IF I GO – A new novel by K. D. Dowdall August 2017

 

 

 

 

“A death in the family finds 32 years-old anthropologist, Lilly Allaire, returning to her hometown to solve a deadly mystery that has haunted her since childhood.”

Lilly Allaire returns to her hometown after the unexplained death of her cousin, Dax. Both suffered a traumatic psychogenic event as teens that left them with no memory of the event. Lilly is determined to solve the mystery with her childhood friend, Noah. She falls in love with him, but she is suspicious of his past. Was he somehow evolved and is her life at risk?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GIRL IN BLACK by Kathy Lauren Miller – A REVIEW

“The Girl in Black” by Kathy Lauren Miller is a hauntingly taut murder mystery as well as an awesome page-turner! The mystery begins with high school senior, Kate Mckenna who happens to live in an old Victorian manor that is also the Mckenna Memorial Funeral Home. Her father, Dr. Brendan Mckenna, happens to be the county’s Chief Medical Examiner. Shy Kate, whose social life as always been nearly non-existent until she is thrust into the limelight when the promiscuous prom queen, Ashley is found tortured and murdered.

Accusations run rampant in Kate’s High School concerning several male students that were involved with Ashley. To make matters worse, Ashley’s remains now reside at the funeral home where Kate lives. Kate and her best friend Cooper, a computer nerd, and Kate’s unattainable heartthrob, handsome Shane, all become involved in Ashley’s murder. Suddenly, Kate finds herself in the cross hairs of the sadistic killer and the vengeful ghost of Ashley, the murdered prom queen. What happens next is beyond Kate’s worse nightmare. The Girl in Black is a fascinating and terrifying murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book. (less)

EVIL SPEAKS – An Interview With Author S. Woffington

evil-speaks-34403446INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA WOFFINGTON, author of Evil Speaks, book #1 in the Warriors and Watchers Saga, an epic mythological fantasy series released February 2017

Early reviews:

“Be prepared to be engrossed! Between the awesome fight scenes, in-depth characters, and all the creatures, your son or daughter won’t want to put this book down! . . .remarkable job entwining Greek Mythology, Greek History, and these modern-day teenage misfits. . .the author incorporates characters with different abilities. She helps break down stereotypes that often plague special children.”

Courtney Barnum, Kelly’s Thoughts on Things blog

“In my last years at Harcourt, I can’t remember reading one single fantasy MG or YA that was half as interesting as the world you have created…. So brilliant! Between the fight scenes and the stories and people and creatures…, it was truly a roller-coaster adventure.”

Editor, Evil Speaks

What is Evil Speaks about?

The lords of the underworld have joined forces to open the ancient gates of evil. Seven teens must stop the gates from opening: Kami is deaf, Amir is blind, Zuma is overweight, Layla is gorgeous but lazy, Chaz is in a wheelchair, Benny is a loner, and Raj is as angry as the purple dagger-shaped birthmark running down the side of her face. They are quirky teens who must become warriors. But they can barely save themselves.

What made you put special needs characters in this series?

It wasn’t intentional so much as these characters appeared to me from all of my interactions with special needs individuals over the years—they inspire me. My website has stories of RL Warriors (Real Life). I wrote these characters into a screenplay around 2002, but I set that aside to work on my novel Unveiling. When I went back to it, the story had evolved into an epic mythological fantasy. I always wanted these characters to be superheroes. Clark Kent has flaws; he’s a bit of a bumbler, but as Superman, he is confident, can fly and has superpowers. In Evil Speaks, Amir is blind and vain about his looks but in the underworld, he has super vision; Kami is deaf but she gains super hearing, and Chaz is in a wheelchair but he can walk in the underworld. If regular people like Clark Kent can become superheroes, so can children with challenges. As in life, each character must also grapple with his or her personal problems. Layla, for instance, is gorgeous but insecure. She has low self-esteem; she feels her beauty is her only asset and she didn’t work for that.

How long did it take you to write Evil Speaks?

