Saturday, October 17, 2015

Casting Your Characters - Libra - Janet Lane Walters

The Libra hero or heroine.
Sun represents the inner self. A Libra desires balance in their life. Often have difficulty with decisions since they can see both sides of an issue. They have a love of order and justice, peace and harmony. They are courteous, pleasant and agreeable. As a rule they are even-tempered. They are sensitive to their surroundings and the conditions of their friends. They are peacemakers. Libras have objective foresight. They can marry young and sometimes more than once.

Ascendant or the face shown to the world. With this as the rising sign the hero or heroine could be quick to anger but easily appeased. There is a love of justice, neatness and order. Libra ascendants are usually sunny people who like laughter. They have compassion. They dislike unclean work and discord. They are humane. They like to go places and do things.

Libra Moon - the emotional nature. With a Libra moon the hero or heroine is inclined to unions and partnerships. They prefer to work with others. They are affected by the emotions of others. They are fond of pleasure and make friends easily. A love of luxury can be a downfall.

Jenessa is Aries, a nurse, union advocate and likes a good fight. 

Eric is Libra, Director of Nursing, and believes in compromise. 

Can these two find a way to uncover the underhanded events at the hospital? They’re on opposite sides but the attraction between them is strong. She’s a widow who fought to save her husband’s life during a code. She feels guilty because the love she and her husband shared had died before his death. He assisted at the code but he feels guilty since he was the one who was responsible for the short staffing the night her husband died. 

Now they face falling in love and trying to solve the problems between the nurse’s union and the president of the hospital’s Board who wants a take over of the hospital by his hospital group. Is their connection strong enough to survive?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Meet Beatrice Lulu Eberhardt by Roseanne Dowell

I’m Beatrice Lulu Eberhardt. Some of you know me from my niece, Callie Johnson. Callie’s the new Chief of Police of our little town. I first appeared in her book, All in the Family.
Callie doesn’t know it, but she’s my favorite. She got annoyed with me sometimes because I tried to fix her up with a nice young man, well several nice young men. I didn’t want her ending up an old maid like I almost was. If Ed hadn’t come along – well I shudder to think what my life would have been like. Callie didn’t much care for any of the men I introduced her to. Praise God, she finally met a nice young man on her own.
But that’s neither here nor there. This story isn’t about Callie. It’s about me. That’s right, me and pretty much no one else. I’m a bit of a sleuth. Some call me nosy or a busy body, but honestly, I’m only trying to help. I don’t mean to interfere.
It all started when Ed and I bought a cabin. It’s a beautiful place with its own lake, Ed loves to fish. We thought it would be fun to have a place just for us, away from everyone. You may not remember I’m from a large, crazy family. Crazy in a fun-loving way, of course. So Ed and I wanted a place to relax. Not that it’s turned out that way, we’re seldom alone. Guess it’s because we genuinely like people. So now days when we go up there, someone always comes along, usually Ethel and her husband, Greg. Ethel’s my sister, by the way. I have two other sisters, also – Charlotte – we call her Lottie – and Lillian. Lillian is Callie’s mother, and we have a brother, Clyde, but we don’t see him as often.
Anyway, we bought the cabin, and Ed and I went up there to clean it up. No one had been in it for years. Cobwebs filled more than the corners I’ll tell you that. I could have spray painted them for Halloween. It was going to take days, if not weeks, to clean it. But Ed promised we could fix it up, and Ed never breaks a promise. That’s one of the things I love about him.
So there we were looking around, figuring out where to start, and Ed decided to build a fire to take the chill and damp out of the air. The place smelled musty, the way empty houses smell after being locked up for a long time.
Well there I was, thinking about where to start when I heard a strange clattering noise. I thought Ed fell or something. I turned around and much to my distress, an arm was lying on the fireplace hearth  – well what was left of the arm, bones and tattered flannel from a shirt I assume. Although I’ve been told never to assume anything.
If you want to know what happens next you’ll have to read about it in All’s Well That Ends Well soon to be released from  Books We Love.

If you haven’t read All in the Family – Book 1 of the Family Affair series - you can find it at Books We Love. Just click on the book and it’ll take you to the buy page. It's on sale for 99 cents. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Memories Taste of This Sheila Claydon

Typing The End is the best and the worst part of finishing a book.  I've just done that, which means I'm about to say goodbye to Miss Locatelli. One more check when the manuscript comes back from the editor and then it will be out there. The thousands of words I've wrestled with for the past few months won't belong to me anymore, they'll belong to my readers.

The fact that all those words have finally been shaped into a story I'm happy with, is, of course, the best part. Seeing it published is pretty good too. So what is the worst part? It's saying goodbye to the characters I've lived with for so long, and it's saying goodbye, too, to the memories.

