summer was made for reading

My hubby and I have been together for more years than I care to count. Somewhere during our early time together we developed a habit that pretty much has stayed with us. That is, we read the same book, more or less, around the same time and then sit for hours thoroughly vetting it. Back when we first got together, he liked stuff like The Hobbit and was responsible for finally getting me to read it. Once I did, I fell in love wbooksith the world Tolkien had created. His famous trilogy, Lord of the Rings, might’ve been the first trilogy I ever read, and yes, each book was a cliffhanger, and I LOVED that about them!! We read the books together, even read them aloud to our son. These days we trade genres. We listen to true crime or mysteries the same way we watch movies on Netflix or Prime and with certain TV shows (most recently Goliath) by discussing the heck out of them. We go over the characters, the pace, what we would’ve done differently, and re-read or re-watch the ones we like best. From one book lover to another, summer is our finest hour. During the land of reruns and the lack of anything good on TV, we can always crack open a book. We relish the search through our Kindle for something we haven’t yet tried. Or we load something new on the iPad and get comfy in bed. While we dissect the plot lines and laugh at the characters, we’re still connecting. After all these years, we still enjoy what began a long time ago…our love for books.

 

 

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Author Marilyn Holdsworth

making-wishesAuthor Marilyn Holdsworth is almost my neighbor here in Southern California. She’s written three novels, loves horses, is a descendant of James Monroe, and once owned a greeting card company. Marilyn stops by to give us a little insight into her latest book, Making Wishes.

Hi Marilyn, tell us a little about the book.

Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View where generations of Randall’s have lived for years. Outwardly Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View’s stifling social structure but inwardly she yearns for her artistic work. An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the ones she loves.

What audience will it appeal to?

Men and women of all ages.

What prompted you to write Making Wishes?

My concern for the family was my inspiration for Making Wishes. Many women today are confronted with difficult career choices that dramatically impact the family.

So the book has a message for readers to ponder?

Yes. The choices we make often dramatically affect our loved ones much more than we ever expect.

Where do you get your ideas?

My life experiences give me a lot of ideas and I keep files of magazine and newspaper articles that give me ideas as well. 

Marilyn Holdsworth 2
Where does it take place?

The book is set in California, New York and England.

Have you considered writing a sequel?

Yes, I have been asked about writing a sequel and when I finish writing the book I’m currently working on I’ll consider it.

Do you work from an outline?

I always have a general outline. I know how the story begins and ends before I begin the book, but as I develop the characters and weave the plot the story line changes. I ask myself what if a lot as the book progresses. What if I introduce a particular character or what if I add a certain event how will it affect the story.

Which one of your books do you like the best?

The one I’m currently working on! But really all my books are my favorites. They are like my children, I don’t play favorites!

That’s the same thing for me. What other books have you written? What are you currently working on now?

Pegasus and The Beautiful American. I am currently writing The Portrait of Lady J.

Name one of your all-time favorite books that you’ve been known to read again and again.

One of my favorite books is My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier.

If you could sit down with one author and ask one question, which author would it be and what would you ask?

I would love to ask Margaret Mitchell if she ever knew anyone like Rhett Butler.

Do you have any words of wisdom for writers just starting out?

Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged.

Here is a list of places where you can connect with Marilyn online.

Marilyn’s Website
Marilyn’s Blog
Marilyn on Facebook
Making Wishes Facebook page 
The Beautiful American Facebook page 
Pegasus Facebook page 
Amazon
B&N
Goodreads
Twitter
Book Trailers:
Making Wishes:  http://youtu.be/OC_klgkFpv0
Pegasus: http://youtu.be/YKvKNCwi69A
The Beautiful American: http://youtu.be/hfeEausxwMY

Writer Roe Pope

As the author of a book about dogs, you obviously adore them. But I’m going to ask right off a silly question. What breed of dog would you say best describes you and why? Roe Pope

It’s funny you asked this question. I was recently interviewed on a local radio station by two DJ’s and they asked me what type of dog I thought each of the DJ’s were. I got in a bit of a pickle when I said one was like a Bassett Hound. I think I gave him a complex about having droopy ears. They used that sound bite for their promo’s that week.

For myself, I would probably say that I am a Retriever. I’m very loyal, love to run and when I see something I want I go for it.

I know your beloved Xena Princess Warrior was special to you and inspired you to write your first book, Puppies for Sale, $25.00. You’ve said she inspired you to write other things, so what other projects do you have in the works?

Currently, I am writing a book about my pitbull, Marley and my pug, Joe Joe. I’m kind of making them the current day Mighty Dogs. Pit bulls are so misunderstood. I wanted to make him a hero because they truly can be with the right owners and guidance. I am also working on a true spiritual experience that happened to me when my sister-in-law passed away. This book is exceptionally difficult to write due to the emotions behind it and the power of the event.

