Saturday, 31 December 2011

It's The End of the Year...

Well, it's finally here.  The end of the year.  It's come way too quickly - it always does as you get older.

Thought I should do a last post for the year to wish all the very best, and maybe a quick reminder that my blog name will be changing on January 6th.

So, to all my readers, I wish you all good things for 2012, with much good cheer, luck, success, and health.  My thanks for your following and my hope that you continue to read my idle ramblings into the new year.

January 6, my blog will be changing its name to tktoppin.blogspot.com.  So, a little reminder, to update your links.

Without further ado, Happy New Year !!!

Cheers.

Friday, 16 December 2011

SFF Saturday - Dec 17

Time for another Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!


Staying with The Eternal Knot, the final in the The Lancaster Rule trilogy, due out January 2012 Champagne Books and its new SFF dedicated imprint, Burst Books.

Last week, we encountered Josie and Loeb after her crash. Today, I thought I'd share a little bit about the crash.
         

What she didn’t take into account were the hard tree trunks and branches that catapulted her from one tree to the next like a violent game of pinball. Cocooned and relatively safe in her cockpit after the first impact, and a finger near the eject button, she endured the last jarring crash and rolled end over end across the forest floor.
She really did need to learn how to land and made a conscious promise to herself to do so...if she ever survived.
When her world righted itself and she hacked away the surround-gel with her krima, Josie kicked the battered door away, crawled out, and promptly threw up.


If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Last Few Weeks of December 2011

So, the year's nearly done, and as it stands, I look forward to the new year with much anticipation and expectation than I've ever done in the past.  As year's go, it's been a fairly poopy year for me and my surrounding satellites.  The pitfalls have ranged from sluggish work, additional expenses, sick friends and family, and close friends that have passed away.  Despite that, there has been some really high points, including the release of my second book, The Master Key, escapes from reality in the form of travels, and just chilling with those that mean the most to you.

But I'd still like the see the back of 2011, preferably with a foot up its crevice for good measure.

Next year is the Year of the Dragon, touted for its grand festivities and bountiful lucky charms shooting out in every direction.  I'm hoping to catch some of those charms and hitch a ride.  At least I'll be starting the year right.  Early January will be the release of my final book in the trilogy, The Eternal Knot.  Yes!  I feel like I've accomplished something.  While having one book out is amazing enough, and incredibly lucky, having the trilogy complete and out is like the final stroke across your 't', the full stop after the word.  The story is complete.

I have three more tales to tell, one complete and undergoing some "rearranging" and fattening up.  This is called Bengaria's War, and so far, I've received some very positive remarks from my beta readers.  Thank you!  As to what I'm going to be doing with it, I'm not quite sure yet.  It's far from finished, even though it is.  The other is To Catch A Marlin, a futuristic detective tale with a very engaging baddie.  While this is still stuck in second gear, I know how to proceed with it and hopefully, by mid-year, it will be complete.  Finally, there's The Grosjean Chronicles.  This has given me endless trouble with many plot changes.  I began this on the heels of finishing the Lancaster Trilogy, and I think what stalled me was that I was trying too hard to make it LIKE the Lancaster tale.  Probably too much.  So, I had to redo quite a bit.  It's now starting to take shape, including the plot line, which is a little bit better.  This is another tale I'd like to complete, and I think sometime around September, I may be done with it.

Well, that's it writing-wise for my new year plans.

In other plans, my blog site will have a new name from January 6th.  So get ready, if you're a follower, to change the link to tktoppin.blogspot.com

That's it for now. I'll make a final posting before the end of the year...I'll be away enjoying my first cold Christmas, which I look forward to with pleasure!

Cheers

Friday, 9 December 2011

SFF Saturday - Dec 10

Time for another Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!


Staying with The Eternal Knot, the final in the The Lancaster Rule trilogy, due out January 2012 Champagne Books and its new SFF dedicated imprint, Burst Books.

Today, Josie has crash-landed her "car" and her aide, Loeb, has intercepted her for retrieval...much to her chagrin.
         

“Madam,” Loeb nodded, calm and collected as if it were another normal day at the office. He looked immaculately clean despite the sticky heat. “Your Snare Gun is holstered and your krima is still disengaged. In any event, the jacket around your waist would have hampered your movements by at least one second--enough time for me to elude you. Are you all right? I saw the crash site, I wondered if…”
“I’m fine.” Josie propped on one leg and studied the aide. “How did you get here?”
“I followed the road,” he replied matter-of-factly and waved vaguely behind him. “Madam, we should head back. I was pursued by an unidentified vehicle--lost it just before you dropped out of sight and into those trees,” he pointed to his left. “It won’t take them long to pinpoint our location.”
Ignoring his suggestion, she gaped. “You took the road? There’s a road?”


If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Monday Madness...with me

Stop by Holly Hunt's site today at Rhythm Poets, where she hosts Monday Madness.  Today, I'm the lucky girl suffering from the madness.  Featuring my upcoming release, The Eternal Knot, it includes a short excerpt and little useless information about myself.  So stop by, leave a comment and show me some lurve.

