Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't Go Burning Bridges...Blue Ink - Tuesday Tales

Ahoy Fellow Fathomers! Happy Tuesday and time for another edition of Tuesday Tales. This week I return to my current demonic, paranormal thriller, Blue Ink: The Skin Stalker for my take on the versatile word, "bridge".
Did Colin forever burn his bridge with Joelle?  Let's see, shall we...

(view from atop the St Louis Arch of a Mississippi River Bridge)
"Colin breathed a huge sigh of relief before replying, “Oh, Joelle, thank goodness you answered the phone.”  Colin’s voice carried an unusual ring of panic that she had never heard before.
Joelle’s heart stopped for a moment.  She had not heard his voice in so long- she sat quietly, digesting the words to say.  She appreciated the chair she sat in to keep her knees from buckling.  “Colin?”  Joelle finally managed.
“Yes, it’s me,” Colin replied softly.
“This really is not a good time,” Joelle flatly stated with profound emphasis. 
Colin knew he had some reparations to make on the bridge between himself and Joelle.  However, he knew valuable time ticked off the clock the longer he kept his knowledge from her.  “Look, Joelle, I’m very sorry about how I left, and I have many more things to say to you, but, right now, you might be in danger.”  Colin just let the words fly from his mouth, hoping she believed him. 
Joelle instantly believed Colin.  She knew all the feelings she had recently- the signs that life pointed to her, the women, the stupid blue dots, all of it- now pointed squarely toward her.  Her blood went cold.  By this time, Suzette found Joelle in the break room.  She signaled to Joelle, wanting to know who was on the phone.  The pale complexion of Joelle’s face told Suzette it was no one good. 
“Keep talking, Colin,” Joelle ordered.  “I know about the women in Colorado, it’s all over the news." She paused, waiting for the courage to question him.   "Did you do it?”
Colin immediately became defensive, quickly denying her accusation.  “No, no, no, Joelle, it was not me, I swear!”  Colin’s voice pled with her over the line to believe him.
Suzette approached Joelle, her hands animated and flying in the air wondering what in the world was going on.  Joelle looked evenly at Suzette and put a finger to her mouth to shush Suzette’s tirade."

Now that you've read my contribution to TT, please visit my creative friends over at our main blog, Tuesday Tales for their interpretation of "bridge".

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Little Black Book....from Blue Ink for Tuesday Tales

Ahoy Fellow Fathomers! Happy Tuesday and time for another edition of Tuesday Tales. This week I return to my current demonic, paranormal thriller, Blue Ink: The Skin Stalker for my take on the simple word, "book".
Have you ever wondered if a Little Black Book lifestyle may not really be fulfilling? Let's see if Colin receives any epiphanies.

"He powered up the laptop and clicked on the most accessible news link. He scanned the headlines for any indication of missing women or murders. Both topics too heavy for a random Thursday night, but something in his gut required him to make sure Sascha had not made the news that day.
After he eased his troubled mind of Sascha’s safety, his thoughts turned again to his lifestyle. He wondered why he felt pangs of guilt lately. He lived the dream. He paid his taxes. He tipped accordingly. He gave to charity. Hell, he even adopted two angels last year for the Salvation Army. He gave his money; however, Colin could not think of one instance where he gave his time or feelings unselfishly.
God crept back toward the forefront of his thoughts. What have you done for Me lately? It’s more than a pop song from the nineties, son. Colin looked rapidly around the room, wondering if the creamy, yet strong European stout on an empty stomach caused peculiar hallucinations. He could not determine where the voice came from-  it certainly did not come from his laptop.
I’m only enjoying the fruits of the flesh as is our gift from You. Colin responded completely from his thoughts. He looked toward the ceiling expecting it to cave in. If we aren’t supposed to indulge, why do we even have a sexual craving? Especially for more than one person! It’s flat cruel to deny me that right.
It troubled Colin he now felt the need to justify his little black book lifestyle. As much as he attempted to shake the discomfort, it clung like stubborn emotional lint on his soul.  He popped the top of the second stout, belligerence seeping into his mindset. Maybe two people bonded together created the most satisfying existence. He just never understood it. Most people did not, in this world of bigger, better, faster, and more. He fell asleep that Thursday just as discontent as he ever was."
Now that you've read my thoughts for this weeks edition of TT. Please visit our main TT blog for more from other creative writers and their take on "book". Tuesday Tales

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Free or Not To Free....That's a Million Dollar Question