I know you do a lot of volunteer work for humane societies, a portion of your book sales go to your local animal shelter so what is the one thing you’d like to remind people about animals, dogs specifically, that are waiting for good homes? Puppies for Sale

Dogs are forever! They are not just for gift giving at the holidays. They want to love you unconditionally and deserve that same respect. They are members of your family that you cannot just discount. If they make a mistake, teach them just as you would your own children. You wouldn’t give your child away just because they wet the bed, so why give your dog away if they make mistakes too? Train, train, train and be patient. The reward of dog ownership goes beyond words. It’s a privilege.

Name one of your all-time favorite books that you’ve been known to read again and again.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis has always been my favorite book as a child. When the movie came out, I was in heaven. As an adult, of course your Evil Trilogy is so far my favorite that I would read over and over. I am waiting for the movie for that to come out as well. I will camp out to see it if I must. On the animal side, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein melts my heart.

Oh wow, Roe. I’m honored you’d even mention me. Thank you for that. But really, in that same vein though, what is your all-time favorite movie and why?

The Princess Bride is my all-time favorite movie. I love the characters, the story, the romance, humor, and the sword fight is the best I’ve ever seen. My husband’s response to me when I ask him for something is always, “As you wish”. We discussed getting matching tattoos that say that. Whether we ever will or not is another story.

LOVE The Princess Bride!! Awesome choice! I’ve only watched it about 75 times. And where is your favorite destination for getting away, for spending downtime time away from writing?

I love going to Lake Tahoe. We have a family cabin up there, so occasionally we get to sneak up there for some down time. My next favorite is Santa Cruz. I love the ocean. My daughter loves the boardwalk, so it’s a win-win.

Lake Tahoe and Santa Cruz rock! If you could have dinner with any three people (real or imaginary), who would you choose and why?

Vickie McKeehan-favorite writer

Barry Manilow-(yes, I admit I am a Fanilow) I got to meet him but would love to sit and chat with him.

Bon Jovi-Have loved him since high school and he has grown into such a giving person. In addition, I would get to stare at him from across the table. Big sigh.

Me? Come on now, Roe. Stop that! That is such an awesome thing for you to say, too. We should have lunch together sometime and spend a couple of hours catching up. I agree with you about Manilow and Bon Jovi. There’s something about their music that makes a person feel good. But let’s move on. If you found a bottle on the beach and a genie popped out of it who granted you three wishes, what three things would you wish for?

Health for everyone, wealth-so I can share it and also live on a ranch filled with dogs; Happiness-so I can spread it.

If you were stranded on a deserted island for a year, what are four things you would bring with you that you couldn’t live without? And these are things not people. You’re alone on this island, unlike Gilligan, no professor, no skipper, so you’ll have to entertain yourself for an entire year. What would you bring?

Chapstick-I hate dry lips and since nobody will be around, I can sing so loudly without embarrassment. I love singing.

My dogs of course; they are quite entertaining (They are not people, so this should count)

Lots of paper and pencils to write down my experiences

A year’s supply of chocolate –not so much entertaining, but can’t imagine life without it.

Of course, doggies count. How could they not? If you had a time machine at your disposal, what time period would you set the dial to and why?

That’s tough. As I get older and my own roles change, that question changes. I use to love the 50s just because times were simple, mom’s stayed at home and roles were much defined.

The 60s were exciting with the changing society and the amazing music, but may be too exciting. I think I would say my favorite time period is my 80s. That was the best time of my life. I had great hair and was one of the teen dancers invited to be on a local show in Philly called, Dancin’ on Air and I loved high school. Life seemed simple and fun as I reflect back to that time. I think I just dated myself.

Best. Hair. Ever. In the 80s. So true. What is the one thing you wish you could change about yourself?

As I grow older, I like myself more than when I was younger. I guess that comes with getting comfortable with my own skin. If I could change anything, it would be my patience level. As I get older, that is the one thing I see changing. I need to be more patient with people.

What is the one thing you wish you could do if given the chance?

I already told my husband, when my last child is out of the house and my doggies have gone to the Rainbow Bridge, I am packing up and joining the Red Cross. He is welcome to join me of course. I want to go wherever my help is needed. I’d like to experience that level of giving whether it is in the USA or another country.

That is so cool that you’d want to join the Red Cross, such a worthwhile organization. I can totally see you doing something like that. What do you consider your greatest strength?

I think my greatest strength is my ability to share and help others when needed.

If you knew that this was your last day on Earth, how would you choose to spend it?

I would want to surround myself with my family and friends, sharing a meal, laughing and reflecting on our life together.

What is the wildest thing you have ever done as an adult? Not when you were young, but in say, the past ten years?

I went skydiving. It was amazing, exhilarating, and terrifying

Before we remind everyone where they can find Roe Pope online, I’d like to thank you for stopping by my blog.

