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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sherry Derr-Wille Talks Weather as Setting


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Sherry Derr-Wille. November’s theme is ‘Weather as Setting’ so Sherry will share her thoughts on this plus share a little about herself and her writing.
Sherry lives in a mid-sized Southern Wisconsin with her husband of 46 years, Bob, whom she deems a saint for putting up with a crazy writer.
With three children, seven grandchildren, more book signings than she can sometimes handle, she puts out four to five books a year and loves writing in her hot pink office.

Beverley: Do you think using weather can be part of a setting?
Sherry: Most Definitely
Beverley: Do you think adding weather to a scene can add emphasis to the scene?
Sherry: Yes
Beverley:  Can weather add to the emotional contact with a reader?
Sherry : Of course, it does
Beverley: Do you know any authors who use weather in their books?
Sherry: Yes
Beverley: Have you ever used weather as a setting in any of your books?  If yes, tell us how.
Sherry: In MISTAKEN IDENTITY, the heroine returns to Wisconsin on Christmas Eve in the middle of a blinding snowstorm. In MURDER IN THE MEADOW Rhonda has to investigate a murder that took place during a spring snow storm while the victim was spreading manure.
Beverley:  Anything else you’d like to add about the use of weather in a book?
Sherry: I think It sets the scene knowing what it’s doing outside. If the weather is dark and damp it gives the hero/heroine a reason to be depressed.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Sherry: It depends on my mood. At present I’m working on a futuristic, a historical and a crime story. In the past I’ve written romance (every genre except regency), erotica, family epics, and murder mysteries.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Sherry: I write what I feel like at the moment. The crime story is one I wrote several years ago and recently revived. The historical was prompted by driving past the Rock River and seeing the characters asking me to write their story. The futuristic was inspired by the show ANCIENT ALIENS.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Sherry: I love reading Native American stories, time travel, and historicals.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Sherry: I think more authors are thinking outside the box and have heroes and heroines have become unconventional. I think this is an exciting time for writers, but I do feel everyone should be edited professionally. I once met an author who had her book self-published. When I asked her who her editor was she informed me she was so good she didn’t need an editor. WHAT? I’m an editor and I need an editor.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Sherry: I started when I was a sophomore in high school so I would have to say 55 years. I signed my first contract in 2002 and my first book was published in 2003.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Sherry: My sophomore English teacher, Earl Brockman, told us if we got an A on the first test we could sit in the back of the room and write for a year. I wrote my first book in that class and since no one told me to stop the assignment, I didn’t.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Sherry: When I was still working, it was finding the time to write. Later it was finding someone who was interested in reading and publishing it.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Sherry: Anything from something I see to a dream.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Sherry: What people don’t understand is it takes 15 minutes to get into character and 15 seconds to get out of it.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Sherry: When I worked it was cereal and juice. Now it’s whatever I fix. Some mornings, it’s onions cooked in butter in the microwave. Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Sherry: Whatever I happen to put on that morning.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Sherry: In my recliner.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Sherry: Any of the ones from the 50’s and 60’s Why? They were strictly for entertainment. Today you have to think too hard when you watch them.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Sherry: Any of the women from GMA. I watch every day and admire all of them. Had I been asked this question several months ago, I would have said, Brian Olson, the meteorologist from my favorite local morning newscast, but I was able to meet him and we have become friends.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Sherry: If I could afford it, I would have lunch with a friend.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Sherry: I just submitted my Crime Story, BLOOD RELATIVES, to a publisher, but now I am trying to finish my Native American historical, SKY EYES, and my futuristic, RETURN OF THE ANCIENTS.

Blurb for Mistaken Identity:
Katelyn Devereaux needs a vacation. More than a vacation, she needs to put Denver behind her as well as the man who wants her as his wife and the birth family who is insisting on finding her.
A secluded cottage on a lake in Wisconsin sounds like the perfect spot to get away—or is it?
Seth Miller knows the reason that he mistook Katelyn for Genean is his knowledge that his best friend’s wife was adopted by strangers at birth. Of course he can’t change the facts that Genean and Katelyn are sisters, especially after he learns that the company she wants to visit in Wisconsin is owned by Genean’s brother, Randy, and her husband, Brad.


