Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love: Ann and the Viking cover

Love: Ann and the Viking
A Tale from the Vampire Family
Book One in the series

Fate and Fangs

Revel in the vampire lust and long lasting torment. In this haunting world, two things bind a vampire: FATE and FANGS!

The Vampire Family has a long and torrid past, present, and future. In FATE and FANGS, the family's Occult scholar Professor A. James shares vampire vignettes of love, punishment, struggle, debauchery, lust, humanity, and resurrection. Victoria uses the fallout from the American Civil War to her advantage-or so the beautiful but deadly blockade-runner hopes. After all her using, abusing, and feedings, Victoria’s slaves finally take matters into their own hands, forcing Antonio’s daughter to face her own mortality.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Missing, Assumed Dead cover


Missing, Assumed Dead

by Marva Dasef

Prejudice, suicide, murder, insanity. Just the everyday happenings in a remote town in the Oregon desert.

When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she and her rental car run afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when she meets the probate judge, and he tries just a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.
Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Autism Fair in Montreal

WIAIH is hosting it's first ever Autism Fair February 24, 2011 from 12-9 pm at the Marriott Fairfield Inn in Dorval.  Entrance is free of charge.

There will be over 35 exhibitors, both from the West Island and the greater Montreal Area. Participating will be authors Litsa Kamateros and Lea Schizas with their books: Autism Epidemic: Shaking the System, a helpful nonfiction book and Sarah's Socks: Welcome to my World of Autism, a children's picture book. Both books help to sensitize and make people aware of autism and their symptoms.

The goal is to allow families to explore what resources may be available to them, what to do after receiving a diagnosis and what other therapies may be tried while on a waiting list.
Please refer to the following link for more details and certainly forward to those who may be interested!
http://www.thesuburbannews.ca/content/en/8138

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Touch of Relationship


No matter the genre, no matter the theme, all writing explores relationships. Human interactions are not only with other people, but with other creatures, and  even on occasion, an environment. Exposing these complex connections can create such gripping tales a reader loses a night's sleep. The power of relationships touches all of us.

Even simple relationships are complicated. If not, conflicts would never arise. But they do. Born with an instinctual drive for survival, and unavoidable mental responses like jealousy, individuals often twist regard to loathing, obsess over love, and lose sanity in the process. These reactions provide wonderful plots filled with calculated, horrific, situations. In reality, some situations take such strange turns they defy fiction’s capabilities.

In examining any relationship, an author often discovers danger, for human interactions embroil all that is good and bad in the collective psyche. Seen from the inside even outwardly perfect relationships often contain secrets, deceit, and drama.

It is a wonder that any relationship survives. However, each ever-so-imperfect human also contains the capacity for awe-inspiring love, forgiveness, and sacrifice. These raw, contradictory emotions and reactions to relationships encompass life and power the stuff of stories.

Crewkin now available

Friday, February 18, 2011

Publisher playing Devil’s Advocate

Publisher playing Devil’s Advocate

Officially entered the realm as one of the Gatekeepers newest contributors and posted my first 'rant'.

NEWSFLASH






This is quite serious. I never thought this would happen before...
February being the month to think about Relationships, we Musers have been blogging about all kinds of connections, not just those Romantic Ones. I'm thinking I will talk about the way relationships shape our lives, and I'll use the characters in my upcoming book, WOUNDS, as examples.

Craig, the main character in the story, has all kinds of relationships, each bringing out a different angle of his personality. The first influence of his life was his mother, a fun-loving woman who brought Craig up to be a pretty regular guy. It appears that Julia was the prop of the family because when she dies, Craig's dad, Charlie, falls apart. The dad allows his life to stagnate. He starts drinking heavily and when he does pay attention to Craig, it's to punch him around. If things had gone on as before, Craig would have been fine, but this new relationship changes him. In order to have some power, Craig takes his anger out on people at school. His life has taken on a different direction. (Most of this takes place back-stage, so to speak, as background to the story).

