Monday, September 30, 2013

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters - Dates of some free books

Free Books - Just received messages from one of my publishers and some of my books will be free on Amazon in the next few days. Actually,
Haven will be free from September 30th to October 4th. A Double Opposition will be free from October 1 to 5, Lines of Fire from October 3 to 7 and Code Blue from October 12 to 14. Let us see if this will make a splash since I have a lot of books up there. One will only see what will be.

They run the gamut from a YA fantasy to a contemporary romance, to a fantasy romance to a suspense. Eclectic like their writer.

Meander 2 Forgot to title the last one but that's all right. Yesterday, I took the day off and just read, a lot. Read a parody that made me chuckle, a Regency romance that I enjoyed a lot and started a YA fantasy. When I was younger my mother used to say I didn't read, I inhaled. The odd thing about this is that I can remember bits and pieces of all the books I've ever read, even the bad ones. I believe this has helped me when I'm writing since I learned a lot from many authors.

Meander 3 As to my writing, Still working on Rekindled Dreams. The goal is to finish this by the end of October. We will see but I am on target. Hopefully I'll be able to reach the 30,000 word goal I've set for myself. Was happy to see The Micro-manager Murder is up various places. So now it's back to work.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday's Chapter from The Nano Experiment by Richard Brawer

The Nano Experiment



Richard Brawer




Copyright © 2013 Richard Brawer.  All Rights Reserved ©

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction.  All characters, names, places, incidents, and circumstances in it are created by the author, and do not portray any actual person, place or event.  Any resemblance to actual people, places, events, locals, and business or government establishments is purely coincidental.







I grabbed my purse and slung it over my shoulder.

“Where are you going?” my ten year old sister asked.

“Out. I’m tired of babysitting you two. You’re old enough to take care of yourselves.”

“I’m hungry.”

A horn tooted three short beeps.

I stomped into the kitchen and yanked open doors and drawers, grabbed plates, peanut butter, bread and a knife and slammed them on the table.

“I had peanut butter for lunch,” my eight year old sister protested.

The horn blared a long, impatient blast.

“Eat it, don’t eat it, I don’t care,” I said and ran out of the house.




      “Mama, I’m sorry,” I said, tears streaming down my face.

Twirling red and white lights on the fire engines bounced off my mother’s paralyzed face. Her mouth hung slightly open and her eyes were fixed in a deadened stare. The smell of smoke and burnt wood from the smoldering ruins of our house engulfed me as I watched the firemen reverently place my sisters in black bags and slowly draw the zippers over their charred bodies, their arms cocked in a boxer’s stance, looking like they had tried to fight off the flames. When their faces, frozen in an expression of perpetual pain, disappeared under the heavy plastic, Mama turned her head slowly to me, and, as if awakening from a coma calmly asked, “Where were you, Eileen?”

“Mama, I’m sorry,” I repeated.

Fighting to catch her breath, she screamed, “You’re sorry? You’re sorry? You’re sorry if you spill milk! You’re sorry if you break a glass! Then you clean it up and try to do better the next time. You can’t clean this up, Eileen!” With each gasp of breath her anguish grew and her voice became louder until she fell to her knees and pounded the dirt with her fists. “You killed your sisters! Get away from me! I never want to see you again!”

Before Daddy was murdered, an innocent victim in a drive by shooting, my life was a Disney fairy tale, only with a black princess. That’s what Daddy called me, his African-American princess. Daddy had a good job as an assistant postmaster. He rarely missed a dinner with us. He helped me with my homework. He snuck out of the post office to attend all my gymnastic events. We went to church almost every Sunday, and that’s where I ran.

Sitting in a pew staring at the big cross behind the altar, I tried to rationalize what I’d done. If Daddy hadn’t been killed... if Mama hadn’t had to go to work at night cleaning offices to support us… if I wasn’t selfish, wanting to hang with my friends at the mall and hadn’t run out on my sisters… if they hadn’t tried to cook something and die in the fire…

If—such a little word that bore such huge consequences. I could say if for the rest of my life, but it wouldn’t change a thing. My sisters were dead and it was my fault.

I missed Daddy so much. I knew Mama loved me, even if she had little time for me lately. My sisters needed her more. I was fifteen, and they were only ten and eight. Was I jealous of them getting all of what little attention Mama had left for us? I never thought I was until this very moment. Had I run out on them because my jealousy seethed in back of my mind?

I tried to pray, but the words forgive me rang hollow. How could the Lord forgive me? There was no forgiveness for what I did. Instead, I asked for retribution. “Kill me, Lord! Send me to hell, to burn for eternity like my sisters burned!” Of course the Lord would never do that, so I would have to do it myself.

Leaving the church, I wandered the streets trying to decide how to end my life. With no place to sleep I drifted under the freeway overpass by the railroad tracks where drug dealers, whores and homeless people hang out, where Daddy had warned us never to go. “Those people are the scum of the earth,” he had said. “They’ll kill you as soon as look at you.” That’s exactly what I deserved. Maybe one of those crazies would beat me to death.

