Beginning January 1, 2013

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Writers: You Can Beat Writers Block!

Any writer who has come to a block knows that it’s pure hell.  You wanna write. You strive to write. You crave to write. You have to write but you get to a part in your story that you just can’t get over. You stare at the page and one minute turns into thirty then an hour. You get off the computer mad and guilty. You have the ideas! You’ve been waiting to write this doggone scene but it just ain’t happening!

You try to force it. You search for articles and advice about how to beat this crippling mind disease. You find pieces that tell you the best antidote is to write, crap or not. 

You scroll back down to that blank section in that scene. You crack your knuckles. You’re optimistic. You got the helpful Writers Block combat article sitting beside your computer. You’re gonna write if it kills you damn it!  Then what? You put your fingers on the keys and nothing happens.

Do not fear my friends.  I’ll share tips that have helped me and hopefully it will do the same for you.

1)    1)   It’s Okay to Walk Away

Taking a break is the best remedy for beating a block.  Your brain is a sponge that sucks up tons of glop and needs a breather.  A block could be your brain telling you it needs rest.
2)     2)  Perfection AKA The Confidence Killer

Ahh so you have the perfection bug?  You slave over every single word, second-guess every sentence; reread the same scene a million times.  It takes you thirty minutes to write two sentences. Sound familiar? Don’t expect to be perfect. Perfection is self-sabotage for writers. 

3)     3) Don’t Let the Rules Rule You

The rules of writing exist for a reason. They can make our writing stronger and help us improve with each book.  But sometimes writers concentrate too much on the rules to the point of sacrificing their voice and style.  Remember, following the rules can help you but if you find yourself writing from a guideline more than writing from your soul, pull back. There are times when rules can be broken if you make it work. 

4)      4) You’re Stressed or Unhealthy

Stress and worrying can affect your writing ability. Pay attention to your diet. Do you eat a lot of sweets? Drink a lot of soda or eat tons of fast food? An unhealthy diet impacts your mentality and that hurts your creativity.  Caffeine and sugar make you jittery and will give you the wrong kind of high. Eat healthier and if you suffer from stress, do your best to control it. A healthy body is a healthy mind.

5)    5)   Ditch the Scene and Don’t Force It

Last but probably the most helpful is this one. When you get to that scene in your WIP that you just can’t tackle, ditch it. You know what I mean. That scene you stubbornly hang onto because you can’t see the book without it. The one where you switched POV’s a million times and still can’t “feel” the story. Let it go. If you just can’t get into a scene, you might not need it.

Writers are so afraid to make mistakes in our work but it’s unavoidable. Remember, you’re making up a story! You can do whatever the heck you want with it. There is no wrong way or right way if you can make it work. You’re the commander-in-chief.  It’s all up to you.

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of crime/mysteries and interracial romance. She’s been writing professionally since nineteen years old.  She’s called “Interracial Romance’s First Lady of Crime and Mystery”.  She’s been profiled in the 2006 NAACP-nominated book, Literary Divas: The Top 100+ African-American Women in Writing. She was born, raised and resides in Houston, Texas.

“Giving up the Ghost” is Stacy’s fourth release and first installment in her crime/interracial romance series starring Detectives Brianna “Bree” Morris and Steven Kemp. 

Giving up the Ghost (Peace in the Storm Publishing) 
Release: April 1, 2011
Read description of the book and blurbs at Stacy’s site:
Format: Print, Kindle and Nook
Send Stacy a request on Facebook! She’d love to add you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Ghost Hunting

I have been on several "investigations," and, of course, I'm still not sure what I believe. In my heart, I definitely want ghosts to exist. Has one ever tapped me on the shoulder? No. I love the people I work with; they're there to disprove ghosts as much as prove them, which is what the Krewe of Hunters work at, too. A few personal experiences made me believe in more. Well, actually, a lifetime made me believe in more.

