Tag: Creative Writing

My Interview with the Incomparable Laney Smith!

My Interview with the Incomparable Laney Smith!


Most of us know Laney Smith as the warm and personable Blog Talk Radio Host. Please meet Laney Smith, the talented multi-genre author who is never afraid to tackle any subject and through her passion for words makes that subject her own.

Welcome, Laney, and thank you for accepting my request to interview you. I’m so glad you could join us!

Laney – Thank you for having me, Ingrid. 

Laney Smith, Author

Laney, I just finished What He’s Done? and was truly amazed by your character Michael “Sully” Sullivan. From start to finish he truly was the perfect angelic killing machine. One never knew what he was going to do next.

One of your reviewers called the story, a creative nonfiction. That made me wonder if the story was based on a true story. Was there a real-life Sully or did you create him based on another serial killer?

Laney – “Creative non-fiction” is the perfect way to describe this work. Sadly, this story and this character are loosely based on truth. Obviously, names have to be changed when you’re writing something “based on a true story” unless you are writing a non-fiction, factual story where you have evidence and consent from every party involved.

That would be impossible, in this case. Also, with a situation such as this, a fair amount of the details available to you are hearsay. While some of those details can be proven, some are impossible to prove. So, I took a story and I created this work based on that story. I had to bridge gaps in some of the details and timelines.

Sully is a disturbing character to have in your head. He’s got an ego and he wants the story out there. He wants the world to see how “smart” he is. He loves to talk about “What He’s Done.”

This book was written, edited, and published in three months. That is how aggressive this character is. There were a number of times that I had to get away from my computer and out of my house, just to get him out of my head. He’s the most intense character I’ve ever met. I’m not sure I could be a true-crime, non-fiction author. I love to read those books, but I can’t imagine sharing my head with someone like Sully on a regular basis.

As a fan of suspense novels, especially yours, I’m hoping you’ve written other novels in this genre. If so, please tell us about them and if not, please tell me you’re planning to write more in the future. Your book really did captivate me.

Laney – Thank you, Ingrid! That really means a lot. You’ve actually just made my day. I love playing in the realm of suspense and mystery. I have several suspense, thriller type stories that are in the works.

I have Threshold which is a horror/suspense tale. At the time, my son was thirteen and he couldn’t find a book that creeped him out like some of his favorite movies. So, he asked me if I would write a book for him. So, I did.

That one was a struggle because as a mother, knowing my thirteen-year old son was going to read it, I had to dial myself back in a lot of ways. However, when it was all said and done, he loved it and thought it was just the kind of creepy he was looking for. Others have told me it freaked them out.

Then, there’s Ripples, which was written to turn the reader against themselves and everything they believe in. That one has brought a lot of unexpected reactions.

It is cool when people tell you they can relate to your character. It’s heartbreaking to find out how many people can relate to Rachel, however. The moral dilemma in Ripples was written to pit the reader against themselves. It was nervy and it worked, for the most part. There were a couple of issues. But, I’d do it all, again.

Wow, Laney, looking at your website and reading your answers here, it occurs to me that when it comes to writing, you’re up for any topic! So with that in mind, I want to know some history…some history about Laney Smith:

Laney, when, where and why did start writing?

I wrote a poem for a contest when I was nineteen years old. My poem was accepted and published in an anthology.

At the time, I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t even keep up with the title of the anthology or the letter that came saying my submission had won a place in the book. So, technically, I was published, for the first time, when I was nineteen. I have no idea which book that poem is in. I only remember something about a strawberry.

Anyway, I wrote articles for one of the local newspapers, here in Southern California. The editor for the paper, like many of the other people in my life, suggested I should write a book. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that. I always laughed it off, but for some reason, when the editor told me that, it kind of snapped and something just clicked. So, I started writing Lock Creek.

What was your favorite story as a child? And what story scared you, but you had to read it anyway?

