Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight with Hywela Lyn


If you have reached the caves, you will need to leave your pony and continue on foot.

Guided by Tamarith, Vidarh stopped before the first and largest cave. He would need some form of illumination. From his pack he drew a torch, which he lit and wedged
into a crack in the rock. Unsaddling the pony, he turned it loose. The animal, descended from stock genetically engineered to withstand the harsh conditions, and brought with the first settlers to Niflheim, was fit and hardy. It would have no problem
foraging for itself until his return.

With a resolute set to his shoulders, Vidarh retrieved his torch and made his way into the cave. Just inside the mouth, he found a hollow behind a rock in which to hide the saddle and bridle. At least it would be safe and dry there, so long as no hungry rodent decided to nibble at it. He strapped on his pack, containing a change of clothing and a few personal items, and set off along a narrow passageway at the back of the cavern.

Tamarith directed him along the various twists and turns of the labyrinth. At first, the going was easy. The walls of rock gave off a soft, diffuse luminescence, augmenting the light from his torch. After walking for so long he began to think the tunnel he followed led nowhere, the luminosity grew stronger, and the passage opened out into a large amphitheatre. The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi-colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave. At the far end was a high dais flanked on each side by another passage.

Vidarh paused for only a moment to take in the beauty around him. He was familiar
with the Conference Chamber of the community of Gladsheim. His mind had been there
many times but this was the first time he had physically entered the place. Instructed
to take the left fork, he progressed along the labyrinths, noting the downward slope
of the passage. Occasionally, when he came to a branch in the tunnel, he would stop
and listen to Tamarith's voice in his mind as it guided him along the right path.

You don't have far to go. I will keep sending you the directions. You should be near
the river now.

Yes. I hear it up ahead.

Be careful. We had heavier than usual snowstorms last winter. With the coming of
spring, the melting snow and ic
e has swelled the volume of water.

Vidarh made his way along the tunnel, partly guided by his telepathic link with Tamarith,
and partly by his own senses. Eventually it widened out into a large cave, through
which the underground river roared as it cut its way through the mountain.
On the shingle of the boulder-strewn shore, several small boats bobbed against their
moorings. After ensuring his pack was securely fastened around his waist, he climbed
into one, and lashed the torch to the prow. He cast off, and took up the paddle.

The river bore the craft along at a tremendous rate and it needed all his skill and
attention to save the craft from dashing against the rocks. He'd heard about the
fabled river of Mimir, but this was not the tranquil stream of his imagination.
The walls still reflected a phosphorescent glow. Vidarh noticed several gigantic,
human-like statues on the banks as he passed, but had no time to contemplate or admire
them. Rounding a bend, he came upon a wall of water ahead, cascading from the roof
in a fury of white froth. The torrent boiled and raced. He gritted his teeth as he
headed into the maelstrom. There was no way he could control the boat's
frantic motions as it heaved and bucked like an unbroken colt. He threw down the
paddle, gripped the sides of the vessel, and sent a desperate message through the

Tamarith, I'm in trouble. Please—send me images of your location, quickly. I need
to know what it looks like where you are
. The raging current tossed the boat around
with relentless fury. All Vidarh's attention focussed on maintaining contact with
Tamarith, and even his finely-tuned powers could not prevent the craft from capsizing.
Gasping as he hit the icy flood, he struck out with his arms in desperation, and
tried to keep the watery demons from pulling him under. Tamarith!

Sharon: Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s special guest is my friend and fellow Wild Rose Hywela Lyn. Lyn is here to tell us all about her new book Children of the Mist. And here she comes now!

Lyn arrives on cyber stage on Vidarh’s pony, waving wildly to her fans. Leaping off with style and grace, Lyn and Sharon exchange cyber hugs.

Sharon: Welcome, Lyn! Have a seat and make yourself comfortable. And after that long pony ride from the UK, I’m sure you’d appreciate a nice cup of steaming Earl Grey to warm your bones. Allow me to pour you a cup. And just for you, Lyn, we have a huge selection of chocolate treats. Dig in.

Lyn: Thank you so much for inviting me. Sharon, ooh chocolate! You know just how to make your guests feel at home don’t you. *grin* and we do like our Earl Grey! Let me just turn Vidarh’s pony loose over here so he can graze - it’s OK he won’t go near the flowers, Vidarh instructed him on what he could and couldn’t eat before we left!

Sharon: Okay, now that we’re both all settled with our tea, let’s talk a bit about your latest release from The Wild Rose Press. Children of the Mist is the sequel to Starquest and I must say I loved it every bit as much as the first book in the series. As I’ve told you so many times, your imagination never ceases to amaze me. You have such a unique way with words. Let’s talk about that, Lyn. Do these colorful descriptions just pop into your head—or do you have some type of telepathic powers I’m unaware of? Because given the way you describe things, it’s as if you are really seeing them. I’ll give you an example:

“The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi-colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave.”

Those are the words of a poet. Girl, I’m telling you. I stand in awe. How do you think of such mesmerizing descriptions?

Lyn: (Feels herself blushing furiously) Aw Sharon, thank you, I’ve expect I’ve gone all pink now! I see each scene in a story like a movie, so really I’m just describing what I see in my mind. Very often I take memories and embellish them. For instance, many years ago I visited a network of underground caves at Dan-yr-Ogof, near Swansea, Wales. It was very dark and cold, and the only light came from our guides’ torches and the occasional spotlight, but the stalactites and stalactites were amazing and I think subconsciously I used the memories of that day to create some of the atmosphere in the scene above, although of course most of it is pure imagination .

Sharon: And now let’s talk about your characters, Tamarith and Vidarh. Do the names have any significance? And could you tell us a little background about them and why you chose them as the heroine and hero of your story?

Lyn: Vidarh like most of the characters and places in ‘Children Of The Mist’ is named after
A Norse god – Vidar the Valient, a brother of Thor. I’ve altered the spelling a wee bit as words have a way of changing through successive generations. Tamarith just ‘came’ to me ready named, just as Jess did in ‘Starquest’. I did try altering her name to a more ‘Nordic’ sounding one, but it didn’t work, she just wasn’t the same character, so I changed it back again. There are one or two other characters in the book who also don’t have Scandinavian names, because the planet Niflheim is peopled by Earth settlers and I figured not all of them would name their babies after Norse gods!

Tamarith features quite a lot in ‘Starquest’ but I really left her with an unresolved future in that book. At the back of my mind I had an idea for a sequel, because I became rather fond of her, especially when she pleaded with me to give her a ‘happy ever after too.’ When I started writing ‘Children Of The Mist’ I wasn’t too sure who the hero was going to be, but then Vidarh appeared on the scene and began to tell me the story and it quickly became obvious that he had the determination and courage to see the story through, while his kind nature was just what was needed to heal Tamarith’s broken heart.

Sharon: I can’t even imagine the creativity process of writing both Starquest and Children of the Mist. How long did it take you to write Children of the Mist and did you run into any major stumbling blocks you’d like to share with readers?

Lyn: It took me about a year to do the necessary research and get the basic story down. Then I took a couple of months to revise and polish it before submitting it to The Wild Rose Press. I did find one scene toward the end particularly difficult to write, but I wrote around it and then went back to it, and once I’d started it wasn’t as hard to develop as I’d expected. It involved an ‘action’ scene but one in which Vidarh is trying to reconcile his feelings for Tamarith while trying to save her, and it almost happens in slow motion. It was harder to think about than to actually write!

Sharon: Now I know as writers, we sometimes feel as if we spend far too much time promoting and far too little time writing. How do you reach a happy medium between these two battling forces, Lyn. Because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as if I’m literally being pulled in half, trying to do both and wondering how I’ll fit it all in without pulling my hair out. Any secrets to share?