Approaching the forbidden area, I watched a car creep up to a highway pillar. Its tires crunching the gravel sounded like a page of newspaper being crumpled. Its headlights reflected off hundreds of shards from broken bottles, making the ground look like it was covered in crystal. Discarded fast food wrappers littered the area. I gagged from the heavy smell of urine. When the car stopped and a window rolled down, a man slipped out from behind an abutment. The buyer and seller talked for a second. Then the seller shoved his closed fist inside the car, exchanged a little packet of drugs for cash and skulked back into the shadows.

Out in the open, two white girls and four black girls sauntered around three idling cars. They teased the drivers, arching their backs to thrust out their breasts uplifted by halter tops, the fabric barely wide enough to cover their nipples. A couple of them hooted, “You know you goin’ like this!” and “You try this you never goin’ go nowheres else!” When a hand poked out the window at a particular girl, she would hustle to the driver, make her deal and hop in.

I looked down at my body and wondered whether anybody would want to buy me. When I did gymnastics I was five feet two and as flat-chested as a balance beam. Most of my friends were taller than me and had already developed breasts. I was told the harsh training regimen had stunted my growth. After Daddy was killed, I quit gymnastics. That was two years ago. Now I had shot up to five seven, my breasts had popped out and I had developed a nice booty. But compared to those girls’ bulging chests I felt like a developing grade-schooler.

I tied my T-shirt with the pictures of Jay-Z above my belly button. It was my favorite shirt. I made it myself by cutting pictures out of magazines, scanning them into my computer, flipping them around and printing them on iron-on decals.

I approached the girls. All at once, like they were in a chorus line, they put their hands on their hips and looked down their noses at me. “Look what we got here,” the tall one said. “What you doin’ here, girl? You have a fight wit’ your mama?”

“Wait ’til Leroy see this one,” one of the white girls said.

“Umm umm, can’t wait,” another said.

Flicking her head toward an approaching black car, the fat one said, “You ain’t got to wait too long.”

The car with the black out windows stopped right next to me. The door swung open and a guy with three gold chains around his neck and diamond rings on four fingers stepped out. He was coal black, and he wore cowboy boots and a silk shirt unbuttoned to his belt buckle. Before I knew what was happening he grabbed me by the arm and dragged me behind a pillar.

“What you think you doin’? I owns this spot! Ain’t no freelance bitches allowed here!”

I lifted my chin. “Kill me. Please.”

He stared at me. “What are you, one of them fucked up bitches lives in a box?”


“Then get your scrawny ass out of here. Next time I see you I will kill you.”

“Are you their pimp?”

He slapped me hard across the face. I yelped in pain and almost fell down.

“I don’ like that word.” He shoved me. “Go on. Get!”

“Can I work for you?” If he wouldn’t kill me, maybe a sadistic John would. Or I could get enough money to buy an overdose of drugs.

He scanned me up and down. “What I do with a skinny ass bitch like you?”

I had no answer.

He started to walk away then turned back. “Say somthin’ to me again.”

“What do you want me to say?”

“Where you come from? What your name?”

“Sunnyside. My name is Eileen.”

He bellowed a deep laugh. “Eileen. That a funny name for a black bitch.” He glanced at his girls then back at me. “I like the way you talk. Maybe you class up this place. Get me some of that uptown money likes sweet young bitches that talks nice.”

Daddy and Mama had pounded proper English into my brain from the time I could speak, but once in a while I’d slip into street slang like Leroy talked. When I did, they came down on me hard. “You’ll get nowhere in life with that kind of talk,” Daddy had said.

Yeah, Daddy, look where all that proper English got me. I’m a murderer and now I’m going to be a whore.

“Let me see what you got. Take them clothes off.”

I started to untie the knot in my T-shirt, but I didn’t move fast enough for him. He grabbed a handful of fabric and my bra and ripped them off.

“Ow!” My arms flew up to cover my bare breasts.

“We goin’ get you some implants for them pimples you got. Get them jeans off.”

I’d started to work the button when a voice said, “Yo’, Leroy, let her go.”

Leroy looked around to see who was talking. “This ain’t none your bidness, Thomas.”

“How much you want for her?”

Thomas was the drug dealer who controlled the trade in Sunnyside and other areas of south Houston, except for South Park which was the Mexican area. Everyone knew him, but this was the first time I’d seen him up close. Mama and Daddy had lectured us incessantly about not using drugs. What difference did it make now? Daddy was gone, and I was dead to Mama. My sisters were dead because of me. Nothing mattered anymore. I’d seen drug addicts in their dream world. If there was anything I needed right now it was an escape from my nightmare.

“She a fine bitch. She worth a hunert.”

Thomas peeled a bill off a fat roll.

Before he released me, Leroy said, “Thomas done with you, you come back here.”

I gulped and nodded like a bobble-head doll.

Leroy swaggered off to his girls. I watched them hand him money and heard one say, “What you mean class this place up?”

“Shut up, bitch.”

Thomas poked me, drawing my attention back to him. “Take these,” he said, holding out my ripped clothes.

