Tag Archives: encouragement

What’s in a Name? The Importance of Character Names

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I don’t know about you, but I spend way more time on baby naming sites now than I ever did when I was pregnant. Now, this could because the Internet was a baby itself the last time I had a bun in the oven, but you get what I mean, right? As an author, I spend A LOT of time choosing names for my characters, and it’s not easy, let me tell you! And, boy, have I messed it up a time or two…or three. But who’s counting?

 

Dreamer 3DIn my second novel, DREAMER, I needed to name the ladies that made up the Irish Seer Council, so I headed to one of my favorite websites, Behind the Name, and picked out some really great Irish names, such as Caiohme, Finnoula, Maire, Aine, and Eithne. Super-fun, but nearly impossible to pronounce, at least for Americans.

 

Seriously?? What the hell was I thinking??? I think it was in the final, FINAL edits that I finally figured out I had, like, four different spellings of Caiohme sprinkled throughout the book!

It’s in that same novel that I introduced one of my favorite characters ever, Rémy Giles. Now, I know there are lots of shortcuts for putting those cute little accent marks in Word or Scrivener (which is what I use), but it’s still a P.I.T.A. (pain in the ass).

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My vision of Rémy. What a cutie!

I often regretted my name choice, especially as he became a much more important character than I’d originally intended.

Lest you think my only character-naming foibles were birthed out of my love-hate relationship with exotic foreign names, let me tell you about my Brian disaster. In The Seeker Series, Ally’s mom has a boyfriend named Brian. Seems innocuous, huh? I mean, what could possibly difficult about such a normal name? Well, in the hands of an inept typist (me), it became Brain at least 60% of the time. And spellcheck never noticed! Argh!! I swore never to do THAT again! It worked pretty well until I decided to name my hero Gray in a recent short story. Gray is a sexy, 20-something with smoldering grey eyes. But have you guessed what I managed to do? Yep, it became Gary probably 80% of the time. Gary is a paunchy 50-something with watery blue eyes hidden behind reading glasses (apologies to all the hot Garys out there–you probably exist).

 

So, big deal, right? Why does this even matter, anyway? Who cares about a name? Well, I do. These characters become real people to me and I have conversations with them in my head. If I’m doing my job correctly, they become real people to my readers too. Nothing pulls a reader out of the story more than a typo that screws up a name. “Wait, who is this Gary person? I thought his name was Gray?” Yikes!

And don’t even get me started on the names I can NEVER use because that one kid I despised in elementary school had that name. Mine is Evan. He was a horrible bully and I can only use that name for a completely despicable character, like a cheating boyfriend.

 

Drop me a comment and tell me about your character-naming disasters! Readers, what do you love/hate about character names? #I’mCurious

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Day 17 of the Watch RWISA Write Tour: Rhani D’Chae

 

 

  

The characters in the following story are from my novel, Shadow of the Drill. After a moderately grueling assignment, they take a day off to enjoy a Sunday barbecue.

 

A Break in the Battle

 

   Charlene squealed, leaning to the side to avoid an airborne hot dog. She need not have worried, for the meaty missile bounced neatly against the chest of JT, who was seated next to her.

   “Damn it, Rudy!” JT grabbed a napkin from the table and scrubbed at his shirt. “That wasn’t funny!”

   “Really?” Rudy flashed an innocent grin over the top of barbecue grill. “I thought it was hilarious.”  He flipped a pair of hamburgers, then added a dash of seasoning to each.

   “You got hot dog grease on my shirt,” JT said crossly. “Next time, warn me so I can duck.”

   “Don’t run your mouth, and there won’t be a next time.” Rudy raised his right arm, pointing at the cast that encased it from wrist to elbow. “Even with this, I can hit what I’m aiming at.”

   JT shot a glare in Rudy’s general direction. “Can you believe him?”

   “You shouldn’t have said he was getting old, and you definitely shouldn’t have said he was losing his touch.” Charlene refilled her glass from the pitcher of lemonade on the table. Lemonade, and just the right amount of tequila.

   “Who’s getting old?” Decker stepped from the dining room onto the deck, leaning on a cane with one hand and holding a bowl of potato salad in the other. “You best not be talking about me!”

   “Don’t worry, Peter Pan, we weren’t.” Charlene pulled the chair to her left away from the table so that Decker could sit. “JT said it about Rudy.”

   “Well, that was stupid.” Decker set the bowl onto the table, then dropped into the chair, leaning the cane against the table before reaching for the pitcher.

   JT pointed to the stain on his shirt. “You’re not kidding! Good arm, bad arm, it don’t matter. He’s dead on.”

   He shifted in his chair, muttering a soft curse when his broken ribs objected.

   Decker smiled sympathetically, knowing from firsthand experience how he felt. “Give it a couple of weeks,” he advised. “You’ll feel better before you know it.”

   “I know,” JT replied. “But in the meantime, it really hurts!”

   “Your face looks better.” Decker reached across the table, tilting JT’s head to the right. “At least, the swelling’s gone down. You’ll have the color for a while, yet.”

   Charlene leaned back, tuning out the conversation while she thought back over the last six days.

   It had started as just another job, but it had quickly become so much more. Hired to find and retrieve a stolen Shelby Daytona Coupe, Decker and his team had landed in the middle of an auto theft ring that stretched from Bellevue to Portland. Finding the missing car had been difficult – retrieving it had been damn near impossible.

   The car had been located in Vancouver and liberated in the dark of night with considerable damage to all concerned. By the time the Shelby was safely in a truck headed north, Decker had calculated how much of a wear and tear fee he was going to charge his employer before the car was offloaded at its destination.