The peak of Craig's bad behavior is his attempt to cut down the giant tree belonging to his neighbors, the Arks. By this time, he is boiling with anger, grief, and frustration. This deed brings about a change in Craig's relationships. His old friend, Nelson Ark, is now wary of Craig. But even though Nelson has been hurt by Craig, he takes up for him at school. He helps Craig to forge new relationships.

Nelson's dachshund, Siegfried, strangely enough, takes Craig under his paw with a friendship that seems almost uncanny; at least Craig has one friend. I think you can relate to the human/pet relationship--most people can. We love our pets as members of the family. Sometimes it's the only unconditional love a person gets.

Nelson's parents, the owners of the tree, are less concerned about Craig's vandalism than about the fact than he might be taken from his father and put into "the system" where he will spiral further into crime. With the help of a Juvenile Court Judge and a Social Worker, the Arks take Craig into their home. Mrs. Ark becomes a mother substitute, while Mr. Ark remains aloof and mysterious, not quite a father figure, but someone for Craig to look up to.

Craig learns a lot about trees from the forester, Logan Raxter, who comes to work on the wounded tree. Craig is instructed to help Raxter in his attempt to save the tree. But more than a teacher, Raxter's relationship to Craig becomes that of a mentor. It might be harder for you to relate to the human/plant connection, but I'm guessing it's not that hard. One of the greatest rewards I had in writing this book was searching for tree quotes to enhance the meaning of each chapter. As for loving trees, I'm in the company of John Muir, William Wordsworth, All Major Religious Works, Proust, Emerson, Thoreau.

Oh, yes, and there is a little bit of Romantic Relationship between Craig and cute, spunky Carson; this is, after all, middle grade. Kids this age have intense feelings. Rather than being destroyed by circumstances, Craig's life is reshaped by his new relationships.

If you're wondering why the girl is names Carson, I'll tell you. She is named for Rachel Carson. All of the characters are named for environmentalists: Craig for Jean Craighead George, the novelist, and Nelson for Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, to name a few. I'll let you guess who Logan Raxter is named for

http://barbarabockman.wordpress.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dance with the Devil cover

Dance with the Devil
coming to MuseItUp Publishing 2011
Romantic Family Saga

Nancy M Bell on Relationships

We're talking this week about relationships and their importance in our lives. If you stop and think about it, everything we do involves a relationship. How we interact with our family, our business associates, the world around us and even how we relate ourselves to the world around us exists within the boundaries of a relationship. There are as many variations of relationships as there are people, a single event can involve multiple relationships within it. If we use a wedding as an example, the bride and groom have a different relationship with each other than the groom and his mother. The bride and mother share a relationship which is strong and enduring (one would hope) but even though it is as strong as the bond/relationship with her husband it is vastly different in nature.
Relationships and how we handle them control how we are perceived by the people around us, if we maintain honest and caring relationships with our family and our co-workers and friends it is a reflection of the person we are. Conversely, if we treat our relationships as a convenience which we only cultivate when it suits our personal needs the world around us will judge us by our actions.
Honouring the relationships we cultivate in our lives is an important duty we should pay attention to every day of our lives. It is equally important to realize when a relationship is dangerous to our own health and well being and recognize the destructive nature of it and end the relationship honestly and openly. The respect and honour with we treat others is a direct reflection of the respect and honour we feel for ourselves.
Relationships are a mirror of our souls and inner self.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Relationships

