Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Cash Cow by Demetra Fisher

At the sound of the bell, they all looked up with wide eyes, the fear and wariness in them clearly evident.  Those who were creeping along slowly between the barriers looked up as well and appeared to be just as fearful, which only served to add to the unease.  The line seemed to go on forever.  There were so very many.

The “holding cell” was the worst.  Some were pacing.  Others were making odd little noises that resembled sobs but were even more pitiful.  None made eye contact, but rather averted their eyes whenever the opportunity for connection seemed probable.  They all knew exactly why they were there, so what would be the point anyway?  There was nothing even worth trying to convey that would make it easier for any of them.

The silence was louder than any noise could have possibly been.

One by one, they disappeared, only to return a short time later, each one complete with some form of marker that made it clear why they were being herded in and out.  Dividing them up only contributed to the general sense of tension that continued to build as the hours passed.  Their eyes all held the same sad plea.

When will this be over?

Eventually, each one moved on to pass through the final station and then failed to return, the outcome being no surprise to any still torturously waiting.

One more number was up.  One more life lost.

I’m told that they all innately know just when it will be their turn and when there is no option to turn back.  The “handlers” make it easy for that to be next to impossible.  The barriers become narrower with each step closer, making it more and more difficult to escape and as such, the eventual outcome is cemented.

Making it painless is only a by-product of the drugs that are administered.  The real point of the medication is not to take away the pain but to ease the fear, so no one is tempted to make a run for it, at the last minute.

And it works like a charm.  Not one of them attempted to escape.  After all, they were just cattle.  What else could you expect from them except that they should simply allow themselves to be guided along to an outcome that was predictable from the very start?

That makes sense, you say, because cattle are not humans.  They can’t possibly know that they are being driven and channeled and convinced to move along - they’re just animals, right?
Except that these cattle are not animals - they’re human beings.  Flesh and blood, and totally real, everyday people.  People who also happen to be women.  Women who feel shame and hurt and fear. Just like you and I do.

As I left the clinic, I asked myself several questions.  Like, how much money does this place and others like it all over America actually make off the shattered lives of women?  Not to mention, the probability that those same women may repeat the procedure again sometime in the future, some many times over, simply because it has become relatively commonplace in today’s society?

How is it that so many have become sensitive enough to the heartbreaking and tragic slaughter of innocent animals that they decide to become vegetarians while others remain desensitized to the means by which women are forced to endure the very same torture as those defenseless animals who continue to be shamelessly slaughtered without remorse?  It hardly seems fair.

I have no answers.

Do you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Interview with River Jordan

Tell us where you were born,  grew up and where you currently live?

I was born in a small town outside of Victoria, Texas.  We lived there for a few years and then our family bounced around to different towns along the Gulf Coast and The Rio Grande Valley.
I'm still on the Gulf Coast of Texas but living in the country south of Houston, Texas.

Did that bouncing around influence the way you write?

In a way, I guess it did. Starting a new school every few months would be hard on any child. I was shy and introverted so you know it was terrifying at times.  After a while, I didn't feel the terror any longer because I had reverted completely into myself.  My sister Darla was the complete opposite, she became my protector. My sister and I prayed a lot during that time in our lives.

Of all the cities you lived in those days,  what is the most memorable or the most memorable/interesting moment?

At Memorial Middle School in McAllen, Texas, the assistant gym teacher was Ms. Pena.  A week before the last day of school she saw I was doing a one-armed cartwheel.  I didn't have very good form so she came over and helped me out.  She encouraged me to sign up for the "talent show" on the last day of school and helped me figure out a routine.  So, on the last day of school, I performed my routine. It consisted of a  cartwheel, round-off, one-armed cartwheel, and then somersault. The routine wasn't so special, or different from the other girls' routines, but I changed that day. I became a bit more confident and less shy.

You have said you have an obsession with writing a personal history of your family. How is that progressing?

It's progressing nicely. My parents always loved to recount stories of our childhood.  I never thought much about the memories until they were both gone.  Because of this, writing it can be very emotional and so I spread it out.

Where does your love of reading and writing come from? 

Really, both my parents loved to read. My father never went anywhere without a Louie L'amour in his back pocket. That was nothing compared to my mom, though. She would even read encyclopedias for fun!  And naturally, this love of reading transferred to me.  But it took the encouragement of one of my teachers to get me to write prose.  Ms. Walters just told me to do it. So I did.  It turned out that I was pretty good at it.

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

William Shakespeare, Alexandre Dumas, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie and Harper Lee for the classics.  Modern authors include Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton and Cormac McCarthy.

Clive Cussler and Cormac McCarthy. I am not familiar with them.  Tell me about their work and why they are some of your favorites? 

