Sunday, March 29, 2020

WE ARE RESILIENT




Like most, my hubby and I didn’t foresee the pandemic that bulldozed its way into our lives and across the world.


Suddenly, our walks through the park became more relevant and checking one another’s health each day, now the norm.


The moment I find myself sinking, I refill my cup by meditating and gravitating to my writing. I continue to read books and watch old movies, in addition to goofing off with my family.


Even neighborhood walks remind me that we are all in this together. Yet, we’ve always been in this together. The human race. Life.  


These days, neighbors wave and speak more while delivering a knowing nod. I smile back and perform a hop-skip walk over yet another large area of sidewalk chalk artwork.


We will all get through this. I’ve seen it over and over amid the toughest of times; we have it within us to rise to the occasion of being kindhearted and connected. Now that I think of it, this is cause to celebrate!


Feel free to check out my books, Moment of Certainty / Never Too Late on Amazon.com, or my website: http://www.pamelatowns.net

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: BARBARA RUSSELL




In addition to writing books, author Russell is an entomologist and a soil biologist. She jokes, stating, “Which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs.” She admits that nature and books have, for some time, been a passion of hers.


“I was a kid when I read The Lord of the Rings and fell in love with fantasy novels.”

She adds, “When I discovered cozy mystery and crime novels, I fell in love with Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and… nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.”


I had a chance to delve into The pact of the White Blade Knights for myself.   What a satisfying read! Author Russell has a way of drawing you into the story with characters Tyon, Hazel, and Aleximanus’ at the center, a web of good and evil that keeps you guessing at every turn. The author uses beautifully constructed metaphors that practically dance as she unfolds the layers of each character.


From the start, you understand Hazel’s desire for Tyon, and the complexities he presents with allowing her to get close to him. With awesome description, the reader becomes enchanted almost with how eloquently the story flows through the plot.


Hazel, now working for Tyon, is drawn into unforeseen danger. Aleximanus, who breathes sins, is the arch enemy of Tyon. As the story unfolds, it is Hazel who denies herself the truth. But will she discover it fully? Will she find love after all? I highly recommend this book, and other books by author Russell!


I had the pleasure of interviewing this author. I must say her wit and charm are delightful! Here’s what she had to say:


Given the fact you began writing as a young girl, what influenced you more regarding your endeavors, a parent, friend, or fantasy stories?


After reading The Lord of the Rings, I wanted to be like Tolkien (so silly of me, LOL. There’s only one Tolkien.) Still, I can remember the awe while I was reading and the feeling of wanting to do the same, to be able to picture a scene only with words.


I wrote my first novel when I was 10. Well, for me it was a full novel, haha, but the word count was merely 800 words. Anyway, it was the story of a space bear that lived on a planet populated by bears. Each bear had the coat of just one color, while the protagonist had a multi-colored coat, and everyone gave him sideways glances for that. He started a quest to find someone who could dye his coat and turn it completely brown. He traveled up and down the galaxy and found nothing.


At the end, he said, “Screw it,” and he kept is multi-colored coat. Now, before you think that the story has a moral, that it’s about accepting yourself, etc… let me tell you this: it doesn’t. I just got tired of writing and ended the story there, LOL.


Are you encouraged or disappointed by aspects of the writing business for indie authors?


Both. I like the freedom of choosing all the details about the story, the cover, and the type of writing style I want. I have some books traditionally published and while I love my editor, sometimes I have to change my style to adapt it to the publisher’s house style, and I feel like my voice is different.


But, promoting a book is expensive, time consuming, and not rewarding at all. I’m not good at it, LOL.


What are the biggest pitfalls you see new authors slipping into?


Ha! Not knowing how to promote their books (like me). You can’t be just a writer, you have to be a publicist, a marketing expert, a statistical analysis expert… it’s a bit too much.


What inspired your book, The Pact of the White Blade Knights?


I did a lot of research on the Victorian Era for The Heart Collector and Clockwork Victoria (Coming soon) and I loved it. I also collected a lot of material so I wanted to write something else set in that historical period. Also, I’m a bit lazy, LOL. After all the effort that research took, I thought to use it as much as possible before starting research on something else.


Want to keep in touch with this author? Check out the following links:













Monday, January 6, 2020

LET’S THROW OUR ARMS AROUND 2020



Most people attempt some sort of a New Year’s resolution with good intentions, only to have their goals fizzle faster than Alka Seltzer Plus tablets! Yet, how do we stick to our plans for tackling new home improvement projects or bettering ourselves in the area of education or shedding a few pounds? Let’s face it: Sometimes life can get in the way, forcing us sideways when we want to go straight.

Early on, I used to jot down a long to-do list, changes I wanted to make, and hardly checking off any by the end of the year. It felt overwhelming and I simply gave up. Over the years, I’ve mastered the process. Here are my suggestions.

