I wrote a Christmas short based on a character from “The Button”. It’s now available for pre-order with the release date of 11-7.
All alone on Christmas Eve, Kenzie was feeling the betrayal of her recent break-up. While the sky was heavy with the dark clouds of an impending storm, she walked home from work to clear her head. Lost in her memories, Kenzie was completely unaware she was being followed by a man with green-eyes. Was this not-so-human being the good or evil that lurked around her? On the most magical night of the year, will Kenzie be able to save herself from that evil or will she need some divine inspiration? The outcome will depend on whether she can find the strength to forgive as the storm not only rages outside, but deep within her soul.
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 wanted to carry over a theme from This Second Chance with the red eyes, but I couldn’t come up with an idea for this cover as easily as I had in the past. At first, I took pictures of pay phones to use, but that didn’t seem to capture the essence of the story. Then, I came up with the idea to use bullets, and a button or the things Lynn finds in her bed (yes, the button does say what Lynn’s does in the book). But, it still needed something else, so the final touch was Zelina’s wings that I wore last Halloween. The next thing I needed was something to put it all on. In the closet where costumes are stored, next to the wings there was the velvet cape that became the background. Once I took several pictures I picked the top three and sent them over to my cover designer Monica Gibson. She added the graphics and eyes that pulled it all together. I had many options for title colors, but I think the red stood out the best.
I’m heading into my final edit before sending it in for its professional edit in mid-July. I have to thank the Beta Readers who are taking time out of their busy schedules to give feedback. It is much appreciated and been very insightful so far! Thank you, thank you! If all goes well there should be an end of summer release!
Here is a poem that I feel relates to this story from my upcoming poetry book: Just Her Poetry:
I feel it when I’m uncomfortable.
It is always there hiding…waiting.
That shallow breath…
That tight grip…that feeling.
It draws my attention
Back to where it came from.
A time when I wasn’t so strong.
I was helpless,
I was young,
I’m none of those things now…
Yet, it stays.
It’s an unwanted guest
That lurks in my body
That has over-stayed…
It seems unaware
That it isn’t wanted anymore
So, I carefully guide it to the door…
Fumbling with the lock.
It clings to the doorway
Hanging on to my past
Smiling, I gently push it out…
We are both free as I release it.
There will be no blog on July 1st. I’ll be off the final road-trip of the year, but will be back on July 8th. Happy 4th of July– may your day sparkle like the night skies!
Embrace your inner child by reading a book! D.L. Finn
I’m excited to welcome Mae Clair to today’s special book:
Many thanks for hosting me on your blog today, and allowing me space to chat with your readers, Denise. I’ve just rolled out a new mystery/suspense novel called Cusp of Night I’m excited to share. A book that uses dual mysteries—one set in the past and one in the present—the story also contains elements of the supernatural and urban legend.
My character in the present is Maya Sinclair, a woman who has recently relocated to the town of Hode’s Hill to accept a job as a reference librarian. The move comes at a good time because in many ways she’s starting over. Several months in the past she was the victim of a near fatal car accident. For two minutes and twenty-two seconds she was clinically dead. That time span plays a key element later in the story, but for now I want to hover on those numbers.
Did you ever click on your cell phone or look at the clock and have a perfect trifecta of numbers greet you? Think 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55. I always get a little thrill when that happens. For some reason, 4:44 is a sequence I catch frequently. Maybe that’s why my favorite number is twelve. Hmm. I never made that connection until writing this post.
Like most writers, I’m a wordsmith. I tolerate numbers, but I’ve never had a love affair with them like I have with words. All of that aside, there’s something magical about 4:44 and its cousins. I don’t know if those perfect moments mean something—serendipity?—but I couldn’t resist playing off the thought in Cusp of Night. For Maya Sinclair, in her rented brownstone, the past comes calling at 2:22 AM. Not only her past, but that of a woman who once resided there and died over a century ago. A woman whose spirit has yet to move on.