Clive Cussler writes adventure novels that involving NUMA agents that solve historical mysteries around the world! What's cool is that NUMA really exists and his characters' adventures deal with real historical mysteries.
From the moment I picked up my first Clive Cussler novel, I have been entranced with them.  I love history and these satisfy my sense of adventure as well!
Cormac McCarthy is the author of such books as All The Pretty Horses and The Road, which happen to be my favorites of his. 
The first book I read of his was All The Pretty Horses.  I had gone to a garage sale at my neighbor's house and bought it for a dime.  I've probably read it three times.  
The Road was given to me as a gift by my brother.  He likes to introduce new genres to me and 9 times out of 10 he ends up starting a trend in my reading! 

In terms of reading, what are some of the types of genres you like to read. And for writing, do you gravitate towards any specific genre?

I enjoy reading non-fiction historical books, YA, mysteries or adventurous books that challenge my "sleuth" side, and self-help books.
My writing tends toward YA, but I have ventured into a bit of sensual fantasy writing.

Are there genres you don't write much or haven't in the past that you want to do more of?

I would like to be able to write historical novels.  Also, I want to explore little known mythology.

What are some of your hobbies and do any of them play an important part in the types of things you write about?

Some of my hobbies, other than reading, include swimming, fishing, writing poetry and gardening.  As you can see, most of these hobbies require average physical activity but leave the mind free to wander.  I use this time on meditation which in turn relaxes me and churns my creative side (writing).
Is my writing affected by my hobbies specifically? Maybe, because I've been told that my writers "voice" tends to be reflective.

Other than full length novels, you have a deep love of poetry. Have you put out any poetry?

For publication, no.

Do you intend to?

I would love to publish a book of poetry, but it is a hard step to take.  Poetry is often so very personal. In a way, it's a peek into the writer's mind and soul.  Most of my poetry is a reflection of my heart at the moment I am writing the piece.  The other is my view on the world, at large.  Am I in a hurry to publish, no I am not.  Would I want to some day, yes I would.  Hopefully, people will understand my poetry and benefit from my writing.

When you sit down at the computer or stare at a blank page, what motivates you to write?

Honestly, anything motivates me to write.  I could be walking along and see someone or something that begins a story in my head.
For example, I was visiting my nephew who is an inmate at a federal prison in the Hill Country.  I'd just finished a radio interview and writing was on my mind.  As I approached the security check there was a woman ranting about seeing the warden because the metal detector kept going off and she claimed to not have metal on her.  I waited patiently by the door until one of the regular security guards noticed me and waved. I smiled back at him knowing that he needed me to be patient. When the warden showed up the guard came over to me and asked after my health.  After passing through the checkpoint, I opened the huge gate to walk alone to the visitor center. As the chainlink gate clanged loudly shut behind me, it was as if a door opened into my imagination.  In my mind I imagined myself walking down the long walkway in the bakingly hot sun beating down on me.  Unknown to me an escaped prisoner was running silently toward me.  He grabs me and lifts me over his shoulder in a fireman carry.  I'm so startled that at first I can't even speak.  A drop of sweat slides down my nose and drops to the ground invisibly passing beneath his running feet. Then I begin to scream and hit his legs, trying to make him drop me to the ground.  He holds my legs tighter yelling and cursing at me.  I realize that my outburst is only making things worse, so I try to speak reasonably to him. He tells me to shut up and that I don't understand anything. Apparently the same people that sucked him into illegal drugs were trying to do the same to his younger brother and he needed to get out and try to stop them.   Then suddenly I am back in "myself" and opening the door of the Visitor Center.

You are inspired by water. How does that play into your writing?

Because my father was a fisherman, we lived on the coast.  Our very existence depended on the bounty of the Gulf.  Every moment of every day was spent on or in or near the Gulf of Mexico.  If I am fishing or swimming the salty sea air inspires my introspective side.  Naturally, when I am at peace, my mind will wander to idyllic summer days spent on my father's trawlers or swimming in the water.

What are some of the places you have traveled to, in terms of out of Texas?

Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles, California; Kings Canyon, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Peaks of Otter, Virginia; Albuquerque, New Mexico, Baltimore, Maryland; Ocean City, Maryland, many places in Florida; outside of the U.S., The Yucatan, and Cozumel.

Do you have any interesting stories of the places you have traveled to?

During a trip to the Yucatan, we came in port at Progreso.  The crowds of cruise goers were smiling and laughing, ready to embark on their various tropical excursions.  We had our brightly colored clothing and festive hats and sunglasses to protect us from the sun.  As we disembarked in long lines, the crowd suddenly became subdued and at times completely quiet.  We wondered what was going on, but were so far down the line we could not actually see anything.
As we neared the "gate" at the edge of the dock, we saw what had everyone quietly and quickly shuffling along.  Apparently, the local militias "protected" the port and were armed with machine guns!!
We hurried past the guards and quickly boarded the tour buses leaving to various excursions.
It put a damper on the day, but only until the lovely tropical paradise erased it from the forefront of our minds.

