I’m Back!

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since the last time I did a post. Life has been rather demanding. Since the last time I blogged, I’ve moved into a new house… LOVE IT! I have the perfect office with a great view for writing.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful view. LOL

Not being as energetic as we were years ago, the whole moving thing took more time than expected.  I still wonder how in the heck I managed to collect so much over the years. It is always surprising to find all the clutter you’ve gathered when you have to move it to a new house.

So, now that I’m finished with unpacking and the weather is cooling, I will do my best to post more often.  I do have some exciting news to share with you, but I believe I’ll save that for my next post.

 

The Tuesday Tease – Week 3

Here’s another tease for Return to Walandra. Enjoy!

cover 2 for return to walandra 1“Demlins are dark, evil creatures that live in the Land of Shadows.  These two are servants of Alona and were sent here to earn Cassy’s trust so they could use her to destroy the Royal family.”  Keira glanced at Cassy and gave her a knowing look.

“Oh, no, is Frier okay?  They haven’t harmed him, have they?”  Cassy’s heart ached at the idea of Frier in the hands of Alona.

“No, he’s safe for now, but if we don’t stop Alona, I fear the entire Royal family will be lost.”  Keira did not want to frighten Cassy, but it was important she knew the truth.

“I don’t understand.  What does this all have to do with Cassy?”  Steve cleared his throat, trying to calm his nerves.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s teaser from Return to Walandra. If you haven’t read book 1, it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

 

The Tuesday Tease – Week 2

Last week I began a series of post with a few chapters of my current work-in-process. Return to Walandra is the sequel to The Dragon’s Blood Key. Here is this week’s tease:

cover 2 for return to walandra 1“Stop fighting,” David growled in a low and menacing tone as he tried to regain his grip on her.

“Cassy, what’s happening to me.  I feel strange,” Melissa cried out.

“Let her go!” Cassy shouted as she reached for Melissa again.

“Stop fighting, and I promise she will wake up in her bed safe and sound.”  David wrapped his arm around Cassy’s waist when suddenly an agonizing pain shot through him.  “What have you done to me?”

“Look at her eyes, they’re green!” Ralph shouted.  “Come on, we need to go before it’s too late.”

A burning rage built up from deep inside Cassy as she reached for Melissa again.  “Melissa, take my arm!”

It was then Cassy realized Melissa appeared transparent.  “Melissa, please look at me.”

“Stop wasting our time,” David grabbed Cassy again, but this time the pain he experienced from her touch knocked him back several steps.

“Leave her!  We’ll take her sister, that way she’ll come to us,” Ralph yelled as he faded away as well.

Realizing he had no choice, David released his hold on Cassy.

“I will see you soon, Champion,” his laughter filled the air as the three of them disappeared.

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It’s getting exciting now. Come back next week for another Tuesday Tease.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s teaser from Return to Walandra. If you haven’t read book 1 it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

 

The Tuesday Tease: Week 1

I have been neglecting my blog for some time. With other projects and the everyday events of life, consuming all my time this little blog has been shoved to the side. Well, I decided it was time to show my blog some attention.

Between some of the crazy things I’ve been doing the last few months, I’ve somehow managed to squeeze in some time to work on the sequel to The Dragon’s Blood Key: Return to Walandra.

This story holds a special place in my heart. The morning I woke up a couple of years ago with a wild story about Dragons and magical creatures burning in my mind, it opened a whole new writing experience for me.

I had been one to write dark, twisted thrillers, so I must admit the desire to write a YA Fantasy came as quite a surprise to me. That morning, I climbed out of my bed, sat in front of my handy laptop computer and to my surprise two weeks later I had written The Dragon’s Blood Key. I must admit it was a crazy two weeks. My husband was still driving over-the-road, so I was home alone.

I barely slept, I even forgot to eat (which wouldn’t hurt me to do more often. LOL), but it didn’t matter; the voices in my head had a story to tell, so I was held captive.

I must confess the voices haven’t been so chatty with the sequel. They have come to me in bursts. However, as I sit at my laptop, I find myself amazed how so many questions posed in the first book are somehow answered in the second one. I didn’t know there were even questions while writing the first book, but as the voices dictate this next story to me, I find sub-plots filling in the gaps. If you are a writer, I know you’ll understand what I mean. LOL

So, back to the reason for this post. I decided to begin a series of posts titled: The Tuesday Tease. Each Tuesday I will share a few paragraphs of my current work-in-process. While I hope you will enjoy the posts and look forward to the book’s release, I’m also open to suggestions. Writing is a growing adventure, so I feel input from others can be a benefit. Just remember, this is unedited so you may see issues the editor will find later. Okay, let’s get started…

Here is the book trailer video for The Dragon’s Blood Key

Isn’t that a fun video? It sets the mood perfectly for this exciting story. Now that I have your attention, here’s a taste of book 2.