   Bruised and broken, Decker’s team had limped back to Tacoma and gone their separate ways. After checking on the Shelby, Decker had contacted the owner and arranged a time to meet.

   Charlene had greeted him at the door when he arrived home, the sight of his battered body bringing tears to her eyes. He had assured her that he was not seriously hurt, so there was no discussion of seeking medical help. He knew his body – and its injuries – better than any doctor, so she did not question his analysis of the situation.

   Injured and exhausted, he had needed rest. A great deal of rest. But, after only a day and a half, he was limping restlessly from room to room, and she knew that something needed to be done.

   The barbecue had been her idea, and he had willingly agreed. Though they often entertained, they had never invited more than two or three people over at once. The fact that it was JT’s first social visit to the house contributed to the uniqueness of the event, as did the presence of Decker’s old friend and occasional teammate, Hunter Grae.

   The side gate rattled, and Charlene jumped up to open it before Davis dropped his armload of Tupperware containers. The investigator gave her a warm smile, thanking her for her assistance.

   Charlene looked over his shoulder. “Where’s Bert?”

   “She’ll be along soon,” Davis told her. “She had to run her mother to the grocery store, so she’s a little behind schedule. But don’t worry, she’s not far behind me.”

   He handed over three of the containers. “Pasta salad, deviled eggs, and some sort of asparagus thing.” He shrugged apologetically. “Personally, I don’t think asparagus has any business being at a barbecue, but you know how Bert is.”

   Charlene laughed, then sobered when she noticed the manila envelope beneath the remaining two containers. “That better not be what I think it is.”

   “It’s everything I could find for the Palmer job. I promised I’d bring it by today.” He waved at Decker and JT, then slid the envelope from beneath the Tupperware to show he’d brought it.

   Charlene put her hand on his wrist, stopping him. “Not today, please. He’ll open it up, they’ll spend the rest of the day plotting and planning, and that’ll be it for the day off. You know it as well as I do. They just can’t help themselves.”

   Davis thought for a moment, then nodded. “You’re right,” he agreed. “Okay, I’ll toss this back in the car and give it to him tomorrow. I can’t stall any longer than that, but at least it won’t ruin today.”

   “Thank you,” Charlene said gratefully, then headed for the kitchen to unpack the Tupperware while Davis returned to his car.

   When she passed Rudy, he handed her a plate loaded with hotdogs and hamburger patties.

   “Here’s a first round. Is everything on the food table?”

   Charlene glanced over the long fold-up table that Decker had set on the grass. It held assorted buns and condiments, as well as paper plates and plastic silverware.

   “Just about. Hunter’s in the kitchen slicing cheese, and I have to put Bert’s stuff on plates, but it won’t take long. So yes, it’s pretty much ready. “

   “That’s a good thing.” Rudy pressed his fingers against the pieces of tape that held a long strip of gauze to the side of his face, checking that they were still secure. “So we’re just waiting on the cheese.”

   As if on cue, Hunter appeared on the deck, carrying a serving tray that had been loaded down with small plates of pickles, slices of cheese, and crisp lettuce leaves. He called out a greeting to Davis and Roberta, who were coming through the gate together, then headed for the picnic table to unload the tray.

   He was clad in shorts and a tank top, and Charlene could clearly see the stitches where the blade of a knife had cut into his calf, and the colorful section of bruising that a heavy object of some sort had left along his collarbone.

   She joined him at the picnic table, calling to the others as she set the plate down. She was able to get her hamburger onto a plate, along with potato salad and baked beans, before the table was surrounded by hungry people.

   Glad that she had escaped the swarm, Charlene returned to her place at the oversized table on the deck. Taking her seat, she enjoyed a moment of silence, knowing that a moment was all she would probably get.

   A light breeze brought the scent of roses, and Charlene closed her eyes, inhaling with pleasure. So far, the day had been wonderful, and she knew that the evening would be just as fine.

   Opening her eyes, she looked around at the people who mattered in her life. It couldn’t be more perfect, she thought with a contented smile. Fun, food, and the very best of friends combined to make a day that she would long remember. Especially since, for a few short hours, it was a fairly safe bet that no one was going to die.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

Rhani D’Chae RWISA Author Page

  

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

   

  

 

Day 6 Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour–Wendy Scott

Enjoy this fun story! I loved it!

 

Navigator by Wendy Scott

Luke’s body whirled through the portal in a kaleidoscope of starlight and rainbows. Burnt ozone stung his nostrils, and his stomach roiled as if live dragonflies flitted inside. He clutched his grandfather’s palm tighter, the only connection anchoring them together while they spun into the void, guided by the compass in his grandfather’s other hand.

“We’re here.” His grandfather’s words whistled with wheeziness.

He released Luke and turned away, pocketing the compass, but his old man’s movements weren’t quick enough to hide the tremors or his shortness of breath.

A mountain breeze, tinged with smoke ruffled the tussock grasses underfoot. In the valley below, Luke pinpointed a chimney on a cluster of shacks beside fenced paddocks. Had the old man’s sense of direction faded and cast them adrift?

“Follow me.” His grandfather rolled his shoulders back, lifted his head high, and led the descent.

Mindful of their journey’s mission doubt dragged at Luke’s feet. At only twelve, would he be found worthy? He didn’t want to think about his grandfather’s declining health if their bid was rejected.

Metallic scent tainted the air as they skirted past the dwellings; a one-room cottage, barn, and a smithy. Orange coals smoldered on the forge, hammers, and tongs lined up in military precision, but the pockmarked leather apron hung empty from a hook on the open door.