Lyn: I wish I had Sharon, like you I feel I’m being pulled in several directions at once. The internet is at once a blessing and a curse. Being published by a US publisher, but living in the UK, means my readers are inevitably going to be mainly from the States, and my only way of reaching them, since I can’t afford to travel across the pond and attend conventions, much as I would like to, is to spread myself across as many loops and social networks as I can, just to ‘get my name out there.’ It’s addictive though, and between this, and keeping up my Blog and website, the time just flies, and especially if the muse is being elusive, it’s all too easy to spend all my time promoting and not leave enough time for writing. The only answer for me is to be really strict and switch off the internet to avoid being tempted by emails, or something I feel I just have to ‘post’. On a fine day I take my laptop out into the garden, and since it’s very basic, without internet access it’s a great way to encourage the muse to come out and play.

Sharon: I’d like to talk a bit about your love of animals. It’s so obvious from your books and from our many chats what an important role animals play in your life. What do you suppose it is about our furry friends that pulls at your heart strings?
Lyn: I think (apart from the ‘cuteness’) it’s their innocence and vulnerability – and their honesty. You know where you are with an animal. They don’t steal from you, tell lies or pretend to be your friend and then run you down when you’re not around. I don’t mean that to sound like I don’t like people. I do, but there are some unpleasant, even evil people in the world, who will deceive you to get what they want, or attack and injure a weaker person for greed. Even a so-called ‘mean’ horse will warn you by laying its ears back and giving out other subtle body language, before it kicks, A dog will snarl before it bites. Nearly all instances of an animal attacking a person are instinctive self defence reactions. I don’t think any animal is born mean. They will defend themselves or their young, and you can’t blame them for that, and usually a ‘dangerous’ horse or dog has been made or bred that way by man. A dog will give you complete loyalty, a horse has subtle ways of showing its affection and cats can also be very affectionate, and although they have an air of independence they make wonderful companions. It’s well known that stroking a domestic cat or dog has therapeutic qualities, and a dog instinctively knows when its owner is sad, or not feeling well. Animals are beautiful, majestic, or just plain cuddly. Our world would be a very much poorer place without them. In the words of Chief Seattle:

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”

Thunderous applause explodes from the audience. Sharon stands and the audience joins in, giving Lyn a standing ovation.

Sharon: Here here, Lyn. Well said to all our adoring animal friends. Now, we’ve talked so many times about riding horseback. There is nothing like it, is there? Don’t you feel being close to nature while having the wind whip in your face wild and free is inspiring? Makes you a better writer?

Lyn: Oh absolutely. Horses feature in nearly every story I’ve ever written, and I care about them as much as the human characters. I’ve frequently worked out a difficult piece of plot when out on a long ride, and very often if the character is riding a horse, imagined myself as him or her. There really is nothing quite like being out in the open countryside, with only your horse for company, to make one realize what a beautiful and inspiring world we inhabit.

Sharon: And let’s talk about sweet Bouncer. Can you share with readers how he came to live with you?

Lyn: I’ve had dogs ever since I was a child. When our last little dog, a Shiba bitch called Blaze, sadly had to be put to sleep, I said the next dog we had would be a ‘rescue’. There is a shelter near where I used to live in Wales, called ‘Ty Agored’, which translates as ‘Open House. They take in any needy animal and keep them until they find a home. They will never euthanaze a healthy animal. I got on the internet and emailed them to ask if they had an adult dog that might be suitable for us.

I asked for an adult, because puppies are so cute and find homes comparatively easily and I wanted a dog that might have trouble being re-homed. I was given the choice of three, but Bouncer struck a chord with me immediately, and when I saw his photo, I knew he was ‘the one.’ He was brought in as a half starved stray, and had obviously been ill treated in the past. He’d had a broken hip and pelvis which had been allowed to heal without veterinary assistance. He’d been there for six months and was now a healthy weight and in good health again. He will be on medication for the rest of his life, because of his previous injuries, which meant he would have a hard time finding someone to adopt him. The cost of his medication was manageable, and I asked them to reserve him for us.
A few weeks later we travelled to Wales and were introduced to Bouncer, and it was love at first sight. He came back with us a couple of days later and seemed to understand that he was going ‘home’. When we reached our house, he had his supper and went straight to his new bed and curled up in it as if he’d always slept there.

He is the sweetest, most lovable little dog you could imagine. Despite his bandy little back legs, which make him walk a bit like a penguin, he is very lively and full of fun, and you wouldn’t believe there was anything wrong with him, or that he’d had such a tough past, if you didn’t know. He lives up to his name, by bouncing up and down with his front legs when he wants something, and brings so much joy into our lives. I would urge anyone thinking of getting a pet to consider a rescue, they repay you a thousand fold.

Sharon: Lyn, you are a gift and make this world a better place. Now when you’re not writing, I know reading is one of your many hobbies. Can you tell us some of your other creative talents?

Lyn: Well, like you Sharon, I used to love to paint – in oils and acrylics. My favorite things to paint were horses and landscapes – often alien landscapes. As you know though, it’s very time consuming and I just don’t have the time any more, although I still sometimes sketch in pencil. I still love to draw horses and sometimes I’ll sketch a character or a landscape from a story I’m working on, just to fix it in my mind. I also enjoy painting on horseshoes – in the style of canalboat artists. I live near The Grand Union Canal and love to look at the colorful barges, with their plump roses and the other designs that make them unique.

Sharon: And don’t look now, but here comes dessert!

Oliver the butler rolls out the sterling silver caddy with another pot of steaming hot tea. Then he unveils his culinary talents with a sweeping bow Huge red ripe strawberries doused with cream in three beautiful cut crystal dessert plates. After pouring more tea, he squeezes himself between Lyn and Sharon, batting his eyes madly at Lyn.

Sharon: Ah…Oliver. She clears her throat and moves over a bit as the mint green sofa on claw legs sags. Oliver, what’s gotten into you? You never behave this way? Oliver goes to speak but nothing comes out but a squeak. He whispers in Sharon’s ear. Oh, all right, I’ll ask her. Lyn, Oliver seems to have a school boy crush on you and would like your autograph. If you don’t mind? Then maybe he’ll…ah…give us some breathing room.

Lyn: Of course, its a pleasure. There you go, Oliver, "To Oliver, the greatest butler of them all." Um yes, I have put several kisses on it - and please, take the pen as well. it's a special 'Starquest' one, and there aren't many of those around.

Sharon: Mmmmmm. Aren’t these delicious, Lyn? We simply must stop chatting long enough to devour this treat. How about it?

Lyn: Mmmm *smacks lips” I just adore strawberries and cream – who cares about the figure! Ooh yes I will have a bit more cream, thank you.

Sharon: Oh, that was a treat. I just love berries. Now that we’ve had our treat, let’s chat about my favorite thing. And you know what it is, right, Lyn? You got it, girl, superstitions. And with your Welsh blood, I know you have one or two. Can you share one or two of your favorites and why they intrigue you so?

Lyn: *Grin* how long have we got? There are so many Welsh superstitions, some of them date from ancient customs and some of them have been passed down from generation to generation. They’re a wonderful source of inspiration and can often add a touch of authenticity to a story. Ok then, here are a few:

If you find a white hair on a black cat, you will have good luck.

A funeral on a Saturday was considered good for the dead person's soul. In Wales they say, "Blessed are the dead that the rain rains on.

There are lots of superstitions revolving around the New Year celebrations as well.

