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

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

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

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

About the Textbook and Workbook set

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

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

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

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

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

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

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving – #HurricaneIrma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progress WAS made! (After two long days!)

And eventually, the garage was emptied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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

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

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

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

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

Author Don Massenzio

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

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

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Writers, have you discovered the Pomodoro technique? #amwriting #timemanagement

Are you a full time writer?

I’m not, so like a lot of others, I have to fit my writing time around my full time business. And my business is VERY full time – I train and judge competition dressage horses at National and International level. It’s a fabulous job, but very time consuming, not to mention sometimes exhausting.

This is me in my day job

When people glibly tell me that there is always time to be found in the work day, I know they have NO idea what my life is like. I can often be on the road by 7am, and not home until 10pm, having been either driving or working the entire time. Please tell me where I am supposed to find time to write in that schedule?

I’m not complaining, no sir, I’m just making a point. Not everybody’s life lends itself to a regular writing routine. Mine certainly doesn’t.

So what is my point?

Well, I recently followed a short writing course, largely because it had a great module on plotting (guess who is trying to learn more about plotting vs pantsing?). But what it also had, was a section on time management.

My first thought was, ‘here we go again, I’ve heard it all before’.

But I hadn’t! This course introduced me to the POMODORO TECHNIQUE.

If you haven’t come across it yet, it is a time management approach developed in the late 1980s, and named after the Pomodoro kitchen timer.

 The reason I found this so useful?

Because I have always felt that there was no point starting to write unless I had at least a clear hour available. Anything less than that seemed to me to be unproductive, and I hate to get started only to find I have to give up.

The nub of the Pomodoro technique, though, is that you work for exactly 25 minutes. Not more, and not less.

If you have that magic hour free, then you can fit two sessions in, with a small gap in the middle for coffee making or similar.

I guess, now I think about it, that this is at least partially based on the knowledge that we (humans) can only concentrate fully for 20 minutes at a time, so the 25 minutes stretches that just a touch, followed by the short break, and then back for another 20 (or 25) minutes work.

What it has meant for me, personally, is that my next book is coming along much quicker than previous ones, because I can often find 25 minutes spare, where I might have to wait days to find one of those precious hour gaps.

It has enabled me to give myself permission to write for just 25 minutes, and without guilt that I didn’t get that full hour of work in.

Crazy, huh? But it’s working for me.

I’ve finally realised that my one hour rule is yet another of those dreaded procrastinations we writers are often so prone to.

How about all of you, how do you manage your time?

Even if you are a full time writer, with all the guff that goes with it these days, how do you arrange your productive writing sessions?

Does anyone else have a favoured minimum writing time?

Deborah Jay

Mystery, magic and mayhem

Join me at:

Amazon author page:





“Vicious Circle” in Quantum Wanderlust

Staci Troilo is part of a new time travel anthology. You can download “Quantum Wanderlust” for free, too! Check out Staci’s post for more information and a great excerpt.

Staci Troilo

Quantum WanderlustThe time travel anthology I’m part of released last week. It’s currently doing rather well, but things could always be better. It’s totally free, so a download costs you nothing but a few seconds of your time.

If you want to write a review, though, that would be really helpful. And really, it won’t take too much longer than the actual download does.

Let me tell you a little about my story, “Vicious Circle”.

Picture, if you will, a man who is holding onto his sanity by one frayed, tenuous thread. He’s struggling with everything—physically, personally, professionally. He’s got one last chance to turn things around. It’s a long shot, but he has to take it. If only he knew what was going to happen. It would make things so much easier to plan and react.

Quantum WanderlustCan you imagine his surprise when he’s transported into the future and gets a glimpse…

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#NewRelease #DonkeyBoy&OtherStories by #MarySmith

Many thanks to Marcia for letting me take over her blog to tell her 3,600 dear friends about the release of my short story collection, Donkey Boy and Other Stories.

The ebook is already up on Amazon at the amazing, introductory price of 99p (which I think translates into $1.34 – still cheaper than a cup of coffee. The paperback will be out in a few weeks.

The cover, which I love, was designed by Melissa Priddy of Creative Station.

donkey boy book-cover-k v1

It’s a slim collection of stories which will entertain, amuse, and make you think – and there are little touches of humour. The reader will meet diverse range of characters in a number of different locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with what may be a frightening gift – or a curse.

Here’s a sample story as an appetiser:

Such Soft Hands

Everyone admires her husband’s hands. They’re delicate with long, tapering fingers, the nails beautifully shaped. They might have been considered effeminate on another man but they’re all of a piece with Jonathan’s overall elegance.

Moira’s own hands are broad with stumpy fingers, the nails cut short. The backs of them are brown from hours spent in the garden. A few liver spots have appeared. She folds her arms, tucking her ugly hands under her armpits and turns her attention back to her husband on the television screen.

The camera focus shifts to his face, away from his soft hands, gently cradling a porcelain bowl. No-one had expected a programme on the history of porcelain to be such a hit but the camera loves him. Viewers – mainly women – adore his sexy voice and shiver at the sight of his beautiful hands caressing rare and delicate objects; they write in to tell him so. Continue reading

Anatomy of a Small(ish) Catastrophe – #HurricaneIrma Part 1

10:00PM, Sunday, September 10, 2017

“It Was a Dark and Stormy Night . . .”

. . . when Hurricane Irma decided to pay a call. The knock (on the roof) occurred at about ten o’clock, well before the witching hour, but not before the witch–that being Irma–decided it was the perfect time to say hello.

When we answered the door, we found a tower of greenery on our front steps and got a face full of driving rain, as well. Mark figured he’d go out through the garage, instead. Upon opening the door between the laundry room and the double garage, however, he was brought up short by a pretty grim sight. Eeek! (That bright light is from a fluorescent ceiling fixture laying on the car, because astonishingly, we never once lost power!)

It seems that scamp, Irma, had chosen to drop a tree on our house, ripping a hole through the garage roof, rafters, and attic floor, and dropping a large percentage of all three on top of our 2017 Honda–with a few goodly sized bits and pieces landing on Mark’s vintage 1967 VW van, Victor Willie. Lucky us. Over the course of a week, btw, the damage worsened as the tree settled and boxes of stored items fell out of the attic and onto the cars. Plus, rain continued to pour into the garage off and on for days. Continue reading


IF anyone is interested in seeing what a tree can do to your garage, you can check out a short video on my FB page here: Video. The orange looking things on top of the roof, right under the tree, are rafters. Half of the garage rafters are reaching for the sky, the other half are sticking into vehicles. The entire attic floor has collapsed on top of our cars, and workbenches, etc. And the door will never open again. It looks like at least the top layer of concrete block will need to be replaced, if not ALL of the garage walls. And the whole house will need a new roof.

And Mark wondered why I was so scared of this particular storm. I had a BAD feeling about Irma from the get-go, hence my obsessive storm-watching for a week. Who says women’s intuition is a myth? LONG days ahead, cleaning, getting contractors out here, wrangling insurance agents, etc. But I’ll do my best to keep things interesting on The Write Stuff, in spite of it all. I’d miss you guys too much, if not.

And hey. I’m still standing, after all these (73) years, and Hurricane Irma, too!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

NOTE: If the link doesn’t work, its’ something with WordPress. Just search Marcia Meara on FB, and choose the one that DOESN’T say “writer” for my personal blog.

The Difference Between Men And Women…Very, Very, True!

This may be the funniest, and TRUEST, thing I’ve ever read, about the difference between Men and Women. Oh, Mars. Oh, Venus! It’s a wonder we even manage to keep the human race alive!


couplegfLet’s say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening…

when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

And then, there is silence in the car.To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation…

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