Without pause, his grandfather guided Luke out the back to the horse corrals. A bear of a man with arms like anvils leaned against the fence. Leather pants and knee-high boots sheathed his legs, but his chest was bare except for a star patterned tattoo, staining his chest muscles indigo and cobalt. At their approach his head swiveled, snaring the pair with a deep ocean gaze. Dryness etched Luke’s throat.

“Navigator, so many years have passed, I feared you would not return.”

Luke’s grandfather bowed his head. “Farrier, events have been unkind, but I keep my promises. My grandson had agreed to assume the responsibility in the place of his father who died when he was a babe.”

The men spoke as if Luke were a phantom, but he remained silent, remembering his grandfather’s instructions only to speak when asked a direct question by the otherworld farrier.

Grass scented warmth huffed through Luke’s hair. A midnight coated horse towered above his head. A white star marked the stallion’s forehead.

Luke clambered up the railings, but he still had to stretch to trail his fingertips along the horse’s snout. His breath caught when he gazed into the depths of the creature’s starlight eyes.

Firm fingers clasped Luke’s shoulder, and the farrier bowed towards the steed.  “Kasper approves of you. Come inside.”

The temperature in the smithy scorched the hairs inside Luke’s nose, and sweat trickled beneath his tunic, but the farrier worked the bellows until the coals combusted into flames. Next, he sprinkled a handful of sand into the hearth, and the fire danced into violet and malachite hues.

“You understand, old friend, without the enchantment your life span will be reduced to mortal years?”

My grandfather nodded.”These old bones grow weary, and the pathways are becoming muddled. My time is past. Luke is young, but he is pure of heart. ”

The farrier studied his friend for a moment before he reached out with his palm. “Navigator, of your own free will do you relinquish your powers to your grandson?”

The old man answered by dropping his compass into the farrier’s outstretched hand. “I do.”

The farrier’s otherworld stare scrutinized the boy, and although the being didn’t touch him, a prickling sensation rippled up Luke’s spine. After several heartbeats, the farrier inclined his head. “Your soul is free of darkness, but perhaps you are too young yet for any temptations to have challenged your values.”

“He’s a good lad. I vouch for him and will guide his path.” His grandfather squeezed Luke’s shoulder.

Calloused fingers gripped Luke’s chin. “Are you sure you want this? It’s not too late to back out and live a normal life. Be warned, once you accept you are bound for life. Each time you enter here seeking my help a non-negotiable toll must be paid.”

Before crossing over doubts had plagued Luke’s thoughts, but after tasting magic, he couldn’t settle for a dull life on the farm when his world had been opened to the lure of other realms.

Luke moistened his lips. “Navigator blood runs in my veins. I’m young, but I’m ready.”

The farrier released him. “Do I have your solemn vow you will only guide your passengers by the way of the light?”

Heart thundering, Luke focused on the compass. “I swear I’ll follow the true pathways.”

Light glinted off the chain as the farrier dangled the compass into the sparking coals. “Hold out your hand.”

Luke flinched, expecting his skin to sizzle when it touched the metal, but the compass was cool. He didn’t feel any different. Had the transfer worked?

The farrier clasped forearms with the older man. “You owe me one last favour, but I will redeem what’s due at another time.”

“As always it will be an honour to serve.” Luke’s grandfather stepped away.

“Navigator, peer into the fire.”

Several moments passed before Luke responded to his new title. Within the flames, he spied a young woman’s face, whose striking features seared into his memory.

“One day she will seek your skills, and when she does you must bring her to me.” The farrier crossed his arms.

Questions burned in Luke’s mind, but he’d been schooled on the protocols, so he suppressed his curiosity, and lowered his eyes. “As you command.”

The farrier ushered them into the yard and bid them farewell. “Keep your promises, follow the light and your direction will always be true.”

Outside Luke paused, blinking. A glittering path lit the way up to the portal.

Unshed tears gathered in his grandfather’s eyes. “The navigator’s sight is now hidden from me.”

Grasping the compass in one hand, Luke held out his other hand. “Come grandfather, I will guide you home.”

***

(Navigator is a prelude and companion scene to Fire Hooves – yet to be released by Wendy Scott).

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

WENDY SCOTT RWISA Author Page

 

Day 5 Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour–Gwen Plano

 

Welcome to Day 5! I am going to have to buy more Kleenex! This is such a great story! You’re gonna love it!

Love at First Sight

By Gwendolyn M Plano

 

“It doesn’t seem real. It just doesn’t seem real.” Mom muttered as she ran her hand over the curves of dad’s headstone. Sighing deeply, she stared blankly into the horizon.

After a few minutes, she turned and faced me. “I tell myself that it must be real.” She seemed to want my approval. “The stone says we were married 70 years. It must have happened; I must have been married. But, but…why can’t I remember?” She searched my face for answers.

Stooped from the burden of years now elusive and sometimes vacant, mom held my arm while she walked to either side of the monument.

“I saw him in a dream. Did I tell you that?”

“No, mom, I don’t think you did.”

“He was young, like when we first met.”

“Really? Could you tell me about how you met?”

“How?” Mom’s eyes darted to and fro as she struggled to answer. Then, as though the curtains lifted, she responded.

“Yes…yes, I can tell you how we met.”

“Let’s sit here, mom.” I led her to a cement bench under a tall oak tree near dad’s grave. “Now tell me how the two of you met.”