With one arm still over my breasts, I took the destroyed T-shirt and fought not to cry. It had taken me a couple of hours fiddling with Jay-Z’s pictures in my computer to get them just right. Then it hit me. Here I was upset about a stupid torn T-shirt, when less than an hour ago I had killed my sisters. What a self-centered, worthless piece of trash I was. I deserved everything that was going to happen to me.

“Cover yourself,” Thomas said, snapping me out of my self-loathing. “Don’t want no cop seeing you riding in my car with your titties showing.”

The hooks on my bra were broken so I tied my T-shirt around me like a tube top. He directed me to his car, a big silver Mercedes, and we drove to a house. His crib was a small ranch. Peeling paint rippled the clapboard siding. Tufts of grass poked through the dirt in a few places in the front yard. The wooden steps squeaked and buckled a bit under our weight even though together we couldn’t have weighed more than two-eighty. Thomas was a wiry guy, only a few inches taller than me. He unlocked the two dead bolts on the rust-speckled steel front door and walked in ahead of me.

After seeing the outside, I was a bit stunned at the lavish inside. A semi-circular black leather couch flanked by chrome and glass tables faced a huge TV. A bar, its doors open, stood behind the couch. African paintings covered the walls.

Thomas walked to the bar and poured two tall drinks. Handing me one, he said, “I seen you around. Didn’t know you was one of Leroy’s whores.”

“This is my first night.”

I never had alcohol before and gulped the drink down like I would a glass of milk. It tasted horrible, burned my throat and forced me to squinch my eyes closed. But it spread a warm glow over me and calmed my anxiety a little.

“Easy, girl,” he said. “I want you awake. Why you want to be a whore, an uptown girl like you?”

“I need money,” I said, leaving out the part about wanting to die. Maybe after he did it to me, if he fell asleep, I could find his drug stash and OD.

“You ain’t goin’ get it from Leroy. He keeps all the money his girls make.” He took my hand and led me to his bedroom. He threw the leopard print bedspread onto the floor, revealing soiled, gray-white sheets. Mama would never let us sleep on filthy sheets like these, I thought, trying to force my mind to think about anything other than what was coming. When I saw Thomas naked, I flinched. How was that thing going to fit inside me?

“What you waitin’ for, girl?”

I pulled off the torn T-shirt, slid down my jeans and panties and fell back lying stiff, like I was dead. He climbed on top of me, spread my legs and jammed himself in. I screamed in pain.

He leaped off me. “You is a virgin? That what you meant by your first night?”

I nodded, washing tears across my cheeks. This was not how I dreamed my first night would be. I was a princess. Daddy said so. My first time was supposed to be in the arms of a loving prince. But I was no longer a princess. I was a murderer. Having my virginity ravaged from me by someone as far away from a prince as I could get had to be only the beginning of the Lord’s punishment. Maybe he would give me AIDS. That’s more like what His justice would be, me dying a horrible, painful death.

“Leroy ain’t knowed you a virgin, did he?”


“’Cause if he did, he’d not given you to me for a hundred.” He broke into a big grin. “Virgins is worth a thousand!”

He scrambled out of bed, went back to the living room and returned with the bottle of liquor. As I forced down a long swallow he said, “Girl, you is lucky I come along. Leroy about to deflower you hard and painful. Then when he realized you a virgin he would a been so mad he lost out on that thousand he’d a probably beat you to shit.”

If only you hadn’t come along.

He didn’t jump on me again right away, but stroked me, fiddled me with his fingers, nibbled and suckled me all over and whispered things in my ear like how good looking I was. Between the liquor and his playing, my body got so hot I thought I was on fire. Bodies on fire! Oh my God! “No. No! I can’t do this! Stop.”

“Relax, girl” he whispered through a nibble on my ear.

A second later he pushed into me again. It still hurt, but not as bad as the first time. The liquor had dulled the pain.

When it was over, I lay there, my eyes closed as I thought about how he had made me feel, how there had been a strange twang of pleasure through the pain. A siren wailed going by the house and my mind suddenly flooded with a vision of flames licking at my screaming sisters. My eyelids sprang open, but the vision continued to pound through my head. Sobs wracked my body. How could I feel even that brief moment of pleasure after what I had done only hours ago?

“What?” he asked. “I ain’t hurtin’ you?”


He pushed himself up on his elbow and looked down on me. “Then what?”

When I didn’t answer, he asked, “How old is you?”


He leaped off the bed. “Shit!” he screamed and paced the floor. “What my goin’ do wit’ you?”

“I’m not going to the cops. It has nothing to do with you.”

He stopped his pacing. “So, zup wit’ the rain?”

How could I talk about it? He wasn’t my daddy, although he looked old enough to be. I couldn’t tell him. But I didn’t want him to send me away. I needed the comfort he gave me to keep me from falling into a black abyss of hopelessness. I opened my arms. “Please hold me.”

He came back into bed. Before he took me again, he asked, “Where you live?”

“Nowhere. I have no home.”