Laney – As a child, I loved Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. Those books make me cry, still. I love stories that can reach in and become a piece of you. For me, those two stories definitely did that. I will never forget them. They will always be favorites.

As far as stories that scared me, The Amityville Horror scared me half-bald. I was OK with everything, until it got to the part with the pigs with glowing red eyes, looking in the windows. That bugged me and I refused to preceded light, anytime I went into a room for a long time, after that. It freaked me out!

I read the Amityville Horror as well. I was in my teens and babysitting my niece. I couldn’t put it down, read the whole thing…talk about scary!  As for the Lutz family, I couldn’t believe they stayed in that house for a month. I wouldn’t have lasted a week.

Next question, you have two brothers and two sons and a daughter. Were you a tomboy?

Laney – I actually only have two boys. My brother has two little girls and I see them quite a bit. So, I can see how that confusion could happen. But, I just have two sons – which, to answer your question – do keep my inner tomboy from childhood alive and awake.

Both of them are all boy and they’re teens, now. So, if I want to hang with them, I’m fishing or watching them race RC cars. We go shooting – target practice. Camping is a fun time.

The funny thing is I’m really into watching various sports – baseball, football, hockey. Neither of them have any interest in sports. They’d rather be out doing something than sitting and watching anything. So, yes! We have a worm farm because they need bait. Being a sister to two brothers or a mother of boys is not a dainty job. I love it, though!

I can imagine. I got to be my daughter’s Girl Scout Leader for three years. I loved the camping and being in nature.

* * *

I read on your website that you have imperfections, scars, we all do. I got my first scar when my cousin ran over me with his bicycle when I was four. How did you get your first scar?

Laney – When I was three-years old, I was bitten by a German Shepherd. Apparently, he chewed up my face.  I was too young to remember anything about that experience. I just see the result from it on a daily basis. For some reason, the dog saw me as a threat, in some way, to the little kids he belonged to and he was protecting them.

Unfortunately, it was severe enough that the dog had to be eliminated and I hate that. I love dogs! I’m not particularly fond of German Shepherds to this day, even though I don’t recall the incident. It must be a sleeping memory. I just know the older I get, the deeper the scars seem to be and the more apparent they become.

My gosh, Laney, I am so sorry! What a traumatic experience! I’m also glad you lived to tell about it. This reminds me of one of my favorite pics, “Don’t be afraid to show your scars. It only proves you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” And, you, my dear, even at three, are very strong! 

Okay, switching gears a little….

Laney, who was your childhood hero?

My dad was and still is my hero. He was a firefighter and I believed he could do anything. I remember sitting at the fire station with him when we would take dinner to him. The alarm would go off, every time, without fail, as soon as he sat down to eat. I’d get so mad at people. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t wait until my dad got to eat his dinner to have a fire. I was young and I didn’t understand.

But, I remember the truck tearing off, lights and sirens wailing, waving at him and feeling so proud of that guy. It broke my heart when he was too busy to wave back at me. He was the coolest guy in the whole world, as far as I was concerned.

He still is! I still call him to solve every little problem I have. Now, instead of telling me what to do, he says, “Google it! Look on You Tube and find you a video.” Yep! At seventy-years old, my dad is more technologically astute than I am.

I wish we lived closer. He’s a pretty incredible man. He means so much to me and I get teary, thinking about how beautiful my life has been because of him. I want my boys to have more of his influence in their lives.

Such a beautiful story and tribute to your father! I hope he reads this interview.

* * *

Where was your least favorite place to live and why? Or, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Laney – My least favorite place to live was Lamar, Colorado. We lived there for a brief time after we moved to Colorado to be closer to my dad’s family. That was hell! Actually, it was worse! It was the waiting room for hell where you just festered in the anticipation of hell. I hated living there.

There was nothing to do and it was miles from anything that mattered. It was dead and flat. It was hot and smelly in the summer. The whole town is surrounded by feedlots and it didn’t matter which way the breeze came from, it was horrid. There was nothing to do.