Intrigued? I hope so. 😊
Here’s the blurb for Cusp of Night. I hope you find it captivating reading, whatever the time!
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.
Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.
Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .
This is the second book of the “Finding Billy Battles” trilogy and begins where “An Account of Peril, Transgression, and Redemption” left off. While the first book centered on the wild west, this book opens with Billy taking a trip to the far east after his beloved wife dies. The journey on the SS China is one of my favorite parts of the series, so far. Seeing 1894 through his eyes is riveting. I could easily picture each place the ship stopped including Oahu before it was built up into the tropical city it is now. On the boat he meets a German Baroness, Katharina who pulls Billy into her story and her life. When Billy reaches his destination (after parting with the Baroness and dealing with pirates) he reconnects with old friends. Here, he’s pulled into a battle between the French and the locals. Finally, it is time for Billy to make his way home and be reunited with his family and daughter. That doesn’t last though, when he is requested to go back to the Philippines for Katharina’s brother and they become involved in the Spanish-American war. This is a part of history I admit to knowing little about: the colonization of the Philippines or the French Indonesia. Mr. Yates has not only detailed it but made it interesting. Although, this isn’t just about wars and history, there are very intriguing relationships that develop including another romance for Billy! This is a stand-alone book, I wouldn’t miss reading the first Billy Battles. I highly recommend this series if you love a good historical fiction with a lot of amazing details or just love a well told tale–this is both!
I loved this fantasy novella by Mr. Boyack! Lizzie St. Laurent loses not only her grandmother and her place to live but is left without any mementos to remember her by. This is when Lizzie decides to grab a box from the truck loaded with her grandmother’s things and leaves. This quick decision changes her life. She soon finds herself with a living hat and a family history she was unaware of. The conversations between Lizzie and the hat had me laughing out loud. When a baby is kidnapped, the hat suggests Lizzie and the hat work together to find him. The concept of an inanimate object being alive is intriguing to me and “The Hat” accomplishes this well. This had everything I enjoy in a story, action, humor, depth, and unusual characters—plus, who wouldn’t want a talking hat with magical powers? I highly recommend this if you love fantasy and paranormal themes– or are looking for something different. I’m hoping there will be more stories with Lizzie and the hat!
This is a children’s book that tells the story of ten-year-old June who lives with her brother and dysfunctional mother. She finds a puppy, Lady Bird, and the children take care of it until it finally becomes a part of their family–and her best friend. June is an A student who is thrust into the role of caretaker more often than she should be. Luckily, her grandma is involved, or G-Mom, and that helps the children to have more stability and love. Her mother marries and brings an uncaring stepfather and four unfriendly steps siblings into the house. But, June gets an amazing trip with her grandmother and brother across Europe–where the kids bring joy to the tour group. Unfortunately, right after is when June gets sick and ends up fighting cancer in the hospital. This part of the book is very emotional and drew me deep into the story. I was extremely invested into June’s outcome and her bravery through an unthinkable situation for any child going through cancer treatments. This is a book I’d recommend for kids and adults to read—and to understand.
Embrace your inner child and read a book! D.L. Finn
I was excited to read the final book of this amazing series—it was hard to put down. The story continues where book two left off. November finds her strength as a vampire emotionally and physically. I love how she softens the edges of some of the harder characters in this story. The idea of Eden hidden within our world was one of the many gems Ms. Manay offered us. Some of the surprise directions the story took were satisfying to read, and sad at the same time. I hope there is more ahead for these characters. This is a series I highly recommend to everyone who loves a well-told story and the paranormal. If I could give it more than five stars, I would!
I have been looking forward to reading the second book of this series. The fictionalized true-story continues for Luke and Darlina after he goes to prison–for a crime he didn’t commit. The couple decides Darlina should go on with her life, while Luke deals with prison in his usual rebellious fashion. They go through changes and grow–which keeps you turning the page long into the night to see what happens next. The process of how Luke and Darlina handle this situation is captivating to read. I not only found the physical changes in their lives compelling, but the spiritual process amazing. It’s a book that shows us to never give up and how to make the best of a bad situation while at the same time it’s about a love that can overcome anything. It is beautifully written and I’ll be continuing this journey in the next book. I highly recommend this if you are a fan of love –or like reading about change and the strength of what the human spirit can overcome.