Many people give gifts on New Years morning, with children having skewered apples stuck with raisins and fruit. In some parts of Wales people must visit all their relatives by midday to collect their calennig. Celebrations and traditions vary from area to area. In the south-east of Wales and in the Forest of Dean area, the skewered apple itself was known as the calennig If you make a calennig for New Year's Day, don't throw it away afterwards. Put it to stand on your window sill and it will bring you good luck for as long as it stands there.

On New Year's Day it's considered bad luck if the first visitor at your house has red hair. Best luck comes from a knock at the door by man you don't know with black hair.

Try to repay all debts and push the bank-balance into the black before the New Year. Tradition states that ending a year in debt means a whole new year of debt. The same goes for cleaning the house – any untidiness or dust will mean the house is like that for the rest of the year.

Lending anything - even a candle - on New Year's Day is considered unlucky.

If you burn a Yule log at Christmas, keep the ashes to bury along with your plant seeds in the spring. Superstition dictates that you'll be assured of a bumper crop.

Remember to take down every last Christmas decoration before the end of the evening of January 5th. It's seen as bad luck to keep trimmings up after Twelfth Night.

These are just a few of the Welsh traditions and superstitions I grew up with. If one delves into the many myths and legends of Wales, one can see how some of them came about. There are endless possibllities for a fantasy writer in these customs and legends, I never tire of them.

Sharon clasps her hands in fascination. I love it and am always so thrilled to learn new legends, traditions and superstitions! Thanks for sharing. : Now on a more serious note, could you tell readers how you would like to be remembered after you leave this earth and why?

Lyn: I think I’d like to be remembered as someone who loved to share her dreams and her fantasies, through her writing and who, although she may not always have succeeded, tried her best, and loved her family, her animals and her friends.

Sharon: Good answer, my friend. And what’s next for Hywela Lyn in the wonderful world of fiction writing? Any new story you are hard at work on?

Lyn: I’m currently working on the final story that started with ‘Starquest’ (see I find those characters very hard to let go of.) I also have a Western on the back burner, although it’s trying hard to come to the fore.

Sharon: Well, Lyn. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I’m afraid that brings us to the end of our interview. But before you go, I must ask you my three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction which would it be and why? And last but not least, if you could be the leading lady in any book, who would you choose and who would be your ideal romantic hero?

Lyn: Well the first one’s easy – the mountains of my native Wales. Much as I’d love to travel to the Western States of the US, and to see the fjords of Norway, for me there is no place like rural Wales where I grew up and lived most of my life. It has everything, wild countryside, rugged mountains and beautiful lakes and waterfalls.

If I could star in a work of literary fiction, please can I be Elizabeth Bennett in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Seems she had practically everything – looks, charm, wit – and most importantly, Darcy! LOL

If I could be the leading lady in any book I think it would be Lessa, in Anne MacCaffrey’s ‘Dragonflight’. You know how much I love horses, but what must it be like to ride a thirty foot long telepathic Queen Dragon? Can you imagine it? Not to mention being mated to a hunky hero like F’lar! And my ideal romantic hero? Do you mean to play F’lar? I think that would be Richard Armitage, he has the dark good looks and determined air that I imagine Flar has, but he also looks capable of tenderness and affection, For me the ideal fictional hero is just that, Good looking but more than that, intelligent, strong, capable and affectionate. Preferably with a gentle sense of humour.

Sharon: Well thank you so much for dropping in to Wednesday Spotlight. It’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back again. You know I love you and all your books and readers, take it from me. You do not want to miss reading Children of the Mist. Hywela Lyn has such a gift with words that will definitely pull at your emotions. Best of luck, Lyn!

Lyn: Thank you very much for having me here, Sharon, it’s been wonderful to talk with you and spend time with you. Oh, and thank Oliver for the strawberries and cream, please, not to mention all the chocolate treats! I’m going to have to get a butler like him when I’m rich and famous!

Sharon: And finally, can you tell readers where they can purchase Children of the Mist and where they can get in touch with you? And can we take a peek at your trailer?

Lyn: Of course. All my books are available at my author page at the Wild Rose Press:

My Website is

And all my trailers can be viewed here:

I love hearing from fellow authors, as well as readers, of course, and can be reached at

Thank you again for having me Sharon, it’s been such fun. I just hope I haven’t put on too much weight for Vidarh’s pony to carry me back! LOL

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight with Miss Mae

Miss Mae, the Pure Southern Genteel author, currently has two best selling romantic mysteries published with The Wild Rose Press. “See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” earned highly acclaimed reviews and won the Find A Great Romance ‘Reader’s Pick of the Month’ award. listed it as one of their Top Ten Reads of 2008. “Said the Spider to the Fly” is receiving excellent reviews in its own right, and has currently won the esteemed title of Best Book of the Week for The Long and the Short of It Reviews
and The Romance Studio. Now in print, it can be bought at both Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Her new historical mystery, “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred” from Class Act Books is available as ebook and print at their storefront of Lulu. “When the Bough Breaks” from Whimsical Publications, a young adult coming-of-age, is for release on Oct. 12, 2009. She also enjoys writing humor and non-fiction articles. Besides her monthly contributions to the ezine American Chronicle, some of her publications can be found in The Front Porch Magazine, Good Old Days, and
And the blurb to "It's Elementary, My Dear Winifred"...
Schoolmarm Winifred Merryweather guards her identity as the daughter of one of London's
most notorious villains. To separate her life from his, she spends her lonely existence
with her cat, Theodore, and meets twice monthly at the estate of Lord Nelson Chatham.
Losing herself in the pages of a mystery story shivers Winifred's spine -- until
the day that she’s forced to live through one.

Kidnapped and thrown together into a chaotic adventure, newspaper reporter Remington
Hawthorne’s flirtatious charm thaws Winifred’s icy reserve. But can they uncover
the meaning of the clues, and survive, before the tale reaches the page that reads,
The End?"It's Elementary, My Dear Winifred" from Class Act Books.

Winifred picked up a clean cloth and the bowl and carried them back to her spot at
his stool. “Will you eat this time?”

He rested his head against the chair back. “When our abductor has gone to so much
trouble, dare I continue to refuse?”

Slowly, she worked his ripped boot off his foot and carefully pulled down his thick
sock. She tried not to start when a tangle of curly black hair sprang into view.

Remington murmured, “Have you never seen a man’s bare leg?”

She tried to think of a clever retort. When one escaped her, she merely said, “I’ll
clean this and bandage it. Hopefully, that will contain the bleeding.”

“Don’t be afraid to do whatever you think necessary. I won’t break.”

For the next several minutes, neither spoke. Remington stared into the glowing light
burning in the fireplace, the smoky-sweet scent of the peat bricks infusing the air
like fragrant incense. Winifred concentrated on her work and after scissoring the
tattered length of his trouser above the height of the freshly wrapped linen, she
gathered up the bowl and rags, moving to the table where she poured fresh water into
another pot. Dumping his bloody sock in the basin, she scrubbed vigorously at the

“I’ll drape this on the mantel to dry so it’ll be clean when you put it back on.
How is the wound feeling?” She glanced at him over her shoulder.

His aqua colored eyes met hers and he allowed his gaze to linger. Mesmerized, Winifred
couldn’t look away. A delicious sort of warmth spread throughout her limbs and she
found it difficult to breathe.

“You surprise me.” Remington’s voice deepened, weakening her already quivering knees.
“You seem so expert at this sort of thing, I wonder if you’re a doctor’s daughter.”

She cleared her throat with an effort and managed to find strength to lower her lashes.
“Nothing like that.” Mentally commanding her pulses to abort their chaotic skipping,
she dried her hands and walked to the other chair where a pile of quilts lay. She
removed the top one and went to Remington, placing it over him. When she tried to
tuck it around his chest, he snatched her wrist and raised it to his mouth.

