#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #AlexCraigie

I’m very excited to announce that today’s #TenThings guest is my very dear friend, Alex Craigie (or Trish, as some of us know her). I’ve met many, many wonderful folks through this blog, and Trish is right there among the very best of them! And I know you’re going to enjoy her list as much as I did! Trish, the floor is yours!


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Alex Craigie

Thanks, Marcia!

  1. At my tallest. I managed 4’ 11”. Cinema-going was always a hit and miss affair. As I grow older, I grow shorter…
  1. My family mainly slot into one of two camps – medicine or teaching. I loved biology at school, but as I keel over at the sight of blood I followed the teaching strand.
  1. I loved teaching and have taught all ages from nursery to 19. I also did Home Tuition for the authority to help those unable to be in school for a while. Most of these had such disturbing home circumstances, the lessons had to be held in the local education centre.
  1. When the children were small, I supplemented our meagre income by writing short stories for magazines and doing competitions. The way to win a competition was to write a snappy rhyming couplet. Armed with a rhyming dictionary, I won on average 4 competitions a month. These varied from all-inclusive holidays (which I was able to give away) to branded aprons. I won a lot of aprons.
  1. My parents were both Scottish, I was born in the north of England and my husband and I moved to Wales in 1986 with 3 children under the age of four. When I went back to teaching it was as a Welsh teacher. I love the language but it’s one where the beginnings of the words change under certain conditions. Cot is the Welsh word for coat. That sounds manageable, doesn’t it?
  • Their coat:      Eu cot  
  • Your coat:       Dy got 
  • His coat:          Ei got  
  • Her coat:          Ei chôt       
  • My coat :         Fy nghot

                           It makes dictionary use really, really tricky for a beginner.

  1. Sticking with the theme of Welsh, there’s a place in the north which goes by the name of:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

The railway station board is a tad longer than the norm!

  1. I love music and used to play the guitar – mainly classical but plenty of folk and rock as well. Arthritis has made it tricky to properly continue with it but I’ve switched to the piano – some of my books have pictures to colour in at the top of the page. Baby steps! I used to sing in a college choir. Later, a group of us impoverished students discovered that we’d be given a free meal in hall if we sang evensong on Sundays. The four of us signed up for it.
  1. My mother’s side of the family share an ability to find four-leafed clovers. I thought they stood out for everyone and was surprised that others spent ages trawling through patches looking for them.
  1. Thirty years ago my ability to recognise faces suddenly left me. I thought it was early-onset dementia but the consensus was that the migraines attacking the same part of my brain had damaged it, leading to the problem. I used to bluff it out, looking for clues. At the time, apart from friends and neighbours, we had three children in different schools, my husband and I taught in two others and I’d done Home Tuition for the authority, plus supply work across the age range in the county schools and, in addition, three evening classes. My brain can usually place people when in context, but after I failed to recognise in the supermarket the teaching colleague I’d chatted with for over two hours the night before, my husband took to sidling up to me with the details I might need. ‘The woman in the checked skirt and purple blouse is Delyth Jones, vets assistant; husband ran off with Huw the butcher…’ I come clean now.
  1. I love our garden and used to grow only pretty things but have added an increasing range of produce in the last decade or so. There’s something special about grandchildren picking the vegetables for a meal and following it up with some fresh fruit foraging. Our garden’s also home to an impressive variety of birds and we have slow worms, grass snakes, giant moles (judging by the mole mountains), visiting hedgehogs and foxes, plus nightly badgers. The only creature that properly spooks me is the spider, any spider. I can’t even watch them on the television.

You can buy Means to Deceive here:
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

BLURB:

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

MY REVIEW:

A book I won’t soon forget! Let me say up front that I read mostly fantasy or urban fantasy these days, preferring to escape from the world around us as often as possible. I made an exception for Means to Deceive after coming across some excellent reviews, and I’m really glad I did.