Friday, 2 December 2011

SFF Saturday - Dec 3

Time for another Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!


Staying with The Eternal Knot, the final in the The Lancaster Rule trilogy, due out January 2012 Champagne Books and its new SFF dedicated imprint, Burst Books.

Today, Josie, from her POV, reflects on her life so far...
         

Living in this future was very hard work, and to date, I hadn’t had much time to wind down and appreciate it. Having your life threatened--constantly--and living on the edge, really took a toll on you. And I still hadn’t seen all the new wonders that this future had to offer. There still was so much I wanted to do and see, but trying to stay alive took priority.
But I did manage to strike one major thing off my ‘to do’ list. I’d gone into outer space. 
And as if staying alive were not hard enough, I still had official duties to perform. Some days, I really wished I hadn’t helped my father out by stepping into that stasis machine. Being the president’s wife was a royal pain in the ass at times.


If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My Challenge for Next Year

So, as challenges go, this is a breeze.  It's about reading and reviewing, something I do all the time.  Of course, I've never really signed up for something like this, but what the hell.  Here goes nothing!

Lisa from Baffled Books invited me to join up in the Speculative Fiction Challenge, and all I have to do, is pick my level (of books I'm gonna read) and then post up a review on my blog.  How easy-peasy is that?  I suppose I could go for being Obsessed (which is 48 books), but let's be realistic here.  I do have other things that need to be done, and while reading is a very enjoyable past time, especially in speculative fiction, I'm going to go for Excited (6 books).  Later on, like next year, I'll probably post up which six I'm going to be reading.

And hey, anyone can join in the fun and excitement of reading and reviewing.  Just click on their link and there you go!

Hmm, I wonder if anyone's going to be reading my books?  Just saying, you know...

Cheers!

Friday, 25 November 2011

SFF Saturday - Nov 26

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday time again.


Once again, I'll be showing off The Eternal Knot, the final in the The Lancaster Rule trilogy, due out January 2012 Champagne Books and its new SFF dedicated imprint, Burst Books.

Still staying with Quin, today we reflect upon his life...
         

Though he’d retired from pod hunting, he still hadn’t forgotten how to find people. In the quiet moments of his living while hiding, the old itch of wanderlust would afflict him until it became unbearable. He was a scientist, but adventure beckoned him like a mistress. He’d been almost bowled-over-glad when he’d been found. Living rough for over a year in Chile, while it could be entertaining, had not been all pleasure. Many days he’d spent in utter solitude, pondering his life, thinking of Madge, dipping ever-close to the edges of depression. He’d drifted from one obscure town to the next, meeting old friends, staying with an aged cousin, simply existing.


If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Friday, 18 November 2011

SFF Saturday - Nov 19

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday time again.

Check out the spanking new cover art, designed by the talented Amanda Kelsey.
And because I just got this amazing new cover art, here's another little treat with a snippet from The Eternal Knot, the final in the The Lancaster Rule trilogy, due out January 2012 Champagne Books and its new SFF dedicated imprint, Burst Books.

For those of you who have been keeping up with the tale so far, you might remember a certain individual called Quin.  For those who don't know...well, your loss.  Hah, kidding.  Not really.

Here we have Josie and Quin discussing some interesting medical advancements...
         
“We’ve checked out most already and they’re all men. Fern’s good, but not that good that she can grow a dick and a pair of balls.”
Quin gave her a scowl. “Persistence, Josie. When tracking someone who wants to be hidden, always assume everything you learn is not as it seems. Dig deeper and remove the layers of illusion.”
Josie let out a dramatic sigh. “Fine. I swear, Quin. We’re on some kind of loop here. We had this exact conversation just yesterday.”
“No we didn’t. For example, we learn something new every day. It is possible to grow a dick and a pair of balls in this century. You can’t procreate with it, but it’s doable.”
         Josie returned a deadpan look. “Whatever!”


If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Looking to Change For The New Year

So, I have reached a decision...like I do every time the year inevitably draws to a close.  This of course, is something that I've been debating for some time.  But I feel the time has come now to finally enforce it.

I've decided to change the name of this blog page to tktoppin.blogspot.com.

It makes sense for this change over to my own name, rather than the name of my first book.  After all, I will be writing more books, and I will be chattering about things other than The Lancaster Rule books.  It's also fitting that come next year, the final of the Lancaster trilogy will be released into the world, and so comes the end of the tale.  It simply won't be relevant to hold onto this blog page name.

My decision to change the name has not come lightly.  In fact, I even considered creating a new page in Wordpress.  But then I thought, why should I?  I already have a blog that also serves well enough as a website if any one is interested in learning more about me.  And why should I have more things to manage?  I like keeping things simple.

So, come January 6th, 2012, I will be switching over to the new name.  Don't worry, I'll be sure to inform everyone -- ad nauseam -- well before the change over takes place.  That reminds me, I'll have to update ALL my links to ALL the places I'm linked to.  That should be a tedious and time-consuming venture.  May the force be with me.

