Musclecars and Music: The little old lady from Passadena

In 1964 Jan and Dean released the single "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" who drove a shiny red super stock Dodge. Mopar yeah! Some claim the car was a Polara 500 with a 427 max wedge. Others believe the car was the Hemi Dart. In either case it's a fun song about fast cars.

Happy Memorial Day

Monday's motivational will return next week. Sometime today while you're enjoying family and friends pause for a moment to say a silent prayer for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

R.I.P Don Murray 1929 - 2016

Fridays 5 with Mangalam Shiva

After working as a marketing professional in Mumbai for forty years, author Mangalam Shiva finally took up the pen.

A keen observer of life, the author has been following the myriad incidences of social injustice, inequality, corruption and abuse of power that our country has been beset with, and its impact on the common man.

Unable to initiate direct action to rectify these social evils, he hopes to at least create awareness, through these short stories. By touching a chord with the readers, somewhere, sometime, a life may change for the better.

1) When did you first get serious about writing? 
A) I started getting serious in 2014 at the age of 71 years.

2) What is the hardest part for you about writing?
A) The hardest part about my writing is making the characters think and talk in the same manner as I visualize my story plot.

Click on cover for more info or to order!

"God, why has this happened to me? I have never hurt anybody in my life. I have been sincere to God, to my work, to my husband... Yet, I have to suffer this cruel brutality. Why?”

A software professional who led a charmed life, finds that life destroyed by a single brutal incident…

A man on his deathbed realizes a life spent in the US chasing money, filled his pockets but left him empty…

An ambitious reporter with her dreams within grasp, finds them turning into dust…

A beautiful woman is locked in a battle against unwanted male attention with shocking results…

Meet these characters - strong, inspiring, wayward, cynical, ambitious, and share their journey, in this contemporary anthology of ordinary lives, extraordinary insights.

3) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
A) I felt great pleasure, great relief after going through all the processes involved in editing and publishing my book and subsequent tension to know how my child is going to survive in this difficult book world.

4) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?
A) The story is more important as characters are part of the story. The basic story has to be strong and emotional and the characters will revolve around the situations in the story.

5) What is a typical day like in your world?
A) A typical day in my world involves reading news papers, magazines, novels, watching news TV channels, helping my wife in purchases of daily needs, contacting my friends & relatives through e mails, phone calls, writing stories in slow pace as my imagination takes me, go for long walks in the mornings and evenings keeping my thinking cap on for ideas for my stories.

Throwback Thursday: The House on Haunted Hill

Okay, giving away my age here, but do you remember the old 1959 black and white horror movie, The House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price?

There was a post on Facebook lately asking if anyone remembered the first horror movie they ever saw. The House on Haunted Hill was the very first horror movie I ever watched. I guess I should say attempted to watch. I had convinced my parents that I'd be okay watching the movie with them, it was the mid sixties and the movie had recently been released to network television. My Dad was really looking forward to watching it, I guess that's where I got my love of horror from. My mom on the other hand was up for whatever.

Anyways to make a long story short when the young woman entered the dark room with a candle and that old woman appeared from the shadows I nearly jumped out of my skin and my Dad made me go to bed without watching the rest of the movie.

I eventually watched the whole movie when I was older,  to this day I remember the jolt the sudden appearance of that old woman gave me. That was horror!

What was your first horror movie?

The Reaping Excerpt

As many of you may know I've been hard at work getting my next book ready for release. THE REAPING is book two in my DREADLAND CHRONICLES series that follows a group of four boys through a post apocalyptic world. The story was inspired by the westerns I watched growing up and Stephen King's Darktower series that follows the adventures of the last gunslinger, Roland Deschain as he pursues the man in black.

For me a Gunslinger represents a force of good whose purpose is to bring order to a lawless land. But where did they originate? The DREADLAND CHRONICLES is my attempt to answer that question.

Every Wednesday over the next five weeks I will be sharing a different short excerpt from THE REAPING to, I hope, whet your appetite for its release on June 24, 2016. That weekend, the 24, through the 26th, the first book in the series ALL ROADS LEAD TO TERROR will be free on Amazon. There will also be a contest featuring a unique one of a kind prize for the winner with smaller gifts handed out to everyone who participates. See the end of this post for more details.

Without further delay I give you the first except from THE REAPING.

They heard her before they saw her, whistling a soft tune, a haunting melody that was anything but  upbeat. Like a funeral dirge best shared during the procession when the casket takes its final journey to the grave. From around a bend in the small stream the sound came, competing with the babble of the water rushing over smooth stone, and the restless voice of a soft breeze that stirred what leaves remained, their dead bodies chattering against one another like skeletons dancing a frenzied jig.

Cautiously they approached the sound, coming upon an old woman kneeling on the bank as she washed clothes in the cold waters of the stream. Her calloused hands were red with the cold, and as they rounded the bend she pushed herself to her feet with the help of a gnarled cane, tilting her head to one side like she could hear their footsteps on the grassy bank.

“I been waiting for you boys to find me. Mama said you would be around,” she said as the hem of her long dress caught in the moving water and the fabric drank its fill. She wore a black shawl stretched across her shoulders, her white hair in stark contrast as it rested against her back.

“Don’t be bashful now, I know you’re out there, I can smell ya.” She turned her head to look in their direction, the cataracts coating her eyes capturing the sunlight to lend them a silvery appearance. Her face was a road map of wrinkles, each one denoting a different emotion, the lines radiating out from her narrow lips ready at a moments notice to punctuate a smile or a frown.