Relationships? What are they? The dictionary describes relationships as: The condition or fact of being related; connection or association. Connection by blood or marriage; kinship. A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other.There are many different kinds of relationships – companionship – rapport – blood relations (family). There are, of course, other kinds of relationships, but these are the most popular.
I’m going to talk about several different kinds of relationships, beginning with parents/children – blood relations - family. I grew up in a large family, the second youngest of six. I had three older brothers and two sisters – one older, one younger. My parents, oldest brother and older sister are gone now, and I still miss them dearly.
We were a close family. Even as adults, we got together often. But back to my youth. I grew up in the 50s. In the summer we went on picnics almost every night when Dad came home from work. Every Sunday, we visited my grandparents. Holidays were special, even when we grew up we got together on Christmas Eve – my brothers and sister and I still do. As adults, my sisters and I took Mom twice a year for an overnighter and shopping trip. Once in the summer to celebrate her birthday and once in December to Christmas shop. We were friends not just mom and sisters. Now don't get me wrong, we had our share of disagreements, arguments and sometimes (when we were much younger) out and out fights. We weren't perfect, afterall.  But our parents helped make our childhood memorable.
Of course, I grew up,  began to date and met my husband – a different kind of relationship – friend, husband, and lover. My husband and I were properly introduced by my cousin and her boyfriend. Nothing earth shattering,  and it wasn't love at first sight. In fact I was kind of afraid of him. He looked like a tough kid. You remember the kind, low slung jeans, tee shirt with his sleeve rolled up with a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes stuck inside (think Fonzie from Happy Days). I still can't figure out how they stayed in the shirt sleeve that way. But actually, he was quiet and shy and so very sweet. He had just bought a 1957 chevy convertible. I think I fell in love with the car at first sight. We soon became friends and, of course, eventually fell in love. Ah the joys of dating, going to the drive in, on picnics and parties with friends, movies and walks in parks. Time shared between just the two of us. We got married in November 1962.
Our first child, a daughter, arrived in March,1964. What a thrill. I held this tiny little baby in my arms and love overwhelmed me.I thought my heart would burst. She was ours, an extension of us. A product of our love. A new relationship began - between mother and daughter. I’ll be honest; it’s not always been easy. My oldest daughter is very much like me, and we often butted heads (still do sometimes). In 1965 and 1967 her sisters joined our family. I wouldn’t have believed children could be so different if I hadn’t had these three girls. Not only are they different in looks -blond, brunette, and redhead, they had very different personalities. We share different types of relationships because they’re individual personalities. Yet we share a sisters/mother relationship and often get together to shop or have lunch together, just the three of us.
And then I had my first son in 1969. No one ever told me the feeling for your son would be so different. No, I don’t mean I love him more, but it’s a different  than your daughter. His brothers joined our family in 1971 and 1973. Our family was complete. If I thought the girls were different personalities, my sons were just the opposite. Oh, they were each their own person, but not only did they look alike -all blonds- they had a bond between them that the girls didn’t have. They still do. The boys often had me in stitches. I’m not sure what it is, but with just a look they melted my anger. Not good when you're tyring to discipline them. And they still manage to make me laugh when I’m in a bad mood. I told all my daughters and daughters in law –“Every mother should have a son.” It’s truly a different experience, not better, not worse, just different.
I raised my children pretty much like my parents raised me. I say I, because my husband was a truck driver and on the road a lot. That pretty much left the discipline to me. Not that I minded, I was very strict but very protective of them. I could yell or spank, but if my husband did, not only did it break my heart, it made me angry. How dare he yell at my kids?
They’re grown now and married, which brings me to another relationship – mother in law. I love my daughters and sons in law like my own. I treat them like my own. I yell at them, give advice and enjoy their company. I like to think we have a good relationship.
And they had children – a new relationship began- grandparents. If I thought I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I loved my children – well, I was wrong. The day my first granddaughter was born, I thought I’d burst with love and pride. I felt the same way with each grandchild – I won’t bore you with details of all 14 of their births, but suffice to say when my 14th and final grandchild was born August 30th, the feeling still overwhelmed me. I look at each of these precious gifts from God and feel so blessed.
To top it all off – last year, I was blessed with my first great grandson. I looked at my granddaughter, now a young woman, and remembered the feeling of pride when I saw her the first time. Now here she was with a child of her own, and I couldn’t contain my tears. I’m so thrilled to be a part of his life. I pray I’m around to see all my grandchildren grown  with children of their own.
So…what are relationships? They’re many things, each special in their own right. And although there have been many peaks and valleys,  I've been very blessed in my relationships. They are truly a gift from God
 
Unfortunately, one daughter with her husband and five children as well as another grandson are missing from this picture.
                     If you’d like to know more about me check out my website – www.roseannedowell.com or my blog: http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Motivating our children to read

As writers and parents it’s important for us to try and instill a love of reading and writing in our children. After all we do read and we do write, therefore, what’s keeping us from passing on our passion to our children?

