Letter R on The A to Z April Challenge 2014

sknicholls:

Rosie Amber, Avid reader and book reviewer has Red Clay and Roses in her A-Z challenge today!

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:

Today’s letter on the April A to Z Challenge is R. My Book is Red Clay and Roses by S. K. Nicholls. Genre: Historical, Life & Relationships.

Red Clay and Roses

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Book description-

A fictionalized true story of life in the Deep South during the time of Jim Crow Law, and before Roe vs. Wade. Women were supposed to keep quiet and serve, abortion was illegal, adoption difficult, and racism rampant. The discovery of an old ledger opens a window into the dynamics of the 1950s-60s. Unspoken secrets are shared between Beatrice, The Good Doctor’s wife, and Moses Grier, their black handyman. The Grier’s daughter, Althea, suffers a tragedy that leaves her family silent and mournful. Her brother, Nathan, a medical student, looks for answers from a community that is deaf, blind, and dumb. A summer romance between Nathan and Sybil, an independent, high-spirited, white woman, leaves…

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Dreams (double etheree)

sknicholls:

One of my favorites from this collection by Pamela!

Originally posted on Poetry by Pamela:

Dreams
Wondrous
Mystical 
Nighttime magic
Daytime hopefulness
Giving life to desire
Morphing real life into hope
Brilliant splendid expectations 

Creating wonder and mystery
Dreams that one day will manifest in truth
But nightmares strike dissonant chords in dreams
Wreaking havoc in sleep relations
Chases and races all night long
Grotesque figures run rampant
Struggling to fully wake
Dreams without nightmares
Needed for peace
Mystical
Wondrous 
Dreams 

Today, I’m posting a poem from my book Dreams of Love. If you haven’t read it yet, you can download it from Amazon or buy it in paperback.

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Happy Anniversary Blog!

one year blogA little trophy popped up in my notifications yesterday telling me this is my anniversary, but it was actually a few days ago. You see, the day I started blogging, I also stopped…for awhile.

This blog is now one year old. It is time for me to tell you my story.

After I published my book, March 27, 2013, making all the mistakes possible to make, a friend suggested I blog. I was clueless. It took me days to get the courage to post. For my first post, I typed in some silly dribble.

I don’t recall how long it took, but a person finally “liked” it, and followed me. I had no idea why.

I followed him back and checked out his site. My subtitle read something about following my journey into social progress. It’s social…it’s supposed to be progress, right?

When I got to his site, I saw his subtitle and I thought it was a joke…some attempt at humor. Then I read his post.

The post on his site was about a sensitive and controversial topic.

Only three people had commented. There were no responses to the comments at that time. Since the site appeared to encourage opinions and discussion, I went to the comments and typed in my own polite opinion. Our opinions differed. I was immediately attacked. There was juvenile name calling. Flaming insults were hurled my way and I could not help but take it personally. I thought, OMG, this is sick. I don’t know if I want to be a part of this social networking world or not. The response was uncivil, indignant, and uncouth. He did everything short of telling me that I was going to burn in hell for feeling the way that I did about the matter.

Maybe he would have done that too if I had stuck around long enough. I was certain that he couldn’t be more than fifteen years old. I chose not to comment back. It was not a very warm reception. An hour or so later I went back to the site.  Apparently he was very popular. The comments were filled by a bunch of people yelling and screaming their opinions, and the blogger was in the thick of it. I thought, Shit…is this what blogging is all about? 

I un-followed him, left and never looked back. I concluded that the blogger had posted his piece, not because he wished to express his thoughts and open the topic to discussion, but because he wished to incite his audience into a fury. After that incident, I was about to give up on this blogging thing. It had no appeal to me.

I went back to my site and tried to find a way to delete a “like”.  I didn’t want anything on my blog associated with this individual. I could not find any way to delete a like with a gravatar image and link, so I deleted my post, trashed it. I thought, If this is the sort of person I am going to attract with my silly dribble, maybe I should post something more serious. I thought I should start over. So I did.

I posted some serious posts, even colored a few serious posts with my own sordid humor, but I also started cruising around and looking at what other people were posting. I found a world of creative writing, gorgeous photography, fantastically imaginative blogs, and pure genius! I found clever wit, immeasurable talent, courage, and deep sensitivity. I found poetic beauty in words and images.

