The Tell-Tale Stone (A Twist of Poe Mystery Series Book 2)

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In “Love” with a Narcissist/Sociopath: Althea’s Story

veldabrotherton:

This has an adult warning on it, but is so important for women to read. August McLaughlin pulls no punches.

Originally posted on August McLaughlin's Blog:

When I put word out that I was planning a series on dating a sociopath, starting with my own story, I heard from numerous people who had done so. They’d moved on with their lives, learned a great deal and wished to weigh in.

Then I heard from a friend who I haven’t seen in a few years, whose story is quite different.

I’m currently in a relationship with sociopath/narcissist, she wrote. I’d love to help!

Wow. I asked if she could speak publicly and openly about her experience. Not all sociopaths are abusive, after all. I’d recently read about a neuroscientist who discovered, rather by accident, that he is a psychopath—and an overall good person. He’s what some call a pro-social psychopath; he’s chosen to lead by intellectual empathy.

So maybe, I thought, my friend and her guy were making it work! Maybe they’ve both embraced his diagnosis and she’d like to show…

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Always look for rainbows and stars

Cutting our cake on our 50th Anniversary

Cutting our cake on our 50th Anniversary

Recently I saw a quote on Pinterest that was so suitable for me that I pinned it and remembered it too. It simply said, “When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.”

Night has always been my favorite time. Funny, cause when I was a kid I was afraid of the dark. It always felt like something was reaching out for me. The hairs on my neck would waver, a fist would clutch my stomach and a lizard crawl up my spine. Yet, all my life I’ve loved to look at the moon and the stars. Stare endlessly at them while my imagination flashed in the darkness, making up tales of adventure and romance.

Other things live in the dark and we can see them if we concentrate. Lightning bugs, known as fireflies up north, cavort in the summer nights. Ivory moon flowers reflect light from the stars, comets criss-cross black space, while on the ground critters scurry, their eyes bright as diamonds.

The past couple of months have been difficult for my family, with my husband going downhill so fast we could scarcely believe it. The craziest thing of all is there is nothing wrong with him, or so the tests show. He’s just going somewhere both physically and emotionally where I can’t follow. Not even dementia or alzheimers is indicated. He has some strange symptoms. We’re going to see if an ENT can see him as they appear to be something to do with crystals in the inner ear, from what we can learn. But we’re not doctors.  My daughter Jeri has exhausted herself looking out for both of us, and she is my support.  I will be forever grateful to her.

Here's the cover of my latest

How strange it is to have this going on and learn that my latest book, The Tell-Tale Stone was released today. Feelings are so mixed. It’s difficult to celebrate while dealing with life as it is right now. I’m so excited about the book. The cover is gorgeous, designed by Casey Cowan and published by Oghma Creative Media. I couldn’t be happier than I am with the people who work with this publishing company. The editors, mine is Staci Troilo, are fantastic, the writers are superbly talented, and Casey holds it all together with such expertise it’s amazing to watch. And he’s so caring of each of his authors, so concerned about what I’m going through with my husband.

Casey wishing we happy 79th birthday

Casey wishing we happy 79th birthday

The writing community in Northwest Arkansas is supportive as well. In all the years I’ve been involved with writers, none have been so kind and helpful as they are now. We have a fabulous group in our Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop, and on a wider scale all those involved with Arkansas Ridge Writers and Oghma Creative Media. Coming to my aid also is an old friend, Sara Bartlett, who is skilled in the care of the elderly and has offered me a helping hand. I’m so thankful to be within their comforting arms during this difficult time.

 

 

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An Interview with C. J. Fosdick

It’s so good to have you as a guest on my blog, C. J. I understand you are giving away two ebook copies of Accidental Wife to names drawn from the comments. Make sure to leave your email address when you comment, readers.

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  1. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

A: I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and learned very early that it was a beer capital of Wisconsin–if not the world. My grandfather would carry me in a cardboard box to the corner tavern and while he drank beer, I munched on the chocolate bars his buddies threw in the box to keep me happy. To this day even the scent of chocolate keeps me calm and happy!      When I was ten, I won $5 in a writing contest and though I blew the winnings on candy dots, the greater prize was acknowledging the bud of talent. As an editor of my high school paper and a teen columnist for a local paper, I honed that talent and planned to study journalism in college. That dream ended prematurely after I found my soulmate on a New Year’s eve blind date and married after my freshman year. When my husband took a job with IBM, we moved to Rochester, MN. and raised a family…and a menagerie on a hilltop hobby farm we call Mt. Pegasus.      Writing was never abandoned, but the “great American novel” dream gave way to shorter freelance stories and articles in local and national publications for years. I also gave summer riding lessons for 15 years. Now, with an empty nest…and an empty barn, I am blazing trails to catch up with more novel projects after  The Accidental Wife.