Miss Locatelli is set in London and Florence which are both places I know quite well. I worked in London for a number of years and lived a short rail journey away for even longer. In Florence my Italian friends took me to every corner of the city as well as the surrounding countryside when I visited them, so using both places as a background was easy. The difficult bit was the editing because Miss Locatelli is a romance not a travelogue. For me it was also a trip down memory lane.

My hero and heroine visited places I hadn't expected to see again and they let me choose what they were going to do each day as well. I was also allowed to decide what they ate, which was wonderful because I love Italian food. One of their best and happiest meals was roasted eggplant with tomatoes, so if you want to experience a little of their life, here is the recipe.

1 large eggplant cut into cubes
4 large plum tomatoes cored and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450F/230C.  Toss eggplant and tomatoes with oil and vinegar, then spread out on overproof dish. Sprinkle with most of oregano plus black pepper and sea salt. Stirring occasionally, roast for between 30-40 minutes until eggplant is tender and golden brown. Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with feta and the rest of the oregano. Serve with stuffed zucchini and a large glass of chilled white wine.


Now, meal eaten and the journey through my memories complete, I'm saying goodbye to Miss Locatelli and the whole cast of characters who were part of her story. So what is next? A new book of course, and this one will probably include a bit of time travel as well.

You can find more of Sheila Claydon's books at


She also has a website and can be found on facebook

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Poetry Moment by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

My Poetry Moment

     Over my writing career I have had articles, short stories, travel books, and mystery, young adult, and science fiction novels published. And one poem. When that one poem was accepted for publication, I felt I had taken my writing to another level. I decided, though, that my contribution was going to be different, that I was going to take the poetry community by storm. I wanted to make my mark, to stand out in the poetry world. And to do that I came up with a new poetry sub-genre that I called Script Poetry. Just like a movie script I set up the scene and the tone for the poem and give some background of the story in the poem by using a script layout. It made the whole poem more visual and that way I could get right to the meat of what I wanted to say.
     I enthusiastically sent out my script poems and waited for the accolades to come in.
     Surprisingly, the publishers were not as galvanized about this new style of poetry as I was. No one accepted them for publication.
     But never underestimate the power of a script poet scorned. At the same time as I was planning my burst onto the poetry stage, I was writing my mystery novel "The Only Shadow In The House," the second book of The Travelling Detective Series. I gave one of my characters the career of a poet and her specialty was Script Poetry. Needless to say the publishers and critics in my fictional world were highly impressed with the poems. The poetry was very popular with the reading public and the poetress won many awards.
     To quote from my book: One critic wrote that her poems have an innovative, revolutionary style that is shaking the foundations of the conventionally staid poetry community, while another critic called them insightful and powerful.
     I have taken one of the script poems from that novel for you to judge for yourself.

Fade In
Act One
Exterior-Farm House-Night.
There is snow on the ground. Stars twinkle in the clear, night sky. A vehicle pulls into the yard and a woman climbs out. She stares at the house then takes a deep breath. She releases it in a vapour. With slow tread she climbs up the steps and enters the darkened house. Inside, she stops and listens.

There is no noise in my house, it is dark and silent.
Today, I buried you. Is this what it is like in your grave,
total quiet, total darkness?
I flip on the light and wander the house
looking at the possessions that
represented a life that never existed,
except in my own mind.
This has been our home for nineteen years
but it now feels alien to me.
Because from now on I know that mine
will be the only shadow in the house.
I must leave here soon.

End Act One
Fade Out

Fade In
Act Two
Interior-Farm House- Night.
All the lights are on in the house. The woman is in the kitchen. She pushes over the shelving holding plant seedlings and pots. She heads to the dining room and goes to a china cabinet with no doors. All the shelves hold figurines and dishes and knick knacks. They crash to the floor with a sweep of her hand. The ones that don’t break, disintegrate under her foot.

“Damn you, Ben. Damned you to hell!” I yell.
I want you to hear. I want you to know
the sorrow and the pain you have brought me.
I go from room to room, expunging.
I spray your shaving cream on the walls.
I dump your aftershave in the tub.
I grab a knife and shred your clothes.
Finally, there is nothing of yours left.
I feel some satisfaction.
You destroyed my life and now I have
destroyed everything that represented yours.
“There you bastard,” I say. “Rot in hell.”

Fade Out
End Act Two

Fade In
Act Three
Interior-Farm House- Night
The woman is standing in front of a picture on the living room wall. The furniture and floor are littered with debris. She takes the picture off the hook and stares at it a long time.

I find our wedding photograph on the wall.
I’d had it enlarged for our tenth anniversary
as my loving gift to you.
Were you as pleased as you said you were
or was that just a sham?
I smash the glass against the corner of the table.
I cut my finger removing the shards.
I look at you smiling back at me.
Were you an impostor in our marriage?
For now I wonder how many other
women did you see over our nineteen years.
I slash the picture with the knife. How symbolic.