Window moved past the others, following the narrow strip of brown grass that served as a bank to keep the stream on its course. She blinked several times as he approached, taking a hesitant step back as he got closer, his six two frame towering over her diminutive five three posture.

“He got to you, didn’t he boy?” She said with a faint quiver in her voice. It was obvious she was frightened by Windows sudden movement, but at the same time she carried herself like one who was prepared to meet her end. She reached out with one hand, and gently caressed Windows cheek like a mother comforting her child.

“How did you know we was coming?” Window said.

She smiled then, relaxing her grip on the walking stick she used to keep herself upright. “Mama told me back when I was a young un. She said, Sophie, you help them four boys when they come, you wait right there, don’t go running off, cause they’s gonna need your help.”

“How long ago was that?” Window said.

“All my life I’ve known, and I’ve waited, cause mama told me I had to. From the time I was a wee child running barefoot down to old man Winner's little store, I’ve known of you.”

“But that was before we were even born,” Window said as the others joined them and the old woman tilted her head to each in turn.

“You can see us?” Billie-Bob said.

She laughed then, her voice filled with a joy that helped push back the chill of the late fall day, offering a brief respite from the cold as a spreading warmth filled each of them at the sound of her merriment.

“Everything that has been, and is yet to be, has been writ down for those who know where to look,” she said before turning to look in Billie-Bob’s direction.

“I can see you with my heart, and that’s all I need. I can see your pain, you did something you thought was bad, but it wasn’t. Sometimes we are pushed to do things we otherwise would not do, for these things we can’t be held accountable, least ways not to ourselves. Where each of you are going you need to leave your guilt behind, it’s the only way you will survive, the only way the world as we know it will continue on its way.”

“What good is this world?” Einstein said, “why should we worry about letting it continue on its way.”

The old woman reached over and touched Einstein’s cheek, “I feel your pain son, but sometimes we have to know loss before we can know joy. It’s the way of the world and it won’t do us any good to fight it. You can’t see that now, but you will.”

“Can you help us?” Meat said.

“That’s why I’m here,” she said as she took Windows hand into her own, “he’s got something very bad in him," she said as she nodded at Window, "they calls them reapers, I can see it hunkered down next to his soul, trying to hide from me. I can’t help with that, but I know what you need to do. Let’s go inside where we can talk.” She looked around, searching the woods around them for other intruders, the boys followed suit, finding only the empty forest.

When they turned back a small cabin stood behind the old woman. It hadn’t been there before, Meat was sure of it, it was like it had materialized right out of the forest behind them.

End Excerpt

THE REAPING is available for pre-order HERE!

Book II, THE REAPING is due to be released June 24, 2016. That weekend, the 24, through the 26th, the first book in the series ALL ROADS LEAD TO TERROR will be free on Amazon.

Anyone who grabs a copy and leaves a review, (good, bad, indifferent) will receive an autographed bookmark, and will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a one of a kind glass mug. I'll have a photo of the mug next week.

Monday Motivational: Frustration

Frustration has to be the single biggest reason many people turn away from writing. The root cause for our frustration can be as varied as the writers who experience it. Maybe we're frustrated because of a lack of sales, or an inability to garner reviews that would help propel our work into a more favorable position. It could be something as simple as a case of writers block, or an overflowing idea file with little time to write. They are situations every writer has faced at one time or another, and will continue to come up against throughout their career.

How we handle the frustration says a lot about who we are. For me personally my frustration stems from a lack of time to write. I have a To Be Written (TBW) list that's 11 novels long, that's eleven fully fleshed out ideas waiting for me to find the time to work on them. I also work a full time job to pay my bills and with no savings (I got wiped out in 08) to fall back on, it can be scary at times. Many times I find myself angry while I'm at work because I don't have the time to pursue my writing to the fullest.

The first step in correcting a problem is identifying what is wrong.

With this new insight I'm trying very hard to put a smile on my face and accept the way things are in my life. Giving up writing has never once crossed my mind. I have reached that point where being a writer is so ingrained in who I am, I'm willing to work my way through these distractions. And that's really all they are.

Distractions from the focus I need to bring to my writing.

What frustrates you the most in your writing life?

Fridays 5 with Sean Lehosit

Sean V. Lehosit is a freelance journalist and history writer living in Columbus, Ohio. In 2010, he graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in English. Lehosit has about 10 years experience reporting on small government, education, business and entertainment.

Lehosit's latest work is Images of America: West Columbus. He has combed through the extensive historical records and photographs of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Grandview Heights Public Library, and the nostalgic artifacts from residents to best capture the early lives of the region’s pocket neighborhoods.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) In middle school, my teacher passed out five stock photos and asked the class to write a short story to go along with each image. I found not only could I fabricate a life for each person in the photos, but greatly enjoyed the process. It was at that time I knew I wanted to become a storyteller.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) I believe sometimes you have to step away from a project and come back to it. Many times you'll return to the work and discover the error that was causing a problem, or realize a better route to take the story. I think the hardest part about writing is knowing when to step away - likewise, knowing when to return.

Click on cover for more info or to order!