Cheers.

Friday, 11 November 2011

SFF Saturday - Nov 12

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday time again.


Continuing with The Master Key, sequel to The Lancaster Rule, published Champagne Books.

Today we have Simon on a space station called the Scrap Yard, which is like the mothership for all things cybernetic.  Of course, not everything goes smoothly while there.

          The blast knocked them off their feet. The room shook with tremendous force, making everyone wonder if they didn’t, in fact, spin clean out into outer space.

Simon shook his head to clear it, his teeth hurt from the shock waves and he heard a loud ringing in his ears. He felt slightly nauseous. Whatever that last explosive was, it was designed to have maximum effect on humans. Most of the equipment in the room juddered and made static noises, then resumed normally. The men and droids were only just peeling themselves off the floor. One man retched up his dinner.
They’re using Rumble-Bombs, Simon thought quickly.
Just before detonating, the bomb would emit a pitched tone to unbalance the inner ear, followed immediately by the explosion. Most droids used a balance chip to keep them upright, making them susceptible as well.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Friday, 4 November 2011

SFF Saturday - Nov 05

Time for another Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.  I know, that's a mouthful.


Today, I return to The Master Key, sequel to The Lancaster Rule, published Champagne Books.

I couldn't decided which snippet to use -- there's just so many.  But here we go.  Here we have Josie, who has once again done something rather impulsive, and now, regretting her actions.

My head spun. I reached up tentatively to touch the sore spot—right at the back—and felt a knot. Whatever Ho used to hit me, it was something reassuringly hard.
A groan spilled out of my mouth, making me feel nauseous. I swallowed hard and brought the hand from my head to my mouth. My nose hurt too, where Lee smacked me in the face. It felt twice its normal size.
Whether it was the knock on my head or the time-out in blackness that brought me to my senses, I wasn’t sure. But I felt like an idiot. I acted impulsively and foolishly, putting myself, Aline—even the unsuspecting Dr. Maines—in serious danger. Everything that I’d learned and had been taught to do in times of danger, I threw clean out the window.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

...The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent...

And so on and so forth.  Now that I've gotten your attention, let's hope I get to keep it long enough.  Well, at least until Saturday November 5th.
The Champagne Books SF and F writers have banded together in a raggedy group of a dozen to host a LIVE CHAT.  While I can't ensure they'll be any fireworks and gunpowder, there will be loads of giveaways that we writers are offering up.  From PDF books, paperbacks, and trinkets (I hear there's Jelly Belly tins up for grabs).  How cool is that?

Here's a list of the amazing writers being spotlighted that night: K.M. Tolan (Dancer Series), T.M. Hunter (Aston West Series), Ashley J. Barnard (Fox Trilogy), Jude Johnson (Dragon and Hawk Series), Helen Henderson (Windmaster), Jane Toombs (she got soooo many books I don't know where to start).  And we have some newly signed writers as well: Marc Davies (Hive), J.A. Garland (The Mutatio Project), Leia Getty, Ronald Hore, Joanne Renaud.  There is also the chance that Ciara Gold might pop in (Celestial Dragon). And of course, there's me...

Up for grabs on my end, a personally autographed paperback of The Lancaster Rule OR The Master Key...whichever the lucky winner decides.

Where is this live chat taking place?  Over at the Champagne Books Chatroom: http://champagnebooks.com/Chat.html on November 5th (yep, Guy Fawkes Day) at 7pm EST.

So stop by then for a chance to harass me...oops, I mean, for a chance to win something.

Friday, 28 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 29

It's SFF Saturday again.


Today, I thought I'd share a sneak-preview snippet from the final book in the Lancaster trilogy, The Eternal Knot, due out by my publisher's Champagne Books in January 2012.

This snippet, taken from the very first few lines of Chapter 1, John contemplates his impending doom, should he fail to find a suitable birthday present for his wife, Josie.


John Lancaster wondered, for the umpteenth time, what to get his wife for her birthday.

He’d known her for two years. In those two years, the only thing she’d ever asked for was the tattoo that adorned both their fingers instead of traditional wedding rings. This did not mean that she didn’t want a present, not in the least. In the two years he’d known her, he’d learned the subtle art of surviving marriage--and a woman’s mind--like his life depended on it.

The first time he’d met her, it had been her birthday. She was a prisoner, accused of being a terrorist. Granted, she’d been
his prisoner and he’d been doing the accusing, but that was beside the point.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

An Idle Wondering...

So, last night, I ended up watching Cowboys and Aliens.  Great movie, by the way, and with some funny moments by Harrison Ford.  But, I'm straying away from my idle wondering.

Hygiene... Yep, I said it right.

I've always idly wondered about personal hygiene, in the real world, in those way-back-when days.  If movies and books are authentically portraying those time-periods (and what is written in history), then it's pretty safe to say that personal hygiene in those days were either few and far between, or non-existent.  Judging from the sweat stains, general dirt and filth, and uhhh, those hideously decaying teeth, then humanity in those days must've stunk to high heaven and caused corrosion to your lungs.  But then, people were made of hardy stuff back then, and their survival from that stench is confirmation of that.