What is your goal or what do you see as your future as a writer? 

Every writer's dream is to have their books live through the ages, to be one of the classics.  It would be nice to write something that would opens peoples hearts and minds to the sweet expectation of the sunrise and the quiet promise of the sunset.
<3To show them that they are beautiful creations that are made for more than the lives they have settled on. 

You have an Amazon author page. Tell us about that.

I setup my author page just a few days ago when a fellow author, Mark David Gerson asked for it.  I quickly researched it and set one up as a convenient way for readers to find my published work. 
 It is interesting to monitor the sales as well as what geographic area is buying them.  Also, my twitter followers have increased by 10 percent.

Below is a short story by River called  "Oshana's Escape"

The flood waters have reached the attic where I was hiding.  Looking out of the huge tear in the attic that spanned from one corner to the other, I see the water rushing by so close I could touch it.  I thought the worst of the hurricane would be the gale force winds and gangs of tornadoes that had laid waste to my adopted home-town of Beaudreaux, Alabama, but then the water began to rise.
Life is weird sometimes.  Only a year ago I had escaped my clueless mother's home when her new boyfriend had begun to slap me around and other things.  I knew it was not enough for him to slap me around when he brought a friend over.  They chased me to my bedroom as I ran in terror.  "Oshana, stop, or it'll be worse for ya!" he yelled out.  I remember falling to the ground, screaming.
I opened my eyes and saw my baseball bat.  My real dad had encouraged me to play and I knew what he wanted me to do.  When they pulled me up roughly, I whaled the bat on both of them until they were unconscious.  Then I filled my backpack and left them in the ruins of my bedroom, my bat tightly fisted in my hand.  I never looked back.  Didn't even bother leaving a note for my mom who never believed me anyway.
Now here I am, fifteen years old and facing the impossible, yet again. 
The rustling behind me reminded me that I was no longer alone.  Gone were the days of sleeping under bridges, in cemeteries, the occasional homeless shelter,  hidden from the public eye alone. 
Shasta looked over at me and smiled her doggie smile.  She was a lab mix and one of the laziest dogs I had ever encountered.  But she loved me and I loved her.
"Hey lazybones, time to get out of this place if we can."  I looked out of the window one more time, my eyes following the debris flowing briskly past the window. 
I knew it would be risky, but our only way of getting out of here alive was to use the air mattress that I'd been trying to fill since yesterday evening like a boat.  Thinking of it, my cheeks began to hurt again.  I'd spent most of the evening before blowing into it.  The family that lived there had a pump to fill it, but it was electrical and the electricity had been out for two days. 
Shasta came over and licked my hands good morning.  Somehow she knew from the moment we found each other that I would not allow anyone or anything too close to me again.  I smiled down at her and ruffled the fur behind her ears thinking she was better than any human being on earth.
Within an hour the water had risen another four inches and was now just below the windowsill.  Thankfully, the house we were in hadn't been washed away like the one across the street.
The air mattress was as full as I could get it.  I tied one length of the rope I'd found to two corners of the air mattress so that I would have a way of maneuvering it once the current had it in it's grip.  I had thought about it long and hard; I knew it was the only way to escaping the steadily rising water.
"Come, Shasta."  Shasta came over and sat at my feet.  I bound us together with another rope so that I could be her anchor if she slipped off of the mattress. 
I slipped the mattress through the tear in the wall of the attic, making sure to loop it over a protruding board.  The mattress was quickly taken up in the current and threatened to flip over.  Acting quickly, I held fast to the back corner of the mattress and put one of our food packs on the mattress two feet from the foot.  This kept it stable enough to slip the other food pack on to it, near the front where the maneuvering rope was tied.