At school, they had never seen anything like me. Here I was, this little southern belle, complete with a southern accent. The teachers would make me stand in front of the class and talk so they could all laugh at how I said things. At the time, I couldn’t possibly know how that would help me in the future, but it did. So, I guess I walked away with some good out of that experience. I’m not at all bothered about standing in front of crowds and speaking. That’s my comfort zone. They helped me a lot! Special thanks to those Lamartians!

 As far as where I would like to live, quite honestly, I really want to live on Decker Estates, from Lock Creek. A private eight-hundred-acre lake? I’d love that! I’ve lived on a lake before and it was the most serene place I’ve ever lived. So, maybe I wouldn’t need a full eight-hundred-acres to call my own. But, I’d live just about anywhere with a lake. I do like being able to go to the ocean and stand on the beach and listen to the Earth breathe, too. So, maybe a lake. Maybe on the ocean.

Regarding your experiences at Lamar, what an awful thing for a teacher to do to a child! I applaud your resilience in taking a negative life experience and changing it into a good thing. You certainly are a great role model for the rest of us!

Okay, we’re starting to run out of time, but there’s so much more I want to ask you.

Laney Smith’s New Release

Laney, you have a book coming out this month. Do you want to tell us about it?

This book has been in the works for two or three years, now. You will understand, Ingrid. You have those works that you tinker with and they end up slithering off into some forgotten abyss. Then, you have other stories you tinker with that just aren’t through with you, yet. This was one of those:

 We have an MVP pro-baseball player, Ryan Priest, who has gotten himself in a little trouble, gambling on games. Then, he went out and played to “help” the wager go in his favor. It was dirty and he knows it. He got caught and he paid the consequences.

Then, a couple years later, his team makes it to the World Series. He misses a catch that cost his team the win. There isn’t anyone in baseball who believes he doesn’t have money riding on that game. He suffers an injury, after the fact and the organization uses that as an excuse to force him into early retirement. He had a jet-set life and it all just falls out from under him.

So, a couple years down the road, he returns to his hometown where there is a mischievous, seven-year-old baseball aficionado, Nathan Brock. The two end up crossing paths and a friendship builds. The boy is an only child to a single mother who works crazy hours to support her son, which leaves the boy home alone, quite a bit.

Ryan is adrift in his life, seeing as how baseball was his end all-be all. Now, here’s this kid with a knack for getting himself into trouble. Ryan ends up developing a soft spot for the kid and before you know it, through a series of comical events, he’s Nathan’s babysitter. You have a single mom and this guy who has lost all direction in life and a mischievous little boy who just might have a way to help Ryan find a new direction, while helping his mother find a way to realize her dreams.

 The story is titled, His Best Yet, and it’s a fun story!

Nathan is one of the most lovable kids, ever! I don’t want to ruin anything, but he insists his mother’s favorite food is “radishes.” He’s close! Only not at all!

I’ll let people read it to solve that little riddle. It’s a fun, light-hearted, comedic romance. There’s a little heat in some of it, so I’ve written two versions. Both will be out on June 26, 2018. The “Uncensored” version is for those who like the heat. The other version is for those who can do without it. It’s the same story, either way.

So, after almost three years, it’s finally happening and I know it’s time because I’ve tried for years to get a cover for this one and it’s just never happened. I connected with Jo-Anna Walker at Just Write Creations and she’s nailed it! So, I’m super excited!

This one has been a long time coming and I think everyone is going to love little Nathan and all of his little antics. I think they’re going to enjoy watching Ryan grow up, in terms of maturity. I also think they will be happy to see how it all plays out for these three characters.

The editor said there needs to be a sequel, so that will be in the works, as well. However, for now, this one is going to be a homerun! I just know it!

That does sound like a fun read! His Best Yet, available on Amazon tomorrow, June 26th in both the censored and uncensored versions.