I will answer that by saying my first novel Unveiling took years. It was historical and multicultural and required massive research. I also gutted it twice to change directions. In hindsight, this seemed like a waste of time. With Evil Speaks, I sat down and came up with a repeatable plan, using the 8-essential plot points and 3-act structure. I worked on character development before anything else. Then I filled in my plot-planner scene by scene. It was a lot like writing the bones of a screenplay. I like to write full days, not piecemeal. I set a goal to crank out the first draft over summer vacation. When I sat down to write, it flowed easily from scene to scene, changed at times, bust stayed on course. I knocked it out in ten weeks. The revisions took months longer, and I ultimately added a chapter. You can find a section titled “Writing Lessons” on my editor’s website at SWoffington.com, where I lay out the system point by point for others. Start with “Writing Lessons: Introduction” under Recent Posts or pick a topic from the list.

What do you like best about the fantasy genre?

You can go anywhere, do anything! You can create entire universes (or underworlds) full of crazy characters and locations. History (or mythology) always comes into play for me. It’s clearly just part of who I am as a writer, as are international settings. Evil Speaks is an international quest.

You work as a developmental editor as well. What mistakes do you see most often?

I love helping authors hone their fiction or improve their techniques. Every author I’ve worked with has strengths and weaknesses: maybe the dialogue is strong but the descriptions and details are weak; or the descriptions are amazing but the dialogue is stilted or it does not fit the character or all characters sound alike. Two basic concepts are critical to every manuscript: 1) avoid passive verbs (every page must have strong active verbs), and  2) “show” don’t tell, meaning write a scene and let me see the glistening sweat dripping down the side of someone’s face, plopping onto the contract and wicking the freshly penned signature into a  fuzzy black Rorschach image; don’t say “He was sweating as he signed the contract” (this is also passive).

You advocate inclusion on the WarriorsandWatchersSaga.com website—can you tell me about that?

Since writing Evil Speaks, I’ve learned that special needs children are bullied five times more often than other children. I’m shocked by this. I put tips for education, intervention and inclusion on my site for parents and educators. I’m using Deer Valley’s “Disability Awareness Activity Packet” in the classroom. Prevention starts with education. Along with that, every parent, educator or librarian should ensure our children read literature with special needs characters. Books create closeness to characters, and that creates empathy in the reader. Empathy can enable children and adults to leap past the page to make friends with special needs individuals and include them in society.

You’re working with a publicity company for the launch of Evil Speaks. What has been your experience with this?

I love it! I interviewed many companies. One company would have worked to increase my on-line presence alone for $500/month, but I wanted more. I chose Smith Publicity, because they have a long track record of working with authors. They helped me design a campaign to fit my budget. I decided to make the investment, because I’m writing a 7-novel series. It seemed prudent to get the word out on book one. The publicist sends review requests to book bloggers, sends out requests for author interviews for radio or television, sends out press releases, lines up book signings, and more. I wanted a team approach, and that’s what I received. I’m very happy with my publicist Katie. She works as hard for me as I do for myself. The Smith Publicity website is packed with media tips for authors, such as “101 Book Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Book.” In short, do your homework, have realistic expectations, and stick to your budget.

Brief Bio:

  1. Woffington is a California native, whose thirst for adventure began when reading1001 Arabian Nightstales as a child. In her twenties, she lived in Saudi Arabia and England, spent months in Italy, and traveled extensively. After completing UC Irvine’s Humanities Honors Program, she earned dual Master’s in English and Creative Writing from Chapman University. Her stay in Saudi Arabia inspired her debut novel Unveiling, which won Honorable Mention from Writer’s Digest SP e-book awards. Woffington teaches middle grade students at a Montessori school. During Summers, off, she writes fiction and works as a freelance developmental editor.