“Who is this soft, caring woman before me?” His warm lips traced the contours of
her fingers, his husky whisper caressing like a silky feather drawn across her skin.
“Where has the prim, poker-spined maiden disappeared to?”

It’d be dangerous to fall for his charm.

The lantern’s flame hissed and died with a sputter, plunging the room into immediate
darkness. Winifred jerked away. “The—the lamp,” she stammered. “It’s gone out.”
Sharon: Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s special guest is friend and fellow Wild Rose author, our very own Southern Genteel author Miss Mae! Miss Mae----come on out, girlfriend!

Thunderous applause explodes as Miss Mae struts out in her pretty dress, gloves and sun bonnet, looking for all the world like a sweet Southern Belle. Miss Mae waves madly and blows kisses to her fans before finally giving her hostess a cyber hug.

Sharon: Well, Miss Mae, any time you’re through batting your long eyelashes at the audience, you can grab a seat and I’ll pour you a glass of sweet tea. Ah….or did you bring your own special blend of lemonade, is it? And for your enjoyment, we also have enough chocolate to put you in a coma. We have chocolate cappuccino, double fudge brownies, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing, chocolate dipped strawberries and peanut butter cups. And my dear Miss Mae, I do so hope you take note of the extra pretties on my table. That cut glass candy dish with all the candies in it is a family heirloom handed down from my great Aunt Tillie, a priceless Waterford dish. And aren’t the pink and green wrappers hugging the chocolates pretty? Miss Mae? Should you really be digging into those chocolate treats with your gloves still on? Oh dear, would you look at those stains. Allow me to call the butler. Oh, Oliver, quick. We need some Shout it Out! Miss Mae?

MM: Hmm? (gulping quickly, snatches delicate hanky to mouth to cover a loud cough) Oh, yes. (sniffle) You were saying? (clears throat)

Sharon: Whew…all right then. Now, let’s get in a few questions before our time is up, shall we? Any time you’re through chewing, Miss Mae…can you tell us a bit about the setting of It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred?

MM: (clapping hands together) I’d certainly love to, but I’m afraid it’s cloaked in mystery. I can’t give anything away, only to say if you love puzzles, mazes, spooky old spider-webbed booby-trapped castles…Well, there. I’ve already said too much!

Sharon: And I do so adore a good mystery and you have me totally intrigued. How about it, folks? Now as authors, we all have to carve our own unique way in the world of writing. And I must say, there is something so wonderfully intriguing about your tag line, “Want to read about love? Want to read about suspense? Get caught in the ‘web’ of
Miss Mae’s books!”

See what I mean, folks? There’s an aura of suspense around those words that make me wanna make a bee-line to the nearest book store. I love a good mystery, a good who done it. Can you share with us why this genre is one you love to write in?

MM: I’ve asked myself that question a thousand times! The only answer I can come up with is that such a plot keeps my mind active. I don’t like going to sleep during a dull movie, or boring book. I want both to keep me guessing and to wonder what’s around the next scene, or the next page. I try to write that way too, in hopes of engrossing the reader from, hopefully, page one.

Sharon: Now let’s talk a bit about reviews, shall we? You have received so many outstanding and awesome reviews for your work, but one statement stands out in my head, something I remember reading before I had the pleasure of making your acquaintance. These words stuck, “Miss Mae has woven a mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie…”

Now Miss Mae, that is an awesome compliment, I’d say. Congratulations. And my hat, aw…my bonnet…is truly off to you. Can you tell me how such a statement makes you feel?

MM: A mixture of emotions. As you say, it’s an awesome compliment, and I’m terribly flattered, and humbled. I know I’m not an Agatha Christie, I don’t have her skills by any stretch of the imagination. Still, to be grouped with her name…(Miss Mae shakes her head with wonder)

Sharon: Grins broadly and holds up Miss Mae’s latest review for It’s Elementary My Dear Winifred. Coffee Time Romance has given it a 5 cup rating. And I’ve just read it and once more, my bonnet is off to you. Here is part of the review, followed by the link. Congratulations, Miss Mae!

First off, I really enjoyed It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred. Second, there is no
sex at all in the book—just want to get that out of the way. The book is a clever
take on the Holmes/Adler style of mystery. It has ‘who dunnits’, tricky clues, characters
that rival the best of the genre. Our heroine, Winifred, is clever and interesting,
but not infallible, while Remington is charming and provides the strength for Winifred.
The villains, once found, should almost have ‘bad guy’ music playing in the back
ground, as they are wonderfully melodramatic. Background scenery is perfectly creepy
for a Victorian mystery with appropriate dialogue—historical without being distracting.

And to read the full review, link here:

Sharon: Where do you suppose you get your ideas for creating such intriguing mysteries?

MM: Shew, that’s a toughie. Mostly, I suppose, by lying down when I should be napping. But instead of dozing, my mind is working with various plot ideas, asking questions, inventing characters, and asking “why?” (she scratches her head). Does that make sense?

Sharon: Have you ever written anything outside the genre of mystery and suspense?

MM: Can I say, “sort of/maybe”? See, I’ll have a YA released October 12, 2009, from Whimsical Publications. It is classed a Young Adult, and it deals with the heroine, Darlene, and her relationship with a young man named Parker Shane. The story starts when Darlene is sixteen-years-old, and continues on until she’s twenty. And while the whole book reads as if it’s dealing with Darlene’s teen-age angst of having her first crush, wearing her first miniskirt (yes, it’s set in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s), preparing for her first date…this is all leading up to a climatic revelation by story’s end.

Sharon: What inspires you to spin these tales of suspense? A creative muse you depend on? A pet cat or a piece of jewelry for luck? The reason I’m asking…and not that this is a reflection on you in any way…but many authors are shall we say…eccentric. Miss Mae? Is there a reason why you’re clutching your brooche clip for dear life?

MM: Well, of course there is! Oliver is eyeing it very greedily! I suppose he can see it’s a family heirloom, and…what was the question? Oh! Yes! Hmph, where was I? What inspires me? Why, I want to surprise the world. Everyone thinks Miss Mae is just this genteel, and downright BORING fluff of southern female gal. Huh! Miss Mae has a wee bit of smarts tucked inside the depths of these gorgeous curls, let me tell you. (smacks Oliver as he attempts to touch said curls)

Sharon: Indeed you do, my friend. Now, when you aren’t busy writing, you love to read. What type of books do you read and why?

MM: I love romance, of course, but I don’t care for anything sensual. I love the chase between the hero and heroine, I love the smoldering looks they exchange, the simple fact of HOW they strive to get together. I don’t want to know anything beyond a couple of very sweet, tender embraces. And good mysteries, though no horror, no supernatural or paranormal. I also delight in science fiction fantasies. I love the idea of space travel and exploring other, unknown worlds.

Miss Mae reaches into her bag and uncaps the lid of a flask, pours a generous splash into the pitcher of lemonaide and pours herself a glass. Smacking her lips, she indulges in a few more hearty slugs…straight from the flask.

Sharon: Ahhh…Miss Mae? As we were saying. Ahhh…yes. Back to your books. Is there one that stands out in your mind, one you particularly enjoyed writing? And if so, can you tell us what it was about that book that is near and dear to your heart?

MM: Well..hiccup…”See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” is special because it was my first release. “Said the Spider to the Fly” is close to my heart because it’s won so many awards. And my forthcoming “When the Bough Breaks”, the YA I spoke earlier about, is extremely special because I’m soooo in love with Parker. (grins sheepishly). But the one I truly ENJOYED writing was “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred”. It’s such fun. I put Winifred, and all the characters, through some terribly exciting trials. And I love who she is. What I mean by that is…wait until you learn her identity!

