Friday, December 2, 2011

Fiction verses Non-Fiction-A Guest Post

Carl Douglas, Author of The Baltimore Principles, shares his view on Fiction vs non Fiction.

Regardless of whether one writes fiction or non-fiction, an author can only write about what he or she knows. I discovered that the best writers are those who have done the best research. Take for example my good friend Luanne Rice, a novelist who has written a couple dozen best-sellers. I know for a fact she does tons of research for each of her fictions. This is what puts life into her fictional characters and settings. Non-fictions are true stories but the authors can only write what they can prove as fact. They don't have an artistic license to insert little goodies to make a story more exciting. I can tell you it's hard to make any person or event exciting when little had been documented.

All writers need to be good story tellers and have a way with words. Beyond a doubt, fictions are far more entertaining than non-fictions and do inspire the reader's imagination. Fictions are also educational and reading them is the best method for developing ones vocabulary.

We non-fiction writers don't tell stories but rather re-tell stories. While our works aren't as entertaining, our stuff is definitely more educational. We have to be careful not to get too cute with our words or else a simple statement can lose its true meaning or context. This can be tough because what writer wants to be boring? However, I find because most of my readers are searching for the truth they appreciate getting "just the facts" without any wordy distortions or distractions. As a researcher, I too, am a big fan of "straight to the point" documentation.

What's funny is that good fiction writers have to read a ton of non-fictions for their research while good non-fiction writers have to read a bunch of fictions to improve their writing skills. Who would have thunk?

In a way, non-fiction writers are teachers. I believe we have to explain why something is important to learn. This goes back to my high school days as we students would ask, "Why do we need to learn this?" I'm sorry to say that most of my teachers really couldn't tell us. With that said, I always try to answer this question with all my works.

Writing THE BALTIMORE PRINCIPLES proved extra challenging. I wrote several drafts but just could not make the history flow nor keep my editor's interest. Frustrated, I tossed everything and tried a different style. I wrote it as if I was telling my best friend about something really cool I had recently discovered. My editor loved it and, thus far, everyone else has too.
The Baltimore Principles

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Caller -A New, Unpublished Story!

The family of four had been surviving on their own since the War of 2012.

Five years had gone by, the last two without them seeing another person and there were no signs of their old world returning.

The bombs had made most of the land unlivable. The radiation and mutations had spread quickly and this small group was all that remained of normal life for hundreds of miles around their small cabin in. Set in the hills of Kentucky, it was a sturdy, nearly airtight shelter that had saved them the fate of their neighbors.
“What are ww..we hunt…ttiiin, daddy?”

The seven year olds stutter was painful to hear. It made the man’s heart hurt but he smiled at the golden haired child. “Turkey. It’s Christmas.”

That was something new and the boy grew appropriately quiet as they crept closer to the pond’s edge. Their movements were and slow and careful and yet wrong, like something was wrong with their legs. The lack of fresh food was taking its toll.


 The noise brought a smile to both their dirty faces and the father silently pulled his sharpened walking stick from the pack on his back.


“Sniff. Gobble.”

The sounds weren't right either, even for this post apocalyptic hell but the hunters paid it little mind as they sprang up from behind the decaying water plants.


Too late,  they saw the wolves and the wild canines lunged toward them, leaving the looted duck nest.

“Get down!”

The father swung his hand, where a flashing blade now began to blaze through the air. On a tightly wound rope, the sound of the Caller echoed for miles.


It was a howling, high pitched whine with horribly loud tones that made the boy cover his deformed ears.

The wolves reacted with confusion too, whimpering, and the man swung it harder.


It went higher and the predators began to back up, snarling their fury. It drove them back with only sound used and the small pack ducked into the underbrush with a last lingering glare.


It was spinning nearly out of control now and the man forced his fingers to let go. The object was not totally inanimate and the sound lingered for a moment even after it slid into the grass. It made an awful moan as it ended, leaving an amazed silence.

“It worked!"

The child’s speech was clear as a bell and the father watched him run gracefully to the Caller. His eyes widened. The ears were normal!

