My research is usually limited for fiction, especially when I create my own villain. The Button had some necessary fact-checking being set in 1983. Although, I lived through this time period I can’t remember a timeline of when things came out or happened. So, luckily the internet helped me out.
First thing I checked was the music. I wanted to make sure that songs I talked about was timely and had been released by September of 83—even earlier if club bands were playing the music.
Fashion was another area I dove into. Stacy wanted to make a fashion statement by imitating Madonna. Was the timing right for that? I found Madonna’s popularity started that year, so I limited her influence to lace gloves.
In 1983 I didn’t use a cell phone to contact someone, instead there was the public pay phone. What I couldn’t remember was did it still cost a dime to make a call–it did. Was 9-1-1 around? Yes. TV’s were different and much heavier than they are now, but you could connect it to a format that was making its way into households: a VHS player. Watch a movie any time you wanted or record a show to watch later? Amazing in 83. There were no satellite radio options in a car so you didn’t have to listen to all the commercials, but there were cassette players (or as in my case) an 8-track player where you could control that and what you listened to.
Yes, there were some obvious differences thirty-five years ago in: music, fashion and technology, but why 1983? Although it was the year I got married, I had planned on using 1981. But, I wanted to use the quote, “Can I see your papers please” from a Clint Eastwood movie; so I pushed the story-line up to 1983 to accommodate that. This particular quote was something my husband used to say quite often so you can understand why I wanted to use it. He is almost as big of fan of quoting movies as Kent is in “The Button”.
The opening bar scene was based off a few of my youthful observations at a trendy dance club, a biker bar, a rocker bar, and a bar that did showcase male strippers. These were the places that would take my “fake” ID before I was “of age” to drink. I clumped them all together into this fictional bar.
Fact checking was also different in the 80s. If we were sitting around and wondered about something, we’d have to look it up in an encyclopedia. There was a hotline, I remember, that offered information– or Ask your librarian. It came in handy when we played some of our board games or had a person who insisted they were right.
There was no research when it came to things that happened to me. The eight-hour coma was real and came from my memories, but then it was twisted into the story. I didn’t have a conversation with angels like Lynn did. I did grow up in an alcoholic house where there were parenting issues and a blended family. Yet, Lynn Hill’s family bears no resemblance to my real family, including the step brother Warren. I added a couple of things scattered throughout the book a person or two will recognize. That was for the love and friendships that endured over the years.
So, know I always try to get my facts straight now and in the past.
I want to thank Eden Baylee for sharing her blog with me today. Please check out today’s “The Button” post over on Eden’s blog. You will find a different “Random Finn Facts” in each post. Before you go, take a quick peek at Eden’s “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link” below. Eden is not only a prolific author, but supportive of other authors, too. Please, let’s be supportive of her books.
Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.
She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction ~ SPRING INTO SUMMER, FALL INTO WINTER, and HOT FLASH.
In 2014, she launched the first novel of her STRANGER TRILOGY with Dr. Kate Hampton–a psychological mystery/suspense called “Stranger at Sunset.” In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created the LAINEY LEE SERIES about a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii.
An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!
Connect to her via her website at edenbaylee.com. She loves talking to readers!
I have to thank Mae Clair for generously sharing her blog with me today. Check out today’s “The Button” post over on Mae Clair’s blog. Before you go, take a peek Mae’s “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link” below. Mae is not only an amazing author, but she’s supportive of other authors, too. I hope you got to see her amazing new book cover for her up coming release “End of Days”. Please take a moment to support Mae.
I wrote my first childish “masterpiece” at six and was immediately bitten by the writing bug. Since then, I’ve been composing nonstop, and have dabbled in multiple genres over the years, writing everything from fantasy, westerns, and horror to inspirational fiction, romance, and sci-fi. It took me a while to find my niche, but I’ve settled comfortably into the mystery/suspense genre.
Several of my earlier works have strong romantic themes, but all are infused with threads of mystery. I have a passion for folklore, myth, and urban legends and that attraction usually factors into my writing. You’ll find threads of archaic tales and mysterious places woven throughout many of my novels.
I am a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and a past president of the Central Pennsylvania Writer’s Organization. If I’m not camped out at my keyboard or have my nose buried in a book, I’m likely looking up blurry images of cryptids on Google, sorting through vintage photographs, or imagining life as a cat.
It’s finally here! Here are two excerpts, the blurb, and new “Random Finn Facts”.