* * *

Laney Smith, Blog Talk Radio Host

Okay, now for the second part of this interview. I first became familiar with you through your Blog Talk Radio show. I applauded your ability to make your guests feel at ease, something I am quite sure came from years of experience. So, please tell me, Laney, how you got into doing the shows and where your ability to be so down-to-earth and welcoming came from. It truly is a rare talent.

You know, I miss doing that show. Laney’s World for Writing Under the Influence was such a fun experience for me. I would love to have a regular show like that, again. I can’t tell you how many friendships I made and how many authors and books I discovered. I’m thankful to you for your kind words, because I had never done anything like that before in my life. Emmanuel Neal (Fre Thought) interviewed me for his show and after that interview, he asked if I would be interested in hosting a show. I thought he was joking, so I laughed. He wasn’t joking.

So, I’m forever indebted to him for affording me that opportunity. Before every show, I talked to the person I was interviewing to get a sense of how they felt, going into the interview. If they told me they were nervous or afraid, I knew I had to quiet that fear or they wouldn’t be able to share everything they wanted to get out. Then, the whole point of the show would be lost.

I think that time – talking to them just before the show started – gave them a chance to unwind a little and to stutter and stammer and confess that they were scared to death before they went out across the Blog Talk Radio waves. They were able to deal with the initial onset of nerves that always fades after a few minutes. So, by the time the show started, they had already gotten that part out of the way. Those minutes before also gave me an opportunity to joke with them – because that’s my answer for everything. Jokes!

There were a lot of special moments that happened in that time prior to the start of the show. I got to ask them what they wanted people to know so if they forgot to mention it, I could bring it up. I was able to ask them if there was anything in particular they wanted to discuss or that I needed to avoid discussing. I wanted their show to be what they wanted it to be.

I really do miss doing that show. I have all the links up on my webpage, to this day. I’ll probably never take them down. Maybe someday, I’ll have more links to post there. You could be my first guest, Ingrid.

 Thank you, Laney, I’d really like that!

Laney, you have such a big heart and are so eager to help worthy causes, I applaud you for that! I also hope that you get your radio show back on the air so you can continue helping others.

Thank you for that! That means a lot. And, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed this. I hope we do meet up in person. I think that would be a blast. I’m looking forward to that.

For more information about Laney Smith, please check out her links –

www.authorlaneysmith.com

www.facebook.com/ONEYEARSTIME
Twitter: @OYTLaneySmith
Amazon: www.amazon.com/e/B00LOZDHLO
Instagram: author.laney.smith

 

Author Interviews Starting in June

Author Interviews Starting in June

Resuming Author Interviews

Author Laney Smith

Thanks to the wonderful support and encouragement by Authors S.J. Hermann and Laney Smith, I’m going to start doing author interviews again in June (Indies have preference.) I know what you’re thinking. Why? With two upcoming novels and a collection of short stories, don’t I have enough going on?

 Actually you’re right. But these interviews are as much for me as the authors I’m interviewing. I love books and when I finish a really good book, I want to contact the author and say, “Hey, I loved your book! Do you have some time? I’d love to talk to you about it.”
And, this, this is my opportunity to not only talk to the author but share with as many people as possible about this amazing read and the even more amazing author who wrote it!
Author S.J. Hermann

Here are my requirements for doing an interview:

 – I must LOVE your book
– I don’t do canned interviews so every question is organic
(specific to that book and your interview)
– All communication must be honest and sincere.

Process –

 If you agree to let me interview you, I’ll ask for your website address, press release and any pic of you (no nudes, please,) do some research and then send you 1-3 initial questions. I’ll base my next questions upon your responses to the initial questions and so on. No pressure, no hurry, and no worries. Any questions?
 
If you’re an Indie Author and want me to interview you. First, thank you! Whether I pick your book or not, I wish you much success in your writing, and never give up. There is only one of me, so I must be extremely picky in what books I choose to read.
 