Roe’s Website

Amazon

Facebook Puppies For Sales $25.00

Facebook Profile

Goodreads

Roe’s Blog

Deliciously Scandalous Blog Tour Featuring Vickie McKeehan

 

Reblogged from Kevin Swarbrick’s Deliciously Scandalous Blog Tour
The ‘Deliciously Scandalous Blog Tour’ With Author Vickie McKeehan

Deliciously Scandalous blog Tour

Thank you for dropping by the ‘Delicously Scandalous Blog Tour’. As you will all be aware from reading the last interview with the awesome author, Helle Soa Gade. I wanted to to do an interview that puts the authors mind and personality to the test and also to show the reader, how great their creative minds actulaly are when put on the spot to answer some very tricky questions. Helle I am delighted to say past with flying colours and her answer where great, dont take my word on that and pease take a look for yourseleves, one great lady and one fantastic interview; http://kswarbrick.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/delicously-scandalous-blog-tour-with.html

I wanted these interviews to be very creative and so far so good, It’s always great to see what’s behind the writers mine, I didn’t want the author holding back thinking ‘Should I write this?’ The whole idea of these interviews is to take the authors mind to a new leveal, I am delighted to say I have acheived that thank you to the awesome support and awesome answers.

My second victim is the lovely author, Vickie McKeehan

Car Mini

It really does give me great pleasure to introduce author Vickie McKeehan to you. It really is a great honour to have such a great author on my blogspot. I won’t go on anymore, I’m dying to see what Vickie has to say; please can you tell the reader a little about yourself Vickie.

Lover of coffee, chocolate, French fries and bacon. I think that covers the major food groups. I ♥ music and am never without my ear buds. I ♥all things outdoors, even rain because I don’t get to see it all that much. Not too crazy about the Santa Ana winds right now though 🙂

Cool so far you sound human to me, Vickie and no one likes wind, but it does depend who’s doing the blowing at the time. Sorry that’s my little crude humour coming into play and I haven’t even started the interview yet. I think I best have before I scare you away!

Sometimes in life we all want more than what we can have, but if you had one wish to have anything or anyone, what would that wish be and why?

This is a trick question, right? Johnny Depp. Have you seen this guy? Because he’s totally hot 🙂

Johnny Depp? Is that someone famous? His name doesn’t ring a bell. I’m only joking of course I know who he is, but he still won’t be ringing my bell! I will end this crude talk now. let’s keep it respectable ;)!

I would like to ask you to make a short story up using no more than 500 words containing every one of these 14 key words; Killer, River, Speech, Walking, Car, Dog poo, Hair, Sex, Kite, Lamp, Nails, Facebook, Knife, DM!

Kristen hadn’t clocked out of her job at the Lamp & Kite Factory until almost ten-thirty. She’d gotten stuck doing Steve’s job…again. She’d already missed most of the killer party the rest of the staff had been invited to attend. More than likely, her co-workers were, even now, at Kent’s house drinking beer, eating pizza and getting ready to pair up for a wild bout of sweaty sex. Now she’d have to DM her friends to let them know she had no intentions of spending time on her hair and nails just to show up to listen to the boss give some stupid, rah-rah speech about team spirit at work.

Walking across the dimly-lit parking lot, Kristen took out her cell phone to check her emails. Thumbing through her messages, she discovered her lying, cheating ex of a boyfriend Bob had posted to her Facebook timeline yet again for the tenth time that week. She made a mental note to cast him into the river of hell right alongside Angie, the blonde bimbo she’d caught him boffing not two weeks earlier. The weasel had the gall to beg for a second chance. Like that was ever going to happen.

Before reaching her ancient blue Maverick, a car she didn’t even bother locking anymore because the poor thing was older than she was by two decades, she slipped on dog poo on the pavement. Damn it, she thought, what else could go wrong tonight? These were her best Keds.

Running her hand down into her bag, she pulled out the utility knife she carried wherever she went. She used it to scrape off the smelly, sticky mess.

About that time a pickup skidded to a stop behind the Maverick. She recognized the vehicle belonging to the lying, cheating Bob. She watched as the man crawled out of his truck waving a gun. He swaggered around the hood to where she stood.

But before Bob could reach her, before he could utter a single threat, a shadow crossed between them. A powerful arm swooped down from the heavens jerking Bob up and out of his cowboy boots. In an instant Bob became airborne!

Mesmerized by the entire scene, Kristen’s eyes grew big. Her head dropped back on her shoulders as she gazed skyward. She watched in fascination as the alien spacecraft gathered Bob into its belly before closing the bay doors with a clang. Before Kristen could react, the ship lifted and the vessel streaked into the atmosphere.

Kristen stood there for another minute before glancing over at her pitiful Ford. Inspiration hit. She made her way around to the driver’s side of Bob’s pickup. Sure enough, he’d left the keys in the ignition. She threw her purse on the bench seat, crawled behind the wheel of Bob’s precious Dodge Ram and started up the engine. Kristen adjusted the rearview mirror, smiled then at her reflection and said out loud, “Karma might be a bitch but sometimes her timing is perfect.”

