Friday Finds #writetip #fiction

Though Staci has changed the name of her Friday Round-up Posts to #FridayFinds, it’s still the same wonderful mix of inspiration and fantastic links. Head on over and check out what she’s offering today, and don’t forget to spread the word far and wide, too, thanks. And thanks to Staci for such a lovely post, featuring a quote from one of my all-time favorite writers, the incomparable Erma Bombeck. 🙂

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! First, let me start by saying yes, the title is different but no, the content hasn’t changed. I’m adjusting my blog calendar a bit and thought I’d change the title of Friday’s links posts to something a bit more manageable. But I’ll still have the quote of the week, a brief rundown of why that quote spoke to me, and all the wonderful links I found around the web.

So, let’s get started.

I’ve been thinking about Erma Bombeck a lot lately. I know, it makes absolutely no sense for an author of dark sci-fi to be dwelling on housewife humor.

Can’t help it. I’m a huge fan of hers and she’s been on my mind.

When I first found her work, I was young. I wasn’t working, keeping a house, or raising kids. Yet I found her hilarious. Now that I’m a working wife and mother? I…

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July Book Reviews, Part Two @bakeandwrite @meg82159 @harmony_kent @MarciaMeara @BetteAStevens #BookishTuesday

A great mix of reviews from Mae Clair–one of which just happens to be for my little book of poetry, Summer Magic, which, like much poetry, is often overlooked these days. It was great to find it in this post, along with all these other super books. There’s something for everyone included. Check it out and then pass it along, if you would. Thanks! And thanks to Mae Clair for her wonderful comments on Summer Magic. 🙂

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Hello, and welcome to the second half of my book reviews for the month of July. If you missed, part one, you can find it here. Summer heat was nearly unbearable for several days this month, but I did manage to devour a number of novels and novellas poolside. To read the blurbs for each, click the Amazon link. My thoughts on each are below . . .

Book cover for Death Among Us a murder mystery anthology shows a limp hand turned palm up on solid surface in wash of gray shadowDeath Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories
by multiple authors including Stephen Bentley, Greg Alldredge, Robbie Cheadle, and seven others

I’m a mystery/suspense fan so these stories hit all the right notes for me. The collection is varied with several authors contributing multiple tales to the collection. Read one or two at a time or gobble several back to back. The authors are great at transporting you into twisted worlds of murder most foul. You’re bound to find your…

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#GuestBlogger Harmony Kent on Her New Release #Fallout

This morning, it is my great pleasure to welcome author Harmony Kent to the Write Stuff. Harmony is going to tell us about her latest book, and I know you guys will be as eager to read this one as I am. (Already pre-ordered my copy!)  Without further ado, I will hand the imaginary microphone over. Harmony, take it away!


Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Marcia for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.

Who dropped the vial?
Who found the vial?



The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?


Back in the bedroom, he stared at the copious blood smearing the window ledge through which he and Priya had made their escape. Panic seized him, and he dashed from the room, down the stairs, and to the woods.

Priya tried to pull away when he grabbed her and aimed the bright torch beam her way. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Keep still. I need to see.’

Kaleb yanked down the zip on her bloodied jumpsuit.

Priya slapped him.

He pulled back. ‘Sorry. I thought it was your blood.’

She glanced down at herself and gasped, hands going to her mouth. Then she scrabbled and clawed at her clothing. ‘Get it off. Get it off. Get it—’

Kaleb shook her, not wanting to hurt her to bring her out of her shock. Thankfully, she calmed. Pale and too thin, she wore an appalled expression on her grim face. Then she whispered one word, ‘Please.’

Pre-Order Fallout HERE

Author Harmony Kent

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Connect with Harmony on Social Media Here:

Story Empire (co-authored)
Amazon Author Page
Twitter: @harmony_kent
LinkedIn: Harmony


#FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz is Now Closed to Submissions, and the #Winners Are …

Okay, folks. It’s all over but the accolades! This one turned out to be even harder than I expected, but we had two winners: Mae Clair and Robbie Cheadle. Congratulations to them on winning a download of one of my books for themselves or someone else of their choice, or a credit for a free download of my next book. 

For future contests, I need to remind you folks NOT TO RESPOND IN THE COMMENTS OF ANY POST ON THE BLOG. Please email me only! (If you respond publicly, others see the answer and the contest is spoiled.) Thanks so much for adhering to that rule.

I promise to go easy on you next Friday with an opening line that won’t be quite as much of a challenge, but for this week, here’s your answer.

“The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.”