Excerpt for Mistaken Identity:

   Sunlight shimmered across the lake and it glistened as though it had been scattered with diamonds. As she stood there in awe, taking in the beauty from the cottage, the dock invited her into the picture of beauty. Taking her sketch pad and pencil with her, Katelyn Devereaux walked across the lawn and sandy beach until she reached the pier. Settling into the deck chair, she gazed out across the water.
   It was such a beautiful morning. She was so glad she’d taken the advice of her friends and accompanied Suzie Branch to this secluded Wisconsin lake. She certainly needed a vacation and could think of no place more relaxing than this quaint cottage hidden away in a different world.
   In the distance a loon called to its mate, waited for a few moments for a reply and called again. This was the kind of peaceful exchange she had not taken the time to listen for in months. She knew nature was all around her back home, but there never seemed to be time to sit and listen for it. In Denver she was nothing more than a machine pumping out sketches for her clients, and on occasion, playing the gracious hostess for Martin.
   No, I don’t want to think of the daily grind of running the Devereaux Agency, nor Martin Collier’s marriage proposal. I need this time to figure out just who Katelyn Devereaux really is.
   Katelyn turned away from the peaceful scene before her. Why can’t my life be this peaceful?
   You know why, Katie. The sound of her father’s voice within her head caused a tear to escape from the corner of her eyes. She’d lost both of her parents at Thanksgiving and never really gotten over their deaths. The only thing that kept her from going completely over the edge was work, work and more work.
    I don’t think I can do this, Daddy. I don’t love Martin. I haven’t even given himan answer concerning his proposal. Maybe I’m not cut out for the wife thing. Even if I did marry Martin, I wouldn’t be a wife, not in the conventional way. With him gone so much, life as his wife would be no different than life by myself.
   Katelyn’s thoughts came as a shock. Never before had she admitted her true feeling for Martin. More than anything else in the world, she wanted to be a little girl again without all the problems of being a responsible adult. Back home in Denver, her life had become too complicated to allow her to rest. For the past eight months she’d been running the Devereaux Advertising Agency, and then there was Martin Collier’s marriage proposal. The fact she had just learned of the fact she was adopted, only added to the crazy quilt her life had become over the past few months. Perhaps if her parents had told her the truth the shock wouldn’t have been so profound but they hadn’t. She’d learned of her adoption only days after their funeral.

Buy Links:

Amazon: htt://www.amazon.com/Mistaken-Identity-Sherry-Derr-Wille-ebook/dp/B019DHOIXAps/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mistaken-identity-sherry-derr-wille/1007570905?ean=2940152524833
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/600615

You can find Sherry at:
Website: www.derr-wille.com
Blog: www.derr-wille.blogspot.com

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nancy Lee Badger's Latest Book


A Camping We Will Go!

With Every Kiss by Nancy Lee Badger

Hubby and I nearly bought a travel-trailer. We took tours through dealer lots filled with all kinds of models. Prices ranged from $12,000 to over $100,000. Why did we think about buying one of our own? We grew up with a love for camping. We took our boys on several trips, sharing a tent through wind storms, rain, and animal attacks (well, a racoon’s shadow looked like a bear). Because of those less-than-comfortable tents, a travel-trailer made sense.
We never did get one, but I still dream about the campgrounds we visited, and all the fun we had. The rural New Hampshire town we lived in had a campground that I based my story on. It was on a river, had tree-shaded camp sites to fit tents, small trailers, or large motor coaches. There was a recreation hall for rainy days, and so much more. I can still picture the place, because the store I worked for always held their company picnics there. I wanted my characters to leave the city and meet up again in a rural campground, and so they do!


Book Blurb from With Every Kiss: an Opportunity Falls novel
Abigail Huntington, a successful Manhattan artist, is burned out, and is more comfortable wearing jogging attire, than dresses and heels. Bored by the city, and the jerks she’s dated, she needs to get away to paint beautiful and pricey landscapes, which is why she starts asking about New England campgrounds during her one-woman art show.
Mitchel Campbell, a corporate lawyer working for his father, wants to bed the pretty jogger he has watched for weeks. Recalling happier times in New England at his aunt and uncle’s campground near Opportunity Falls, he grumbles when he is ordered to attend an art show. He overhears a woman asking about campgrounds, and realizes she is the jogger. When he disappears minutes later, Abigail is left fuming. Meeting him again in a campground in New Hampshire is a coincidence…or is it?

Excerpt
    Heat swept across Abby’s cheeks as Mitch’s words sunk in, words she’d heard many times, from many men. But, the location was quite different. Nothing like a soft bed surrounded by privacy. Although she trembled with anticipation for more than his kisses, she couldn’t make love out in the open.
 
