Maybe you overspent the budget this month. Maybe you accidentally wrecked the truck. Maybe you broke one of her prized possessions. Maybe you threw away his lucky shirt. Did you drink all the milk and put an empty carton back in the fridge?
We all do stuff to get us in trouble with our loved ones and today is the day to do something to make up for all of our idiot moves. We are going to need a longer day. If you are anything like me, you screw up on a daily basis. I am constantly looking for ways to make up for the stupid things I have done.
You could prepare a nice meal and have it waiting for your loved one. You could stop on the way home from work and pick up a single rose. You could do some household chore that she has been wanting to have done. You could leave little love notes where your loved one could find them unexpectedly. That is always cool. When she is taking a shower or bath, you could sneak her towel into the dryer and then hand her a warm fresh feeling towel when she gets out. That one is always sweet.
Put on your creative thinking cap and come up with something today. You have been in the doghouse for too long and maybe can't even remember why you are there in the first place.
We don't always know what we have done to get there but that is irrelevant, you are there and need to do some kissing up today and get back in the big house.
Good luck today. Get out there and do some good you trouble maker you.
Ellis Knox‘ Talysse
Last week I interviewed Ellis Knox and learned what makes him tick as a writer. Today we have his character Talysse.
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
My name is Talysse. I am fifteen years old and live at the Saldemer cenobitum, which is a sort of monastery plus orphanage.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I’m not really sure. I was given up by my parents when I was a baby.
3. How would you describe yourself?
They tell me I show great promise of being a magician. But the exercises they make me do are just stupid and boring. I’d rather go fly. I can fly, you know.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
Here. In Saldemer. Which is a cenobitum on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. We have a light tower, so ships don’t come too close and get stuck.
5. How old are you?
Fifteen. I already told you!
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
What’s that mean? I’ve been happy. I’ve been sad. The Prevôt says I’m still a child, but I think I’m very nearly grown.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
I hate Prevôt Trumbert. He’s a tyrant. I don’t like the twins because they’re mean to me. They’re mean to just about everyone and are the Prevôt’s pets. I love Detta. She’s my compagnon, which means she’s like an aunt plus friend. She’s been with me ever since I was little, and she’s the only one who knows I can fly. One day she and I are going to leave Saldemer and go find my parents, even though Trumbert says they died. Detta is a gnome. Obviously.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
9. What are you obsessed with?
I’m interested in things. I don’t think anyone should be obsessed with anything.
10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I’m still figuring out my beliefs and I don’t know how to make life better for anyone, except by leaving this place. How could I ever figure that out by staying here?
11. Biggest fear?
I know this one. I haven’t told it to anyone, not even to Detta. I fear that I won’t matter. That I’ll grow up, go out into the world, and nothing at all will come of it. I want to matter.
12. What line will you never cross?
Hm. Well, I won’t ever hurt Detta, if that’s what you mean. I can’t really say much about lines. I’m only fifteen!
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
The best thing ever was learning that I could fly. It’s terrifically marvelous. I was on top of a salt hill and I don’t know I just got this notion to run and jump. Have you ever been up high and you get this feeling and it’s all you can do not to jump? Well, I jumped. And I could feel the wind under me. Not like the wind, though, because that passed over and around you, but like there are these cords or snakes in the air and I could feel them, take hold of them. Ride them. And all the time the earth is pulling you down, like mud in the marshlands, so the game is to keep hold of those air currents as long as you can
before you land. I’ve got quite good at it.
The worst thing? Being a donata. That word means “given” as in given away, to the cenobites. And it doesn’t matter how many times my patron (his name is Remigius and he’s a wizard, not that it matters) tells me why they did it, they still did it. And I’m still here. But not for long.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Well. There was this one time. I was doing a Demonstrandum for the whole cenobitum. All the donata were there, visitors, patrons. And the cenobites. And I was supposed to do Water Column, which is where you take a jug of water and cause the water to rise to the ceiling. In a column, obviously. But I thought I would do Mist because I wasn’t supposed to have learned that yet but I did and nobody knew it (except Detta because she knows everything). I guess I was going to show off. But something went wrong and the water just absolutely exploded over everyone. They were drenched. I was embarrassed because of the visitors and because Detta had been bragging about me and I embarrassed her.
