#GuestDayTuesday – Featuring #Children’sAuthor #Mike Allegra

Today, I have the great pleasure of introducing an author new to The Write Stuff, Mike Allegra. Mike writes charming children’s books, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy getting to know him better. In fact, I recommend checking out Mike’s webpage later from the links below, and from there, his blog. Trust me –it’s wonderfully funny! And on that note, let’s get right to today’s post. Take away, Mike!


Thanks, for having me today, Marcia!

The Dusting Distraction

I am a children’s book writer. I am also a house husband. As a house husband, I have to do House Things like the shopping and the cooking and the bills and the cleaning and the laundry.

Lots of laundry, actually.

I’m still not certain how all that laundry materializes every day. Sometimes my son goes through two sets of pajamas in one night. Sheesh, kid, if the long sleeve jammies are too warm in the spring, just put them back in the drawer and put on the short sleeve jammies! That’s all you have to do. What you don’t do is throw the long sleeve jammies in the hamper. Wearing long sleeves for 20 minutes doesn’t make them dirty!

But I digress.

My point is, even if your house is small, the chores add up. Just when you think everything’s under control, there’s another shower to scrub or lunch to make or a whatever-it-is that needs a bit of whatevering.

In some ways, this is good for me. I’m kept busy. Idle hands are the devil’s blah blah blah. More importantly, my wife and son appreciate what I do for them.

On the other hand, chores give me a pretty dang good excuse to not write children’s books.

Writing is hard. When I’m between projects or I’ve hit a rocky patch in a story or I just can bear the thought of doing my jillionth rewrite, my attention drifts to my toilet and I soon discover a newfound sense of purpose.

How can I be expected to write, I ask myself, when that porcelain isn’t glittering?

This is a problem I think a lot of writers have who work out of the house instead of, say, in an office environment. At home there is no cleaning crew to whisk that cobweb off the ceiling. If you don’t go for the Swiffer, the web is stayin’ there. That nasty microwave in the breakroom is not someone else’s responsibility, it’s yours, because it’s your microwave and that breakroom is actually your kitchen. Home is where the heart is; it’s also where the distractions are. And that is how procrastination happens.

I think I know what you might be thinking right about now. I think it, too, sometimes: Is it really procrastination if you’re not farting around on YouTube watching baby goat videos? Is it really procrastination if you’re replacing one task with a different task? Is it really procrastination if what you’re doing instead of writing is something that really, really, really needs to get done?

Yeah, it kind of is.

Running a house is an important job. Crazy important. But writing is a job, too. And if you make a living at it like I do (or wish to make a living at it), writing also needs to be deemed very important. Time needs to be set aside for it. This isn’t easy. I’ve been writing children’s books since 2012 and I still need to remind myself that my Dyson vacuum (The best vacuum in the history of ever!) can, under specific circumstances, be just as insidious a timewaster as posting photos of toaster waffles on Instagram. 

It’s about balance. Emptying the dishwasher (or, fiiine, watching a couple of YouTube videos if you must) in the middle of your regularly scheduled writing time can be a nice palate cleanser. Breaks go a long way toward relieving some of the mental anguish of a Bad Writing Day. Just don’t let those breaks pull you away from the writing for too long. Set an alarm and jump back into the world of letters. Because if you don’t find the time to write your story, your story will never get written.

And don’t worry, a dirty toilet is patient; it’ll wait for you to finish that draft.

As for me, the last chapter of my middle grade novel is taking a lot longer than I had hoped. I need to devote more time to my writing. In other words, my boy is gonna have to learn the simple joys of going to sleep in sweatpants. That’ll teach him.


Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.

His new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) will hit store shelves in October 2022. You can preorder it now!

You can Pre-Order a Hard Copy of Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles HERE

A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media here:

Website
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #JanSikes

Good Morning, Everybody. Today, I’d like you to welcome author Jan Sikes to The Write Stuff. Jan is part of the wonderful team of writers over on the Story Empire blog, and she’s going to share a very interesting #TenThings list with us today. I know you’ll enjoy learning all these goodies about her! Jan, the floor is yours!