I started posting some of my old poetry. Then I began to comment on other people’s work, and these people were really nice.

Gradually, they began to visit me too.

Before long, we were into discussions and I was learning so very much from you. All of you!

The community I found was warm, accepting, supportive, intelligent, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

I wake up in the morning and check my mail. There you all are! My colleagues and companions. I check in with you throughout the day. You give me things to think about. You make me smile. You make me laugh. You keep me delightfully entertained with your imagination and the knowledge you share. I reflect on your words at the end of the day.

You never cease to amaze me.

Many of you have become my very best friends. I cry on your shoulders and you wipe my tears. I fall off and you put me back on. I whine, moan, groan, complain,…and yet, you tolerate me. You have given me guidance, ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. You helped me mold and shape Red Clay and Roses into a marketable product to be proud of. Some of you even GET my humor. Some of you are old friends now, and some of you are new. For all the ways that you are you, I am eternally grateful.

I have my own brand of genius, and I say that jokingly, and you have welcomed me into your worlds.

I am so glad that I did not give up after my experience with that first follower. You are the best!

I am very happy to be here.

 Thank you for making blogging a positive experience!

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Book Review: The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge by Lori Crane

I was raised on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in mid-west Georgia on the Alabama line at the foothills of Appalachia. We spent many nights camping along those river banks and held up in my cousin’s cabin. Most of our days were spent water skiing, but the summer nights were often spent sitting around the campfire telling scary stories. From Meridian, Mississippi, Lori Crane is a prolific writer and she spins a good old fashioned southern yarn.

 

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge is southern folklore exactly the way southern folklore is meant to be told. The forward by author Pat Fitzhugh sets up the historical story perfectly. Lori Crane’s first chapter literally reels you into the beginning of a tale that will send shivers down your spine. I quickly turned the pages in anticipation of what would happen next.

 

Thomas is an evil villain, but not one that you can’t care for. Lori does a fine job giving us just enough history to feel some sense of empathy for this wicked man. In fact, you almost find yourself rooting for him despite his hideous ways. Happening in the Deep South during the turn of the 20th century, Lori gives us a sense of time and place, what the harshness of life was like for the poorest and the opulence of the well-off that they so envied.

 

This was a quick read. I read it in one night while sitting on the back porch with my ereader in the dark listening to an owl hoot. It was the best ambiance possible for such a heinous tale and reminded me of the camping trips of my youth when we sat around the fire trying to scare the pants off each other. I thoroughly enjoyed this frightening folktale and highly recommend it.

~5 stars

There is a sequel coming out in June that is set to begin in my home state and I can’t wait!

You can visit with Lori Crane here: a day in the life of patootie

This is a song inspired by Stuckey’s Bridge written and performed by Kris Carmichael

Zombros: Writers’ Group Movie

You’d think there wasn’t another way to spin a zombie apocalypse, then again you never considered bath salts and Miami. And that happened for real. So please enjoy “Zombros” and let us know what you think. It’s a 10-minute film featuring a Central Florida cast and crew. The production included several of our writers as cast and crew, including Bryan (bandanna), Michael, and Christine pictured below. Wade wrote and produced. Nathan edited. Jeff died twice. Dan died a horrible death – surprised? It was great fun to make. So awesome. I just had to share!

It’s called “The Writer’s Group of Central Florida…or Thereabouts.” A fun and supportive group of folk.

LEAVE SOME WORDS ON YOU TUBE AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

BTW…Bryan Hughes, the guy in the bandanna, just published a book:

“In an apocalyptic look at a future that never was; Rain takes you into the life of a select few survivors who live in a world where water is so scarce it no longer falls from the skies. 


Lakes and rivers are dried up in this reality where the living cling to life by placing their beliefs in whatever helps them hold on. Often killing each other in search of water. Safety is found in numbers and behind the barrel of a gun, or nowhere at all. 


The stories focus is around a hero who is on the brim of insanity. This man tries to maintain his grip of reality and bring back life to a world that has been turned into a vision of carnage when all others have accepted it as hell. 