The child flashed him a grin, an intelligent grin and the father struggled to breathe. What magic was this?

“The book was right, daddy!”

Not a trace of slur. The man took the object carefully, stunned. Now he knew what the inscription meant. “Your heart’s wish if it is pure.” He’d just been thinking how much he loved his son despite the deformities and flaws. And his wish had been granted! The boy was healed!

Later that evening, the man sat by the fire with a tattered notebook in his hand, listening to his wife and children talk as they prepared a holiday feast with almost no food. He thumbed through the brittle pages absently. Had it’s author survived?

Angela’s Journal.

The man rubbed his sore wrist thoughtfully. So many of the things in it were true! What if the people were also? A refuge for survivors.

“No turkey?”

“No, honey.” The nine year old girl nodded resignedly, thin shoulders drooping.

“Oh. Okay.”

The man’s gust twisted with the need to do something. A refugee camp would have food and vitamins and water. He ran a calloused thumb over the journal’s weather beaten cover. The directions said always southeast. Surely a group that big wouldn’t be hard to find?

“I’m thankful anyway, momma. Cause Alex got fixed. Now, he can run!"

“We all are darling. We all are.”

The wolves had trapped them, starved them. His wrist ached deeper. Had. Now, there might be a way out and some magic to ease the trip.

“Love you, momma.”

“Love you too, sissy.”

“What about me?”

The three of them hugged, exchanging their emotions and the man could take no more. He stood up, ragged journal clenched tightly in his grip.

 “Pack it up, woman. “ The hope in his voice shocked them all.

“We leave for Safe Haven at first light.”

Check out the book this is based on.

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Weight Loss for Wimps, a special guest post by Kevin Myers

With the coming holidays, weight loss is always a hot topic so I thought I’d invite author of Weight Loss for Wimps to speak to us for a minute about his new book. Take it away, Kevin...

Thanks Angie and everyone reading this. I love to talk about my book. I love helping people feel as good as I do. So…

Are you feeling angry, upset, fearful or sad about your weight... how about jealous or envious? Good! Fantastic! Maybe you've reached the all-important "tipping point!"

Losing weight, just like gaining weight, is an emotional experience. Weight Loss for Wimps is the solution you're looking for to learn HOW to channel your negative emotions and let your positive emotions run wild. This is the process of "getting your mindset mojo!"

You Might Be a Weight Loss Wimp If...
* Your favorite restaurant is an all-you-can-eat buffet
* You start thinking about your New Year's resolution in June
* The longest you ever stay on a diet is 4 days, tops
* You count ketchup as a "vegetable"
* You don't want to go to the wedding or class reunion because of your weight

Finally, a book that includes (among many other things) a step-by-step action plan to combat the most powerful diet busters (Bad Boys) known to man:

How to deal effectively with Hunger (real and fake)
* How to knock-out any and all Excuses
* How to control and conquer Emotional Eating
* How to minimize Stress in your daily life (easier than you think!)

And, you will also be introduced to an exercise protocol that takes as little as 15 minutes that can even be done at home or at work. Here are some of the key points to the book, which is at a holiday value right now of only $4.99.

  • The #1 cause of weight loss failure can almost ALWAYS be traced to the lack of skills in dealing with the negative emotions experienced on a daily basis during the early weeks of the weight loss process

  • Weight loss success or failure is about EMOTIONS. Dealing with negative emotions and focusing on positive emotions. This is the process of "getting your mindset mojo."

  • We are raising the first generation of children who will die at a younger age than their parents

  • Many obese people have just given up because they have not learned HOW to change their bad habits

  • You're fat (sorry...overweight!) primarily because you eat when you're NOT HUNGRY and keep eating until your plate is clean

  • The Weight Loss for Wimps™ protocol is all about getting you looking as good or better than you did in high school

  • Obesity needs to become as unacceptable as cigarette smoking

  • If you have fat kids, it's your fault; do something about it today. Adopt healthy lifestyle skills and teach them to your children. Lead by example.

