Category Archives: Information
Sometimes I think we all need some inspiration, something to remind us that no matter how old we are there is always a chance for a new beginning.
Photograph © Belinda Witzenhausen 2016
“Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where — if you missed it by age 19 — you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world — at any age. At least try.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Looking forward to a very creative & productive April! #Coffee required…☕😉 I have my hands in quite a few creative projects and I’m absolutely loving every minute! #amwriting #researching #studying #amreading #creating #photography & #volunteering .
No matter where you are in your day or evening, I hope you’re making each moment matter! Wishing everyone a fantastic April!
Live, laugh & love! ❤
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou
This week’s #AmWriting Playlist on Spotify…
#amwriting #amreading #urbanfantasy #NA #archaeological #mystery #Celticmythology #archaeology #literature #egyptology #AncientGreece #paleography #transcribing #painting #photography #crocheting #makingdreamsareality
Calling all Christmas lovers!
Do you love the music of the holiday season? If so, the Authors’ Billboard needs your attention! This coming 2016 Christmas, twenty of our authors—New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers—will be putting together a multi-author box collection of brand new, never before published stories to dazzle everyone, but we require your participation.
The title of our collection will be LOVE, CHRISTMAS and the theme of this bundle will be Christmas carols. We want to use YOUR favorite holiday songs. If you and your song title are chosen, one of the 20 novellas will be dedicated to you.
Sound like fun? Please enter the contest by naming your special carols in the contest entry form.
You may enter as many times as you like. So what are you waiting for?
Here’s what the winners will receive:
1.Twenty winners will have his/her favorite song chosen as the title and possibly the theme for one of the novellas.
2. That particular story will be dedicated to the winner— twenty in total.
3. And the winners will receive a free copy of the box set (eBook only).
Ho, ho, ho! And good luck!
The authors involved in this great contest are:
The Christmas Carol (Box Collection) Contest
“Nothing great in the world was accomplished without passion.”
— Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Busy weeks ahead! #amwriting #studying #volunteering #creating
No matter where you are in your day or evening, I hope your living with passion and purpose! Work towards making your fondest dreams your reality!
Live, laugh & love! ❤
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
~ Julia Child
This week’s #AmWriting Playlist on Spotify…
#amwriting #urbanfantasy #NA #archaeological #mystery #researching #creating #studying #amreading #volunteering #celticmythology #literature #archaeology#screenwriting #transcribing #paleography #makingdreamsareality #workinghard #dreamingbig #pursuingmypassion
Very busy week ahead! Plenty of #coffee ☕& #tea needed but looking forward to a productive week! #amwriting #researching #studying #amreading #creating & #volunteering.
No matter where you may be in your day or evening, I hope your making each moment matter. Strive to make your fondest dreams a reality!
Live, laugh & love! ❤
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” ~ James Baldwin
#amwriting #amreading #studying #researching #volunteering #urbanfantasy #NA #archaeological #mystery #celticmythology #historicalliterature #Greco-Romanhistory #archaeology #palaeography #graphics #crocheting #transcribing #makingdreamsareality
I’m so pleased to have been given the opportunity to catch up with a familiar face on our site, the brilliant and very talented author Glenn Starkey. I know Glenn’s been very busy with a new release and another due out later this winter. I would like to thank him for taking some of his time to chat with us, it is always appreciated!
Welcome back Glenn!
I understand you’re pursuing a different genre…tell us a bit about your new release?
MR. CHARON is my first Young Adult paranormal novel of the six books I’ve written. It’s the story of five teenage boys whose fates become entwined in the dying town of Thornton, Texas during the summer of 1962. Their home lives are disturbingly different. Eddie has an abusive father, while Andy is the child of a single mother with debts too high for money alone to pay. They decide to right what they consider wrong in their lives.
A long forgotten Ouija board in a deserted barn becomes their answer. Together, they call upon a spirit but never expected the appearance of Mr. Charon, a demon who comes to haunt their small town with the help of his pets. Terror is unleashed and although Eddie and Andy are to blame, their friends agree to help.