Synopsis: Present-day West Columbus is a collective of neighborhoods born from the western banks of the Scioto River in what became Franklin County on April 30, 1803. The first settlement, Franklinton, was founded by Lucas Sullivant in 1797, platted two years after he received 6,000 acres in payment for surveying the central Ohio portion of the Virginia Military District. Later expansions included the areas of Sullivant's Hill, Rome, and Camp Chase. While the first settlers were farmers and ex-soldiers, the land would also attract Quakers, rail men, real estate moguls, and manufacturers. The neighborhoods found success even though the Scioto River, which birthed the region, on multiple occasions threatened to wash them off the map during three great floods. Characterized by a hardworking and driven population, the community attracted major investments by the mid-1900s, including the expanded operations of the General Motors Fisher Body Plant.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) The first time I was ever published, I felt validated. I also felt terrified in anticipation for a very private process to suddenly become very public. However, I believe each time my work is published - whether a book, poem, short story, or an article - I evolve  as a writer, learning something different to do next time.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) I believe character is the most important element of a project. The characters are the vehicle, which readers are transported and relate to. If the characters fail, the reader cannot appropriately journey through the tale. Additionally, I think readers can forgive problems in a story, if they cherish or love the characters.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  My typical day involves waking up around 8 a.m. to check for replies to messages I sent the night previously. As a freelance journalist, I then make a list of interviews and articles with deadlines approaching. I usually forget to each lunch, due to being so involved in my work. Once my journalistic duties are done, I pick up a pet project to get lost in until later that night - when I unwind with a good book, or smart television program.



Book Links:




Throwback Thursday: One Adam 12

It was a year of wonder entwined with fear, 1968. the United States was embroiled in a conflict in Vietnam, the USS Pueblo and its 83 man crew are taken prisoner by the North Koreans for violating territorial waters. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and Andy Warhol are shot and killed. The Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia. The Summer Olympics are held in Mexico city. Apollo 7 and Apollo 8 are launched into space, serving as stepping stones to the moon.

On network television a new police drama premiered. Malloy, an experienced cop ready to retire after his partner's untimely death, is partnered with Reed, a rookie who proves himself worthy enough for Malloy to stay on. Thus One Adam 12 is born and would run for seven seasons, bringing a degree of sanity to a world that at times seemed like it was teetering on the brink.

I was only ten at the time and the show offered a respite from the terrors that lurked beyond my door. An avid reader I had taken to reading the daily paper, and watching the evening news with my dad. The biggest topic of course being the daily toll of killed and wounded from the war in Vietnam, along with combat footage from the field.

After a daily dose of a world gone mad was it any wonder that a show like One Adam 12, where it seemed the most complex issues were resolved in half an hour, would prove to be a safe haven from the insanity that is life.

Meat's Birthday: Part 3

Need to catch up, check out Part 1 and Part 2!

“Please,” she whimpered as she pounded on the button to close the doors. The pressure of her child’s impending birth pushed down against her hips. The sound of her frantic heartbeat filled her ears.

The old man was reaching for the doors of the elevator when she glanced down and saw her own foot resting against the side of the opened door, blocking it open. Using the cuff of her pants she pulled her leg inside the elevator car as she frantically jabbed at the close door button.

The doors rumbled softly as they closed on the grisly scene in the lobby, She lay there,  for the moment, in relative safety, as the sound of the old man slapping the elevator doors came faintly through the metal.

Her hair was plastered to her sweaty forehead and she panted in an effort to bring the growing contractions under control. With her hands on her swollen belly she focused on the light in the ceiling as she struggled to regain control over her body. As if she could will her body to reverse a course that came from years of evolution.

She didn’t know what was going on outside the confines of the elevator, but she knew she couldn’t stay here. Pushing herself up to her knees she hit the button for her floor and pulled herself to her feet using the handrail that ran around the interior of the elevator car.
She might not know what was going on, but she knew someone who did, and she cringed inwardly at the way she had treated the strange man in Seven C.

Would he help her? She wondered as a soft ding came from the light above the door and the doors slid open with a faint rumble.

The hallway beyond was just as she had left it. Mrs. Franklin’s walker still lay on its side across from the door of her apartment. As she cautiously stepped into the hallway, her head on a swivel, she heard Mrs. Franklin flailing against the closed door at the other end of the hallway.

Another contraction drove her to her knees as the baby, no longer willing to be denied, began forcing its way down.

“No,” she whimpered as she reached out for the door to Seven C, “not now, please, not now.”

The sound of footsteps came from her left and she turned her head in that direction, spotting an old man staggering down the hallway towards her. His hands were out in front of him, like twisted claws grasping at the air. The front of his torn shirt was stained with blood. It was obvious something had been at him, the place where his belly should have been was an empty cavity. A white rib poking through gnawed meat at the top of the cavity.

It was too much for her to comprehend, her world had been turned upside down, and she didn’t know how to respond. Nothing in her life had prepared her for what she faced so she clung to the only thing she felt was certain.

If she could get this damned baby out of her, she could escape this nightmare, and get to New York where she was certain the world still turned as it should. Not like the insanity she had awakened into.

Moving as if she were trapped in a nightmare she crawled towards the door for Seven C, glancing back at the old man who staggered towards her. She reached the door and beat against it with her fist as the old man got closer. She leaned against the cool surface, crying in resigned desperation as the old man’s erratic footsteps neared.

The door she was leaning against swung open, she fell into a cool emptiness as the man who lived there stepped into the hallway. He was carrying a baseball bat and she watched as he vanished from view. From the hallway came a sound like a cantaloupe being dropped to the floor and the man returned, his baseball bat dripping blood.

He stood over her, looking down at her with the bloody baseball bat in his hand, and she suspected that she had made a serious mistake coming here.

He tossed the bat to the side and bent down to pick her up. She struggled against him as he pulled her to her feet with his hands under her arms, then he was picking her up and carrying her across the room.

In the next room she saw the bed and fought against him as he lay her down and began pulling her pants down. Contractions slammed into her, doubling her over, but he refused to let her curl up into a tight ball.