Second, send me the link to  your book either in the comments section below, a message to my Twitter account or via my Facebook Author page so I may read the description and the first few pages on your book along with your reviews. (If I can’t do that, you’re book will automatically be disqualified.)
If I’m interested in reading your book, I’ll let you know.
Thank you. 🙂
Sincerely yours,
Ingrid Foster
This Pleasure of Music

This Pleasure of Music

This Pleasure of Music

I go to the well and drink
My soul quenched, my spirit at peace
As each note fills my senses,
I sit here absorbed in its beauty,
Oneness envelops me,
There is no negativity, I know only joy,
I wonder, why do I hesitate to enter this realm?
This garden, this forest, this world of light and serenity,
Silent I sit in wonderment as the music caresses me,
Relaxes the tension that once tighten me,
I am one, happy, as the melodious waves consume me
Filling my deepest inner recesses,
This world, this pleasure of music.

How NOT to Write a Horror Story –

How NOT to Write a Horror Story –

What I’ve Learned So Far –

For more than seven years I’ve been working on this one horror story, off and on. It’s a story that shows great promise. Truly remarkable and unforgettable characters, one of which scares me witless, but for the life of me, I cannot get this story right.

This morning, I decided that there are a few things I’ve learned from trying to write this story, especially after publishing three others during the time I’ve been working on this one:

  1. Every story is different –

    What works for one story, does not necessarily work for another and as a writer, I must be honest enough with myself to recognize that.

  2. As a writer, I must face my fears –

    Especially while writing horror and, in this case, my fear is my antagonist. While interviewing him before writing this story, he truly unnerved me and unfortunately, I believe at some point, I chickened out.

  3. Don’t listen to other people’s well meaning advice –

    Wait, before you go off the deep end, allow me to clarify. Yes, some writing advice is good and noteworthy. But in the case of your story, no one knows your story better than you do, even if it’s still inside your head and in this particular case, part of it was research.

    In the original story, the focus was on Native Americans, Apaches to be exact, and during a research trip I interviewed a so-called Apache expert on the reservation near Flagstaff. The result of this bound me up creatively so bad that I scrapped the story.

    The other problem I had was taking the story to two different writers’ groups over the years, both of which were helpful in one fashion, but totally confusing in another. So, I put the story on the back burner to “cook” some more.

    In the meantime, I tried changing the layout of the story, adding a prologue, taking away the prologue, because prologues are “bad” right? I’m laughing now, but not then. Then to make the story fit I added two more scenes completely changing the dynamics to fit the new story. Sheesh! Crazy stuff…

  4. When all else fails, rewrite –

    Which is what I am now preparing to do. The first seventeen pages are great and then I get off track. So, that’s where I hope to pick up this afternoon. Sound be interesting as I’m working on the Esme Bohlin series this morning.

  5. Relax. Meditate. But, whatever you do, stay true –

    To your characters and your story. Maybe that’s how Stephen King does it?

    I don’t know. Yeah, I’ve read On Writing, maybe I need to reread it.

    Bottom line, in the process of writing the first version of my story, I knew I’d lost my antagonist somewhere along the way, but had no idea where. Then, to make matters worse, I made him into a love-obsessed “clown.” Maybe he really is a clown…

    Nah, he’s a seven-foot effin’ bone-obsessed, angry, red-eyed dude that can scare people into sticking knifes in their bodies… He’s definitely no clown!

    (Disclaimer – this is in absolutely NO reference to Pennywise in Stephen King’s IT, even though he really was more than just a clown.)

    Venting Over –

    Okay, thanks for listening. Now onto writing and rewriting and hopefully I’ll finally get this horror story done…hopefully, this year. Of course, if you find me with a long, sharp knife sticking out of my chest, you’ll know why.

    As for the picture above, yeah, there’s definitely a cave involved…

 

About Writing, One Should Never

About Writing, One Should Never

Tweet or Comment While Writing…

Because one just never knows who’s in the driver’s seat –

When I started writing this morning, this great quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald appeared on my desktop. Seconds before, I had vowed to stay off social media and get serious about finishing my novel in progress. When I saw this quote I realized the wisdom of my decision.

