Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Sacha Black, Marcia Meara and M.J. Mallon

What a great way to start my day! Check out Sally’s Café and Bookstore blog today, where The Emissary is featured along with the latest by two other great writers, Sacha Black, and M. J. Mallon! Very good company, indeed. Don’t forget to pass it along, please. All three of us will be very grateful! 🙂

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the first of the bookstore updates today and the first author with news is Sacha Black who has combined her guide to create characters with a darker side, 13 Steps to Evil with a workbook in one edition. Both books are also available separately.

About the Textbook and Workbook set

2 Jam-packed guides with over 300 pages of tips and tricks to help you master your villains

13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad Villain – Textbook

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to…

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving – #HurricaneIrma

In case you’ve been wondering why I’m still not back to blog business as usual, five weeks after Irma’s dastardly sweep through the islands and Florida, it’s because my life is still upside down. The good news is, progress is being made. Slowly, but still. ANY progress is a good thing. That’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it!

For those who are curious about what happens when a gargantuan tree falls on your garage, smashes through your roof and attic, and lands on your vehicles, here’s the latest installment. You’ll have to scroll back a few posts to see the pictures from the earlier stages, of course, but this week’s phase dealt with cleaning out every single item in the garage and attic.  It was dangerous, back-breaking work, so of course, you call in the strongest clean-up crew you can find. Ta-da!

I will say, I was surprised when I met our contractor’s clean up crew, but they were a force to be reckoned with! Unstoppable for two full days of dirty work in 90 degree heat, they jumped right in. Even when the garage door was taken apart, revealing this, they didn’t hesitate:

Mark stayed home to help direct, since determining which things were junk and which weren’t is an art form only HE has mastered. This is about the halfway point, with all wall shelves on the left already removed, and much of the attic stuff taken down.

These ladies not only carried a ton of stuff out of that mess, they cleaned every salvageable piece before packing into the big, carefully labeled boxes. (Did I mention they were awesome?)

Then, they started stacking things in the 20’x10′ pod, from the back, all the way to the front, top to bottom, until not another thing would fit!

Keep in mind that every trip into that garage was risky. Note the large box hanging down through the broken rafters. Those continued to slide down and fall through from the night of the hurricane until the last one was retrieved.  Some of the boxes contained Christmas decorations, and were relatively light. Some, like this one, contained auto parts, and were not!

Shovels and wheelbarrows were employed, as well as brooms, and brute strength.

Progress WAS made! (After two long days!)

And eventually, the garage was emptied.

What wasn’t salvageable ended up in my new front lawn ornament, a 16’x8′ construction dumpster, which, I might add, is full. It will have to be emptied before demo and repairs even begin.

Yes! Both the 20′ long pod and the 16′ long dumpster are full. Of things that were once in this garage! Do not ask me how they all got squeezed in there. I’m only responsible for the Christmas items in the attic. The rest were all Mark’s. I swear it. But I also swear that all that stuff isn’t going back! Nope. We will be adding a new shed or other storage container in the backyard, way over in the north forty, where it will never fall on anyone again. Probably.

Next step? Demolition of roof and rafters, and portions of the concrete block walls. Stuff has to come down before it can be rebuilt.

Meanwhile, rain pours straight through the torn up tarp, but there’s no longer anything in the garage it can damage. And the yellow tape now replaces the trashed garage door, since there’s nothing left to steal. And besides, what Irma did here (and so many other places) is a CRIME if I ever saw one!

Next on my mind–how I’m going to decorate the pod and the dumpster for the holidays. I’m thinking paint the pod red and put our yard reindeer in front of it, and voila. Santa’s Very Big Sleigh! But the dumpster is more problematic. Perhaps I should just string lights all over it? 😀 😀 😀

Ya gotta keep on laughing, you know. Otherwise, you might as well just give up and quit. 😉

Guest author: Marcia Meara – The Emissary… a new Riverbend book!

So pleased to be featured on Sue Vincent’s lovely Daily Echo blog today! Thanks to Sue for her tireless work in promoting writing in so many ways! Please stop by and take a look, and if you have time, share with the immediate world! I’d appreciate it hugely! 🙂 ❤ And while you're there, browse through some of the wonderful posts, poetry, and photography on Sue's blog. It's a great place to hangout!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

My thanks to Sue for letting me share the news of my newest book today. It’s a real pleasure to be here!