Of course, from history tales, we know that perfume was invented, and later the combination of soap with water became a popular choice to smell better and keep all body parts refreshed and not just for your honeymoon.  But still, when you think that way back when, something like travelling used to take you eons to get from point A to B, with limited stops and bathroom breaks -- and the invention of wet wipes and Purell liquid sanitizers was still light years away -- we can only surmise that, in general, people stank.

This brings me to my next idle thought.  The future.  Now, I love writing SF and stuff that happens way into the beyond.  A lot of stuff I see in fiction are combined with great adventures, where people travel all over the universe in spaceships and wormholes and whatnots.  Of course, people are a lot cleaner looking in the future, with amazing backdrops of super-sophisticated buildings and vessels and wow-gadgets and stuff.  But, aside from shower tubes and drying tubes, no one ever touches on their personal hygiene issues.  Okay, that sounds kinda gross, and probably no one really wants to know and it would make a really gross (and fairly dull) moment to go into detail about.  But don't you just wonder, when the super-cool hero grabs the equally super-cool heroine and gives her that first kiss after battling and killing aliens and spaceships for the better part of a week, and no toothbrush in sight...  Er, well, me personally, I'd tell him to hold that thought...

I know, right, I just sucked the "romance" right out of the moment.  But brushing one's teeth.  How would you do that in the future?  Would we still have need of toothbrushes or waterbrushes?  I'd really like to know.  And toilet paper.  And deoderant...a stick, spray, or do we take a pill to eliminate b.o.?

And like in Demolition Man with Stallone, where he wakes up in the future and discovers that bathroom hygiene has changed, my curious mind would really like to know what the hell those seashells are for.

In one of my books, I was really tempted to add little bits of personal hygiene aspects into it.  Like the same toothbrush and toothpaste scenario.  My character would use a small gel capsule, bite down, and poof!  Froth and refreshing mint-flavour cleaning foam would fill your mouth and get into the nitty-gritty areas and get rid of all plaque and bad breath germs.  (I sound like a commercial)  But I never included that into the story, because who really wants to know about someone's personal hygiene routine?  And I'm sure Aquafresh already has a toothpaste that does just that.  Bummer...so much for being creative and original.  Well, the gel tablet was original.

Oh well, I guess it's just my curious mind wandering into areas that are usually gleaned over.  Since I like to write convincing characters, it's only fair to create a complete picture, personal hygiene-issues and all.

Cheers!

Friday, 21 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 22

It's SFF Saturday again.


Here is another snippet from the recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Today, we see Josie (from her POV again) prepping for a "mission."  She's speaking with her good friend Trudi and their thoughts on their spouses, and, well, men in general.


“I’d like to rip John’s face off right now. How dare he speak to me like that—like I’m some silly little kid that doesn’t know any better.” I muttered under my breath. I could feel John’s glower burn the back of my neck, making it itch. “I need to know if this girl is my niece, you know what I mean?”
“Of course. Connection—bonding. The need to be a unit. You see, men don’t get it. It’s because they don’t have a uterus.”
“What?”
Trudi’s comment brought me out of the prickly red haze I’d been in. I let out a howl of a laugh, which caused Simon to raise his head up and frown suspiciously. A quick glance at John told me he was burning a hole in the floor with his eyes, his lips were non-existent; the furrow between his brows deep enough to look like a ravine.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Friday, 14 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 15

Time for another SFF Saturday.


From the recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Last week, we saw Josie flee the scene in a hypersonic rush.  Today, she and her party are still making tracks to get to safety.


I had no chance to speak with Margeaux other than to give her short instructions, nor did I get a chance to look at her in any close detail. As we boarded the shuttle, already primed and ready for take-off, I was sent directly into a safety ejection pod—strapped in, secured, and sealed off from the rest of the passengers.
This pod, upon sudden altitude change, impact or manual override, was designed to immediately eject outwards, engage its own independent engine and transport me directly back to the Citadel. It was fully equipped with its own air supply, communications consoles and navigation equipment. Not that I was required to use these unless emergency manual operations were required. Ironically, to date, I’d never been given any flying lessons.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Between WIPs

The Grosjean Chronicles or To Catch A Marlin...

Decisions, decisions.

Now that Bengaria's War is "complete" and in the hands of betas, I find myself flitting from one WIP to the next.  To be honest, I've got two on-going stories, both set in the same world as the Lancaster world (to make things easier) and both competing for my attention.

Last week, after resurrecting The Grosjean Chronicles, and then this week, To Catch A Marlin, I realized that both were becoming too similar.  Ack!  We can't have that happening!!  Then it got me wondering if that was the reason I couldn't get past a certain point and ended up writing Bengaria's War -- which is set in a completely different world, and so, fresh.

