August 19, 2018

2013 Alaska Reboot with Sean Thomas

Alaska’s been my home since on and off since 1955.  I grew up mostly in Eagle River.
In minutes, one can drive north or south of there and be surrounded by pristine wilderness with clear unpolluted lakes, rivers and creeks loaded with fish and green forests flush with wild game.

The state is rich in history, minerals and oil, diverse native cultures and lots of mystery—missing planes, missing people and very few roads.  
This wilderness is great inspiration for Mystery novels as there are many places to hide a body.

In truth, Alaska has had several serial killers. One was baker and businessman Robert Hansen who kidnapped prostitutes, held themcaptive, tortured and sexually assaulted them, then took them to the Alaskan bush to hunt them down.  Nicholas Cage came to Alaska this last fall and filmed a movie, Frozen Ground, based on Robert Hansen.  It’ll be out later this year.

My writing experience started in grade school. I spent more time reading novels instead of concentrating on my schoolwork. My favorite authors were Jack London and Edgar Rice Burroughs.  In the seventh grade, I wrote my first story based on a plane crashing in the wilderness.  My teacher liked it so much she had me read it in front of the class.  I was so embarrassed it killed my inspiration to write paving the way for high school where I excelled scholastically.

I attended Alaska Methodist University, majoring in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. 

At the University of Idaho graduate school, I went into organic chemistry and enrolled in ROTC for the deferment.  ROTC leadership requested I take over as the editor of the Vandal Review, a ROTC newspaper.  It was there I met and married the love of my life, Doris.  We’ve been married for 40
years.  We have one son, Robert, who is a computer genius working for the Alaska Railroad.  My son built and maintains my website.

I seriously start writing again in 1990.  
At that time, I was records/copy machine manager for the Army in Alaska and wrote an article on copy machine management.  It was accepted and published in their International Quarterly.  

The writing bug bit me but I really wanted to write fiction.  I picked a writing partner, a former coworker of Aleut heritage.  She wrote children’s books while I wrote a science fiction detective novel.  We joined a local writer’s group that met weekly.  After a couple meetings, my partner quit.  She said the members were the meanest, most vindictive people she’d ever met and quit writing.  I continued on with the group, accepting their harsh criticism.  I found with all the editing on other
member’s works, there was little time for my own novel. I enrolled in creative writing courses, improved on my style and eventually moved forward.
 
I took a screen-writing course at the University of Alaska Anchorage taught by Kim Rich. Through her course, I finally understood how stories were put together following the Greek tradition.  By then, I had four books in the hopper and my Alaska State Trooper mystery novels, Dark Project, Dark Soul and Dark Gold, were published.  My third mystery, actually more a horror novel, Dark Shaman, was published in 2003. Whiskey Creek Press, my current publisher, picked these four novels for conversion to e-format.  Since these were my earlier works, I revised, streamlined and punched up the prose and dialog before submission. 

I had been diagnosed and was living with congestive heart failure with atrial fibrillation and was on a handful of medicines that on any given day had a 14% chance of killing me.  My congestive heart failure reversed itself, but the irregular heartbeat remained. Complications arose resulting in surgery where I was on the operating table for nine hours, and during that time the doctors cardioverted me eight times—that’s being hit by the electrical paddles 16 times—stopping and starting my heart.
As a result of the cardioversions, I lost eight months of short-term memory and my ability to write.


After I had gotten my energy back, when I looked down at the computer screen, it looked like Sergeant Snorkel from Beatle Bailey cussing.  I couldn’t string sentences together.  It took three years to get back my writing abilities. 

In 2006, I retired. Around that time, I started to have a reoccurring dream about a Roman Legion expedition to Qin (China) that had been blown off course, went up the Yukon and merged with Athabascans. I had to get the story down on paper to stop the nightmares. So Robert Sable, my Alaska State Trooper, emerged again in a new, different mystery novel, Lost Legion

Other Robert Sable Mystery novels quickly followed: you can see the long list on my sitewww.seanethomas.com  There you’ll find all my work including the many award winners with synopsis. 


My next release, The Frozen Treasure, will be out from Whiskey Creek Press in June 2013.

 I am currently working on a new novel in the series with the working title, Blood on the Moon--a multi-millionaire has upped the winner’s prize for this year’s Iditarod race to $5 million.  Last year’s champion is the first to die along with all his dogs.

