5a.m. Flash 231212 – Free short story/poetry eBook by William Bortz 23-29 December

THESE TIES COVERWilliam’s eBook ‘These Ties’ is free from 23rd to 29th December inclusive.

‘These Ties’ is a book of short stories and poems by William Bortz, a 20-year-old first-time author from the Midwest. ‘These Ties’ was inspired by his travels, the people involved, and the discovery of real love. Below is an example of William’s poetry…

…We find that this earth,
continuously turns.
And the fires that power it,
continuously burn.
The sounds that we hear,
are nothing to fear.
But the creation of us,
and everything that we love.
We find that we are all a part,
of the same beating heart.
And right where we end up,
is right where we start.

WillWilliam Bortz had an upbringing different than most folks, but he never skipped a step trying to figure out what he wanted from life. Using his past as a tool to carve the future, he lets his heart see for him. William loves to write about his adventures, including the special people he meets along the way and their everlasting impression left on him. Using a smooth almost lyrical flow for his writings, he will tell you stories that will stick with you forever.

William’s website is http://afreshnewview.blogspot.com and his eBook is available free from the 23rd to 29th December from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/these-ties-william-bortz/1108568695?ean=2940033171491&itm=1&usri=these+ties (short link: http://bit.ly/T1cBO7).

***

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Author Spotlight no.145 – Karen Robbins

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and forty-fifth is of multi-genre author Karen Robbins.

KAREN_2Known as the Wandering Writer, Karen Robbins and her husband of forty-four years have stepped foot on all seven continents and have almost circumnavigated the globe. The love of travel was realized fully after their five children were grown and out of the nest and having children of their own. Karen’s travel adventures enrich her writing and her characters often travel in her stories.

Most of her life, Karen has lived in Northeastern Ohio in the U.S. She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in art education and taught school until her twins arrived. Along life’s path in addition to being a writer and speaker, Karen has been a florist, a candle sales representative, and a paralegal student as well as wife, mother and grandmother.

Karen’s writing career started out with adult take-home papers for Sunday school. In a short time she was writing a column for a local newspaper and eventually for regional magazines. With five other writing moms she met online, she coauthored two books, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. The Chicken Soup For The Soul books have included several of her stories. Her first love though is writing fiction. She has written women’s fiction and cozy mysteries. Her most recent releases are Murder Among The Orchids and In A Pickle.

And now from the author herself:

traveling couple-robbinsHello, my name is Karen Robbins and I have a travel addiction. I’m admitting it. The weeks that go by between trips are excruciating. My husband and I look to the sky and see a jet trail and wonder where the plane is going and could we get there too. If we are not traveling, we are planning the next adventure. It makes it difficult to keep to a writing schedule but I enjoy my writing so much that I find ways to squeeze it in. With a wonderful laptop, I can write in airport lounges, on cruise ships, and in a MacDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the world where there is  free WiFi as well.

Best of all, our travel adventures have enriched the characters I’ve created and given me great life vignettes to draw from. In my newest release, In A Pickle, Annie Pickels takes a cruise on the Queen Mary 2. We have cruised on the QM2 several times and did a holiday cruise several years ago. Much of what I put into the story, the description of the ship, the activities, etc. came from my experience on that lovely ship.

The idea for In A Pickle stemmed not from traveling but rather started with my mother who always had us in stitches with her funny way with words. Often they were mispronounced but the mistake that we remember so fondly was when she would want to season something with marjoram and asked for marijuana instead. Of course as a novelist I am forever wondering, what if? What if someone actually did get marijuana mixed up with marjoram and put it in their pickle recipe? Thank goodness Annie Pickels meets Arnie on her cruise!

Annie and her best friend, Elma plan a trip to London for the second book in the series—something to do with piccalilli, a new pickle recipe, and Piccadilly Circus.

map - robbins

While my character, Casey, in Murder Among The Orchids, doesn’t travel far from her Florida home, she will be cruising as well in the second book of the Casey Stengel Mystery Series, Death Among The Deckchairs. This ship is fictional. I can’t be killing off characters on a real ship. I’m afraid they may not let me cruise again.

So many travel adventures. So little time. I try to keep my blog up to date with all of them and offer tips for others who are interested in travel. It also helps my kids to keep track of where their mother and father are spending their inheritance. Stop by and have a look. It’s the one place you are guaranteed to find me.