My mom came from Ireland, and I spent a lot of formative years with her family. To keep my sister and me in line, Granny would tell us that if we didn't take care, "the banshees would be gettin' us in the outhouse!" We were teenagers before we talked and admitted she had us going--we didn't have an outhouse!

My father in law was a devout Catholic--but he also loved every minister on air, and would listen to anyone of any faith; if there ever was a man who deserved Heaven, it was him. I was with him when he was gravely ill at the end; I was alone with him when his breathing changed. I called the doctor who said that he was in a coma and would not come out of it, so I sat there holding his hand and waiting for my husband and mother-in-law. Suddenly he sat straight up, looked out across the room, reached his hand out and smiled. Then he fell back, and he was dead. I looked across the room and felt chills up and down, but I wasn't afraid; I believe that someone--angel? Parent? Brother, sister?--came for him. Of course, I'm sure a scientist might explain about nerve endings and the brain, but he was a tremendously good man, and I can't help but believe what I felt.

A second story has to do with a young friend who is six-four and a very macho cop. He was called to an accident. He got a man out of the driver's seat, but the man begged him to go back for his daughter. My friend hadn't seen a little girl. He went back because the father was so ardent. He found the little girl under the seat in back, got her out, and the car exploded. He brought the little girl to the paramedics, and then asked about the father. The paramedic was puzzled; he told my friend that the father had a broken neck--he had been killed on impact. So, does our desire to protect go beyond death? I don't know. I know that I met one very shaken six-foot-four macho cop at my son's house that night!

Have you had any experiences you couldn't explain?  Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts.  One lucky commenter will win a print copy of "Phantom Evil"!

Take a look at Heather's new book and read our review of this novel here:

In bestseller Graham’s sultry novel of paranormal romantic suspense, Jackson Crow, a former member of the government’s Behavioral Sciences Unit in Washington, D.C., leads a covert group investigating a reputedly haunted New Orleans house. When Regina Holloway, the wife of a popular Louisiana state senator takes a fatal fall from the balcony of the couple’s French Quarter mansion, her death is officially ruled a suicide, but could ghosts have been involved? Angela Hawkins, a Virginia police officer with the ability to detect paranormal activity, partners with Jackson professionally and romantically as she assists his team in discovering the truth behind Regina’s death. Graham (Night of the Vampires) expertly blends a chilling history of the mansion’s former residents with eerie phenomena, once again demonstrating why she stands at the top of the romantic suspense category. (Apr.)

Monday, March 28, 2011


HEA or Happy Now

 I asked readers a question on the LASR Valentine's Day Party about their requirements for a HEA ending to books they read. Many said it was essential and one reader expressed the reason that may be shared by most of those who require the HEA. She said that real life has enough negative events and she wants to read positive stories. However, a couple of answers were thought-provoking and I want to share them.
One reader said if the story involved her enough she could accept a less than happy ending. I like to refer to this as "grabbing you by the throat and not letting go until the end." And though we may all blame the author for a turn of events we don't like, it is really the plot and characters that compel the outcome.
The other reader said she could live without a "happy ever after" if the story had a "happy now."  That phrase made me stop and think about my plot in TO THOSE WHO WAIT. I had been wondering how I was going to promote this book to readers who expect their romance books to always have a HEA. This one doesn't! But I re-examined it in light of this reader's comment and decided it definitely qualifies for "happy now." 
When I began the story I wanted it to end with Scott and Leah riding off into the sunset while "Til The End of Time" played softly in the background. But as usually happens, (I'm a panster, I confess) the characters did not behave according to my wishes when they came alive on the page. And a chain of events took place as their story evolved that made my plans for them impossible to write. Had I forced my intended conclusion to this book, it would have  been contrived and left the readers even more unhappy. Scott and Leah would not have been true to themselves and readers would have lost all empathy with them.