Stalker, Alaska Dutchman and Deadly Rites were submitted to Alaska Professional Communicators contest.  Alaskan Dutchman--the Official Second Place Winner and all three novels received rave reviews by the judges!  

August 12, 2018

North Dakota Library System


For North Dakota, I usually have a hard time filling that state.  Not sure why because I know there’s writers and readers up there.  My great grandmother’s family was in North Dakota at some point.  I know this because I own a couple things from there, a book and a plate, and her name and the city where she lived at the time are written on those. 

Still, I have a hard time filling North Dakota so here’s a call out for next year to anyone wishing to occupy this spot.


Lack of a volunteer that knows something more about the state than I do gives me the opportunity to promote another library system and, as luck would have it, North Dakota Library System has an event coming up that benefits those who would normally be on the cusp of the digital age and might need a little help getting the hang of electronic systems.  




Summer Summit Workshop
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
2018’s Summer Summit meeting offers a delightful blend of high-quality programming and lively discussions with your peers. All are welcome, but do note that the first hour will be relevant only to public library administrators. We are happy to announce that we’re partnering with AARP for an afternoon workshop on providing technology training to older adults.

Link to the Library’s homepage here: http://www.library.nd.gov/index.html
They’ve got loads of information and services plus, as I’ve been promoting occasionally this year, a virtual check-out option. 

With the changes caused by electronic communications and shopping and, well, everything,  I’m glad most libraries are getting into the virtual world but also, its great to hear classes and event are still being coordinated in the physical buildings. No matter how much people move the electronic direction, they will always need that face to face.
(All info downloaded from http://www.library.nd.gov/index.html)

August 5, 2018

Randy Rawls of North Carolina:


Randy Rawls of North Carolina was to be the guest blogger here today—I’ll update this once he sends his post until then, please take a minute to check out the work done by his publicist, P.J. Nunn:

PJ Nunn is owner and founder of BreakThrough Promotions, a PR firm that specializes in authors and books of all kinds. She has  a Masters degree in psychology and serves as a consultant in the field of law enforcement. Her day job is in the book industry.

BreakThrough Promotions was founded in 1998-rapidly grew to be internationally recognized and reps authors of all genres.  P.J. Nunn has developed contacts around the globe and works to help clients achieve their goals determining a strategy that works best for each. 

Here’s a bit of promo P.J. Nunn agency sent about Randy Rawls of North Carolina:

Randy Rawls was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

Today, he has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, the reads across several genres and takes that into his writing. He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two fantasy/mystery/thrillers featuring a Santa Elf. The count is now at fourteen and growing. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.




 

July 28, 2018

New York- Gives Us the Big Apple- the City that Never Sleeps-and Some Great Writing Talent

 Begin with Carole Ann Moleti: New York City's Urban Gardens Have Interesting Stories To Tell

I'm delighted to be back this year to talk about New York. Sometimes I talk about upstate and sometimes downstate, but my hometown won out this year.


When people hear about gardens in New York City, they think about Central Park and the three Botanical Gardens (Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens) not so much about smaller green spaces tucked into unusual places.

Urban gardeners have a lot to contend with, and so do urban gardens. Sunlight is blocked by big buildings, tree roots get choked by concrete, watered as much by dogs as by clouds, and trampled by traffic--vehicle and human alike. But like New Yorker's, they fight for life--and there are a lot of New Yorkers who fight for their gardens.

Community gardens spring up in many neighborhoods, such as the Oasis Community Garden in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, where I was privileged to be invited to read for Summer Dark last year.  https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2018/07/27/oasis-community-gardens-summer-dark-readings

Schools are incorporating gardening into curriculums to help teach students about sustainability, ecology, and healthier eating. This is the community garden at a South Bronx high school, which are in raised beds due to high levels of lead and other pollutants in the soil.

For several years, I've joined co-workers for an annual day of service to pay our respects to one of ours who tragically lost her life in a bicycle accident. We gather in different spots along the Bronx River Greenway. It's amazing miles of parkland that have managed to survive, and thrive the creation of the Bronx River Parkway that runs parallel to it, the high rise apartment buildings and factories that border it on both sides, and the multiple overpasses that carry car, truck and train traffic spewing their exhaust down its banks.

