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Ten years ago, former San Francisco police detective Daniel Yun lost everything when he lost his beloved wife and partner, Christine, to the very serial killer they were hunting. Now a private investigator, Dan has done his best to move on with his life, burying himself in his work and being a devoted uncle to his nieces and nephews. His weekends are occupied with a succession of boring blind dates and a long string of willing submissives, but the one woman who has managed to creep into his heart is the one woman he can’t allow himself to have: Heather, Christine’s best friend.
Since the brutal murder of her best friend, homicide detective Heather D’Angelo has dedicated her life to keeping the city safe from scum like Christine’s killer. Between her stressful job and the demands of being a divorced single mom, Heather has little time for romance, preferring the familiar company of Dan… and the occasional Saturday night at the local BDSM club. But no Dom can compare to the man whose touch first awakened her hidden desires years before: none other than Dan himself…
For nearly a decade, the man believed to be the San Francisco Slasher has been behind bars, until a vicious killing all too similar to Christine’s forces the police to reopen the case, and Dan to confront all the fury and pain he thought he’d buried long ago. When the trail of the Slasher and Dan’s latest case converge and lead straight to the city’s BDSM community, he and Heather find themselves working intimately together, bringing their long-suppressed passion to the surface. But as they fight feelings stronger than friendship, the body count continues to climb, and the Slasher isn’t the only threat they face. Only together can Dan and Heather overcome the demons that have haunted them for so long, especially since the killer may be far closer to them than they ever imagined…
A proud Pittsburgh, PA area native, Siena Noble has explored and inhabited all kinds of fictional worlds through her writing since age ten. Although she’s always been a sucker for a good love story and possesses an incredibly dirty mind, she never imagined that her publishing debut would be erotic romance. What started as a silly short story idea quickly became something much bigger, a demanding Master of a manuscript whose every whim Siena submitted to.
When she’s not busy reading, writing, binge-watching Game of Thrones, or doing a million other important things, Siena enjoys traveling, archery, and getting lost in the woods (also known as “hiking”). She and her better half/writing buddy/sometimes Sir/sex muse live together in Pittsburgh. Their dream is to relocate to the middle of nowhere and build a castle capable of withstanding the impending zombie apocalypse.
They murdered her sister. They threatened her church. But their day of reckoning will cost her everything…
When Cici Gurule finds the dead body of a parishioner in the nearby Santa Fe National Forest, she’s horrified to realize the victim bears the same stab wounds that ended her twin sister’s life one year earlier.
Now, as a freewheeling, progressive reverend who’ll stop at nothing to protect her flock, she’ll need to join forces with her detective friend and loyal pair of Great Pyrenees to hunt down the killer before she’s forced to officiate another funeral.
Soon, however, Cici discovers her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation, and her death was no random act of violence. With the criminals out for Cici’s blood, she needs to catch the wolf by the tail…before it goes in for the kill.
Fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Stacy Claflin will love Alexa’s Padgett’s new edge-of-your-seat novel! Scroll up and click to start this fast-paced, high-octane mystery thriller!
Sam brought his chair down with a soft thump as it hit the patio paver but he didn’t say anything for another long moment.
“Anna Carmen was my best friend. She helped me through a hard time—she helped me see what I couldn’t then.”
Cici’s lip trembled as she lifted her teacup. “I miss her, too. So much. Yesterday . . . it all came bubbling back up.”
Sam’s hand settled on Cici’s shoulder in that gesture of comfort she’d come to depend on.
“I know you do. And, yeah, I figured it would.”
Jaycee sidled up to their table and settled Sam’s large glass of iced tea on the table. Condensation formed on the glass, dripping down to wet the white napkin beneath it.
“I thought of something,” the girl said.
Both Cici and Sam turned their faces up to the teenager.
“Mr. Johnson told me one time he was meeting someone about a case.” Her brow wrinkled for a moment before she shrugged. “Does that help?”