“You want to stay here wit’ me for a while? I think we be good for each other.”

I nodded. Yeah, being a drug dealer’s bitch is exactly what I deserve.

“You have to know what I did first. Maybe you won’t want me around.” But after I told him, he still did.




Two months later I found myself pregnant. With my expanding stomach, my desire to kill myself slipped away, but the nightmares continued to jar me awake many nights, drenching my body in sweat. I begged Thomas for something to drive them away.

“The mother of my child don’t take no drugs,” he said. Then he’d hold me until my shaking subsided.

When our son Calvin came along, Thomas thumped his chest, the proudest drug dealer in Houston. Two years later, Tamika came and Thomas thumped his chest again. He never denied me and the kids anything. With hundred dollar bills stuffed in my wallet, I bought clothes in Neiman Marcus and ­Bloomingdales. Thomas bought expensive toys for the kids and beautiful bling for me.

Thomas was a good man. I couldn’t understand why the Lord had let my life turn out so well, until they sent Thomas to prison for twenty-five years.


Other Novels by Richard Brawer

Silk Legacy

The Pac Conspiracy

Murder at the Jersey Shore

Murder Goes Round and Round

The Bishop Committee

For book jackets, reviews and excerpts go to my website:


Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday's How He Does it with Richard Brawer

Janet asked interesting questions about character development and plot development. Here are my answers using my novel The Nano Experiment as an example.

How do you create your characters? Do your characters come before the plot?

My characters come with my plots. I need a story first before I can think about creating characters.

The Nano Experiment was developed from a screen play my daughter wrote. Her plot was about a wrongly convicted man who escapes death row and battles to prove his innocence. Despite being a lawyer in the entertainment business, she could not find a production company to produce her movie. I said, “Let me write it as a book with a female lead because most movies have a male lead with a woman backup yet many woman actors are looking for a good leading role.

Now I had a plot and a protagonist which leads me to Janet’s next questions.

Do you know how the story will end in a general or a specific way?  Do you sketch your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

There are no direct answers to these questions. Yes, before I begin writing I have to know how the story will end. I need a target to write toward. However, writing is not a tutorial. There is no step one, step two etc.

The more I read the script, the more I realized my daughter’s ending would not work with the type of endings I liked for my novels. My endings are satisfying for the reader, but they are not Cinderella endings.

I cannot tell you the ending because it will ruin the story. However, I can tell you what one reviewer said. “The resolution is realistic, with even the winner paying a heavy price for struggling.”

 At this point I discarded the script and began to develop my own story.

To create my ending I had to create a story line. While I am creating a story line I am also creating the secondary characters. I had the basic ending. I wanted my character, whom I named Eileen, exonerated. But how did I get there? I began asking questions.

How did Eileen get on death row in the first place?
How did she escape from death row?
Where did she go after her escape?
Who would be chasing her?
How did she prove she was innocent of first degree murder?
And the most important question; What are Eileen’s CONFLICTS?

There can be no story without a conflicted main character. The anticipation as to how Eileen will resolve her conflicts is what keeps the reader turning the pages. In addition, the more the conflicts and how Eileen gets out of them, the more depth she will have.

The outward conflict is obvious. Eileen must prove her innocence. However, it is inner conflicts that I feel will be the most interesting to the reader. Creating the first inner conflict led me to the answer to the first question and a dynamic opening chapter.

Here is a synopsis of the first chapter:

At fifteen, Eileen Robinson lives in an ideal, middle class African-American family in Houston, Texas.  When her father is murdered, an innocent victim in a drive by shooting, her sheltered life spirals downward into gloom.  Her once stay-at-home mother is forced to go to work cleaning offices at night.  Instead of enjoying her carefree teenage years hanging with her friends, Eileen is relegated to babysitting her two younger sisters. One night she sneaks out on them. Trying to cook something, they die in a fire.  Tormented and wanting to kill herself, Eileen runs away from home.  Befriended by a drug dealer, she moves in with him.  At twenty-one she is a single mother of two.

The last sentence in the first chapter is: Thomas was a good man. I couldn’t understand why the Lord had let my life turn out so well, until they sent Thomas to prison for twenty-five years.

Eileen is now set up for her destruction. Chapters 2,3 and 4 send Eileen to the execution chamber where at age 32 she is executed. Or is she?

Where Eileen went after her escape is why the book is titled The Nano Experiment. Needless to say the experiment, which is actually a nanomedicine experiment, is an important part of the story. It leads to the answers to the other questions and also embroils her in her second inner conflict.

(Note: You may at this point wonder if you can follow a detail like nanomedicine. This review tells me I made it interesting and easy for a layperson to understand. “The author’s inclusion of the concept of nanomedicine in the plot is articulate and intriguing.”)

One major factor missing from my daughter’s script was a “love” interest. It is very rare that books or movies only have one gender in the story. While Eileen is involved in the nanomedicine experiment she meets a charming young man who is a serial killer. She knows he is a serial killer but she still starts an affair with him because she feels she is also a killer―her sisters’ deaths.  How she gets out of the affair and finally resolves her issue with her sisters’ deaths is part of the ending.