THE GIRL IN BLACK by Kathy Lauren Miller

The Girl in Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

This review of this novel is definitely worth reblogging. The writing is superb, the mystery is  compelling and very scary. The Girl in Black” by Kathy Lauren Miller, is a hauntingly taut murder mystery as well as an awesome page-turner! The mystery begins with high school senior, Kate Mckenna who happens to live in an old Victorian manor that is also the Mckenna Memorial Funeral Home. Her father, Dr. Brendan Mckenna, happens to be the county’s Chief Medical Examiner.  Shy Kate, whose social life as always been nearly non-existent until she is thrust into the limelight when the promiscuous prom queen, Ashley, is found tortured and murdered.

Accusations run rampant in Kate’s High School concerning several male students that were involved with Ashley.  To make matters worse, Ashley’s remains now reside at the funeral home where Kate lives. Kate and her best friend Cooper, a computer nerd, and Kate’s unattainable heartthrob, handsome Shane, all become involved in Ashley’s murder.  Suddenly, Kate finds herself in the cross hairs of the sadistic killer and the vengeful ghost of Ashley, the murdered prom queen. What happens next is beyond Kate’s worse nightmare.  The Girl in Black is a fascinating and terrifying murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book.

 

 

 

GARRETT’S BONES – A Surprising Commentary from Writer’s Digest!

garrets-bones-second-edition-version-final-2-copy-copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last April I decided to enter the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I was hesitant because there are many great writers out there and who do I think I am anyway to even try to compete with these accomplished writers.  I had no expectations of winning – heavens no. However, what I did want was to receive a totally non-biased report. I was expecting the worse.  After all, this was my second attempt at improving the first edition of Garrett’s Bones. The first edition was really riddled with mistakes.   It was my first draft, no proof reader, no editing either. I didn’t see the mistakes and I didn’t even have anyone read it before I decided to self publish the first edition.  I was  mortified when I realized I had published a book with more mistakes than I care to dwell upon.    It does have, as they say, “good bones” – no pun intended.  The truth is writing takes lots of practice and a willingness to make mistakes, never give up, and keep on writing and reading great books.  I had no idea I would be given a really good commentary and a high-grade to boot!  I am thrilled because I was in no way expecting a good review.  I urge those writers like me with little faith to consider submitting their novel(s) to Writer’s Digest.  At the very least, you will receive a non-biased commentary.

writers-digest-iconSo, here is The Writer’s Digest’s Commentary:

“In Garrett’s Bones, a genre novel by Karen DeMers Dowdall, we are presented with a historical thriller, with complex overtones of supernatural intrigue and a dash of romance. At the heart of this story are two young people who set out to clear their names the only way they know how, and in a way, that gets them more enmeshed in darkness. The narrative is tightly woven and compelling, moving at a fast pace while still allowing the reader to experience a true depth of characterization as they develop a full appreciation of the events as they take place. The title seems to this reader to be evocative and chilling, setting the reader on the right course for the overall tone of this novel. The overall design of the book is professional while the cover image for the book is striking and haunting, perfectly in sync with the ideas presented in the book. The chapters are nicely paced, with enough meat to make them satisfying but not so ponderous as to make it difficult to keep track of the narrative as it develops.

****A Commentary by Writer’s Digest, Judge 11

 

 

 

 

A Witch Has Been a Walking

20110908235103_x5zuv-thumb-600_0A Witch has been a walking in the fields in front of me,

Three Crows on a bough, and seven shadows in a row,

Cast by seven Poplar trees. In a little pool of water iced,

I hear the sounds of fairy bells. A Witch and Witches, one

And nine, flowers floating like singing birds, and precious,

Jewels, a hanging from the trees. But, when I spoke, like

A dream which vanishes in the light, so vanished were,

They, one and all.     De La Mare’s Songs of Childhood, 1902

med-revised-new-spooky-inhabited

InHabited to be published March of 2017! A very Witchy Tale!