***

Thanks for having me here  today, Marcia! 


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Jan Sikes

  1. My maiden name is Smith. Growing up my sister and I were always referred to as those Smith girls. Smith is ranked as #1 when it comes to common last names. 
  1. I was born in Hobbs, New Mexico, just five miles from the Texas border. I like to consider myself a Texan since I’ve lived most of my adult life here. 
  1. I followed an Indian Guru for many years in the seventies. I embraced the entire way of communal living and was even the house mother for a while. Every night I would make four quarts of yogurt and bake homemade granola. I slept on a two-inch foam mat on the floor and shared a room with five other women. It was an experience I’ll never forget. 
  1. I was a total vegetarian for over ten years. 
  1. My biggest pet peeve in life are people who don’t pick up after their animals. I live in an apartment complex and there is nothing I hate worse than having to avoid stepping in it. My second biggest pet peeve is the way the electric company trims trees along the power lines. They take big chunks out of the middle leaving an unsightly gap in the tree. It makes me feel sorry for the tree. 
  1. I lived in Austin, Texas during the hippie era, and rode on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. 
  1. The farthest I’ve ever traveled is to Rome, Italy. I went there in the seventies to see the Guru. My oldest daughter was two. She got her head stuck between the bars that lined the steps at the Coliseum. They had to rub butter on her head to get her unstuck. 
  1. I was fifty when I started learning to play guitar. You are never too old to learn something new! 
  1. I have lived in five different States – New, Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Colorado. 
  1. My paternal grandparents were part of the big exodus to California in the thirties. They lived the Grapes of Wrath story. My sister and I plan to write that story someday.

You Can Buy Jagged Feathers HERE

BLURB:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.  

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?


Jagged Feathers REVIEW QUOTES:

“One of the top books I’ve read in a while. I’d give it more sparklers if I could. The author had me from page one and didn’t let me go until the end. She starts off hard and fast, then things kind of work out and the book goes into a “safe” lull, which is where most romantic suspense stories would end. But no. She doesn’t let you rest as the danger ramps up again before our hero and heroine are really safe and have a satisfying ending that leaves you happy for them.”  V. Burkholder

“This was a perfect blend of PTSD, guilt, bad guys, friendship, acceptance, and embracing the spiritual realm. I absolutely loved this story and can’t wait for the next rune couple”.  D.L. Finn

“What an amazing and phenomenal book. Jagged Feather’s has become my favorite suspense book I’ve read in 2022. Jan Sikes has a talent that mirrors the authors, that’s on top of the Best Sellers List.”  T. Lucas

“Jagged Feathers is a riveting romantic suspense I couldn’t stop reading. From the very first page, my heart went out to Vann. He’s been through so much and deserves someone to love. Nakina is a woman on the run and her plight tugged at my heartstrings. The POV and descriptive narration are deep, emotional, and immersive which make for an incredible reading experience. The more I read, the more invested I became in the characters and storyline. The plot is well-conceived with equal parts action, romance, and suspense. Jan Sikes writes a riveting story with lots of pulse-pounding moments.”  N.N. Light


Author Jan Sikes

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. She is a member of The Author’s Marketing Guild, Writer’s League of Texas, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC), RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHOR (RWISA), and sits on the RWISA Executive Council.


Jan’s SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

WEBSITE
BLOG
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
PINTEREST
GOODREADS
BOOKBUB
LINKEDIN
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #JohnW.Howell

Good Morning, Everyone! Today I’d like you to help me welcome a great friend and supporter of writers everywhere, #StoryEmpire member John W. Howell. I think you’ll really enjoy John’s post today, so let’s get things rolling!


Thank you, Marcia, for having me on your #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe feature. When we initially talked about doing this, I explained to Marcia that the first item on the list would be the fact that I have evolved into a close imitation of Howard Hughes. You may recall in his later years; he became a recluse. Marcia being the kind and generous person she is, thought that would be an excellent beginning to the list. So, with that encouragement, here are the #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe. You will note the Howard Hughes one is not there because you already know that one.