Sharon: Let’s talk about music. Why do you suppose the golden oldies of the fifties and sixties appeal to you more than today’s selection. What is it about that era that you so love?

MM: I suppose as one grows older (the audience gasps, and Miss Mae hastily turns to reassure them), though I am NOT old, by any means, it was just a general sentiment. Well, one’s childhood days, back when all you thought about was lazing away the summertime in an inner tube on a cold creek, or playing “tag” with your friends, or catching June bugs…whatever the tunes were that you caught on the radio, those are the ones you remember most fondly. They bring back the good memories, and they never fail to put a smile on your face.

Sharon hits a cyber button and Peggy Sue blasts loudly. Miss Mae leaps up, loses her bonnet and begins to do the twist, the flask still in hand.

Sharon: LOL Well there you have it folks…an up close and personal of our dear Southern Belle. Thunderous applause explodes as Sharon joins the fun.

MM: They asked me to appear on “Dancing with the Stars”, but due to conflicting schedules, I regretfully had to decline. (Miss Mae was enroute to share her family lemonade’ll just have to guess where!)

Sharon: Hand me the flask. Wheww…that was fun… But I must be a bit out of shape. I’m sweating up a blue streak. Miss Mae? Miss Mae is still going strong, shimmying down to her…

Sharon: Oh, that was fun. Now Miss Mae, just a few more questions. Do you have any pets and if so, do they inspire your writing in any way?

MM: Yes, right now, we have three female dogs. Each was a throw away. One, Lovey, we came upon just as the car that dropped her off accelerated up the road. She was running behind them, and I couldn’t just leave her there. After three years, we decided she needed a companion, so we went to the local humane society and got Dolly. Last year, a little puppy scratched at our gates to get in. How could we turn her away? We adore them. While they certainly inspire ME, I can’t say they inspire my writing. J

Sharon: So what’s next for Miss Mae? Are you hard at work on your next best seller?

MM: I’m trying! LOL It’s titled, “Catch Me If You Can.” I really hope to have it finished by year’s end.

Sharon: And finally, Miss Mae, my three trivia questions. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And finally who would you want playing your romantic hero?

MM: I’ve never been much of a traveler, I’m a home body, really. (wouldn’t you be on a thousand acre plantation??). So I suppose I’ll answer the first question by saying I’ll just stay right where I am. J And the second question…I’d love to play alongside Sherlock Holmes. Instead of Watson, he could partner with Miss Mae! And for the third…(furrows smooth brow in concentration) Hmm, I’m afraid I don’t keep up with today’s television/movie “hunkies”, so I’m going to go with one that still gives me goose bumps today, although you need to recall him in his younger version, naturally! (sighs wistfully) That’d be Sean Connery.

Sharon: Well, Miss Mae, it’s been a pleasure, my dear friend. Miss Mae leaps up, grabs the butler and shimmies down, her arms wildly flapping. Miss Mae…watch the Waterford dish, my priceless family heirloom!

MM: Tell Oliver to keep his hands away from my chocolate!

Miss Mae does one final twist and the candy dish crashes to the floor…

MM: Oops.

Sharon: Oh dear, so much for Aunt Tillie’s antique candy dish. But as they say, It’s …ah…Elementary, My Dear Miss Mae.

MM: Have a swallow of my rootin’ tootin’ lemonade, dearie. It’ll cheer you up!

Sharon: Hand it over, girlfriend. Sharon slugs some family recipe back and toasts one up to dear Aunt Tillie. And finally, Miss Mae, where can readers find your books and get in touch with you:

MM: There’s my website, at, my blog:, I have two MySpaces: http://www.myspace/missmaeauthor, and Drop by and see me, y’all!
And It’s Elementary My Dear Winifred
Available at:
Class Act Books

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight Candace Morehouse

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My special guest today is Candace Morehouse. Candace is here today to chat about her latest release from Champagne Books, Suspicion of Love. Here is an excerpt:

Stephen turned to face his charge who was standing in
dumbfounded silence in the entry, her hands still shaking as
she removed her second glove, her complexion pale. “No
worries, now, miss. We’re safely inside.”

He propelled her past a tall hall tree bearing a hat and
coat, past a curving set of stairs, through a wide doorway
and into the office proper. He fairly pushed her into a
straight-backed chair with a cracked leather seat that sat
next to its twin in front of a massive mahogany desk
surrounded by a set of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

“Would you care for a glass of sherry? You look as if
you could use it.” Stephen offered the drink with ill-disguised
impatience as he strode about the office pulling heavy, sun-
faded draperies closed across the tall, narrow windows facing
the street. The scent of musty velvet was cloying in the stale
air, and a cloak of darkness invaded the office save for the
dim illumination of a lamp with three bulbs covered in dusty
brass shades hanging from the ceiling. He paused at the
liquor cabinet conveniently located an arm’s reach behind the
desk to pour a finger’s worth of amber liquid in a glass,
offering it to her with outstretched hand.

She smiled weakly and reached out to take it from his
grasp. No sooner had her fingers touched the glass than they
trembled uncontrollably and it fell, spraying sherry across
the crowded top of the desk.

“Oh dear!” she exclaimed, jumping up from her seat
and vainly trying to stem the flow of liquor with her flighty
hands. Unimpeded, it sloshed across the multitude of loose
papers that vied for attention amidst the file folders, pens,
pencils, envelopes, baskets, and legal volumes sprawled over
the desk’s surface.

“Damn, damn and bloody damn!” Stephen watched
helplessly as the final report on a case he’d just finished was
soon sopping, the inked letters on the pages running and
joining and becoming hopelessly lost in a jumbled blur. His
brows drew together in consternation over her clumsiness,
and he joined her in trying to move the bulk of his work out
of the way, their noses nearly touching across the breadth of
the desk.

“Have you a cloth?” she asked, finally saying
something that made sense. “Oh, never mind. Here, I’ll just
use my handkerchief…” She turned to retrieve her reticule
from the chair, accidentally sweeping much of the mess to
the carpet in the process. As she bent over, the misplaced
bustle promptly fell clear to her ankles and she tripped over
the hem of her skirt, propelling her into the seat and toppling
the chair with her in it, ass over teakettle to the floor. She
landed in a heap on the threadbare carpet with only her
petticoat-covered bum and the lone drooping feather of her
hat visible from Stephen’s vantage point.

Stephen glanced down at the ruined fistful of papers
clutched in his hand, and his fingers loosened. The pages
floated to the floor.

He started laughing.

He couldn’t help himself. His light chuckles turned into
gales of deep-throated laughter as he rounded the edge of
the desk to see her booted feet flailing about in the air,
trying to gain purchase but hampered by the heavy folds of
the skirt twisted about her ankles. He could only imagine
what someone might think, were a client to walk through the
door at that moment. This is what happens to clients who
refuse to pay, he imagined explaining, his eyes tearing.
You’ll be forced to clean my filthy floor with nothing more
than your tongue…

“Utdya ink so unny?”

Her tone was frosty and indignant. At least it was from
what Stephen could decipher whilst her face was planted in a
pattern of cabbage roses and ivy leaves.

He coughed conspicuously, wiped at his eyes with the
palms of his hands, and did his best to stop the corners of
his mouth from twitching as he bent down to extricate her
from the chair. He stood behind her and lifted her up from
the ground by the waist, trying unsuccessfully to avoid her
kicking feet. “Be still, damn woman!”