Sam tugged at his short ponytail. “Maybe. Thanks, Jaycee.”
“Sure.” The girl skittered off to greet some new patrons.
“You think you know what the case is, don’t you?” Cici asked, pouring more tea into her cup.
About the Author:
With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.
Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.
It is true what they say: If you don’t feel your characters emotions, neither will your readers. Okay, that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but it’s close and true enough. And through first-hand experience, I can confidently say it’s 100% accurate!
When I wrote THE EDGE OF NEVER, I felt that story, and every single one of the character’s emotions; the scenes I cried my eyes out writing are the same scenes countless readers mention also crying their eyes out reading. When I wrote that book, I wrote it for myself, not for an audience, or because the genre was popular at the time and I wanted to jump on a bandwagon, or because I wanted to make a quick buck. I wrote it for me. And I believe in my heart that is so important when writing any story. You have to love it and feel it or no one else is going to love it or feel it. On the other side, I have written a book that I didn’t particularly feel, or love, or really want to write in that moment. It was basically forced, therefore the story felt forced to readers.
So, about ‘Adding Emotional Depth to Your Characters’, I think that is the best way to achieve this: write for you; write from the heart; write what you want to read, write what you need to get off your chest, write what you feel most passionate about in the moment, write what you feel like needs to be said.
Never write what everybody else is writing, or what you think everybody else wants to read (because no one will want to read it if you didn’t truly love writing it). This is the way to avoid one-dimensional characters, and the only way to add emotional depth to them. Love them, feel them, become them, and your readers will too. Readers are more attracted to emotion than to description or fads or popularity; they will remember a book that affected them emotionally long after one with beautiful imagery and well-crafted scenes; they will connect easier with characters through emotional lines rather than how ‘interesting’ you think your character is. When it comes down to it, I don’t think anything matters more to a reader than the way they feel after reading your story. You can write about a raccoon digging through a garbage can and the reader will love it as long as he or she feels it.
I’m happy to say that my latest novel, EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN, was 100% written from the heart. It was a story that needed to be told, one that I went through nearly every emotion imaginable while writing. I became Thais and Atticus, and I felt their pain and their struggles and their love for each other.
I hope you love it as much as I did.
Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, international bestseller, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. Her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, has been optioned for television and film by actor and model William Levy.
While writing my first novel, The Edge of the World, (Mirare Press, 2007) I was like an explorer in the Amazon rain forest, slipping under low-hanging tree branches, and parting curtains of palms and vines, until I got to the center of my story. It was a wonderful creative journey, but it took years to write because I had no plan. I had a first person narrator and she and I were searching for the story in front of us. We’d get lost in the forest, we’d follow false leads, walk around in circles, or go off on tangents. It was a work of the subconscious, a work of retrieving memory, of fusing new knowledge to old experience, of inventing characters and creating composite characters to advance the story. It was a beautiful adventure in art and exasperating. I didn’t know what the novel was about until I finished multiple drafts. While I’m happy with the finished book, I believe I could have been a more effective novelist if I’d done some advance work before going into the fictional woods.
With Liberty Landing, my second novel, (Mirare Press, 2018) I began thinking of the story I was planning to write long before I wrote it. I had a seed of an idea about the novel I envisioned, a novel about the American Experience today and the American Experiment bequeathed to us by the Founders. I began reading American history, about the Founding Fathers, and about the beginning of America. I knew the novel would be about Americans in a small community and I began to think of the fictional universe of my novel and the characters to tell the story. Even before I began writing the novel, I sketched an outline of the story, one sentence bios of each of the major characters, and their relationships to each other.
By the time I sat down to write Liberty Landing, I had a frame for the story and my main characters cut on the canvas. When I look at the outline now—the frame that preceded the seven year enterprise of writing the novel—I am amazed by how little I strayed from it, and astonished by how the novel unfolded, and how the characters surprised me at every turn. In the outline, I did not know anything about Gabriel Khoury, my protagonist, other than that he was a Palestinian Christian. In the outline, all I knew of Angeline LaLande was that she was a journalist, and that she was Louisiana Creole.