The giveaway for the release of This Second Chancehas started. Join the celebration! You can enter on this website under contests, on the sidebar—or here:
Rave Review Book Club is doing our annual Writer’s Conference & Book Expo starting tomorrow 10/23 and goes through the week! Please stop by and say hello on my page! I highly recommend checking out all of our amazing talented writers and their books! As a bonus, there are lots of giveaways! I will be doing some early Christmas shopping for my grand-kids at the Conference!
“Mirror, Mirror” is a murder mystery with romance, and the paranormal. Sam is a journalist who suffers a devastating loss. During this time, she meets Patrick, buys a new house, and takes the dresser that used to belong to a murdered relative. As romance blooms with Patrick, a serial killer continues his quest, too. Sam is offered some insight and help from beyond–through the mirror on her dresser. Sam hopes this will solve not only the family murder, but the current ones, too. It is a page turner with a couple of twists along the way. It was a hard book to put down, because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I will be reading more by this author.
This second book of the November Snow series “She Lights Up the Dark” is on equal ground with the first book—which I loved. The story continues where the first one ended and November is now a vampire in a world with other vampires, fairies, and werewolves. She’s a baby in her new form and doesn’t have the support she needs, at first. She’s separated from her maker and is thrust into the world of her enemies. Ms. Manay gives us characters we can love and care about. It’s well written with attention to detail–with lots of new twists added in. I love how it is set in the Bay Area where I grew up, so I know all the areas the book is describing so well. This ended with another cliffhanger and I cannot wait to read the third book in this series. I highly recommend November Snow books for all who love fantasy and the paranormal.
“Suzy Has A Secret” deals with a subject that we (as parents, grandparents and caretakers) do not like to think about—but we must. The subject matter is about inappropriate touching of children by trusted adults. The text is handled delicately and assures the child it is safe to speak up. The pictures are cute and welcoming making it feel like any other children’s book. “Suzy Has A Secret” is a book you can sit with a young child and read about a threatening situation, in a non-threatening manner. It will open the door for more communication. I like the note to the adults after the story with more detailed information. I highly recommend this for those with young children. Although, I purchased this for my Kindle, I’m adding the paperback to my book collection– for my grand-kids.
I’ve had some help promoting the release of This Second Chance and have some fellow authors to thank for their support:
This week, romance author Michelle Abbott, graciously hosted me on herblog. Please click on her name or the blog link and give her your support. You may recognize her name. I’ve posted the review of Just Stay here (and it is listed in Indie Books Read). Her next book I look forward to reading is: Kai. Thank you, Michelle!
Author Jan Sikeshas also graciously shared her blog today. Thank you, Jan! Please click on her name or blog link to show her your support. Her name should be familiar, too, I’ve reviewed a couple of her books. The first book was Flowersand Stone. In a few weeks, I will be continuing the fictionalized true story about the author and her husband: The Convict and the Rose.Discovery was a book of poetry (both books listed here in IndieBooks Read).
Another thanks goes out toJessica Jesinghaus. She posted one of the early reviews (before the final revision) on her website. But, she was helpful beyond the review. I made sure to read one of her books and I was glad I did– as you can see in my above review. Thank you, Jessica!
Dolphin’s Cavestay tuned!
I’ve been working on new book: The Button. Zelina has decided to make another appearance! I think we have developed a good working relationship!
Next week I’ll be sharing some poetry I’ve been working on for: Just her Poetry.
Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.
This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.
Here is the blurb:
When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?
Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.
His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.
If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.
Here is an excerpt:
I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.
When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?
I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.
For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.
“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.
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. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. 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.