I mean with all these characters running around inside my head, I never know who’s tweeting or commenting. And to be honest, some of “them” are just plain scary…

A good example would be from my novel, MY FATHER’S MAGIC..
Would you really want this guy to respond to your post?

“Hmm, yes. Fear me, Esme. Good, be very afraid.” His voice seemed to vibrate.

What is he doing? He sounds like— What the—

Okay, Esme, calm down. This isn’t good. Panicking won’t help. Deep breath. Okay, what is the last thing you remember? I was at the penthouse, trying to find my father’s—

No. Not the Book of Spells. If Geoff has that book—

I’m not a praying person, but at that moment I prayed to whatever powers existed, please save me. In the background, I could hear heavy breathing and that squeaking noise Geoff makes when—

Or what about?

“Natasha.” The harsh, graveled voice confirmed my worst fears as I turned to face the drooling mass before me. “What have you been up to, Natasha? I could taste your emotions from down the hall.”

I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. I will not—

Would you really want either of these two villains responding to your tweets or Facebook posts?

I mean, this guy (below) has responded for me in the past and I had some serious explaining to do afterward:

From my upcoming novel, working title REVENGE:

“With that I heard a chirp, much like I once heard a parakeet do in a pet shop. I glanced over at the large onyx eyes. “Was that you?” My eyes once more on the road, I switched lanes to pass a truck, another chirp and telepathically I heard, “Yes.”

“Wow, you are full of surprises. Aren’t you?” Another chirp made me smile. I was glad for the company.

Nothing like a little “chirping” to your friends…

 

 

 

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

As my study of the horror genre continues, next stop, THE HAUNTING OF HELL HOUSE…

When I was in Junior High, like most eighth graders, I read Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery.” To this day, Ms. Jackson’s visuals are permanent etchings upon the haunted corridors of my mind. The fear upon Tessie Hutchinson’s face, previously so cocky, so full of bravado now shattered beneath the grim realization that it is her life that is in jeopardy. Honestly, I need to go back and read that story again.

But no true fan or determined writer of scary stories, should leave The Haunting of Hill House off their syllabus of must reads. After not being able to find a copy of Ms. Jackson’s, dare I say, “haunting” masterpiece for so long, I was finally able to locate and read the story of Hill House.

Like my memories of The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, is a very clever and suspenseful tale. I won’t go into details or elaborate, no doubt that’s been done, re-done and over done.

 

No, what struck me about the story, more than anything was how the two young woman, Theodora and Eleanor bonded that first day, two complete strangers forming an alliance against the unknown.

Then through the course of the story, how their relationship slowly and purposefully unraveled. But who was the cause of this unraveling? Was it one of the women? Perhaps. Maybe Theodora in her flighty shallowness or Eleanor in her insecurity. But, better yet, maybe the house itself caused the unraveling of their friendship or as the Doctor so eloquently stated, “Divide and conquer.”

From the beginning, you know something terrible is going to happen. The author has set the stage perfectly, pulling you in gradually page by page. And then there’s the pounding, the knocking on doors and walls, but is the noise real or just the imagination or imaginations of the four visitors. There is even a point where Eleanor seems to be the only one hearing “things.”

What was so amazing to me about The Haunting of Hill House was how one minute I, as the reader, wanted to slam the book shut (can you do that with a paperback) and run for the proverbial hills and the next, because Ms. Jackson’s characters are so enticing, I had to read more. She orchestrated her highs of intense anxiety and lulls of engaging verbal frolic between the house guests perfectly. And then, as the suspense rose to its climax, two more characters, outsiders, were thrown in, and I felt compelled to defend the actions of the original four. Well done!

Oh, and I must ad, as Eleanor is pushed into the vehicle at the end, I actually felt her fear of the future, her sense of abandonment and betrayal. I didn’t want her to leave.

Was The Haunting of Hill House the most brilliant book I’ve ever read? No, but it was certainly one of the most clever.