Hehe well done! You sure made that look easy! I love the story and the ending about Karma was just perfect 🙂

When I first started writing I had a lot of negative people around me, and I know I had to lose that energy in order to continue writing and fulfilling what others thought I couldn’t achieve. Did you ever experience any of this when you first started writing or were you lucky enough to have the right support around you?

There will always be naysayers and negative people who want nothing more than to drag you down to their level. Even in corporate, I saw negativity every single day and had to learn to cope with it. You’ll never fully rid yourself of all the negative energy. It would be great if you could do that but how you handle the negative influence is another matter entirely. You simply can’t let those types of people get to you. Not ever. No one has the right to stomp on someone else’s dream. No one.

I totaly agree with you, if you have dream no one should stand in your way. I will toast to that!

If you had a chance to run any country and make a difference, what county would it be and why?

Oh I’d buy my own island. It would be so incredible I’d probably have to fend off pirates at some point. But I’m an excellent shot. *wink wink*

Sounds great to me, we get pirates everywhere and we always keep fending them off!

What would you say the worse thing a reader has ever said to you and what was your reaction?

*giggles* Someone said my sweet little Promise Cove story was filth. Can you imagine a story about a former soldier suffering from PTSD, a widow left with a pile of bills, an adorable little toddler, and a dog…filth? *giggles again*

It sounds like life to me ‘giggles’.

I would like you to vision yourself walking down a busy high street with your partner and suddenly there was a noise that came from his bottom and people turned around looking at you, what would your reaction be and why?

I’d look around and explain, “He isn’t completely potty-trained yet. But we’re getting there.”

Nice answer! ‘Strain’… Sorry I hope you didn’t hear that!!

Use only two words that would describe you?

Quirky. Funny.

I agree with you there.

Have you ever been…

A, The owner of a lonely heart

B. The owner of a broken heart

C. None of the above

If the answer is c, please can you tell the reader how you have done it, I can see the reader would being interested to know that one, I know I am.

Most definitely the owner of a broken heart. On some days, in some ways, I still am.

Not another broken heart! I am sorry ,Vickie. Please just remember your the owner of you’re the owner of own heart, and whoever breaks it, where never worthy of it to begin with.

Its time for a little fun, I would like you to do the rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’. Using your own words and without holding back.

Shiny Sparkly sat in her Benz
Shiny Sparkly never saw the zoom lens
She scratched and she picked
She picked and she scratched
And the press caught it all in each snap, snap, snap, snap.

‘Giggles’ Yes you can rhyme! ‘Love it’

When you are writing, do you ever think, ‘Erm my partner and I did that last night, that has to go into the story as?

Fortunately for me, my partner is also a writer so he knows anything that happens is fair game and might end up in either one of the stories we happen to be working on at any given time. Sometimes I’m even lying there thinking, hmm, how can I describe this? LOL! That’s the toughest thing to do is to come up with new and different ways to phrase a hot scene. I put things in my stories all the time that happen to me personally so why not the best, the hottest stuff, too?

Husband and wife that are both writers… That could get messy. It kind of reminds me of the movie, ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’, but saying that, some people are lucky enough to meet normal partners and what’s a bit of spilt ink between friends 😉
That reminds me of the movie, ‘Mr & Mrs Smith, only your both useing words for weapons instead of guns and knifes. We both know that the pen is mightier than the sword!

If you could be a Musical instrument, what would you be and why?

I’d be an acoustical guitar. Because holy crap, I LOVE what Teddy Thompson does with one. When he sings and plays Looking for a Girl the idea of those fingers delicately touching, strumming each of my…strings…the tension. Wait. What was the question again? Because my mind totally wandered.

Ouch!! Yes my mind has gone too Vickie! ‘Down boy!’ Please lets move on to the next question while your mind is still steaming away ;)!

If you could change one thing about you as a person, what would that one thing be?

I think I’m already changing that one thing. I used to be SO laid back I was pretty much a doormat. Some people took advantage of it. For about the last six / seven months, I’ve had to be MUCH different. Because this self-publishing thing is a business.

I will ditto that. I am lucky I haven’t seen this change in you, but saying that we do engage in conversation and we understand the madness behind it all, not just our stories, we both know how tough it is out there, it’s a lot of unending hours that people don’t see. Itss hard work and I for one take my hat off to all authors out there.

I know we all remember our first kiss, would you say yours was a good experience or a bad one? Please explain why.

First kiss like in 2nd grade at the back of the playground when no one was looking or first kiss on a date? Because there’s a huge difference. If you’re asking about the first date kiss, it rocked!! Well the 2nd grade kiss wasn’t that bad either. But the first date guy definitely knew what to do with his mouth. He got major points in the tongue department, too!! And when a guy knows what to do with his hands and it all comes together, it makes for an incredible kiss! Plus, he was an excellent teacher and I was an eager study. Thanks to first date guy, I’ve gotten my fair share of compliments like, “you’re a really good kisser.” 🙂 So if you’re out there Ben, if you’re ever reading this, thank you! Because you totally rocked!!

