Author: Ingrid Foster

That Infamous Hook

That Infamous Hook

Another oldie but goodie revisited…

As a writer, I am forever reading and not just for pleasure. Lately, thanks to my critique partner who happens to be an editor, I’ve been reminded of the infamous hook and the need for a novel to have one during the first 100 words. So I spent most of yesterday reworking the first page of my current work-in-progress, all in an attempt to add a really good “hook.”

Then this morning during one of my breaks – yes, writing magazines make great “break” reading – I was again learning all about hooks and how in the current market, a good hook is even more essential.

“So what is a hook?” Besides being the quintessential villain in the movie of the same name, apparently a good hook is everything in making your story a success. In today’s market, with it’s over abundance of books all vying for the public’s attention, a hook is that very sentence or catch phrase that makes your reader ask, “What happens next?”

Perhaps it’s best explained this way. As a reader, it’s that phrase that first sparks a flame inside you. It’s those words that make you think, I really want to read this story, and without those words, that phrase, you close the book or discard the ebook sample simply because it didn’t capture your attention.

Finding that perfect hook is very frustrating for an author. This is the eighth time I’ve rewritten my first page in hopes of pleasing the reader inside me. If I’m not impressed, my potential readers won’t be either.

…and so my own search for that magical, infamous hook continues.

Good luck to us both as we continue our search through seemingly endless revisions in search of that elusive hook. Or as Robin Williams’ version of Peter Pan would say, “It’s Hook or me this time.”

Thanks for reading!

Poetry – An Ode to a Legend, A Life Well Lived

Poetry – An Ode to a Legend, A Life Well Lived

Another legend has gone away

Too soon, too fast for us to notice

His pain before that moment

When he chose his life to end

Leaving us to mourn with endless

Sorrow his radiance,

His brilliance,

And now he is gone, but not

Forgotten, for his gifts to us

Remain and his talent will

Forever more be remembered,

For that is all we could ever wish,

The creative among us,

That our words, our thoughts,

Our minds consumed with

Music or verse or endless chatter,

We compose and recite and write or

Act, with the hope of leaving

A lasting impression,

But to die before our natural time

Causes those left behind to wonder

With sadness and confusion

What might have been done

To help a man so loved,

So esteemed,

So extraordinary,

From leaving us far too soon,

And so I sit here with my shadows

and thoughts remembering a man

Who once brought me laughter

And sunshine and smiles and made

This often too-dark world a happier place

And I think, Yes, that is his lasting

Impression, his legacy,

For though he left us too soon,

His truly was a life well lived, and

So to you, Mr. Williams, I say, thank you,

For teaching us expressions like, “Carpe Diem,”

“O Captain, My Captain.”

Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer

Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer

In 1994, I had a horrific car accident almost ending my life, since that fifteen-day stint in the hospital I have vowed to live my life fully which includes facing my fears. My first confession, I am afraid of things that <em>don’t</em> go bump in the night.

Seriously, I can handle the occasional “bump.” Like when you hear a click in the night that wakes you up only to hear the next sound being the heater starting up. Or the loud thud that scared me so bad I caught my breathe and wanted to wake my sleeping husband.No, he was not in bed beside me and yes, he was the originator of the thud as he moved around the house in the dark.

These things have explanations and I can handle them. What I can’t handle are the noiseless things that move in the night or the unseen things that a part of you senses, but you cannot see or hear. Those are the things that totally freak me out. Yes, they may be part of my overactive imagination, but what if they’re not?

Originally published Jan 15, 2010

My husband has spoken a few times about going to California for a week on business. I would be left home alone to write to my heart’s content. My second confession, I really don’t want to be alone at night in this big new-to-us house. Because of the design of this room I call my office; I must sit with my back to the doorway. Last night when I could not sleep and sat here diligently working at my desk, every once and while I would look up at the open door leading to the rest of the house. Just in case. You never know what lurks silently in old houses.