 

Amie Irene Winters, Author of Strange Luck and The Nightmare Birds

Amie Irene Winters, Author of Strange Luck and The Nightmare Birds

Our guest for today, Amie Irene Winters, author of bestselling novels, Strange Luck, and Nightmare Birds.

Amie, congratulations on becoming an Amazon Bestseller! If you had one word of advice for struggling writers, what would it be?

Thank you! It was a long-time goal of mine and it feels very strange now that it’s finally happened.

Here’s my best advice for struggling authors:

  • Don’t ever give up writing! It’s okay to take breaks from your book. It’s normal to feel burned out. It’s normal to be upset if you get a rejection or bad review. The good news is that it does get easier with time and experience. At the end of the day the most important thing is focusing on your craft.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Every author and book is unique, so one type of marketing technique might work for one author, but not another. It’s all trial and error. Just don’t get too caught up in the marketing and repeatedly changing things. Writing a stellar book should be your number one priority.

I was privileged to recently read Strange Luck, a fun, truly unique and original tale. What I found the most striking was the Darling shop for haunted “junk.” There has to be a real-life story behind this idea. Please tell!

I’m so glad you enjoyed Strange Luck! Yes, there is a real-life story behind it. That being…I love to antique! My antiquing addiction started when I was a little girl and my parents would take me to garage sales and antique fairs. Oh, the wondrous things I would see and learn! Each object was a unique piece of history, and sometimes the story was more intriguing than the actual antique.

A lot of the antiques in the Strange Luck shop were inspired by real things I’ve seen or read about over the years. For example, the fortune-telling cricket is real! Well, sort of. Growing up, my parents had a little cricket statue in our living room. When I got older, I asked where it had come from and my mom told me it was given to her by my great grandma who said it would bring their home good luck. I always thought that was neat, so when it came time for me to live in a house of my own, my mom gave me the cricket. Since then, it’s traveled across the country with me and it currently resides in my living room.

You can learn more about some of the peculiar antiques of Strange Luck here: http://www.amieirenewinters.com/antiquesofstrangeluck.html

–  Fascinating! Being a lover of owls, I especially like the owl clock.

I read in your bio that you have a Masters Degree in Environmental Leadership, my immediate thought was, “Wow, such a big step from that to writing,” but as I think back at the fantastical adventure in Strange Luck, I have to ask, “How did your background influence your writing?”

Yes, it was certainly a leap, but the experience has definitely influenced my writing. They say to “write what you know”. Since I’m an outdoorsy girl, I found it easy for my protagonist to be one, too. Daisy’s a bit of a tomboy who loves hiking and camping. The trails she hikes and places she goes are based on some of my favorite real-life places in California.

With that in mind, do you ever write outside? And if so, do you have a favorite place to write?

Not really. I’ve found it difficult to find a good spot that isn’t distracting. I also primarily work on my laptop, so I’m always battling with the glare from the sun. Occasionally I’ll write ideas in my notebook outside, but that’s only during the beginning stages of drafting a book.

I believe you’ve written a sequel to Strange Luck, “The Nightmare Birds.” The description on your website looks enticing. What can you tell us about the book and where do you see your series going from here?

Yes. There are three books planned in the Strange Luck series. In Book I, Strange Luck, eighteen-year-old Daisy Darling uncovers a world built using stolen memories.  It is in this world that Daisy discovers that she possesses unexplainable and unique abilities that she uses to battle the dark forces at play.

Book II, The Nightmare Birds, flashes forward to Daisy at twenty-one-years-old and uncovers more of her strange abilities and how they tie in to her heritage. In the process, Daisy uncovers the truth about the mysterious Theater of Secrets – long thought a dark legend by many, but known as a frightening reality to those who truly know its powers.  As Daisy assumes her new role as ringleader, she not only discovers a surprising connection between herself and the previous ringleader, but also the haunting truth behind the theater’s limitless power.