Lol he sounds a lot like me, not that you would know, but you have read my books, so you know a few ins and outs ! I must say that was nice shout out t, Ben there for rocking Vickie’s world. Thumbs up to you Ben or whatever you got up at the time! ‘Giggles’.

Do you ever remember a part in your life that’s made a huge impact on you as a person? If so what was it and why?

Hmm, I’d have to say the first time a writing instructor ever told me he saw potential. I’d never had anyone say that before in such an official capacity unless I went back to Mrs. Brown’s 8th grade English class. That one statement, that praise made a huge impact on how I crafted Just Evil.

Its amazing how one statemeant can make a huge impact. I understand completly what you are saying. If it wasn’t for the potential in me that got spotted by some amazing people including yourself then I might have given up a long time ago, but a new talent was born instead! Not Louie, he’s always been one talented mother f..ker. ‘Giggles’

Who inspired you to write or was it always a dream to be an author?

I always wanted to be a writer. I’d write obituaries. I’d write ad copies. I’d volunteer to write about the blind guy who waited five years to get his seeing-eye dog. I’d start a neighbourhood newsletter. You get the gist. Even if it was crap, even if I had to write it seven times before anyone liked it, I’d keep at it until I made it better 🙂

I can vision you standing there saying read this or else lol! Saying that if it’s out llike this interview then I would have read it, seven times over with a box of tissues handy! ‘Giggles’ I still want to know what that question was that made me into such a hard man ;)! ‘

Just one more question and then you can relax 🙂

Can you tell the reader about your latest work and also tell the reader where they can find you?

My latest book is Lighthouse Reef, fourth book in the Pelican Pointe series where you meet sculptor Logan Donnelly and attorney Kinsey Wyatt. Logan’s come back to a town he hates while Kinsey’s trying to find her way as a brand-new lawyer.
People can find me at

Website: http://www.vickiemckeehan.comGoodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/WestCoastGirl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VickieMcKeehan
Twitter: @vickiemckeehan

Blog Page: https://vickiemckeehan.wordpress.com/

Thanks, Kevin for including me!!! What fun I had with the questions!!! I answered them all without skipping a single one. 🙂 X❤X❤

No thank you Vickie, its been an absolute pleasure having you here on my blog tour, I had a feeling you would answer all the questions. You sure do have a great mind there. Thank you so much for sharing it with us 🙂 I wish you all the success and happiness life can offer you and don’t let any bugger drag you down :)Xx

Author of Freeblood, Marny Copal

Marny, first of all I’m so impressed you have a background in anthropology and archaeology, two of my favorite subjects. I once considered archaeology as a major because I loved to dig in the dirt. Seriously though, tell us what exactly drew you to these two fields of study? And were you ever on an excavation dig? If so, we’d love to hear what you were looking for?

Who doesn’t like digging in dirt? I remember actually eating dirt as a very small child. (I guess Mom couldn’t watch me every minute.) Plus, my mud pie collection was the envy of the neighborhood.

In the United States, anthropology is typically divided into four fields: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. My first true love was cultural anthropology. Various customs, religions, mythologies, folklores, social structures, attitudes, and healing practices have always been intriguing to me, and those interests went hand in hand with my devotion to fantasy and science fiction when I was growing up.

As for archaeology, I took a fieldwork class one summer to fulfill degree requirements and really liked it. Once I graduated, I found work in archaeology, and I’ve been on excavations throughout Oregon. Mostly we found stone flakes, which are the byproduct of stone tool manufacture, but we also came across projectile points and other implements. I also worked on historic sites in the region. Finding dates and places of manufacture for old bottles and pieces of pottery is a lot of fun for me.

Freeblood

I’ll just get this out of the way now. I LOVED Quinn, Del, and Kasey, your main characters in Freeblood, the first book in the Quinn Chronicles, an urban fantasy / thriller. Plus, I loved your take on the vampire and the setting of Portland made it all the more compelling. What inspired you to jump into the vampire / paranormal genre?

Thank you! I’m glad to hear that the characters resonated with you. I have always been fascinated by myths and folklore, and the vampire yarn is one of my favorites. I also like the gritty feel of urban fantasies, and the old Portland—the real historic city—was a rough place, particularly on the waterfront. Mainly I jumped in because I felt compelled to write Quinn’s story. The tension surrounding the character pulls at me, and I feel the need to explore it.

How long did it take you to write Freeblood? And was there ever a time you weren’t sure you were going to finish?

It took me about five years. I was determined to finish and didn’t entertain the thought of quitting.

I know you’re writing the follow up book to Freeblood. What do you do when you’re having difficulty with a scene? How do you get past it? Do you talk it out with someone else or step away from the story for a bit?