    Without responding to his statement, she glanced at the river valley. She forced her breathing to slow, and slipped sideways until she had a view of the entire valley, a view unobstructed by a dark, towering male body.

“Did you hear me?” Mitch said, his voice as dark and ominous as his gaze.

“I did, but this isn’t the place.” That sounded better than a definite no. She wanted to say no. Don’t I?

“I should have brought a sleeping bag. We could sleep under the stars,” he said, and stepped closer. He kept one palm flat against the rock beside her head, and the other on his hip. As if he dare not touch her.

She chuckled.

“What’s so funny? Star gazing is awesome, in these mountains.”

As if I’d waste time watching points of light in the sky when he could be beside me, over me, inside me.

She gasped at her crude thought, but when he stepped farther away, she immediately missed his heat.

“Better yet, I want you in my bed where our lovemaking will be comfortable and endless. This outcropping isn’t private enough or I’d take you up against this granite wall right now.”

Abby stared at him, and forced a sly smile. “You’re a gentleman.”

“Why? Because I don’t want an audience when I make love to you? People on the beach can see us.”

Oh?” He’d rather take her in private than against a wall out in the open?

Too bad. A gasp escaped from between her swollen lips at the image. How could she change his mind?

Am I crazy to try?

Buy Links:
Amazon    Amazon UK     Amazon CAN     Amazon AUS
Nook     iBooks     Kobo     Smashwords     Inktera
Amazon PRINT Barnes & Noble PRINT

More about the Author
Nancy Lee Badger, formerly of Huntington, New York, has fond memories of growing up on Long Island. Her life changed when she attended college in New Hampshire. After meeting her husband at Plymouth State, and raising two handsome sons, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers.
Connect with Nancy Lee Badger
Blog     Website     Twitter    Facebook   Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Paul McDermott Talks Weather in Books


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Paul McDermott. November’s theme is ‘Weather as Setting’ so Paul will share his thoughts on this plus share a little about himself and his writing.

Born in the Year of the Tiger, Paul’s natural curiosity combined with the deep-seated feline need to roam has meant that over the years he’s never been able to call any one place home. His wanderlust has led him from one town to another, and even from one country to another.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write - my father claims to possess a story I wrote when I was six, which filled 4 standard school exercise books! What I do remember from that time was being told off for doing the Liverpool Echo crossword before he got home from work!”
While Paul was living in Denmark, he allowed himself to be persuaded to write for a purpose instead of purely for his own amusement. Perhaps it was the catalyst of breathing the same air as Hans Christian Andersen. Paul’s IT guru (aka his talented daughter) has recently constructed a website for him. Paul frequently lurks at:  www.thewriterschatroom.com  (Sundays & Wednesdays)