My third confession is that when I was a child and yes sometimes still, I would fear cars and trucks coming up the road by my home.  Don’t ask me the origin of this phobia; it really makes no sense. All I can think is that the grill on the cars from the 1950s and 60s left a deep, tortured impression upon my psyche.  Anyway, to this day I sometimes fear a vehicle “sneaking up” behind me.

So why do I love horror fiction enough to write it, am I in some subconscious way a masochist desiring to scare myself into insanity? No, probably not.

I think it’s for the same reason that as a child I use to love reading ghost stories or as a teenager babysitting my niece I read the <em>Amityville Horror</em> in one setting. Reading horror does for me what other books do not. It entertains me and at the same time forces me to face my fear.

And so I continue writing my own horror novel based on a place I once lived. My last confession, I am so glad we moved because in a certain point in the story my heroine who is <em>roughly</em> based on me has a near fatal fall… Yes, my own writing scares me.

One Tin Soldier – Flashbacks of Childhood

One Tin Soldier – Flashbacks of Childhood

Remembering the 1960s

Good Morning, All, Happy Sunday! <3
I woke up with this song in my head/heart. For those who haven’t lived as many years as I have, it originally came on the scene when I was a child and was later linked to the movie, The Legend of Billy Jack. The song, One Tin Soldier.
The video below hasn’t been out as long and it really brings home the song’s message, and apparently childhood memories not suitable for any child. 
Memories of Vietnam and the Evening News
For those of us who remember the Vietnam War, even after more than forty years it still makes me physically ill.
Warning, the rest of this post may bring back memories of Vietnam.
I was only a child when they started showing the Vietnam War on our television screens daily. No, not the reports and commentary, but the actual footage of the war itself. I remember it being so real, so loud, and above all, frightening to an impressionable child.
Meanwhile, across the seas, our boys, most involuntarily drafted into giving their lives to fight in a place most Americans had never heard of, Vietnam, were fighting and dying for our country, for us. The history books make it so factual and easy to swallow, for those who lived it and watched it, it was
anything but.
Warning: More footage of the Vietnam War, I remember seeing much of this on the evening news.…/vietnam-war…/3620986998001
And, this…can you imagine the conflicting thoughts of a child or anyone else, here at home, over this war? And then, our boys, and the women, nurses and other support personnel, after all they’d been through, coming home and being misunderstood oftentimes, hated, for serving our country, giving their lives for us…
Finally, one last post.., If you don’t watch any of the others, you might consider watching this…
The Worst Pain of My Life – Fibromyalgia

The Worst Pain of My Life – Fibromyalgia

This is for those who have been diagnosed with this little-understood disease, Fibromyalgia.

The Worst Pain of My Life

Five times, yes, five times, I had gone to the Emergency Room. Each time with increasing pain seeking help. I knew something was very wrong, but what?

Five times that I don’t regret. Every time I learned something  about the system…and my body. Five times, each more painful, each receiving temporary relief…until this last time. Last week. Thursday.

Last Thursday

Les and I entered the Emergency Room. I was crying, whimpering. I was on Tramadol, 50 mg, and Arthritis Strength Tylenol round the clock, neither was touching the pain. It was unbearable. I had even considered killing myself.  I wasn’t sleeping. I was hurting too much.

Thankfully this was deemed “new” pain. They had found my a broken rib on an x-ray a month ago. Yet, the pain was never where the broken rib was said to be. When I mentioned that to the previous ER doctor, he had replied, “Referred pain.”

None of it made sense, yet the pain was still there and getting worse.

Last Thursday. This time I saw a VA Nurse Practitioner. We argued. I cried. She had an insight. She believed I was having a Fibromyalgia Flare.

I received two injections, Toradol in one shoulder and anti-inflammatory medication in the other.  Because the pain was still too intense, she gave me Valium to relax me and sent me home with Diazepam.

me in my natural habitat


A few details of my background. I was raised a farmer. I am a twelve-year military veteran.