While there are writers who insist that any pre-writing sullies the writing of fiction, I am inclined to disagree. When an artist begins a painting, she is compelled to paint within the borders and edges of a canvas. The novelist’s canvas has no edges, one can keep writing pages in a Word document up to 32 MB. An outline, a thumbnail, a map, a diagram—a visual expression of the story doesn’t spoil the writing of fiction. Rather it is controlled creativity, propelling the story forward within a structure. It gives shape and form to the emerging story. A novel can be told in countless ways. An outline allows the writer not to waste her writing time going down countless trails. It liberates the novelist to write a story into being without getting lost.
Gail Vida Hamburg is an award-winning American journalist, author, and museum storyist. She is the author of The Edge of the World (Mirare Press, 2007), a novel about the impact of American foreign policy on individual lives. A nominee for the 2008 James Fenimore Cooper Prize, it is a frequent text in undergraduate post- colonial studies, war studies, and creative writing programs. Born in Malaysia, she spent her teens and twenties in England before migrating to the United States. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Literature and Creative Writing from Bennington Writers Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont. Liberty Landing, the first volume in her trilogy about the American Experience, is her love letter to the great American Experiment.
She lives in Chicago—the setting for Liberty Landing, a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
Children’s Books I have written 2 so far,My Special Gifts & What Does God Sound Like
Tell us about your latest book.
My Special Gifts is my latest book. My Special gifts is available on Amazon Life gives us all many gifts, we only need to pause, look around, and appreciate. Bryn, my 3 year old Grandson, tells his story about his gifts. Gifts given by family, friends, and everyday life. We need to teach our children at a young age the tools for happiness and contentment.
I was never afraid of monsters—at least, not until They came: the visitors from outer space.
Now They're in our skies, on our streets, always watching, forever waiting.
At seventeen, I'm just about to graduate from the Juvenile Education System and declare my career of choice. The Midnight Guard—who protect our community from the vicious things that lie outside our walls—calls to me.
It’s hard, dangerous work, with grueling hours that offer little sleep, but it’s the one thing I know will help make a difference in our ever-changing world.
Born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye began his writing career with the publication of his story [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge at the age of fourteen. Published nearly three-dozen times before going independent at eighteen, Boye has authored numerous works—including the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the epic fantasy series The Brotherhood Saga.
Desdemona, a pianist in the Austin life-music scene, is channel-surfing when she stumbles upon the program Marriage Exposure. The trashy television show gets people to spill all the secrets of their sex lives, and Desdemona’s ex-boyfriend just happens to be a guest. To her shock and horror, Desdemona’s ex announces on national television that he dumped her because she never got the big O. “She faked…,” he says. Every single time.
Her life is wrecked! If her friends, family and colleagues haven’t seen the interview yet, they will.
How do you survive a scandal like this? How did he know she faked? And why is it that in the bedroom, Desdemona never, ever gets lucky?
The lovable, creative and quirky heroine tackles these challenges. As Desdemona tries to run damage control on her reputation, she begins to explore her sexuality. Along the way, she will get a second chance at genuine love.
Q. D. Purdu’s Finding Lucky won first place in the romance category of the Texas Writers’ League. Desdemona’s quest for the Big O is full of hilarious moments, handsome men, and heartfelt memories.
So I’m home alone on Saturday night in my flannel PJs, relaxed on my denim sofa, eating fudge and brazil nuts, and channel surfing. Jewelry channel—maybe a flashy gem would jazz up my life. Gag—tonight it’s cameos. Sex in the City—I bet they all faked it, even Samantha. Marriage Exposure—where do they find people who will go on television and argue about their sex lives?