"Okay, Shasta, hop on.  Don't be afraid, I have you."  Shasta gingerly stepped onto the air mattress and curled up next to the food pack at the back end. 
I made sure my back pack was secured tightly to my shoulders and crawled slowly onto the air mattress.  Holding the edge of the attic wall, I pulled us in close to it, fighting the current, and with my other hand, slipped the rope off of the anchoring board.
As if the current were on my side, it slowed enough to allow me to sit securely before rushing back into breakneck speeds.
"Hang on, Shata." I cried out as we rushed into the speeding current.  A quick thrill of excitement shot through me as the houses blurred by us on both sides. 
Maneuvering the makeshift boat was a moot point at the speeds we were going.  I just kept hold of the maneuvering rope and prayed that the water would take us somewhere safe.
Within a few minutes the water began to slow as it spilled out into the less populated part of town.  It seemed as if we'd been rushing along for hours when it had probably been less than ten minutes.  I  was completely soaked and the air mattress was steadily losing air.
The danger hit us instantaneously and in a flash Shasta and I were thrown from the mattress; rolling off the back end and into the water.  The front end had caught on a branch that ripped a gaping hole that rendered it mere rubber and thread in moments.
My eyes were wide open as I hit the ice cold water.  It felt as if I'd fallen into a washing machine as I tumbled end over end in a frenzy of arms and legs.  I don't remember thinking that I should hold my breath, but I did.
A sharp pain spreads across my abdomen and my silent scream fills my head as my body automatically takes a deep breath of the dank murky water.  Within seconds, the world suddenly disappears in a flash of light. 
"Slugger, my sweet baby girl Oshana, please open up those dark brown eyes for Daddy."
"Daddy?" I whisper with my eyes closed. "Daddy, is that you?  I'm so tired, Daddy. Can I sleep a few more minutes?"
"You have ta wake now Slugger, its time."  My Daddy's gravelly voice fills my heart full of warmth and color.
"I want to stay here in your arms, Daddy."  I snuggle closer to his warmth, the scent of motoroil on his clothes.
"Oshana!" Sternly. "Oshana, wake up now."
"Okay, Daddy."
When I wake, my head is throbbing and I am vomiting, the acidic mess burning the inside of my nostrils as it forces an exit through my nose.  I tried to lift my head off the ground, but the ensuing shot of pain through my skull makes me lay my head back down. 
More slowly now, I lift my head away from the sour smell of my vomit.  My eyes blink open slowly, squinting at the bright sunlight. 
I stare up at the clear blue sky.  The beauty of it makes me want to cry, especially when I realize that Daddy is still in heaven and I'm not.  But Daddy said to wake up and I always listen to Daddy.
All around me is the detritus of the storm.  Fallen trees, branches, trash, lots of outdoor furniture and surprisingly, a lawn gnome.  The oddity of the gnome makes me giggle, but a sharp pain behind my eyes ends it quickly.
Not wanting to lay my head back down in the vomit, I lift myself slowly from the ground.  Finally sitting up, I take in my surroundings and the destruction of the hurricane and flooding. 
"Shasta!"  The patch of dark fur is only a few feet away, but my slow movements make it seem like miles.  "Oh, Shasta, please be alive!" I whisper in anguish as tears well in my eyes..
Shasta bounces her tail and lifts her head as if to say she's okay. 
I notic that the fur around her shoulders was almost completely gone.  I wondered how that could have happened and then it hit me that Shasta had saved my life.  She had dragged me from the water until I was clear of it.
I hugged her tight and untied the rope from around her sore neck and shoulders.  Nearby I found one of my foodpacks and backpack. 
Calling Shasta, I smiled up at the storm-free clear skies, thinking of Daddy, feeling hope for the first time in ages as we set out on our journey.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with Demetra Fisher: Part 2.