Yesterday, I spent most of my supposedly-allotted-for-day-job-time reviewing what I'd written so far in To Catch A Marlin.  Of course, I couldn't help but fiddle with a few paragraphs and tweak a few chapters, mostly to disguise the fact that it was once again set in the Lancaster world.  I think I managed it, but kept enough similarities to make you wonder.  The fact that both Grosjean and Marlin end up at the same place (okay, a space station) right now is irrelevant.  There will be plenty of time later to fix things up and give each a little distance.

But, I'm still in a quandary...I want to continue writing, both of them, at the same time.  Which one, I'm not sure.  I've also reviewed all my notes on both stories (making adjustments along the way...of course), and still haven't come any closer to a decision.

I'm thinking I should let both have another little rest.  I've also been asked to beta the sequel to a really cool SFR story, the first in the series to be released shortly (this month, I think).  So my mind is tugged in that direction as well.

I wonder, maybe to solve the problem I'll just have to flip a coin and let it rest at that.

Oh well, cheers!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Live Chat Tonight (Oct 10) at Night Owl Reviews

Just a quick mention that I'll be over at Night Owl Reviews for a live chat with three other authors (Ashley J. Barnard, Mary Corrales, and Roxanne Rhoades).  So stop by tonight, 8pm EST and join the fun. 

Friday, 7 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 8

Hello everyone!  I missed out last weekend but I'm back again.


For today's posting, here's another short snippet from my recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Following is a short snippet where my girl Josie and the trusty Simon need to flee the scene from a particularly nasty dude.  Enjoy!

After our communications were knocked out, Simon drove like a bat out of hell and beat his own estimate by arriving at the landing strip in four minutes flat! I barely managed a few clipped words through tightly clenched teeth during the ordeal, my face felt stretched from the G-force. He’d pushed the vehicle until the speeds clipped just under the hypersonic mark. Any faster, and we’d have zoomed straight off the country and into the next continent. As it was, Simon had to go half-airborne so he wouldn’t crash into trees or wreck the asphalt from the heat coming off the engine.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.

Cheers!

Friday, 30 September 2011

My Guest - Julie Eberhart Painter

Today I have with me Julie Eberhart Painter, a fellow writer with Champagne Books.  Julie has been writing for quite some time now, with a load of books under her name, with her latest, Kill Fee, out October 1 from Champagne Books.

Let’s meet this amazing lady…

TKT:  Okay, so, let’s get straight into it… How many books have you written?  I see that most are mysteries, what got you started into the devious world of murderers and intrigue?

JEP: Thank you for inviting me. I’m not all about murder, but I like intrigue and scandal.

Counting the three books not yet published, I’ve completed nine. We won’t count the ones in the round file. I have a 105,000-word memoir that although written for publication, is meant more for our family. I haven’t tried to sell it lately. That would be ten.

TKT:  Good luck on your memoirs.  Next question, do you draw on life experiences when you go about creating a story?  Or is it just purely made up?

JEP: I always draw on my looo…ong life experience for my stories. I was blessed to be in several people-intensive businesses: Interior Design among the rich and famous and health care among the crotchety and interesting. I also play duplicate bridge against the competitive and nasty. Very broadening. The overall plots are my own but the people are composites from life.

TKT:  Sounds very interesting and diverse.  So, when did the writing bug bite you?

JEP: As a child making up stories was part of my culture. My parents were well read and older. They had a lot of memories to share. My favorite game was, “Tell me what it was like when you were a little boy/girl.”

When I was eight or nine, I started writing about princes and princesses, I never read about them now—unless Tina Brown wrote their story.

TKT:  Sounds like my parents.  I used to enjoy their tales of when they were young.  Right, you asked me this question, so now I only see it fit to ask you.  Do you remember your first rejection letter, and how it made you feel as a writer?

JEP: I was very disappointed. The book was “On the Road to Cassadaga,” a memoir of my decision to become a writer based on a conversation with a psychic over the phone. I’d been making comfort calls for a local hospice. The famous psychic told me a chilling story and invited me to meet her in Cassadaga, FL, a truly spooky place about 30 miles west of us towards Orlando. When I got there, it was so scary I came home and phoned to cancel.

Once Cassadaga was written, I picked the perfect agent. She was the right choice at the time and was nice enough to write and tell me my book wasn’t ready for prime time. She was right about that. I had hoped to resubmit it to her because she was a major player in the industry. Sadly, my judgment was a little off. She was thrown out of the AAR ten years later for creating a false auction on another book she represented.


TKT:  Wow, that terrible about your agent.  Okay, so what’s your perfect writing day?  Do you have a routine, or are you one of those writers that fit it in when you get the chance?

JEP: I could have a routine. My husband is retired, kids gone, etc. I don’t play much bridge now. But if a friend wants to do something or my very limited social life intervenes, I just go. I am always ahead of my deadlines, so I can do that. The perfect day is when I am creating a new story and I push back from the computer and cry, “I didn’t see that coming!”

TKT:  Tell me a little bit about your upcoming release, Kill Fee.