This northern end has fared better that the southern, but efforts are continuing and things are getting better. Each year, our team of eager volunteers is met by rangers from the Bronx River Alliance, who escort us, shovels in hand, to a different area to help with reforestation efforts. There is always a lot of debris to clean up as well, most of it from people who are enjoying the park a little too much, leaving behind bottles, cans, food waste other pocket debris-keys, condoms, loose change. Drug paraphernalia is uncommon, but we've unearthed it. One team cataloguing trash in the river last year found a pig carcass. It always gives me great pleasure to leave behind a clean, path with hundreds of new trees, ninety percent of which do survive, unless someone comes along to steal them once we're gone.

This year, a team of ninety volunteers carried three to six foot trees into the Bronx River Forest and dug through mesh put down a few years ago to control invasive weeds. The challenge was working on a steep bank, a few feet from the guardrail of the southbound Bronx River Parkway with cars whizzing by. And what story this riverbank had to tell. I could only imagine how that car had smashed into that guardrail and careened down the bank, knocking down trees along its path. Having ridden ambulances, I knew how the EMT's had worked on the driver or passenger who'd been wearing the plaid wool jacket. Standing on the same place as I was, they'd stabilized and transported him to the hospital. As I pulled pieces of the car out of a pile of dirt--a gas cap, the twisted remains of a metal wheel rim, shards of red glass from the brake lights, I wondered if the naloxone packet, found with the sunglasses, meant it had happened in the daytime, and if a drug overdose caused the accident.

It was all removed, and we left behind the closest thing to a pristine state The Bronx River Forest will ever know. Walking out we passed a group having a picnic with several cases of beer and shopping bags full of food all around them. In deference to our presence, or because of it, they sat quietly on the riverbank, trash neatly packed up, enjoying a beautiful late spring day in an urban oasis. Just like it should be.




Bio:
Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women's issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.
Carole's work has appeared in a variety of literary and speculative fiction venues Short stories set in the world of her novels are featured in several of the Ten Tales anthologies. The Unfinished Business Series, a three volume paranormal romance, was published by Soulmate.
Excerpts of Carole's memoir, Someday I'm Going to Write a Book: Diary of an Urban Missionary range from the sweet and inspirational in A Quilt of Holidays to the edgy and irreverent in Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Woman.
Links:
Everyone who subscribes to my newsletter gets a free download of Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts.  http://eepurl.com/bfNver

 And Fabulous Kenneth Weene: Meeting Ike-a New York Memory
The first time I lived in New York—for three years—was a difficult period in my life, a time I’d prefer to forget. While I was nominally studying International Education at Columbia University, most of those years were spent studying Greenwich Village coffee houses and the inner workings of my own depression, a depression at least in part fueled by my cousin’s suicide.

His death and my depression find expression in my novel Memoirs From the Asylum. Did you know that writing can be good therapy? Yes, it can. Other bits and pieces of those years can be found in my other writing, but for the most part I have left them untouched—far too painful.
Still, there was one day that stands out. It was a Friday. The weather was good for November, warmer than normal. I had blown off classes that morning, but not for the usual reason; I wasn’t sleeping in. I was having breakfast with one of the few people in the world whom I admired enough to get me out of my upper-Harlem apartment before noon. Ex-President Dwight David Eisenhower was the guest of honor at International House, the only organization I had joined during the previous year at Columbia. I had grown up revering Ike, especially since my grandfather worshiped him. “He saved us from Hitler,” Pa would tell me. “And, he brought you Uncle Harry home safe and sound and with a medal, a Bronze Star.”

When else would I meet Pa and my hero?

Showered, dressed—nicely, not my usual disheveled self—I got into the coffinesque elevator that serviced the seven-story building and slowly squeaked to the ground. Leaving the red brick fortress, I turned right and then right again onto St. Nicolas Ave. I stopped for a minute to say good morning to Dave, who ran the corner store that sold newspapers, cigarettes, snacks, and egg creams. Then, nodding to the subway and looking up at the beautiful sky, I started walking south. It would take about half an hour to walk, which would get me to my destination well ahead of the scheduled brunch.

As I walked the busy, dirty streets of the city, I thought how much better it would be were there a friend meeting me to share the event. Sadly, I had almost no acquaintances let alone friends. Depression makes for loneliness and loneliness adds to depression: one of life’s vicious circles. Still, fate has its little jokes. That day I ran into Joyce, one of the few people I did know at Columbia.