I tend to put a scene to one side if I’m having difficulty with it. Solutions often come to me out of the blue, so I don’t push to make things happen. If I need an answer, I’ll go for a walk, and I’ll usually get one. If it’s something that can’t be answered because I haven’t figured out another plot point, I put it off until I’ve worked out the other details.

Did you always have the confidence to self-publish, or did it build slowly over time

I view self-publishing as a learning experience. I knew I wouldn’t discover anything useful if I didn’t take the plunge. I was on pins and needles before the first reviews, but in general, people seem to like the book, so that’s added to my comfort level.

I wasn’t hugely confident to start with, but I also didn’t think I had much to lose by giving it a try.

Do family and friends lend a measure of support to your writing efforts and your work?

It’s a mixed bag. Some are very enthusiastic, and others are less interested. Having that dichotomy has made me even more grateful to the people who do show their support.

How do you handle it when people gush over your work?

I love the characters and the book, so I’m happy to talk about them. I don’t know that anyone has actually gushed over my work.

Hopefully we’ll change that gushing part. Who influenced you the most to become a writer? A parent, a teacher?

All the writers whose books I loved are the biggest influence. I was an avid reader as a kid, I devoured stories of all kinds, and my simple adoration of the written word led to my pursuit of writing.

Are you ever tempted to write outside the genre you’re best known for?

I enjoy reading a variety of books, so I could see myself writing science fiction novels, romances, and mysteries, to name a few.

If you could sit down with one author and ask one question, which author would it be and what would you ask?

One of my favorite mystery writers is Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Mertz), who has a PhD in Egyptology. I would ask her for a favorite anecdote about Egypt, either from her research or personal experiences.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t at the laptop writing?

More dirt, I’m afraid. I putter around in the garden when the weather is nice. Aside from that, I like to (in no particular order) explore out-of-the-way places, play around with crafts (knitting, sewing), spend time with my husband, hang out with the cats, watch TV, and read.

This next question was inspired by children’s author Ngaire Elder. Thanks Ngaire!!! You’ve been whisked away by your husband to a tropical island, no phones, no flat screen, nothing to depend on for outside distraction for a month long getaway. What books would you bring with you? What music?

For books, I would take a mix of authors I know I love as well as those I’ve never read, including indies. I’d toss in some classics I’ve been meaning to get to, along with craft and art books.

This might surprise you: I wouldn’t bring any music. While I do enjoy a range of musical styles, I also like the natural sounds of birds, insects, rain, and waves, and I would want to fill my ears with the island’s unique and exotic noises.

You live in Eugene, Oregon.In my opinion it’s one of the best “little” towns in the country. My trip to Eugene yielded me an appreciation for community awareness. I’ve never seen a town rally to buy a property before like your neighbors did when they purchased Madison Meadow and kept it from falling into the hands of developers. A truly inspiring story, in my opinion. What drew you to settle in this awesome town?

The story of Madison Meadow is truly wonderful. People in Eugene like their green spaces and wetlands, and we tend to resist overdevelopment. The area in general is known for its environmental activism, and local organic food is very easy to come by.

With a population of 157,000 and the second-largest city in Oregon, Eugene is a good compromise for my husband and me. I grew up in a community of about 15,000, and spent part of each summer in a remote location where the nearest town was miles away and housed some 200 souls. He, on the other hand, was raised in a metropolitan area of about 1 million. We met at the University of Oregon in Eugene, liked the location, and decided to settle here when we got married. It didn’t occur to us until years later that it was a perfect pick for the both of us.

Eugene offers unique events such as the Oregon Bach Festival, the Sasquatch Brew Fest (featuring craft beers), and the Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival. Our Saturday Market is the oldest weekly open-air market in the nation. Also known as “Track Town,” Eugene will host the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in 2016. We also hosted in 2008 and 2012.

Well, I love Eugene, Oregon! One last question and we’re done. Where can people find your books? Contact you online?

Freeblood:

Marny’s Website

Marny’s E-mail

Marny on Twitter

Marny’s Amazon Author Page

Thanks, Vickie, for asking great questions! They were fun to think about. Some really had me stumped!

Come back anytime, Marny. I enjoyed getting to know you!!

Film festivals, Velvet Rain, and David C. Cassidy

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Film festivals. They give audiences the opportunity to get to know independent filmmakers, those that might otherwise never come to light in such a huge way. Here in Orange County, the 14th annual Newport Beach Film Festival kicked off its event on Thursday with some 350 films from 50 different countries appearing on the big screen. That’s a lot of talent coming together in one place. And an opportunity to see artists I generally might miss.

The film festival got me to thinking. If there’s a venue to showcase independent filmmakers why not one to celebrate and discover independent authors. And since I know a few, authors that is, I thought what a perfect backdrop to bring writer David C. Cassidy back to my blog for another round of in-depth questions about his book, Velvet Rain.