1)      Small lists work wonders. I limit my objectives to two or three, which allows me to remain focused. I don’t feel overwhelmed with seemingly impossible tasks that I may not complete.
2)      I am reasonable with my goals. I don’t tell myself I’ll run a marathon when I don’t enjoy walking more than two miles. (I barely will complete one!)
3)      Often, I incorporate my goal/s with my daily meditation so that I am reinforcing my plans regularly. They are always at the forefront. Because of this, I tackle some aspect of my ambitions, drawing me closer to my desired result.
4)      Depending on the resolution, I may use a vision board. For right-brainers, this works wonders because you see your plans before you with pictures, objects, and cut-out lettering.

Finally, I leave you with this sentiment as you trek through the New Year: Honor your gifts. Set realistic goals. Do the work. Don’t give up. Sidestep negative energy. Respect your dreams. Have integrity. Embrace individuals from diverse backgrounds. Cling to your faith. Meditate. Focus on helping others. Learn to relax more. Laugh. Be the light when you enter a room. Celebrate your uniqueness. Keep your word. 


Friday, December 20, 2019

A SPECIAL HOLIDAY WISH FOR EVERYONE


I can hardly contain my excitement regarding the upcoming holidays! If you're like me, you get a kick out of gift-giving, dinner with family, and good times with friends.

After each celebration, the memory lingers until the following get together. But, I know for many, this time of year can bring sadness, especially for those who've lost a loved one, or for those who're going through heartache watching someone dear suffer from an illness.

This season, my wish for each of you is peace in your spirit. We should all keep close to our hearts, the true meaning of the season, and to cherish precious moments with those we love.

Until next year, I wish each of you a wonderful Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

FEELING THANKFUL THIS THANKSGIVING


Perhaps fall is one of my favorite seasons, because it kicks off thoughts of family, fun, and having an overall sense of gratitude.

I’m reminded often that, I should live in the moment, savoring the sweetness of my days no matter how simplistic, since there are people who'd give anything to walk in a park unassisted, enjoy a hot meal regularly, or delight in the fact a friend stopped by to chat about nothing of relevance.

This season, between the servings of turkey and dressing, the apple pie and the cobbler, I want to admonish everyone to have a bigger heart and smile into the eyes of a stranger when you're out and about, help pay it forward in some manner! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: DENISE WHEATLEY


You don’t have to spot author Denise Wheatley walking down the street or dining out to get wind of her insatiable and infectiously upbeat spirit. That comes through simply viewing her social media sites. Her persona leaps off the page, and if that doesn’t get you, her deep dimples will!

But, make no mistake, author Wheatley is more than a pretty face. She’s published several books and novellas with Simon & Schuster, Red Sage Publishing, and eXtasy Books/Devine Destinies, and has also written screenplays and ghostwritten for several publishers.

I had the opportunity to read her most recent book, Wards of the Women, which I describe as, “roll on the floor with laughter” good! Wheatley masterfully weaves in sistah-girl humor so thick, you feel you know these endearing ladies personally. I highly recommend this book!

Wheatley, born and raised in Chicago, has plenty to write about based on her surroundings there as well as Los Angeles, her favorite city which she frequents often. Writing at a very young age, her literary talents have garnered celebrity acquaintances and opportunities with some of the entertainment industry's elite.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to interview the author and hip-hop music lover.

What are your biggest challenges as an author?

As an author, my biggest challenge is oftentimes the editing process. I love creating stories, building worlds, and bringing plotlines together, etc. But once the book is written and it’s time to read it, then reread it, then reread it again, I find myself becoming burned out. And I tend to be a perfectionist, so combing through each page in search of errors can be quite daunting. Remaining motivated while writing a book can also be challenging. Once I’ve penned my outline, I’m excited to begin introducing the characters and setting up the plot. But when I reach the middle of the manuscript, and it’s time to execute the plot and subplots then tie the storylines together, that process can be overwhelming/draining. 

Where do you draw inspiration for your stories and characters?

When it comes to my writing, I am oftentimes inspired by everyday sightings, stories I’ve heard from family and friends, and various things I have personally experienced. I also adore the city of Los Angeles and all things Hollywood, so several of my books are inspired by that. My novel THE ROAD TO BLISS is about a small town woman who falls in love with a movie star. THE HOLIDAY CHRONICLES series follows an A-list publicist and her fiery, complicated relationship with a bad boy celebrity client. The influence of LA is apparent throughout all of those stories.

Do you find it easier to be part of the traditional publishing house or is it simpler to be an indie author?