TO THOSE WHO WAIT has a beautiful love story, actually more than one. For two characters do not live in a vacuum. They have families and friends and enemies. And life happens, and not always the way we'd like. And even a hero and heroine love other people as well as each other. If characters have depth, they may be besotted with one another but at the same time love others just as deeply. I like to think readers would prefer to experience a true love affair rather than a titillating romp that barely skims the surface of their emotion. So be warned. This is not that kind of book! It will take you through a gamut of emotions but I think you'll be glad you took the journey through its pages. 
If you read this book, I'd like you to share your reaction with me. Write to me at I'd  really appreciate knowing how you feel about it.

     Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. She has worked in public education as a teacher, counselor, and psychometrist.

Her first books were published by Kensington. She currently has available five ebooks (one in print) including a book of prose poems. She has four books of fiction, a Haiku collection, and three short stories to be released by various publishers in 2011. 

TO THOSE WHO WAIT, a contemporary mainstream, was released March 1st by Whiskey Creek Press; SUMMER LOVE to be released Apri 1st by Desert Breeze. Watch for announcements of later books by visiting her website at

Friday, March 25, 2011


Weird Laws Still on the Books

Did you know, in California, it is not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows.  Huh?  It may have been years ago, but still a group of people sat around a table, debated, and wrote that into law in California.    

            Butter substitutes are not allowed to be served in state prisons.  So, I pay my taxes and can’t afford real butter, but convicted felons with free room and board get real Land O Lakes or Grassland Dairy butter.  Meanwhile I eat chemically induced, artificially flavored, tasteless, butter-like substitute.  Hardly seems fair.      

            In Sun Prairie Wisconsin, cats are forbidden from entering cemeteries.  Really?  Has there been a big rush of people taking their cats to visit deceased relatives in the cemetery?  I want to know what the police officer did to get demoted to standing guard at the cemetery to issue fluffy a ticket. 

            In the state of Virginia, there is a state law prohibiting corrupt practices of bribery by any person other than candidates.  Well that clears up a lot of questions about politics.

My favorite law still on the books is from Racine Wisconsin.  Missiles may not be shot at parade participants.  So, I’m wondering if it’s legal to shoot missiles at the spectators.  Do they have a big problem with missiles being launched at the Miss Racine float as the girls are waving princess style…elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist? 

            In my action thriller, BOLT ACTION from Champagne Books, Detective Leslie Bolt would never have participated in a Miss Racine pageant.  She is a tough talking, gun hording, motorcycle riding investigator.  After a childhood of abuse suffered at the hands of her father, Leslie stashes a collection of pistols, revolvers, and even keeps a Browning A-Bolt Stalker Rifle in her broom closet.  She is stand-offish and down right rude and having to work a serial murder case with her handsome ex-lover, Detective Lance Kestler doesn’t improve her disposition.

            Is the “State Quarter Killer” taunting police?  As the body count mounts, Leslie begins to fall for the sexy medical examiner Jack Donington.  Detective Bolt’s brash disposition begins to soften.  Perhaps a couple of Harley’s, paint drumming to music, and a new romance can help Detective Bolt conquer her own demons from the past to solve the “State Quarter Case”.

            BOLT ACTION is available in paperback at:  

            Victoria Roder is also the author of paranormal romance, The Dream House Visions and Nightmares, Asylett Press. She lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and a house full of pets. 


Thursday, March 24, 2011


Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner. I suspect that following it will be a hot, hot summer here in the US. This got me to thinking about what we wear today and what they wore years ago. As a writer of historical romance, one of the things I've needed to know is who wore what and when.

Because we live in the south, I couldn't help think about clothing in the south. Today nearly everywhere you go, we have air-conditioning - our cars, our houses, our churches, our stores.

But stop and think about it! There was no such a thing as air-conditioning one hundred fifty years ago. So how on earth did men and women keep cool?