She hurried up. “Ken, I need to talk with you. I need your help.”

The last thing I wanted was to help anyone. “Sorry, I’m on my way to meet Ike,” I said—not feeling important nor trying to impress but wanting her to know I had no choice.

“Wow! Really?!”

Hurriedly, I explained about the brunch. “Too bad I can’t bring you with me,” I added with mixed feelings as I turned away.

“That’s okay. But, after. Could you do me a favor?”

“I don’t know when—”

“Whenever. I just need you to take a test. I’ve got to get some volunteers. I’m taking this IQ testing course. Just come by my room when you finish.” Joyce lived in the dorms, something I would never do.

I’m a sucker for pleading voices, especially pleading women’s voices. “Okay. See you later.”

So, that was the day I met Ike. He was warm, charming, and as circumlocutious in person as he was on television. We shook hands. I wanted to tell him about my grandfather and standing on the sidewalk with Pa waiting for his motorcade when he was running for the presidency. I didn’t have a chance. We were herded through the reception line and seated. Ike had a few bites, drank what I assume was coffee, and was introduced.

His speech was pure Eisenhower, certainly not brilliant rhetoric but an affirmation of the importance of international amity.

We applauded. He waved, smiled, and sat down. I turned back to my Danish—blueberry if I recall—took a bite, looked up, and Ike was being spirited out of the room. Nobody knew why. The room buzzed with hypotheses and disappointment.

Without the guest of honor, the event ended quickly. I had hoped it would be later, late enough that I’d have an excuse to give Joyce for not showing up.

Damn, I might as well.

Joyce had set up a bridge table in the bay window which allowed a view of the busy street three stories below us. On a smaller table to one side sat the boxes of manipulables that made up the performance section of the Wechsler. The scoresheet, sharpened pencils and manual neatly set out in front of the chair in which she sat as she gestured me to the one opposite.

At this point my memory grows hazy. Of course, I know that test well. I’ve given it hundreds of times. And, from Joyce’s response at the end, I’m sure I did my usual: I’m great at IQ tests. Living may be another question.

It was almost two hours later that I left Joyce’s room. As I walked the few steps from the building’s front door to the sidewalk, I was struck by a change. The brightness of the day had somehow turned somber. People looked down, not with the hurried step of a normal New York day but with a sobriety and slowness. It was as if the city had been enveloped in a cloud. I turned back, thinking I might go back inside to Joyce’s room. No reason there. No good it could do.

As I walked towards Broadway, I saw knots of people in serious discussion. Again, something not typical of New York, not even in the university’s neighborhood. New York is a place of hustle, bustle, and isolation.

Could the city have caught my depression? I inched closer to one of the small gatherings. They were sharing disbelief, loss, confusion.

“What’s happened?” I asked. I was prepared to hear that war had broken out. Had we once again tried to overthrow Castro? Had the Navy fired on Chinese ships? Has—?



“You haven’t heard? Kennedy, he’s dead. Somebody assassinated the President.”

Years later, when I took up writing poetry, one of the first pieces I had published referenced that day and the great sense of loss that was the Cold War. It was titled:

Memorial for My Grandfather, Ike, and Wartime Dead:
Hours spent—leaning on his cane grandfather waited—warm sun of autumn chill—procession stretching up the hill in slow camera motion—wave to him a hero—wave—head bobbing in recognition of unknown sons—medals earned—where? Bastogne’s now-filled woods boots  worn thin, cold, bleeding feet bronze valor row on white row on.
Long tubes—assembled in Watertown—to hurl projectiles filled with furies across rebuilding the Germanies to kill poles, Czechs, Ukrainians—insured democracies on scorched technology.
Uncle,            he had been too old, marveled until his hippie son cried being very young and terrified.
He never sought gainful employment something more than beaches          open for the summer while we marched—red capes and felt hats—along the Broadway passed grandfather’s empty house in nodded recognition but how would I have voted?
I met him years later brunch incoherent speaker the day when John-John cried.
Coincidence? —We waved—in slow camera motion as you came long procession stretching up the hill and grandfather leaned on his cane to wave and told stand small boy straight for heroes who had fought those living and those dead and grandfather for whom I dread filled cried as in band wool we marched by, good-bye.

Novelist, essayist, and poet, Ken Weene returned to New York a few years later and lived there until 2002 when he moved to Arizona. You can find more about his and his work at www.kennethweene.com
Ken offers a giveaway copy of Times to Try the Soul of Man to one person who comments here!