I don’t believe my eyes. It looks like Burt on Marriage Exposure. I raise the volume and edge closer to the screen. It is him, the same reddish-brown hair and sharp features. He’s even wearing his favorite green-striped polo shirt. I haven’t seen him in a year, and he’s wearing that same shirt. The short-haired woman sitting next to him has her hands covering her face. She’s wailing something like, “You never loved me! You never loved me!”
It can’t be. Burt’s in an L-word relationship? I edge closer to the screen, hardly breathing.
Burt pulls at the back of his neck with one hand, the way he always does when he’s stressed, and looks down toward his feet. “I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t love you.” Unbelievable. He’s married to her.
She uncovers her red, puffy face and leans close to him. “You never loved me.” Spit flies out with her words. “You’ve always loved…” She gives a big, gasping sob and then slowly, distinctly blurts out my name. “…Desdemona. With…with…her beautiful dark eyes. Her perfect body. Her incredible piano playing.” More spit with the p’s. “Her long, thick raven hair.” She raises both hands to her head and pulls at her brownish spikes.
No. I must have misheard.
But she repeats my name, dragging out each syllable as if it causes her physical pain. “Des…de…mon…a.”
Could Burt have dated another Desdemona?
Something mushes between my toes. Fudge under my foot oozes out onto my creamy-white lamb’s-wool throw, which is now on the floor. I must have stood when she wailed my name. Brazil nuts are all over the floor.
Burt takes her by the shoulders. “Jenny, no.” He always was considerate of everyone’s feelings. “I could never love Desdemona. She…she’s a freak. She fakes orgasms.”
A crazy giggle snakes its way up from my chest. Is this really happening? How could he have known? Guys can’t really tell, can they? The giggle morphs into a nauseated groan. Am I dreaming? Drugged? In a parallel universe? Has Burt just announced my unspeakable flaw to the world?
And so what if I don’t get the big O every, single time? Well, I guess I hardly ever get it…OK—I got it three times, and it would have been four if my vibrator had not quit working. But I’m not even twenty-seven yet—far from the sexual peak of forty.
At some point during the last minute my phone has started buzzing. My autopilot eyes glance at it. Friends are texting me about Burt being on TV. So there is something worse than being a nonorgasmic faker. It’s being a nonorgasmic faker and having the whole world know it.
A loud animallike howl shocks the breath out of me. What is that? I freeze and listen for a split second before I realize the roar is coming from me.
I muffle my howls, hoping I haven’t alarmed my landlady, who lives in the attached duplex. With foot in fudge and phone facedown, I’m transfixed.
Burt embraces his sobbing wife and mutters endearments. The MC hoofs it into the audience, whose members are clamoring to speak into the microphone.
A long-haired, leather-vested guy gets the first shot. “Hey, Burt.” He’s got an oily, smooth voice—could be a talk-show host himself. “Ah, maybe you just ain’t man enough for Mona.”
Mona. I hate when people call me Mona. But this could be good. Maybe the world will forget my real name. Yes! Mona.
Next a clean-cut, older guy steps up and glares at the leather vest. “Des. De. Mon. A. Not Mona.” Crap. “You should be respectful enough to pronounce her complete name.”
The audience interrupts with hoots that could be boos or cheers or random insanity. The MC swings the mic toward an elderly lady, but the clean-cut guy jerks him back. “I’m not finished. The first gentleman—” He rolls his eyes toward the leather vest. “—was correct about one thing.”
The impatient grandma reaches for the mic, and the MC blocks her hand and tries to hurry the clean-cut guy, who looks like he’s gearing up for a long lecture. “If Desdemona is not satisfied, it’s clearly a sign of the male’s lack of technique. Research shows…”
Grandma’s hand darts between the two men and snatches the mic. She runs down an aisle with the MC in pursuit. “Burt!” Her voice is surprisingly loud and shrill. “Did you ask Desdemona what’s a matter?” She screams out questions as the MC chases, grabbing futilely for the mic. “Did you ask her why?” This elderly woman sprints like a teenager. “How do you know she faked? Did you go down?” The audience is out of control now.