“You gotta have this baby,” he said as he pulled her pants off and tossed them aside. He hooked his fingers under the elastic waist of her panties and she slapped at his hands in a half hearted attempt to stop him.

“I’m an EMT, just relax,” he said as he pulled on a pair of surgical gloves and began probing her with his fingers. She felt violated as he forced her legs apart, but the contractions, that were now coming like the waves of the ocean crashing against a rocky shore, dulled her embarrassment.

“He’s coming,” the man said as what felt like a sack of potatoes forced its way out of her body. 

“I don’t have anything I can give you,” he said as her flesh tore and an intense pain flared. She cried out as her once swollen belly collapsed upon itself, yet the contractions continued as the last of the baby that had inhabited her body for nine months was released from its womb.

The last thing she remembered before she passed out was the sound of a baby crying.

The first thing she noticed when she woke up was the bulkiness between her legs, she carefully ran her hand down to find bandages under her panties . From the other room came the voice of a news reporter talking about crazed attacks in Washington D.C.

Throwing back the blankets she pushed herself to her feet and stood swaying with dizziness. She had to get out of here. The stretched skin around her belly hung in a flap that draped over the hem of her panties. Finding her maternity jeans she slipped them on, almost falling as she tried to balance herself on one foot. They were too large now and she was forced to hold them up with one hand.

When she was dressed she turned to find the man in Seven C watching her from the bedroom door. In his arms he cradled an infant swaddled in a blanket. Actually he didn’t look half bad, he was older, with a fringe of gray along the edges of his brown hair.

“I gotta get out of here,” she said as she searched for her shoes.

“You don’t want to go out there, not in your condition. The dead are walking the streets, attacking anything living. Everything has come to a halt. There’s no more buses, no more airplanes, the world is changing. And what about your son?  Don’t you want to see him?”

“No, now just leave me alone, I gotta go,” she said as she searched the room for her things. On a chair in the corner she found her purse that she slung over her shoulder. She should have had the damned abortion. Nine months spent carrying that little monster all for nothing.

But maybe the Mowery’s were still okay. Maybe she could find them, give them the kid, and collect her money. No! One glance at the man in apartment C told her it was all a  wash. There was a sincerity about what he’d said, coupled with what she had seen already, that only served to confirm what she already knew.

Once again she was getting screwed. Circumstances had changed and she’d been left holding the bag. It was the story of her life.

“Where are you gonna go?” the man said.

“North, New York city, what does it matter to you? Anywhere away from this place.”

“What about your son? Don’t you want to take him?”

“No, you keep him, I’ve got better things to do with my life.”

“Lady, the world has changed, its not like it was.”

“It’ll be better in New York, I know it will, they’ll fix it.”

“Who’s gonna fix it?”

The government, the police, the army, they’ll take care of it.”

“They’re gone, either hiding in a bunker somewhere or wandering the streets looking for something to eat. The world we knew is gone. The dead have risen from their graves and judgment is upon us.”

She stopped then as she recalled what she had found in the lobby. “I can’t stay here, I have to go.”

“I’m headed to the mountains, you can come along if you want, it’ll be safer there. I was getting ready to bug out when you pounded on my door.”

Hide in the mountains, or go to New York and follow her destiny? It was an easy choice. Nothing was going to stand in the way of her future. Besides, no matter how bad the problem was, surely the government had it under control, no matter what this nutcase was babbling about.

“I’ve gotta get to New York.”

“New York is not what it used to be.”

She found her shoes under the dresser and fished them out with one foot. Once she’d gotten them on she crossed the room to the door. The man stepped back.

“Don’t you want to see your baby?”

She shook her head as she pushed past him, at the door of the apartment she struggled briefly with the locks before opening the door.

“Don’t you want to give your baby a name before you go?”

“You can call him Meat for all I care,” she said as she slipped through the door.

The man looked at the child in his arms. “Meat it is,” he said.


I hope you enjoyed this brief foray into the Zombie apocalypse. If you'd like to read more about Meat and his friends, grab a copy of All Roads Lead to Terror. I promise you won't be disappointed. If you have Kindle Unlimited it's free to read.

Coming June 24, 2016
The Reaping

Reserve your copy today!

Musclecars and Music: Hot Rod Lincoln

Now this is a fun little tune I first discovered when I was much younger than I am today. While searching the web for an image to go with it I just had to grab this one from The WoodenBoat Forum, after all it features two of my favorite things. Hot rods and prop airplanes. You can have your fancy jets, I'll take a prop aircraft every time.

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen is an American country rock band founded in 1967. Members included founder George Frayne, John Tichy, Billy C. Farlow, Bill Kirchen, Andy Stein, Paul "Buffalo" Bruce Barlow, Lance Dickerson, and Bobby Black.  


Cover Reveal: Out of the Dark

‘Out of the Dark #1’

We are temporary. Finite.

The choices we’ve made, the people we have loved. Who we used to be no longer matters.

Because now it is all about the ending. And the ending always comes too soon.

There’s fear in the dark. And behind every drop of light, the shadows creep and the darkness comes in the form of clawing, red-eyed monsters. They hunt us—stalk us…they are desperate to destroy us.

But I have a reason to fight the darkness and everything in it. A small glimpse of light that lives within my golden-haired daughter, Lilly. She is my strength. She is my everything.

Every life is an untold story, each scene unfolding until the final act. But our ending has yet to be written, and I will continue to protect us, until I can not.

