I remember reading, years ago, the results of a study that suggested how many people have a story they want to write. I can’t remember the exact statistic, but it was something like one out of every ten Americans dreams of someday writing a book. I also remember this article saying that almost every one of these wannabe authors ambition was no more than a pipe dream. He went on to explain how incredibly difficult it was to actually write an entire book. And if that wasn’t enough, he added that finding an agent and getting published was tantamount to winning the lottery.

If I wasn’t already intimidated enough at the thought of writing, this certainly did the trick. Years went by before I decided to try my hand at it. And like so many things we postpone in life, once I completed my first novel, I couldn’t believe I had waited until then.

Here’s what I learned out of that experience.

The fear of doing something is always worse than the actual experience. Don’t let yourself be intimidated. If you feel the urge to write, then do. Writing an entire novel is not as difficult as it may seem.

The first step is to come up with an idea for a story. This can come from a news report, or a headline, or even just a daydream, and it usually starts with a ‘what if?’ For example, you might read an article about some recently found treasure, and you ask yourself, ‘what if somebody was to find a treasure that hinted at some great lost civilization?’

The next step is developing the main character and placing them in this what-if setting. For example, you decide that your main character is a priest and his concern will be that the treasure might disprove some part of the bible. Here you already have the makings of a great character and a suspenseful story. 

I should add that one of the mainstays of an engrossing read is a main character who is conflicted. The story can be filled with suspense, but if the main character is not torn between decisions, much of the suspense will be lost.

I am convinced that every person who dreams of someday writing has already experienced a few of those what-if moments.

Now do yourself a favor and go write down your thoughts before you forget them. Who knows, you just might be the next best-selling author. It all starts with writing that first line.

All my best,

Monique Domovitch

P.S. Let me know when you finish your first chapter.
http://www.moniquedomovitch.com/
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DWED Reviews Looming Murder By Carol Ann Martin

Synopsis:  LOOM WITH A VIEW  
Della Wright has come to peaceful and picturesque Briar Hollow, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to realize her lifelong dream of owning a weaving studio. To promote her new business, Dream Weavers, Della is offering weaving workshops for all levels of ability. In her first class, she meets half a dozen of the town’s colorful characters, who seem as eager to gossip as to learn how to work a loom.
 
But when a shady local businessman is found murdered, Briar Hollow suddenly appears a lot less idyllic. And when one of her weaving students is suspected of the crime, Della can’t help getting entangled in the investigation—with some help from her criminologist friend, Matthew. But can she weave together clues as well as she weaves together yarn—and stop a killer from striking again?

FEATURES WEAVING TIPS!

 

Rating: 4 stars ****

 

 

My Thoughts: It has always been said that curiosity killed the cat. In the case of a sketchy accidental death and the murder of a prominent real estate mogul, Della Wright seems to be landing safely on her feet at every turn.

After facing a dramatic life change, Della moves to the small town of Briar Hollow to start fresh and live out her dream of owning and operating a Weaving Shop. But little time has passed before she is intrigued by the small yet quirky town with its vivacious cast of inhabitants, and a murder she unknowingly stumbles upon.

I found it entertaining that Della seemed to put herself in harms way despite the open threats to her well being. It was as if she needed more in her life other than operating a Loom and teaching others how to weave. It’s like she felt empty.

Despite this, the Author had a way of directing the story that kept my rapt attention, and I found I couldn’t put it down. I was far gone wanting to know who had actually committed the murder and if Della might come face to face with this unknown killer.

The whodunit feel of the book was riveting, and the end had a very well put shock value because the culprit and their reasoning for the murder were unexpected.


 
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Synopsis:
Romance, humor, family drama, with a touch of Buddhism. Sound interesting?

When approaching life's problems, Sophie sees in black and white. That is, when they're someone else's problems. So when it comes to her sister, Sophie is sure she has all the answers, and offers them without hesitation. If only her sister would listen.

Then, through a series of chance encounters, she meets Sam, who is witty, kind, and downright unflappable. Sophie has the overwhelming sense that she's known him before, and as a relationship builds between them, odd visions invade her mind. Though she tries to dismiss them, their persistence will not allow it.

As someone who is quick to judge others, she is intrigued by Sam's ability to accept people as they are. She begins to see him as a role model, but try as she may, his accepting nature is difficult to emulate. 

Will Sophie ever be able to put her hasty judgments aside and realize not every problem has a simple solution?

Review

Rating: 4 stars ****

My Thoughts:

This book was simplistically great. One of the things I loved about it was how it flowed. There were funny moments, sweet moments and gracious moments which allowed me as the reader to feel connected with the storyline and characters the entire book.