In a shuffle of arms, a tall, skinny guy commandeers the mic. “Hey, Desdemona.” It’s as if he’s looking straight at me—in the room with me—seeing me. “Come to me.” Hairs skitter across the back of my neck. “I’ll get you there, baby.”
Somehow the MC has produced a second mic that overrides the other one and muffles the noise of the audience. “Thanks for being with us for another shocking episode of Marriage Exposure. Tune in tomorrow for an unbelievable brother-in-law who sneaks into bed with his own brother’s wife—” He pauses, moves close to the camera, and raises both eyebrows several times. “—without her knowing it. You’re not going to want to miss this.”
The camera pans over the audience that is now chanting, “Desdemona, Desdemona, Desdemona…”
A diet-pill commercial is halfway over before I shake off the shock enough to silence the TV. Eleanor, my cat, is batting a Brazil nut across the floor. My phone rings. Ugh. It’s Mom. I grab the phone and the ruined lamb’s wool, scoop up the nuts, and hop toward the kitchen to stick my foot in the sink. I would ignore my mother, but if I don’t answer, she’ll call my landlady to come over and make sure I’m not bound and gagged, unconscious, or murdered.
How will I deal with my mother’s shock about Burt’s revelation?
“Mija, where are you?”
“Alone?” She’d like me to be married and have several kids by now. Alone is never a word she welcomes.
“On Saturday night—home alone? With all there is to do in Austin?”
She lets a long silence hang. I would normally fill it with disclaimers about being too tired to go out or the last-minute cancellation of my gig tonight. Instead of chatting her up, I wait her out and run water over my foot. Eleanor, maybe sensing my misery, rubs against my other leg. Nothing I could say will divert Mother from Burt’s blast. I take deep breaths, steadying myself for the onslaught.
She finally seems to realize she’s not getting an explanation about my solitary Saturday night. “How do I say this?” She sighs loudly. “It’s one thing to know people privately, but to see them as a nationally known personality…it’s…it’s…”
“Mom, just say it.” Tears well in my eyes. The reality of an insane TV show barging into my life stabs in places I didn’t know I could hurt.
“OK, OK. Well, it happened while I was with my book-club group at the bookstore.” It’s really just a book corner in the general store on Main Street.
“You’re at the store?” This makes no sense. It’s too late for the store to be open.
“No—I’m not there now. We were there from six to eight tonight for our weekly meeting, and then we went to ladies’ night at the margarita bar and had two-for-ones, and I just now got home. You know that new bar that opened where the bakery used to be?”
There are only a dozen stores in my hometown of Garcia. How could I forget? “Yeah.”
“The antique store is also adding a coffee shop—oh, I’m rambling. Want me to just get to the point?”
I force out a whisper and blot my tear-slicked face with a paper towel. “Yes.”
She takes a deep breath again. No question that she’s unnerved by the conversation we’re about to have. My stomach knots. It will be worse to hear my mother talking about Burt and fake orgasms than it was to hear strangers on national television. I lower my wet but clean foot from the sink so I’m standing solidly. I pick up Eleanor, who allows one of her rare cuddles. She must know I need it.
I gasp. His name triggers the same pow in my chest that happens every time I think of him, or see a stranger tilt his head that certain way, or hear a laugh that mimics Hunter’s deep ring, or dream of kissing him only to wake and remember it will never happen again. Pow.
“Desdemona, are you there? Did you hear me?”
I should answer Mom—say something. It’s been over nine years since Hunter and I were seniors in high school and he left the campus in handcuffs. Nine years since we swore our love to each other. Nine years since I ruined our chances of ever being together. But still the regret and loss slice razor sharp.
“What about Hunter?” My voice scrapes.