JEP: The cozy mystery begins among a group of seniors playing duplicate bridge. The director, Penny, has taken over running the game for her beloved uncle who is too old to keep up with it anymore. The old folks love Uncle Connie, but resent the delicious morsel, Penny, who has a romantic history. Her day job is that of an environmentalist with the EPA.

Her uncle dies at the table and the old folks think it’s murder. The Keystone Cop-like police are called and Penny becomes a suspect because her uncle has left her $15,000,000 and his environmentally sensitive beachfront property, complete with staff. The new young lawyer, Cole, whom Uncle Connie selected to disburse his estate, takes her under his wing. Naturally they fall in love, although she exercises caution this time around.

Penny has a pet Mynah bird, Bilgewater, the legacy of a former lover. The bird has a reputation for swearing and telling it like it is. Penny calls him the foul-mouthed fowl and her malevolent Mynah. He’s a quick study and not a bad crime fighter either

In Kill Fee, everyone gets play. The old folks are scandalized. The police are annoyed and the environmentalist press is scared into action that takes several crazy twists. It’s a fun read with poignant messages.

TKT:  Sounds exciting!!  Do you read other books outside of your genre?

JEP: I am especially fond of mystery romance, suspense, autobiographies, memoirs and currently anything written about animals such as the books of Sara Gruen. She wrote Water for Elephants, but my current favorite is Riding Lessons. She knows the animals’ body language as well as human family dynamics. Her books combine my interest in anthropology with my love of psychology.

TKT:  If you could have a conversation (or meet) with one of your favourite writers (living or not), who would it be, and why, and what would you ask them?

JEP: I have many favorites from long ago. Wilkie Collins wrote The Woman in White, one of the first English mystery novels. I admire him, but for a sit down, I’d like to talk with Margaret Mitchell. One of my nursing home residents in Atlanta was her personal friend. They were in a weekly two-table bridge game. One day Margaret didn’t show up. The ladies asked, “Wheah’s Mahgret?” The answer was, “She’s writing a book.”  The ladies laughed. And the rest is historical romance: Gone With the Wind.

I wouldn’t necessarily ask her anything about the South, but I’d like to know if she regrets asking to have all her unpublished work destroyed at her death. One story was found in an attic two generations later. She had been 15at the time, writing a long short story for a young man a block away celebrating his 16th birthday. It’s called “Lost Laysen,” and can be purchased in the Margaret Mitchell Museum at her home in Atlanta.

TKT:  That is truly amazing.  My last question.  If you could pick a place, time, year or even century (past, present, or future) what, which, when, and where?

JEP: I was born in 1936. According to my 50-year-old children, I could not have been born at a better time. They are probably right. I certainly would have wanted to be an American.

TKT:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

JEP: Thank you again for proposing this idea to swap interviews. I highly recommend it. Because we are polar opposites, you young, me more advanced in age, you a writer of sci-fi and fantasy and me a reality writer, the questions and answers have much more substance. I like that. Good luck with your series.

Thanks so much Julie for stopping by and I wish your oodles of sales for your upcoming release.  Don't forget, Kill Fee - out October 1.  Don't you just want to find out about Bilgewater?  I do.

Bio info: Julie Eberhart Painter is the Champagne Books author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and Kill Fee to be released in October.
You can find Julie at her Website at www.books-jepainter.com

Julie’s books are available from champagnebooks.com and popular electronic bookstores. Paperbacks can be purchased from the publisher or lulu.com


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mid-Week Resolutions

Wednesdays, like most other days in the week, arrive with such exacting precision.  Sort of like those annoying bills you have to pay.

For me, mid-week usually finds me in dilemmas.  You know, wondering what to do with the 'rest of the week' since the gusto you started the week out with, hasn't really panned out.  Plus, Friday is just around the corner so there are many distractions.

This week, I started out with a moderate level of gusto.  I'd just completed my WIP (Bengaria's War) and sent it off to be beta read (again), and with all good intentions, tried to play catch up with my day job and online stuff that I've sorta neglected.  By the end of the day, I was done, and by Tuesday, I had dragged out my shelved WIP (The Grosjean Chronicles) and started re-reading it.  I felt inspired to continue writing, which I have been doing in short spurts since.

But now it's Wednesday and the motivation to continue writing seems to have left me.  It could be the heat...I know, I keep saying that -- or it could be all the new Fall TV shows that have popped up, leaving me to shelve my usual nighttime plotting sessions as I ogle them.  In any case, I still try to put in at least a couple hours writing time in the afternoons...so, at this rate, by late January (unless I get struck by a bolt of inspiration) I reckon I'll be finished with The Grosjean Chronicles.

For now, it's still Wednesday, and the day is progressing extremely slow.  Maybe I should take a page out of my cat's book and start the week like any other week.  Find a spot, stretch out, and have a power-snooze.

Cheers!

Friday, 23 September 2011

SFF Saturday - Sept 24

Hello everyone!  This is my maiden voyage into the Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday realm.  I hope I do it some justice.