She refused to comply, however, and her legs and
arms continued to flail about like a windmill on a gusty day.
Stephen’s own feet soon caught in the heavy wool of her
skirt and he found himself losing his footing. He narrowly
avoided hitting the sharp corner of the heavy desk as he fell
backward with his ungainly burden.

“Would you just settle down!” he bit out painfully,
tightening his grasp about her waist to still her movements.
Her bum was placed in a particularly tender spot of his
anatomy. Not that that tender spot was feeling any pain. To
the contrary, her soft flesh and wiggling attempts to rise
from his lap were causing quite a stir in that region.

Sharon: (fans herself wildly) Whew! Now if that little teaser to Suspicion of Love doesn’t set the stage for coming attractions, I don’t know what will! We might need a rain to cool things off after that one. LOL Let’s have a warm cyber applause for the author of Suspicion of Love. Candace Morehouse, come on out!

Thunderous applause explodes on cyber stage as Candace struts out singing Southern Rain by Mel Tillis.

Sharon: Welcome, Candace! Grab a seat and make yourself comfortable. Now before we get talking, can I pour you a glass of Shiraz?

Candace: Howdy! You didn’t have to tempt me with my favorite drink, you know. I would’ve come by and set a spell with you anyway. But heck, I’m not complaining.

Sharon: Mmmm. A woman after my own heart. It just so happens I love Shiraz wine, so naturally, I’ll join you in a toast. Here’s to the smashing success of Suspicion of Love. Cheers!

Candace: Cheers! Thanks so much for the warm welcome. Mind if I put my boots up here on the table?

Sharon: Not at all, make yourself at home! Oh, and help yourself to the snacks. We’ve got Cheez-Its, potato chips and fresh fruit slices and a cheese tray. So Candace, Suspicion of Love has been out as an eBook since April with Champagne Books and is about to come out in print. How exciting. Can you tell us a bit about your book? The genre? The setting? And even though we got a very upclose and personal…ah…dare we say feel for the main characters, can you tell us a little about each of the characters and what makes each unique?

Candace: Suspicion of Love is an Edwardian mystery/romance. It’s a bit of a departure from my first book, a historical western romance. This one takes place in London, and a big, drafty, old castle by the sea. Jacqueline, the heroine, is a rather mousy spinster from Wisconsin who learns to come into her own by the end of the book. Stephen, the hero, is a down-on-his-luck British solicitor who is forced to accept his new partner in the Brooks detective agency. Together, they solve a murder mystery and then…well you’ll just have to read the book to find out the rest!

Sharon: I certainly will. I love a good romance, a good mystery and what better place for both than a big, drafty castle? Sounds intriguing! So let’s talk a bit about the Edwardian era. Even though I can’t imagine myself tightly bound into a corset or wearing a petticoat, the flair for fashion during that period has always intrigued me. And aside from some of those gorgeous gowns with all those little loops and buttons that needed the assistance of the maid, the accessories were such an intricate part of the ensemble, especially the hats and jewelry. So tell me, Candace. Where did you get your research for this era? And does the Edwardian period hold a special place in your heart?

Candace: I did a TON of research. Luckily, I’ve always been a real history buff and I already had lots of reference books in my personal library, including a historical atlas of London that allowed me to show the exact routes my characters would have taken to get around the city. I watched the earliest recorded moving pictures made by Thomas Edison and old episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs, too.

I used to work in an antique store that also sold vintage clothing when I was going to college in Las Cruces, NM. Back then I was a size one or three and could actually fit into the old gowns we carried. I bought a beautiful ice-blue ball gown with lots of crystal beadwork that I dated to about 1910. So not only do I have pictures of the clothing and accessories, I own some, too!

Probably the biggest challenge was getting everything about the era right. The turn of the century was such a fascinating time – while there was still a lot of the 19th century as far as transportation and amenities, there were public telephone booths, motorcars, trams, and a host of other things most people might not associate with the year 1901.

Sharon: I’d say you did your research quite well. Working in the antique store sounds like a lot of fun and dressing up in vintage clothes is something I would love! The ice blue gown sounds simply gorgeous! Now when you write, what’s more important to you? The setting or the dialogue and why?

Candace: When I’m writing a historical, both the setting and the dialogue go hand-in-hand. I abhor reading a book where the author has not done their research and refers to something like “Levi’s” in a western taking place in the 19th century.

Sharon: I love a good mystery, a good who done it. Suspicion of Love is classified as an Edwardian mystery. Can you explain to readers a bit about this type of genre? Is it similar to a cozy?

Candace: In some ways it is similar to a cozy mystery. Basically I took the premise of a twisting, turning mystery solved by partners in a detective agency similar to Sherlock Holmes and Watson, plunked it down in turn-of-the-century London, and added some steamy romance scenes.

Sharon: Sounds like a best-seller! More wine?

Candace: Keep the glass filled, please, Sharon!

Sharon: You got it, girl. Sharon snaps her fingers and Edward VII appears on cyber stage with a bottle of Shiraz. Sharon and Candace clink glasses. Now let’s talk about Candace Morehouse. What makes you tick? What are you all about? What motivates you to keep on writing, despite all the hard work and edits, promoting, promoting and more promoting?

Candace: Writing is just something I have to get out of my system. My characters make me do it! I’ve always been a creative sort. My older sister and brother were both talented musically and artistically. I really couldn’t compete in those departments, but found my niche in putting thoughts into words.

Sharon: Here here! Candace, not only do we share a love for Shiraz wine, but we both love horses and horseback riding. There is no comparison to riding wild and free on horseback with the wind whipping you in the face, is there? What is your favorite kind of horse to ride and why?

Candace: I don’t necessarily have a favorite type of horse. Right now I am riding one of my neighbor’s “extras”, a 17-hands tall brute named Cochise who is really gentle as a kitten. I used to own a full-blooded Arabian with some bad habits. He was more of a challenge of a ride. But you could even put me on the back of a mule and I’d be happy! In fact, not only have I ridden a mule, but an elephant, too, once.

Sharon: I know exactly what you mean. And since I was once thrown by a spirited stallion, the next time I rode was actually on muleback! And do you know it has always been one of my desires to ride an elephant? We must talk more about that after the interview! And you also like to hike and camp. What do you suppose it is that draws you to the great outdoors, being close to nature that makes you feel alive?

Candace: It was moving to New Mexico when I was 11 that really made me appreciate the outdoors. The beauty of the landscape here in the southwest is so different from Wisconsin – but it just invites one to explore it. It’s also the history of the land that I love. In the national forest just beyond my house here in the White Mountains are the remains of an old Mogollon Indian trading post dating back from about 1500 B.C. My love for both history and nature come alive in places like this, and inspire me to write.

Sharon: Oh, here comes dessert.
Edward VII wheels a caddy on cyber stage filled with goodies—a butterscotch cream pie and coffee and tea in sterling silver carafes. After presenting the treats with a sweeping bow, he pours the steaming beverages into dainty floral teacups and slices the pie.

Sharon: Ah, thank you, Edward. Very good. Isn’t this lovely, Candace? How about it, girlfriend, could you see yourself in that era? I wouldn’t mind a bit of pampering. Bon bon anyone?

Candace: Oh, dear, I’m afraid I just broke your lovely teacup. You can’t trust me with anything delicate, Sharon; I’m like a bull in a china shop. Sorry!
I would love to have lived in that era, but probably would have protested the corsets and stays and the ladylike manner of deportment. I would have been “the hoyden” climbing trees and riding bareback!

Sharon: Don’t worry about the teacup. And I’m the same way. Although I love to dress up, all those stiff under garments would have driven me crazy, plum loco! But there is something about gliding across a grand ballroom that appeals to me. Oh I just have to ask. Do you have any superstitions you’d like to share with us? Some little something or other you feel brings you luck when you write?