Beverley: Do you think using weather can be part of a setting?
Paul: I’ve always preferred ‘The Great Outdoors’ – probably starting when I lied my way into the local Cub Scout pack @ 6 years of age. There was no such thing as ‘Beavers’ at the time, you were supposed to be 7 to join the Cubs. By the time they found out, I’d already earned several Merit Badges, so they couldn’t “throw me out”    I’m no longer ‘active’ but I’m a BP Guild member and try to make the annual summer Meet, which is usually in cabins rather than tents.           Long (typical!) preamble: now for the question itself! Yes, for me weather settings are an important background detail in many of my stories. The old guideline “write what you know about” holds good. You can create the atmosphere you want the reader to experience.
Beverley: Do you think adding weather to a scene can add emphasis to the scene?
Paul: One of my books (due to be published early 2018) starts with a description of the main character battling his way through a storm, seeking sanctuary. Another WiP  is based on Climate Change (and how we might have an outside chance of saving ourselves and our planet).
Beverley:  Can weather add to the emotional contact with a reader?
Paul: Looking back on the above I seem to have answered this question already but I’ll expand my thoughts. The brief answer, as you’ll have guessed, is most definitely Yes! If I write (for example) about a camping trip, I try to ensure that a City kid who’s likely to starve to death in a wood filled with apple trees and bramble bushes because he doesn’t recognise food if it doesn’t come shrunk-wrapped from Walmart will get a ‘feel’ for Nature. I don’t suppose for one moment that any of us would try to begin a work with the infamous phrase: “It was a dark and stormy night ….” but weather conditions such as storms instantly create a tension which will (hopefully) engage the reader, draw them in and get them ‘hooked’ into the drama as it unfolds. At the same time, you’re reaching out to the reader, working on their emotions.
Beverley: Do you know any authors who use weather in their books?
Paul: It might be easier to list successful writers who DON’T use weather conditions as part and parcel of their ‘stock in trade’. At this time of year, when Horror writing is highlighted, certain names are automatically on everyone’s lips. Steven King has to be top of MY list – think of the minimalist casting of “Misery” and how significant the Weather and the immediate location becomes. Shakespeare, Bram Stoker, Tolkien …the list goes on and on. In a lighter vein, the illogical ‘weather patterns’ in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books are hilarious. There are also fantastic cinema moments, such as the final shot in “Return to the Planet of the Apes” when the almost-completely buried Statue of Liberty shows (without need for dialogue) how much time has passed since the returning adventurers left home …
Beverley: Have you ever used weather as a setting in any of your books?  If yes, tell us how.
Paul: I’ve used weather and environmental descriptive passages in most of my work, both published and those still patiently waiting their turn. The one I would most like to see published has a central theme of Global Warming & Climate Change. It’s intended as a ‘wake-up call’ to do something about our mistreatment of the only planet we’ve got. Working title:  “Taking the Heat”  Watch this space!
Beverley:  Anything else you’d like to add about the use of weather in a book?
Paul: Other thoughts about use of weather.  “Fair is foul, and foul is fair …” quoth The Bard. We might think of heavy rain as ‘bad’ weather – try telling that to an African tribesman who hasn’t seen rain to grow his food crops in the last three or four years. One man’s meat, another man’s poison. Take nothing for granted, least of all the weather. “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it” – possibly a quote from Mark Twain, or one of his friends.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Paul:  I’ve always been of an imaginative turn of mind, so most definitely fantasy in one form or another I’ve flexed my wings in a number of different writing genre and I still get a kick from booting up my laptop and then deciding (usually with the careful application of the day’s Second mug of Hot Lava Java #6 strength coffee) which WiP I most fancy working on today. My ‘Defence against the Dark Arts’ aka “Writer’s Block” is to have a minimum of 6 – 7 pieces “on the bubble” at any given time. Ideally they should ALL be of different genre. If I hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’ with one of them I’ll turn to another until my Muse stops sulking and returns to the stables … I’ve never attempted to write a Western – I haven’t got the ‘hands on’ experience I think a good Western writer would need. And from a personal choice (not solely on grounds of faith or religion) I don’t “do” Smut/Porn/Erotica or whatever fancy title you want to dress it up in. It’s the Literary equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes / the Elephant in the Room. We all know it’s there, but nobody wants to talk about it
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Paul: Right now I’m working on 4 different WiPs in 4 different genre. Stepping back a moment and looking at what I’ve had published to date is probably as good a summary as I’ll get.                [1] Books for children, Prompted by a long & varied teaching career, I wanted to provide something which would encourage children to leave their PS 4 (PS5, PS7, PS99 …) and pick up a BOOK instead. I was ‘having a rant’ in a school Staffroom re the indifferent quality of books available for children, when my Head of Dept said: “Well, if you think YOU can do better …” That was all the challenge I needed. Six months later a limited edition (300 copies) were printed and I sold them ALL in the space of about a month. More childrens’ books are now in print & in the pipeline!  [2] Adult work. First in this category was a book based on research into my family history. Fiction, but based on Real people & events, intended as a ‘Family Saga’ historical (planned as a Trilogy). The publisher decided to market it as a Romance, which surprised me, but it’s done well so far. I’ve almost completed Vol. 2. Also available:  a mediæval thriller (12th C. plague epidemic, England) and coming soon 11th C. Fantasy adventure about a troubadour with a magic lute (both these have ‘spawned’ sequels which are amongst current WiPs). And finally, another genre: WW2 ‘sub hunt’. A (very lightly) fictionalised account of the sinking of U-534 in the final days of WW2 and the mystery surrounding her secret mission. Title: “The Spear of Destiny”, it raises almost as many questions as it attempts to answer. This was my most recent publication (June 2017) and sales are starting to take off. I had a personal reason for writing this book. I had the extraordinary privilege of meeting a number of very brave elderly men, who were once active in the Danish Resistance Movement or Modstanderbevæggelsen. Their story is almost unknown, and they have earned due recognition and respect. Obviously the names had to be changed. Therefore, this is a tribute to you, gentlemen.  De ved, hvem De er (“They know who they are”)         [This loses something in translation, unfortunately]
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Paul: I try to read something ‘outside my comfort zone’ for every book I choose purely for my own tastes. There’s an amazing range of talented writers here in Liverpool, which as we all know IS the Cultural Centre of the Known Universe. I usually look through the dedicated ‘local writers’ shelf at the bookstore and find something there.     *RANT WARNING*   Yes, we still have Bookshops!! Do NOT under any circumstances give in to the easy (cut-price) option of buying Books in a SUPERMARKET!!!    Rant over …  pass me my coffee …!