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by John W. Howell

1) Detroit, Michigan, is where I grew up in an area that was a melting pot of cultures. This upbringing gave me the experience to conclude that we are all made up of the same hopes, dreams, and expectations.

2) My father died when I was ten years old. He was an exceptional human being, and his example of making the most out of your talent has inspired me throughout my life.

3) I was raised by my mother and sister. My mother had to go to work, but my sister was six years older than me, so she filled in when my mom needed to be elsewhere. I feel blessed that I carried away from our home an appreciation for the female perspective.

4) My mom paid for the first year of college, and then the rest was up to me. I appreciated the help and embraced the idea that I would work and learn. I held several part-time and summer jobs and managed to get through.

5) My first working position out of college was for Procter and Gamble. My responsibilities were to represent the company brands in an assigned territory. In addition, I had the pleasure of introducing products still on the shelves today.

6) I changed companies after three years when it became clear a promotion was not in the works. After twenty years, I took over as the company head. It looks like I made the right choice.

7) I retired once at 51 years old and went into consulting. After five years, I went to work at one of my clients and spent fifteen years working on some exciting new products.

8) I retired a second time when I was 70 1/2. I enjoyed what I was doing, but it became time to go. 

9) My first book was published when I was 71 by a traditional publisher. After waiting for over 18 months for the second to be published, it became clear that I needed to go out independently. I self-published the following five books.

10) I’m looking forward to my 81st birthday. I still blog six days a week and am getting ready to publish my seventh book. Once that is done, I will be publishing a Top Ten Things Not to Do handbook, which will take some of my best posts and put them in a collection.


BLURB:

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit various times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

You can download the Kindle version of Eternal Road  The Final Stop HERE
You can purchase the print version of Eternal Road The Final Stop HERE


Author John W. Howell

Award winning author John W. Howell began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, was launched in September 2016. Circumstances of Childhood in October  2017.  The Contract in, 2018. Eternal Road – The final stop in 2020.  The sequel to Eternal Road should be available in September of 2022. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John also writes a daily blog, Fiction Favorites, HERE.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.


You can reach John on Social Media here:

Blog: Fiction Favorites
Amazon Author’s Page
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
BookBub
|
Story Empire Blog

 

 

 

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #MiriamHurdle

It’s time for #TenThings again folks, and I know you’re going to enjoy today’s post! Please help me welcome author Miriam Hurdle to The Write Stuff! Miriam, take it away, my friend!


Thanks you for hosting me on Ten Things, Marcia! 