The earlier we expose them to these two elements the higher probability they will retain them.

When a child is born, sit and read to them. Who cares if they can’t understand? It’s the connecting ‘togetherness’ that is important, and eventually, as they age, you buy them appropriate age-level books and allow them to read to you. It all depends on the parent and the surrounding material they offer a child at a young age: comic books, coloring books with short sentences in them, childrens magazines.

Tips to get your child motivated and encouraged to read:

A child mimics so if they see a parent reading they may be inclined to join them with his own book for a ‘together’ moment of reading pleasure. 

  Alternate reading to each other; first the parent reads a page of the child’s favorite book, and the child reads the next page. This is, of course, when a child is able to read. 

Spending time at a bookstore or library will help curb the television or computer appetite.

Register them for reading time at the local library.

Read a book and then together with your child act out the characters in the story. Not only is this fun but it helps them understand what the characters are experiencing.

Ask family and friends to purchase books either along with a birthday gift or on its own for your child. Make sure to tell them what the child loves to read: dragons, puzzle books, cars, etc.

Along with your child set up his very own reading corner with a comfy chair/beanbag/big, fluffy pillow. 

These are just some ideas to inspire a reading enhancement between you and your child.

What methods have you tried to encourage reading or writing in your child?

Dark Side of the Moon

When history professor and former FBI profiler, Carolyn Masters took a position at Armstrong University on the moon, she thought she had left the past behind her.  However, she isn’t on the moon long before she is called in to join Michael Cheravik, a rough and occasionally obnoxious former Dallas homicide detective, to investigate the death of Juan McAlister, astromechanics professor and lunar independence activist.
As the investigation progresses, they find that they must not only solve the murder, but stop a terrorist plot against earth, and maybe exorcise the demons of their past.

NOW AVAILABLE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING

Dark Side of the Moon now available on Kindle

Crimson Dream

Centuries ago, Deren's people fled to a hidden valley deep in the mountains chased by the Domain, whose powerful Seers could not find them.
Deren’s safe world disintegrates when his vision foretells his sister’s death by a Domain soldier. Deren can't defend Bennie because of his asthmatic attacks, so he trains her in archery and prepares his people for war against their ancient foe.
As the invasion advances, Bennie's mastery of the bow leads her along unexpected paths. Although she hates killing, she must make hard choices. Her loved ones will die if she doesn't help them.
Will Bennie’s encounter with an enemy prince prove the key to survival? Can Deren overcome his physical weaknesses and the doubts of his own father to lead his people?
With fate and overwhelming force stacked against them, it seems their best efforts will be in vain.

NOW AVAILABLE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING


Crimson Dream also available on Kindle

Crewkin

Born and bred to be crewkin, Renna is devastated by the death of her ship and her kin. When her company’s medical department advises the few remaining survivors to commit suicide and join their kin in death, Renna refuses. Knowing she can never join another crewkin, she seeks a berth on one of the short-haul shippers running cargo hauls between the planets. Integration into ‘norm’ crew seems impossible until she joins the crew of the Vagrant Spirit. Her captain seems as desperate for any capable crewman as Renna is for a ship’s position. This job, this journey will propel her into a new world.
There is nothing so true as change is inevitable. Rumours of a new engine capable of thrusting a ship greater distances in a fraction of the time a crewkin ship takes, threatens Markham Company’s business. There is only one thing left to do—get rid of the evidence, the last survivor, and anyone else who threatens discovery.

NOW AVAILABLE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING


Crewkin also available on Kindle

Cody and the Elf

 Cody has his life all figured out.  He's going to marry the daughter of his father's farm hand and take over the family farm when his father can no longer manage it.  Perfectly content with his lot in life, the young farm boy's life is turned upside down when he finds an injured elf in a stream.  Unfortunately for Cody, saving Larien's life means more than just finding out elves are real.