Lynn Hill left a difficult childhood behind when she turned eighteen. The 1980s were going to be the beginning of a great life. Then what started as an ordinary evening out with her best friend, Stacy, turns into a nightmare. Lynn hears warnings: “Go!” “Leave!” Believing she is hearing things after partying too much, she goes back for one more drink before going home. That decision sets off a chain of events that nothing could have prepared her for. While humans and not-so-human beings are attempting to either help or harm her, Lynn risks everything to find the only person she trusts, Stacy. Who can help her? The stepbrother who shows up right when she needs him or the attractive, helpful bartender who gives her his phone number? Lynn must learn to trust again. Her survival depends on it in this paranormal thriller.
PROLOGUE (part one)
Castro Valley, California, 1976
Lynn was suddenly aware of her surroundings. It was tranquil floating above her still body next to angels. She felt indifferent at seeing her pale form hooked up to wires and IVs, although the beeping machines indicated that her body was still alive.
“You have to go back—you have more to do,” the female angel informed her.
Lynn met the angel’s steady gaze. While she was in awe of her beauty, it was the angel’s silver dress that drew her attention. It reminded her of how the water in her grandmother’s pool had wrapped her in serenity when she sat at the bottom. She’d loved doing that for as long as she could hold her breath. It was one of the few times she felt safe, cocooned in water where no one could hurt her. That dress, flowing like water around the angel, affected Lynn in the same way as the pool did—it made her feel safe. The angel pushed her hair back, causing it to cascade over her peacock-green wings.
Lynn turned her attention to the male angel. His smile was mesmerizing—like a lava lamp, hot and fluid. What a babe! With his long brown hair, strong chiseled features, and green eyes she could get lost in, she felt she could totally spend eternity with him. He smiled broadly at her, but the smile quickly disappeared when the female angel scowled at him. Wait a minute—do they know what I’m thinking? Not cool! Lynn felt her face redden.
The embarrassment was quickly erased as both angels smiled at her again. Lynn wished they’d say more, but she wanted to continue to hang out with them. She was feeling a peace she’d never felt before.
She started to express her desire to stay. “I don’t—” was all she got out before images of an older version of herself filled her mind all at once. Then she was thrust back—into her life and that pallid body hooked up to the beeping machines…
Castro Valley, California, 1983
…In high school Lynn Hill had a black button with white writing that said “F*** Off and Die.” It was pinned to her worn, flower-embroidered denim purse. Lynn relocated her button to the inside of her purse when she graduated, so only she could see it. It wasn’t that Lynn had suddenly changed her attitude upon accepting her diploma with 451 other people representing the first class of the new decade, either. As far as she could tell, 1980 was no different than 1979. What prompted the removal of her audacious public expression was the acquisition of a job and an apartment, or basically becoming a responsible adult. Lynn was mindful that appearing to be an upstanding citizen was necessary, an opinion confirmed by her old history teacher.
“Young women who are successful do not have swear words pinned to the outside of their purse,” the teacher, who reminded Lynn of a shriveled apple doll, had informed her while handing back her essay in the final month of high school.
Lynn was fully aware that the teacher didn’t like her, but she didn’t care. Most teachers didn’t like her, but she always got A’s and didn’t cause problems, so they usually left her alone. No one had ever tried to take the button away, but Lynn did get some looks, which she shrugged off.
She was convinced that more than one teacher had the same sentiment, but they had to pretend to be responsible adults, like she was doing now. Lynn only hid the button from her parents, who would have shown their displeasure in ways both physically and emotionally painful. She escaped that house the day she turned eighteen, moving into an apartment with her best friend, Stacy.
Lynn’s fingers brushed across that button on the inside of her purse as she searched for her strawberry lip gloss. It wasn’t that she hated everyone and wanted them to die, as her button stated; she simply didn’t trust most people. Why should she? They only managed to disappoint or hurt her, but she wished for their absence, not their actual demise. Although there were a few people she felt the world would be better off without. They seemed to have no reason to exist other than to cause others pain.
Lynn applied her lip gloss, slipped it back into her purse, and pasted on a fake smile. It was her final touch before entering the rundown bar with Stacy. A blonde and a brunette together got the attention of guys at the bars, Stacy insisted. Lynn didn’t bother pointing out that it was Stacy’s large bust and fashion-model looks that got all that interest. She knew Stacy was aware of her effect on the opposite sex.
The young women flashed their fake IDs to the guy at the door. It was obvious that the old biker didn’t care about the age of the females who entered the bar as long as they were somewhat pretty, boosted alcohol sales, and had a card, legal or not, that showed they were old enough. Lynn was immediately greeted by loud music, a local band whose name she had already forgotten. They were playing a current hit from the radio. No big deal, just some wannabes, Lynn thought. There wasn’t even a cover to see them. How good could they be?