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Miriam Hurdle

  1. My favorite number is 7 because I’m #7 in birth order. My mom gave birth to 13 children. My #2 sister survived but the other five older siblings didn’t. When I was born, my parents named me “Love Siblings” hoping to bring more siblings. They were thrilled that I survived. My six younger siblings survived, except one who died of meningitis at three years old. My mom got married when she was fifteen and my dad was sixteen. They never talked about the kids who didn’t make it.
  1. When I was in first grade, I walked 0.8 miles to school by myself. Back in those days, it was safe for kids to walk on the streets. The routine I took to school was not busy with cars. To these days, I still remember the stores and a theater I passed by on my way to school. The following year, my sister started first grade, and we walked to school together.
  1. As a teenager, I went to a church that had restricted practices. Going to movies was a “no, no.” I didn’t go to the theater for 10 years. When The Sound of Music played in Hong Kong, my best friend saw it 10 times and had the script memorized. I didn’t get to see it in a theater, but I bought the DVD afterward and watched it many times.
  1. I went to a pirate’s cave on Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong. According to legend, a pirate named Cheung Po Tsai used this natural cave as a hiding place from being captured and to keep his treasures. The cave is about 33 feet (10 m) deep and 289 feet (88 m) long from the entrance to the exit. It was a church youth group outing. The group leaders helped us to go in from the long-drop entrance. The narrowness of the cave allowed us to move in a single line. We had to lean at a slanted angle to walk in some part of the cave. We didn’t find any treasures.
  1. I went to a college on an island in Hong Kong. Swimming was a regular afternoon activity. My friends and I went swimming one day. I kicked into a sea urchin. The spines broke and pierced into my right heel. My friends helped me walk back to the campus. One fellow schoolmate used a tweezer to remove them.
  1. Before the seat belts and number of passengers were mandatory, I went on vacation with some friends from Portland to San Francisco in two cars. There were nine of us. On our way back to Portland, one car broke down. We jammed in one car. Probably the front seats were not bucketed seats. Three people sitting in the front with four adults holding two kids in the back seats. I was amazed that we made it back.
  1. When I finished my graduate study in Counseling at Seattle Pacific University, I moved to Los Angeles. I drove 1,137 miles from Seattle to L.A. with my entire possession in my car. Most of them were books. I put the houseplants by the rear window, leaving a small space to watch for the rear traffic. When I got to San Francisco, the glare of the setting sun blinded my eyes. So, I pulled into SF to spend a night. I drove the rest of the way the next day. The freeway system in downtown Los Angeles was intimidating to navigate, especially when I arrived in the evening. Fortunately, I visited Los Angeles previously which helped me find the right exit. That was the only long-distance driving all by myself.
  1. I took my year-and-a-half daughter with me to run an errand. There was something I needed from a convenience store. I left her in the car seat, locked the car, and ran to the store. Upon my return, I realized the key was inside the car. Fortunately, I had my purse with me. Using the payphone, I called the auto club. While waiting for the truck to rescue me, I waved at Mercy and smiled at her through the window. She waved back at me; didn’t know why I was outside. It could have been worse if I didn’t have my purse with the auto club phone number and the change to make the call.
  1. When the Phantom of the Opera toured around the world and went to Hong Kong, I was there, but the tickets were sold out. When the show came to Los Angeles to perform in the Pantages theater, I took my nine-year-old daughter to see it. I spent more money on the souvenirs than what I paid for the tickets. I still have the brochure and my daughter still has the mug with a mask that turns white when pouring hot liquid into the mug.
  1. One winter, my husband and I went to Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada, ​without making hotel reservations. We flew to Seattle, rented a car, and wanted to take the car ferry from Bremerton to Port Angeles on Washington Peninsula. From there, we would take the ferry to Victoria, BC. But we “missed the boat.” So, we drove to Edmonds to catch the next ferry that took us to Port Townsend, then drove to Port Angeles. It was late by the time we took the ferry to Victoria, BC. Without prior reservations, we went up and down the streets looking for a hotel room. Somehow, all the hotels, large and small, were fully booked. By 1:00 am, we quit looking and spent a night curled up in the car in freezing cold. By the first light, we went to get a cup of hot coffee. We found out that weekend was a local holiday. That was the last time we went anywhere without a hotel reservation.

Author Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.


Miriam’s Books and Buy Links

Buy Tina Lost in a Crowd HERE


Buy Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude HERE

You can reach Miriam on social media here:

Website/Blog 
Amazon Author’s Page
Goodreads 
Twitter 
Facebook

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #TeriPolen

Today,  one of my favorite bloggers and writers is our special guest, and I know you’ll all make her feel at home here on The Write Stuff. (I will, too, in spite of the #1 item on her list! 😋) So please join me in saying welcome to Teri Polen! Teri, the floor is yours!


 

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Teri Polen

Thanks so much for hosting me on Ten Things, Marcia! 