ONLY $2.50
Cody and the Elf also available on Kindle

The Bone Lord

NOW AVAILABLE

Necropolis, City of the Dead. The Bone Lord rules over every wandering soul with an unspeakable power. A zombie by the name of Curvis is called upon by the Bone Lord to perform a special task. A task that will lead him in unexpected directions…
 

Crushes and Valentine's Day

Crushes are part of almost every person’s life. They make you do crazy things in the hope the one you adore will at least look your way. You live in a secret world, although maybe you might tell your best girlfriends about him. I remember my friends and I all had a crush on this one boy, Elliott, who lived a little down the block from me in Brooklyn. My friends and I did some awful things to him. We rang his bell and ran away. We hid and watched him open the door to no one. We called him and hung up, because no one had the guts to speak with him. He never talked to us.

My next crush was on a boy in Junior High, Jeffrey. One day my girlfriends found a way for both of us to get together in the schoolyard during lunchtime recess. The boys got in one group and the girls in another and they put both of us in front of each group. Then they pushed the groups together until we met in the middle of the schoolyard. Both of us stared at each other and embarrassment overrode everything else. The kids kept pushing us even closer until we had to kiss. Not exactly earth shattering as I remember, but who could overcome the overwhelming embarrassment of being the center of attention like that? I remember afterward we barely spoke with each other and it was sad, because we had been much friendlier before the incident and I thought he was funny too. Every now and then even now I wonder what has become of him.

In high school there was a Sadie Hawkins Day dance and I wanted to go. So I had a crush on this really gorgeous guy who sat behind me and barely talked to me. But if anyone really knows me, you would know I am pretty brave. I walked up to this guy, his name was David, and I asked him to the dance. I remember my palms were sweating and I’m sure I stumbled over my words a lot. It didn’t’ matter, because he totally turned me down with actually no excuse at all. I was heartbroken and never asked out another boy. I felt ugly and stupid and wondered if any boy would ever want me. I never went to the dance either.:)

In my young adult novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn, the main character has a giant crush on Brad, who is a junior in high school, the quarterback of the football team, and Jennifer Taylor’s boyfriend. Jennifer has been bullying Carolyn all through middle school so at first Carolyn doesn’t feel so bad having a crush on her boyfriend. When Carolyn is around Brad it feels so right, but she feels guilty after awhile. What is a girl to do about this? If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor will be published in September. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's this love thing?

Ii was asked to write about love today. Now, for those of you who follow my blog or Twitter feeds know that I'm not known for my touchy-feely personality. Some people are likened to a mama bear, or a cuddly puppy. Me? I'm generally likened to Woody Harrelson in Zombieland, only less emotional.

Even mean ol' me writes the occasional love scene or has people in love (PIL). See, PIL are far more common in our world than people who are assassins for hire. Love, Actually is closer to the real world than The Expendables.

That puts me in a spot. I love the explosions. I think Jane Austen's books could have used an explosion or two, or perhaps a gun battle across France while Mr. Darcy fought the French to win Lizzie's love.

In my military SF novel coming up early next year, Road to Hell (insert shameless plug music here), I have explosions. Quite a few. Yet, I could also not make an entire docking port of people where none were PIL.

Because love makes the explosions even more fun!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Relationship Dance

A woman tells her husband she's starting a diet, and the next day he brings home two gallons of ice cream and a box of Oreo cookies.

A man calls his daughter and they talk for an hour about how bad his son (her brother) is behaving, things going on at the son's job, and what they think about how the son is raising his kids.

A woman dreads visits from her mother because her mother will look all over the house to find fault with her housekeeping, then spend the rest of the visit giving helpful "advice" about how she's spoiling her new baby. The woman has argued with her mother about that negativity, but the mother then sobs that she's only trying to help and will sulk for a week.

If you're a writer, you're going to encounter all these situations. More to the point, you're going to have to create them from whole cloth.

I'm here to tell you that if you don't understand the basics of relationship dynamics, you cannot write fiction. In fiction, character is where the rubber meets the road. And character expresses itself in relationships.