Mom took a deep breath and began. “It was during the war. I remember it now. It was 1944. There were posters in our high school which asked us to sign up to work at the Consolidated Aircraft factory in San Diego. They needed help building B-24 bombers. We called the bombers the Liberators. My sister and I and several of our girlfriends decided we wanted to help our country. Most of the boys in our class were enlisting in the army or navy. We wanted to do our part too.”

“Like Rosie the Riveter?”

“Oh, yes! We all wanted to be Rosie. Your grandparents didn’t much like the idea, but they knew the families of the other girls, and since we’d be living together and would watch out for one another, they finally agreed. After all, it was the patriotic thing to do.”

I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of mom being Rosie and asked where she lived.

“We lived with Aunt Lena on India Street in San Diego. She put in bunk beds for us. At night, we’d wash out our clothes and tie the pieces to the bedsprings so that they could dry overnight.”

“When we arrived at Consolidated, they gave each of us a uniform – blue pants and jacket. And, we had classes for a week or two. Most of us were assigned the job of riveting. It’s hard to believe, but there were about 20,000 women working at the factory. The assembly line was a mile long, and believe it or not, we built about nine bombers a day. Isn’t that amazing?”

“That is amazing, mom.” Pride glowed from mom’s face, and I couldn’t help but feel proud of her as well.

“I was assigned to the wings. I hate heights, but I’d climb on top of those wings and pretend I was sitting on the hood of a car. I didn’t get afraid that way. One day, when I was sitting up there, holding a riveting gun, your dad came by.”

“Hey,” he said. “What’s your name?” I thought I might be in trouble, but he smiled, so I smiled back.

“It’s Lauretta.”

“Well, Lauretta, you’re doing a great job. If you need anything, let me know. My name’s Jim, and I’m the foreman for this area.”

I put my arm around mom’s shoulder. “My goodness, mom, you were on the wing of a bomber when you met dad?”

“Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But, yes, that’s the first time we talked. I didn’t pay much attention to him, but my sister would whisper to me, “There he is again. I think he likes you. He keeps looking this way.”

Mom lowered her eyes and giggled. “Of course, I didn’t believe her.”

After pausing a bit, she continued. “Your dad started walking home with us in the evening. He lived further up the hill from us, so it wasn’t out of his way. Mind you, I was wearing the company uniform and had my hair in a bandana, so I was hardly a beauty.”

“Anyway, one day he asked if I’d like to come up to his place. And, I was stupid and said okay. That’s when I learned about the facts of life. You know, sex.”

“You didn’t know before then, mom?”

“No, but he taught me that night.” Mom giggled and put her hand on her face. “He wanted to get married right then. But, I told him no, he had to talk to my parents. We needed to do it right. Besides, I hardly knew him. There were a lot of shot-gun marriages those days. We all thought the end of the world was coming, and well, young lovers didn’t hold back.”

“So, you and dad became lovers?”

“You know the answer to that, don’t you? When I didn’t have my cycle, I knew I was pregnant. Your dad was elated and didn’t hesitate to talk to your grandparents. Of course, I was ashamed. But, I want you to understand something. You might have been the reason we married, but you were not the reason we stayed together for 70 years.”

“Did you love him, mom?” The question came out before I could filter it.

“I did, I just didn’t know I did. Your dad would tell anyone who would listen, ‘When I saw Lauretta on the wing of a B-24 bomber, I knew that she was the one for me.’ He’d say it all the time, ‘She’s the one for me!’” Mom giggled as she thought about this story. “Your dad always said it was love at first sight. But it wasn’t that way for me.”

“What do you mean by that, mom?”

“Well, love is a strange word, isn’t it? Your dad seemed to know from the first time he saw me that he wanted to marry me. I didn’t feel that way. I think my focus was romance or dreams. And, your dad wasn’t the wooing type.”

“I believe I fell in love with him after you were born. He thought you were the most beautiful baby in the whole world. In fact, I think he was happiest when he was holding you. He’d sing to you and rock you to sleep every night.”

She dropped her head, and tears rolled down her cheeks. My tears fell as well.

“He was a good man, a faithful man. Did I tell you his promise?”

I shook my head, and said, “no.”

“You know that he grew up hungry, right? During the Dust Bowl, his family barely survived. In fact, two of his sisters died.  Well, your dad promised me that his children would never go hungry. He would make sure of it. And, he did. He worked two jobs most of our marriage, and you kids were never hungry.” She paused and looked into my eyes.

“Your dad kept his promises.”

Mom grew silent. Her face turned from animated to expressionless, and I did not know what to think. She whispered something that I had to ask her to repeat. She sighed and looked at me again.

“It just doesn’t seem real.”

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

GWEN PLANO RWISA Author Page

 

Day 4 Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour–Beem Weeks

Let’s welcome author-of-the-day, BEEM WEEKS! You will LOVE his story and I DARE you to read it without a tissue handy!

 

Wordless

 

“What’s that word say?”

“That’s an easy one, Daddy. Just sound it out.”

Levi Bacchus can’t read. 36 years old, and he’d never learned the meaning of a single sentence.

“I just ain’t cut out for this, Jamie Lynn.”

The girl’s countenance dropped in disagreement—just like her mother, that one.

“So, you’re a quitter now?” she bellowed, sounding too much like the woman who’d walked out of their lives two years earlier.

Levi took offense. “Mind your manners, Missy. I ain’t never been called no quitter.”

“Reading is something everybody should be able to do, is all I’m saying.”

“It’s easy for you,” Levi argued. “You’re just a kid, still in school. You have teachers telling you what to do and how to do it. I’m just too old for learning.”