At this point in my career, I find it easier to be a part of the traditional publishing houses. I’ve self-published in the past, and there’s definitely an advantage to having full control over every aspect of your projects. But there is a lot of work and responsibility that goes into indie publishing, so having a publisher that can take on the bulk of that work is advantageous.  I’m lucky in that I’ve worked with editors and graphic designers who have taken my thoughts, ideas, and opinions into consideration during the production process. So bringing my books to life has been a collaborative team effort.

What advice would you give fledgling writers on rejection?

My best advice is to always remember that creativity is subjective. We cannot expect everyone to love our work, and throughout this literary journey, we’ll probably receive more “no’s” than “yes’s.” However, that should never be a deterrent. We write because we love to do so, and it’s our passion.  Focusing on the enjoyment of the process, improving our craft, and creating good work should always be in the forefront, as well as never giving up. If we stick with our goals and remain consistent, the positive results will come.

For book purchases and staying connected to this author, check out the following links:

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

EXCERPT FROM: NEVER TOO LATE


“Honestly, David.  You’re really going to make me do this?” I asked my husband of three years.  He sat two feet across from me on the bed as he flipped his hand toward his face. “Come on. Hand it over.”
            Negro tried to appear serious, but he grinned broader than a crooked car salesman. I lifted an eyebrow at him. He enjoyed this way too much, eyes practically danced with anticipation over my enlarged breasts and swollen belly.
            I play-pouted, removed my shirt, and flung it onto his head. “How do I know you’re telling the truth, huh?”
            “Because, babe, Shmetcher is not a real word.” He sniffed my shirt before tossing it with my footies which became wedged against his backside. Evidence of another word I’d lost. Funny. Every game David chose ended in strip something. Strip Monopoly; strip Pictionary, strip Name-That-Tune. And usually I lost.
            “Bren, you should know better, being a writer.” He eyed me as though he’d won a large sum of money.
            “I never claimed to be a pro speller or writer. I don’t want to play this game anymore. Cheater,” I teased, giving a coy smile.
            He chuckled, ogling my boobs darn-near busting out of my ill-fitted bra.
            “You’re the one cheating,” he said. “Speaking of which, did you call Shana? I know you did after you promised you wouldn’t. Admit it.”
            Can’t do it. I can’t look at him.
            I lifted my eyes to meet his sparkly brown ones, but my chin dipped, which was a straight up giveaway. David pushed the board game aside. We’d played it for close to an hour while sitting in our candle-lit room, nestled in our unmade bed. The smell of strawberries had long departed, and traces of cracker crumbs and cheese shavings rested on a tray by the corner of the nightstand.
            “What happened?” he asked.
            I held my palms in the air. “She got upset when I asked why she didn’t come to the baby shower. She said I didn’t have a right to disrupt her day with foolishness.”
            “See, babe. I told you. I knew she’d have a lame excuse. Stop setting yourself up.”
            “You’re right. Shana claimed some phony illness I never heard of.”
            “What?” David leaned back and brushed his big toe across my stomach.
            I arched my upper lip and smacked his ankle. My mood switched that quick. Not because of David’s hobbit foot, but the mention of my stepmother, Shana. I heaved a sigh so tough my chest nearly deflated. It had been a year since my dad’s death and instead of my relationship with Shana growing chummier, our distance intensified. “She said she gets a dizzy condition whenever she has arthritis in her hand and a sore hip at the same time.” I rubbed my stomach.
            David repositioned himself, his weight now on one elbow, and his face close to my thighs. “You have got to be kidding? The woman is never going to change. You do know this. Cut your ties now, before our son is born.”
            “Son, huh?”
            “Son.”
            “You’re one to talk. You allow your babies’ mama—”
            I couldn’t finish my ugly remark before his hand flew up in protest. Any statement that started with baby followed by mama guaranteed mild irritation from David.
            “First of all, you equate what I do for my kids as watching out for Julie.”
            “But, Shana is my mother.”
            “Stepmother.”
            “She’s my mother,” I emphasized. “After all, she raised me. That’s why I continue to try.”
            “She raised you, all right.” His tone slammed my position. “People treat their dogs better than she treats you.”
            He’d uncorked my fractured youth, the part that wanted Shana to look at me and smile because she thought I was pretty and smart and good.  
            As grown as I was, thirty-six and close to being in the “old mamas” club, my heart longed for the warmth of her touch, to be seen by her, and to have her stroke my back.
            I wanted what my younger sister, Sherrie, got. But, of course, I didn’t come from Shana’s womb.
            I’m gonna be different with my baby. I’ll give every ounce of love I have.
            My eyes glazed over by the time my thoughts returned to David. He leaned in and kissed my knee, then my thigh, and my belly. He traced it with his fingertips to the point it tickled, although I didn’t flinch. My baby—our baby—moved. I stared down at David. He tilted his head up at me and gave a side grin. It was genuine and full of promise for our future.
            I had everything I needed.
           


Never Too Late will be available October 23rd, on Amazon!