So now I have my ending and my main characters and a brief outline to my story from the answers to my questions. However, that is the only outlining I do. I do not want to bog myself down with a strict sequence of events. Twists and turns I didn’t think about will arise as Eileen moves toward her goal of exoneration.

Those unexpected scenes also help me add additional depth to both Eileen and the supporting characters which I guess I achieved because another reviewer said, “Don't go in expecting to have stereotypes filled, because that is the one thing you won't experience…The characters are uncomfortably realistic.”

I believe they are realistic because of the CONFLICTS I created for them.

Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

I don’t “have books of settings.” I am personally familiar with the major settings for my novels although some research is needed when I take my characters to an unfamiliar place. The travel sections of newspapers are great sources to learn about unfamiliar settings. Also area specific maps can helped me move the character around.

Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

My research for The Nano Experiment was done online. Eileen is incarcerated in Texas. I had to research Texas’ prison system, death row and lethal injection.

My daughter had her character uncover the DNA that set him free. I thought, that was so droll. Every crime story on TV was using DNA and so are many books. I was searching for something different as well as educational to the reader. Just because this story was a thriller didn’t mean it couldn’t be educational too.

When I read an article in the newspaper about nanomedicine, I thought what a great idea. However, the article was very general and I am not a doctor so I had to do extensive research. Everything I needed was on the internet.

Also there are many internet writing groups that can help with research. For example, I belong to a Yahoo group, crime scene writers (there are no spaces between words if you are searching Yahoo for this group) where you can ask experts on crime scenes, police procedure etc. There are many other groups on Yahoo and Goodreads that can help with research. And of course there are the search engines, Google, Ask, Bing etc.

Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?

I am a draft writer. I try to get the story on paper as fast as possible because the story is running around in my head and I want to get it out as quickly. I say paper because I write long hand then type into my computer. Transposing from paper to print is my first edit. Then I print out the book and continue my rewrites.

I hope my experiences have helped you in your writing. To read the book jacket, excerpts and full reviews of The Nano Experiment and all my novels please visit my website:

Richard Brawer writes mysteries, historical fiction and suspense novels. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Ruth, and has two daughters and two granddaughters.

Note: The Nano Experiment was originally published as Beyond Guilty by a wonderful mid-size independent press, L & L Dreamspell. Sadly one of the partners passed away and the other could not continue without her life-long friend. She closed the publisher returning the rights to their authors. This was sorrowful news for L & L Dreamspell’s 100 authors because the ladies that ran the publisher were wonderful people and highly professional. Thus Beyond Guilty was no longer available in any format.

For some strange reason Amazon never takes a book off its website regardless of whether the book is out of print or the publisher is out of business. To avoid confusion when searching Amazon for my books and finding that Beyond Guilty is no longer available to purchase, I changed the title and cover to The Nano Experiment.

The Nano Experiment is available for 99 cents on KINDLE and any e-reader, Computer, Apple or Android device that has a KINDLE APP, or any TABLET that can access KINDLE books for 99 cents. Here is the link.



Just a Few Lines from The Bookstore Lady by Diane Bator

      A Few Lines from The Bookstore Lady by Diane Bator


When the hunched over, balding pharmacist next door called
out, “Good morning, Katie,” her hand flinched and her heart raced. It took her
nearly a full minute to remember she’d been Katie Mullins for two months and
she’d better answer before he got offended.

“Hi.” She nodded.

The drugstore opened at eight every morning and it was now
quarter to ten. Must have been a slow morning if he had time to stand in the
doorway with a large cup of coffee rather than hanging out behind the back
counter. “You’d best convince Ray to get some air-conditioning for that store
before your new books curl up and warp. It’s beyond me how he’s never lost half
his books every summer.”

“Dust absorbs the humidity.” She smiled wryly. “I don’t
think we can afford air-conditioning this year.”

“I know a guy who’ll give you a quote. He’s not bad looking
once you get past the bug eyes and scars. I can call him, if you’d like.”

“Maybe some other time.” Like when hell froze over.

He waved and went back into the drugstore.

Katie drew in a deep breath. The air was fresh from last
night’s rain and the hint of a breeze mussed her hair. In two months, the only
thing to find her was the sunshine and a case of withdrawals that made renovations
hell. Nate, bless his heart, had had more compassion while she fought “the flu”
than any man she’d ever met.

She blew a strand of stray copper hair out of her mouth and
jiggled the door lock. Another thing that needed to be fixed before winter. She
should have done it during renovations, but it hadn’t seemed as important as
books and workmen. Luckily, Nate worked cheap and she hadn’t had to dig into
the money from Dunnsforth. The money was tucked up in a box in the backroom,
fastened with half a roll of duct tape. She’d ask him to fix the lock when he
delivered her order later.

The door opened with a groan. “It’s about time.”