In this two part interview, novelist Demetra Fisher talks about her life and her influences 
on what has led her to become a published author. Her first novel, In Your Dreams, will
be appearing shortly in book stores and online. Part one focused on her background,
life experiences and interests.
Part Two, below, talks about the
specifics of her book, the characters and the genre.
How much of you is in your main character?
There is a bit of me in Alex; mostly my likes and dislikes. 
Alex is an English major and loves to read; we share that. 
Also her interest in psychology, which leads to her curiosity about
the supernatural is the same path that I traveled when I was close to
her age. Oh, and her hair (laughs); we have the same difficulty taming
those unruly curls!

Did you draw off real life experiences for the characters in this book?
I was a late bloomer in a way, so I did draw from that experience.  
For the most part, Alex is generally unconcerned with her appearance, having 
more important things to concentrate on.  However, that all changes when
she meets someone to whom she is attracted.  That was the same for me and 
for most of my friends, although for them, it happened when they were much 
younger.  Some of the other scenarios in the book are also drawn from 
real life experiences, although not all of them are my own.

How much and what type of research did you do for this book? 
I did a fair amount but not a lot.  Mostly, I just incorporated
information I've gathered over the years whenever I investigated the 
many different paranormal subjects that interested me.  Dreams 
and dreamstate activity always intrigued me so I have studied that pretty 
extensively in the past.
When you were forming the ideas for your book and in the 
beginning stages of writing it,  did you have in mind 
that it was going to be a series, or did that just develop?
As I said before, I had no idea where my story was 
going when I first began writing it.  I just let it flow 
and as it unfolded and I got more deeply entrenched,
it made sense that it should be written as a trilogy, given my
target audience. 
Your book is aimed mainly at the Teen/Young Adult audience. How mindful 
of that are you when you write?
Very! Teens have little extra time in which to develop a love of 
reading and I am aware of that.  Most spend as little time as they can get away with on 
their assigned reading because of all the other sports, clubs, 
and social activities that they would much rather focus on.  The books 
in my trilogy are designed to encourage readers to contemplate some rather sophisticated 
topics, but written as easy, quick reads to fit in with their busy schedules.

In your view, what is acceptable in that genre and what is not?
Well, I think that anything that pertains to teens and their lives and 
futures is acceptable.  That includes all kinds of relationships, 
varied social situations, and exposure to more adult activities like drinking
and sex. Even if teens are not participating in those particular activities,
they are most certainly, at the very least, thinking about them, so intentionally leaving those 
topics out is kind of demeaning to their intelligence and budding sophistication.
If you do that, you will lose their interest very quickly because your subject
material and characters will not be relevant to their lives and thought processes.  

How would you describe your writing style and in this book specifically?
All of my writing tends to be emotionally based as well as being
visually descriptive.  I try to have my reader feel whatever my
characters are feeling as if it were their own experience.
It's tricky with a YA audience because you have to make the
story and the characters' experiences believable, yet you have
to be sure to capture and retain their attention.... make them
want to read more. It needs to be an interesting and descriptive
read, but has to move along at a fairly quick pace. Challenging
for a writer like myself, who tends to get a little wordy.
Why Young Adult as a chosen genre for you? 
Well, two reasons, really... One: As I said before, I want
to entice young readers to develop a love of reading.  I do
that by creating stories that feed their imagination and also encourage
them to question the subject material.  Like, "Could that really happen?
Is this even possible?" That isn't difficult as teens have a natural
inclination to question the validity of almost anything.  By giving my
readers lots of concepts to explore, I'm hoping they will be encouraged to
build on their own belief system, and solidify their ideals and principles
individually, and not just rely on what they have been taught to accept.
Two: I think that because teens are especially hard to please,
targeting the YA audience makes me focus more on the skill of writing rather
than just the storyline.  
Do dreams play an important role for you in your everyday life? 
They do. I have always been interested in what our dreams mean on a subconscious level and I have read many books on the subject.  It is always interesting to try and interpret what you've dreamed.
I believe that all our dreams have meaning.  After all, the brain doesn't shut down when you sleep... quite the opposite!  Sometimes we do our best thinking while we are asleep. And our dreams often reflect that.

Some of the imagination in your trilogy is presented as abstract concepts such as reincarnation and the ability to predict future events. Are you a believer of those concepts?

I have a very open mind with regard to the abstract. Unlike most people, I don't necessarily have to have concrete physical proof that some things exist in order for my mind to accept that they very well might.  Those concepts are not a stretch for me at all.  As such, I can write about those subjects as if they are in fact, real and do indeed, exist.  And for all we know, that may actually be the case.  We are here on earth for such a short time,
it would almost be acquiescent of us to assume that only what we've come to know and are familiar with, is all there is.

Again, where can we find your book and when will it be released? 

The target for release is in mid-September and it will be available as both an e-book and a printed copy on and Barnes&

Below is a brief excerpt from In Your Dreams.

   As I walked, my mind replayed the evening’s events.  I was disappointed and I couldn’t help but wish that tonight had turned out more like my dream.  I was still shocked by it all - the dream and how vivid it was.  It had all seemed so real.  And that guy, Taylor, no, wait…Tyler Caldwell.  Wow, was he ever hot!  How on earth I had managed to come up with him, I would never know.  I found it interesting that my first memorable dream was so mind-blowing.  Is that the way everyone dreamsOr is it only because it’s the first time I’ve ever remembered?
   My thoughts expanded to replay the entire dream in my mind, start to finish.  I was amazed that even now, I was still able to remember everything that I saw, heard and felt, right down to the way the punch tasted and the flowers on the table in the foyer had smelled.  Incredible, that it could replay in my mind exactly as it happened the first time, with all my innermost thoughts and intense emotions clearly detailed.  I could recall everything I’d experienced, including the intensity of my reaction to meeting Tyler Caldwell - especially when he took my hand - with such clarity that it really was as if I had lived it.  I shook my head in disbelief that this memory was in fact, more vivid than some of the most precious memories I held from my past.  Like my high school graduation when I had graduated with high honors and my parents had been so proud.  Or my first visit to the ocean when I was eight and determined to ride the waves, I had almost drowned until my Dad fished me out of the salty water.  Christmas when I was five, and I got my shiny new bike that I had begged and begged my parents for.  I couldn’t wait to ride it and even though it was winter, my dad let me try it out in the basement until the snow melted in the spring and I could then take it outside.  There were countless other memories that for some reason right now, paled in comparison to this newly acquired memory.  Maybe, that’s because it’s all just happenedBy tomorrow I will have forgotten everything.
Or so I thought…

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interview with Demetra Fisher: Part 1.