Add it to your bookshelves here:

Riley delivers a story that is equal parts thrilling and breathtaking. It beautifully illustrates the lengths we go to survive and what it means to love when we've lost everything.
NYT & USA Today bestselling Author A. Meredith Walters

Riley’s ‘Out of the Dark’ holds a special place in my heart. Before I’d devoured it, I’d never read a book that so beautifully and eloquently captured the distressing, aching love a mother holds for her child. It is built into the heart strings of a woman, natural and containable.

In her most unique and mysterious way, Riley has given us a transcendent picture of love in the midst of a terrifying climate. She has shown us what it means to choose your family, that it is a matter of honor and earning and not a matter of a blood bond and obligation. I am honored to have read this book pre-release and I know it will stick to me like honey, nearly goes past biological and into spiritual. glued onto the fabric of who I am as a human being.
Speculative fiction author - Eli Constant

A beautifully written story that makes you realize that you should always have hope, even in the most desperate of circumstances. It will tug at your heart strings, until by the end, there isn’t a dry eye in the house.
Goodreads & Amazon reviewer

Claire C. Riley is a USA Today and International bestselling author. She is also a bestselling British horror writer and an Amazon top 100 bestseller.

Her work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult classics while still feeling fresh and cutting edge. She writes characters that are realistic, and kills them without mercy.

Claire lives in the United Kingdom with her husband, three daughters, and one scruffy dog.

‘She writes characters that are realistic and then kills them without mercy’
Eli Constant author of Z-Children, Dead Trees, Mastic and much more.

Claire is the author of:

Odium The Dead Saga Series (3 books),

Odium Origins Series (3 books),

Limerence (The Obsession Series) (2 books),

Thicker than Blood series (2 books),
Shut Up & Kiss me,
Plus much more.

Monday Motivational

The odds of becoming a household name due to our writing is the same as those of hitting the powerball jackpot. People do win, and it is that possibility, no matter how slim, that keeps many of us going in the face of insurmountable odds. There's always that chance.

Bloodmoon Rising

This Saturday and Sunday, the 14th and 15th I'm the featured author at the annual Blood Moon rising event on Facebook. I'd really appreciate it if you could stop by and hang out for a bit. Saturday morning I have to go to Baltimore, but I'll be back in the early evening.

I've got prizes to give away, free ebooks, autographed bookmarks, and I'm running a scavenger hunt for the grand prize of the one of a kind zombie mug pictured below.

I own the equipment to sand blast images into glass and I shot this myself so it's a one of a kind. This 15oz straight sided handled mug has been shot with 7 Zombies staggering around the glass. It will never wash off as the image is engraved into the surface of the glass.

It can be yours if you're the lucky winner, but you know what they say? Ya gotta play to win!

Fridays 5 with Yasmine Hamdi

Fifteen-year old Yasmine Hamdi wants to inspire children to protect wildlife and take care of our planet. She began drafting ideas for her debut novel when she was eight years old. She lives in New York with her family and has been an Honors English student for three years now. When she isn't reading or writing, you can find her traveling, surfing or swimming competitively. Her favorite places to explore are Tunisia, in North Africa and Costa Rica. She aspires to become a successful surgeon.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) Probably around age 12 or 13.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.)  Marketing my books and keeping the ideas flowing. Sometimes I have great ideas, but it's just continuing the action and flow throughout the book that is difficult for me. And marketing is easier said than done.

Click on cover for more info or to order!

Synopsis: Unfamiliar animal tracks and strange nightly noises arouse suspicion at Shady Oaks, a seaside camp on Long Island. Campers become frightened as rumors of dangerous creatures spread. The camp begins to lose its prestige and receive closure threats. Twelve-year old Kyrah Willis is determined to solve the mystery. The camp guards won't help her, and seem to be hiding something they don't want the public to know. Why? With her fun-loving cousin Lynn, fiercely loyal dog Scampi and brave horse Comanche, the curious girl embarks on a journey to the most remote parts of the island in search for answers. In the treacherous and unforgiving wilderness, Kyrah discovers there is far more at stake than the future of Shady Oaks.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.)  I felt proud that I achieved my goal, eager to start selling copies and grateful to everyone that has helped me.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.)  Character, because they shape the story. Underdeveloped or flat characters make stories very dull.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  I get up around 5:30 or 6am, get ready and go to school. (I am in tenth grade) Once I get home, I'll do homework and head to swim practice. When I get back, it's usually pretty late, so I'll check that I don't have any more homework or studying to do before writing for about an hour. More if I'm lucky. On weekends, I try to get as much writing in as possible.  They are also the best days for marketing. But during the summer, I'm able to dedicate the most time to being an author.

Throwback Thursday: Spaghetti Westerns

Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies we didn't have the internet, cell phones, or even remotes for our TV's for that matter, unless you had a younger brother you could order around to change the channels for you. At the time there were only about four or five channels that we could pick up with the antenna, depending on the weather, nor was there cable, at least not where I lived.

What we did have was the local movie theater where a person could spend an entire afternoon watching movies in air conditioned comfort, that is when the air was actually working. Most times the air was out and one of the back doors was propped open with a big fan that created a little bit of a breeze, as well as a way in for many of us without the funds to pay for a movie.

Sneaking in was how my friends and I were first introduced to the raw brutality (at least at the time) of Italian westerns that would later earn the moniker Spaghetti Western. Directed by Sergio Leone, and scored by Ennio Marricone, they were so much better, in my mind, than the weekly series Bonanza, and the Saturday reruns of The Rifleman, Rawhide, and Gunsmoke.

Sometimes I had the money to pay, others times I didn't but I can remember sitting in the darkened theater on a Saturday afternoon watching Clint Eastwood, The Man with no name, as he brought his own form of justice to a lawless land. During a three week span the local theater would run the Dollars Trilogy. A fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and of course who can forget, The Good The Bad, and the Ugly. Sometimes if I was lucky they'd run all three in one day.