15. Biggest secret?
That I can fly. Obviously.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
"And here I sit the retired writer in the sun The retired writer in the sun, and I'm Blue, the retired writer in the sun" --Donovan Leitch
(Me writing Voices in Crystal on 2011)
I've always written. Ever since I can remember I've told or written stories based on things I dreamed or movies I saw. I began as a poet, paraphrasing childhood rhymes but then I switched to novels by age 14. I wrote file cabinets full of stories through high school, college and early adult life. Then, when I married and had my first child I thought it might be time to publish one of them. It was the ancestor of Children of Stone, but in those days (1985) I called it The Avatar (guess why I didn't keep that title) Having researched how to set up the typewritten tome and having chosen a few publishing houses, I decided to submit, un-agented and green. The manuscripts came back, of course. I learned from that experience that I needed to not only try to interest an agent, I needed to start by making a name for myself through getting short stories published in magazines. That crushed me, because I wrote very long epics. I'd never written anything shorter than hundreds of pages. I tried again, and then decided to stop. My second child had been born and my main focus was that of raising children economically while my spouse completed a doctorate. I was a stay-at-home Mom with an unuseable Master's degree in Art History embracing the career of domestic engineer. Fast forward ten years. Over the years, I computerized in my spare time. Now my typewritten sheets were on 3 x 5 diskettes. I went to the library to hone in on ancient Egypt and to create a sense of realism in my world building. My sketchy dream-visions had detail but I needed (because I love research) a little verification.
For a few years it was great, then life got in the way once more. My kids were older and needed me to tend to their activities. Thinking of teaching art, I went back to school, but ended up being a substitute teacher instead. That activity, plus working with my parents estates out of town and children in college far away continually got in the way of my writing life. In 2010 two things happened. My old friend who had formed the ideas for the stories with me gave me a call. Twenty years had passed. My daughter also called and asked if I was ever going to do anything with my stories. I dredged up the diskettes and found the stories could be moved to the latest computers - just in the nick of technology. I wrote revisions and along the way learned to fix the research via the internet. My daughter beta read and thought I had a hit on my hands.
I was 65 years old and recently retired. I began to devote more time to my lifelong dream. Times had changed. Typewritten manuscript had given way to the PDF and the mobi file. Ebooks were neck and neck with the printed ones and audiobooks were increasing. Social media was the way books were now sold, unless you could pay large amounts for advertising and an agent.
How would I publish? How would I sell? I still hadn't created short stories for magazines. I was barely on Facebook. I was introduced via the back door to the world of Indie Publishing. I say via the back door, because I had the book, but no fans or following. I didn't have a target audience, blog, newsletter or a particularly well defined genre. On a tip and a hunch, I contacted Createspace, got the book formatted and got a cover, put the book up for sale and watched while NOTHING HAPPENED. There were occasional sales, but nothing close to what I had thought would be a greatly loved and widely enjoyed story. I needed marketing knowledge and I had none. I also didn't want to stop writing, so when was I going to learn marketing? I went on to write three more books in the series, two of which have been published and one which will come soon. I'm slowly learning as I write. My regrets are the same as any other elder on a new venture. I know the difficulties but am pushing on and learning new tricks every day, even though it's daunting. For the record, I have advised my 30-something kids and any other aspiring young writer to start earlier. Publish early and publish often! If it's your dream, don't think you can't or that it's not good enough. Worse writers are making millions while you are gilding your lily. Above all don't give up, even if it doesn't become the next Harry Potter or 50 Shades...
Avoid becoming the retired writer in the sun!
And now Jacqueline Simonds, Author of THE MIDSUMMER WIFE
First a few links and statistics to help you find her wonderful book!
MC Ava Cerdwen has an anxiety disorder; Ron Steadbye is biracial (British-Zimbabwean);non-Christian (pagan) religion, tattoos play a part in the story; sex-positive romance, but not erotica.
Tagline: The reincarnated souls of King Arthur, Merlin, and an anxiety-ridden priestess return to save Britain after a devastating nuclear attack, only to find an old foe: Morgaine.