You can find more about Karen and her writing via…

 

 

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with erotic writer and author marketing adviser Lucy Felthouse – the five hundred and eighty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Creative Travel Journaling by Karen Robbins

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of journaling, is brought to you by multi-genre author Karen Robbins.

Creative Travel Journaling

Travel is a passion with me. Journaling helps me to remember where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. Here are some tips for journaling creatively.

The Tools. When a computer has a problem with memory, you can install another chip. Unfortunately that’s not the case with the human brain. Therefore do take some type of recording tool with you as you tour and explore.

For me, recording on the go requires pen, paper, and camera. I tote a small notebook in which to record interesting tidbits. Background stuff. Things to spark more thought later. I pick up free leaflets or brochures and jot notes on them as well.

My camera is used as much to record written information as to take pictures. I snap a picture of written descriptions on plaques, etc. I can enlarge it with my pictorial software or even on my camera by pushing the zoom button when it’s in view mode. (Digital cameras are a dream). I glean the information I want and delete it later. The advantage: I don’t have to read it all standing there instead of enjoying the views around me–especially in the hot sun or, perish the thought, the rain.

My husband owns an iPad but we rarely use it to take pictures or keep notes. It’s a bit cumbersome to tote along on a tour but if you don’t have a travel computer and want to use a computerized device to journal on, that could be the way to go.

Our iPhones work well when we don’t want to carry the big camera. If you are adept at typing on the touch screen, it’s also a good place to keep notes.

While on the go, you want tools that will help you later to fully record your travel adventure. As my husband always says, a job well done requires the right tool. But then he’s usually off to the hardware store.

The Five Senses. What do the five senses have to do with journaling? Actually a whole lot! A picture may be worth a thousand words but it only goes so far in recording your travel experience. It won’t show what you smelled, tasted, felt, or heard (unless it’s video with sound).

Too often we only use our eyes and forget the other senses. On our river cruise through France, we awoke to find ourselves docked by the little town of Ville des Andelys. The view resembled a Monet painting. Slightly foggy air muted greens, reds, and blues around us like an Impressionist’s painting. What I heard as we walked into town was the morning quiet broken by a single bird calling. What I felt was the fresh dew on my feet.

The memory that lingers though comes from a Y in the road where suddenly the smell of fresh bread surrounded me. The baker was already at work making her baguettes for the day. Nothing tastes better than a fresh baked baguette in the morning. Absolutely heavenly.

Using all your senses will add depth to your journaling. Some smells (dirty barn) and tastes (mate-tea of Argentina) are pungent, revolting, or unappealing but are still a part of your journey. Others like fresh bread, salty sea air, and the scent of pine (ah, Canada) are important elements to include in your journal entries. Soft-needled pine trees in Australia or the skin of a muddy catfish as it wiggles in your hand stimulate the imagination. The cry of a howler monkey in the jungle of Belize sounded like an amplifier gone wild but what an awesome sound. Touch, smell, hear, taste as well as see your world.

Descriptive Language. A picture is worth a thousand words but a few well-chosen words can paint the best pictures.

Sometimes I find it difficult to describe what I see because of the colors. One way to enhance your description is to think of colors in terms of food. It’s something everyone knows. A cherry red door. Ice blue water. Pink cotton candy sunset. Whipped cream clouds. Burnt toast bark.

Like and as are great ways to give reference for better description. The thunder came and went like a noisy car booming the bass from the radio. The catfish felt as slippery as a wet slicker coated in mud.

Use action verbs in your journaling. Avoid was, is and areThe wind howled is a stronger description than there was a strong wind. Mosquitoes feasted on my arms paints a better picture than there were a lot of mosquitoes. Remember my fresh-baked baguette? Fresh bread aroma floated around me, engulfing me in its enticement. Okay maybe a little over the top but a lot better than there was the smell of bread. Rub out adjectives and adverbs with a good action verb.

The Journal. Once you have collected your notes, your pictures, all the things you want to keep as memories you need–the journal!

If you only want a written version, use a nice journal with blank pages and a good pen. If you’d rather use a computer (I do, my handwriting is atrocious) create a file in your word processing program for your travel entries. Find some fancier online journals that allow you to create and write to an online site that can be public or private. Journaling software is available too.

Blog a journal! Blogger.com is free and easy to set up and use. Use privacy settings to make it public or private. My public blog evolved into a travel journal. . . well, one of my travel journals.