“Oh, good, I thought we’d been cut off. Well, we were about to discuss our new novel when all these people flooded in. Not locals, but people from San Antonio, Austin, Houston. It was just amazing. Our quiet little Saturday-night book talk was turning into…”
“What about Hunter?” I can’t fathom where this is going. I’m so caught off guard that for a full two seconds I forget Marriage Exposure.
“I’m getting to him. So Alma went up to the manager and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ And he said a national best-selling mystery writer was here for a book signing. Have you read Des Amone’s books?”
“Yes. Sure I have.”
“Did you read the one that was made into a movie?”
“Mom. Where is this going? What does it have to do with Hunter?”
“Des Amone is Hunter’s pen name. And Hunter came to Garcia to do a hometown launch of his new book tour. It’s all over the Internet, but none of us noticed. You know we mainly stick to romances.”
“Des Amone…” I repeat her words to make sense of them. “…is Hunter’s pen name.”
“Isn’t that a hoot? And ya’ll were in school together.” Mom is oblivious to the relationship I had with Hunter. She lives in her own little world that revolves around her tiny, barely-break-even flower shop with her upstairs living quarters—my home until I moved to Austin. “So we each bought his book, and when he signed mine, he asked about you. Can you believe it—a famous, rich author still remembering a classmate from all those years ago? Isn’t it funny how his pen name kind of sounds like Desdemona?”
She doesn’t wait for me to answer. “So for our next meeting we’re all reading Hunter’s book. You know it’s just so much fun to read a book with a group…”
“What did he say about me? What did you tell him?”
“He just asked how you are, and I told him you were playing all over Austin and giving lessons. I showed him that picture of you in your long, red dress, playing that red baby grand. I think it was taken in some bar on Sixth Street. He said, ‘Still beautiful as ever.’” I shut my eyes and make myself breathe. “We could have talked and talked, but there was a line behind me, so I moved on. I told him to look you up when he goes to Austin on his book tour. And I gave him your number.”
The pow that hit me when she said his name evolves into a melody that fills my chest while she drones on. The melody, not one that I could ever put to music no matter how hard I try, is always there—inside—below the surface. But at times like this it expands, presses, and hurts in the middle of my chest.
About the Author
Q. D. Purdu’s debut romance FAKING LUCKY, under the title of DESDEMONA FINDS THE BIG O IN LOVE, won first place in the Texas Writers’ League Romance category, 2014. Her novella THE LIGHT WE FOUND, first published in MOTHER'S DAY MAGIC anthology, is now available as a stand-alone short read.
Q. D. loves her rescued puppy, red wine, running through sprinklers, dark chocolate with sugared ginger, and anything wrapped in a corn tortilla. Her prized possessions include a hot pink Christmas tree and a garden full of okra and basil.
She hasn’t decided what she’ll be when she grows up, but whatever it is will be filled with romantic impossibilities.
Title: Moms With Secrets (Tammy & Lisa Mom Detectives Book 1)
Author: Bena Roberts
Genre: Chick Lit , Cozy Mystery, Parenting Drama
About the book:
Move over Thelma and Louise! Enter Tammy and Lisa two moms of troubled teenage boys. Not convinced of the school's ability to deal with serious issues, the two mothers become mom detectives.
Meet Tammy Lewis - the local politician's wife. She is a dutiful wife and adores her family. Her life in her cozy village and Victorian home is perfect.
Enter Lisa Evans - an enigmatic yoga teacher and single mother. Lisa has worked hard to succeed in her life, and when she discovers her teenage son might be dealing drugs, she comes up with a crafty plan. Lisa sets out to frame innocent mom Tammy Lewis for her son's misdemeanors. Lisa's son and Tammy's son are best friends so; the set-up could work.
Is Tammy the pushover that Lisa believes?
More importantly? Has the village school got the accusations right? Are Mark and Ethan, Tammy & Lisa's children really the local village school drug lords?
Author Bena Roberts has delivered a warm and witty short read ideals for mums with troubled teenage boys who understand the pull of motherhood. How far would you go to protect your teenage son?