Simply truth - they couldn't. Gentlemen wore shirts, ties and jackets at all times. The garments were made of wool, cotton and, if you where very wealthy, you might have silk shirts. The amount of perspiration had to be excessive. Add to that the fact that bathing a lot was not a common practice. Imagine a gentleman binding over your hand, the air filled with his fragrance. Or even worse, the gentleman in question, taking you in his arms to hug or kiss you.

Of course, men could always remove their jackets but what about the women. Again, their clothing was wool, cotton or, if they were wealthy, silk. There were and are some thin weaves of fabric, especially cotton. I can name several which by today's standard are considered cool. And cotton does absorb moisture much better than our synthetic cloth.
However, we are back to the concept of smell.

Most people are familiar with the corsets worn by women in the nineteenth century. They were construction of cotton (again silk if you were lucky) and full of whale bones. They were not the light weight girdles of 20 years ago. The garments were laced tight to give women that desired figure. It's no wonder they had fainting couches in a ball room. I can just imagine what dancing next to an unwashed male would do to you if you wearing one of those corsets laced as tight as they were.

During that time period, women also wore several petticoats, starched stiff to hold the gown away from her feet. The hoop skirts were also full of the same whale bone as in the corset. Some even contained metal. Heavy, cumbersome, and hot, hot, hot. Even toward the turn of the century the garments were heavy and the bustle added weight. Can you imagine walking around in ninety five degree weather with tight, long mutton shelves?
My mother had a swimming costume worn by a great, great grandmother after the turn of the century. It was two piece, made of wool, consisted of pantaloons, full, waist to below the knee, and a top which had three quarter length sleeves and was a blouson top and cover the pantaloons to the knees. Can you imagine swimming in wool and a two piece wool dress? What happens when you wash a 'wool sweater'?

A fan was an essential part of a woman's wardrobe for a whole lot of reasons. And, she too, didn't have the luxury of a lot of baths. So, she'd have her own fragrance with which to contend. Remember, indoor plumbing was still to come.

If we go back to the homes of wealthy southerners we find, the only cooling was the tall ceilings, huge windows, and open doors. There were no screens on the windows so on top of the heat, you also had the bugs. Sometimes you find a type of fan in the ceiling of the dining room pulled back and forth by a servant. Those fans were not to cool but to keep the bugs off the food. Nothing in other rooms.

And think about northern climates. They have hot days too, but their homes were built with low ceilings and smaller windows to help with the cold winters. They had no screens on those windows either, so the houses had to contain a few bugs, in fact maybe a lot of bugs. Can you tell I don't like bugs?

Next time I'm inclined to complain about how hot the weather is I'll have to remind myself about the conditions of years ago. At least today if I get really hot I can go home, strip off my shorts and top, and jump in a shower or take a cooling bath. Thank goodness I live today and not then.

Award winning author, Allison Knight began her writing career like many others. She read a book she didn’t like and knew she could do a better job. She took classes, joined a critique group and wrote, rewrote and wrote some more. Allison has published seventeen romances and because she loves to share her knowledge often blogs with other authors. She also loves to talk about the growing digital market.

You can find her at:
or on her blog:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Over the years I’ve come in contact with a lot of creative people – writers, musicians, and visual artists. Every one of them has a unique creative process, but it’s the basic similarities that fascinate me.

My DH is a musician. He writes with sound instead of words, but it’s uncanny how analogous our processes are. First, there’s inspiration. For me that can come from an old photograph, a story someone tells me, a historical event, or it can simply come at me out of the blue, like Trey McShannon’s character did. For my DH, it’s much the same. Musical phrases from pieces he already knows, random sounds he stumbles on when ‘noodling ‘ on his guitar (his version of free writing), events or people provide the starting point, the initial spark. He banks melody lines in his memory the way I bank phrases, lines of poetry or story ideas. He’ll write a snatch of music down on paper the way I scrawl ideas in a note book – if I have one (Some of you may have heard my paper towel story by now.)