Available at:

Tricia McGill follows with A Few Lines next week.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday's Opening Scene From All Our Yesterdays by Janet Lane Walters

I'll be doing this a bit differently. This was originally written as a serial so I'll do the opening bit from each of the many time periods when the hero, heroine, and other characters come into theor section. The following is the first scene.

In her rush to reach the ringing telephone, Astrid Logan nearly sprawled on the suitcases she'd left in the apartment hallway. She grabbed the receiver on the seventh ring. A deep voice spoke her name and her heart thudded in her chest. "Clive?" Had something happened to her father? Was there a problem at Antiquities?

"Been trying to reach you for hours. Where have you been?"

Astrid sucked in a breath. "Dad knows how to reach me at school." She sank to the floor. "What's wrong with him?"

"He's had a stroke."

"How is he?"

"Doctor believes he'll recover completely, but he'll need time in rehab."

"When did this happen and where?"

"This morning at the gallery. We were discussing the placement of several new pieces. He groaned and collapsed. Ambulance arrived maybe fifteen minutes later."

Astrid frowned. What was he holding back? Her father liked and trusted his younger assistant, but for no reason she could discover, Clive had always made her edgy. "Did they do tests?"

"CAT Scan. Then they gave him some kind of special IV. Guess this will make you change your summer plans."

"Why should it?" Clive had been her father's assistant at the gallery for a year and a half. He knew she spent every summer at Antiquities.

"Then you're really not coming."

"What are you talking about? I had planned to drive down tomorrow." Since she'd turned twelve, she'd spent every summer at the shop with her dad. In sixteen years, she knew as much about the shop as her father.

"Thought your dad said you wouldn't be here. Never mind. It's just ... I was going to move into his apartment."


"To keep an eye on the gallery."

Astrid frowned. That didn't make sense. The thirty-year-old playboy had an expensive co-op on the river. "Isn't there a sophisticated alarm system?"

"Alarms can be by-passed."

"Are there problems?"

"In a way. A few pieces have gone missing and your dad won't hear of calling the police."

"I see." She didn't, but once she was sure her father was recovering, she intended to check.

"When are you coming?"

"As soon as I pack the car."

"Imagine you'll arrive between five and six. I'll close the shop and meet you at the hospital."

"No need. I have keys. After I check on Dad, I'll stop by the gallery." She hung up and started to call the hospital. Why? It would be a futile gesture. They would merely confirm her father was a patient, but they wouldn't disclose the information she wanted.

She made a quick check of the nearly empty apartment. Her furniture was in storage until she found a place closer to the university where she would begin a graduate program in September.

Twenty minutes later, she'd packed the car. On the way out of town, she dropped the keys at the real estate agency and began the four-hour trip to Rockleigh, the Hudson River village where her father lived.

During the drive, she tried not to think about her father. If she didn't dwell on her fears, they wouldn't come true. Think positive, she told herself. She recalled her father's excitement over the changes he and Clive had made at Antiquities and the enthusiasm over a new customer. What would happen to the gallery if he wasn't there? She gripped the wheel and shifted mental gears.

Astrid parked in the hospital lot and stopped at the information desk. With a visitor's pass in hand, she went to the third floor and found her father's room. The odors, the moans and cries, the bustle of activity made her feel as though she'd entered an alien land. Her job as a school nurse held none of these scenes. She paused in the doorway of the semi-private room. One bed was empty. Her father lay in the window bed.

For a moment, she stared. How had he aged so much since the last time she'd seen him? Easter had been just two and a half months ago. During their weekly phone calls, he'd sounded the way he always had. She approached the bed, checked the intravenous site and the rate and looked at the oxygen meter on the wall. Seemed fine.


He opened his eyes and tried to smile. She took his hand. He spoke, but the words were so garbled she couldn't decipher them. Tears threatened. She swallowed against the lump in her throat.

"Don't worry about Antiquities. I'll keep Clive in line. I'll have the records in order by the time you're back."

Her words seemed to give him peace. The lines around his mouth relaxed. Until the urge to cry grew too strong, she remained. "I'm going to the apartment, then the gallery. I'll be back this evening."
He mouthed a word.

"Good?" she asked.

He nodded.

Outside the room, she pulled a tissue from her bag and wiped her eyes. At the nurses' desk, she paused. "I'm Mr. Logan's daughter. How is he?"

A gray-haired woman looked up. "He's stable and responding to treatment. We were able to start things within hours after the stroke."

Astrid cleared her throat. "I'm a nurse." She asked a series of questions about the prognosis and course of treatment.

"You'll have to speak to his doctor."

"Who is?"

The nurse gave Astrid a name and phone number. "Thanks."

After paying the parking fee, she drove to Antiquities and pulled onto the paved area behind the building. As she took two suitcases from the trunk, Mrs. Rayson, her father's tenant and long-time friend, stepped onto the deck. "Astrid. I'm so glad you're here. That Clive said you weren't coming this summer."

"He misunderstood Dad. Probably confused my decision to resign my position at the school and go to grad school with my summer plans. You know how Dad sometimes carries on two discussions at once."

Mrs. Rayson laughed. "How true. What happened to Lloyd this morning was dreadful. I was so scared."

