports in writing? such as a writing program or an ongoing editor? 

For my books, I have ongoing editors who help make “repairs” on some of the things I’ve botched up.  Not only are they supportive, they’re encouraging as well. Editing newsletters has helped my writing experience, too.  In addition, I have participated in creative writing groups in Ohio, Michigan, and here in North Carolina.  Currently, I’m a member of The Read on Western North Carolina and the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Is there a theme that runs through your writing?

Humor appears in nearly everything I write.  My one attempt at writing serious fiction turned out sounding like the world’s worst soap opera.  So I decided to stick to humorous writing.  I try to use a humorous approach to “doing the right thing.”  In my Mattie’s Mysteries books, I try to put my main character, Mattie, in places where she gets into all kinds of comical situations, and trouble, in her effort to do the right thing.
One of the offshoots of writing funny is that we can sometimes make ourselves laugh at our own humor.  And that’s a positive.

What writers have influenced you?

Garrison Keillor is one of my favorite writers of humor.  I can pick up Lake Wobegon Days and be in stitches in two minutes.  Janet Evanovich’s books are another favorite, not so much for content but for style.  I also admire subtle humor, such as that found in John Grisham’s The Testament.

How has your writing evolved over time?

I’d like to think my writing has gotten funnier.  But I would imagine that’s what most humor writers (and probably comedians) hope for themselves.  I do feel that my writing has gotten more crisp, more tight.  When people tell me they laughed out loud while reading my books, well, that says a lot.    `

How do you promote your books?

My blog site,, is my main contact with the writing world.  I also make myself available for readings/discussions at our library and its branches, book clubs, private organizations, etc.  This year, I participated in our area’s BookFest, where I sold books and made a couple of contacts not only with editors but with other authors, as well.  Of course, my business cards and bookmarks are always with me to distribute wherever I can.  Word of mouth is another important way to spread the word about my books.  It also helps to have 26 cousins who are willing to help!
How do you promote your web site?
I use a blog site, which is promoted by my editors through other book blogs and internet book search sites.