With Mr. Charon released, somehow the boys must find a way to send him back to Hell and end the horror. Good and evil collide as they fight not only for their own lives, but also for the souls of the entire community. When all hope seems lost, help is found in a deputy sheriff, an Indian shaman, and their fathers. Too late, the five boys have learned that where demons roam, no one is safe.
I’m also very proud of the cover artwork by Patti Roberts of Paradox Book Cover Designs. In the short time MR. CHARON has been out, the cover has received numerous compliments.
What inspired you to change genres?
A new publishing company asked me to write a YA novel as part of their startup line. I balked at first. I’d never written a YA work, but in time I grew interested in the challenge. My belief is that if I’m to be a true writer, I must be able to tackle a variety of genres. Unfortunately, the company had operational issues so I withdrew the completed work from them.
What challenges do you find (if any) writing YA?
I had never written a YA book and needed to educate myself about the genre, age groups comprising the readers, then decide which group I wished to target. My experience is in hard-hitting thrillers and action adventure novels with equally tough characters that mark the books as “mature content.” I had dozens of questions and the same number of self-doubts. But after a long talk with my young grandson, ideas formed and the pieces of the puzzle began to fit.
Upon completing MR. CHARON, I was fortunate to have a high school English Literature teacher use the novel as a graded semester project for her senior ‘gifted and talented’ level students. They reviewed every aspect of the book—its characters, storyline, my writing style, and so forth. They were at liberty to say anything they wished as long as it was done in a professional manner. That was a wonderful experience for me to obtain such great feedback, and upon the project’s conclusion, I held a Q & A session with them. I hope to do that again one day.
Do you think you will write in this genre again?
“Never say Never.” It depends upon finding the right story within me. While I may prefer other genres, I learned that the innocence of youth in my YA characters held a certain writing appeal. Adult characters must think with maturity and age appropriate intents, while children and teenagers may say or do most anything and it’s accepted as their youth, lack of experience and maturity. But as with all of my novels, I must have confidence in the storyline before embarking upon the long journey of writing it.
What does your average work/writing day look like?
Since retirement from the security world, there are not enough hours in the day for all I want to do, much less what I need to or must do. I may be an author, but I’m also a husband and grandfather with their responsibilities. The coordinated calendars (with their beeping alarms) in my computer, iPad, and iPhone, keep me on track.
Mornings (with coffee in hand) are primarily for emails, social media, and reviewing scheduled activities—followed (with more coffee) by research for my writing projects. Three days a week I try to be in the gym at noon. After a short afternoon break, I catch up on all the honey-do’s that I forgot. More reading after dinner, watch a few programs on the History Channel, write notes about my current projects, and around 9 P.M. I’m in my office to write. Between 2 or 3 A.M., I wake up Willie, my Labradoodle who shadows me everywhere, and retire for four or five hours of sleep. I’m up at 7 or 7:30 A.M. and start over again. Tuesdays are dedicated solely to my volunteer work at two elementary schools where I mentor students with their reading skills—and every Thursday afternoon, I pick up my grandson from school so we can share some quality time. My days involve a lot of juggling!
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a writer and how do you overcome them?
Proper time management is always a killer. Overcoming self-doubts about my writing is another stumbling block. I’m critical of my work, often overly critical. And as if developing a story, writing it, editing and more editing are not enough then comes the marketing. I’m not good at ringing my own bell and shouting, “Buy my book. It’s the best!” Another minefield to walk through is the good and bad people/companies that offer publicity and marketing plans. Even the major houses expect you to aggressively hawk your work, so, the challenges are never ending.
How to overcome these? Perseverance and self-discipline. You take one thing at a time. Forget about marketing until you have a completed work. Writing and editing a book is the biggest mountain to climb. Pay attention to what other authors do to market their work. Learn from their mistakes. Don’t live on social media all day or night. It takes away from your writing. The list goes on, and I could probably write a thesis on the challenges confronting an author.