Next, the idea has to be fleshed out. For me, that means I start writing the first draft of my story. For my DH, it means finding a chord progression that expresses his original idea. Both of us have to think about length and mood and pacing. There are conventions in music – chord families and scales – just as there are conventions for the written word. Music has phrases, punctuation, its own grammar if you will. It also has its free-verse poets who ignore the conventions.

Finally there’s revision and polishing. For me that means going back and adding layers of action, emotion and introspection (Yeah, yeah, I know, too much introspection. I’m working on it.) For DH, it means a different kind of layering: adding harmony lines and embellishments, adjusting pace and rhythm. And yes, it can cause as much angst for him as it does for me. In the end, it’s about taking the reader or listener to a place you’ve created for them. The only difference is the medium.

With painting, it seems to me that the process is pared down but essentially the same. It starts with inspiration. The palette chosen is like a writer’s voice, and the intensity of the colors sets the mood. Any given subject can be interpreted in as many different ways as there are artists.

What do you think? Have you experimented with different forms of artistic expression? What’s your take on the idea that ‘art is art’?

Jennie Marsland is a teacher, a painter, a musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. She enjoys writing songs and poetry as well as fiction.

Jennie is a history buff as well as an unashamed romantic. Glimpses of the past spark her imagination, and she believes in happily ever after. Her first historical Western romance, McShannon’s Chance, was released by Bluewood Publishing last October. Jennie lives in Nova Scotia with her husband, their cat Emily and their outrageously spoiled Duck-Tolling Retrievers, Chance and Echo.

Monday, March 21, 2011


A Silver Lining 

In the midst of melee and mayhem, when everything is going down in flames it can be difficult, nearly impossible to see the benefit of a negative experience. But there can be something good inherent in the bad. You have to train your eyes to try to see it and it’s not always easy.

Many of life’s greatest successes, ideas, or times of reinvention are sometimes birthed through tragedy—something that we have spent our days and nights wishing away. But there’s something unique about those moments of despair. Even though they are filled with pain and discomfort, they can also contain the seeds of growth and life. 

It is said that the darkest hour is just before dawn. One of my characters, Alex, finds herself in a situation where everything she has worked so hard to build is crashing down around her. In an instant, everything she once believed to be true becomes a lie. She’s horrified and in her panicked state she’s completely oblivious to what’s happening. Life’s giving her what she’s asked for but she’s too busy grasping at straws to see it. Finally, when she’s completely exhausted treading water and going nowhere, she surrenders to the current and allows it to take her to a new place—a place where life starts anew. An even better place than where she was before.

In one of the darkest moments of my life, I sat at my computer and began to write A Taste of Love. Had it not been for that painful time and the need to distract myself from what was going on around me, I might not have ever sat before my computer and started pressing keys. I might have never had the joyous experience of letting the characters fill my mind and allowing them to come to life on the page. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care to ever return to that place, but there was a silver lining in the cloud and I am completely and totally grateful for it from where I stand now. 

Tonya was born and raised and currently resides in Ohio with her husband. After she graduated she worked in the areas of sales and marketing, employee benefits, and recruiting. Eventually, she left corporate America to pursue a career as a life and career coach. 

As she continued on her own path to fulfillment, she was surprised to discover a natural talent and love for writing. She began writing a coaching newsletter and online articles, and then her first novel began to take shape. Her debut novel is titled A Taste of Love. For more information, please visit

What happens when things seem too good to be true? 

A Taste of Love is the debut novel by Tonya Lampley that explores the journey of a Chicago stockbroker.

        After working hard for many years, she’s created her ideal life. The only thing missing is love. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she meets the man of her dreams. He’s everything a woman could want in a man. 

            But past relationships and deep hurts leave her struggling to surrender her heart to him. Is he the man he appears to be or will he turn out to be just like all the rest? In time, he completely captures her heart and she finds herself reluctantly falling for him.

            With a sophisticated backdrop of life in one of the nation’s most glamorous cites and the greed and deception that exists in the world of investment banking, the main character, Alex, finds herself in a situation where nothing is as it appears—not even the man she loves.