Can he really bring back the rain, or is he truly just accepting his inevitable death as he leads his small group north? Join the last days of his long struggle; through love, death, bullets and fire.” 

The Paul Mallory Series by Stephen C. Spencer

sknicholls:

This series and author needs and deserves your support. Let’s show Stephen C. Spencer the true spirit of community and get behind him by buying these books. Some are free now!

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:

Operation Mallory was set up to help a fellow author, Stephen C. Spencer has written some great books, but Steve also has cancer. He’s suffered with a brain tumour for a while, and kept it pretty quiet. The observant among you will notice he stopped blogging and tweeting.

All the authors who follow this blog will appreciate how hard it is getting your book noticed. If you can’t promote, then your books go unseen and unloved. For someone in the USA (where medical treatment isn’t paid for by the state), this is a double whammy. You lose income while incurring huge unexpected bills.

So I’m helping spread the word, here is a link to Sean Campbell’s blog where news of the campaign can be found 90 Days Novel. Please help all you can with re-blog, tweet etc.

Here’s a bit more about Steve’s books

Dubbed “America’s James Bond”, Paul Mallory…

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Sunday Synopsis: Word Counts and Retirement

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I just reread this post and it came across to me as if I am very unhappy, so I want to qualify here before I push the publish button. I am very happy. Most likely the happiest person you know. I have a really good life and know that I am most fortunate to have the support that I do. I am going to post this anyway.

I have a good number of author friends who hold day jobs and have careers. Often, they speak of retirement and writing full-time.

It is a delusion that having more time will lead to more writing.

Before you attack, allow me to explain from my own personal point of view.

writing box 002I was looking for my old Brother word processor, after having found a couple of boxes of floppy disks. The floppy disks hold some writing I did in the 80s that was never printed. I wanted to see if the rocket scientist could, maybe, get the Brother up and running well enough to get a screen, and perhaps print off some of the content. I have at least two packs of ribbon cartridges. Don’t know if they’ll work. They may be too dry. I know there are places that can take your floppy disks and convert the files, but I don’t even know if it is worth the bother/expense. It would be nice if I could remember what all I wrote, but I can’t.

While looking, I ran across an old plastic container and a few shoe boxes filled writing from that era. Now you have to keep in mind that was a time when I wrote during every spare minute I had. Those were far and few between, because at that same time I was going to school 40 miles away in one direction, working a full time job 20 miles away in another direction, (and sometimes a part-time job, too) raising three kids who had school, tae kwon do, softball, soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics, scouts, and so on. Granted, I had some downtime after my youngest son was born in 1985. Two years.

Yet, here’s what I found:

  • 1200 pages (yes pages, not words) of the story of my life. About every memory I possessed at the time; from tossing my New Testament out the window and into the rain at the age of two (when I got my first spanking) to birthing my third child while wearing tennis shoes at age 25.
  • A 300 page story about a young contemporary witch (a pharmaceutical chemist) who inherits a magical ruby ring from her grandmother and her witch family (probably influenced by reading LOTRs, or maybe Anne Rice, can’t recall the exact years I read Anne).
  • Six chapters into an historical fiction about Martha Washington’s relationship with the African American mother of Washington’s mulatto children. (Perhaps based on a true story I read…most likely somebody has already done this).
  • A horror story about a lady with cats I had published at age 17 years.
  • I have this really cool sci-fi fantasy started about this league of aliens from different planets coming back to earth to reclaim the races…in 2020. It’s very interesting reading.
  • Dozens of short stories (or at least what looks like the start of short stories). Lots of them are southern folklore I learned growing up and recorded in my own words. There’s even one where John Lennon lives. (You know, like Elvis.)
  • Tons of dark poetry. (four shoe boxes) We’re talking nuclear destruction, biological and chemical warfare, death and dying, pollution and environmental catastrophe, loss, psychotic mind breaks.

I’m not saying this is good writing, but it is writing. I couldn’t recall having written so much.

Now all of this was written (either on a typewriter or a word processor, NOT a computer) in my twenties, when I had first been diagnosed with bipolar, and before I was stabilized on meds. I don’t doubt that most of this was written in the midst of some manic or depressive episode.