Return to Walandra: Book 2 – The Dragon’s Blood Key

The morning sun shone brightly over the mountains to the east as Frier returned to the castle.  The feel of the sun on his wings and the wind on his face was comforting, yet it was unable to help him forget the pain in his heart for even the briefest moment.  Since Cassy had returned to her realm, Frier had spent many nights at Roupert’s hut deep in the forest, hoping to force the memory of her from his mind.  He knew it was wrong of him to leave the palace, but it was the only place where he could find peace.

While walking to his chambers, Frier heard a voice from behind him.

“Good morning, son.  It’s nice to see you looking well this morning.  Did you have a nice flight?”  Queen Privlana had worried about Frier since Cassy returned to her realm.  It seemed he would stay to himself far too often, and then vanish for days at a time.

“Good morning, Mother.  Yes, it was quite enjoyable.”  He turned to meet her gaze.

“Your father has been looking for you.  He has important business to discuss.”  The Queen knew this was not welcome news by the expression on Frier’s face.

“I’m sorry; where is he?”  Frier hoped this discussion was not the one he had been trying to avoid over the last few weeks.  He was in no mood to hear of royal responsibilities and other such things.

Privlana saw the dread in Frier’s eyes.  She understood the feelings he had for Cassy, but she had hoped over time he would come to grips with them and somehow find the strength to move on.  “He waits for you in the Conference Room.  The generals are discussing some distressing reports.  He needs you to join them as soon as you can.”

Frier had hoped he could take more time to become acquainted with the Royal responsibilities, but it looked as though he was mistaken.  “Thank you, Mother.  I will join them now.”

Queen Privlana’s heart broke as she watched Frier walk away with his shoulders slumped. It was as though the weight of their kingdom rested upon the young Prince.

“I’m so sorry for your pain, my son.  To give your heart in love only to say goodbye is a pain no Dragon should be forced to endure.”  Privlana whispered, fighting the anguish stirring in her heart.

************************

I hope you enjoyed this week’s tease from Return to Walandra. If you haven’t read book 1, it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

Our Heroes in Blue

I was going to hold this to post until next month but with the shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada today I thought I should share it with you now.

Last year, I interviewed Retired Detective/Author Robert Rangel on Deadly Reads Radio with my co-host Lisa Vandiver.  Robert has written an important book to help everyday Americans understand what our Law Enforcement Officers face while protecting us from those on the wrong side of the law who wish to do us harm.  Hearing the stories of Law Enforcement, Fire, and Medical first-responders who charged into the fray to save their fellow Americans made me realize how often we take them for granted until they are needed.

As I watched the news reports today and people remarking of how the Las Vegas police officers bravely put themselves in harm’s way to save those facing a barrage of bullets raining down upon them. I knew I needed to do this post now.

The Red Dot Club tells the true stories in the words of Law Enforcement Officers who looked death in the eye and somehow survived life-threatening injuries.  Their stories will rip at your heart, but they need to be shared.

First, I have a blog interview I did with Robert.  I also have Robert’s latest visit to Deadly Reads Radio.  He even brought some friends with him..and 2 of them share their stories in his upcoming release – The Red Dot Club: Victims Voices, book 2 in his Red Dot Club series.

Let’s get to know Robert Rangel

I’m so honored to have Robert Rangel joining us today.  Robert and I have been friends since he was a guest on the Deadly Reads Podcast, so I figured it was time to let him share with us here on my blog what makes him tick as an author, and what made him decide to enter the world of writing.

First, here’s a little background:

YouTube thumbnailRobert resides in Los Angeles, California. He has lived an interesting life before becoming an author.  He’s a retired Detective of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a former bodyguard for the Royal families of three different countries, and is currently a background investigator for police hires.  As you can see, we will have lots of fun stuff to chat with Robert about.