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I’ve read my share of dark thrillers before but after reading Velvet Rain I have to say, David, you scored literary blood with me. I get the sense from your writing your creative graveyard stays well clear of same old same old. Did you have any idea when you crafted this novel you were breaking such new ground in the dark thriller category? Because there’s no same old same old here.

David Cassidy

Thank you, Vickie. I think for most writers, we rarely have preconceived notions about our stories in terms of the mechanics—certainly we know the characters, we know the story—but we don’t go into it thinking, “This is going to be radically different.” Of course, there are writers and directors like Quentin Tarantino who continually push the envelope at a very conscious level. I’m always pushing myself with each page and each story, because for me, it’s all about the characters. It’s about life. One minute you’re cruising with the top down and the tunes blaring, the sun shining only on you, and in the next breath an 18-wheeler is ramming steel through your brain. As a writer, I’ve got to embrace the highs and the horrors. The reality. To do that, I’ve got to break the rules.

Writers should most definitely break the rules. When the legendary H.P. Lovecraft started out, he refused to be constrained by convention, or labels that pigeonholed him into specific genres. Velvet Rain crosses a few genres, brilliantly. What do you say to people who try to genre-fy your work when it’s an entertaining read, period?

First off, I respect everyone’s opinion. We’re all entitled. Some have called this book a thriller. A horror novel. A horror-thriller. It has a “soft” science-fiction component. A deeply moving love story. It even has all the elements of a classic tragedy. From a creative standpoint, I won’t be constrained by labels of any type. If part of the story calls for some particular “border crossing” into another genre, I don’t see any reason not to.

Sometimes critics dismiss the dark thriller / horror genre as too violent, too graphic in nature, or too brutal when violence is so much a part of our society. Do you think that’s a tad hypocritical to try to hold a writer to a higher standard when all one has to do is log onto the Internet and read about another act of violence in the news?

If one looks at it objectively, it does seem hypocritical. There will always be those who maintain that writers, video-game designers, directors, et al, are responsible for the degeneration of society and social values. But really, if someone doesn’t like the message, they don’t have to listen. Change the channel. Walk out of the theater. Put the book down. The ancient Romans aired the most brutal reality-TV the world has ever seen, but the writers of the day weren’t responsible for it or held accountable for the fall of the Empire.

You didn’t hold back from the graphic torture or the gruesome nature of the bad men chasing your lead character, Kain. After all, these men were death camp-like in their persona. As a result, Velvet Rain is a gritty, raw, powerful, suspense-building thriller that takes the reader right to the edge. Now to me, these depictions revealed the very dark mindset of the bad guys. If you’d left them out or watered them down, there would surely be people out there that would say, “Wait,a minute, Cassidy completely skirted that issue, didn’t he?” You didn’t do that. But were you ever tempted to pull back?

Never. I wanted people to see the reality of what a real-life monster looks like in the flesh. Brikker is evil, pure and simple. But more importantly, he’s real—as real as those running the camps during the Holocaust. To hold him back with kid gloves not only lessens the impact of the story, it lessens the message: Evil exists.

Now, there are those who might say I’ve gone too far. I completely respect that. But I’ve also read real-life accounts of the Holocaust that are equally, if not far more, disturbing. Does a documented case of real-life torture get a special pass over fiction? I beg to differ.

Moreover, the graphic scenes are not gratuitous violence for the sake of violence. In those particular parts of the novel, the violence is deeply entwined within the context of the story—those scenes are truly telling, revealing just as big a part of the story as anything else.

I just want to say, I loved Kain. You pulled me into Kain’s world, showed the burden he carries, the loss and loneliness of his godlike talent which sets him on a path of isolation, a doom and gloom scenario. But then you ebb and flow into his relationship, a romantic interest where, we the reader, think, “yay, there’s this whole other layer to Kain.” You have to know there’s an incredible power in that, right?

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I can’t get into a story without deep characters. People are real. People are deep. They’re imperfect. They live and they love and they need. Being a total outsider to the world, Kain needs to know he belongs—needs to know he’s capable of giving and receiving love—more than anyone.

One of the best things about Velvet Rain is its visual elements. For those that don’t know, it’s a period piece set in the 1950s / early 1960s. There are a lot of music references I had to look up a few. But you certainly gave me a sense of what the era must’ve felt like. Is there any particular reason you gravitated to that timeframe?

For me, a lot of the power of this story comes from the period. It was a simpler time, a precursor to the upheaval of the sexual revolution, the war in Vietnam, the oil embargo of the 1970s, all of the ugliness we see today on our 24/7 news channels. I wanted to keep the focus of the story on the characters. It’s all too easy with a story like this to let it get carried off by references to the web and computers and all of today’s unnecessary distractions. The story is about complex, yet simple, people, and their spirit should reflect their times.