  1. I hate snakes (I know Marcia has a different opinion, but I still consider her a friend). I’ll take rats, mice, spiders, insects, etc. any day and have been known to usher some of them out of the house/garage. When my sister and I were children and playing with our dog, we hid from him in a tall lilac bush.  I glanced down and saw the glistening of snakeskin in the sun, shoved her to the side, and took off.  I did a similar thing to a friend when we had the crazy idea to build a tree house.  It’s every man for himself if you’re with me and a snake shows up.  I will not rescue you.
  2. My earliest memory is being in a walker as a baby and getting stuck underneath a television. It was the kind with long legs (from the 60s), and I somehow managed to wedge myself underneath it and couldn’t move my head.  My parents confirmed the story, but swore I was too young to remember that experience until I described it in detail.  To this day I’m claustrophobic. 
  3. I’ve bungee jumped (it was awesome), ziplined (my activity choice for Mother’s Day a few years ago), and tried to scuba dive, but the aforementioned claustrophobia nixed that plan. Skydiving is on the bucket list.
  4. You don’t want to vacation with us. Hubby and I took a cruise that was extended by a few days when Hurricane Andrew hit in the early 90s.  The ship sat off the coast of Cuba to wait it out.  We’ve spent a week in Hawaii when temps never rose above 50 degrees.  Same during a SC beach vacation in the middle of June.  We had a lovely time in Napa one year and thought the curse was over – then had an emergency plane landing during our trip home when the landing gear sensor malfunctioned.  There was no guarantee it would descend.  Seeing a line of firetrucks and ambulances lined up along the runway when you land is pretty unnerving.
  5. Several years ago (when video stores were still a thing) I accurately predicted the winners in every major Oscar category and won a free year of movie rentals. Sadly, I’ve played the lottery and bet on horses and failed epically.
  6. I’ve been to more KISS concerts than I can remember and saw Gene Simmons at a record store a few hours before a concert.
  7. I played flute and piccolo for high school marching band. These days I’m not a half bad drummer at the easy/medium level on Rock Band.
  8. I was questioned by the FBI during college. Something about the boyfriend of one of my roommates, the disappearance of some guy, and an abandoned car at the Pittsburgh airport.  To this day, I still don’t know the whole story.
  9. I’m not a superstitious person. After learning black cats are the last to be adopted at shelters, I’ve always chosen them, and they’re the most loving and appreciative furry friends.  My youngest son was a planned C-section, and I was allowed to select the date.  He was born on Friday the 13th  and is quite proud of it.
  10. Friends who have known me for years are shocked when they learn I was a cheerleader and majorette in school. I’m not a perky type of person.  Snarky is a more apt description.

BLURB:

If a megalomaniac threatened your family, would you give up your freedom for them? Would you give up your soul?

Asher Solomon is faced with that choice. And makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Exactly as Director Silas Reeves expected him to.

Unable to live as the Colony’s premier assassin, Ash retreats to a corner of his mind, ceding control of his body to the alter-ego he was engineered to be—Subject A36. As he’s unleashed to battle the Insurgents, the only family he ever knew, the tide of war shifts in Silas’s favor.

Combined with his expansion into new territories, the director is poised to take over the world.

But the Insurgents don’t give up easily. Not on their cause, and not on their people. With the help of a few double agents deep in the Colony, they stand a fighting chance at ending Silas’s reign.

In order to shut down the program, they face almost insurmountable odds. And their most dangerous foe—their former champion turned killing machine, A36.

Pre-order  The Insurgent HERE


Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 at ReadFree.ly.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

You can reach Teri on Social Media HERE:

Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V
Website:  https://teripolen.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeriPolenAuthor/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TPolen6
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tpolen6/

 

 

 

#BeMyGuest on #TheWriteStuff – #FunStuff – #TenThingsYouMayNotKnow AboutMe

Hi, Everyone! Just a quick heads up to let you know I am hoping to get all my regular features back up and running over the next few weeks. Today, I’m looking for folks who might be interested in taking part in #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe over the weeks ahead. I can book dates for you every other Wednesday, starting March 16, and on into the foreseeable future. If you think you’d like to take part, email me, and we’ll reserve a date for you. (  marciameara16@gmail.com  )

The good news is, you don’t have to have your post materials to me until about ten days or so before the day we’ve saved for you.  For information on what I’ll need from you by that point, please check in the header bar above under General Blog Rules and Various Feature Instructions. 

This #TenThings feature has been one of the most fun things we’ve shared here on The Write Stuff, and I hope a lot of you  will want to take part. Don’t forget, it doesn’t have to be a list of jaw-dropping experiences, though those are pretty interesting, for sure. But the idea is to get to know each other better, and perhaps have a laugh or two while doing so. AND, you get to promote your books at the end of the post, as well.