Friday, March 18, 2011


The Secret Formula to Romance

Ask any non-romance reader why they don’t read romance and inevitably one thing will pop up. It is all formula writing.


No, seriously, stop laughing about that. As deluded as they are, that is what they think. Rather than give examples of other genres that are also formulaic, let’s pick that belief apart.


Hmm, scratch that. I agree with them. E=MC2 is the perfect formula for a romance novel. All romance books are formulaic. Period. Blog done. Time to read a book.

What? Oh, okay, lemme ‘splain. No, will take too long. Lemme sum up.

By definition, romance novels deal with love and have a happy ending, whether HEA(happily ever after) or HFN(happy-enough-for-now). It’s all that in-the-middle goop that mucks things up. It is what also spawns literally HUNDREDS of stories a month-and those are only the ones that are published. For every one published, something like twenty are rejected. With so many people writing those stories and so many people buying them, no wonder idiots outsiders believe there is a fill in the dots program to make a romance story happen.

Granted there are a few things that occur in EVERY SINGLE ROMANCE EVER. The main characters HAVE to meet or, duh, no story. There has to be some sort of attraction there. Something prevents them from riding into the sunset on page 2(this variable can be internal or external, both even). To achieve that HEA/HFN, there has to be some sort of resolution to that issue.

That’s the secret formula. Anything else goes. Same sex couples, magic hymens, dinosaurs with attitude, interspecies relations, the mother-in-law from hell, a world war, a kidney-stealing bad dudes, emo-vampires, whatever. If you can fit in the above elements in a believable and compelling manner, the formula can work. 

E= Everything or anything you could possibly imagine and the kitchen sink
MC=Main Characters
2= together

Add it up. The formula works. Huh, who knew Einstein wrote romance?

In my latest release SWEET AS SIN, there are some elements that might come as a surprise. No kidney-stealing villains or dinosaurs, though, sorry. Just a really tormented hero and a woman who won’t give up, a few cupcakes, a couple monsters and a horrifying secret. This is my E=MC2

She’s made for sin. Sin is something he knows intimately.
John Murphy is tormented by nightmares. A bestselling young-adult author, he writes the ultimate fantasy: stories where good always triumphs. He knows better. His past has shown him the worst in people—and in himself. When he moves next door to the sexy, vibrant Livvy—a woman completely unlike his usual one-night stands—he's driven to explore every curve of her delicious body.
Pastry chef Livvy knows that giving in to the temptation that is John Murphy won't lead to anything permanent, but she deserves a passionate summer fling. John discovers she's as sweet as the confections she bakes while Livvy slowly unravels his secrets. But what will happen when she uncovers them all?

Buy Sweet as Sin at Carina Press, AMZ, ARe, BoB or B&N

Inez Kelley is a multi-published author of various romance genres. You can visit her at her website  Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Thirteen reasons to love St. Patty’s Day!

1. Clovers! St. Patrick used the shamrock, a Druid symbol of luck, to illustrate the Holy Trinity. To this day, it holds both pagan and non-pagan meaning.

2. Kisses!  Do you have to be Irish to rock a button that demands a kiss? Hell, no! I want them on the cheek. The other cheek. On the hand, on the freckle on my belly…everywhere!

3. Pinches! Just make ‘em soft and gentle, please. Oh, okay, if you must pinch hard, rub it better after. Better yet, kiss it better!

4. Brehon Law. In medieval Ireland, Brehon Law ruled and while some of them were hilariously specific like what penance was due for a mouse in the kitchen, the laws gave women many rights including divorce rights.

5. Fae. The Irish really do swear Fairies exist. I, for one, believe them.

6. Wooded glens. Is there anything more romantic than a stolen kiss in a wooded glen by the light of twilight?

7. The incredibly flat, jagged and steep Slieve League Cliffs along the coast of Northern Ireland where murder takes place in Irish Moon. Imagine peering over that edge down to the roar and crash of ocean waves.