This book pulled me in from page one, with superb character development and a wonderfully intricate plot. The tension built with each page until I was reading as fast as I could, eager to find out who the main culprit was. The reader is offered several real possibilities in that regard, but every time I thought I had it figured out, I realized someone else was an equally good candidate for causing all the skullduggery going on. Craigie’s writing was strong, clear, and eloquent. The pacing was perfect, and the end, a true revelation. I highly recommend this one! 


Author Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.


Contact Alex via email here: alexcraigie@aol.com 

Find all three of Alex Craigie’s books on her Author Page HERE

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #D. L. Finn

Today,  I’d like everyone to help me welcome another wonderful #StoryEmpire member, author D. L. Finn. Denise  is also a wonderfully supportive blogger, and I know you good folks will really enjoy her #TenThings list! Therefore, without further ado, I’ll turn the “floor” over to her! 


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by D. L. Finn

Thank you for having me here today, Marcia. 😊 I love Ten Things You May Not Know, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

  1. I write poetry in as many places as I can. Airplanes, on the beach, in the forest, and my favorite is when I am riding with my husband on the Harley. I have other places in mind that I will explore, like underwater or in a cave.

  2. Over the years, I’ve collected various things. They include books, record albums, teacups, teapots, and my first love, rocks, and crystals! I’m always looking for a heart-shaped rock to add to that collection. Now my family is trained for that and finds them for me.

  3. Although I’ve been writing since I was a teen, I finally put my work out there in 2015 when I tripped over my black kitty, Coco, on Friday the 13th and broke my foot. This amusing incident left me with enough time to pursue my passion. I consider black cats, and Friday the 13th is lucky for me.

  4. I find a lot of peace meditating in nature. I’m usually able to see nature’s energy, typically green or purple. I love to see the energy over water, like the ocean, where it glows.

  5. I’ve had an out-of-body experience as a teenager while in the hospital. I could see myself and was told I still had things to do, and I needed to go back. That voice was certainly right. I can still see that moment even today. It reminds me of how important we all are.

  6. I always thought it would be cool to be a bush pilot and live in Alaska. Although I ruled nothing out, I found my way into living in the forest but never got a pilot’s license. I got to fly in a water plane and stand on the outside while it was in the water on an Alaskan river. It electrified me to be in that moment, and also got to explore the Hawaiian skies in a helicopter. I still have more sky things to do, like a hot-air balloon or skydiving. I love that bird’s-eye view!

  7. Being born in the tiger year makes sense that I’m a cat person. Although I love all animals, I have a few other favorites, like dolphins, bears, and red-tailed hawks. They seem to find me when I need them, and I pay attention to their messages.

     

  8. I love the world within our world or what lives in the ocean. Being underwater is peaceful and beautiful to me. I have always wanted to scuba dive and almost took the class offered at our local college, but the great white shark scares me a lot. I’m less likely to swim off the Northern California coast thanks to the movie Jaws. Although that doesn’t stop me from snorkeling in Hawaii or still learning to scuba dive in the future in Lake Tahoe.

  9. Music has been a big part of my life. I’ve been to many concerts over the years and seen some amazing acts. My first experience included Heart and the Eagles at a “Day On The Green” in Oakland, CA, in the 70s. Over the years, I’ve seen Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, AC/DC, REM, B52s, Journey, Pink Floyd, Ozzie Osborn, Blondie, The Pretenders, U2, and I could keep going. The list is long.

  10. I adore all things Disneyland and have lost track of how many times I’ve been there. It’s where I spent my 50th birthday surrounded by family and Mickey. My first ride is always Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted House. Yo-ho, I am a kid at heart.

Blurb:

Newly married Rachael Battaglia finally had it all. The only detail that stained Rachael’s perfect wedding was a gift she received. It was the exact present that her late ex-husband had given her on their wedding day — a snow globe. That marriage was not what she had envisioned, and she endured years of his abuse and charm until one night she escaped with two kids and one on the way. Now Rachael was headed to Hawaii with an amazing man and her chance at happiness. Unbeknownst to Rachael, she had an Angel on her side, although this Angel might not be able to save Rachael and her family from the evil that surrounded them. This is a tale of love, past relationships, things unseen, and redemption. Will Rachael find her happy ending, or will this evil thing get its way?

