You can win a free copy of my book, Eve’s Amulet~Book 1, when you follow my blog and answer the question below.
Romance goes hand in hand with gunrunning in the Old Southwest in this entertaining time-travel adventure! Mandy Ruhe is swept back in time to Texas, 1845, into the body of Carmena Lubber, owner of the Holiday Ranch. Mandy is caught up in the lives of the people on the ranch–their struggles and dreams. Torn between two men, she hopes that true love can triumph over time. But she may have endangered everyone after she encounters one of Mexico’s most powerful and dangerous leaders. Trapped in the past, Mandy must find a way back to her own life before she messes up the future for everyone!
Make sure to answer the question below in the comment section
for your chance to win a copy of Eve’s Amulet~Book 1!
What era would you go to if you could time-travel?
Contest ends April 10th!
I am so pleased to present this interview with Jude Knight, a talented writer who is sharing some pearls of wisdom. After a career in commercial writing, editing, and publishing, Jude has returned to her first love, fiction. I’d like to wish Jude a happy birthday and wish her every success in her writing career.
Leave a comment and you may win a copy of Jude’s wonderful new book, A Baron for Becky.
When did you know you wanted to be a professional writer?
I don’t remember, but my mother assures me I was seven. Certainly, for as long as I can remember, my twin ambitions were to be a mother and to be a writer of fiction. For a long time, raising children with disabilities while working as a commercial writer meant putting my fiction on the back burner. I greatly admire people who can do both. I couldn’t. Now that I’m in my 60s, I’m putting all I’ve learned in a lifetime of reading and writing into short stories, novellas, and novels. And I’m having so much fun!
What do you think a person needs to do or to have in order to be a professional writer?
I think determination and persistence are the greatest assets a writer can have. Craft can be learned. Story ideas are everywhere. But setting a goal and going for it; keeping going when it means dragging each word kicking and screaming from your bleeding brain—that’s what makes a writer. I also think it important to strive for perfection: high quality editing, proofreading, and covers make the difference between an amateur effort and a professional one.
Do you have any long term writing goals?
I have a ten year plan. I have enough plot ideas to do three novels a year for 10 years. Since I keep having more ideas that need to be fitted in, that’s going to be a lot of novels. I would like to think that in ten years time I’ll look back at what I’m writing now and see a thousand ways to improve it. My overall long term goal is to keep improving.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing?
My family would probably tell you that I’m thinking about writing, but I do pay attention to them from time to time, honest! I have the best husband in the universe, and I try to spend some time with him each day. And I have wonderful children and grandchildren, a friendly and sociable church and village community, and many friends at work. So I socialise. I also like to sew and to garden, but both have gone by the board since I began Farewell to Kindness about this time last year.
Who should buy A Baron for Becky and why?
People who love stories of a happy ending against the odds should buy A Baron for Becky. Becky has the cards stacked against her. Only obscurity will give her a respectable future.
Thank you Jude, for your wonderful interview!
See all of Jude’s contact information below. Here is a lovely excerpt from A Baron for Becky:
Aldridge was early. She crossed to the sideboard where she kept his favourite brandy, and was pouring him a glass by the time she heard his steps in the hall. Two sets of steps? Who did Aldridge have with him?
The other man was as tall as Aldridge, but dark to his fair. He must once have been stunningly handsome, and one side of his face was still carved by a master; subtle curves and strong planes combining in a harmonious whole that spoke of strength and, in the almost invisible network of lines at the corners of his eyes, suffering.
On the other side, dozens of scars pitted and ridged the skin, as if it had been torn and chewed by an animal; an animal with jaws of flame by the tell-tale burn puckers. Thankfully, whatever it was had spared his eye, which, she suddenly realised, was glaring at her.
“Well,” he demanded, and she was shaken anew by his voice, rich and mellow. She had been staring. How rude. But for some reason, she didn’t apologise as she should, but instead blurted, “I was just feeling glad that what injured you spared your eye.”
He looked startled, and suddenly a lot friendlier. “Thank you. I am glad too.”
That voice! He could charm bird from the trees with it. Becky wondered if he sang.
How wonderful to receive an Honorable Mention for my micro fiction story, One Way Out, from the VCReporter for their 2015 Fiction 101 writing competition. The contest requires that a story contain all the elements of a regular full length novel, including plot, main character, and setting in 101 words or less. I thank my friend, Patty Guerrero, for letting me know I won when she saw my story in the VC Reporter!