Stacy and Lynn squeezed between the red vinyl barstools to order their drinks. “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…” Why was the song from Sleeping Beauty in her head? She hadn’t thought of it in years. It had been one of her favorite songs when she was a young girl. She used to listen to the record while following along in the book. She would sing the song loudly if no one was around and pretend she was dancing with her prince through the forest.
In those days she believed she would find her prince someday. Did she still believe in love and happily ever after? Not really. She sighed right as the bartender caught her glance. He had wavy brown hair and the most beautiful brown eyes she’d ever seen. She gulped and started to sweat. She needed a drink, and fortunately, Stacy was already ordering them.
Random Finn Facts:
I believe in the unseen.
I used to play the piano when I was young. I’m attempting to relearn it–if my fingers will cooperate!
I love to take pictures of nature…and my family, too:)
I’m very grateful to Jan Sikes and John W. Howell for sharing their blogs today. Thank you! Before heading over to the blogs, please check out their amazing “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link” below. Both authors are extremely talented. John’s an expert at thrillers, while Jan has gifted us with her extraordinary love story! They’re phenomenally supportive to other indie authors, so let’s give some of that back to them.
Don’t forget “Random Finn Facts” are different in each post.
Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.
When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.
Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.
She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.
Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.
She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.
John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets
I’m thankful to fellow Rave Reviews Book Club member Wendy Scott for sharing her blog with me today. Please head to today’s “The Button” post over on Wendy’s blog. But, before you go please check out Wendy’s amazing “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link” to her award winning multi-genre book catalog. Let’s thank Wendy for being ultra-supportive to other author’s by supporting her!
Wendy Scott has a New Zealand Certificate in Science (Chemistry), which allows her to dabble with fuming potions and strange substances, satisfying her inner witch.
Wendy writes fantasy, children’s and romance novels.
One of the creeds she lives by is to always – Live a life less ordinary!
Gold Medal Winner The Wishing Shelf Book Awards UK 2015.
Silver Medal Winner Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2016.
Blue Treat Award Rave Reviews Book Club 2017.
Gold Quality Marks BooksGoSocial 2017.
Please visit Wendy’s websites to learn more, read her blog or to leave her a message.
She loves hearing from readers.
For updates on TC’s adventures or if you’d like to suggest a song for her next book drop by www.hieroglyph.ws
If you’d like to receive updates from Wendy about her upcoming releases or special reader offers please sign up for her newsletter via the contact form on her websites ~Thanks.
WJ Scott~ Children’s
Wendy Scott ~ YA / Fantasy
Wendy Jayne ~ Romance
I have to thank fellow RaveReviewsBookClub member Suzanne Burke for sharing her blog with me on release day! Please check out today’s “The Button” post over on Suzanne’s blog. Before you go, please check out Suzanne’s Author Bio and Amazon link below. She’s an amazing writer and supportive of other authors. Let’s support her, too.
Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of-miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.
Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.
Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.
Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke. To learn more about Suzanne please visit her site on https://sooozburkeauthor.com/ on Twitter you’ll find her here Twitter for Suzanne Burke
I’m grateful to Staci Troilo for sharing her blog with me today. Check out today’s “The Button” post over on Staci’s blog. To keep it interesting each post has different “Random Finn Facts”.
Before you go, please take a peek at Staci’s “Author Bio”and “Amazon Link” below. She has a newly released book “Tortured Soul” that I recommend checking out–along with the rest of her catalog. She is not only a great writer, but very supportive of other authors. Take a moment to show your support.
Staci Troilo grew up knowing family is paramount. She spent time with extended family daily, not just on holidays or weekends. Because of those close-knit familial bonds, every day was full of love and laughter, food and fun.
She grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor until she moved to Arkansas and began her fiction career.
Life has taken her one thousand miles away from that extended family, but those ties remain. And so do the traditions, which she now shares with her husband, son, and daughter… even her two dogs. And through her fiction, she shares the importance of relationships with you. Mystery or suspense, romance or mainstream—in her stories, family is paramount.
I’m grateful to Sandra Cox for sharing her blog with me today. Check out today’s “The Button” post over on Sandra’s blog. Before you go, please take a peek below at Sandra’s amazing “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link”, which includes her extensive book catalog. Let’s thank Sandra for being so supportive to other author’s–by being supportive of her.
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte, and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.
I’ve been working overtime on the final edits for “The Button”. I decided to use our trailer to work uninterrupted with the bonus it has air conditioning, which the house doesn’t. The trailer is parked in a space above the house, but near the garage and back yard. One side faces the long dark driveway and the other side (where the door is) there’s a heavily forested area. It’s a lovely place to work during the day. I appreciate seeing the douglas firs, pines, oaks, dogwoods, madrones, and other assorted greenery.