8. The Pale and beyond. ‘The Pale’ refers to the area of Dublin once the English moved in and ‘screwed things up’. The Pale never reached far, though and northern Ireland is still much like it’s Scotch-Irish highlander roots.

9. In Irish Moon, Breanne O’Donnell is ordered to choose a husband by Beltane. Beltane is much like Samhain and considered to be a time when the veil between the Fae and humankind is thinnest.

10. Colleen. What a great term to describe a beautiful young lass!

11. Chess. This game originated in the highlands. Originally in chess, the Bishop was the Druid priest. It was later changed as Catholicism grew in popularity.

12. Sacrifices. Some believe the Druids made human sacrifices. This is based on the high amount of human skeletal remains found in bogs. I, however, believe the bogs could in fact have been used for other purposes. Perhaps for executions, or post-death disposal. I like to save the human sacrifices for dark magic use in the Moon series, as seen in Enchanted Moon coming this fall.

13. Ashlon Sinclair. Okay, I admit I’m cheating with this one. Ashlon isn’t Irish at all. He’s one of the few remaining members of the disbanded, considered to be heretical, Templar Knights. His deathbed vow to bury the Bloodstone and all Templar secrets with it in the farthest reaches of Ireland is the catalyst for Irish Moon. But he is so devastatingly handsome, can I get a free pass?

To celebrate all things Irish today, you can score Irish Moon for just $0.99 on Amazon Kindle! This ebook works on any Kindle device OR any of Amazon Kindle’s free apps for your PC, MAC, iPad and more.

Plus, if you buy it today, you can score extra bonus read: A Woman Of Choice by Kris Tualla and/or Heartsblood by Carolyn McCray. Just check out Irish Moon’s Kindle page for the details.

Be sure to comment here for your chance at an advanced copy of the sequel, Enchanted Moon, coming Fall 2011! Just tell me any little Irish thing you love! (I’ll even put your name in Enchanted Moon’s acknowledgements…if you want, that is.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Back in 92 I worked in a used book shop in Port Jefferson, New York called Good Times. I rented a small room on Main Street for $100 a month and ate most days on $5.00. Back then I could do this with an egg sandwich in the morning and wonton or egg drop soup and rice for dinner. I wrote a short story each week on a Brother word processor that was slow and frustrating to work on. It stopped to save a file in the middle of typing, almost every fifteen minutes. I worked two days out of the week at the store and more if someone was scheduled off. I was not allowed to use the cash register; I think the owner, Michael Mart, felt I was unable to determine what the correct sales tax was. He gave me a couple of chances and I made two mistakes. Knowing I wrote, and wanted to pursue writing, the Mr. Mart arranged a meeting with a novelist who lived in Stony Brook.

“He’s a little strange, but I think you two would get a long.”

Richard Elman’s best known work may be the novelization for the move Taxi Driver. You can purchase a copy on EBay for a few dollars. The first time we met, he asked to meet me at his office at Stony Brook University. If a student interrupted us, he would ask me to leave. I was to bring in one short story, what I felt was my best.

He stood up as if he was sizing me-- we were both over 6’ 2”. After shaking hands and small talk he asked me to take a seat. He sat down in the office chair and took the story from my hands. I was about to explain a little about the story, but he waved off any comments and leaned back. He leaned back so far, he scrambled his feet and kicked his legs forward so he’d not fall back. With a sudden glance of shock he waited for my outburst of laughter, but instead like his wave to stop any comments on my story, I kept quiet, nodded my head with sense of we’d best ignore that scene and let some peace settle back into the quiet office. Somehow I knew at that moment we were friends since I did not make fun of him.

Michael Robert Gordon is married and a father of four. He attended Stony Brook University. He writes most often while commuting to work on the Long Island Rail Road. His short stories and poems have appeared in small lit magazines both print and ezines. His novel Killer Commute was released last year on Champagne Books.