~ The Perfect Ending Award ~
One Way Out
by Carole Avila
On bended knee, Clive handed Becka a diamond ring. She pressed her lips together and glanced about the café.
“Uhm, I’ll gladly accept your proposal, Clive, but not until you’ve developed a firmer resolve to fulfill your own desires.” He frowned. “Don’t be that way. It’s just that you’re sort of wishy-washy. I’m sure you can change your shortcomings and be the man I know you are. And I’m always here for you to help inspire your needed transformation.”
“You’re right, Becka,” he said.
Clive threw the ring into the gutter, paid the bill and took his lunch to go.
I need to walk away from my current work to get a fresh perspective, so in the mean time, I started to write a new book, a serial murder story. At first I thought it was too violent for young adult readers, but then when I thought of all the death and blood and gore in Hunger Games and Harry Potter, it didn’t seem so bad.
My question is, should I keep this for a Young Adult audience or switch it up to a mainstream adult thriller?
Here’s a brief excerpt from the first page.
* * * * * *
“Hey, the elevator is going down to the basement! Did you press the wrong button?”
“Oh, crap!” Jenna’s eyes flew open, and her confidence dropped with the elevator.
“I hate the basement. It’s so creepy,” Carley moaned. “You know they don’t like us going down there.”
Jenna punched the number two button, but the decrepit elevator continued its descent. “It’s not like anybody wants to go down there in the first place.” She tore her eyes from the lit-up button marked with a one and stared at her friend. “I know I pressed two when we got on the elevator.”
“That means someone must have called for it from the basement!” Carley said. “Who do you think did that?”
“Calm down. It’s probably just Mr. Fieldsgate. That old janitor is no one to be afraid of.”
“I don’t know…”
“You sound like a baby. Just like Abigail. There’s nothing down there!” Jenna said.
The elevator shuddered to a stop, and Jenna gulped at the lump in her throat. She tapped the button for the second floor several times in quick succession.
“They think we might get hurt tripping over something in the dark. That’s all,” Jenna whispered, and her bravado faded into nothing as the doors slid open.
Each girl pinned herself back into the corner, and Jenna slowly reached out and pressed the ‘Close Door’ button. Nothing happened, but then the doors finally started to slide close. The girls exhaled, but two large hands, gnarled and bloody, reached into the elevator and pushed the doors apart. Jenna and Carley gaped wide mouthed, but neither could utter a sound. Carley glanced at her friend, whose round fearful eyes mirrored her own.
The hands disappeared, but not a second later, from the black engulfed basement a carcass tilted forward. Crimson covered the back of its knotted gray hair, and the body splattered halfway inside the elevator onto the floor. Guttural sounds gargled up the girls’ throats, and screams finally let loose at the sight of the old school janitor.
His bulging eyes stared up at Jenna, as frightened in death as she was in life, and his mouth had dropped wide open to his chin, just like Carley’s. Blood saturated the front of his pine green one-piece uniform. Carley held both hands fisted prayer-like against her mouth, unable to speak.
The doors slid closed but bounced open as they hit the legs of the graying corpse. The moment the doors fully retracted, they drew toward the janitor’s body again. This time, battered hands latched onto the metal edges of the doors and pushed them open. Carley wailed and tucked herself hard inside the corner as a man peered at her with red facial scars curving like a chaotic map over half his face. Only one eye moved as he dragged it over Carley, then he glared at Jenna, who pressed her back into the handrail.
He growled when he spoke, more like an animal than a man.
“Well, well. What the hell do we have here?”
What do you honestly think? Should this be written for a young adult or adult audience? Other murders in the story will include adults, both male and female, maybe another student. Please feel free to comment on the content, too. Thank you!
I think that when we take our thoughts out of our heads and put them into writing or some other form of self-expression, that we will manifest those desires. I selfishly made my Christmas and 2015 New Year’s wish list about me, but I think it’s always been that way, and so it should be. After all, we have to take care of ourselves before we can address the needs of others.
- May I keep the Spirit of Christmas year round, remembering to give to those in genuine need, be it of my time, money, or prayers.
- May I remember to honor my body through healthy foods and physical exercise.
- May I continually honor my mind with meditation, prayer, and gratitude.
- May I remember that although I don’t have to hang out with toxic people, be them family or former friends, that I can still wish the best for them, as what I send out in thought comes back to me as well.