The girl narrowed her gaze, jabbed a finger into the open book. “From the beginning,” she demanded.

His heaving huff meant he’d do it again—if only for her sake.

Words formed in his head before finding place on his tongue. Some came through in broken bits and pieces, while others arrived fully formed and ready for sound.

Jamie’s excitement in the matter is why he kept trying. Well, that and the fact he’d long desired the ability to pick up the morning paper and offer complaint or praise for the direction of the nation. All those people in the break room at the plant held their own opinions on everything from the president to the latest championship season enjoyed by the local high school football team.

“That’s good, Daddy,” Jamie said, patting her father on the arm. “That’s really good. You’ll be reading books before too long.”

A smile worked at the edges of his lips, refusing to go unnoticed.

“I’d like that, Sweet Pea.” That’s all he’d say of the matter. If it came to that, well then, he’d have accomplished something worth appreciating.

Levi harbored bigger notions than merely reading books. When a man can read, he can do or be anything he wants to be. His own father often said a man who can’t read is forever in bondage. How can a man truly be free if he cannot read the document spelling out the very rights bestowed upon him by simple virtue of birth? No sir; being illiterate no longer appealed to him.

Of his immediate family—father, mother, two older brothers—only Levi failed to attend college. Oh, he graduated from high school. Being a star quarterback will afford that sort of luxury. But when those coaches from the universities came calling, low test scores couldn’t open doors that promised more than a life spent in auto factories.

He’d seen a show on TV about a man who’d been sent to prison for five years for armed robbery. While there, this man learned to read, took a course on the law, and became a legal secretary upon his release. Eight years later, he’d earned a law degree and opened his very own practice.

Levi didn’t see himself arguing cases in a court of law—defending criminals most likely to be guilty just didn’t appeal to his sense of right and wrong. What he did see, however, is the need for a good and honest person to run the city he’d forever called home.

“Think I could be mayor?” he asked his daughter.

Jamie Lynn always grinned over such talk. “Everybody has to have a dream, Daddy.”

It’s what she always says.

Everything begins with a dream.

She gets that part of her from her mother.

“Once I can read without stopping to ask questions,” he mused, “maybe I’ll throw my hat into the ring, huh?”

“There’s nothing wrong with asking questions,” she answered, weaving wisdom between her words.

*      *      *

She’d been a girl scout, his daughter—daisies and brownies before that. It’s the other girls who bullied her out of the joy that sort of thing once offered. Straight A’s have a way of making others feel inferior, even threatened.

But Jamie Lynn isn’t the type to pine or fret. She chose to tutor—and not just her father, either. Kids come to the house needing to know this and that among mathematics or English or science. Her dream? To be a teacher one day.

And she’ll accomplish that much and more.

Her mother had that very same sense about her as well. She knew what she wanted in life, and cleared the path upon which she traveled.

High school sweethearts they’d been, Jamie Lynn’s mother and father. She’d been the pretty cheerleader, he’d been the All-American boy with a cannon for an arm. She went to college, he didn’t.

But she returned to him, joyfully accepting his proposal for a life together. Her degree carried her back to the high school from which they’d both graduated. This time, rather than student, she became teacher—American History.

Levi went to work building Cadillacs in the local plant. It paid well, offered medical benefits and paid vacation time. Life settled into routines.

Then came their little bundle. This didn’t sit well with the newly-minted history teacher. No sir. It’s as if Levi had intentionally sabotaged his own wife’s career in some fiendish plot to keep her home.

Words of love became “stupid” and “ignorant” and “illiterate ass.” She walked out one evening and never came back to the home they’d built together.

A former student, he’d heard—five years her junior. They’d ran off together, supposedly making a new home somewhere out west.

Levi didn’t challenge it. He received the house and the kid in exchange for his signature on those papers he couldn’t even read.

Jamie Lynn, she’s the light that shined in his darkness, showed him there’s still so much more living to be done. And learning to read, well, that just added to the adventure.

*      *      *

The night came when he read an entire chapter from one of Jamie Lynn’s old middle school books—straight through, unpunctuated by all those starts and stops and nervous questions. By the end of the month, Levi had managed the entire story—all 207 pages.

“We have to celebrate, Daddy,” she insisted.

It’d been the silly draw of embarrassment that twisted his head left and right, his voice saying, “No need to make a fuss, Sweet Pea.”

But fuss is only the beginning. “Dinner and a movie,” she ordered. “Then we’ll stop off at the mall and pick out a few books that you might like.”

There were stories he recalled from his boyhood; books other kids clutched under their arms and took for granted. Stories that stirred so much excitement in those young lives.

They’d belong to him now.

“You’re finally blooming, Daddy—just like a flower.”

And so was his daughter.

A teacher in the making.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

BEEM WEEKS RWISA Author Page

 

 

 

Day 3 Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour–Laurie Finkelstein

Let’s have a HUGE welcome for our author-of-the-day, LAURIE FINKELSTEIN!

Bulletproof Vest

By Laurie Finkelstein

The bulk, padding, and steel plates weigh me down. The protection of a bulletproof vest is necessary. No matter the weather, I wear the cloak. The weight is a burden, but I trek on because wrapped is the only way to navigate my journey. The jacket protects my heart from being blown to crimson shards of death.

A direct hit is avoided for days and nights, lulling me into calm and complacency. “All will work out fine,” I tell myself. The truth tells a story I want to change. All my will and might does not make an impact to stop the bombardment.

Experience and time separates me from tragedy. At any moment, the bullets strike. Inside or out. My house cannot provide security, nor can a million people surrounding me. With nowhere to hide, I am a target. Shelter and safety are nonexistent.