Bena Roberts was a journalist and analyst. Now she prefers the title novelist and romance adventurist. She graduated in England 1994 and then with a Masters in 1997.
Born in 1973, Bena lived in West London until she was 24. Then she lived and worked in Budapest, Bruges, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. She currently resides in Germany, between Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Although she still refers to London as 'home.'
Bena successfully created a technology blog which gained funding, had lunch with Steve Ballmer and was 'top 50 most influential woman in mobile.' Her blog also won several awards including Metro Best Blog.
Bena has two children, loves small dogs and always writes books with a cup of Earl Grey.
Bena's favorite literary style is black humor, and she hopes to offer a unique voice in this area. Her books aim to confront the darkest of life experiences, with levity. Most of her writing is heavy hitting yet also entertaining. The second novel out in 2018 offers thought-provoking fiction which embraces the absurd with reality.
There’s only so much research an author can do surfing the net. Don’t get me wrong, I have learned so much more about obscure topics because I needed a detail to complete a scene. The internet makes this so convenient. But sometimes it isn’t enough.
All but one of my books are set in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s only a few hours east from where we live now so travel is easy. Charleston is a beautiful city with so much charm and history. The beaches are great. To be honest, it still feels like home to me because I lived there from 2000 to 2005 and look back on that time with wonder. Did I really wake up on Saturday mornings and walk fifty yards to put my feet in the Atlantic Ocean? Yes I did.
We go back to Charlestonnow so I can account for the many changes the city is going through due to growth. The old beach apartment I called home for five years is still there. So are quite a few of my old downtown haunts, although many of the names of the bars have changed. What hasn’t changed is the underlying draw the city has on me. So going there isn’t vacation, it’s more of a pilgrimage.
The one book I wrote not set in Charlestontook some of my characters to Atlanta, a city I had lived in during the 80’s. I did not pass up the opportunity to head back to see what had changed and visit with old friends. Not surprisingly, the city has changed much in the decades since I moved away.
While I enjoy learning new things about Charleston, my latest book, BAD TIME TO BE IN IT, heads back to the time when I lived there for part of the story. That was a lot of fun because I had all the details in my head. I’d been writing about the city since I moved away so I had not forgotten what it was like. But I also know that it has changed, a lot for the better.
I recommend visiting the places you write about. My current work-in-progress will also be based in Charleston, but other cities play a part. It will again be time to take my wife’s hand and head to the coast along with a few other cities. The writing life is not easy, but it can be a lot of fun!
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Bad Time To Be In It (July 2018, Henery Press) will be his sixth. Having lived on Charleston’s Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.
Somewhere, in the darkness of the night, I became a writer. With my heart pounding, and words flying willy-nilly through my head, waking me from a sound sleep, I wrote the first few precious words down on paper, only to go back to sleep, finding myself constantly being harassed by these “precious words” while I was, once again, trying to sleep. God knows I definitely need my nine hours of sleep, or I am stronger than a tornado, disrupting any living thing that is in my path…growling like a bear, the next day. But it was what it was, and I entered into the make-believe world of fantasy and imagination, and smiled as I placed by mind and body on the conveyer belt of writing that would transport me through the next nine years of disappointments, smiles, tears, and the never-ending support of my wonderful husband and family.
Writing a book or a story. Sounds so serene and peaceful, doesn’t it? When it all started, it seemed so basic. So easy. But it really was not any of these. It was hard work, trying to reflect my deepest thoughts into a document on my computer. Spending hours just staring at words that had been written. Words that never made any sense. Just staring back at me as if to say, “Well, we’re waiting”. Taunting me to make a move, and to set the words into any kind of action. Daring me to take those same words that had entered my thoughts, without my permission, and make a story.