 With a Finale by Deborah Garland: The North Remembers-Clarifying Long Island, NY’s Coastal Communities
The North Fork that is. Or is it the North Shore?
If you don’t live on Long Island, it becomes a “What’s in a name” game. Is there really a difference?

A publishing house in California didn’t think there was, when they rejected my book series ultimately because they felt it conflicted with another series that was set in the same location.

Only it wasn’t. Not really. The other series took place on the North Shore. My romance series is set in the fictional town of Darling Cove on the North Fork. Wine country. But from three thousand miles away, it was an understandable mistake to make. Except it cost me a book deal with a publisher I’d been dying to work with.
So let’s set the record straight about what is really going on, on Long Island. For starters, it’s not an island. 

That is always the biggest misconception. One thing they got right in the name, it is definitely, LONG.  Even Wikipedia doesn’t fully understand its borders. It states Long Island is 118 miles from New York Harbor to Montauk Point. New York Harbor is west of Manhattan. 
What some people may not also know is that Long Island is divided between two counties-Nassau and Suffolk.  And it’s clear these counties are not divided equally. In fact, Nassau County is so much smaller. Again, someone looking at this may not even think, Nassau County is part of Long Island. It is. The majority of Long Island is Suffolk County.
And it’s the location of our two Norths. So why should two communities that are less than fifty miles apart be classified so differently? In wide open spaces, fifty miles probably doesn’t mean much but in metropolitan areas, it can be a different world.


I wouldn’t go so far as saying the North Shore is a different world from the North Fork. I’ll start by saying I live on the North Shore. So I can say from personal experience to know it’s different enough from the North Fork. To understand where the North Fork is, it’s important to understand what the North Fork really is. And why it’s so wonderful.

As seen in the maps, Long Island ‘forks’ north and south. The south east region is called the South Fork. Collectively, they are known as the Twin Forks. Are you horribly confused yet?  For purposes of this post, we will concentrate on the North. Not that the South Fork isn’t interesting. It is the home of the famous “Hamptons”. Nearly everybody’s heard of the Hamptons and perhaps can find it on a map.

The main draw of the North Fork, and why I love it so much and why I wanted to set my romance novel there is because it’s wine country! In the summer, you can splash around in the calm waters of the Long Island Sound. In the spring, stop at a fruit stand. In the fall, I bundle up and go pumpkin picking. The topography of the landscape is mostly farmland. 

In the first Darling Cove book, Must Love Fashion, I introduce the setting by describing it like this:

Small town romances, regardless of where they are set are meant to give the reader a sense that the characters are part of a tight knit community. For better or worse. While Must Love Fashion, jet-set the reader from Manhattan to Milan and finally settled down in Darling Cove, Book 2, Must Have Faith, primarily takes place in the small North Fork town. Faith, the heroine is a runaway bride who’s come home. Imagine the courage it takes to face everyone! Not to mention her jilted groom.


Greg and Faith were childhood sweethearts who were on their way to happy ever after, except Faith got cold feet and took off two days before the wedding. Greg also has a lot to answer for. He’s the only son in the Mallory family. A family that stayed close. Real close. His father and his sisters all live in Darling Cove. So when he and Faith figure out there’s still so much fire between them, they must do it in front of their family and a small town that loves wine!

Must Have Faith was really fun to write. And I loved seeing the whole town of Darling Cove in my head. Here’s some other snap shots of the North Fork:     
                                        
This October, the third book in the Darling Cove series, Must Be Crazy will be released. And in November, because I couldn’t get enough of Greg and Faith, I will be releasing a novella that extends their story just a touch. Look for A Must for Christmas.

All of my books (E-books and Paperback) are on Amazon, as well as Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Kobo.  I am also a Goodreads Author and you can find all the Darling Cove Books on the GR and Amazon Series Pages (links below).

I would love to hear from readers. I can be reached via the following:
Twitter: @deborah_garland

I’m giving away a signed copy of Must Have Faith! (US only, please)
Comment below and tell me you’ve followed me on, Amazon and Goodreads and signed up for Newsletter https://deborahgarlandauthor.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a20f7c46512310164d624bf90&id=0cda17675e . Winner will be chosen at random and contacted by me directly.
(all info Author Released and contributed)