You can buy This Second Chance HERE


D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.


Check out more of D. L. Finn’s Books on her Author Page HERE


Reach  D. L. Finn on Social Media here:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
D.L. Finn blog
Author Amazon Page

 

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #GwenM.Plano

Today,  I’d like everyone to welcome one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet online to The Write Stuff:  my good friend and fellow author, Gwen M. Plano. Gwen,  the floor is all yours!


Thanks so much, Marcia. It’s a pleasure to be here today!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Gwen M. Plano

  1. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I told my mom that I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. She explained that I couldn’t because I was a girl. This upset me, but decades later, through unexpected circumstances, I ended up studying with seminarians and earning a degree in theology and a degree in pastoral counseling – the same degrees that priests earn. 
  1. Dad taught me to drive when I was 11 years old. He thought I was mature enough and, on the farm, this was an important skill. As it turned out, the following year, I had to drive my mom to the emergency room (about 13 miles away). This action probably saved her life. 
  1. While a student at the University of San Francisco, I saw the Grateful Dead perform in Golden Gate Park. This was before they were famous. Attendees just sat on the grass or danced ecstatically. I did both, and the Dead remain my favorite band. 
  1. One evening my boyfriend and I walked through the Panhandle. We didn’t get far before flashing lights stopped us. Two police officers got out and questioned us about what we were doing. They concluded that we were clueless and harmless and told us to get in the cruiser. They drove us back to campus and instructed us not to walk at night in that area. This would be my only ride in a police car. 
  1. That same year, I enrolled in Speech. For the final exam, students were allowed to choose their topic to present to the class. I decided to do something different. I brought my Gibson to the classroom and sang an original song. To my surprise, everyone loved it – even the professor. She said this was a “first” for her. 
  1. In 1970, I attended grad school at Purdue University. I lived in a farmhouse about 15 minutes away from the campus. One night I saw two UFOs, as did the locals. Terrified, I called the police. They asked if I had been drinking, which I hadn’t, then they told me to call the airport. That responder told me to call the Air Force Base, which I did. The Airman said, “We haven’t seen anything unusual.” I still wonder about his response. 
  1. I lived in Japan for five years, and during that time, I became proficient in Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony) and Ikebana (flower arrangement). I also studied calligraphy. These ancient arts are a form of meditation, and their silence remains with me today. 
  1. In the 1990s I was an administrator at a Jesuit university in Connecticut. On weekends, I’d take groups of students into the inner city, where we worked in soup kitchens and other sites. When school was out, I led student volunteers into poverty stricken areas of Mexico. We lived with the people and helped as we could. One trip is particularly memorable. It was during an election and riots broke out in the area and guns were used. I huddled with the students, and thankfully, the next day was quiet. 
  1. On the yummy side of the world, I love dark chocolate and when I write, it is my constant friend. And…I never count these calories. 
  1. To conclude, nature is my greatest solace and I bring it into my home – with plants, crystal clusters, and images of beautiful settings. Being in nature calms my soul.

BLURB:

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

A review by Mae Clair: 5 out of 5 stars
A Political Thriller with Strong Characters

Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue.

You can Buy The Culmination HERE


Author Gwen M. Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. She is now retired and lives in Arizona with her husband.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her next three books (The Contract co-authored by John W. Howell, The Choice, and The Culmination) are political/military thrillers. Action-packed, they span the globe and involve multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Her conclusion – only love can change the fate of humanity.

When Gwen is not writing, she’s out and about in the beautiful northern Arizona mountains, where she finds inspiration.


You can find Gwen’s Books on Amazon here:

Author Page for Memoir
Letting Go Into Perfect Love
***
Author Page for Thrillers
The Contract
The Choice
The Culmination

You can reach Gwen on Social Media here:

Blog
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

 

#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/

 

 

 

#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:
Website/Blog
Website/Books
Twitter

#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