Candace: Not so much a lucky charm, but the mood is important. I love a stormy day and listening to country music – or classical when I’m writing a historical.

Sharon: I wear the pink tourmaline ring and bracelet. According to my Irish heritage, wearing this stone brings good luck to the wearer. LOL And now for the three trivia questions. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could play the leading lady in any literary fiction who would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Candace: Honestly, I wouldn’t trade where I live now for anything in the world. I love the mountains and forests and lakes; this is where I am meant to be. Hmm…a leading lady? Perhaps Calamity Jane! And my romantic hero would have to be Matthew McConaughey – he is the actor on whom I based Stephen Haversham in Suspicion of Love. I know I’m supposed to say my husband, but this is pure fantasy, right? And BTW, love your jewelry, Sharon. It really sets off your lovely hair and eyes.

Sharon: Why thank you, darlin! You can come back any time! And pssst… we won’t tell your DH about Stephen. We’ll let him think you were fantasizing of him and only him! Candace, it’s been a blast, girl! I wish you mega luck with Suspicion of Love and all future books. Now where can readers buy this book and get in touch with you?

Candace: I’ve had a great time eating all your fantastic culinary delicacies, Sharon! Thanks!

Readers can buy all of my books at or visit my website at, which also links to my blog. If they are so inclined to subscribe to my site, they can receive a free copy of the e-cookbook, Recipe for Romance. I brought along a copy just for you – it has my personal recipe for meatballs and a funny excerpt from Suspicion of Love you can’t find elsewhere.

Sharon: Thanks, Candace. I can’t wait to try it out. It’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back again. All right folks. That brings us to the end of Wednesday Spotlight. Let’s hear it for Candace Morehouse. Don’t forget to run out and buy your copy of Suspicion of Love. I know I will!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

JDRF to benefit from sale of Echo of a Raven

JDRF to benefit from sale of Echo of a Raven

With America in the lead at 20.8 million, there are more than 230 million diabetics in the world and the number is rapidly increasing. More than half of these diabetics will develop some stage of retinopathy during his or her lifetime. This condition causes fragile blood vessels to grow and rupture in the back of the eye and can lead to progressive blindness.

I began hearing the frightening phrase diabetic retinopathy at the age of six when I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic. During a routine visit to Children’s Hospital when I was twelve, a doctor predicted I would be blind by time I was twenty-five. His harsh words echoed in my head to the point of obsession, affecting every major decision I made for years to come. But even though these words haunted my subconscious, I never spoke them aloud. Then they might come true. The closer I got to twenty-five, the tighter the noose around my neck, sucking the life out of me like a garrotte. I worked as a legal secretary at the Court of Common Pleas where I prepared cases for judges in Family Court. But painting was my passion. I spent my weekends painting picturesque scenery, the ruins of ancient Rome and reflections on the water. Through my artwork, I escaped to a place of peace and tranquility. No more heartache. No more pain. But one day while painting a Tuscan landscape, I had the first bout of blindness. And for the next two decades, my vision came and went. Now you see it—now you don’t. And after a rocky road, nine years ago, I lost the battle, losing all hope and my will to live.

But through an organization for the blind and visually impaired, I found the courage to face a sighted world I was once part of. Some of the curriculum I endured for eight grueling hours every day for sixteen weeks was mobility training with a white cane, group therapy to deal with anger issues and the use of a computer with adaptive software. It was a heart-wrenching journey filled with endless challenge. Part of the reason I was reluctant to enroll in a program for the blind and visually impaired was because I thought clients would be uneducated. I was a professional, after all. What could I possibly have in common with “Those people?”

I was wrong. I met doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, all with one common thread. We were all facing vision loss due to circumstances beyond our control. Some had the extra burden of facing a marital problem because a spouse could not or would not accept the blindness. We laughed and we cried. We connected in a way words could never express. I was one of the lucky ones. What didn’t kill me made me stronger. And after a long and winding road, a new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting my pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.

Echo of a Raven is a must read for diabetics, those facing a vision loss and for intelligent people who want to put an end to this world-wide epidemic. In my memoir, I give a prolific account of my stay at Pittsburgh Vision told from an insider’s point of view when institutionalized for sixteen weeks. Echo of a Raven is not for the weak at heart. But through my darkest hour, I found light at the end of a tunnel. Only when I reached out and asked for help did doors open. And doors have continued to open for me. There is a plethora of opportunity for the blind and visually impaired. In my memoir, I give the names and addresses and websites for several organizations that have been invaluable to me. Please help me in my mission to find a cure for diabetes and its number one complication—blindness. If I can prevent one child from living in fear of losing his or her vision, Echo of a Raven will be a smashing success.

A portion of all proceeds of Echo of a Raven will be donated to JDRF Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fight for a cure. I thank you for supporting my charity.

Sharon Donovan
Echo of a Raven
Available in paperback and eBook

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Interview with Ed Williams

Welcome to Wednesday Spotlight. Today my special guest is Ed Williams. Ed has agreed to tell us a bit about his upcoming release from Champagne Books. ChristmaSin will be released in November. Here is a brief excerpt.

For me, today is gonna be busy. I’ve gotta make a quick run over to Jenny’s this
afternoon in order for us to exchange gifts, and then I’ve gotta get back here in
time for dinner. On Christmas Eve we usually eat right at six pm, and then we havethis little family type traditional thing that we do. We all go into our living room right after dinner, fire up the fireplace, and then sip on coffee or egg nog together. That’s pretty nice, ain’t it? There’s also the slight chance that if we beg, plead,
or just plain get on Mama’s nerves enough that she might let us open one Christmas
gift. Underline the word “might.“ We’ll be really lucky if that happens, though,
because Ed Jr. and my mom believe in opening gifts on Christmas morning only. Mama
says we do that to be sure we celebrate Jesus’ birthday when we’re supposed to, Ed
Jr. says that we open them then so that he doesn’t have to listen to any pissing
and moaning about us not having any gifts left to open. He adds that if anyone has
a right to a peaceful Christmas, it’s him, as he has to cut down and put up the tree,
deal with mama’s relatives, and pay the tab for our entire Christmas. Not to mention
the fact that he’s a Korean veteran. You‘ve got admit his logic is not bad, at least
it‘s pretty original.

Let’s have a warm cyber applause for Ed Williams! Ed comes on our cyber stage here doing the M.C. Hammertime dance as Roll On Down The Highway by Bachman-Turner Overdrive blasts in the background.

Welcome to Wednesday Spotlight, Ed! Grab a seat and make yourself at home. And just for you, I have plenty of Atomic Fireballs to keep this interview fun and lively. Help yourself. Let’s get rolling with this interview, shall we? You’ve written a realistic story of a deep Southern Christmas from the perspective of a sixteen year old boy that lived it. Let’s talk a bit about that. What prompted you to write this tale?

Ed: Sharon, first, many thanks for havin' me, I mucho appreciate it! To get right to your question, I'll simply say this - most of the Christmas literature I've read over the years ranged from mildly to almost sickeningly sweet material. Apparently a lot more people lived out Cleaver-type Christmases than what I was used to. I don't mind a heartwarming story once in awhile, but I also like to howl at the moon as well when appropriate, and the Christmas stuff I was reading was wax sandwich-like at best.