- May I remember always to keep my thoughts positive, my words peaceful, and my actions filled with love.
- May I hold the hopes and visions of others in their highest good and use my energy to help co-create their dreams, as well as my own.
What Is Your Christmas Wish?
Often times I dream my books, and have been finding out that quite a few authors I’ve been meeting do the same. My “book dreams” come across like a fully developed movie in a theater, or they come in a few chapters a night for several nights in a row. But is this “cheating,” as if the ideas aren’t my own?
Sometimes I’m inspired as I set my hands on the keyboard and words and images fly into my head, as they did with Eve’s Amulet~Book 1. Read author Kathy Bosman’s blog about how my YA horror and teen romance, Death House, was born.
How do your book ideas come to you?
Recently I shared an example of “Show, Don’t Tell” with a fellow student in my writing class. This was such a hard concept for me to learn. The examples may not be stellar, but I think they get the point across.
When you want to “show, don’t tell,” describe the senses and employ the use of descriptions, not just for physical objects but actions, too.
This is telling: “Mary was so upset because she couldn’t apply her make-up just right. She only had one hour to go before her blind date, Roger, picked her up. Her best friend from work, Sally, fixed her up. It would be Mary’s first date in a year since she broke up with Fred.”
This is showing: “Her eyeliner was too thick, the concealer caked under her eyes, and she swiped on too much pink blush that made her look like a call girl. If only Mary’s hand would stop shaking so she could reapply her make-up before her blind date arrived.
Sally, Mary’s co-worker, brightened up when she spoke of her brother, Roger, and Mary imagined enjoying his down to earth, yet exciting personality. She needed someone like that since her break up with compulsive and pretentious Fred. Mary relaxed her clenched jaw and took a deep breath, then poured some make-up remover onto a cottonball.
Instead of telling that “The fire truck went rapidly down the street” show how “The massive red fire engine roared over potholes and left trash flying in its wake.”
A metaphor or simile helps your reader to easily envision the thoughts you’re trying to convey. “He seemed as tall as the tree in my grandmother’s garden,” or “He fought like a man with no arms,” or “She sang as if chalkboard scratching was a new art form.”
What is one of your favorite “show, don’t tell” sentences, be it yours or from another author?
Adults with traumatic childhoods sometimes might expect people, like their spouses and parents, to provide an income, home, or some type of service so they don’t have to work or do things for themselves. Coming from an abuse background, I also felt entitled, feeling that my parents and siblings owed me for neglecting me or treating me poorly during an abusive childhood.
My main character, Mandy, in Eve’s Amulet~Book 1 had a hard time accepting responsibility. When she finally did something productive that served others as well as herself, the feeling was practically foreign to her, but she loved it and started making powerful and good decisions.
When the book was published, everything changed. For once I was getting control of my life. Responsibility wasn’t a burden as it felt in the past, and a new feeling arose as I headed toward self-reliance.
I learned a few significant things along the journey:
- Always trust your gut instinct. Our gut instinct is always right. It’s only wrong when we misinterpret that inner voice or allow people to talk us out of what we intuitively know is right. Knowing is not what we hope or wish for, but what we actually know even if it can’t be justified or reasoned away.
- Say Yes or No to what does or doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to make choices that serve you. You’ll be back in control and can chart a new direction for your life.
- Stop procrastinating. Procrastination is generally the fear of failure or avoiding problems or confrontation by keeping busy with other less important things or things that don’t directly serve you. Get the worst task out of the way, and everything else is easy in comparison. Be proactive by trusting your gut instinct and acting on it.
- Stop blaming. You may have suffered when others did you wrong during your childhood, or even now in the work place or home, but blame is like worry and guilt, serving no one, and they’re all a waste of time and energy. You’re an adult now. Stand up to bullies, ignore parental guilt, and don’t worry about things out of your control.
- Being proactive is healthier than making excuses. Do at least one thing a day related to achieving personal goals in career or in other productive areas that you would normally put off. You’ll achieve more if you take even one tiny step each day towards completing a goal.
- Embrace the opportunity to make good decisions that are in your best interest, as well as for the greater good. Wield your personal power in a positive light!
A mature person accepts responsibility for what they did that was good, as well as for what resulted based on incorrect action or wrong thinking. The true delineation that determines adulthood is when a person elects to hold themselves accountable for their own actions and is willing to make corrections when necessary.