BLOG TOUR FOR CHARLES F. FRENCH

wp-1476386527924

 

 

 

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce to you my good friend and fellow blogger, Charles F. French. As a professor of literature, he shares with his readers his extensive knowledge and his love of reading, writing and learning, especially Socrates, but it doesn’t stop there. As a mentor, his love of Shakespeare, Stephan King and many other great writers make his daily posts unique and also presents to his readers a teachable moment, something his fellow bloggers look forward to.
It is my great pleasure to host the seventh day of Dr. French’s blog tour, for his new book, Maledicus:  The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book I. Today, I will be conducting an interview with Charles F. French’s intriguing main character, Theodore Roosevelt Franklin.  At the end of the  interview with Mr. Franklin,  there will be a short excerpt from the novel, featuring Maledicus.
Interview with Theodore Roosevelt Franklin
Karen: Hello, Mr. Franklin. I would like to welcome you to this interview and thank you for being willing to answer my questions.
Roosevelt: You are very welcome, and thank you for hosting me.
Karen: And you are welcome. I noticed that you were in the military; would you please tell us something about that experience?
Roosevelt: Certainly. I served in the United States Marine Corps just after finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I came from an upper-class and very wealthy family, and it would have been very easy to manipulate a deferment to keep me from that service. I despise such usage of wealth, and I saw it as eminently unfair that others not born to the same privilege as me should have to go if drafted. I also have as one of my life heroes Theodore Roosevelt—quite a coincidence with the name, is it not?  My parents had an interesting sense of humor. But I am going off topic.  I enlisted and was given the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.I had two tour of duty in Vietnam, and I saw a fair amount of combat, including the Tet Offensive. What I saw also convinced me that war should be the last choice for humanity and never the main option of solving conflicts. It was horrible, and I will refrain from speaking about it in detail here.I did, however, form two lasting and long friends from that terrible conflict—Samuel, who is part of The Investigative Paranormal Society and George Bruno, who is now a Catholic priest.
Karen: What did you do after your time in the Marine Corps?
Roosevelt: I returned to the academic world and concentrated on my graduate studies. I earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in history and then became a professor at Bethberg University. I taught there for almost 30 years before retiring, and I can say that I am very lucky to have had a career that I loved. I especially loved teaching, much more than the required research.
Karen: Do you mind if I change the direction of this interview a bit?
Roosevelt: Certainly, you may.
Karen: What would you consider the happiest moment in your life?
Roosevelt: That is an easy question to answer—the day I married my wife Sarah. I had never been married before, but it was love at first sight for us, and I did not think it was possible before. But from the moment we met, I knew I loved her and wanted to marry her. We met in a bookstore, and I have never been happier than when we married.
Karen: And your saddest experience?
Roosevelt: Unfortunately, that, too, is a question with a ready answer. My beloved Sarah died of cancer only a few years ago. I would rather not say much about it, only that I did not think I would survive her loss.
Karen: If I may, and if this is too personal, please feel free not to answer: I see you still wear your wedding ring. Why do you do that?
Roosevelt: I do not mind your question—I will always be married to her, and there will never be another woman in my life. I will wear this ring into my grave.
Karen: Thank you for your openness. Now, for my final question: why did you help found a paranormal investigation group?
Roosevelt: My two closest friends are Samuel and Jeremy, and like me, they have lost loved ones to death. We are all retired, and we want to know—is there life after death? We have the time, and the resources, so we decided to see if we could get some answers for ourselves and not simply wait for our deaths to find out. We hope to be able to investigate this mystery of life and death.
Karen: Thank you so much for your time and patience.
Roosevelt: Not at all. You are very courteous.  I appreciate your questions.
MALEDICUS
An Excerpt from the Novel
Chapter 28 The In Between – December 13th
“Ohhhh, this is delightful! These old fools and their meddling friends will add to the dish of the woman and child. I will taste each of them separately, and it will be a delicious feast! The old men and their helpers will be the appetizer, and the woman and child the main course!”
Maledicus’ form undulated in the murky darkness, his shape ever changing and growing, as he looked more and more like THEY. After all, he was formed in THEY’s image. The image of his victims’ faces pulsed against his form, all showing their torment, trapped in the hell of his being.
Each will feed me with their pain and fear.
I will have their souls.
I will continue to grow stronger!

ebook       Print book     Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

wp-1476386546701-maledicus