Ahoy Fellow Fathomers! Today in The Locker we discuss the concept of the price set for books, and how the price may not exactly set a priority status on someone’s reading list.  If you are an author or editor, you understand the plight of too many books, not enough time. It seems I rarely have time to enjoy reading for pleasure, but, found myself determined to make it happen. I needed a few books on the old smart phone library for those moments I could steal for reading.
(Most of the time, this is my book of choice:)
But, I digress...I'm good at that.
Therefore, over the course of the past few months, I downloaded a few choices from Amazon simply because the author temporarily set the price as free for a promotional period, or set it at a .99 publicity price. Of the choices I downloaded, I admit, not many truly captured my interest- but, they were free, so why not?
I recently realized that just because the author offered the book for free, it did not move that book up on my priority reading list. How many more other readers do the same thing? Authors offer books for free to promote their work and gain readers. BUT, if readers download the free book, yet never read it, what has the author gained?
Okay, let me give a completely different example. A friend of mine worked as a real estate agent in Colorado. One of her listings included a nice home in a competitive price range. The house received no bites for at least a month. The agent suggested the tactic of increasing the price of the home, the owners agreed---it sold in a matter of days.
Does that make sense?  Not really to savvy consumers.
Maybe it’s best to offer the book for .99? If a reader has a vested financial interest in the book, it might persuade them to not only read the book, but, move it up in the priority reading list. Am I totally off base here? I do not personally have any sales stats for my books set at promotional prices. However, the experiment intrigues me. I research most things before I just jump on in.
I really want feedback on this topic, not just from authors, but, from readers. You guys remain the ones we want to please and provide entertainment for. Let’s play devil’s advocate, give me your slant of experience, help me understand the marketing gimmick behind the philosophy. Does it really work as well as we want it to?
By the way, @ePrintedBooks is shaking things up on Twitter, give them a follow. They follow back and retweet- what’s greater marketing than word of mouth or internet? J Please also visit them at http://www.eprintedbooks.com/  or http://www.eprintedbooks.com/Store/
Until next time Fathomers….

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It Puts Me Right Over the Moon...Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales
Welcome Fellow Fathomers to this weeks' edition of Tuesday Tales. A group of writers getting together to share their WIP on a common theme. The picture theme for today is MOON...take a look at my contribution from my upcoming YA novel- Leather, Laces, and Camping by the Sea:


"Hi, I’m Helena. I turned twelve this year and will begin junior high in the fall. I’ve lived in the same town and attended the same school system for most of my academic career. I attend a church youth group, play softball, take pre-AP classes, and have a voracious appetite for learning about animals. Someday, I want to own my own zoo. Okay, well, maybe a zoologist or biologist or a large animal vet.

My mom, Elaine, moved us to Texas when she got a promotion with her job. I was at the very end of Kindergarten when I transferred schools. I enjoyed the last few weeks of my new school with field trips, games, and movie days and made friends quickly. I’ve always been outgoing and friendly, so meeting new people has always been an experience I relish.
We moved into a cozy brick duplex with two bedrooms close to the lake and beautiful walking trails. It was just the two of us- my mom and dad divorced before I started school and my brothers had already graduated and moved out. Starting over was exciting for me and I looked forward to everything we would do together.
It was sometime during second grade when things began to change for me and life became somewhat awkward. My vast vocabulary intimidated some of my classmates and they made fun of me when I used words they actually did not understand. Instead of asking me what I meant, they called me names like stupid and walked away from conversations. I shook it off and skipped on to something else. My closest friends included teachers and other adults, while schoolmates bonded strictly with each other. I never thought anything strange about my attachments to older or more mature people. It felt natural to have conversations with individuals I felt connected to, who understood and accepted me.
I suppose now is the time for me to mention something that makes me uncomfortable to talk about, because arrogance never suited me. I have blonde hair and dark brown eyes. My mom sings Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” to me to make me smile. It puts me right over the moon when she does that, although I’d never admit it out loud to her. I’ve already developed the curves of a young woman, ahead of some of the other girls my age. Some adults say I’m beautiful, but, honestly, I don’t always see it.
Especially after the scathing words of my peers ring through my ears.
Let’s get this story started with how I think this whole “bullying” thing began."

Now that you've read something from my upcoming book, please venture over to our Tuesday Tales blog for more from other contributing authors-
Tuesday Tales Blogspot

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tuesday Tales-Black Diamond Hearts are the Most Difficult

Tuesday Tales
Welcome Fellow Fathomers to this weeks' edition of Tuesday Tales. A group of writers getting together to share their WIP on a common theme. The theme for today is baseball...take a look at my contribution:

"The drought left the pasture as dusty, dirt colored cement.  Huge cracks revealing a depth of at least a couple of feet spread here and there across the barren surface.  However, Matthew Hughes would be successful, no matter the difficulty, as he prepared for his grim mission.  He looked out upon the barren meadow and blinked back a few tears.

He normally enjoyed his visits back to the family ranch in Oklahoma. Although, Matthew’s parents raised him in the grandeur of the Rockies-granola hippies who loved the crisp smell of the evergreens and bluebird days on the fluffy slopes of snow.  He enjoyed the best of both worlds as his grandparents and various aunts and uncles lived in Oklahoma from birth on. They maintained the family legacy of ranching established many years before his time.