In this two part interview, novelist Demetra Fisher talks about her life and her influences 
on what has led her to become a published author. Her first novel, In Your Dreams, will
be appearing shortly in book stores and online. Part one,  below, focuses on her background,
life experiences and interests. Part Two, which will follow next week, will focus on the
specifics of her book and the characters.

What is your ethnic background? 
Greek/American. My father was born in Greece and my mother was the first generation
of her family to be born in the United States.
Did your parents speak with a Greek accent?

My mother didn't.  She was born in Rhode Island and actually had a southern
New England accent, even though she was bilingual.  My father still speaks
with a very thick Greek accent, even though he has mastered English quite

How close to the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" film was your Greek upbringing?

Ha, ha... Actually, very close.  We had the lamb roast in our front yard on
the Orthodox Easter Sunday one year and the police showed up because our
neighbors complained.  I lived in a predominately Catholic neighborhood and
in those days, not everyone was as used to diversity as they are now, so
they all thought we were pagans.  It was quite hilarious whenever we would do
something typically Greek and no one would have a clue as to what it all
meant.  I remember I was teased as a child for being the kid with the weird lunches...
I would bring stuffed grapeleaves instead of bologna sandwiches and all the
kids would be horrified.  It was rather funny.

Do you think any of that has shaped or influenced your writing in any way?
Only in that I realized at a very young age that I was different... that I
don't really fit any mold.  It was more difficult as a child to embrace my
heritage.  When you're young, you so badly want to fit in and it seemed
that I didn't really fit in anywhere.  My parents never really encouraged
me to learn Greek, since my father was trying so hard to learn fluent English.  
So when I would attend the activities in my church community, all of the elders 
thought it strange that I didn't speak the language very well.  Then again, when I
participated in school activities and sports, the kids all thought I had such a strange
name, and that made me feel different.  It took awhile for me to get comfortable being
me.As I grew older, though, I learned to appreciate my background and now I am 
rather proud of my heritage.
So, in some way, do you create characters that don't fit in? 
That's one way of looking at it.  I think I create characters that deal
with some of the same issues that I have had to or someone I know has dealt with.
Most of those are the classic "coming of age" issues... trying to
find yourself, experiencing love and loss, and just being able to make your
way in the world.  Most everyone can relate their experiences to those of
my characters.

You are from Vermont. Were you born there and were you raised there?

 No, I was born in NYC but my parents moved to Vermont when I was four.  My
father took a job at an engineering firm in Burlington and we moved just
before I started kindergarten. So, I went through school in Vermont.

How do you think living in Vermont has influenced your writing in any way?

 Well, Vermont is a scenically beautiful state, so that is definitely
reflected in my writing.  When you are that close to such natural beauty in
your environment, it can't help but come through in your depiction of the
setting of your story.  Growing up in New England has made me very aware of
nature and how much we all need to make time to connect with it.

Did you write much when you were younger?

Yes, all the time!  I started writing poetry as early as the third grade.
 By the time I was in middle school, I had won a few scholastic awards for
my poetry and also for a few short stories, I had crafted.  When I reached
high school, I remember writing song lyrics and more involved stories, but
by that time, I had become a voracious reader, so there never seemed to be
enough time to cultivate much more than that.

Any favorite teachers in high school, writing wise, or otherwise?

I got along really well with all of my teachers for the most part, but
especially the English teachers.  They all knew how much I enjoyed their
classes.  It's pretty obvious  when you are the only freshman in the school
signing up to take a Shakespeare class that is meant only for seniors, that
you are an English/Humanities buff.   However, my absolute favorite class
ended up being Supernatural Lit.  I became completely enthralled with the
occult and things that were unexplained as a result of taking that course.

Does that fascination with the occult seep into your writing now?

Oh yes! I like to write about the same sorts of unexplainable things that
I like to read about - mythical creatures, life after death, alternate
realities, reincarnation, etc.  All of it fascinates me, and I enjoy
crafting stories that somehow supply some reasoning to those phenomena.

Were you athletic when you were younger, play any sports in high school?