For the last eight years, I have acted as the “arborist” on our tree farm. I am no stranger to hard work and intense labor. I am no lightweight to pain. I have given birth without medication, shattered bones in a near-fatal car accident and suffered through endometriosis and a near-ruptured appendix. Yet, this, this has been the worst pain of my life…


The pain from a torn rotator cuff and the broken rib are still there, but I’m sleeping again and I’m working again. Life is good, the pain is manageable and I am working with the VA toward healing and hopefully, managing the Fibromyalgia better.


The best definition of Fibromyalgia I have found came from

“Fibromyalgia is also called fibromyalgia syndrome. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that happen together. People with fibromyalgia experience aches and pain all over the body, fatigue (extreme tiredness that does not get better with sleep or rest), and problems sleeping.

It [Fibromyalgia] may be caused by a problem in the brain with nerves and pain signals. In other words, in people with fibromyalgia, the brain misunderstands everyday pain and other sensory experiences, making the person more sensitive to pressure, temperature (hot or cold), bright lights, and noise compared to people who do not have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia has been compared to arthritis. Like arthritis, fibromyalgia causes pain and fatigue. But, unlike arthritis, fibromyalgia does not cause redness and swelling, or damage to your joints.”

Fibro Flares

For those who have Fibromyalgia, this is the best information I have found regarding Flares…

Other good information regarding Fibromyalgia…



There are a number of groups online providing information, support and adding comic relief when you’d rather laugh than cry. Here are a few:


The Fibro Warrior

Women with Fibromyalgia

Living With Fibromyalgia Group


Other Online Groups:


And for those of us living with Chronic Pain in Arizona

Chronic Pain Support Groups in Arizona





Not in the Brochure – Marriage

Not in the Brochure – Marriage

THIS wasn’t in there. Sure, there were lots and lots of great, happy things like kissing and hugging, traveling with your wonderful life partner. Having babies and playing with them, nurturing them…and don’t forget the family dog and the sunny pictures of beds filled with smiling faces…you, your children…and Fido.

Yes, those were all in there. But there’s a reason why the conscription vows include in sickness and in health–

What? You caught that, did you?

Yeah, conscription, because some days there are no smiling, happy, healthy faces and marriage, even to the best of partners, can feel like a compulsory duty.  Like when your spouse has a lung condition (or insert another severe disease) and aside from consoling and attempting to play nurse (that seriously was NOT in the brochure) you can’t force him to do what he doesn’t want to.  <Sigh> Only Momma could that!

Today, we are both sick. Like some loathsome intruder, the virus hoped on board my husband and entered our love nest! And in the process of kissing and hugging (yep, they were IN the brochure!) we are now sharing that nasty slut name Virus!

Yeah, “Les, Honey, time for those new glasses!”


But today is today and hopefully, we will both feel better soon. Our nest is empty aside from our cat (no, don’t get me started on HIM!)

And, the brochure? Well, they did get one thing right, even on the darkest day, my husband still makes me smile and more often than not, laugh as if it is his mission in life. I like to think, I do the same…

Thanks for reading! May your good days be plenty and your bad, barely a memory.



A Writer’s Life – PRESSURE!

A Writer’s Life – PRESSURE!

Pressure, we all deal with it. Whether it’s from a self-imposed deadline or from your friends and family wanting to read your next story, the stress to get your next story out there can be overwhelming.

Another Beautiful Nightmare: A Women in Horror Anthology

Another Beautiful Nightmare: A Women in Horror Anthology

Three Authors – Three Stories and Already Hooked on this Amazing Anthology!

Let me start out with, I’m always a bit wary when it comes to short stories. Some authors are awesome novelists but IMO, should avoid the short story market. That said, I’ve only read three short stories in this Women in Horror Anthology, all by different authors and their stories are all outstanding! If this is what I have to look forward to, I’m going to lover every minute of this great read! BTW, the authors are Lily Luchesi, Laurencia Hoffman, and Jaidis Shaw. More to come!

Reflections on December 31sth

Reflections on December 31sth

My Father’s Birthday

Every year at this time, I can’t help thinking about my father. Today is his birthday and as I reflect on childhood memories, I remember a man who worked hard and in his own way, loved his family.