After a nuclear attack on London that heralds The Time Foretold, Ava Cerdwin, the anxiety-ridden high priestess in charge of fulfilling a 1500 year old prophesy, must assist the heirs of King Arthur and Merlin in healing the devastated country. The descendants of Britain’s great men of legend have kept the myths and relics for 61 generations, but no one is quite clear on what they must do next.
Nothing goes as planned: Ava falls for the wrong heir, the panic attacks are getting worse, the complex obligations of reincarnation are straining old relationships, and Morgaine and her henchwomen are trying to kill them. Somehow, some way, Ava has to make the Healing happen, or Britain is finished.
The Midsummer Wife, Book One of the Heirs to Camelot is an Urban Fantasy that combines Arthurian lore, love, and a race to a breathtaking finish.
“Sex, magic, and power collide in this [Urban] Fantasy that begins when a devastating terrorist attack on modern London sparks the long-foretold return of King Arthur to heal Britain. Simonds boldly continues the Arthurian saga into the present day, as heirs to Arthur, Merlin, and the woman both men once loved struggle to understand and fulfill their destinies and outwit the sinister agenda of the sorceress Morgaine.” ~ Lisa Jensen, author Alias Hook and Beast: A Love Story
“Imaginative, mesmerizing, and emotionally complex, Simonds’ unique story boldly expands the Arthurian legend into exciting new territory. The fantastical elements—rituals from old Celtic religions, dark magic, forces of fate—are well drawn and skillfully integrated into a contemporary setting. And then there’s the romance… the palpable chemistry between Ava and Ron (the Arthur heir), complicated by their respective destinies, makes their relationship a riveting read.” ~ Mary Fan, author of Starswept, Artificial Absolutes
Jacqueline Church Simonds is an author and publishing consultant living in Reno, Nevada with her husband and beagle. Her previous novels are
CAPTAIN MARY, BUCCANEER, and
THE BOOK OF ANYA.
See the storyboard on Pinterest: https://bit.ly/2sqTnLy
I’m on twitter: @jcsimonds
And Facebook: JacquelineSimonds
And now the interview!
What made you want to be a writer?
I think I always wanted to tell stories but didn’t immediately connect with books. Unusually enough, I
was at first a “reluctant reader,” and didn’t quite get the whole “words on paper” thing. It didn’t
connect with the action in my head. I finally learned
to read, but it still didn’t really “click” for me. Then I readThe Little Prince. It totally rocked my tiny world—it was the first book that made me cry. Then I was obsessed with books and the writing of them!
Tell us your book’s genre?
The publisher of THE MIDSUMMER WIFE settled on Urban Fantasy, although I think it could more broadly be called “paranormal” or even “contemporary Arthurian fantasy.” There’s direct intervention of a deity (“the Goddess”), the return of King Arthur and Merlin, a sex-positive romance, and fantastical elements.
Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
THE MIDSUMMER WIFE is about an anxiety-ridden priestess who joins with the heirs of King Arthur and Merlin to restorea devastated Britain—only to face an old adversary, Morgaine. The book is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. I don’t know about plans for the wider market at this time.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
I once met a poet who didn’t read poems.She asserted she didn’t want to “pollute” her poetry with the works of others. Her work was so-so (I’m being charitable).
All writers need to read broadly—in their own genre as well as others. Every great author reads widely. This gives writers two things: an understanding of their genre as it is right now in the marketplace, and ideas on how to increase ones “writing chops.” That doesn’t mean you “steal” other writers’ ideas, but adopt and adapt techniques. Writers are always growing and learning. You can only do that by constantly studying your craft—aka, reading.
How didyou come up with this fantastic idea?
I have always loved the King Arthur stories. In particular, I have enjoyed The Mists of Avalon—a specifically female POV on that sub-genre. I tried my hand at writing something like it (just this side of a “fanfic”). But I thought it would be interesting to write a frame tale (sort of a short story that starts and ends the main story—which is connected in some way. In this case), I had the heirs of the people referenced in the main story.
I asked some friends to read the book—and they were way more interested in the heirs. So I wrote THE MIDSUMMER WIFE. Once I finished that, I realized there were two possible futures that came from the ending, so I have already written Books 2 & 3. They’ll be released in 2019.