  • Imagine you at your next class reunion...seeing the heads turn, the whispers, the jaws drop as YOU "strut your stuff" walking across the room

  • What we're dealing with in America is what I call "cultural obesity." Because 2 out of 3 people are overweight or obese, being fat has become socially acceptable. This trend must be reversed.

  • Going on a "diet" is absolutely the wrong way of thinking - it's like "how long can you hold your breath under water?"  It's just a short-term endurance contest with yourself.

  • The only solution is to make a permanent lifestyle change. You already know what to do i.e. "cut the crap and burn the fat"; the issue is HOW do you do that and do it in a way that gives you permanent weight loss?

Weight Loss for Wimps will gi

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

ve you the answer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life After War Notes & Secrets (DFT)

Cesar was born without a conscience. He feels no sympathy, even for his own people.

Maria was sent to infiltrate Safe Haven and never reported back to the Slavers but you have to wonder about her loyalty...

Tonya longs to be accepted and in a position of authority. She wants to make the rules so she can never be hurt again.

Cynthia was on the trail of the story that broke the war and she'll hunt it as long as she'll hunt the mystery of who Adrian really is.

Adrian, with his daughter's help, once executed a Mexican drug lord that may have been Cesar's father.

Alexa killed a doctor at the orphanage when she was ten. Her first kill. Since then? Hundreds.

Kyle has 17 kills marked on his belt and secretly likes his women young.

Angela would really rather be alone than anyone's mate. Of all those who know her, Adrian sees it first.

Rick, along with sabotaging weapons, likes to use fire and clever ambushes to help the Slavers conquer survivors.

Brady needs to be needed. If the woman can make it on her own, he feels useless, unwanted.

Kenn secretly longs to be in charge and while he'd never steal Adrian's thunder, it's a comfort to him to know he'll inherit leadership if anything ever happens to the blond.

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers


Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Cranberry Thanksgiving (Story Sunday)

As a young bride, I often tried, without success, to impress my new in-laws by hosting family gatherings and cooking for everyone. Their respect was very important to me and out of lovefor my husband, they always showed up. A year after we were wed, I sent out the invitations, declaring the whole clan must come for a Thanksgiving Feast like no other. I had a wonderful menu planned that included many dishes I had never made before and I set about it with my Betty crocker Cookbook and determination to make them remember the meal forever.

I spent 14 hours straight in the kitchen, placing each dish into a tightly sealed tupperware bowl the day before. I had planned to reheat the courses as we wanted them, spreading the meal out over hours, where I had various forms of entertainment planned. The house smelled like a buffet and all day long, I kept having to sweep my husband from the room to keep him out of the blue and green bowls growing higher and higher in the refrigerator.

Finally, it was time for the gathering and I hurried to get everything ready for the first course, which included a vegetable tray, pineapple shrimp tenders, and a homemade cranberry sauce salad. During this time, my in-laws were arriving, being greeted by my husband and settling in to enjoy all the great odors in the air. I served them a light wine and the first course right on time and my pride was evident in how I hovered and offered seconds.

Then it came time for the main course. Turkey giblet gravy over homemade stuffing and slabs of smoked turkey and russet potatoes with green beans and ham chunks. I reheated and brought it out on trays, watching anxiously as the first bites were taken. And there was silence.

Now, my husbands family liked me very much and would not hurt my feelings but my young husband, with half a bite still in his mouth, calmly asked if I had used cranberries in all of the meals. Everything tasted like the sharp berries and when I looked closer, I could see every dish had that vivid swirl of red. Somehow, the cranberry salad had bled into my other dishes.

I hurried to the kitchen to serve another course and was horrified to find that all the lids on my Tupperware bowls had come loose and a simple spill had ruined every dish I made. I immediately burst into tears and locked myself in the bathroom. When my husband and his snickering family pried me out, we went out to a Perkins restaurant for our Thanksgiving Feast. It tasted nothing like cranberries.