Robert has written an important book that needs to be read by the public.  The Red Dot Club is the first-hand account of Law Enforcement Officers who faced death at the hands of criminals and lived to tell their stories.  Having read his book myself, I must say it provides a rollercoaster of emotions for the reader.  With each word and knowing the stories are true as told by those who lived it, I found myself filled with a wide range of wrenching emotions.  From tears to anger, The Red Dot Club is a MUST read to fully understand what our Law Enforcement Officers face every day they put on that badge, and that they are people just like you and me.  They have families who pray every day they will come home after their shift.  Unfortunately, some don’t, and others are forced to overcome life-changing injuries.  Robert has written a book that takes you into the minds of those who have faced the unthinkable, and he did it in a way to pay respect for those who lived the nightmare of joining The Red Dot Club.

Hi Robert, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to drop by and allow us to get to know you better.

Thanks. It is my pleasure to share some of my experiences with you all.

You have quite an interesting resume.  Would you mind sharing with us why you decided to go into Law Enforcement?

I started my own business as a young man when I was 18 years old. By the time I was 24 years old I was making great money. But I was bored. I wanted to be outside and I wanted to help people. I also wanted a pension and yearly paid vacations, and I wanted to do something exciting. Hmmm…I thought and thought and it hit me. I could be a gunslinger, a racecar driver and still help people all in one job… I could be a peace officer! When I was hired I took a 50% pay decrease to be a peace officer, but to me, it was worth it.

One of the things on your resume that I find interesting is your time as a Royal Bodyguard.  Would you share with us what that entails and why you decided to take on such a job?

Wow, what a loaded question! I worked for the Royal Family of Brunei, the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia and the Royal Family of Malaysia. I had just retired as a peace officer as a result of numerous injuries. I had broken my knee, (a right tibial plateau fracture, you can look it up). I had and still have a bullet in my right humerus from a shootout.  So…I was looking for something to do. They say that in life it’s not what you know but who you know. In this case, it’s true, as one of my ex-partners hooked me up with the Director of Security for the Royal Family of Brunei and the rest is history. My first book, The Organ Grinder’s Monkey details what working for that royal family is like. To paint a picture, if you will, of a very highly paid slave, but he is still a slave. A slave is someone who is expected to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thus, I was this man, a highly paid slave. I’ve actually had comments from several people that said they enjoyed reading The Organ Grinder’s Monkey better than The Red Dot Club but I disagree. However, The Organ Grinder’s Monkey is a fascinating read full of twists and turns, backstabbing, power grabs, laughs, unbelievable scenarios, and it’s all true.

I’m sure most of us would like to know what The Red Dot Club is.  Can you explain how you came up with that title and why?

When I was a patrol deputy, we, of course, handled every type of situation imaginable. Some of our calls were extremely HOT situations. When I say HOT, I mean dangerous. To give an example, in my first week on patrol we had six murders in my area. That is not counting the people who were shot, stabbed, or beaten who did not die.  One of my partners and I would say either before or after handling those situations that we could have made the suspect a member of The Red Dot Club. This, of course, meant that we could have shot them. The red dot is the mark a bullet makes at its entry site. I never forgot the saying and I thought it was an appropriate title for my book about officers who were shot in the line of duty.

1461276_10202824543277512_2405840041703207655_nWhen you asked me to read your book, I must confess that I had no idea what I would find in those pages.  Can you please tell us a little about what it was like to research and write The Red Dot Club?

I approached officers who were shot and asked them to be in my book. They were hesitant until they read the chapter detailing my own shooting. After that, they readily agreed to tell their story for the book. I think it is because they knew I understood what they went through. So many tears were shed in getting their stories and I am eternally thankful for their openness and bravery in sharing such an intimate event. It is an extremely private thing to share, sharing your feelings about a time when someone trying to kill you.

As a member of The Red Dot Club yourself, can you tell us how it affected you to write this book?

I am a pretty healthy guy. Writing this book almost killed me. I had stomachaches, I had headaches, I had sleepless nights and I could not eat. I found I had to sprint to write the book because I could not stay in the horror of the stories for too long. To write the book, and to tell these brave heroes stories, I had to live the shootings as I interviewed the officers, and then I had to live them again when I wrote them. I had to live their experience. I had to feel their horror, their loneliness, and their terror. It was an absolutely horrifying, terrifying and debilitating experience for me to have to do this over and over again. I still have nightmares.

9780990317357_p1_v4_s550x406I know the stories in this book are difficult to read.  Can you tell us what you hoped this book would do to those who read it?

I wanted to bring awareness to the public of what and who cops are. I want the public to understand that the little video of an officer-involved shooting is so much more than the five seconds of the shooting you see on your television screen. I want the press to understand that they do not understand what they are saying when they report on a shooting and give their opinion as to whether is was a good shooting or not. No one but the officer who went through getting shot understands what it is like to not know if you will live or die. The Red Dot Club tells it like it really is. No selective editing.  The stories are in their purest and raw form.