The first instance is something called a push-back reaction. Everyone does it. Why? Because we're comfortable with our loved ones just as they are. And therefore when a loved one makes a change, even a good change such as going back to college or beginning a diet and exercise program, we unconsciously make it harder for them to continue that path because we don't want the relationship to change.

The second instance is called triangulating, where two people have a relationship at the expense of a third. It keeps everyone's feelings carefully tamed but prevents any actual growth, and of course it prevents a genuine relationship between the two conspirators and the person on the third point of the triangle.

The third instance doesn't necessarily have a name, but those two clearly need to have a discussion. The problem is, whenever they fight, they fight in a way that reinforces the negative dynamic rather than addressing the actual problem (that the woman is ready for adult autonomy and her mother doesn't want to let go.)

A writer needs to become fluent in relationships. This isn't optional. The same way a writer needs to learn to manage dialogue, setting, punctuation and complex sentence structure, a writer also needs to become fluent in boundaries, push-back reactions, triangulating, and how to have an effective argument (although a lot of your story will probably have arguments of the ineffective, status-quo-reinforcing kind.)

Read self-help books. Read books about motherless daughters (Hope Edelman), about raising adopted children, about setting boundaries in relationships (Townsend and Cloud). Browse your used book store and pick up What Color Is Your Parachute even if you're not going to look for a job for ten years. Read books about basic psychology (M. Scott Peck) and dealing with sociopaths (Martha Stout).  Read, read, read.

But start with these two by Harriet Lerner, which is where the above examples come from. Even if you don't write these specific dynamics, knowing how they operate can only improve your fiction.

















----
Jane Lebak is the author of The Guardian (Thomas Nelson, 1994), Seven Archangels: Annihilation (Double-Edged Publishing, 2008) and The Boys Upstairs (MuseItUp, 2010). At Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family, she blogs about what happens when a distracted daydreamer and a gamer geek attempt to raise four children. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Managing Writing and Studying!

I don't know about the rest of you, but when it comes to getting the balance right, I always feel like I have to spend more time on studying than writing. Fortunately, I'm in my last year of uni, so once I get a job, my weekends will be free for the glorious world of wordplay :) I do find that writing a few unhurried pages a day is better than trying to rush through an entire new chapter, and I certainly feel that in order to enjoy writing more than studying (which I do!), I have to treat it as a hobby. I do hope to become an established author, but if you put too much pressure on yourself, then what's the point? It's best to enjoy your characters, the world they interact in and the whole process of writing. Who knows, maybe the fluidness of creative compared to the systemic demands of academics can lead to a flood of more original ideas that will be explored in more and more depth as your work continues, and I think that that is the key to a succesful writing career. Originality, enjoyment, and exploring your hobby (and in a sense yourself) in depth.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Places In The Heart

It's true to say that the way we conduct many of our relationships these days has changed beyond all recognition. Lots of us can say in all honesty that some of the best friends we have are people we've never met face-to-face, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and on-line communication. For some people, that's gone several steps further - it's no longer unusual to hear of couples whose relationships blossomed after they met through some kind of on-line social network.

It's not just applicable to new relationships, either. While we can (and I bet many of us have!) 'google' names from our past and see what they're up to these days, these social networking sites have made it possible for us to go another step beyond 'just looking' and allow us to actually rekindle old friendships. At one time, you'd have thought the whole world had nothing better to do than revisit its schooldays, with what seemed like thousands of us arranging school reunions right, left and centre. Of course, there were many different kinds of relationships in the school playground, weren't there? It could run the whole gamut from our Best Female Friends, to first kisses behind the bike sheds with the captain of the school football team! How many of those relationships would we genuinely want to re-kindle? I've lost count of the number of short stories I've read based on the whole idea of 'Friends Reunited,' not to say non-fiction articles on 'What Happened When I Re-United With XYZ,' and sure, many of them had happy outcomes, but just as many had somewhat mixed results.