I’ll be waiting to start filling in the dates as soon as I hear from some of you. And if you have any questions, please know you are always welcome to email me, and I’ll try my best to answer them.

Can’t wait to see who’ll be next up for this fun event! (And if I’ve forgotten anything here, just give me a nudge and I’ll add it to this post.)

Thanks! And let the fun begin!

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow about D. Wallace Peach

 

It’s time for another Ten Things post, folks, and today, I’m very happy to have D. Wallace Peach with us. Diana is one of my favorite fantasy writers, and a friend & supporter of authors everywhere, and just wait until you check out this list! 


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by D. Wallace Peach

  1. When I was a kid, my parents used to drop my younger brothers and me off in the Vermont woods with a topographical trail map. They’d pick us up four days later, twenty miles away. One time, raccoons got into our food, and all we had to eat for a day was one jar of jelly. We had no idea that this was, um, …unusual.
  2. I grew up with lots of animals, and I didn’t live on a farm. We had an average house in a normal neighborhood. At one time, we owned 8 dogs, 9 cats, 3 geese, 60 chickens, a parakeet, rabbit, 2 gerbils, and a slew of mice.
  3. When I was a teen, I watched the movie “Jaws” and was so freaked-out that I didn’t enter the ocean for 15 years. Woods and mountains, yes. Ocean, no way! Eventually, I decided to face my fears and become a scuba diver. I did two dives with sharks, getting close enough to touch them. Later, I became a master diver, deep diver, and rescue diver. I still love the sea and feel completely comfortable with its creatures.
  4. I was a theater major in college. When I graduated, I began auditioning for the stage. At age 23, I decided to marry and have a family, and I gave up my budding theater career.
  5. I was pregnant with my daughter for 10 months. Those were the days before doctors set limits on how long they’d let a pregnancy go. Finally, enough was enough, and they induced labor. She was completely over-cooked, and her dried-out skin peeled for a month!
  6. All through high school, I worked weekends at a diner, cooking breakfast. Then I’d go rock-climbing in the afternoons. The tallest cliff I scaled (twice) was High Exposure, 250 feet (76m) in the Shawangunk Mountains in New York.
  7. I completed high school in 3 years and college in 3 years.
  8. When I was in college in northern Vermont, I decided to snowshoe up to a cabin in the mountains. During a snowstorm. Alone. The snow was so deep that I lost the trail, and when it started getting dark, I considered making camp beneath a rock overhang. Fortunately, sanity kicked in with the cold, and I started down. I didn’t have a flashlight and hiked out by following my tracks with a candle cupped in my hands.
  9. A few of my books take place on tall ships. In order to make up for my lack of experience and bring some reality to the story, I booked a trip on a tall ship. I learned how to shoot a canon, and while the other passengers drank gallons of rum, I was a pure nerd, trailing after the crewmen with my notebook and asking endless questions.
  10. I’m not afraid of failure. I tend to jump into things without sufficient (or any) planning. For this reason, I do just about everything wrong the first time. But I learn a lot this way and usually am more successful the second (or third) time around. That failed snow-shoeing trip up the mountain? I made it to the cabin the next day.

Photo of another climber on “High Exposure.” See #6 Above)


Author D. Wallace Peach


A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

BOOKS BY D. WALLACE PEACH

D. Wallace Peach’s Amazon Author Page 

Reach Diana on Social Media Here:
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#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow About Priscilla Bettis

Time for another fun #TenThings list, folks! Today, our guest is author Priscilla Bettis, and I know you’ll enjoy checking out her list, so here you go!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Priscilla Bettis

  1.  My cats’ names are Wednesday Addams, Pugsley Addams, Thing 1, and Thing 2.
  2.  My favorite place to read is in a hot bath.
  3.  I was born in sweltering Texas and grew up in frigid Alaska.
  4.  I write dark stories, but I absolutely believe in angels and miracles.
  5.  The pope blessed my swim goggles.
  6.  I write best in absolute silence.
  7.  I think the darker the chocolate the better. Same with coffee.
  8.  The smell of freshly cut hay makes me euphoric.
  9.  I have ridden a water buffalo. I don’t recommend it.
  10.  Years ago, I married my best friend. He’s still my best friend … and still my husband. 🙂

Contemporary Southern Gothic meets weird horror
in this new novelette from Priscilla Bettis.