Yes, I was quite the tomboy pretty much all through school.  When I was
young, in elementary school, I always played with the boys on the
playground.  Most of the girls in my class never wanted to get dirty and I didn't
care about that, so long as I had fun.  I would much rather play kickball,
baseball, and tag  or fool around on the monkey bars.  I was elated when I
got to middle school and I was able to participate in gymnastics.  I was
quite the daredevil until I realized that you could actually get hurt, if
you weren't careful.
In high school, I was a three-sport athlete until my senior year.  By then,
I was working part-time, so didn't have as much free time to devote to as
many sports.
Has any of that crept into your writing as you go along?  
Only the willingness to carve your own path and not follow the crowd.And also the dedication
part. If you want to be good at something, you have to be willing to work hard at it. I apply
the same philosophies to my writing.

When you go out to the movies, what type of films are you drawn to?

Mostly films about human experiences or the trials of life.  I am a sucker
for romance, so I love epic love stories, especially the classics, like
Wuthering Heights, or Pride and Prejudice, but the modern day romantic
comedies will entice me as well.  Conversely, I also like action "guy"
films a lot, too, as well as anything paranormal.  I do have a dark side...  lol

This is your first novel, why did it take you so long to come out with your
first published story?

Well, life often does get in the way of dreams...  I was busy building my
career in Human Resources and raising a family, so there wasn't much time
to devote to pursuing another career.  Now that I'm older, I have the time.

Did you still write during that time, or did you stop?

Mostly, I was writing communication pieces relating to my work, but I never
actually stopped writing poetry and song lyrics.  It's always been
relatively easy for me to crank that stuff out, so I find that when I am
bored, I will write along those lines.  The stories, however, take more
time and a lot more thought, so no, while I was working full time, I wasn't
crafting stories.

Tell us what your first novel is called and what it is about.

In Your Dreams is a paranormal romance which is the first in a series.
It is about a twenty-one year old college student who has suffered from
sleep disorders all her young life.  As a result, she doesn't dream, since
she never fully reaches REM sleep.  When she returns to the university she
attends for her junior year fall semester, she suddenly begins dreaming.
In her dreams, she meets a guy who she is clearly attracted to.  The
attraction is mutual and as he pursues her, they begin a relationship.
While she is enthralled, she does question why this is happening to her
and why can she only "see" him in her dreams.  She soon discovers that he
has passed on, and that he is reaching out to her via her dreams because
that is the only way he can connect with this world... the world he left
behind when he died.  The story depicts their emotional journey as their
feelings for each other grow.  However, there is something sinister lurking
in the background that threatens their bond.  You will have to read it to
discover what that is.

How did you come up with that idea? Is it an interesting story?

I was doing the dishes by hand one night when I began
thinking about a story I had started to write but couldn't finish for some
reason.  Then it occurred to me that the reason why I couldn't finish the
story was because I needed to write another first... that the two stories were
connected in some way.  I left my dishes right there in the sink and didn't
even bother to dry my hands before I headed off to my desktop.  I sat down,
lit a candle for inspiration, and cranked out the first three chapters of In
Your Dreams.  At that point, I wasn't even sure where it was all going,
but I just let the story flow and over the next few days, it all came
together for me.  At least, it did in my head.  It took me the better part
of a year to get it all down on paper... and another year and a half to
fine-tune it.

Other than being a writer, what type of work have you done in your life?

When I worked in Human Resources, I designed and managed employee benefits
and incentive compensation plans.  Before that, I was  a cosmetologist for a
few years and I've also worked in retail sales.

What are some of your hobbies and things you like to do?

Well, I love reading, music, watching films, hanging out with my friends
and my pets.  I also like to dance and swim and go for long walks.  As much as I love
being with people, I need my alone time and I do enjoy that very much, so I
will often go off on excursions like antiquing by myself.  I do love to
shop as well, and my favorite place to spend time is by the seashore.  I used to ride
hunter/jumper but I haven't done that for quite a few years.  Even so, I
still love horses and enjoy being around them very much. 
 You are a big animal lover. Have you always been that way? What do you have in the way of pets now, and what are some of your favorite pets of the past you have had? 

Yes, I have always had an affinity with animals. When I was very young, I toyed with the idea of becoming a marine biologist or even just working as a trainer at Sea World. I loved dolphins and sea turtles... still do. I became very attached to the animals on my uncle's sheep ranch in upstate New York when I was in grade school, as well as all my dogs and cats. I have had so many over the years, it would be difficult to name them all. My favorite childhood pet was a tricolor rough collie my father named Iole.I remember that she would follow me everywhere, to keep watch over me...I was only 3 at the time... and I loved her so much. When we moved to Vermont, we couldn't take her with us, so we left her in the care of my uncle at his ranch. I remember my heart breaking every time we drove away, seeing her sad expression as she watched our car drive off. Within a couple of years, she died and I have never forgotten that, which is why I make sure to hug my pets and show them as much love as I can, in her memory. Right now, I have a 9 year old Shih Tzu and a kitten who's almost a year old now. They are my joys. 