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Q: What do you see as the central message of your book?

A: Without a doubt, it’s the transforming nature of love—in any era. I think many of us have a life tape that we follow, sometimes from the cradle to the grave. Maybe a few “life glitches” give pause along the way, but ultimately we own who we are and what we want to do with our lives. My heroine has survived her glitches, but is determined to have a career without any emotional encumbrances. But everything changes after the grandmother who raised her dies and the mysterious legacy she inherits causes her to slip back in time—literally into the shoes of her look-alike great great-grandmother. As an instant wife/ mother/ sister /friend, all shades of love in a simpler era tangle with her beliefs…and also threaten her life.

Q: Why choose Wyoming for that particular setting?

A: I grew up in the television era of westerns and always longed for a horse. I also have a passion for history and survival stories, especially from the colorful 19th Century. On a family vacation to Old Fort Laramie and Yellowstone, I fell in love with the stark beauty of Wyoming. It has a rugged, honest history that was also very progressive toward women. Ft. Laramie played a huge role as an oasis to caravans of settlers for nearly two thirds of the 19th Century.  Part of that long first novel I’ve tucked away is also set in Wyoming and at the famous outpost.

Q: Do you intend to continue to write time travel romances, or do you have your heart set on another genre?

A: I love what we can learn from history, and how a creative portrait-in-print can make us think, compare, even transform us into “armchair time-travelers.” Time travel is just the vehicle driving characters into a historic setting with a sprinkle of fantasy. Like my inspiration, Diana Gabaldon, I want to explore multiple genres in one book, and like Velda Brotherton, I’m game for tackling straight contemporaries or mysteries. My characters seem to have great input on where they end up, and I love to surprise the reader with O’Henry-type twists.

Q: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for yourself as a ‘brand’?

A: I ­grew up left brain creative—in the typewriter age. I hate electronics and all the marketing stuff you must do to get noticed and followed. Fortunately, I married a right-brain IBMer who can help me, but even he is baffled by all the possibilities and curves social media throws out. Becoming market-saavy is like getting a PHD in hieroglyphics—a necessary evil. I’m learning slowly, but it sure cuts into the writing time. I try to tweet something every day and I’m studying Pinterest now. I DO have a guilt trip over blogging far too infrequently on my website.

Q: What are you working on at the moment / next?

A: Right now marketing keeps me from finishing the sequel to The Accidental Wife. Hopefully, it will be available early next year. I’ve also committed to write a contemporary short story for a Valentine anthology for Wild Rose Press—based on candy heart messages. Last on the agenda is an article for a writer magazine on what I’ve learned from attending eight writer conferences in the last few years—including one in London, (my least favorite.)

Q: What commonality can readers expect to see in your books?

A: Animals and redheads, a mystery or legend, memorable characters and facts, and surprise twists.

Q: What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?

A: I put in a lot of “mind time” in the shower…on walks…while exercising. Sometimes, there’s a circus going on in my head, over-thinking and editing what will work and what won’t—even before I get to my lap top. When everything clicks, I’m in a zone—time traveling in a stuffed armchair. I also re-read what I wrote the day before to start the flow again. With my coffee mug and stash of snacks, I can write for eight hours straight without moving more than my fingers.      However, I did pay dearly for that eight hour scenario while writing The Accidental Wife last year. Cramps in one leg turned out to be blood clots from the inactivity. In a test study at Mayo, I learned I had a blood mutation that puts me at risk for clots, thanks to an ancestor who lived 35,000 years ago. I now exercise regularly, take a low dose aspirin daily, and set a timer to remind me to get up and move.  The “Factor Five” mutation affects 5% of the population, so you might say—by way of discovering it—the book saved my life.

Q: What sort of music do you listen to when you write?

A: Easy listening instrumental and light classical. On a trip last fall to Britain and Scotland, I picked up some Scottish and Irish CD’s that I’ve almost worn out already.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?

A: Read-read-read the best in your genre and work toward emulating, equaling, then surpassing. Join some writer groups, network and absorb at writer conferences, try out some online writing webinars, figure out wise use of twitter, email, Instagram, facebook, and definitely create a website. Test the waters with something short—poems, stories or articles for local publications or contests that will give you unbiased feedback. When you get something published or win a writing award, you have more credibility to build a bio that stands out. And, of course, write and re-write. If you think you’ve nailed something, give it time to percolate. Look at it again in a few days or weeks and you’ll be surprised at how much you can edit in or out of your script.