I’ve been told (though I can’t find any hard corroborating evidence) that Westerns are making something of a comeback. As they’re my 94-y-o Pop’s favourite form of TV entertainment I’m a bit sad I don’t feel able to write one – though I’m toying with the idea of a farmer battling rustlers on his SHEEP farm in the hills of Wales 😊. If I set it in West Wales, I suppose it would be a ‘sort of’ Western …                                                                                                            Other genre. Some seem to be trending towards extremes – every horror HAS to be more gruesome than the last, ditto sex and violence. I’d settle for Utopia rather than Dystopia any day but bliss, harmony and an idyllic existence isn’t likely to sell too many books. Humour can be difficult to get right, unless you’re as gifted as Terry Pratchett or similar masters of the subject. At the moment I’m enjoying the simplicity of writing stories for children, in which it doesn’t matter too much if your imagination suddenly takes a side-step into nonsensical fantasy. There’s something of Peter Pan in me: I never want to grow up!                                                                        
Self-publishing has its merits if you know you’ve got a good product, but I can’t see it having a major influence on genre in general. I believe an experienced Literary Agent who can channel your work to a Publisher with a good track record for a specific type of book will always have an advantage.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Paul: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. It used to drive my father to distraction to come home from work and discover his 6-y-o son had (once again!) solved the crossword puzzle in our local newspaper before he got his hands on it! As far as published work goes – not counting the 4 bulging scrapbooks of (generally angry) Letters to the Editor clipped from a range of newspapers – that had to wait until I completed my teaching career and got myself a ‘proper job’ writing Full Time. The “Staffroom Challenge” I mentioned earlier on was the catalyst, I guess. I haven’t stopped since. I can honestly say, I’ve never in my life been so busy as I’ve been since retiring!
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Paul: Influences. Not an easy one to answer. I think, if I didn’t write the only alternative would be to go mad. When you read something powerful, something with pzazz, something memorable, you think: “I wish I could write like that!” Then, if you’re like me, you sit down and have a go. It won’t always work, but when it does …!!!! Wow! One of my greatest influences was an elderly, very modest Jesuit priest who taught me at Liverpool Uni. A real polyglot, he wasn’t entirely sure how many languages he had at his fingertips, but he was native-fluent in ALL of them. It was his example which encouraged me to build on my schoolboy French, and I’m native-fluent in all the main European languages. One of my books is set in Ireland. I recently decided I’d be able to do this far better if tá mé ag foghlaim Gaeilge (I’m learning Gælic) became my new aim.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Paul:  Obstacles: when will someone invent the 25-hour day? I could use a few of them …
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Paul: Creative juices (flowing/ebbing) are like the tide. This is why I’m not happy unless I have at least 5-6 (preferably more) WiPs ‘on the back burner’ so I can always switch horses if one refuses the next hurdle. As a result, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a full Stop. A day when I write less than 1000 words I generally chalk off as a wasted (or “skiving”) day. How I hate “that” song by Bruno Mars!!
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Paul: Discovering I’ve painted myself into a corner and I have to backtrack about four chapters…
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Paul: Breakfast is easy. Since as far back as I can recall, TWO Weetabix (milk + sugar): and Don’t speak to me until I’ve had my second cup of coffee (Garfield poster over my writing desk)
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Paul: “ … and a T-shirt that seemed clean …”     (can’t remember the singer!)                             No need for the ‘new shoes’ which seem to be the main drive of that song. There’s always a lyric hiding somewhere. Another Liverpool writer (and a good friend) has written a series of Police stories using Beatles songs as his book titles. I often ‘hear’ music while I’m writing. If I’m fast enough to transpose it, I occasionally get a song out of it even if I didn’t sit down intending to write music. One of my children’s’ books is now roughed out as the Libretto for a Rock Opera which I hope will be performed by (and for) a teenage/YA audience. I own a formal Dinner Suit (School/Uni Reunion Dinners is about the only time it comes out of the wardrobe) but trousers (not denims) and an appropriate T-shirt is my usual dress (or ‘kip’ as it’s known in Scouseland).
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Paul: Where I write. This is my ‘gift’ to anyone, free and gratis! I’m a miserly curmudgeon by nature, so I opted NOT to pay the (relatively minimal) excess for a landline when I moved into my apartment. This would have given me access to ’Internet and all the research data on the WobblyWeb. It would also have led me astray, rambling away all over the world when I could be writing. For e-mail and research, there’s a perfectly good Internet server in our Common Lounge two minutes’ walk from my flat, so I take a trip once or twice a day over there if I need to check something. I can also log on at night when the rest of the house sleeps, so I’m often to be found lurking on http://writerschatroom.sallyfranklinchristie.com (Sundays & Wednesdays). There are a number of well-kept open green spaces close at hand, and I’m just as likely to sit out somewhere with a notepad, several pens (different colour inks) and a cold beer if the weather tempts me. Not a fan of running a laptop on its battery – the old ways are sometimes the best! 
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Paul: Hergé’s Tintin, in the original French version “S’il vous plaît!” (I’ve seen a few cringingly atrocious English translations!). He’s the eternal young sprog newspaper reporter I always wanted to be – the Head Teacher of my Alma Mater thought teaching was a better option 
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Paul: Turlough O’Carolan [1670-1738] Blind Irish harpist composer. Employed by one of my ancestors, the last King of Tara (Ireland). He left an amazing repertoire of some of the most beautiful (and difficult to play!) music you’ll ever hear.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Paul: There’s a pub called “The Thatched House” in the middle of McDermott country (Co. Roscommon, Ireland) where the Guinness tastes like liquid velvet and Mine Host behind the bar will smile and say “Welcome Home, Paul
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Paul: Gearing up for the annual lemming-run aka NaNoWriMo (for which I can boast of a perfect ‘strike record’, 10/10 so far!). I have 3 WiP’s almost finished. One of these is the Global Warming/Climate Change work I mentioned in an earlier comment, working title “Taking the Heat”. I’m fine-tuning this while I wait for a response to the Synopsis & Sample I’ve subbed to a Publisher. I’m also working on a series of childrens’ books, stand-alone stories each set in one of Liverpool’s eight beautiful public gardens.
STOP PRESS! As I write, an e-mail has just landed in my Inbox. Rehearsals will start tomorrow (it’s after midnight: make that TODAY!), for a play about one of Liverpool’s historic streets, Bold Street, Script written by Yours Truly   