BLURB:

Professor Claire Davenport yearns to be a mother. After suffering four miscarriages, the university microbiologist tries and fails to qualify as an adoptive mother. Then Claire’s husband leaves.

Alone and emotionally wounded, Claire takes a summer sabbatical from her microbiology classes and escapes to rural Virginia to heal. There, she meets local farmers with strange agricultural practices.

Claire moves into the historic manor house she rented for the summer, and an abandoned child greets her. Is the child real, an answer to her prayers? Or is he a figment of her tormented emotions? Perhaps the tight-knit locals are playing a trick on the science lady from the city.

Whatever the boy’s origin, Claire is determined to find the truth, but the truth may be bloody.

Buy The Hay Bale HERE


Priscilla Bettis read her first horror story, The Exorcist, when she was a little kid. Priscilla snuck the grownup book from her parents’ den, and The Exorcist scared her silly. From that moment on, she was hooked on horror and all things deliciously off kilter. As an adult, Priscilla turned to engineering physics, a wonderful profession, but what she really wants to do is write . . . or die trying, probably at the hands of a vampiric wraith. Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members.

You can reach Priscilla on social media here:
Blog
Amazon Author Page

Email: pbettis@gmail.com

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Suzanne Cottrell

It’s time for the first Ten Things post of 2022, and I know you’ll help me welcome my guest, author Suzanne Cottrell, who will get things off to a great start for us this year. Suzanne, the floor is yours!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Suzanne Cottrell

  1. At age 65, I completed a tree top obstacle course consisting of 41 obstacles and 5 zip lines.    The biggest challenge was stepping off the platforms for the zip lines; but once in the air, the  experiences were exhilarating.
  2. Although I did not acquire my private pilot’s license, I did fly solo in a Cessna 150 and later wrote a story, “Calm Down,” about the experience.
  3. I spent several summers as a camp counselor and swimming instructor in western New York, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
  4. In October, 2021, I celebrated 25 years of being cancer-free. I’m a breast cancer survivor and now thriver.
  5. One afternoon I discovered a groundhog sleeping in the fork of an oak tree. I didn’t know groundhogs could climb trees. That’s another story, “Up a Tree,” yet to be published.
  6. Two treats I love to enjoy, especially on my birthday, are Boston cream pie and homemade chocolate ice cream.
  7. I love baseball. Growing up, I enjoyed attending Cincinnati Reds’ games with my maternal grandfather, who had played semi-professional baseball. Now I’m a big fan of the MinorLeague Durham Bulls, Triple-A affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays.
  8. My sneezes come in triplets, occasionally quadruplets.
  9. As a child, I grew up in Oxford, Ohio. Since 1987, I’ve lived in rural Granville County, and my mailing address is Oxford, North Carolina. I have to be careful when addressing envelopes to friends.
  10. Some of my favorite authors are Mary Oliver (poetry), Mary Stewart and Kristin Hannah (fiction), and Sy Montgomery (nonfiction).

Author Suzanne Cottrell

Suzanne Cottrell, a buckeye by birth, lives with her husband in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired history and special ed. teacher, her interests include reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates. She enjoys researching history and culture and loves nature and its sensory stimuli. She particularly likes to write and experiment with poetry and flash fiction, as well as working on collaborative projects, especially with her daughter.

Her work has appeared in numerous online and print journals and anthologies, such as the Best Emerging Poets Series, The Avocet, Poetry Quarterly, Plum Tree Tavern, Parks and Points, The Pangolin Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Three Line Poetry, Inwood Indiana Press anthologiesPersonal Story Publishing Project anthologies, Proverse Hong Kong Poetry Prize Mingled Voices anthologies, Nailpolish Stories, Quail Bell Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Flash Fiction Magazine. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter; Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer; and Scarred Resilience, published by Kelsay Books. She was the recipient of the 2017 Rebecca Lard Award for Poetry Quarterly (Prolific Press).