BL-reading a book excerpt

Bio:  Cj Fosdick has fiction and non-fiction published in local and national publications such as Rochester Women, The Post Bulletin, Woman’s World, Writer’s Digest, Seventeen, and three short story anthologies for High School Literature textbooks. She received a grant to publish the successful Minnesota anthology, Blossoms & Blizzards in 1986 and compiled a catalog of 150 local writers from 1854 to 2004 for Rochester’s Sesquicentennial. This devoted Outlander fan is also an award-winning member of RWA, Women Writing the West, and The Historical Novel Society. Follow her on facebook, twitter and her website at cjfosdick.com

Her debut novel, The Accidental Wife, was published last month by Wild Rose Press as a mainstream historical. It is available in Print and eBook at Amazon and Wild Rose Publishing and in eBook at B&N, Nook, Itunes, Bookstrand, Kobo, and All Romance.

Excerpt from Accidental Wife

In the moonlight, he rose from the Adirondack like an old man and moved toward me, his green eyes fanning me from head to bare feet. He touched my face with both hands, feathering his fingers across my forehead, into the wells of my eyes, over my nose and cheekbones, like a blind man needing to know who stood before him. I tried not to stiffen at his touch, willing myself not to blink, not to release the fresh tears that had begun to pool. He collared my throat with his long fingers and ran a thumb over my lips.

“I want my wife back. Come back to me, Mitawin,” he whispered.

The word on the teacup; the hallmark of my deceit. Our eyes locked, and I felt my throat closing and my knees begin to quiver. For a few seconds his grip tightened around my throat, and I clamped my eyes shut with a fleeting thought. Yes, take my breath…end this tormenting deception. When he suddenly released me, I could see the pain twisting his face. He turned away and rubbed his chin against his shoulder, bracing both arms on a porch railing.

“My shirt looks good on you, Jess,” he said hoarsely. You always did have a thing for my shirts.” I cleared my throat. “You, can’t sleep out here,” I said after a long silence. “Come to bed.” His shoulders flinched. “Is that an invitation?”        “I only mean…you can’t be comfortable sleeping in that chair.” We both started by the sudden hoot of a nearby owl, and like the volume turned up on ear phones, I was suddenly aware of other night sounds, crickets, wind rustling through the sage, my heart bumping in my chest.

Blurb

He was sleeping commando. I, who never expected to spend a night in bed with any man, woke up on my thirtieth birthday in a wilderness Wyoming cabin with a rooster crowing at the window and a naked man beside me. Not just any man. Oh Lord, this wasn’t a dream channeled by a humming teacup. I was in bed with my great-great grandmother’s legendary first husband.

Thank you so much, C.J. I’m sure my readers can’t wait to read your book. Don’t forget, when you comment to leave your email address to get in the drawing.

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Why Passion Trumps All (An inspirational post)

veldabrotherton:

This is such important advice I had to share it.

Originally posted on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors:

Today’s post is inspired by a blog post written by a 24-year-old dying man who offered some words of wisdom I believe can be useful for us as writers.  This isn’t really a “how to make money” or “this is how to run your business as a writer” post.  It’s more of an encouraging post.

ID 38413064 © Ivelinr | Dreamstime.com ID 38413064 © Ivelinr | Dreamstime.com

Passion is the driving force for true enjoyment (and possibly success).

I’m not going to promise you’ll find success in writing what you’re most passionate about, but the man who wrote the post I linked to above had an excellent point.  He wrote, “Patience, passion, and dedication come easily only when you love what you do.” For longterm sustainability in this business of writing, I believe passion is the driving force to maximizing our chances of success.

If you are writing what you’re most passionate about, it’s easier to…

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April in the Ozarks

veldabrotherton:

I can’t help sharing this poem and photo with all my followers on this lovely Ozarks morning.

Originally posted on Freeda Baker Nichols:

When it’s April in the Ozarks
and the birds are on the wing,
when the showers falling gently
cause the meadowlark to sing.
The bird of blue fights the sparrow
and wins the honor to nest
inside the little house of wood
with its doorway facing west.
When it’s April in the Ozarks
and it’s time to welcome spring,
in a garden filled with flowers
there’s a bluebird who is king.