Blurb for The Spear of Destiny:
In 1945, U-boat Kapitän Herbert Nollau must deliver a weapon which will turn the war in Germany’s favour. His orders are delivered verbally. There will be no written records... and no witnesses.
Alone, far from home, hunted by the Danish Resistance and the might of the Allied Forces, he must obey either his final Orders…or the inner voice of his conscience.

Excerpt for The Spear of Destiny:
      Überlojtnant Herbert Nollau stood with his Zeiss nightglasses glued to his eyes, impervious to the rain whipped across his cheeks by half a gale. This howled almost exactly at ninety degrees to the tide, which had just reached the full but had not yet begun its retreat. His command craft, U-534, sat uneasily at anchor, dipping at bow and stern in the current, yawing appreciably as frequent Force Ten gusts buffeted her broad flanks. Low, heavy rainclouds hunkered closer, seeming to settle on the upper branches of the natural pine forest which spread untamed, unculled, across the low hills of Schleswig-Holstein.
      An identical pair of black Opel staff cars bracketed a canvas bodied Mercedes half-track transport wagon, all three vehicles picking their way carefully along an unmarked country road. The headlights were taped down to the size and shape of a feral cat's vertical slits, acknowledging the strict rules governing all traffic during the hours of darkness. The road to the harbour just outside Lübeck was neither tarmac’ed nor enhanced with any form of lighting. The drivers were obliged to steer cautiously around every twist, using the gears and brakes more frequently than the accelerator.
     "Amateurs!" he thought to himself, as the three sets of headlights crawled slowly closer.
     He blanked the thought as soon as it intruded on his consciousness, forcing himself back into State-approved Wehrmacht thinking, based on purely practical matters directly related to carrying out current instructions, with maximum efficiency, without question. He pulled the collar of his oilskins closer around his throat in a futile attempt to prevent the rain from seeping through, soaking his uniform. Raising his night glasses once more, he cursed the weather, the Wehrmacht and the world in general, feeling more exposed and vulnerable with every minute that passed as he waited for the convoy of lights to crawl closer, carrying the equipment which he had been ordered to collect. It bothered him that he was expected to set sail immediately, and await orders concerning his destination by radio once he had cleared the bay and entered Store Bælt: technically, that section of the North Sea was neutral Danish waters, and if he were to remain on the surface for any length of time in order to receive orders …
      As the lights snaked around another pair of curves and began their final descent to the shoreline and the jetty where U534 was waiting, Herbert Nollau realized that he had on board a much more powerful sender/receiver than any other U-boat: in fact, not just one but two radios equipped with the Enigma cryptographic programme had been installed, ostensibly for testing. With a sudden jolt, the deceptively young-looking Überlojtnant realized that this technology was far more sophisticated than that which had previously been regarded as the best in the world: apart from being guaranteed unbreakable as a code, it could also send and receive radio signals without his craft needing to surface.