Can you share with us what kind of response you’ve received from others in Law Enforcement pertaining to this book?

I have had overwhelming thanks from everyone for finally telling the truth. Some of the officers in the book have thanked me for telling their account because they could not tell it themselves.

After reading this book, I found myself wanting to hug our daughter and keep her safe. She is also a Law Enforcement officer.  Can you tell us as family members the best way to help those who have faced the situations spoken of in your book?

Let them talk. Let them vent. I think it’s impossible to understand what it’s like to be forced to shoot someone else. We are peace officers for a large part because we view life as precious and we promise to protect it. Then sometimes to save a life we have to take a life. This is more difficult for most officers than people realize. Officers who shoot others probably think about the event almost every day…forever.  I have no problem talking about my shootings. Other officers might. I think it’s good to talk about it in a safe environment. Encourage them to do so. And if they cuss while doing it, understand that there is a lot of anger about being forced to do the unthinkable. It is just coming out as a forceful voice. Don’t judge, let it be.

I understand that you are now working on the second book of this series.  Can you tell us a bit about it?

The title is “The Red Dot Club, Victim’s Voices”. It’s a phenomenal book. Again, we have officers who fight for their lives in real life shootings, but I have included other officers who lived through horrifying on the job experiences. The point is that most officers are victims also.

When do you expect its release?

It’s done. I’m waiting to see if a major motion picture/television studio I met with is going to do a television series. If so, then I’ll release the book and market it with the, ‘Soon to be a television series’ slant to it.

Where do you see these books going in the future?

I think every American should read this book. One of my reviewers on Amazon said this and I agree. To quote, “Our society needs to read these stories and learn from these heroes that we civilians do not understand what we ask of those who volunteer to protect the rest of us. Democrat, or Republican, liberal or conservative, every citizen should read this book.”

I’m sure everyone would enjoy reading some short snippets from your book. Would you mind sharing a few with us?

Here are three that stand out to me:

“The pain in my stomach then hit me hard…I felt wetness on my stomach…I put my hand there and then pulled it away looking at my fingers. I was horrified. It should have been blood…It was a clear gooey fluid with flecks of red in it. Oh my God, what is that?”

“It’s just like I’m standing here talking to you…Fudge, I see the bullet leave the gun and fly at me. I could see the copper tip of the bullet with the muzzle flash of the gun behind it, and it was spinning straight toward me.”

“I was thinking I was going to die. I was thinking Puppet was going to die. I was scared and sad. It was going to happen. I was going to die.”

Okay, last question.  What is your ultimate goal as a writer?

I would like to raise awareness by telling truths, the experiences that people live through. I would like to do this in a variety of areas and situations. Would it not be so cool to be able to understand others and what they have gone through?

I’d like to thank you for spending this time and allowing us to get to know you better.  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My books will make you laugh. They will make you cry, and rip your hearts out. They will be the unfiltered truth. If I ever fail to do this I will no longer write. God bless each and every one of you!

Amazon              iTunes               B&N

As you can see Robert is not only a talented author but is an all-around nice person.  I hope you will not only check out his book, The Red Dot Club but also follow him on social media. Also, don’t forget to check out Robert’s interview on the Deadly Reads Radio podcast on the Deadly Reads YouTube channel below.

Surviving the dreaded 1-Star review

Book reviews.  Just the mention can make a writer break out into a sweat.  Will the readers love my book, or will they hate it?  Getting a positive review fills your heart with joy, and yes, pride.  It lets you know all the long and lonely hours of plugging away on your computer have paid off.  Your faith in yourself as a writer is vindicated.  All the naysayers for your foolish idea of writing a book are silenced.  Life is good.  You are now ready to begin writing your second book… and then the unthinkable happens.

44037-29419Nothing can cause a writer to question their storytelling skills quicker than a negative review.  When I received my first 1-Star review and then several more, I was convinced my career as a writer was over.  I fell into a deep depression and refused to write anything again.  I mean, why should I?  I believed I could tell a good story by my positive reviews, but now I’m told my writing is crap.  How can the same story be seen so differently?

When I was about to give up, my husband told me to go to Amazon and read the negative reviews left for some famous authors.  I remember thinking, famous authors surely don’t get the nasty 1-Star reviews like I did.  Heck, they’re famous.  People love their work. That’s why they’re famous, right?  Boy, was I wrong.