What message do you hope your readers walk away with after reading your books?
A reader once told me they appreciated the themes of deep family loyalty and love, strength and hope to overcome the adversities of evil, and the tests of honor and personal faith in God that my characters undergo. I do not intentionally set out to have blatant messages in my novels, but find that one or all are present upon completion of a project. One reader said, “…it made me pause and think…” It was then I knew the long hours of writing were worthwhile.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
In two months I believe my historical fiction BLACK SUN will be released. It’s a novel I have worked on for years.
Set in Mexico during the Revolution of 1910, a young man working in the mines is accused of a murder he didn’t commit and is forced to flee into the Sierra Madre Mountains. There he must survive and grow into manhood through a turbulent decade that erupted into the bloodiest revolution of the twentieth century. He’s swept into a maelstrom of tragedy as revolutionaries, led by his mentor and friend Pancho Villa, battle the forces of a corrupt dictator. BLACK SUN is based on actual events.
I’m proud of this novel for several reasons. First, I used my grandfather as the model for the protagonist. Next, my son, Jake Starkey, designed a wonderful cover after I obtained permission to use Diego Rivera’s famous mural art “Liberation of the Peon.” Art is one of my many passions and I take great pride in every book cover. Jake also designed two other covers for me: SOLOMON’S MEN and YEAR OF THE RAM.
My novels are available through every major online bookseller; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks in Apple iTunes, and more. I appreciate reviews and welcome emails from all. Feel free to contact me through my website, “Follow Me” on Twitter, or stop by and click a “Like” on my Facebook page.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my writings with your readers.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Glenn+Starkey?_requestid=311133
To learn more about Glenn, please check out his links, not to mention his wonderful work!
For previous posts about Glenn please check here: https://bwitzenhausen.wordpress.com/?s=Glenn+Starkey
The first review is in you can find it on Amazon
I’m hoping for more reviews because it’s the reviews that help sell books
Christmas is no joy for Julia who’s husband, a high-risk investor, comes around only to ask for money. When a handsome stranger and his cute Pomeranian puppy move in next-door, Julia feels guilty for their mutual attraction.
Michael’s not the rescuing type, but when he spies Julia’s husband haranguing her for holiday cash, anger flares and he is determined to rescue Julia from another miserable Christmas.
was in Qatar, of all places. She rolled her eyes and closed her hands in tight fists. A few deep breaths and she let it all go, reminding herself Damien was not worth a single thought.
Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the States, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish. Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.
The Unexpected in Life~Guest Post by Chrissie Parker
What would you do if your whole world fell apart? If a person you loved dearly died suddenly, you were thrown into witness protection, or became involved in a life changing criminal case through no fault of your own? In our every day lives of getting up, going to work, going for drinks with friends, it’s very easy to get stuck in the rut of what some people would term a boring every day existence.
But the unexpected does happen, and more often than people think. Learning to live with the unexpected is actually a huge part of life whether we like it or not. Every day things do happen to us that we didn’t plan for, and certainly didn’t expect, and for a few minutes, an hour or maybe longer our lives are thrown onto a new course, forcing us to experience something different, testing our stress levels and emotions. Most of the time we deal with it, brush ourselves down breathe a big sigh of relief and step back into the footsteps of our continuing life.
So what happens when the unexpected is so life altering that it changes your way of life completely?
That’s what we learn in Temperance. Every character is dealing with something big, a situation that has changed they way they think, and they way they live their lives. The interesting thing is how they actually deal with it and what the end result is.
As with everything in life there is a positive and a negative. People can either live through the situation positively (or as positively as they can), deal with it and learn from it and become a better person, or they can take it badly, wallow in what has happened, let it rule their lives and affect them so that they can never move on or live happily again.