Buy Links:
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/historical-fiction/the-spear-of-destiny-detail?Itemid=0
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZKRH5K/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/718491

You can find Paul at:
Website: www.paulmcdermottbooks.webs.com
www.thewriterschatroom.com

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and discussion of weather in books. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Weather as a Setting With Toni Sweeney

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Toni Sweeney. November’s theme is ‘Weather as Setting’ so Toni share her thoughts on this plus share a little about herself and her writing.

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and also produces book videos. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. Her novels have garnered awards from The National Writers Association, Preditors & Editors, The Maryland Writers Association, and The Paranormal Romance Guild. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books. She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild.  Recently she was named a professional reader by netgalley.com.
Beverley: Do you think using weather can be part of a setting?
Toni: Most assuredly. Using weather to reflect a character’s mood, or to foretell an event or underscore it has always been a good facet of an author’s craft. As an example, my excerpt today  (below) is set in the middle of a Nebraska winter, which can be about as brutal as can be. It depicts a man riding from his ranch to Lincoln 25 miles away, to fetch a doctor, and I think the cold, bleak snow depicts the desperation of his ride.
Beverley: Do you think adding weather to a scene can add emphasis to the scene?
Toni: Certainly. In Jericho Road, I used this idea during the funeral of one of the main characters who is killed:
It should have been raining, the heavens in tears, the skies black, mourning Wade. Not just because he was her brother but because a good man had been lost. Instead, the sun beat down brightly, scorching everything, wilting them in their funeral clothes and making the flowers dry and brittle, until Lindsey felt that if anyone touched her, she, like the dying flowers, would shatter and fall.
Beverley: Do you know any authors who use weather in their books?
Toni: Thinking back, I remember Emily Bronte used weather in her novels, especially in Wuthering Heights. I think she even has the narrator comment on the title as having something to do with the weather: “Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.” 
Herman Melville has Moby Dick begin by Ishmael stating that when it becomes winter and it feels the same way in his soul, he signs on to go sailing: “Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” uses quite plainly the time of year as the setting: “Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.”
Beverley: Have you ever used weather as a setting in any of your books?  If yes, tell us how.
Toni: I’ve used weather in almost all my novels as a portrayer of the character’s mental and emotional stability at that particular moment.
My novel Barbarian Blood Royal starts off with one of the main characters standing on a cliff in winter:
Val One Eye stood upon the high precipice under which the wolves’ fortress was carved out of the mountain. The spring wind, sharp with the lingering bite of frost, blew about him but he didn’t feel its chill. The long-sleeved woolen shirt woven by one of his women kept the cold from touching him, as did the leather tunic he wore over it.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Toni I’ve always been of an imaginative turn of mind, so most definitely fantasy in one form or another
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Toni: That imaginative turn of mind. I love the fantastical, whether it’s scifi, a la Star Trek or space opera per Star Wars, or Horror via some vampiric tale, or simply what most people consider fantasy, a tale of wizards and magic.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Toni: I’m pretty omni-generic (is that a word?)  I like mysteries and thrillers, soft core SF, fantasy, horror, historicals, all with a touch of romance.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Toni: I’ve no problem with any of the genres but I’ve some very definite opinions on self-publishing and there’s so strong I think I should err on the side of caution and not mention them.  I will say that, in spite of what all those vanity presses state, not every one can write a novel. Self-publishing is going to prevent some very good writers from ever becoming known.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Toni: Though I started composing stories and writing them down when I was seven, my first written piece was published in 1963, while I was in college. I guess that qualified me as having been an author since the age of 20.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Toni: My seventh grade teacher, Lucille Comer encouraged everyone in our class to write stories that we’d then read aloud.  I wrote enthusiastically because that was the first time my stories weren’t ridiculed and the other students didn’t tease me about writing them as my family did.  
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Toni: Showing my writing to anyone.  As I said, I was so teased by my family who ridiculed what I wrote that I was embarrassed to show anyone I’d written to anyone because I expected them to be sarcastic about it.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Toni: Anything.  I can see a painting or hear a descriptive phrase, and I’m off and running on a creative tangent.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Toni: An emotional jolt.  I was in the middle of writing a novel when I received a phone call that a friend had committed suicide.  The caller didn’t mince words but simply blurted out that she was dead.  It took me a very long time to get back to finishing the story because all the time I worked on it, I remembered that interrupting phone call.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Toni: A cup of decaf coffee.  Occasionally, it’ll be accompanied with a plain doughnut or perhaps a thickly-buttered piece of toast.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Toni: I usually dress “writer casual”…a caftan and sandals.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Toni: I have my desk set up next to a large picture window where I get plenty of sunlight and can look out and enjoy the scenery occasionally. The window sill is also filled with plants so when I want to take a break, I potter around watering and tending my “garden.”
My computer desk is also near my bookcases so I have reference books and anything else I need at hand.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Toni: I love Shrek’s friend Puss in Boots. I have the DVD and have watched it numerous times. I also have Puss in Boots and the Three Diablos but the Shrek movies he’s featured in are my favorite.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Toni: I’d probably go to a movie or read a book which sounds like a busman’s holiday, doesn’t it?
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Toni: I’m currently toying with a Southern gothic novel which doesn’t even have a title yet. The folder heading simply says “Book”.  I say “toying” because I no idea where it’s going to go and am just putting words on paper kind of aimlessly at present.  It’ll probably come out under my pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone, since it’s set in the South.