We will be releasing the original story, ANYA: THE HEALER OF CAMELOT in August.
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
Ava Cerdwen, the main character, and I share several traits. But there are pieces of me in almost every character.
Did the Bible or other spiritual works have anything to do with your idea for this novel?
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
If there is a message to the book at all is that there are things more important than one’s own concerns.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
Marketing is hard—full stop. Everything else—even pulling words out of the air to put on paper—is way easier. Getting your book into the hands of your actual reader/buyer (bookstores and Amazon are not your buyer) is a tough slog.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
I’m not particularly fussy. I have an office and write there. I use Pandora, and find that often if I can match up the mood of the book with some music, this helps. However, if you find me staring off into space, I am writing in my head. LOL.
What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
I don’t really have much that I need. Probably I could do with a way to turn off my ability to fritter away my time on the internet.
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
I queried THE MIDSUMMER WIFE to over 100 agents and small presses. I was about to self-
Publish when Vagabondage Press offered a contract.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
I’ve found the folks at The Sci-Fi Roundtable (on Facebook at scifiroundtable.com) helpful in offering their thoughts and possible solutions.
How do you market your book?
I use Facebook and Twitter to interact with a large number of people, and will be offering the book to established book reviewers. My publisher will be using their newsletters and website plus various promotional sales.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
My previous book was CAPTAIN MARY, BUCCANEER about a woman pirate captain in the 1700s (loosely based on the real pirates Ann Bonny & Mary Reade). I was at a pirate symposium—part of an All City Reads of Treasure Island—and a woman came up to me and said my book empowered her. Her husband said she’d completely changed since she read the book. I went home and cried for hours.
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
I have a couple of friends who have suffered through various iterations of my manuscripts. They are fairly blunt with me. I believe that you cannot grow without direct, honest critiques. It sometimes stings, but I’ve always written better afterwards.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
I did a reading and signing at Chinook Bookshop in Colorado Springs, Colorado—which no longer exists. It was mostly my parents friends—since I no longer live there. But there were about 30 people attending. The funniest moment was right before we started and a guy came up to me, mistaking me for one of the store workers. He wanted directions (it was 2000, so before Google Maps). But by the time he left, he had bought one of my books, which I signed.
Some silly questions!
What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
Cross-stitching, reading, gardening, politicking. Cruise and RV traveling are favorites, too.
Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is.
Lobster! I am a serious pig for it. I love red and purple (lilac especially)
Tell us your favorite novel?
That’s like picking a favorite kid! There’s a whole list The Little Prince, Stranger in a Strange Land,The Mists of Avalon, Incidence at the Fingerpost, The Night Circus... and on and on.
A live drama or the opera?
I like few operas (musicals are fun). We attend Shakespeare at Lake Tahoe every year and love that.
Chips or crackers?
I have potato chips about twice a year. I like them, but they don’t much care for me. I adore these flat rosemary crackers... but don’t have those often, either.
Hamburger or chicken sandwich?
If presented with both—and they were either homemade or not-fast-food--I would probably choose chicken.
Fries or onion rings?
I like French fries, but don’t have them often. I can get seriously maniacal about sweet potato fries. Onion rings are hatching a plot to kill me, so I try to avoid them. (I have an intestinal disorder)
Milk shake or smoothie?
Butterscotch shake or death!
Thunderstorms or stargazing??
Star-gazing. I live in the desert West where a storm can turn into a wildfire event—double scary!
Kindle or paperback novels?
I like books (hardbacks and paper). I must, because I have over 4000. But I also read a lot on my Kindle—especially when I am travelling.
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book? I think I tried to make every mistake possible!
The cover font is terrible. I thought it looked really cool, but it makes d’s look like fat a’s, so my name turns up in library databases as “Simonas.” The cover is completely inappropriate for an adult historical novel and I have found the story of my bisexual pirate shelved in the YA section of bookstrores.
Lastly: back in 2000 there was no print on demand and you had to order at least 3000 to keep the costs down. So I got 3000 books delivered to my garage and realized I had no idea how to sell them or get them into bookstores.