After reading some mean and downright nasty 1-Star reviews left for such greats as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and others, I came to realize that you just cannot please everyone.  I also realized to use those bad reviews as a growing tool and a way to improve my writing.  I had several on my debut book that tore me up over editing issues.  Yes, I take the blame for that.  I did a stupid thing at the time I published the book on Amazon.  But others complained about certain things in the story itself.  I took their complaints and tried to use them to improve my future writing.

So, basically, my advice to the new writer is not to panic when, not if, but when you get a negative review.  Don’t think your career as a writer is over.  Use it as a growing tool and realize even the greats get their fair share of them.

Being a writer is a growing experience.  Your skills grow every time you put your words on paper or your computer.  Also, you will find over time that your belief in yourself will grow.  You’ll be more willing to take chances, and you’ll soon realize you were meant to be a writer.

read-and-review-the-last-krystallos (1)_InPixioSo, are reviews important?  You, dang right, they are.  Now, I’m not saying they’re important to feed our egos.  No, they’re important to help get our books seen by more readers.  You see, once your book hits 50 reviews on Amazon, they will start promoting it to their readers.  Now, I’m not saying it has to be 50 good reviews.  I’m saying a total of 50 reviews of a combination of any star rating. So, don’t worry about a handful of bad reviews hurting you with readers.  In fact, I’ve had readers tell me how they don’t trust a book that has nothing but 5-Star reviews.  They say the reviews are probably just by family and friends of the author.  I’ve even had readers tell me they decided to download my debut book because they wanted to see if it was as bad as some reviewers stated.  I guess if that works, then good for me. LOL

Getting readers to leave a review is difficult, but when they do, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.  Thank your readers, and then do your best to provide them with more books for them to enjoy.

I hope this post helps clear any questions about how to handle a bad review.  So, get busy writing your next EXCITING book!

Writing heals your Soul

As a writer, I’ve had fun developing exciting characters for my books.  In my Next Move, You’re Dead trilogy, I had fun with Erebus, the diabolical villain who toys with people’s lives.  I’ve had fun writing about dragons, vigilantes, and paranormal entities.  However, the one story that was difficult for me to write was Hellfire’s Judgment.  So often as writers, we are able to separate ourselves from our stories.  But every once and a while we have a story that strikes a little too close to home.  Hellfire’s Judgment is that story for me.

When I first published this book, it was a short story.  I wanted to tell the story of a girl who is brutally raped and the rapist get’s away with his crime because of his powerful family.  While it was a decent short story, the readers let me know they wanted more.  I really didn’t want to dive back into it, but I figured if the readers wanted more I should give them what they wanted.

You are probably wondering why I was so reluctant to go deeper into this story.  It’s because I would be forced to revisit my own painful memories of being a rape survivor.  While I was not a child when I was violated, I still remember the feeling of helplessness and anger.  It was those feelings I knew I would have to relive when making Hellfire’s Judgment into a full-length novel.

So, I opened my word doc and started typing.  It was an overwhelming experience for me With each click on my keyboard the words seemed to flow from somewhere deep inside of me.  I cried as Sherry had to face her attacker in court.  I cried as her family faced the threats from those tied to the attackers powerful family.  However, with each word, I felt my own pain and anger steadily losing its grip on my soul.

By the time I had written the last paragraph, that dark stain on my soul, though not completely erased, was no longer controlling my emotions.  I felt empowered and free.  The image of the man who had attacked me was no longer haunting me in my dreams.

I’ve always read how we should write of things we know.  I just never realized how by doing so, it can also heal a pain we have shoved down deep inside of us.

I was thrilled when after I released the full-length version of Hellfire’s Judgment as seeing the reaction from the readers.  It always makes you feel good as a writer when you’re able to bring the reader into the story and let them feel your pain.  If you think Hellfire’s Judgment would be a book you’d like to read, you can find it on Amazon.

Here is a book trailer video I made for Hellfire’s Judgment

Another FUN show on Deadly Reads Radio

downloadI was thrilled to have Screenwriter/Author Doug Richardson return to Deadly Reads Radio.

Doug Richardson is an American Screenwriter and Novelist who specializes in Action Movies and Thrillers. You can learn more about Doug by visiting his website. 

Doug returned to talk with us about his latest installment of Lucky Dey Thriller series, now available at Amazon.  As always, we shared lots of laughs while we caught up with him.

You can listen to our show with Doug and other great guests on our YouTube Channel.