Blurb for The Man from Tippeeary (Book 3 of The McCoys series): Paraig McCoy is the Bad Boy of the McCoy family. 
Up to now, his father’s money has gotten him out of scrapes …until the day Paraig  commits one offence too many and finds himself a remittance man, paid by his father to leave home and never return.
Still in shock, the young exile finds himself on a boat to America where he comes to rest in the Nebraska Great Plains. Knowing nothing about cows doesn’t stop Padraig from hiring on as a ranch hand, however, and on a trail drive to Sedalia, Fate steps in and changes his life forever. 
It takes a few years, but, thanks to a cattle stampede, an influenza epidemic, and a determined young woman arriving on a Wells Fargo stage,  the ne’er-do-well from Tipperary is about to become the man he should be.
As civil war looms and nobles turn against each other, Riven will risk everything he holds dear when he makes a choice between following a madman or being declared traitor to the land he loves.

Excerpt from The Man from Tippeeary (Book 3 of The McCoys series):
    Padraig pulled his hat from his head, looking up at the sun. It was still early morning and the snow was bright and near-blinding. He should be wearing his eye protectors, but he’d forgotten them.
    Taking a deep breath, he said quietly, “Lord…I know my da think’s I’m a bad one, but I swear I’m tryin’ t’ be good. Maybe th’ people in Four Corners, an’ me’ own men, an’ Jacob’s li’l girl…maybe they’ll get well without me’ help, but then again, maybe they won’t. I’ve got t’ try…I’ve got t’ get t’ Lancaster an’ convince that doctor t come back with me. Even if he says Cookie’s doing exactly what he’d do, I’ve got t’ get his expert opinion. Will you please make this damned animal cooperate? I don’t think I can walk that distance…not in this snow…” Putting his hat back, he wiped his eyes, and said, “Amen,” and kicked the pinto in the ribs.
    To his surprise, the horse started up, picking its way at a smart trot through the snow.
    Padraig laughed, looked up again and said, “Much obliged,” and turned the animal’s head in the direction of Lancaster.

Buy Links:

 You can find Toni at:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLQBB8
MySpace: https://myspace.com/tvsweeney
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Twitter: @ToniVSweeney

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.