What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
SLOW. DOWN. Take your time to make your manuscript the very best it can be. Don’t rush just because you want to “get it out there. It’s your mind-child, not a bad gall bladder. Get the book edited by a professional, get the best cover you can. Plan how you will sell the book before you put it on the market. [Disclosure: I am a book shepherd/ publishing consultant.]
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
I have been fortunate to have several people (authors and publishing professionals) give me tips, tricks, and their thoughts on my way forward. Not all the advice applies to what I am doing, but I take it all in, and try to give as good as I get in return!
When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
The release dates are: THE MIDSUMMER WIFE (Book 1 of the Heirs to Camelot series) Midsummer Day (June 24)ANYA: THE HEALER OF CAMELOT (prequel) (August 2018)
THE SOLSTICE BRIDE (Book 2) early 2019
MISTRESS OF THE ROSE MOON (Book 3) late 2019
Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
I have a website/blog www.jcsimonds.com,
Facebook author page JacquelineSimonds,
Twitter @jcsimonds, and am on Amazon’s author page and Goodreads
A while ago I canvassed local sites for interviews. Usually it's a struggle to get volunteers. This time, however, many have responded and and I'm booking into January 2019. I do lots of things for you. 1. I do your two interviews 2. If you have a release you want me to talk about or a special and I can't put your interview near it, I STILL announce it . 3. I follow you on Amazon 4. If I am notified in time that you have a release, I mention it as a new Release. 5. If you have a promo or a sale I mention it. Just contact me for any changes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a provisional list. (Not everything is filled in yet) Later dates may be easier to change and I will always accept additional material up to the Sunday before I print your entry!
If you are not yet on the list and want some FREE PROMO contact me and I will try to fit you in!
July 23 National Vanilla Ice Cream Day
Jacqueline Saimonds‘ Ava + Leighton Evans More of my writing updates!
July 30 National Cheesecake Day
Leighton Evan’s Character + Charissa Dufour Interview
August 6 National Root Beer Float Day
Charissa Dufour /excerpt + Paul White Interview
August 13 Left-Handers Day Paul White excerpt + Lynne Stringer Interview
August 20 National Radio Day
Lynne’s review, Sarah Fenhart + Bill Nash Interview
August 27 National Just Because Day Bill Nash Character – Jack Slater + Eric Johannsen interview & reviews
September 3 Labor Day Eric Johanssen‘s character – Ji-Min + Carmilla Voiez Interview
September 10 National Swap Ideas Day Carmilla’s characters pics + Merri Halma Interview
September 17 National Apple Dumpling Day Merri character or excerpt + A H. Johnstone Interview.
September 24 National Punctuation Day
A H. Johnstone character + D. C. Fergerson Interview
October 1 National Homemade Cookies Day
D. C. Fergerson + Geoffrey Porter Interview
October 8 NATIONAL PIEROGI DAY
Geoffrey Porter Character + Michael Parker Interview
October 15 National Cheese Curd Day
Michael Parker Character + Yvette Bostic Interview
October 22 National Color Day
Yvette Bostic Character + James Q. Meservy interview
October 29 National Cat Day
James Q. Meservy blurb & character + Joseph Malik
November 5 National Doughnut Day
Joseph Malik Character + Stephanie Barr interview
November 12 National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day
Stephanie Barr character + Geoff Habiger
November 19 National Play Monopoly Day
Geoff habiger character + Christian Terry
November 26 National Cake Day Christian Terry + Susan Marcus Interview
December 3 National Roof Over Your Head Day Susan Marcus Character + Greg Krojac (Taylor)interview
December 10 Human Rights Day Greg Krojac (Taylor)character Copelia + Patrick Tylee (Rick Eve)Interview
December 17 National Maple Syrup Day Patrick Tylee (Rick Eve)Character Wynne Dubroc + J D Byrne Interview +
December 24 Christmas Eve National Eggnog Day J D Byrne Character + Mike Huard
December 31 New Years Eve National Champagne Day Mike Huard +Margena Holmes
January 7 National Bobblehead Day
Margena Holmes + D C Harrell
National Clean Off Your Desk Day D C Harrell +Shane Lasseter
Martin Luther King Day and Squirrel Appreciation Day Shane Lasseter.
Thanks once again for your help in the success of Children of Stone blog!