That made me think - when I was growing up in Juliette, Georgia (its one claim to fame is it's where the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed) we had some very sweet Christmas traditions that were passed down over the years. We also had the yearly Christmas cockfight that the men put on. They'd typically have it a week or so before Christmas, and it was the only chance some of them had to earn money for Christmas gifts for their families. Chicken fights and gambling aren't very pretty, but they were a reality during our holiday time, a way to help some families enjoy a better Christmas. So, I got to thinkin' about it all - if I took those things, added in some other Christmas happenings that occurred in Juliette over the years, and then added in a 17 year old Ed Williams who is turbo-hormonally charged and telling the whole thing, that it might end up being something a bit different than the usual Christmas story. And I've learned over the years that bein' different seems to be a lot more fun than being seen as yesterday's drawers, so I figured I'd try writing it. And I did.

Sharon: LOL Ed, you’re a hoot and a half, I’m sure this book will be a real crowd pleaser. So can you tell me what genre ChristmaSin is considered?

Ed: Sharon, I would categorize it as early Juliettian Christmas literature. (Tami might tell you that it's humor or at least a stab at it). <>Tami would say Southern Humor!

Sharon: I find it interesting when a book doesn’t necessarily meet the guidelines of a certain genre. To me, that makes it a unique read and makes me want to read it all the more! So is ChristmaSin your first book or have you written others

Ed: My first book actually came out back in 1998 - I horsed around and wrote this wild ass collection of stories about things we did back when I was growing up in Juliette - things like accidentally running over my virginal steady girlfriend's dog when I was slippin' out with another girl a bit more morally challenged, the night my father and I caught the choir leader at our local church exploring the panties of one of the choir ladies in the back seat of his car, stuff like that. Through a huge series of flukes these stories got published under the title, Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Juliette Journals. It ended up being printed in both hardback and paperback versions, and the book actually got picked up by BAM nationally and B&N regionally. Then, in 2003, a sequel came out entitled, Rough As A Cob: More From The Juliette Journals. It was released in both hardback and paperback versions as well. In 2007, a story of mine, Sally the Screamer, appeared in the Southern humor anthology Southern Fried Farce. And now ChristmaSin' is about to be released. I've been truly blessed publishing-wise, I genuinely feel like the Forrest Gump of Literature due to the flukey nature of my publishing experiences.

Sharon: Let’s have a big round of cyber applause for Ed! That’s some publishing history—and one to be proud of. Mega congrats! Could you tell the readers a bit about your favorite genre and why this type of book appeals to you?

Ed: I love biographies and historical type books, there's something about real life happenings and people who do remarkably good or infamous things that fascinates me. When it's real, I can feel something.

Sharon: And there ya have it folks, a man after my own heart! Good answer. Now, Ed, what type of emotions are you hoping to draw from readers with ChristmaSin?

Ed: Sharon, the truth is, like most writers I hope its readers love the hell out of it. If they don't, however, I hope that they hate it like whiskers on a mother-in-law. I learned long ago that indifference is a person's worst enemy, and that's even more true in the literary biz. I don't want to bore anyone if I can help it, making someone mad or indignant is much better if it comes down to that.

Sharon: LOL Ed, Whiskers on a mother-in-law! what a scream! No one could ever accuse you of using the same old, same old. I love those clips you throw in, very catchy. Now, how long did it take you to write this book?

Ed: About ten or eleven months if I remember correctly. It was pretty easy to write once I got the sequence of events down in my head. My biggest worry wasn't the writing of it, it was the hope that it'd be readable once I'd completed it, more than a few drops of sweat beaded up on me over that. This is literally my first ever shot at a novel, and that fact did make me a bit nervous.

Sharon: I hear ya. That’s something writers all experience. But with your sense of humor, no doubt it’s carried over in your books. Now let’s talk about Ed Williams. How long have you been writing and what prompted you to start writing:

Ed: Sharon, I started writing back in 1995, and began totally on a dare. I'd gone to a business-type party one evening, one of those business after hours type deals, and told a wild country boy story to a group of guys there. You know the kind, the kinda stories where you shut up talking if a lady happens to walk up on you. After I told it, one of the guys in our group said, "Hey man, you ought to go home and write that down."

I went home and did exactly that - from that point on I guess I've never really stopped writing.

Sharon: The birth of a killer career, I’d say. Now, do you enjoy reading as much as writing or do you use reading to enhance your writing skills?

Ed: I write strictly for fun, and it's just like sex - when I feel like it I do it, there's no rhyme or reason as to when or how it happens. It's just the way it happens for me, and I like it like that. A lot.

(Laughter explodes from cyber space)

Sharon: Okay, Ed, brought the house down with that one. Now, what drives you to write? To keep plugging away at the keyboard even when you run into major stumbling blocks? Tell us about some of your major stumbling blocks and what you do to get past them.

Ed: Sharon, the truth is, writing for me is just like eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard over at the Dairy Queen, it's just pure fun. I don't think I've had a minute of writer's block ever in my life, and if it became anguishing for me to write I'd just find something else to do. Fun is the name of my game, and I aim to have it - if writing ceased to be enjoyable, it'd just mean that there'd just be more time for me to ride mega roller coasters or go to Vegas, two of my favorite personal entertainment options.

Sharon: Do you have any superstitions you’d like to share with the readers? Something you feel brings you good luck when you write?

Ed: When I write, I do so in a quiet environment, I'll suck on an Atomic Fireball and maybe occasionally get up and read a few strips from The Calvin And Hobbes Treasury in order to keep it all loose and fun. If I really need a literary kick in the ass to get movin', I just put on the Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic hit, Roll On Down The Highway. That song always makes me feel good, it can make me want to write, sing, have sex, and do the M.C. Hammertime dance all at once!

Sharon: Ed, you are indeed one in a million! Can you tell us something that makes you unique? Is there someone or something in your life that drives you? Pushes you to find your inner muse?

Ed: I'm proud to be the grandson and son of Ed Sr. and Ed Jr., I know exactly who I am, and I aspire to be nothing more or less. I figure I was put here for a reason, I think all this writing related stuff is happening to me for some reason, and I aim to do my very best at it. I really don't worry about what other people think of me, I love a very pretty lady, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, classic Nintendo video games, and not getting caught at hell raising. Being all the different facets of me is what really drives me, writing is but one part of who I am.

Sharon: And there you have it, folks, a well-balanced man! Well, Ed, that brings us to the end of this interview. I have three trivia questions I always ask my guests. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could choose any era in history in which to live, which would it be and why? And last but not least, if you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and who would you want playing your leading lady?

1. Sea Island, Georgia - beautiful white sand beaches and the most private environment imaginable. I really dig it.

2. If I could live in any era of history, I'd have made sure that I hit age sixteen back in 1956. I mega love Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and Little Richard, I just wish I could've been alive to experience all of them in their prime. Any of them can still outrock just about anything goin' today!

3. I did actually star in some literary fiction - Trish (Graves) Jensen wrote a book years ago called Send Me No Flowers, it was a Precious Gems Romance. It was about this South Carolina sheriff, who attracted a decent share of female attention, and Trish modeled him after me, I was so amazed. She dedicated the book to me as well, I'll always love her for that.

Sharon: Awesome! And finally, where can readers get in touch with you and where can they buy ChristmaSin?

Ed: They can find me at the following places: Y'all come join us for Twitterganza, October 2009!

I love emails from readers, shoot 'em to me, I answer everyone personally!
<Tami pokes him on the shoulder - hey Ed, give her the email address>
Oh, sorry darlin' it's–

Sharon: Thank you for a close up and personal with Ed Williams! It’s been a lot of fun and I hope you come back when your book’s released to chat with readers. Best of luck with the release of ChristmaSin and all future books, Ed. It’s been a pleasure! Now folks, keep a watchful eye for ChristmaSin to be released in November. And here is a sneak preview to the trailer.