To this day I still like a good western. And whenever any of the old spaghetti westerns pop up on cable I'm glued to the set.

When were you first introduced to your favorite movie genre?

Meat's Birthday: Part 2

Meat's Birthday
Part II

Need to catch up? Part 1 can be read here: Part I

She gasped for breath as she wrapped her arms around her swollen belly, the carpet coarse against her back as her shirt rode up while Mrs. Franklin pulled her towards her. The old woman smacked her lips in anticipation, which in other circumstance would have been a comical sight, as her dentures had been knocked loose and lay on the floor in the kitchen.

The look in Mrs. Franklin's eyes was anything but comical. Her features were wrinkled by an animal like snarl that twisted her once grandmotherly face into a caricature of its former self. Her bare gums snapped together with a sound like that of someone being slapped in the face by an open palm. She pulled Denise’s foot to her mouth, those bony gums clamping down on her Tom’s leather slip on's that she’d bought at Nordstroms for nearly seventy bucks.

The pain from Mrs. Franklin gnawing on her foot brought her back to the reality of the situation. She was in trouble, the why didn’t matter at the moment, there would be time enough for that later. For now she had to concentrate on surviving. If she could make it to the street, Marvin had better be waiting there for her if he valued his life.

As Mrs. Franklin gnawed on the toe of her foot, Denise raised her other foot and brought it down on Mrs. Franklin’s face with as much savagery as she could muster, considering her condition. There was movement in her belly as Mrs. Franklin released her grip and Denise scrambled to get back to her feet.

She rolled over onto her belly, the baby inside kicking viciously against the side of her womb as it was compressed beneath her weight, and she tried to push herself up onto all fours so she could crawl away from the threat that was even now pulling itself across the floor towards her. She felt like she was moving in slow motion, the distance between her and the chair appearing to grow instead of shrinking.

Reaching the chair in the living room she managed to pull herself to her knees as Mrs. Franklin clawed her way after her. She was panting, out of breath from the exertion, nearly out of strength, but fear had a way of helping one dig deep when it was needed, and all the motivation Denise needed to make that final push was to glance over her shoulder to see just how close Mrs. Franklin had gotten to her.

Making it to her feet amid the pain of an approaching contraction that came like the sound of a freight train bearing down upon her, Denise crossed to the open door, and staggered into the hallway beyond. She felt her panties getting wet and knew her water was about to break. The baby was coming and here she was trying to escape some crazy old woman bent on chewing her to death.

She whimpered as Mrs. Franklin clawed her way after her and she tried to pull the door shut only to have it catch on Mrs. Franklin’s fingers that she'd managed to slip into the crack. Denise leaned into the door as Mrs. Franklin howled on the other side and Denise looked left and right down the vacant hallway, surprised that no one had come out to see what all the commotion was about.

She put her weight into it, which with the baby was considerable, and felt the gore rising to the back of her throat when she heard the audible click of Mrs. Franklins fingers being severed.

She giggled uncontrollably as she watched the four individual fingers squirm across the carpeted floor towards her feet. On the other side of the door Mrs. Franklin flailed against the door like a mad woman, screaming in a guttural voice that was more a growl than a cry, slapping the door with what Denise believed was her arms.

She took several steps back, alone for now in the hallway, as the door rattled in its frame. She was afraid that if she turned Mrs. Franklin would manage to get the door open and chase her down the hallway. When she was several steps away she turned and ran as best she could towards the doors of the elevator at the end of the hall, her hands cradling her belly as she ran, the baby within sharing its displeasure with being mistreated as it had over the past half hour.

If she could get to the street, if Marvin was there waiting for her, she could go to the hospital, get the baby out, and move on with the life ten grand would buy her.

“I wouldn’t go out here.” A man’s voice came from her right and she stopped to look at the occupant of seven C who watched her from the shadowy recesses of his apartment.

“What do you know about anything,” she said with a dismissive wave.

“More than you obviously,” The man said before closing the door softly.

Another contraction hit her as she stood in the elevator, amniotic fluid ran down her leg, staining her leather shoes as it leaked into a puddle on the floor around her. She squatted with her back against the wall of the elevator, breathing rapidly as she struggled to get control of the waves of pain washing over her.

Once she got to the lobby everything would be fine, someone would help her to Marvin’s old Cutlass and they would be on their way to the hospital. By this time next week she’d be in New York preparing for her first of many auditions.

The elevator stopped, a bell dinging above the door, and she looked up from where she was squatting as the doors slid open. The first thing that assailed her ears was the screaming, followed shortly by the overwhelming stench of rotting flesh that turned her stomach as hot gore burned the back of her throat. She put her hand over her nose.

On the other side of the narrow lobby a group of six people were kneeling on the floor around someone who was screaming in a high pitched voice. Blood spurted in an arc over one of the men’s shoulder, splattering onto the polished tile floor, staining it crimson. The screams became resigned whimpers as the sound of something tearing came from within the knot of people.

Denise screamed and one of the people turned to look in her direction. Their face had the same appearance as Mrs. Franklin's, the flesh gray with dark splotches, the eyes silvery discs that watched her with a predatory interest. The only difference being the piece of bloody flesh that hung from the man’s mouth at he absently chewed on it.

The man pushed himself to his feet and staggered towards her as she reached up and pushed the up button, her other hand wrapped around her belly where they baby moved around in preparation to being born.