Lets' face it, it sometimes seems that anyone and everyone's out there to be found in Google-Land - if they want to be. So little remains private. You can open your Facebook page and find yourself right in the middle of other people's conversations, as well as your own. Sometimes this delving into our past relationships, maybe with a pair of rose-coloured glasses wedged firmly on the bridges of our noses, hasn't always led to happiness. For me, and I know I'm not alone in this, the thought of a school reunion would be the equivalent of a jaunt into Dante's third circle of hell - no, thank you! Many of us see no point in resurrecting relationships that we left behind many years ago. We may remember past friends or girlfriends and boyfriends fondly, but have chosen not to know them now. Perhaps what's past is best left in the past, and simply put down to experience. While there will always be that special place in the heart for a person and the time we had with them, we leave it behind and we move on. Life's like that. Trust in your decision.

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was living and working in a city far away from her home, and during her time there, had a summer-long romance with a truly lovely guy. They were both madly busy people - she was building up a career CV and knew she'd be returning to her home city when summer was over, and the guy she'd met was in a similar situation, about to travel abroad with work. At the end of the summer, rather than trying to keep their relationship alive despite long distances between them and the extra pressures of their busy careers, they decided to do the mature thing, to end the relationship with no regrets and no long goodbyes. Each of them thought it was for the best. Put it down to experience, and just remember the good times.

My friend's career really took off. She travelled the world, met all kinds of amazing people and had some extraordinary experiences. But she never forgot the guy she'd met that summer, always holding that special place in the heart just for him. She was the kind never to look back, never to regret, and what amazed me more than anything, she never gave in to the temptation to 'google' him and see what had happened to him. They'd made the agreement to move on, and she honoured that.

The one day, something astonishing happened. She was in London, a lunchtime meeting with some business colleagues in a busy city-centre hotel, when she had that funny feeling you get when you know someone's looking at you. She turned around - and there he was at another table in the same hotel restaurant, the same guy she'd spent a wonderful summer with. Neither of them lived in London, but were both just visiting. The odds of them meeting again like that must have been a million to one, and yet, it happened. Despite the way technology has shrunk the world, they way it seems you can find anyone, any time, anywhere, it was fate, or life, or the power of love that pulled them back together and they've never looked back. Ten years and two children down the line, they've never looked back!

I loved that story, and it inspired my own version, Edinburgh Fog, which I set in a favourite bar of mine in my old home city. Names were changed to protect the innocent, of course! But it's basically the story of my friend and the love of her life, and the way they'd kept that special place in the heart for each other.

Life's like that. Trust in it. What's meant to be, will be. There are always places in the heart for the real loves of your life, and no amount of googling will ever change that.

Finally - I'd planned to end this post with one of the best songs about lost relationships, Thin Lizzy's Still In Love With You, then I heard the sad news that one of their former guitarists, the legendary Gary Moore, died this morning. It seems only right to share his version of that wonderful song with you. Enjoy.



Edinburgh Fog will released by Muse It Up in September 2011. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day... right?



Meet Jess from THE KILLER VALENTINE BALL by C.A. Verstraete.

Valentine's Day is the ultimate of relationship days. At least if you believe all the Hallmark commercials. So what happens when it's V-Day, and you're alone?

For Jess, it becomes a day of compromise: she'll go out with her mother's friend's son as a favor; she figures it beats staying home by herself. What can she say? She's a sap when it comes to all that mushy hearts and flowers stuff. Still... a blind date, on V-Day? Yikes! Can you say loser?

Ever have one of those days when you wish you'd listened to your gut? Jess must've felt that way when she walked into the hall where The Killer Valentine Ball is being held. It's a weird little party... The lights seem to be playing tricks on her eyes...

I guess that's the premise of my short "light horror" eBook, playing on that funny feeling you get when you know you should've made a different choice, and the things that play out as a result.

But in the end, Jess is vindicated. Kind of. That's the fun of writing horror. It doesn't have to be all blood and guts. It can be a little ghoulish—with a funny, odd little twist. Call it horror with a smile! So I had some fun with Jess... but you have to read it to see!

* Read an excerpt and get details at the MuseItUp Publishing bookstore