For today's posting, I give you a short snippet from my recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Following is a short snippet from the very first chapter.  Enjoy!

“She’ll never make an operative.” Simon propped his arm companionably over John’s shoulder and watched as Josie sheepishly recovered from a stumble.
“She’s my wife, not one of your lot.” John clamped his mouth into a line and rolled his eyes, a habit he seemed to be borrowing lately from Josie. “But you’re right. An operative she will never be. I’m just glad she’s learning to hone her skills at defending herself. Clumsily, but still…”
“There’s that,” Simon agreed with a shrug then suppressed a chuckle. “And now, thankfully, she looks more the part so her cover will stand.”
Though he’d never let on, Simon did like her. She was a bit crass, rude, nosy, and childishly na├»ve, but she’d somehow managed to tame his best friend’s turbulent heart and reawaken his humorous nature. And, she had the uncanny ability to make John swoon like a girl, something that was practically unheard of until she came to live at the Citadel.
“At least now she won’t second-guess her own strength and abilities,” Simon continued.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.

Cheers!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A Little Update is in Order

As September draws closer to the end, I once again, find myself blowing out a breath of relief.  As months go, it's been a pretty crappy one with only some mild moments of uncrappy stuff.

Aside from the constant and ever-present heat (what's new in the tropics!), I felt the need to give my current work in progress, Bengaria's War, ANOTHER glean-through -- which I am doing now and nearly coming to the end.  Some things just didn't sit right with me, and some areas need a little more embellishing to 'round off' the tale.  But polishing up your work is never an easy task, nor is the constant distraction of having to market your other books that are out there already.  To top it off, there were other personal stuff going on in my life that took time away from concentrating on the WIP.  Ah, life, such a gloriously distracting thing.

So, as I near the end of the polishing, and the end of the month draws to a close, I'm hoping October will bring a breath of fresh air into my distracted soul.  I know that has been the main issue bogging down my brains and clouding up everything else.  I just hate having unfinished business around me.

In October, I will resume my quest for an agent for Bengaria's War, seek out more reviews for the recently released The Master Key, drag out The Grosjean Chronicles and set about finishing that unfinished tale, and try my best to take a larger dosage of chill pills.

Oh, crap.  And seek out a present for hubby's birthday...

Anyways, join me this Saturday as I venture into the Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday world (giving myself a break from the Six Sentence Sundays).

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Sept 18

Six Sentence Sunday! Again from the recently released The Master Key.  But, after today, I'll be taking a short break, and then introducing you to the final in the trilogy: The Eternal Knot

Today I introduce you to Michael Ho...


The holographic image of Michael Ho—lifelike and actual size—cast itself into the centre of the room. His neat black hair was slickly combed back against his scalp. His mixed-Asian features were smooth, creamy, and composed in his accustomed pose of faux pleasantness. He looked like an enlightened spiritualist, hands clasped before him like a monk.

If you want to know a little bit more about The Master Key, click up to my Books tab above.

Thanks again to everyone who drops by to read these tasty snippets and leaving wonderful comments.

For anyone interested in participating, click to Six Sentence Sunday, and follow the rules. You can also check out the six sentence reads from the other participants.
Tweet about it too, use the #sixsunday hashtag.

Cheers!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Sept 11

Six Sentence Sunday!  And yes, I'm still promoting my latest release The Master Key.

Today we have a sticky situation, where John is trying his best to say the rights things, without getting flayed alive.

“Well,” she looked at him as through he were the biggest moron in the known universe. “Duhh. I mean, yes, but…no. What I mean is, I didn’t ask because you people don’t seem to wear rings anymore. In this century, that is.” 
He replied carefully. “Some still do—traditions die hard. It’s a matter of preference. And rings are bothersome in times of combat. They get in the way…” He sounded too much like a man making excuses so he clamped his mouth shut.


If you want to know a little bit more about The Master Key, click up to my Books tab above.

Thanks again to everyone who drops by to read these tasty snippets and leaving wonderful comments.

For anyone interested in participating, click to Six Sentence Sunday, and follow the rules. You can also check out the six sentence reads from the other participants.
Tweet about it too, use the #sixsunday hashtag.

Cheers!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Tropical Storms and Brain Waves

So, I've been watching the weather lately, as one does when you live in the tropics, and taking note of the numerous tropical storms popping up like measles.  With the convenience of WIFI, and devices like the iPods and Pads, even the trusty Blackberry, I can feed my addiction of checking out the weather.  We'll not get into the other addiction I have, which is 'screen-addiction.'  That's a whole other story!

This year, like the last, we've quickly run through the alphabet with naming the storms and hurricanes.  We're all the way to the Ms with Maria breathing down our neck this very minute.  This time last year, we were closer to the Ps, and ran into Tomas at the end of October.  Ouch!