So what would you do? If the worst happened to you taking you out of your normal day-to-day routine, would you wade in and deal and just do the best you could until the situation is resolved? I think it’s hard to say, as each situation is different, and this is what I thought about when writing Temperance. Each character has a huge problem to face, and in their shoes I have no idea how I would cope.
It is easy to think that when the unexpected occurs we would all be strong of character and face it head on, but sometimes life isn’t like that. In the end all we can do is take life day by day, in the hope that we never have to face the worst.
New Release ~ Temperance
“Gabriel is weary, hunting for a murderer.
Patience is adrift, her life a complete lie.
Nate is scared, hiding from his worst fears.
Juliet is frantic, her time is running out.
As four fragile lives collide, the truth is finally revealed.
And betrayal and death become inevitable.”
Other Books by Chrissie Parker
“Among The Olive Groves”
Elena Petrakis adores living on the Greek island of Zakynthos. When World War Two looms her way of life is threatened. Left with no choice she joins the island’s resistance to fight for what she believes in; her family, her home, and her freedom.
Decades later, thousands of miles away in the Cornish town of Newquay, Kate Fisher prepares to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, but her joy is fleeting when she learns she is adopted. Abandoning life in England, Kate flees to Zakynthos, where she is forced to acknowledge a life she has struggled to come to terms with, one that will change her future.
From the beautiful crystal turquoise seas of the Ionian Islands to the rugged shores of the Cornish coast, ‘Among the Olive Groves’ is a story of love, bravery and sacrifice.
“A battered and broken body lies in the road. A discovery that leaves the local community gripped with fear. Suspicion as to who killed the woman is rife. Corinne’s peaceful life is shattered by the tragic death, forcing her to struggle daily with overwhelming grief and loss. A chance meeting with a stranger helps Corinne through the hurt and pain, but can she really trust Jack?”
Twin sisters Corinne and Helena have always been close, growing up in the same small town. Corinne lives alone in the house that used to belong to their parents and Helena lives with her husband and love of her life, Jimmy, and their two children.
Helena loves life, she enjoys spending time with her friends and relishes being a wife and mother. Corinne lives in isolation, unable to get over the death of their parents. She relies on the spiritual world, reading tarot cards, surrounding herself with crystals and candles. She also has to deal with unwanted premonitions that strike when she least expects them.
During a tarot reading Corinne predicts Helena’s death, and is distraught when she learns that Helena has been murdered. The grief and sudden loss of her twin sister overwhelms Corinne and she struggles to live day to day. At Helena’s funeral Corinne falls out with her brother in law and is left feeling alone and unloved.
At her lowest ebb Corinne becomes friends with Jack, a stranger in town, but the grief remains and whenever she is around Jack, she gets a vision; one that takes her back to the horrifying scene of Helena’s death. Unable to stop them, Corinne realises the visions may be her only chance of finally understanding what happened to her sister and why. But will it be the answer she is looking for?
Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry.
Chrissie is also an Author. Her thriller Integrate was released in October 2013 and her historical fiction Among the Olive Groves was released in July 2014.
Other written work includes factual articles for the Bristolian newspaper and guest articles for the charities Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation. Chrissie has also written a book of short stories and poems, one of which was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two six-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University. She is learning to play the Ukulele and likes to read, collect books, listen to music. To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com
Twitter – @Chrissie_author
Let’s Write it Right – Military/Security Acronyms and Initialisms Guest post by #amazingauthor Lynn Hallbrooks @lynnhallbrooks
I liked to begin by saying thank you to Belinda for allowing me a chance to spend some time with everyone today.
In order to become a better writer, I’ve been reading many books, especially those in the Military and Political Intrigue genres. I noticed that one term had different ways of being typed out. I wanted to know who was correct. If you’ve done any research on the Internet, then you know I went on a journey. I’d like to share a little bit of my adventure.