I love to make books. I write but I also dabble in photography. My favorite way to document our trips is in a photo book. The photo books are fun to assemble online and allow you to add text for that descriptive language.

And of course if you are a lover of scrapbooking, there is always that option.

Happy journaling!

That makes me want to travel more (except planes and I don’t get on… anyone got a flying carpet they could lend me?). Thank you, Karen! I also recommend WordPress but then I could be biased. 🙂

Known as the Wandering Writer, Karen Robbins and her husband of forty-four years have stepped foot on all seven continents and have almost circumnavigated the globe. The love of travel was realized fully after their five children were grown and out of the nest and having children of their own. Karen’s travel adventures enrich her writing and her characters often travel in her stories.

Most of her life, Karen has lived in Northeastern Ohio in the U.S. She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in art education and taught school until her twins arrived. Along life’s path in addition to being a writer and speaker, Karen has been a florist, a candle sales representative, and a paralegal student as well as wife, mother and grandmother.

Karen’s writing career started out with adult take-home papers for Sunday school. In a short time she was writing a column for a local newspaper and eventually for regional magazines. With five other writing moms she met online, she coauthored two books, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. The Chicken Soup For The Soul books have included several of her stories. Her first love though is writing fiction. She has written women’s fiction and cozy mysteries. Her most recent releases are Murder Among The Orchids and In A Pickle.

***

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with non-fiction author and poet Estelle P Shrum – the five hundred and sixtieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Author Spotlight no.132 – Olga Vannucci

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and thirty-second, is of non-fiction author Olga Vannucci.

Olga Vannucci was born in Italy, lived in Brazil, and came to the United States to attend Brown University.  She lives in rural New Jersey with her beloved son, George.  When he was seven years old, she realized quite suddenly that she hadn’t been back to Italy in ten years, and she went, and took him along.  Then she went four more times, and she wrote a book about those trips, a mix of travelogue, personal history, and little anecdotes.

What’s a little different about the book is that Olga is both an Italian native and a tourist.  She captures the little everyday happenings that a tourist may not, and she also visits the major cities, though there too she tends to experience them in her and George’s own way.

She is currently working on two new projects.  She’s working on a book of travels with her son in the U.S.  The other project is around cooking with her mother, who is a fantastic cook, while everyone knows that Olga can’t boil an egg.  The book is built around her mother’s recipes, and around their relationship.

And now from the author herself:

I am a very shy and private person, and I have no idea what possessed me to share my thoughts with others!  I think I felt that what I had to say was a little bit different, with a view low to the ground.  What I find interesting is that my friends who have read the book say it sounds just like me.  It’s written in the present tense, so it feels like you are along and I’m talking to you.

One of the most rewarding things about writing is finding out more about myself.  There’s nothing like having to express a thought to help crystallize it.  The other reward is hearing from others about the things that spoke to them in the book, and they range from the more profound to the totally mundane situations.  Women will focus on the mothering aspects of the book, dealing with my son.  Men enjoy my description of how Italians give directions:  they start from a place you’ve never heard of, proceed vaguely, and stop well before your destination.  Apparently that’s happened to others…  They can relate, and I love when people tell me they can relate to something I wrote about.

It was hard to write about others and protect their privacy at the same time, particularly with my son.  I find him very amusing, but he doesn’t intend to amuse me, and he is sensitive to it.  He thinks I’m making fun of him basically.  So I’m always walking that line, writing about him, but trying to be respectful of him.

My favorite stories are the quirky ones, like the sheep stampede that almost flattened us—not really, it wasn’t that bad, but it was a funny occurrence.  We did so many different things, visiting with my ancient relatives, riding the bullet train to Rome, the only passengers without a snack, having coffee with my aunt in the morning, trying to dunk cookies in the little tiny cups, lots of hiking, with my son resorting to tears to make us stop.  One nice thing about the book is that it covers lots of different material, from the very simple happenings to the tourist destinations.

I don’t know that the Italian heritage speaks to my son all that much yet, but I believe (and hope, but I do believe) that the experiences he has had build his knowledge and interests, and that he will find value in it all later on.  A lot of my Italian-American friends relish their connection to Italy, and he will have had an extra special connection.  I hope and believe…  When he brings up something from the trips, I get all excited.  Yes, he was there, he was paying attention, he got it!