How do you market your book or how do you plan to market it in the future? 

At this point, I am still working on solidifying my overall marketing campaign. My target audience is teen girls, but I suspect that any lover of YA fiction would appreciate my story and be able to relate to it, as well. 

When it comes out, where can we purchase your novel?

In Your Dreams will be available on both and Barnes& as either an e-book or a printed copy.

In addition to novels, you write poetry. Any chance of a book of poetry at some point? 

Probably not. Most of the poetry I write is mainly for myself, or one or two people that inspire me. I do have a middle grade book that I am putting together that is a compilation of some "round-the-campfire" ghost story shorts that will also include some of my poetry here and there to break it up. But, as far as a whole book devoted to just poetry, no.

Colonial Williamsburg

What interesting places have you traveled in your life?

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia comes to mind. For me, it was very interesting in that I got to see exactly how the colonists lived. The whole town is located near William and Mary and is completely devoid of any modern day facilities. The students who attend the school while living in the town of Williamsburg must choose a colonial craft as an internship and they are precluded from leaving the colony until their internship is complete. There is no running water, no electricity, and yes, they only have outhouses, no indoor plumbing. These students must live exactly as the colonists did. It was amazing to see the dedication that these young people have to their purpose, as well as the feeling that you get when you are that close to real history.

Part Two next week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10, 1989 by Matthew W. Turcotte

It's time for another fun-filled look back through time with this week's installment of the Tuesday Timeline. It's the 10th of July, and there's quite a lot that has happened on this date.

So, let us not waste any time with this. We'll kick this edition of the Tuesday Timeline off with the events of July 10.

1212 – London is nearly burned to the ground following a series of devastating fires

1553 – Lady Jane Grey takes the throne of England

1584 – William I of Orange is assassinated by Balthasar Gerard in Holland

1778 – Louis XVI declares war on Britain

1821 – United States takes possession of newly bought territory of Florida from Spain

1850 – Millard Fillmore is inaugurated as the thirteenth President of the United States following the death of Zachary Taylor

1890 – Wyoming becomes the 44th U.S. State

1911 – Royal Australian Navy is established by HM King George V

1913 – The highest recorded temperature in the United States is recorded in Death Valley, California, at a sweltering 134 degrees Fahrenheit (that's nearly 57 Celsius for the metric system users)

1917 – Don “Mr. Wizard” Herbert is born in Waconia, Minnesota

1921 – 16 are killed and 161 homes are destroyed during Belfast's “Bloody Sunday”...

You can read the whole blog article by clicking below.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lexulous Life Lessons: It's about desire

 Being the helpful sort of guy that I am, I try to help those who seem to want and ask for it. That goes for pretty much everything in life, be it life and love advice, or anything else. If you ask I will do my best to help.
 When I play Lexulous I come across all sorts of players. Some just play for fun, others want to win and others play for a mixture of both. When I encounter some of those who want to be better players but don't know what to do, I am willing to give them tips and advice so they can achieve that if they want to.

 To read more, click on the link below. You can also leave a comment there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3, 1971 by Matthew W. Turcotte

It's our first Tuesday Timeline entry for the month of July, and this month is going to be featuring FIVE trips back through time. It's not as rare as you may believe, though. Both the months of January and May 2012 have had five Tuesdays before this month. But, I think it's a bit of a cool thing to have five Tuesday Timelines in a month. Besides, statistically, Tuesdays are the days that I have the most page views, so I find it a plus to have as many Tuesdays as possible in a month.

Alas, I am rambling.

It is July 3rd today. It's two days after Canada's birthday, and one day before the American Independence Day, and as it turns out, there have been a lot of events that have happened throughout history on this date. Let's have a look at some of these events.

1608 – Quebec City is founded by Samuel de Champlain

1754 – George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French forces

1767 – The oldest Norwegian newspaper, “Adresseavisen” is founded

1819 – America's first savings bank, The Bank of Savings, opens in New York City

1844 – The last of the Great Auks is killed

1848 – Slaves are freed in the Danish West Indies (now called the U.S. Virgin Islands) by Peter von Scholten

1863 – The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg culminates with Pickett's Charge

1884 – Dow Jones publishes first stock average

1886 – Karl Benz unveils prototype for Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first purpose-built automobile

1890 – Idaho is declared the 43rd U.S. State

1938 – Franklin D. Roosevelt lights eternal flame at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield.

For more...

Movie Review: Magic Mike (2012)

I haven't seen Magic Mike and I don't intend to. But if I did,  I suspect this would be my review of the movie.

 To read more, click on the link below. You can also leave a comment there.