He still lived full time in Colorado with his successful career as a ski racing instructor, yet, in many ways, Oklahoma would always be home.  He wanted his best friend buried close to his home roots, so, he made the trek back to the family ranch for the solemn occasion. No other place would do.

This type of thing was happening too often, it already made an indelible mark upon his psyche, and he was unsure he would ever recover from the events of the past few years.  Life was making him hard and untrusting.  He refused to call it fear, as his feelings were truly not born out of terror.  Bravery is actually one of his strongest traits.  Being brave is sometimes synonymous with being fearful, if the person is also wise-, which he is.

In the past few years, he lost two friends in a horrific skiing accident, three in car crashes, and one to cancer.  Of the six, five were easily avoidable.  It was this fact that gave him increased heartache. Being young and carefree does not mean young and careless. If only they had checked the snow conditions, if only they had answered that text later, if only they remembered just how treacherous hairpin turns actually were-they all might still be here.  No, damn it, they would all definitely still be here. Their untroubled lives, feigning fledgling responsibility for their actions, ended at fourteen, the culmination being the Little League World Series baseball tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Beyond that amazing sporting event, it had been time to grow up and learn about the real world and how to be successful."

Now that you've read something from my upcoming book, please venture over to our Tuesday Tales blog for more from other contributing authors-
Tuesday Tales Blogspot

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shades of Gray Book Review a novel by Andy Holloman

Meet Andy! 

Ahoy Fellow Fathomers! Today in The Locker I introduce to you the latest book I read, Shades of Gray by Andy Holloman.  Goodreads Andy Holloman(not to be confused with the other Grey book floating around out there)

After I read Andy Holloman’s Shades of Gray, I realized the feeling I had at the conclusion of the book reminded me of a long ago time in a high school class. A teacher proposed the Heinz Dilemma to us, in hopes of a spirited debate. If you are unfamiliar with the Heinz Dilemma, I’ll digress away from my review for a moment. Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of six stages of moral development is a modification and expansion of Jean Piaget’s simpler two stage theory.  Kohlberg used the “Heinz Dilemma” short parable- if you will- as a way to explain each of his six theorized stages.

Heinz Steals the Drug
In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug.

The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife. Should the husband have done that?" (Kohlberg, 1963).

Kohlberg was not as interested in the answer as he was the reasoning each participant in the discussion gave following the story. At the time my teacher presented this exercise to my blossoming mind, this particular dilemma challenged my hyper-sensitive, small town morality and made me think twice about the concrete beliefs of right and wrong. Most situations in life are not black and white, but rather, shades of gray….hence how I tied the book to this psychological theory. Please, I encourage you to read more about he six stages, if this subject intrigues you. I personally find it fully fascinating and engaging. Kohlberg's Moral Dilemma and the Six Stages

Now, back to the review~Holloman pens a creative, heart-wrenching tale of a father forced to do the unthinkable in order to help his sick child, Lucy. This page turner raptly held my attention until the very end. The story shifts from a terrible auto accident, back to the details leading up to said accident. The introduction to the main protagonist, John, is thorough and sets up the pivotal relationship he has with his younger half-brother, Travis, - also a major character.

The author weaves the plotline together very well and introduces each player, explaining their role in the story. Holloman describes the geographic areas used in the story and inside details of the travel industry to further give the tale plausibility. Some of the specifics are so methodically explained- it made me wonder if Mr. Holloman has the inside on conducting illegal activity. (Just kidding, Andy~ smile.) As I read each page, I wondered how far I would challenge my own morality- for the  sake of the "right" reasons.

As well as Holloman pens this manuscript, I did find some slight mistakes. A couple of which are more my personal preferences than may be largely held opinions. There is a name discrepancy with one very minor character, and a few grammatical errors which I chalked up to editing slips. Unfortunately, this occurs from time to time, and even in NY Times best-sellers I’ve read.

To me, it felt like Holloman rushed the last third of the book. Although he eventually covered the answers well enough, I would have liked to read the story unfold, and not “be told” what occurred to get from point a to b, c, and d, etc. He definitely possesses the talent as a creative tale-weaver, and I would have liked more of the particulars to develop as I read.

Toward the end, in one scene, Travis spends time with his niece, Lucy, and overuse of the endearment, “darling”, pushed me to the point I skipped through most of their few pages of interchange. I believe the continued use of “darling” is to emphasize Travis’s love for Lucy. However, Holloman explained it very well throughout and he really did not need to overstate it by a repetitive word usage.

Shades of Gray ends with hopefulness for John’s future, but, not in the way I expected. It is not a black and white happy ending- once again, shades of gray- and I felt sadness for John when I turned the final page. This book is light enough to be considered entertainment, yet, also compelled me to wince at times in anger, disappointment, and sorrow-all good indicators of successful fiction.

Considering everything, I give Shades of Gray Purchase Link four stars and I look forward to more books by Andy Holloman. If you want suspense, intrigue, and creativity, I believe you will enjoy his inaugural book.