© 2015 Freeda Baker Nichols

bluebird

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A-Z Blog Challenge 2015–Crystal Fix–Kionite

veldabrotherton:

Because I’m busy getting edits done on one book and proofing the one coming out in May, I’m posting this blog from friend and fellow writer. Think you’ll enjoy her journey.

Originally posted on Sorchia's Universe:

K

 Is For Kionite

Kyanite—Attunement, tranquilizing, throat chakra

  • A meditation stone that amplifies higher frequency energy.Iolite
  • Use it to manifest spiritual energy and to find a spirit guide.
  • Put it nearby when you sleep to promote healing dreams and to aid in dream recall.
  • Kyanite requires no cleaning because it does not hold negative energy.
  • Connects the higher mind with the physical and illuminates the connection between cause and effect—the part decisions and visions play in the tapestry of a life.
  • A good stone to aid in the transition from life to death.
  • Use it to treat muscular disorders and thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, throat and brain.
  • It lowers blood pressure and can help infections.
  • Can release excess weight.
  • Balances yin and yang energies.
  • Position between the naval and heart or wear as a pendant.

Tomorrow’s Crystal Fix: Lapis Lazuli

 Bonus--Last year for the A-Z Blog challenge, my theme was Magic…

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Is Poe Too Scary?

telltale heart 3

When I first decided to twist the titles of Edgar Allan Poe for my sexy, dark, and gritty mystery series, I began to research this talented writer. The first book in my series is The Purloined Skull, twisted from Poe’s The Purloined Letter, a non-horror story. The books do not steal from Poe’s stories themselves, just his titles, but do have some dark moments as I hope to frighten my readers as well as intrigue them with the sensual relationship between my hero and heroine. Often I pull no punches with the story line as well.

Poe wrote some of the most frightening stories I’ve ever read. My favorite of these is The Tell-Tale Heart, which is creepy and scared me properly. His scary stories weren’t accepted by readers in his day because people thought them too scary. In telltale heart 2this day and age, there’s no such thing as too scary. Movies and books do their best to scare the socks right off their audience. Poe also wrote out of the box stories, as do some writers today. As time goes by and writers and movie producers vie to offer the most terrorizing tales, Poe’s could become tame. But I doubt it. I believe he will always hold the top notch award in scaring his readers.

For information on Poe, his work and his history,

Since my next book, The Tell-Tale Stone will be released May 5, I thought it might be fun to find a summary of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart for those who haven’t read it, or read it so long ago they’ve forgotten it.telltale heart 1

An unnamed narrator opens the story by addressing the reader and claiming that he is nervous but not mad. He says that he is going to tell a story in which he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man. This is the lead in to a summary and analysis of this, one of Poe’s shortest short story. Go here to read the rest. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Can you name some authors who scare you? Would you rather not read stories that frighten you? Why not?

Here’s a really brief excerpt from The Tell-Tale Stone:

At the cabin, she ran through the dew-sprinkled grass, unlocked the door, and slipped inside. The yard light blinked once and went out, plunging the room into an intense darkness. Into the utter silence, something that sounded like a heartbeat fluttered to life. Slow at first, it sped up to match her own pulse.

Good God, what was that?

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Tribute to Chesty

veldabrotherton:

This is such a beautiful tribute by a good friend and specially talented author that I had to share it here for all my readers. Get out a Kleenex before you start to read.

Originally posted on Pamela Foster, Author and Speaker:

Chesty

Jack and I brought Chesty home as a six week old pup. He was about ten pounds then – a small, black, yellow-eyed whirlwind of mischief and energy.

Within hours Jack and I looked at each other and said, “What have we done?”
We lived in the Arizona desert at that time. Each morning we sat on the back porch, sipped coffee and watched the rabbits, roadrunners, horned toads, and the occasional snake hop, run, scoot and slither across the yard. Within hours of our first morning with Chesty there was not an animal, bird, or reptile to be seen. The dog had the prey drive of a deranged wolf and the single-mindedness of a heat-seeking missile. All any animal, wind-blown-newspaper, or raptor had to do was move and here came Chesty, tongue flopping, eyes gleaming in hot pursuit.
Nothing to chase? No problem. He found a plastic bucket, rammed…

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veldabrotherton:

Had to share these lovely bluebirds for spring from Freeda Baker Nichols. Enjoy

Originally posted on Freeda Baker Nichols:

Female Bluebird

Though not as colorful as he,
she’s still a lovely sight to see.

They make a very handsome pair
on the ground or in the air.

Bluebirds Build Nest (2)Bluebird

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