Discharges are held back while luck and grace harbor me. The slugs will come, however, in a piercing barrage without warning, and will pummel me.

Knocked to the ground, I am immobilized and rendered helpless. My breathing is halted. My movements are stopped, and I understand what assaulted me.

The shockwave subsides, and in small increments, I am able to take in air. Incapacitated, I continue to lie until I am rescued by the rational thinking buried under an avalanche of pain, doubt, and fear. My thoughts check my vitals to make sure I am in the here and now. “Stay in the moment,” I tell myself. “I can manage this. I will persevere.”

“Rise,” I command. The mass of the garb constricts my movement, but I stand, analyze what must be done, and begin to act. The warrior in me comes out. Battles will be fought. My impervious attire gets me through another crisis, and its weight comforts me. Without the guise, I am unable to prevail against the onslaughts, which pop out of the dark corners of another day.

Yes, my vest is cumbersome, but without my swathe I will not withstand the painful projectiles. Clips are filled, ready to punch and knock me down, disabling me should I forget for a moment to cloak myself within my protective armor.

My bullets are not made of lead, surrounded by a dense metal. The projectiles do not come from terrorists intent on decimating me. The ammo does not come from a police state or a dictator’s command. A barrel is not involved.

My bullets are made of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Composed of irrational thoughts, insipid ideations, and ignorant rationalizations, they are crushing invisible forces. The capacity to shatter my resolve and render me dysfunctional invades me.

My unsociable enemy is treatable, but never disappears. My therapists validate my experiences of being trapped, resentful, guilty, shameful, ill-equipped, grief-stricken, lost, uncertain, and disabled. My growth in therapy helps me accept the challenge with compassion and empathy in my heart.

Throughout my lifetime three stages will haunt me.

Stage one is the onslaught of rounds. The crisis mode. The shock and pain.

Stage two is being slammed down, breath taken away. Sabotaged. Terms and feelings of the emergency are acknowledged.

Stage three is advocacy for myself. Stand. Breathe. Make decisions. Tools in hand to counteract the depression and anxiety and OCD. Utilize appropriate response and care.

Encouraged by others, I enroll in Toastmasters. Time for me to improve my public speaking and thinking on my feet. Professional and compelling ways of expressing my views is a talent I want to possess. Persuasive interactions are in reach. My computer with Google as my guide, I find the Toastmasters website. The rules and guidelines answer many of my questions. Ready to take on the challenge, I enter my credit card information and become a member. A direct thrust knocks me down.

At first, I don’t understand what attacks me. My heartbeat begins speeding up. My gasps for air speed up. My head spins with dizziness. The mighty effects of terror hammer me to the ground. Despair sinks me deeper into the attack.

Stage one. The thought of standing before people enunciating in a clear voice avoiding “ums” and “ahs” strikes with negative force. In a semi-frozen state of fear and regret, I struggle to make sense of my attacker. Groups of Toastmasters are warm, safe environments to learn public speaking and leadership skills. “Warm and safe,” I remind myself. Still my heart beats faster and my breath diminishes by the second. A ghost of recognition appears before me. Panic is familiar.

Stage two. My history tells me to take an extra Klonopin. Scared to death is not an option. Upon reaching my medicine cabinet with weak, wobble-producing legs, I discover my pill case empty. In my next move, I check the bottle. Empty. My heart beats faster and my limbs go numb. Sweat trickles down my forehead. My last attempt before I collapse in a heap of despair, I call my pharmacist. My trembling voice separated from my body explains my attack and lack of pills. “How fast can you fill the prescription?” my quivering voice speaks out. “Is ten minutes okay?” the pharmacy technician asks.

Stage three. My inner voice tells me to be brave. Think of a serene place. My happy place. Take deep soothing breaths. My toolbox is ransacked for more options until I come to grips with the present. The dispensary is too far to hike, so I must drive to pick up my pills. Cranked engine. Foot on pedal. Brake released. My self-talk takes me on a wild ride to the drug store. My trembling legs walk me to the back of the aisles. The friendly face of the tech reassures me. The credit card transaction is signed with a jellylike hand, completing the purchase.

Back in my car, I down the remedy with tepid water from an old bottle sitting in my trash. My panting is steadier, my heart pounding a little less. Within thirty minutes, I am relaxed, able to pursue my day. Ready to reassess my decision to become a Toastmaster. The choice is sound and important.

My bulletproof vest is worn as a badge of honor and survival. Without my garb, I would be a prisoner in my house, hiding in bed. Sick to my stomach. Useless.

The stigma of mental illness must be broken. My vest is worn with pride. I am a survivor. I am the voice of one in every five Americans experiencing the assailant. I am not alone.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

Laurie Finkelstein RWISA Author Page

Join Me at the Carolina BookFest 2016!!!

 

Book Signing
Carolina Book Fest is a book signing taking place
in the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina on October 15, 2016. The book signing
will be held at the Marriott City Center in downtown Charlotte from 10am
until 3pm
.

This is the perfect opportunity to meet over 100 bestselling authors from all genres!  You can find more information on the Marriott by going here.

Monster Mash (After Party)
Join us at 7:30pm back at the Marriott for
our Monster Mash! We will be throwing an epic after party to end our night!
Dress in your best costume and get ready to mingle with authors and readers!
A cash bar will be provided at the party.
Admission Prices
Book Signing: $15
Book Signing & After Party: $25
If you are interested in purchasing tickets
to attend Carolina Book Fest 2016, they can be purchased here:  
http://bit.ly/carolinabookfest2016tickets
Attending Authors

 

Here is our current list of attending
Carolina Book Fest Authors! Check out http://www.carolinabookfest.com/attending-authors
to learn more about them!
 