Then, without ever seeing it hit you, the editing makes its ugly appearance. It approaches you, like a soft summer storm passing by, and you say, “this is not so bad”, but watch out. The clouds darken, and they release their load. Editing is unbelievably difficult. When the book is ready, you smile, holding the large pile of papers to your chest in a fond embrace, and then you hand it over for someone to review, believing that you are a great writer. Don’t believe that for a second. You’re not quite prepared for how stupid you can be. It is an eye opener, for sure, and the storm can drown you. But you make it through with a little swearing and crying, and lots and lots of cookies, but gratitude must be shown for editors. Their job is difficult, and they do make the story better.
After gaining thirty pounds, I believed that I was on my way to sharing what I thought were very nice stories, and I was so proud and excited. Here they were. They were real. I could hold them. I remember lifting the covers of each book. Slowly, I turned pages, one at a time, deeply breathing in the smell of the ink that I had always enjoyed so much when I read all of the other books that other authors had written, and I smiled. I was an author. The time had come to set my creations free. They were crying out to me, encouraging my heart and mind, begging me to set them free for everyone to share and enjoy. But, after it was all said and done, there they sat at #999,950 out of 1,000,000 books. It broke my heart.
What is so personal to you is not as important to someone else. So, I had to decide, at some point, that the work I was doing was something I really loved doing. Something I believed in. Maybe I needed to believe that God wanted me to share my story so one person, somewhere, would read my words and be inspired. There must have been a reason why my fingers couldn’t stop typing the words that spilled from my brain. A reason to continue with hope and faith that something, some day and some how, would bring my stories to light, and, hopefully, make their entrance onto a bookshelf or a table. Not a bookshelf or table that was hidden way in the back of the store so that no one could see the beautiful picture cover that dressed my books, but one day, like magic, would appear when you first walked through the front door of that wonderful, large bookstore.
My soul. My deepest inner thoughts. I can visualize them sitting and waiting on that table, exposed for everyone to see, piled on top of each other, proud and glorious, smiling at me, silently yelling out that someone did take the time to understand what I had to say, and that all of the lonely days and nights, the nine years of no sleep, were all worth the tears and the heartbreak that I had endured.
If that doesn’t happen, which is a true reality because of the competition that is part of this business, you sit back and look at what you have accomplished. Not everyone can do what you have done. Maybe you won’t sell 5,000 books. Maybe you will only sell ten. Maybe you spent almost all of your retirement money, because self-publishing is so expensive, but you did it. You made a mark; albeit, maybe a very small mark, but it took guts. Guts to expose your thoughts, and to leave yourself wide open for criticism. That is not the work of a loser. That is the work of an adventurer who took a deep breath, reached deep down inside their soul, and, slowly, took small steps, which quickened with hope and excitement, taking them into the world of dreaming. A world that is very difficult to hold on to, but also very difficult to set free.
Somewhere in the night, I became a writer. The words have stopped, and the money is dwindling, so I am getting my nine hours of sleep once again. My husband is happy, but deep inside I am feeling a gnawing presence, and the old familiar words have started to make their existence known while I am asleep. Should I open the door once again, or do I turn onto my other side and just go back to sleep? Am I prepared for the hard work and heartbreak that accompanies writing a book? Time will tell, but what is moving around inside my brain may not let me rest much longer. I am hooked to writing, and I am sure that, eventually, I will open the door to let the words into my world once again. Hope and belief are forever waiting at my door.
Sandi Smith spent her time as a young girl combing the shelves of the public library. She has always enjoyed the magic that books have to offer and was inspired by her high school English teacher, Mr. Coolidge to embrace the arts. The author found her calling as a writer early one morning as her first story came to her in the form of a poem. Since then she has written more than 15 children’s books, with her most popular series about the adventures of an adorable spider in the A.R. Achnid series.
Sandi is happily married to her inspiration and husband of 40 years, John. She continues to write for her two precious grandchildren. When she’s not penning a new story, Sandi and John like to camp, kayak and to enjoy the simple life in their home in Pembroke, NH.