I have a little website at http://olgavannucci.com with some pictures and some snippets from the book.

I also have a Facebook page that can be reached via http://travelswithgeorge.com.  I update it pretty actively with some of the many photos I took during my trips.

And the book, both the printed and the Kindle versions, is available at Amazon.com.

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with YA thriller and suspense / romance author Daphne Olivier – the five hundred and thirty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Settings by Barbara Quinn

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of settings, is brought to you by novelist, short story author and publisher Barbara Quinn.

Settings are extremely important in fiction. Think about memorable scenes in your favorite novels and I bet you conjure up a picture so vivid you think you can smell and hear it. Whether it’s fantasy worlds such as those created in The Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings, the mansions and surroundings of The Great Gatsby, or the orphanage of Oliver Twist, memorable settings reel you in and deposit you on heady shores. They breathe life into a story and can become another character in the book, one that makes a reader want to visit in person and follow in the footsteps of the characters you come to know so well.

One of my favorite scenes in my suspense novel, Hard Head, is set in Siena, Italy in the stunning main square called Piazza del Campo.

Siena is a charming walled city with medieval roots. Its winding streets and sepia light beckon you to wander slowly through its mazes. The central shell-shaped square, Piazza del Campo, is a jewel.

After walking the winding streets, it is breathtaking to spill onto the Piazza del Campo from one of the tiny narrow streets that lead into it. As you enter from dark passages, you are immediately immersed into light and air.

Twice a year, once in July, and again in August, the interior of the square turns into a madhouse when the horse race called Il Palio is run and thousands of people manage to squeeze into the square.

In the Palio, jockeys ride bareback and circle the Piazza del Campo three times. They cover the inner square with dirt to provide some traction, but it is not uncommon for riders to fall off and horses to stumble. The race itself takes only a little more than a minute. Events leading up to it occur over four days. Ten horses and riders representing sections of Siena ride around the square at a furious pace. The winning horse does not even need to have a rider. Amazingly, the horses without riders still run hard. The participants do it all for the right to display a banner.

I’m not a fan of crowds and have never attended the Palio, but the spectacle of that race has been a draw for me since I became aware of it many years ago. I knew I wanted to set a part of my novel there. So when I was writing Hard Head, I steeped myself in every article, account, and picture I could find  to understand the rituals and pageantry. Incidentally, the title of the book, “Hard Head”  is a term commonly used to describe people who come from Calabria, the place of birth of my main character’s ancestors. She journeys to several places in Italy including Siena and Calabria.

I did eventually visit Siena and its gorgeous Piazza del Campo, not during a Palio, but during the fall season, when the walls were covered in a fiery orange from climbing vines. There’s something magical about the square, and the history associated with it. I was most content to sit in the Piazza and sip an espresso. The square was all I had imagined it to be and I could imagine the thunder of the horses and the shouts of the crowd.

Is there a magical setting or event like Il Palio that you’d like to visit?

Thank you, Barbara!

Barbara Quinn is a novelist and award-winning short story writer, and Founder and Former Publisher of The Rose & Thorn www.roseandthornjournal.com.

She is the author of four novels: Speed of Dark, 36C, Slings and Arrows, and Hard Head. The novels run the gamut from light women’s fiction to dark paranormal suspense.

She practiced law for ten years, and held many jobs from lingerie sales clerk to postal worker, cocktail waitress to process server.

Her love of travel has taken her to four continents and 47 states. She splits her time between Bradley Beach on the Jersey shore and Montebello, New York.

She and her husband have one son, Bret, and a grandson, Ammo. Barbara welcomes email at BAQuinn@aol.com and would love to keep in touch via http://twitter.com/BarbaraQuinn.

In Hard Head, Rosanna Sweeney defies her father’s deathbed order that she never go to Italy. She and her teenage daughter journey across Italy to the Calabrian town of her father’s birth. In their quest, they find romance, learn about one another, and uncover a past that links them to secret societies far worse than the Mafia.  Can they survive their dark legacy? Hard Head is available from http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Head-ebook/dp/B0075XR288 and Speed of Dark from http://www.amazon.com/Speed-of-Dark-ebook/dp/B005UI7B5E.

Photo of Piazza del Campo, Siena by Ricardo Andre Frantz

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with contemporary and historical novelist, non-fiction author and spotlightee Dorit Kedar – the four hundred and thirty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called Short Story Saturdays where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.