But, I’ve added night shifts to meet my upcoming deadline. After dinner I’d head out with my cell phone and laptop and get to work. The backyard and garage lights provide enough illumination to make me feel somewhat safe. Yet, there is the side of the trailer that borders the murky forest. Even leaving the porch light on it doesn’t throw out enough glow to alleviate my fears of what could be lurking in the night.
The first night out–power outage. The only way that would happen was if the trailer came unplugged from the outlet on the house. Of course, my mind raced with thoughts…who unplugged it? What did they want? I texted my husband and got no reply because he was asleep. My lap top’s battery was exhausted, and I wasn’t done working for the night.
Setting my fears aside was all I could do. I hurried out the door to see what happened. Luckily, both dogs were outside and kept watch on my rush to the outlet. It was unplugged. I thought perhaps my husband or I tripped over it and didn’t notice. I left it at that, while trying to ignore the other scenarios my mind was creating including serial killers. So, I brought Sara our Shepard-mix back with me to the trailer and left Hermie our black lab to watch over my sleeping husband. All went smoothly the rest of that night with Sara by my side.
Sara became my night-time companion in the trailer. Each night when I was done she’d bravely make sure it was safe with the darkness of the forest taunting us. This place is where shadows don’t exist and where an animal had screamed loudly a few nights ago. That cry was so piercing I heard it from the house. My first response was to go outside and yell at whatever was hurting the animal. It didn’t listen though, and after a while there was silence. That night I researched the sound and decided it was either a fox warning or a rabbit being killed. I went with the fox. That ‘scream and silence’ stayed with me all week.
A few nights later right before 11:00 pm, I was working with Sara next to me. It was a warm night, so I had the door open. I was editing the evildwel’s part when something heavy walked through the darkness right outside the door, but out of sight of the yellow porch light. Sara’s ears were up, and she was alert. My heart started racing along with my mind. I froze for a moment as the sounds of twigs and branches snapped under its weight. I decided it would be a great time to shut the door and lock it–once I convinced my feet to move. Sara’s attention was on the doorway while my fear changed into panic. Finally, I got my body to move and I raced to close the door. I held my breath until the moment I turned the red latch on the door locking it.
I could still hear the creatures’ progress through an open window. My next step was to shut all the drapes so it couldn’t see me lit up by a computer’s screen. That is also when I noticed it was darker than normal outside. I’d forgotten to turn on the backyard light. Everything was bathed in nighttime. I was convinced that this thing wanted me. I didn’t have the house phone, so I texted my husband. Like before, no response he was asleep. Perhaps if I stayed where I was and slept in the trailer, it would go away? But what if it got into the trailer—there was no place to hide. I would have to defend myself. Why didn’t I think to keep a weapon out here with me? Maybe I should try to reach out to someone. One of my kids should still be up. I couldn’t make a call from where I was at, but I could text. What would I say? I would either worry them or have them laughing at me. What little pride I had left, I decided I was saving them from worrying.
About then my rational thoughts started breaking through my fears. I wasn’t going to let noises in the dark scare me. It was just a byproduct of writing about scary things. So, I settled back to work, with Sara now sleeping quietly next to me. She didn’t seem worried about anything. I took that as a sign all was well. Around midnight I closed my laptop. Done for the night, I knew the only person that was going to get me inside my house, was me. I let Sara out first to clear the path and walked as quickly as I could behind her in the darkness. That 50-foot journey took forever. Luckily, I didn’t need to test my theory whether laptops make good weapons or not,when I made it safely into our garage, and then the house. I locked the door and the darkness out. The next day I was back in the trailer enjoying the green splendor. Yet night wasn’t far off…
When I write about those evil entities that feed off fear and I hear a noise at night…. will I be scared? Yes. Will that fear find its way into my writing? It will. Will I bring some protection with me next time? Guaranteed. Will I make sure the backyard light is on encroaching on the night? Absolutely.
You see I’ve done my research of things that go bump in the night. These things haven’t found me yet, but I know they are there. It may only be a fox, deer, bear, coyote, or mountain lion, but I haven’t ruled out Bigfoot, evil monsters, aliens, or one of those crazy humans, either.
So, know when I’m writing about something scary, I’ve been that scared before. And my heart may have been racing as I typed the words, but that never stopped me from writing. When reality finds me creating fiction, I’ve found it takes a bit of bravery not to run away…and just keep writing.