It’s always gratifying to discover readers are interested in the lives of secondary characters as well as those of the “stars” of my stories. After I published my second Riverbend novel, Finding Hunter, I began receiving a lot of questions about Gabe Angelino, the trucker who brought Hunter home. It appears Willow wasn’t the only one who thought he might be a real angel instead of just a good man. Even after I published book three, That Darkest Place, the interest in Gabe was still widespread. At every local event—book signings, eco tours, slide show presentations—someone invariably asks about that mysterious trucker.

Talk about writing on the wall! This message was written large enough that even someone with eyes as old as mine could read it…

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One Giant Leap for Vankind – #HurricaneIrma

Today was the FIRST day I’ve been able to take a deep breath since September 10! We found a general contractor who said he thought he could help us rescue our cars. Others had said no way. They’d wait until the insurance company gave them the go ahead to begin demo and repairs. Weeks away, probably. But Doug Miller of Timberland Builders, Inc, showed up shortly before 8:00am today, and he and his men were absolutely committed to getting our cars out of the garage.

It was a dangerous, scary job, and things conspired against them, but every time there was a hitch, they stopped, rethought the problem, and came up with another solution. They were very, very careful, trying not to cause any more damage to the cars, the garage, or our personal belongings. They were also very careful not to get injured in the process. (I was so nervous, I had to go inside several times. )

The guys removed the garage door. No mean feat, since it had to come down in panels, and there was a very tiny amount of space in front of the vehicles in which to work. Finally, our cars saw the light of day for the first time in a month! Mark immediately climbed into his van, cranked it up, and drove out of the garage, honking the horn all the way! Victor Willie didn’t even have a scratch on it. Mostly, it had been covered in soggy drywall, rather than plywood flooring or rafters. It’s FINE.

Then all eyes turned toward the Honda. I was shocked to see there was as much resting on the front of the car as there was on the trunk! OMG, the very idea of working with all the rafters and attic contents dangling precariously overhead was enough to make me ill. The picture doesn’t show just how much stuff they were scrambling around beneath. Toward the back of the garage, there were very few places you could stand upright.

 I had no clue how they were going to do this. Luckily, they were smarter than I.

First, they built a frame under the rafters at the front as a support so they could be jacked up, then they did something similar in the back. The frames had to be modified several times to give them extra strength.

Once the frames started to hold steady, they jacked them up, front and back, and drove the Honda out, too. Wooohoooooo! And the really good new is, astonishingly, it appears to have suffered only cosmetic damage!! It will need to be repainted, and there’s a very shallow dent on one side of the roof, but it doesn’t appear there’s any frame damage. Of course, we won’t know for sure until the body shop takes a look, but we are all hopeful!!


The State Farm rep should be here at noon tomorrow. Sadly, it’s Miriam, and not JAKE, but that’s the way it goes. 🙂 If all goes well, we could have our Honda back in a fairly short time, depending on Miriam’s assessment. Crossing my fingers here, because the transportation issue has been a big complication.

I hesitate to let myself get TOO happy, lest there be a smackdown coming, but right now, I’m feeling much better than I have in four weeks. YAY! Doug and his men from Timberland Builders are my new heroes, right up there with Thor and Harry Dresden. Except, REAL. And here to help when needed!

And there you have the latest. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we can get started on repairs, but for now, the garage has been secured again, and we have our cars ALMOST back. And that’s HUGE!

Writing about a location – Do you have to go there?

An excellent post from Don Massenzio on researching the setting of your book. You should check it out!

Author Don Massenzio

One of the most important aspects of your writing is the setting. You want to accomplish a couple of things when you write about a particular place. First, you want to give your reader a sense of the place you are writing about in a descriptive way that transports them there. There are books I have read that have made me feel that I was experiencing the place even if I hadn’t been there. One of my favorites, To Kill a Mockingbird, made me feel the humidity of Alabama. The Shining gave me a chill through Stephen King’s description of the unrelenting winter around the Overlook Hotel.

There are authors that excel at describing their surroundings. Dean Koontz is especially astute at describing indigenous vegetation in California, where many of his books are set. In his Odd Thomas series, the fictional California desert town of Pico Mundo comes to life…

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#HarryDresden is On the Job!

Just thought I needed something a bit more “protective” in my life right now, so I’ve assigned Harry Dresden and his brother, Thomas, to stand guard. If he so much as sees a whisper of storm winds kicking up outside, there will be fire and fury and other wizardly doings to keep us all safe! That’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it!

Forzare! Harry’s on the job!