She kept pushing at the button as the man staggered towards her, the doors refusing to budge as the distance between them narrowed.

Twenty feet, fifteen, ten, five.

To be continued!

Muscle Cars & Music: Barracuda

This is my dream car, the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Fastback powered by a 355 hp, 426 V-8, Lime Light green, of course!

And what would go better than, Heart's "Barracuda?"

Do you have a dream muscle car?

Monday Motivational: 25 Ways to be a Happy Writer

Nearly every writer reaches a point in their career where they wonder if anybody out there is even listening to them. Especially now that self publishing is easier than ever before, and the market has become flooded with material. Sales become nonexistent and they begin to believe that maybe they should have listened to their Uncle Morty and gotten involved in Real Estate instead.

It is at this point that the wheat is separated from the chaff. The real writer finds motivation from within and can answer the following question only one way.

If I wasn't a writer I'd __________!

If your desire to write is an integral part of who you are, not writing would be akin to removing a limb. It can be tough but in every career there are ups and downs, sometimes the downs can seem like they will never end, but they will. Many times that change comes not from a sudden increase in sales, but from a change in the writer's attitude.

We've all seen the meme floating around out there, 25 ways to be a happy writer.

  1. Write!
  2. Care less!
  3. Write what you want to write!
  4. Bring yourself to the page!
  5. Stop comparing yourself to others!
  6. Open yourself!
  7. Set realistic goals!
  8. Recognize the lengths of your control!
  9. Gaze not into publishing's demon eye!
  10. Don't give haters real estate in your brain
  11. Stop looking at your Amazon ranking!
  12. Give yourself permission to suck!
  13. Deal with your problems!
  14. When something isn't working, change it!
  15. Take care of your body!
  16. Don't worry about money! (Hard to do at times)
  17. Recognize the limits of shame!
  18. Treat your audience well!
  19. Nurture other writers!
  20. See failure as a learning experience! 
  21. Make no excuses!
  22. Look for long-term satisfaction over short-term happiness!
  23. Let your voice find you!
  24. Love some part of what you do!
  25. Finish your work!
 I would add make writing a part of your life, not your whole life!

Is there anything you'd add?

Fridays 5 with Robin Raven

Robin Raven is the human who once belonged to the greatest dog that ever lived. "Next Stop: Nina" is Robin's debut novel. She has several other works of fiction that she hopes to share in the near future.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Robin grew up in a nearby town called Saraland, and her hometown is a lovely place that still inspires her. As an adult, Ms. Raven has mostly lived in Los Angeles and New York City, so she also considers those cities to be home.

Robin blogs at If she's not reading or writing, you can probably find Robin daydreaming about adopting a rescue donkey. Delicious vegan food rocks her world. So does effective altruism. In addition to being an author, Robin has worked as a professional actress.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) I wanted to be a writer for pretty much all of my life and always felt quite serious about it. I completed my first novel when I was seven years old. I wrote it by hand on notebook paper. I dated it and still have it. So I've been serious about writing for a long time, but sharing my writing was more difficult for me. I was a screenwriting and film directing major in college, and I worked as a professional actress. I finally decided to start sharing my writing only recently. My first novel, "Next Stop: Nina", was published in July 2015. My first children's book is being released by a publisher this winter.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) I think staying focused on one project can be challenging for me. That's the hardest part. I tend to come up with a lot of ideas, and I want to work on many stories at once. It takes all the self-discipline I can gather to focus on one idea at a time.

Click on cover for more info or to order!

Synopsis: There's something different about Nina; she never felt comfortable in this world. As she struggles to cope with the pain of her present and past, the young girl's life is changed through the beauty of art. When Nina grows up and winds up in over her head in a dark place, she finds herself somehow transported to another time when nothing is quite what it seems. She must fight the horrors of her past all over again. Along the way, she faces greater challenges than she imagined and enjoys sweet surprises when she discovers true love. This is a character-driven novel with a heroine who faces suicidal depression on her own terms, and that's just the beginning. At its heart, Next Stop: Nina is a love story that takes on the types of love that change us and allow us to discover the truth in ourselves.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) I was excited and terrified at the same time. I am so thankful for the way that readers have responded to it so far.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) While they are both really important, I tend to think that characters are more important to me when I read a story as well as when I write one. If you don't care about the characters, I don't think the story can really draw you in no matter what.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.) I typically write for clients and for myself every single day. I usually have vanilla-flavored coffee or a diet soda to start the day. Right now I am coming close to finishing my second novel, so a lot of my time is focused on that. After a day of writing, I love going out and seeing a movie, grabbing some yummy vegan food, and hanging out with family and friends. I keep a diary and enjoy working on it in lots of ways. Sometimes I create covers for my diaries or do artistic things within them. I am taking a couple of classes, so I enjoy that a few times per week. I like playing the piano, but I don't make enough time for that. Some days I do. I often write at night, too.

Throwback Thursday: Hotel California

Every time I hear this song I can hear and feel the faint rumbling of the engines of the C-130 I was on when I heard it for the very first time. Sitting in a web seat in full combat gear as the aircraft pierced the night. One of my buddies brought his cassette player and we listened in silence as Don Henley spoke of a desert night and a special place that, once you've entered, you can never leave.

Is there a song from your past that carries powerful memories?

Share it in the comments.

Meat's Birthday: Part 1

On the day of his birth the dead walked and society crumbled. His mother took one look at him and pronounced him Meat. He survived, she didn't.

In All Roads Lead to Terror, and my up-coming release, The Reaping, Meat and his three friends Window, Einstein, and Billie-Bob are scavengers in a post apocalyptic world where nightmare creatures roam free. The story opens when the boys are aged eleven through fourteen.