The Term In Question
SEAL vs. Seal vs. seal
I’ve always believed that it should be all capital letters. I saw on this on Wikipedia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_SEALs >:
…”SEAL” is always capitalized in reference to members of the Naval Special Warfare community…
That was good enough for me but if I was going to tell others they were wrong I had to have a little more proof because not everyone believes in Wikipedia. So I went to their sources, The Navy SEAL Museum article entitled Genesis of the U.S. Navy’s SEa, Air, Land (SEAL) Teams <https://navysealmuseum.com/about-navy-seals/seal-history-the-naval-special-warfare-story/genesis-of-the-u-s-navys-sea-air-land-seal-teams> where I learned how the term for this special amphibious was created:
“…focal point through which all elements of this specialized Navy capability (naval guerrilla warfare) would be channeled. An appropriate name for such units could be SEAL units, SEAL being a contraction of SEA, AIR, LAND, and thereby, indicating an all-around, universal capability.”…
Further along on my adventure I discovered the U.S. Navy Style Guide <http://www.navy.mil/tools/view_styleguide_all.asp> which has several military abbreviations defined.
SEAL – Sea, Air, Land. SEAL is acceptable on first reference. If plural, use SEALs.
As you can see from the above quotes and keeping in mind that oftentimes it is difficult to get websites to cooperate, SEAL is a contraction of SEa – Air – Land. It is a proper noun for a US Navy special warfare operator. If you use the lowercase version, seal, it denotes a marine mammal. While a SEAL may be amphibious like a seal, that’s where the similarities end. I have the utmost respect for the U.S. Navy SEALs. I will always show it by using capital letters for them. I hope you will too.
Here is another bit of information I learned. According to Grammar Girl there are subsets of abbreviations known as acronyms and initialisms. <http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/abbreviations-acronyms-and-initialisms-0>
SEAL is an acronym because it is a set of letters that can be read or spoken as a word.
An example of initialism is CIA short for Central Intelligence Agency because you say each letter individually.
Below are some more acronyms from the glossary used in Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning) <http://www.amazon.com/Call-Sign-Wrecking-Storm-Warning/dp/0982792352>
BUD/S = Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (Training or School)
FARC = Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia Spanish for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
HALO = High Altitude Low Opening
ICE = Immigration and Customs Enforcement
JAG = Judge Advocate General’s Corps
LASER = Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
LEOs = Law Enforcement Officers
NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NEST = Nuclear Explosive Search Team
SOAR = Special Operations Army Regiment
SWCC (pronounced “swick”) = Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen
TOC (pronounced ‘tock’) = Tactical Operations Center
TOE = Tables Organization and Equipment
There are several initialisms as well. I’ll share a few that are less commonly known.
ACP = Automatic Colt Pistol
CHL = Concealed Handgun License
CID = Criminal Investigation Division
CO = Commanding Officer
CT = Computed Tomography
CTU = Counter Terrorist Unit
DIA = Defense Intelligence Agency
ETS = Expiration of Term of Service
FOB = Forward Operating Bases
HK = Heckler & Koch (German defense manufacturing company)
IDF = Israel Defense Forces
INS = Immigration and Naturalization Service
JCSSO = Joint Chief of Staff, Special Operations
KGB = Komitét Gosudárstvennoĭ Bezopásnosti (Russian version of CIA)
KIA = Killed In Action
MIA = Missing In Action
MiG = Mikoyan-i-Gurevich (Russian aircrafts)
NCO = Non Commissioned Officer
NEA = National Endowment for the Arts
NSA = National Security Agency
NVG = Night Vision Goggles
OIC = Officer in Charge
OJT = On the Job Training
PPOs = Personal Protection Officers
SAW = Squad Automatic Weapon
SOF = Special Operations Forces
UDT = Underwater Demolition Team
USSOC = United States Special Operation Command
USP = Universale Selbstladepistole or “universal self-loading pistol” a Heckler & Koch product
WIA = Wounded In Action
XO = Executive Officer
I hope this information will be helpful to you down the road. Have a great one!