End Act Three
Fade Out

The Criminal Streak


West To The Bay

Gold Fever

The Travelling Detective Series boxed set:

Illegally Dead

The Only Shadow In The House

Whistler's Murder


Sunday, October 11, 2015

“Screenwriters? Schmucks with Underwoods.” by Karla Stover

The above quote--Jack Warner, President Warner Brothers Studio
           In Hollywood’s Golden Years, the triumvirate of studio heads, movie stars, and screenwriters had, at best, an uneasy alliance.  Each person owned a piece of a very lucrative pie, and each one was equally prone to keep a watchful eye on everyone else’s piece.  Everyone wanted something he felt he didn’t have but that others might. Studio heads wanted more power and the opportunity to pay the actors less.  The actors felt they were underpaid and wanted more money and choice in their film roles; and the writers wanted a little appreciation and acknowledgement of their contributions.

            While looking over a possible screenplay he professed to like, movie producer Samuel Goldwyn was once heard to say, “I read part of it all the way through.”  But when he didn’t like the writing, he would say something like, “Here I am paying big money to you writers, and for what?  All you do is change the words.” Or when speaking about television, “television has raised writing to a new low.”

            On the other hand, fellow producer Louis B. Mayer claimed to value writers more than actors.  At least he did when he was in the presence of writers.  The general belief among screenwriters, however, was that he considered them mere “slaves of the lamp,” a reference to the story “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.”  In fact, Mayer was so disliked by both actors and writers that some called him Louis B. Manure.  After a bull session, once, when he invited his writers to voice their complaints, those who weren’t fired got a cut in pay.  This is why playwright, screenwriter, and notable practical joker, Charles MacArthur, husband of actress Helen Hayes and father of James MacArthur (Jack Lord’s trusted Danno on the original Hawaii Five-O), decided to seek vengeance.  MacArthur figured with the right person and a proper introduction in an appropriate setting, that he could bamboozle Mayer into paying a writer, whether the person wrote anything or not, in other words, prove who was the bigger schmuck, a writer or a Hollywood mogul.

            For the right man, MacArthur hired an English gas station attendant named Basil whom he’d met on a tennis court.  MacArthur rechristened him Kenneth Woollcott.  The first name may have come from British art historian and Oxford professor, Kenneth Clarke who was very well known at the time.  The last name probably came from one of a celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits who met regularly at the Algonquin Hotel:  Alexander Woollcott.  Admittedly, the connection to Kenneth might be a bit of a stretch, but Woollcott was well-known for a wit that was so caustic, he was, for a time, banned from reviewing certain Broadway theater shows.   Thus armed, MacArthur was ready to put his plan into motion.

            The first thing MacArthur did was introduce Kenneth Woollcott to various M.G.M. producers describing him as “the next Noel Coward—just out here for a rest—not interested in working in the pictures.”

            Next, MacArthur had Woollcott accompany him to all studio writers’ meetings with the explanation, “I wouldn’t make a move on a story unless I asked his advice.”

            Then he waited.

            Inevitably, of course, Woollcott was offered a job at M.G.M. 

            Speaking on behalf of Woollcott, MacArthur insisted that there was no chance.  Also inevitably, Woollcott was persuaded to discuss the matter in private.  And finally, of course, as planned, the British gas station attendant signed a contract for a screenwriter’s job.

            Reports of his income varied from one thousand to fifteen-hundred dollars a week.  Either was very generous considering Woollcott was paid regularly and wrote nothing.  Coached by MacArthur, the fake writer held on to every story idea sent his way for a few weeks and then returned it to the studio heads.  With the arrogant sniff that only a Brit can deliver, he simply said, “it just isn’t my kind of story.”

            And the checks rolled in—for a month—for four months—for ten months—and Woollcott continued to return every story idea he received.

            As his employment reached the first anniversary, M.G.M. sent him to Canada to develop a screenplay about the Hudson’s Bay Company.  Woollcott went and, of course, returned sans script.  MacArthur was ready, but disaster struck!  Uncomfortable about his ill-gotten income, Woollcott had never quit his gas station job.  With two employers paying into his social security, somehow, too much was contributed.  The government got confused and contacted the studio.

            Just before Kenneth Woollcott’s hasty departure from M.G.M., he sent Louis B. Mayer the following letter composed, of course, by MacArthur.

            I wish to thank you for the privilege of working this year under your wise and talented leadership.  I can assure you I have never had more pleasure as a writer.  I think if you will check your studio log, you will find that I am the only writer who didn’t cost the studio a shilling this year beyond his wage.  This being the case, would you consider awarding me a bonus for this unique record.  I leave the sum up to you.

            Louis B. Mayer’s response isn’t on record.  What is on record is the fact that not too long after the truth about the hoax broke, Charles MacArthur went to work for Paramount Studios.
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Titillating preview by J.C. Kavanagh

WINNER Best Young Adult Book 2016, The Twisted Climb I've been prepping for Autumn book signings and excited to meet new and...