Answer: This is the first line of Stephen Crane’s classic American Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage. Lest you think I was giving those in the U.S. an edge, it was also made into an internationally acclaimed film in 1951, starring Audie Murphy, and remade as a successful TV movie in 1974, starring Richard Thomas of The Waltons. 

Because it was an older book than even Fahrenheit 451, I knew it would be a bit more difficult, but I didn’t expect it to be quite as hard as it was. It is, after all, still being sold in bookstores and on Amazon, and I believe there are audio books out as well. It’s also still being studied in some college courses.  See? Classic. 🙂

I DO promise to make next week’s quiz a bit easier on your gray cells, honest. And thanks for playing today. Hopefully #FirstLineFriday 3 just might be the one that makes you smile.


Amid the nightmarish chaos of a Civil War battle, a young soldier discovers courage, humility, and, perhaps, wisdom. Uncanny re-creation of actual combat. Enduring landmark of American fiction.


#FirstLineFriday Last Clue!

I said this one would be trickier. Little did I know. Sorry. I promise something easier next week! 🙂 

In my first clue, I told you this was a classic story of war, but I didn’t mention it was a classic story about an exclusively American war. Think about that a minute, and hopefully, it will give you a nudge in the right direction. 

Good luck! 🙂

#FirstLineFriday Winner’s Circle

I’m going to post today’s winners here as they email me, and we have our first one! Mae Clair has answered correctly, and will receive a download for herself or someone else, or a credit for a download for my next release. 

I have four more prizes to give away, before closing the contest at noon, so the rest of you? KEEP THINKING! 😀 And Good Luck! 


#FirstLineFriday Clue #1

Decided to take pity on your guys and give you a little clue. The answer to today’s quiz is considered a classic look at war. Many of us read this in high school, I’m sure. Think harder. Dig back! 🙂 I’ll give you another clue at 11:00, if I haven’t received some answers by then. 

I knew it would be trickier than last week’s but I did think a few would have ventured a guess by now.  Good luck! 🙂 ❤

#FirstLineFriday – #Giveaway – #FreeDownloads

It’s #FirstLineFriday time again! Last week was a learning experience for me, but I think I’ve worked out most of the kinks. For full instructions, you may click the Rules & Instructions link in the black header bar at the top, but here it is in a nutshell: I’m about to give you the opening line from a famous/popular/well-known book. If you recognize it, EMAIL me at marciameara16@gmail.comNO answers here, please–with the title of the book and the author’s name. (No Googling allowed.) The first 5 correct emailers win a free download of one of my books. It’s that simple. 

The contest runs Friday mornings from 8:00am to 12:00pm (noon) EST. At noon, I will close submissions, and announce the winners. If you already have all of my books, you can either gift your prize to someone else, or collect a credit for a free download of my next book.  

One more previously unbeknownst to me detail: Amazon will not let me gift a download to anyone not living in the United States, but will that stop our fun? NOPE. I will happily send you winners abroad a Mobi or PDF file of your book of choice, either of which can be read on Kindle. 

So. All that being said, are you ready? Today’s might be a bit trickier, so put on your thinking caps and let’s see how you do:

“The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.”

Don’t Forget! Tomorrow is Our Second #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz!

Just a quick reminder that I’ll be running our new #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz from 8:00am to 12:00pm (noon) my time (Eastern Standard Time). It’s easy, quick, and a chance to win a free download of one of my books (your choice).

If you recognize the opening line of the day, just EMAIL me with the title and author, and win! And great news! For some of the future quizzes, you’ll have a chance to win free downloads of books by other authors, as well. More on that as it develops! 

Just be sure to check the post early and get your answer emailed to me as soon as you can. First five correct answers win!

Honor system, please. No Googling!

See you in the morning with an opening line I think might be a wee bit tricky. Prove me wrong if you can! 😀 

A Word About Research

Some great tips on resources for research from Staci Troilo today. I found it very helpful, and I think some of you will, as well. Check it out and pass it on, if you can. Thanks, and thanks to Staci for these suggestions. 🙂

Story Empire

researchCiao, amici! I should be writing, but I  took a break after I got sucked down the world’s largest rabbit hole.


I don’t mind doing it. In fact, it’s probably kind of a sickness, but I actually enjoy it.

Most of the time.

Not so much when what I need isn’t available anywhere.

Queue the one resource I think we all tend to forget. PEOPLE. I’m pretty lucky. So far, I haven’t found a topic that I couldn’t conquer with a quick search on the web or a call to family and friends.

I have several veterans in my family as well as a few who are active duty. And I have quite a few friends who serve. (It pays to have lived near WPAFB. I met a lot of people who have become resources for me.) These resources have helped with my Nightforce Security Series, my…

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