 
To keep up to date with all things Carolina Book Fest, follow us!

SEEKER is 1 Year Old!

 

It’s the 1-year anniversary of the publication of my first book, SEEKER! Happy Anniversary to ME!

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It’s still FREE on amazon, so before you read any farther, you should def skip on over and download it. Who says no to FREE???

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So, what have I learned over the past year about writing and publishing? Well, it’s a fascinating tale, so sit back and relax.

I wrote the first draft of Seeker in November 2013—yes, all 74K or so words in 30 days. It was my first NaNoWriMo and I was all in! I was doing it as a project along with my senior English students, so I had to finish. How would it look if the teacher failed to complete 50K words? Now, I had never in my life written a full-on novel, so I was completely clueless. I’m really embarrassed about it now. Plus, I had spent the weeks leading up to Nov. 1 helping prepare my students to write their novels and hadn’t actually given much thought or planning to my own. On Nov. 1, I got the whole class quietly launched on their writing and then sat down in front of my computer. And stared at a blank GoogleDoc. And thought, “Crap. What am I going to write about?” I continued in this vein for about 30 minutes. The mad clicking of computer keys all around me didn’t help at all. Just before utter panic set in, I started thinking about what kind of person I would like to write about. That’s how Jack Ruiz came into being. It’s funny that the entire series (with the small exception of a short scene in book 2) is told from Ally Moran’s point of view, when I actually created Jack first. Once I got started, the book actually flowed pretty fast and I discovered I REALLY LOVE writing. I didn’t know if I would. I mean, how many people think, “I should write a book some day.”? Lots. How many actually DO it? Not as many. And I didn’t know if it would be like so many of my other hobbies (knitting, cross-stitch, stamping, sewing) where I start a lot of projects and get bored and never finish. I shudder to think how many half-finished scarves are lurking around my house, just waiting for someone to come along and breathe life into them. Maybe my mom will finish them for me. Love you, Mommy.

I finished Seeker and promptly started nagging my friends and family to read it. I put it up on SwoonReads and got a few reads. Most importantly, I began the arduous process of revision. I took out some truly cheese-in-a-can scenes and replaced them with some good old-fashioned violence. I went to a writer’s conference and talked to a couple agents. Then I began the looong process of querying my manuscript. My baby, this piece of my soul I had committed to virtual paper. I sent it out into the world. And the rejections started rolling in. Yay! But I kept revising and polishing, even as I started on Book 2.

I eventually got a bit discouraged and decided to self-publish. I changed the title to one I thought was clever and oh-so literary: The Stern and Wild Ones. I decided to title each book in the series using a reference to the literary work that was featured in it. Book 1 featured The Scarlet Letter, hence the lovely title. Book 2 became The Charge of a Star because it was based on King Lear. Book 3 was slotted to become A Spirit Too Delicate (The Tempest). I can’t remember what I was thinking for book 4.

One thing you can say for me: I don’t give up easily. I still kept querying publishers and agents. Imagine my complete and total surprise when, as I was working on book 3, a desktop notification popped up from Limitless Publishing. I opened it, fully expecting yet another politely worded rejection, but saw the magic words: We want to offer you a contract. OMG. I handed the computer to my husband and asked him to read it just to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Nope. They actually wanted to publish my book. They offered me a contract for the entire 4-book series!!! Book 4 didn’t even exist yet! They did make it contingent on a change of title, however. I pitched them my original titles: Seeker, Dreamer, Seer, and Oracle. Boom. They liked them and we signed all the paperwork. The next few months were a flurry of revision, editing, blurbs, and cover design. I discovered I love working with an editor—who knew? I didn’t have to do anything with the blurbs or covers except give feedback.

Then on April 28, 2015, my very first book baby was born.

So, here it is: 1 year later. I have published 5 books with Limitless: the 4 in The Seeker Series and a stand-alone YA romantic suspense titled The Way to Her Heart. I have a featured story on Wattpad called Like Wildfire and a work-in-progress called So They Loved, my first foray into adult contemporary romance. It’s picking up some nice steam on Wattpad, so give it a try and let me know what you think!        wildfireSo They Loved.png

I’ve learned a TON this last year about writing, revising, editing, and marketing. And I have so much more to learn! But it’s a great journey and I love it! I have so many fun story ideas rattling around in my brain, so stay with me, people!

To celebrate my anniversary, I will pick 1 lucky reader who comments on this post or on my Facebook page to win a FREE ebook of The Way to Her Heart OR your choice of Book 2, 3, or 4 in The Seeker Series (since Seeker is FREE—did I mention that?) ff9d5-seeker2bseries2bcollage785bc-the2bway2bto2bher2bheart2bfront

I’ll pick a winner 

May 5 2016.

Thanks SO MUCH for all your amazing support and encouragement this year! You guys ROCK!!!

Amy

 

Feature Friday: Fading Away by Danielle Wicks

 

Fading Away
Hardest Mistakes Book 1
by Dannielle Wicks
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
 

 

One night.
One stupid mistake.
Changes everything.
SAMMY STEVENS was tragically orphaned at the age of nine
and sent to live with a foster family in the town of Miakoda Falls.
She’s constantly bullied at school by the arrogant,
selfish, one and only… KAI JORDAN.
Kai is your typical entitled teen who’s on the verge of
attending a university and having everything he ever wanted handed to him.
 