A few years later, I took my Betty crocker cookbook and Tupperware bowls back out of storage and tried again, with much more success but everyone in the family still laughs when someone mentions cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Under Attack (DF Tuesday Excerpt)

“Don’t move!”
Her tone froze him with his hands splayed out in the dirt. He sensed movement near his fingers as she slowly drew her weapon.
“Roll to your right when I start, and come up firing. Targets at ten, two and three.”
Marc heard the soft pad of paws, more than one, and watched her eyes for the moment to react.
“Shit. Two more at 12 o’ clock,” Angela watched the three lanky, gray-and-white wolves, trying to judge their intentions. When a big black-and-gold animal she hadn’t seen lunged toward from the shadows, there was only time to react.
Angela fired, a bit wildly on the first few shots, and one of the rounds caught the wolf in mid-leap, slamming into its chest. It landed on the ground with a hard thud as Marc rolled and hit his feet, began to fire.
“Watch your six!” he warned, immediately sure they were pack-hunting. He put them back to back as the brittle stalks around them swayed with barely seen movement. The sky had begun to darken as they worked out, but neither had worried, used to being in the dark, but this time they had let dangerous predators get close.
Suddenly, they were under attack, moving eyes gleaming at them through the dusk-tinted rows. They fired at the same time, dropping two wolves that had jumped from opposite sides.
A dark shadow appeared at her hip, and Angela stopped herself from shooting as she recognized Dog. Her eyes narrowed on a stocky white wolf running in and out of the distant, yellow stalks. Before she could take aim on the leader, another shadow streaked past her.
“Damn it!” Again, she kept herself from firing by only a hair. “Dog just went to my right, chasing the white one.”
Marc nodded, turning them to face another duel attack meant to separate. They came in low, lunging for legs, and both shots killed, but two more hungry hunters jumped at Angela, coming fast.
“Duck!” she shouted, firing. She got the low animal in the chest as the other went sailing overhead, and she heard Marc take care of it as more and more eyes shined mercilessly in the dimness. Wolves were now streaming through the corn like rats.
Making sure they stayed tightly against each other, Marc moved them in half circles, firing and kicking at those not hungry enough to lunge, but still bold enough to snap. He could feel Angela doing the same behind him, her grunts and shots mirroring his.
Flames rose up behind them suddenly, Marc catching a tall shadow from the corner of his eye as he turned, shot a leaping wolf in the chest, turned, and killed a snapping wolf going for Angie’s leg.
More fire erupted, along with the pungent smell of gasoline as full darkness fell over them, and some of the wolves hesitated, but not those hungry frontrunners.
Angela jerked forward, stiff-arming a determined predator in the throat. Her gun was empty and she knew by the silence behind her that Marc's was too. Drooling, fur bushed up, the wolves moved closer with hungry eyes.
Angela fumbled for the speed loader on her belt, and Marc turned them again, slamming his in as two more wolves lunged. He caught one in the neck, blood spraying, and shoved them backwards in time to let the second animal go sailing by.
Reloaded, Angela shot the wolf as it hit the hard ground and fired at eyes in the air, then the flames were between her and the corn as Marc rotated them again. Shadows lunged, coming through gaps in the wall of fire, and she picked them off, assuming Brady’s silent gun meant he was reloading.
Marc stared intently at the hulking man intently, the 3/4 circle of flames discouraging many of the animals. The newcomer was gigantic, eight by five it seemed like, and yet he was light on his feet as he poured the last of the gasoline to close the gaps.
“Stay inside,” the big man instructed gruffly without turning, voice heavy under his furs and hood.
Before Marc could say anything, Angela spun around, six shots gone. She gasped in surprise at the big man, but just like Marc, her fingers didn’t stop. She had to be ready when he turned them again.
“On your right, woman!”
She slammed the clip home and fired without looking, almost able to hear the slobbering jaws about to clamp down on her ankle. A heavy body thudded to the ground.
“Dog! Guard her!” Marc shouted, firing.
The wolf appeared at her side, bloody muzzle snarling viciously at two more animals trying to sneak through a thin gap in the fire wall.

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

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