I first started thinking about the story in Red Clay and Roses in 1992. I wrote nothing. The nineties were filled with teenagers, professional career, and divorce. Then I was single, struggling to survive and socialize myself in another state. There was no time for writing. Life just got in the way.

We come to 2012. I’m stable. I’m retired. I have nothing but time and support. Perhaps coming off of a manic episode that followed suddenly stopping a thirty year career; I wrote Red Clay and Roses. Not as a novel, not that formally. It was a story in my head that I had wanted to write since 1992. A visit to Georgia that included reuniting with a cousin whose life intersected with that story in ways I had never known about inspired me to write. In my newfound serenity of retirement I pounded that story out in four months.  I researched and wrote during every waking moment for four months.

98,362 words.  Writing Monday through Friday, that’s roughly 88 days, which comes to 1118 words per day. That’s if I wrote every day like a 9-5 job. That includes research time, which is something I spent a lot of time on.

So I set myself what I considered a reasonable word count goal with my current WIP, 500 words per day.

I thought surely I could at least write 500 words per day. Most certainly I could get my next first draft written in a year.

I was also blogging, so I put myself on blogging restriction for a couple of reasons.

  1. I was getting too intimidated by rules. Writing rules, rules, rules and more rules. Every post I read explained these rules, and advice. I’m capable of learning. I wanted to improve my writing. Seriously. The rules suck. They have thwarted my creativity beyond belief. The perfectionist in me, my internal editor, is too damned concerned about following the rules to get anything much accomplished.
  2. Time. Blogging takes time.

Now I think. I spend the minutes thinking. Hours, days, weeks, I spend thinking. I think all the time. I think about writing. I wake up thinking about writing. I think all day about writing. I think about writing hours after I have laid myself down at night. I think about the rules. I think about the story I am trying to tell. I think about the characters, their motivations, emotions, behaviors, words. I think about the plot, the hook, the pace, the development. I think about the right words, the right phrases, and the right prose. I think about backstory, information dumps, showing, not telling.

Sometimes I’ll have a thought, a really good one, and I can’t hold it. I lose it almost as quickly as the thought occurred. I have no memory. I used to recall phone numbers two weeks after I was given them without ever having written them down, and now, I can’t seem to be able to hold a creative thought from my mind to the screen.

I’m overthinking. Yet I can’t recall my thoughts.

Screw the rules and I can sit down and pump out 3000 words in one day.

Then I spend hours and hours rewriting, revising.

Other days I am lucky to write one sentence.

Many, many days I spend thinking.

Word counts? Pfft!

So what is it that stifles my creativity and cripples my mind? My word count?

Rules, too many years on psychotropic drugs, old age?

I have nothing but time, and yet the clock ticks.

Retirement plans. Word counts. Discipline. Stability. Too many stories in my head.

I just want to effectively tell a story.

I have been working on this since November and don’t have 20,000 words.

Capture

http://forlackofabettercomic.com/                                       Jacob Andrews

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Dilettante!

sknicholls:

Wish Helena a Happy Birthday! And buy her books!

Originally posted on 1WriteWay:

A little birdie (well, actually, a big birdie) told me that today is Helena Hann-Basquiat’s birthday!  And what better way to celebrate her birthday than by heading over to Amazon and picking up one or all of her recent publications:

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, available in both ebook and paperback.  I highly recommend the paperback.  The printed format is candy for the eyes.  If you are a fan of Helena’s blog (and how can you not be), then you will love having the adventures of Penny dammit, Countess of Arcadia and Helena all in one beautifully designed place.

Three Cigarettes, available as an ebook and only 99 cents.  By the way, I’ve read and reviewed Three Cigarettes and found it to be both thrilling and chilling.  Although Three Cigarettes was written by Jessica B. Bell, Helena was the editor.  More importantly, she is Jessica’s keeper and…

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Goodreads Giveaway of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

sknicholls:

An author friend, Ruth Hall Chatlien has a Goodreads Giveaway going on!

Originally posted on Ruth Hull Chatlien:

I’d be very appreciative if any of you would publicize this:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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