"Were you there?"

The older woman nodded. "Heard him arguing with Clive so I stepped in. Saw Lloyd collapse. Called 911. That Clive just stood and stared."

"Shock." Astrid started up the steps. Would Clive have called an ambulance? She chewed on her lower lip. She couldn't let her distrust of the man color her opinions.

"How is Lloyd? I wanted to visit, but wasn't sure if he was in Intensive Care or a regular room."

"I stopped by on my way here." Astrid sighed. "He looked so old and fragile."

Sarah Rayson hugged Astrid. "He'll be fine."

"Aunt Sarah, I'll take that as a prophecy. Let me unload the car. Then I need to check the gallery."

"Come to dinner. Around six."

"I'd like that. We can go see Dad together."

Astrid opened the door and stepped into the apartment's main room. She turned on the air conditioner. The large picture window showed a view of the river. Breakfast dishes were still on the counter dividing the kitchen from the rest of the room. Stacks of books covered the couch, chairs and coffee table.

A groan escaped. Not only would she have to organize the gallery records, she'd have to make order here. She carried the suitcases to the small bedroom she used when she visited. At least the clutter hadn't invaded her space. After several trips to the car, she stepped into the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face.

What had caused Dad and Clive to quarrel? They seldom disagreed. Would Clive tell her?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Reaching For The End

The beginning is finished, the middle has reached the point where the story must end soon. You ask yourself, How do I end this?

For the ending to give the reader that sense of satisfaction the story needs a climax and a resolution. The ending should bring a sense of relief for the reader. The ending doesn't have to be happy.

So when ending a story give the focus character a choice between two ways to solve his problem. There could be an easy way and a hard way so choose with care. The ending of a story needs to release the tension you've carefully built.

The climax scene shows the reader how the character makes that final decision. The resolution shows what the focal character receives. It also shows what he deserves. The way to show the reader these things will be explored in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration taken from a book of essays by John Gardner

Every few years when I start feeling stressed by the writing projects I'm working on, I pull out this book of essays by John Gardner published in 1983. When I was at a low point in my writing career, having returned to work as a nurse and being unable to write, I picked up a copy of On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner. This wasn't the usual book on writing that talked about methods and ways to write but about the spirit and soul of a writer.

The opening essay was titled The Writer's Nature. This spoke of the question a beginning writer asks and sometimes a writer who has stopped writing for some reason. "Do I have what it takes to be a writer?"

The one thing in the opening to the essay that struck me was stubbornness or persistence. That was definitely one of my traits. So while I worked as a nurse I garnered other things, experiences and people that I would use when I returned to writing.

What I had wasn't exactly a writer's block but more a dormant period where I rested and waited. So the first thing a writer needs is that persistence that allows him or her to get up after being slapped down and moving on. A dormant period is what gives us the material to go on in the future. So hold onto the dream and and know one day the dormant seeds will bloom again.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters

Meander 1 Just recently I read something about critiquing and friendship.  Reminded me of the time I critiqued a friend's manuscript. This was just after I became a published author. One story she'd written was a very funny mystery and I felt she should go forward with the story. She wanted to write romances and sent me pages of a romance she'd written. She wrote very well but what was lacking was the story. Much was unrealistic and so I made massive notes on what she'd written pointing out things that jarred. She was angry and hurt and never spoke to me again. What I'm saying here is that when critiquing a manuscript, though an author, the critique becomes a reader and maybe an editor. Parts that make no sense tend to stick out. If it's a romance the words need to say this is a romance. If you join a critique group, you need to have a thick skin and to remember this isn't personal. It's about the work. If you can't tolerate receiving remarks from others, don't ask for help. Sure there are some people who join groups to make their own works seem better. One rule I try to tell people when they're part of my group. If one person finds something wrong you can ignore what they're saying but if three say the same thing, you need to go back and take a good look at what they say and re-think what you've written.

Meander 2 Lately I've been trying to do too many projects at the same time. Is this a bad thing. Maybe yes and maybe no. There are stories lined up that want to be written. What I need is a few more hours in the day or to buckle down and stop playing around. Not sure this is possible but I may try.

Meander 3 Current projects under construction. Rekindled Dreams is moving along. And am ready just to re-write scenes like the love scenes to smooth them out. The Amber Cage is progressing but at this point what I have is boring in many parts. But I know this is the way I write. When I finish the rough draft I'll look at the parts that need to be made more active especially the love elements. I do need to have more development between the hero and the heroine. That will happen as I move forward.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday's Excerpt from Mated Forever by Michaela Rhua

Mated Forever By Michaela Rhua.

The full moon is always a time for danger and mating. This month it brings the scent of Louisa's mate. Jorie is on the run and in grave danger. Being rescued by Louisa brings safety and a new temptation. As the girls act on their feelings, and passion overtakes them, they are unaware of the danger surrounding them both. When Jorie is kidnapped, it's a race against time. Will Louisa be able to save her mate, or will the past and all its secrets destroy them before they even have a chance at forever?