But what happened when they were younger?

Beginning with Meat's birth at the start of the Zombie apocalypse. Each Wednesday I will add to the unfolding story, and when we've finished exploring Meat's past I will turn my attention on the other three. The following was written Monday morning, I have brief character descriptions for each character that will appear. Beyond that I know nothing else about what will happen. Every Monday morning I will write another 500 to 700 words to be shared on Wednesday morning.

I hope you're as excited as I am to see where this goes.

Meat's Birthday

The contractions came hard and fast, doubling Denise over as she tried to cross the small living room to the window. It was too damned hot inside, and she needed fresh air. Marvin had already gone down to get the car, and bring it around front. Living in the city, while it had its benefits, meant one couldn’t always find a parking spot where one wanted.

He would be back up for her soon, that is if he remembered to come back for her. While Marvin had his uses, he wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the box. But that didn’t matter, once she got her payday she’d blow this crappy town and move north to a real city, like New York.

Focusing on her breathing she managed to get the pain under control enough to make it to the window. Pushing it up the rest of the way she was rewarded with a hot breeze that carried the pungent scent of the nearby river, an odor that spoke of things long dead.

Someone slammed into the door behind her, rattling it in its frame.

“Is that you Marvin?” she said, as she waddled to the door, her hand cradling her swollen belly.

She yanked the door open to find Mrs. Franklin, her neighbor from across the hall, lying on her doorstep.

“Mrs. Franklin,” she said as she struggled to get down on her knees next to the old woman. Mrs. Franklin’s walker was laying on the other side of the hall where it had obviously come to rest after her fall.

Denise shook her shoulder only to find her body stiff and rigid. She felt along her neck, not really sure what she was looking for, only that she had seen it done on television when a paramedic of someone checked to see if an unconscious person was alive. She knew with growing certainty that Mrs. Franklin was dead. There was just something about he way she lay there. Perfectly still, not even a breath stirring her body.

From the streets below came the sound of sirens and shouts, horns began honking, and alarms started going off. Bedlam had erupted and she worried for the first time about Marvin. Hopefully he’d remembered to feed the meter, she didn’t want to have to ride to the hospital in an ambulance, by the time they got to her the baby would be a toddler.

“Mrs. Franklin,” she said, louder this time, as if raising her voice would rouse the old woman from the other side. Leaning forward she looked first, left, then right. The hallway was empty.

Confident that no one was watching her Denise began digging through the pockets of Mrs. Franklins sweater looking for her door key. It was no secret the old bitch had a stash of cash somewhere in her apartment, which to Denise was just an added bonus to what she was already going to receive.

Several shots rang out from below and Denise ducked instinctively just as another contraction slammed into her, doubling her over. When she found out she was pregnant her first thought had been to go to the clinic and take care of the problem. She didn’t have the time or patience for raising a child right now.

A friend had introduced her to another friend who had arranged a meeting with a childless young couple looking to adopt. They had money, and when it was all said and done, Denise had agreed to surrender her child to the Mowerys for the tidy little sum of fifteen thousand bucks. That was enough to get her to New York and set her up for a few months until she was on her feet and starring in the latest Broadway play. She was still naive enough to believe her talent would be enough to land her the lead role for any play she auditioned for.

The Mowery’s had set her up in the apartment where she now lived, it might had been small, but it was better than the basement at Marvin’s parents house, or even, god forbid, her own parent’s place. Her mother had chided her ceaselessly when she found out she was pregnant. Telling her it was time to settle down and raise her family. Denise had other plans.,

As the pain of the contraction subsided she looked up to find Mrs. Franklin staring at her with cataract coated eyes that shimmered in the afternoon sun. She had turned her head at an impossible angle that briefly reminded Denise of  the movie, The Exorcist, that she and Marvin had recently watched on video. She couldn’t afford cable and the Mowery’s viewed it as a waste of money.

The flesh of Mrs. Franklin’s face had become a splotchy gray and her mouth hung open like a dog panting, her tongue lolling from side to side as drool dribbled from the corner of her mouth to stain the collar of her flannel robe. There was an animal like nature to her face that made Denise lean back away from the old woman. It was as if she were a ravenous dog looking at a piece of meat.

Suddenly Mrs. Franklin's arms and legs flailed against the door frame as she struggled to roll over, again her actions were reminiscent of an a dog struggling to jump to its feet,  and Denise scooted backwards on her butt.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Franklin, please, I wasn’t going to take anything.”

Mrs. Franklin rolled over onto her belly, her gaze never once leaving Denise, and pushed herself up onto all fours. She continued to stare at Denise with those shimmering eyes, her mouth hanging open as a strand of saliva dribbled from the corner of her slack lips

“I’m sorry, please,” Denise said as the first feelings of panic stirred in the pit of her stomach. Mrs. Franklin moved towards her in a jerking gait, almost stumbling as she stalked her across the small living room. Denise crab walked away from her on her backside, using her feet to propel herself across the floor away from the old woman who paced her step for step.

“Not now!” Denise cried out as Mrs. Franklin reached out for her with a claw like hand and another contraction rippled across her belly. The old woman’s fingers latched onto her foot, digging into her flesh, pulling her across the floor towards her as Denise doubled over in pain.

To Be Continued!

Monday Motivational

It's been said the true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result each time. In a sense we writers could be considered an insane lot. We market our wares the same way over and over again, in the hope that one day someone will say, "Hey, I'm gonna buy that!" after seeing the same ad a hundred times.

Is what you're doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?