You can buy Suzanne’s Books by Clicking on the Covers Below


You can find Suzanne on social media here:
Website
LinkedIn
Email: cottrell_suzanne@yahoo.com

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Amy M. Reade

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming author Amy M. Reade to The Write Stuff, and I know you’ll enjoy getting to know her better via her wonderful Ten Things list. Amy, I’ll turn things over to you now, so take it away!

~~~00~~~

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Amy M. Reade

  1. I played oboe for years when I was in school and my favorite classical music is any piece featuring oboes. I know they sound like ducks, but I love ducks (and I’m not counting ducks as one of my 10 things because everyone loves ducks).
  2. My favorite way to spend an evening is to sit outside in front of a roaring fire. I love everything about it—the woodsy scent, the crackling sounds, and the warmth. I’m always the last one to go back inside and that’s the way I like it.
  3. I don’t want to brag, but I can catch a case of poison ivy just by thinking about it.
  4. A lot of people who follow me on social media or have read blog posts I’ve written know that I love to cook and that I collect cookbooks and read them like novels. What they may not know is that I also subscribe to at least five cooking magazines. When I find a recipe that sounds good, I rip it out and add it to a (forty-foot-tall) pile of folders, each labeled with the type of recipe inside. You know, breads, appetizers, desserts, that sort of thing. Recently, upon surveying the literally thousands of recipes I’ve saved, I lamented that I’ll never live long enough to try them all. It made my middle child cry (she is an adult, so don’t go thinking I said something so callous to a five-year-old), so now I don’t bemoan that issue out loud anymore.
  5. I am one of the millions of people who took up backyard bird-watching during the COVID lockdowns.
  6. I believe that most of us were forced to learn higher math solely in order to help the next generation with their homework. If you majored in math or anything that looks like math, please don’t be offended—just know that you’re WAY smarter than I am.
  7. My idea of a perfect evening snack is a glass of port and a hunk of bleu cheese (eaten with a fork). Bonus fact: everyone else in my family hates bleu cheese … so, more for me. Second bonus fact: if port and bleu cheese aren’t available, a spoonful of creamy peanut butter will do nicely (and not the natural kind—it has to be the processed stuff you get at the grocery store).
  8. I have a weakness for fancy soaps.
  9. My father used to call me “Imelda” (who knows—maybe he still does. I’ll have to check on that) because I also have a weakness for shoes. And yet, shoes are my least favorite thing to shop for, with the exception of anything at a hardware store.
  10. The thing my Alexa hears more than anything else: “Alexa, play songs by Vince Guaraldi.”

~~~00~~~

BLURB

The holiday season should be a time for peace and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.

On the busiest shopping day of the year, Lilly opens her jewelry shop only to discover that it’s been burglarized. And then … she trips over the body. Talk about a Black Friday.

When a second victim turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. The clock is ticking as Lilly tries to unwrap the mystery of the real killer’s identity.

Can she figure out who killed the victims before she’s arrested—or becomes a victim herself?

And as if dealing with all this isn’t hard enough, Lilly’s deadbeat ex-husband resurfaces, her mother’s mental health is declining, and her two teenagers are acting just like … teenagers.

Find out whether her family’s Christmas will be merry or scary in this cozy, small-town mystery perfect for fans of Kathi Daley and Jacqueline Frost.

Recipes included!

~~~00~~~

Author Amy M. Reade

Amy M. Reade is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of cozy, historical, and Gothic mysteries.

A former practicing attorney, Amy discovered a passion for fiction writing and has never looked back. She has so far penned fourteen novels, including three standalone Gothic mysteries, the Malice series of Gothic novels, the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, and the Cape May Historical Mystery collection. In addition to writing, she loves to read, cook and travel. Amy lives in New Jersey and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

You can buy The Worst Noel here:

Amazon
Apple
Google
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
All other retailers

You can reach Amy on social media here:

Website
Facebook
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Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Page 
BookBub

Email: Amy@amymreade.com