Anyways, so yeh, that's us in the middle where that angry little knot of red is glowering at us.  We got a precursor of it late last night, with cracking thunder and rain.  The only reason I knew this, was because I thought the AC unit was about to fall on my head.  So, after being rudely awakened by Maria's bellow, my brains weren't quite ready to go back into a coma.  What does it do?  Come up with a strange and quirky story which I ended up dreaming about.

I'm still not quite sure how I want to write this new story...it may very well end up as a short story, which is kinda new to me, since I'm not very good at short stories at all.  As for the genre, it's not going to be SF!!  What, you say?  Yeh, really...I'm thinking more along the lines of fantasy...like paranormal fantasy, maybe?  I took some notes earlier this morning, and had a read through.  You could say it's a sort of fairy tale gone wrong, in a good way, of course.  Then again, as I start writing it, it may just end up better as a storm-induced dream.  I'll know in a few days when I give it a tackle.  Funny, last year, when Tomas blew through and we were out of power for five days, I had a similar brain wave passing through my head.  I must drag out those notes and see what I can do with it.  I'm beginning to think that storms agree with my creative process.

Until then, my weather-addiction is fed hourly, and as I glance out the window, its a blustery and dark view with wind (thankfully) and spurts of fine rain.  I think it's time to stir up a nice cocktail and watch the rains commence...oh, wait, it's only 9am... I suppose I could wait a few more hours...

Cheers!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Another PDF Is Up For Grabs!

Still wanna win a PDF of The Master Key?  Well, since I'm feeling particularly generous, click on over to Miscellaneous Ramblings and scroll down to see the rules.  It's that simple.

The event lasts until September 9, so you have fair chance to win.

Good luck!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Sept 4

Six Sentence Sunday time again!  Once more, a short snippet from the newly released The Master Key.

Here we have an interesting situation.  John is intimidating a particularly nasty little individual.

“I don’t believe you could kill him. He’s very strong and skilled,” she persisted. “How did you kill him?”
He waited a beat, watching her. “With my hands. It was personal, you see.”
Involuntarily, she flicked her eyes to his hands. He’d mimicked her by clasping them before him, and could see her beginning to squirm under his close inspection. She unclasped her own hands, placed them at her sides, one fist balled tightly.


If you want to know a little bit more about The Master Key, click up to my Books tab above.

Thanks again to everyone who drops by to read these tasty snippets and leaving wonderful comments.

For anyone interested in participating, click to Six Sentence Sunday, and follow the rules. You can also check out the six sentence reads from the other participants.
Tweet about it too, use the #sixsunday hashtag.

Cheers!

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Writer's Vineyard Mega Contest

So, most of you know that every month I contribute some random words to The Writer's Vineyard blog.  Starting from next week, they'll be celebrating their fourth year, the authors at TWV are holding a Mega contest to give away over twenty of their top rated novels.

From Sept 5 through Nov 28, they will hold a drawing every Monday. The post for each Monday will announce which book is being given for that week, the rules, and who won the prior week. Come join us. Lots of ways to win, and while you're there, scan through our posts. We discuss the good, bad, and ugly of writing and the publishing experience.

And just a side note, my giveaway for a PDF copy of The Master Key, will be up for grabs on Monday November 14th.  Just saying...

Monday, 29 August 2011

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me

And if you want to find out, click on over to Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi and find out.  AND, if you leave a comment or ask another question, you might be lucky enough to win a PDF copy of THE MASTER KEY.

Good luck!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - August 28

Here it is again, another Six Sentence Sunday!  Again, a short snippet from the newly released The Master Key.

Here we have Simon contemplating a certain Governor of the space station.


“Give a person a little authority and it goes straight to their head,” Simon muttered to himself. “Even if they’ve been doing it for the last fifteen years.”
Personally, Simon thought Mwenye needed to leave the space station more often, maybe get a little fresh air—find a woman, or man, to divert his frustrations—whatever tickled his fancy.


If you want to know a little bit more about The Master Key, click up to my Books tab above.

Thanks again to everyone who drops by to read these tasty snippets and leaving wonderful comments.

For anyone interested in participating, click to Six Sentence Sunday, and follow the rules. You can also check out the six sentence reads from the other participants.
Tweet about it too, use the #sixsunday hashtag.

Cheers!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - August 21

Another Six Sentence Sunday - wow, time flies quickly!  Here is another short snippet from the newly released The Master Key.


We were escorted straight to the observation deck and given an impressive view of the Scrap Yard. Between us, floating like an aerodynamic dick, a stocky yet luxuriously sleek gunship—a sci-fi fanatics wet dream. Riddled with mounted guns seen and unseen; at this very moment their guns were aimed at us, and the Scrap Yard. From the looks of it, we were in stalemate.

(Josie's point of view of a space station.)

If you want to know a little bit more about The Master Key, click up to my Books tab above.

Thanks again to everyone who drops by to read these tasty snippets and leaving wonderful comments.

For anyone interested in participating, click to Six Sentence Sunday, and follow the rules. You can also check out the six sentence reads from the other participants.
Tweet about it too, use the #sixsunday hashtag.

Cheers!