Her nose caught the scent and she breathed it in deeply. All the fibers in her body caught alight. Fear. The scent of fear hung in the air, acrid, sweaty and sharp. Someone was in danger close by.

The night zoomed by as Lou bounded toward the scent. She pushed her body onward, trying to cover the distance quickly. The full moon lit her path through the dense forest, its light shining through the leaves causing a speckled effect. Cold air shot through every strand of her fur. Her heart raced. Faster, must run faster, she willed her body. Her paws hardly touched the muddied ground as she sped on. Tonight the forest appeared alive with all manner of creatures. Lou kept her focus on the scent that called to her very soul.

Two bodies struggled in a clearing a short distance away, one, a woman in human form, the other a black wolf, who by its scent, Lou determined was male. The scent of fear emanating from the woman hit Lou’s nose, strong and pungent. The victim screamed and continued to struggle. The fearsome male bared his teeth, as though ready to bite and claim the woman.

No way! Taking a deep breath, Lou lifted her head and howled into the night.

The male stopped and looked in her direction. Coal eyes, rimmed in red glared at her from under a mass of unruly hair. His fangs glinted in the moonlight and he let out a deep growl, loud enough to shake the ground underneath her. The woman collapsed in a heap on the ground.

"Be gone." He spoke to her via the mental link all wolves shared.

"I will not leave, she needs my protection!"

"I have hunted her. She’s mine to claim, but if you insist on staying then I may choose to have you both." He grunted then turned back to his prey.

"You must leave." Lou lifted her head, trying to show him she was not afraid of him.

"You expect me, Malachi, son of the Alpha to the Roydan, pack to leave? You are a stupid she-wolf! Now submit and move out of the way!" He growled again.

 "You have no right here. This clearing marks the boundary of the two territories." Lou stared at him in a show of defiance.

"Then you cannot lay claim either."

Lou tried to think this through. He was right, they were on neutral ground so neither had the upper hand, but she was determined to find a way to help the woman.

"Help me!" A voice came from behind the wolf.

Malachi's head whipped up and his eyes narrowed. Lou watched as his stance changed, he lowered his front paws, hunched his shoulders, and bared his teeth again. He was readying himself to lunge.

"We must ask her," Lou said aloud.

Lou tried to circle him to get a better look at the woman, but he blocked her view each time.

Lou caught another scent and she stopped, breathing in deeply. The smell was familiar. She recognized Donal, one of her pack, and a friend. She saw him out of the corner of her eye. His large brown form crept closer. Donal always walked slowly, as though he had all the time in the world, but that action hid his true strength.

Malachi growled at the new arrival.

"I am Donal, of Thurston's pack." Donal paused. "I see there’s someone injured."

"She’s from my territory so mine to claim." Malachi snarled at both of them through the mind link.

"This is neutral ground." Donal stood next to Lou.

The mere fact that he stood next to her reassured her and Lou was grateful for his support.  

A low pitched moan broke the tension. Lou couldn’t stand it any longer, she had to risk it. She rushed over to the woman and Malachi didn’t stop her, maybe he was wary of Donal. Leaves and twigs were scattered in a mess of blonde hair. The woman curled up into a tight ball, shivering and shaking. Lou nuzzled her, trying to give comfort. Blue eyes filled with tears stared up at her, cutting into Lou's heart. The woman lifted her hand and stroked Lou's head. That touch sent sparks throughout Lou's body. A sweet scent drifted to her. Lou breathed it in deeply. She felt as if she was on fire and her breathing quickened. Desperate to taste the scent, she licked the air. It tingled on her tongue and she tasted honey nectar. She got lost in its fragrance.

My mate.

"Help me get away from him ... please." The woman’s voice was weak and shaky."I beg you, help me."

"She asks for my help, not yours," Lou spoke loudly so Malachi and Donal could hear.

"We will take her to safety," Donal said.

"I will bow to Thurston's authority for now."  Malachi bowed low. "This isn’t over. She’s mine and I will claim her." He looked directly at Lou then bounded off into the dense forest. Lou watched his retreat, and sniffed the air to check he was gone.

"Hey, Squirt, you can’t keep out of trouble, can you?" Donal chuckled.

"Thanks Donal, appreciate your help." Lou nuzzled him to show her appreciation.

"Don't thank me yet. Let's get her to safety first. Malachi is bad news and I'm betting he's not far away."



Mated Forever by Michaela Rhua is an All Romance ebooks BESTSELLER!


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Author Bio:

Michaela Rhua always dreamed of writing but this never happened until she met the lovely group of ladies known as UCW. Their passion for writing and encouragement inspired her to see if she could do it too. Now she loves writing!

She has teenage children and a husband, who also keep her busy. However, it is whilst travelling into work that she has time to create her characters and imagine other places in which they exist as her world skims by the window. Conversations overheard often lead to the birth of new ideas that she scribbles down in her trusty notebook.

Michaela is a multi-published author with Breathless Press, Evernight Publishing and a self-published anthology with authors from The Nuthouse Scribblers.


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