I’m working on Book III, A Darling Secret, right now. It’s expected to be released in winter 2017. You can sign up for my newsletter here to be notified about new book releases and special promos.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A

Blog: https://golden-cricket.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aiwinters

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851542.Amie_Irene_Winters

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amieiwinters/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

 

Amie, thanks so much for joining us today. It was truly a pleasure, and best of luck with your writing. I look forward to reading Nightmare Birds. Such an amazing cover!

And to my readers, thanks so much for joining us here on “Please Welcome!” Again, our guest today was Author Amie Irene Winters. Her books are available in both ebook and paperback format. Check out “Strange Luck” you’ll be glad you did!

Our guest next time on “Please Welcome!” will be SJ Hermann, author of the Morium Trilogy and my personal favorite, Splintered Love.

 

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Originally posted January 17, 2010

One of the requirements of my horror-writing education is to read every story listed on pages 18 – 22 of ON WRITING HORROR by the Horror Writers Association

ROSEMARY’S BABY by Ira Levin is on this list.

As a child sitting on the sofa between my two older sisters and often through the cracks between my fingers, I watched the movie ROSEMARY’S BABY. To this day I still have a vivid recollection of semi-naked old people and the black bassinet that gave me nightmares for weeks to come. But, in spite of those memories, I was determined to fulfill my horror-education requirements. So, yes, not only did I read the book, but I loved it.

Ira Levin is truly one of the greatest writers I have ever read. He has the rare gift of horrifying you one minute and making you laugh hysterically the next. In truth, as I sit here, six years later, revising this blog post, Rosemary’s Baby is still on of my favorite books of any genre and one I am sure I will read again and again.

Mr. Levin’s main character, Rosemary Woodhouse, is a naive mid-western Catholic girl transplanted into the big city with her actor husband. As in all good suspense stories, there were subtle clues dropped here and there as the story unfolded. Rosemary was everything a woman in her situation should have been. The rape scene midway through the book was intense, the result of ultimate betrayal by her devious husband.

Ira Levin wrote his story at a time when everything was in question, including religion. Mr. Levin accurately portrayed society’s mindset during the 1960s with a conclusion grounded in the most basic of human relationships, the bond between a mother and her child.

On a personal note, I think reading Stephen King’s Introduction, though profoundly well-written, may have been too in-depth a read prior to the story itself.  Because the information given was so complete I do not believe I enjoyed the story as much as I may have if I had read the story first before the Introduction.

Other books on the list from ON WRITING HORROR:

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

DRACULA by Bram Stoker

I AM LEGEND and HELL HOUSE by Richard Matheson

….and many others

Never Settle for Second Best

Never Settle for Second Best

Years ago, at seventeen, I sought an outlet. Something, anything, that would allow me to give voice to my thoughts, a way to “visualize” the pictures and the “movies,” that ran through my head. The medium I chose was what came naturally to me, words.

With words I could paint a picture, with words I could share my thoughts, my ideas and explore the unknown universe within my mind…with words I could stretch and expand my creativity, thus providing the outlet I so badly needed.

…and so, a love affair began, my love affair with words.

Today, I was reminded of why I can never settle for second best when it comes to my own creativity. This movie, this delightful and entertaining movie, Words & Pictures, reminded me of why I started writing. It reminded of that innermost desire to paint with words.

My Narrow Escape from Life Inside a Box

My Narrow Escape from Life Inside a Box

I dreamed of you last night,
This time it was her heart
You broke, not mine, and
I… I no longer wanted you,

Did I still love you?
Yes, that much remained
But you, you were tainted, and
I… I no longer trusted you,

Were you ever true? Or
Was I an escape, a reprieve
From a box guilt and
Religion chose for you?

How strange it was to see you
The man I once esteemed,
Now stuck…inside that box,
The same box I once climbed into,

I laugh at the reality, You
Always were so different, Content
To follow rules society, the church
Dictated, A life I could never live,

Thank you for “discarding” me…
I am free, free to thrive
While you remain… Forever
Tucked inside your box.

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