There is a large gap between the father I had as a child and the father I knew after my 12th birthday. For years, I’ve tried to reconcile the two. The father I knew as a child, though harsh at times, could also show love if you recognized it for what it was. It was always in the little things. We were poor when it came to money, but every year he made sure I got that one Christmas present I picked out of the Sears Christmas Catalog.

And then, there was the year I wanted to learn to ride a horse. Every week he made sure I’d get my fifty cent allowance to take riding lessons down the road from our house. There was also the Saturday that the farms in the local area were doing an Open House for the elementary school kids.

My father had been working that day and had forgotten he said he would take me. So, when he came home, exhausted from working his construction job all week, he drove the miles and miles to take me to an Open House at a horse farm. We were too late for the Open House and everyone was gone, but I wanted so badly to see the horses. So, badly, that my father asked the owners if I could just walk inside the Stables and see them. Reluctantly, they agreed.

When I was eleven, my parents separated and shortly after my twelve birthday, my father remarried. My stepmother and I never got along and what little my father and I had in the way of a relationship, she all but destroyed. For decades, I’ve blamed my father for his betrayal and for always siding with her. But as I sit here writing this I can’t help thinking about my father’s dementia which showed so much in his later years…

Maybe I want so badly to give him the shadow of a doubt, or maybe, I can recall a man so beaten down by his personal demons that this woman, his “Ferny,” became his lifeline, his last chance at the happiness that had evaded him most of his life.

And, maybe, I can even forgive him…

But then, I remember, her reading my diary and my father kicking me in the lower back leaving permanent damage after ordering me to retrieve the diary from the table. And, then, I think, “No, the man who had shown those bright sparks of love would never have done that.”

And so, I sit here with tears streaming down my face and realize I cannot change what happened. I cannot erase the years of abuse. But for my sake, I must forgive my father, and that, for me, is the hardest thing I could ever do. And I will, not for the man who was my father, but for me.


From the Frying Pan – Philadelphia

From the Frying Pan – Philadelphia

As I emerge from the sleep of early morning, taking eager sips from my coffee cup, the one with an antiquated Mickey Mouse waving on the front, seriously, that mouse is far too happy in the mornings, my mind wonders back to the post of yesterday. Now, please keep in mind, my memories of my adventures in the US Air Force are not necessarily happy ones, so fair warning, these tales at times will be dark.

My first recollection was of the Military Entrance Processing Station in Philadelphia. Now I’d only been to Philly a few times in my life, all as a small child either going to Germantown to see relatives or on a school field trip. Never on my own and never as an “adult,” and the other thing to consider is growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I had never experienced racial discrimination, at least not to my knowledge. Well, the first people my own age that I encountered in this massive, government building took an instant dislike to me and since I was friendly and had good hygiene, the only thing I could think of was they didn’t like the color of my skin. You see, they were black and they made it very clear that I was not their “kind.”

Talk about a rude awakening. These girls were mean, especially in the weeks to come, as you see during the next twenty-four hours, most of the girls in civilian clothes like me, that I came across, was going to the same place, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonia, Texas. And worse, these particular four girls, were to be living in the same open-bay dormitory with me for the next six weeks. Fortunately, their existence would mean less and less to me as the weeks went by, especially as my survival became more questionable during the first three weeks.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the last words out of my father’s mouth when I left home, “If the Air Force doesn’t want you, we don’t either.” Not a particularly kind send of, and those words truly set the stage for my start in the USAF. For me, a country bumpkin, and an insecure and socially-awkward one at that, succeeding in the Air Force, indeed meant survival. I had nowhere else to go. As far as I was concerned, it was either make it in the Air Force or end up on the streets. No pressure there.

And so, I did it, me and a handful of other high school graduates, stood inside a dark, faux-wood paneled square room, under the glare of florescent lights and before a flag of the United States, and swore to serve and defend the United States and it’s Constitution. It was July 14th, 1981, and it truly was a day of firsts for me. First plane ride, first complex relationship (yes, sat next to him on the plane,) first negative racial encounter and first time I’d ever been yelled at by people paid to yell at me, but all that’s for another day.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned. 🙂