Secondly, since the story deals with very graphic, and very real, situations, I didn’t want the story to come across as just more of today’s brutality. Back then, topics that are presented in the novel were utterly taboo and swept under the dinner table—but these things did happen. Velvet Rain takes these on in that context with great respect.

There’s so much more to Velvet Rain than graphic torture scenes. So much more. Two scenes resonated with me. Well, three really. The baseball game. Any mom or dad who’s ever rooted for their kid in the stands on a warm summer day watching the intensity on the faces of the young players will recognize this as a well-written by-product so typical of small town life. At least that was my take. So, a clever use of symbolism or just the joy of the game?

One of the strong themes of the novel is the father-son dynamic. Ryan is a deeply troubled teenager, the son of an abusive alcoholic. He trusts no one, including himself. Kain, another lost and tortured soul, serves as a father figure, and their efforts to build a relationship despite all the cards stacked against them is drawn through their common love of baseball. In this case, it may very well be that the simple joy of the game is symbolic itself, for there’s a line in the book that goes, “Perhaps trust could be built on a baseball.”

About ten pages into the story I could feel your own belief in your characters, as well as in your story. As a writer I recognized an author passionate in his efforts to develop rich, deep characters, building suspense layer by layer. Velvet Rain might’ve been your debut novel, but clearly you’ve been writing from an early age. What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from this story other than the pure entertainment value?

Thank you for those kind words. If there’s one overriding theme I want readers to realize, it’s this: We can all be heroes to someone.

I’ve seen readers compare Velvet Rain to the writing of Dean Koontz or Stephen King. I definitely saw this with the scene in the woods where Costello experienced the Turn. Or maybe that phrase, “Now the monster was making monsters.” But what about you? What other bodies of work would you compare it so that readers might get a better sense for the overall story?

I would liken this story to King’s The Green Mile. While the stories are utterly different, the spirit of the books is very similar. You have these heroic, tragic characters that want nothing more than to be just like the rest of us, but know in their hearts that they’ll never be free of their curse.

Character-driven versus action-driven storytelling? Most writers have difficulty carrying both off, but I think you blended these two together, or should I say, more like, crashed them together in a head-on collision. I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t love the characters, or how any reader wouldn’t appreciate the intensity of the action. What do you say?

For me, I look to people like James Cameron for inspiration. Here’s a man who writes incredibe action-oriented stories with rich, diverse characters. Titanic is his masterpiece. By the time that ship starts to sink, we’re so invested in Jack and Rose that we’re ready to die with them. That’s the kind of stories I like to write, with characters you love (and hate), dangling on a thread in amazing situations.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the relationship between Kain and Lynn. First, how could any female not love Kain standing up to Lynn’s nasty husband right off the bat like he did and picking her violets? Major score with this romantic!!!

The book is a thriller, no question—but it’s about people. The heart. Like Titanic and The Green Mile, you can have all the plot and all the action you want, but if you don’t have that gutsy, real-life struggle, or that magical bond between characters, it doesn’t work. Those stories soar from those very elements, and I like to think that Velvet Rain does, too.

Lastly, the romance lover in me saw the love story here. Beyond the violence, there’s the relationship between Kain and Lynn, and of course, the family dynamics, everything that makes up a tragic love story. So much so that you might consider, Mr. Cassidy, exploring the more touching, heartfelt romance angle, in-depth. It really worked for me. Just sayin’. So when do you plan to release your first romance novel?

I did. It’s called Velvet Rain. (laughs) Seriously, though, thank you for that. Kain and Lynn are such star-crossed characters, like Jack and Rose. Due to the deeply human side of this story, which is paramount, their relationship is really what holds this entire story together. In a lot of ways, it’s their story, more than anything.

Hmm, so we’ve added yet another genre for Velvet Rain, romance novel. (Smiles, winks) Perfect. What is your favorite part of the creative process?

As a photographer, I love finding that perfect light and capturing a dramatic moment, whether it’s a portrait, a still-life, or a landscape. But the real magic happens when I get to work my images in the darkroom, turning my work into art. With writing, it’s no different. I love finding that perfect piece of dialogue or that dramatic scene and polishing it during the editing process. I’m a very visual person. I see words and images in my brain all the time, and to make them come to life on canvas and keyboard is magic to me.

Let’s switch gears. Your new supernatural novella, Fosgate’s Game. Best opening lines I’ve heard in a good long while. “Given the choice, he shouldn’t have played Fosgate’s Game. Given the choice . . . he should have taken death.” Tell us about it.

Fosgate's

It’s very Hitchcockian. I’ve always been a big fan of old TV shows like the original The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Another favorite was Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. This story is most definitely in that vein, harking back to an old-time ghost story told round the campfire. It’s a fun, dark piece that fans of those kinds of shows will appreciate.

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? I want to say thank you for coming back and as we wind this up, let’s remind readers where they can connect to you online.

David’s Blog

David on Facebook

David on Twitter

David’s Email