But all that changes when he is involved in a car
accident after a night of partying…
He’s suddenly and painfully brought into the world of the
supernatural.
Kai turns to the last person he ever would’ve expected,
Sammy, as he struggles with his new identity and watches the people closest to
him move on. And he is forgotten.
 
As Kai and Sammy grow closer, Kai must figure out a way
to either fight to stay human or risk being stuck forever, as a prisoner of his
own body…
 
Excerpt
— My door swings open before I reach it and I smack into
a naked chest.
“Oh. Sorry.” My face heats up in embarrassment. Kai
smirks down at me and walks past. “Hey!
Where are you going?”
He doesn’t stop as he looks over his shoulder. “I heard
Ashlee leave.”
“Kai! Come back here!” I yell and follow after him down the
stairs and into the main hallway. “You can’t just walk around the house. What
if Ashlee comes home? She’s not going to knock; she’s just going to walk in.
This is her house. Besides, she said she would be right back.”
Kai stops so suddenly I nearly collide with him again.
“You worry too much, Sammy.” I narrow my eyes. He’s started calling me by my
nickname. I’m not sure if I’m okay with that.
“Aren’t you cold?” I challenge, referring to his naked
top half. Not that I’m complaining, but I know for a fact he owns a t-shirt and
it’s like minus a million in here.
A brilliant smile lights up his face. “Nope.”
As if on cue, the front door clicks open and Ashlee
shuffles in, hands full of plastic bags. “Sam! I’m back with the Chinese! Get
your butt down here!”
Kai turns to me, silver eyes wide. As soon as Ashlee
rounds the corner from the front door she’ll see him. “I told you,” I whisper
frantically as I drag him into the small hall closet.
“Sam?” Ashlee’s voice sounds so close, she must be just
outside the door. I exhale a heavy breath as her footsteps echo up the stairs
away from us. The light seeping under the door makes everything look dark grey.
I realize then that my hands are pressed up against Kai’s bare chest and he has
his arms wrapped tightly around me. We both let go at the same time and look
away.
“I understand why I’m hiding in the closet,” Kai
whispers, his breath tickling the hair on top of my head. “But why are you in
here with me?” I glance up to see his quirked eyebrow, and scowl at him, pressing
my lips together tightly.
“Shut up! I didn’t exactly have time to think this
through, okay?” His quiet chuckle echoes through the small space, I narrow my
eyes in annoyance and twist to stare at the gap under the door.
I can feel the heat radiating off Kai’s skin. I slowly
lift my head to look back up at him. He’s gazing down at me with his mouth
slightly open, his silver eyes glitter in the dim light. The atmosphere becomes
heavy and tense, crackling with electricity; I’m caught in his gaze, slowly leaning
closer to him. His hands come up and barely brush my arms. I inhale a shaky
breath and take a half step back, biting my lip. My back hits the wall of the
closet with a soft thump, breaking the spell. Kai’s eyes widen and he looks
away quickly.
“I should get out there, before she sends a search
party.”
He nods, still not looking at me and I move to open the
door.
“I’ll save you some dim sum?” The corner of my mouth
lifts in a small smile; I grasp the door knob and slip out of the closet. I
shut the door behind me with a snick and lean back against it, shaking my head.
What was that? Pushing off the door, I walk down the hall into the kitchen to
find Ashlee… —


Dannielle Wicks
Currently lives in the town of Kingaroy, Queensland in
Australia. She is a TV show nerd and lover of cars. She has always had a love
for writing, even in school. She used to hide her writing notebook inside her
textbooks just so the teacher wouldn’t notice what she was up to. She loves
reading, especially paranormal romance. When she’s not writing or working, she
competes in Speedway Sedan Racing across the state.

 

Cover Reveal: The Ocean Between Us by Delisa Lynn

COVER REVEAL
 
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“The lives they chose kept them apart – 
Is their love enough to bring them together?”
THE OCEAN BETWEEN US by Delisa Lynn
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: March 15, 2016
– SYNOPSIS –
Masters Sweet Baked Goods—the best bakery in Benton Creek.
Run by Hendlee Masters and her grandmother, Masters Sweets is the heart and soul of what’s left of Hendlee’s family. Raised by her grandmother after her parents died when she was only five, Hendlee’s poured her time and energy into building her own life in the small town she loves.
Best friends are hard to find—and even harder to keep.
Hendlee didn’t start to notice her feelings for one of her friends—Quaid Castings—until she was in high school. By then it was too late. Unlike her, his plans for the future involved ditching town and enrolling in the Naval Academy.
Just one night with Quaid is all she wants, but when it finally happens, it’s not nearly enough. And he’s leaving in less than twenty-four hours.
The pursuit of happiness often requires leaving someone behind.
Quaid wants more than the country life. Joining the Navy is the best way to explore the world beyond the hills of Kentucky. Except chasing his dream means leaving behind the girl he’s been in love with all his life—Hendlee Masters.
When Quaid chooses a career in the Navy over the love of a small-town girl, will their fates once again align? Or will their love be lost in The Oceans Between Us?
– COVER DESIGNER –
REDBIRD DESIGNS:

 

– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –

Delisa Lynn grew up in Columbus Ohio, she is currently residing in Western New York with her husband and fur daughter Sophie. During the day she works as a Medical Assistant and at night, she types away on her laptop, allowing her characters to escape her mind. Pink is her favorite color, and she loves anything animal print. She loves traveling, shopping and baking. When Delisa isn’t working or writing you can catch her snuggled up with her kindle reading about her newest book boyfriend.
– social media links –