Shelly as an author, I believe, has a skill that allows the reader to constantly connect and stay connected as she paints a vivid picture.

My favorite character was Christian, Evie’s husband and friend. His inner conflict is what drew me to him and kept my rapt attention, although Sophie hated his guts and had no kind words for him throughout the story.

What I love is that we see so many different personalities and beliefs mixed throughout the story and its never changing. Everyone stayed true to their place, their beliefs and their core personality, although we saw major change in Sophie as she found love within another and allowed herself to really feel loved. We watched as she finally accepted one can have flaws without judging them, but accepting them.

This was a great read.

Excerpt:

Sophie wandered into the kitchen where Christian was standing, clearly tortured in his own home. 

“What’s up?” Sophie asked, slapping him on the back.

“Hey, Soph.”

She did sort of feel sorry for the guy, pitiful thing that he was, but she often wondered if much of his manner was for show. She supposed only Evie knew for sure, and maybe his mother as well. Christian had conventional good looks—thick, wavy brown hair, nice skin. In Sophie’s opinion, he had no personality whatsoever. Evie must have seen something in him that Sophie didn’t. He never drank, which was probably a good thing due to whatever mood issues he had. But at the same time, Sophie thought he could use something to loosen him up.

“So whatcha been up to, Christian?”

“Not much,” he answered. “Been helping Mom around the house, doing some yard work.”

“Really?” How nice. You can help your mom with yard work, but you can’t help your wife with your own damn house! Making an effort to have a positive conversation with him wasn’t going to happen here. Now she was just pissed off. “Well, I gotta get this drink over to Edward.”

As she passed her mother, they exchanged meaningful glances. Abby approached her son-in-law to attempt her turn at friendly dialogue. Maybe she would have better luck than Sophie.

Later that evening, Sophie sat with Lisa, her friend and fellow teacher, as she picked at a bowl of Chex Mix.

“Come on. It’ll be fun,” Lisa persuaded. “I’ve been married five years, and I still get out more than you do.”

“So what? Why is it so important that I get out more?”

“Well. . . .” Lisa hemmed and hawed. “Jerry has a friend I want you to meet.”

Sophie ended her search for melba toast in the Chex Mix and gave Lisa an annoyed sigh.

“Just agree to meet him,” Lisa added. “He’s a cool guy.”

“I’ll go, but only if you promise not to fix me up,” Sophie insisted. What was it about married people and their deep-seated desire to pair up their single friends?

“You haven’t dated anyone for at least six months,” Lisa pointed out, as if it were some atrocity.

“Lisa, I’m tired. I think you’ve forgotten what it’s like, and the last thing I want to do is meet some guy in a bar.”

“Oh, give me a break! You’re not going to be meeting some guy in a bar. It will be someone that Jerry and I know, and it will be at Murphy’s. Remember Murphy’s?” Lisa jibed, poking her in the ribs. “We used to go there all the time when we were in college.”

Ughhh,” Sophie groaned. “No set ups. It has to be casual.”

“They’ve got Karaoke now,” Lisa said in a sing-song voice.

“Is that supposed to entice me, or make me run away screaming?”

“Okay, no set ups. Some others from work will be there too, so it will be very casual.”

Sophie sipped her drink and watched Evie approach Christian across the room. He looked nauseated, stressed and self-conscious. Evelyn reached up and lovingly straightened his collar as if he were a little boy, and then said something that seemed to put him at ease. He grinned stiffly and put his arms around her.

Sophie was fascinated by their dynamic, wanting to be a fly on the wall to their conversation. Anything to understand why her sister stayed in this relationship.

Evie cocked her head and gazed up into Christian’s face, asking him something. His smile disappeared, and so did he as he retreated to the bedroom. Evie nervously skimmed the room and when her gaze met Sophie’s, Sophie averted her eyes, pretending to be ignorant of the exchange.

Christian wasn’t seen for the rest of the evening.

http://www.shellyhickman.net/


 
Congratulations to the winners of the Sins of the Father Blog Tour Giveaway!!

Christina Galbraith-Popma

Tiffany Riach

Suzy Clark

Sheila Brannan Lake

Thank you to all my fellow Bloggers that helped make the Sins of the Father Blog Tour 6/10-6/30 a Success!!

6/10/2013 http://www.ifeeltheneedtheneedtoread.com/
6/11/2013 http://publishmyself.net/
6/12/2013 http://krystalmilton.weebly.com/ 
6/13/2013 http://pickyourpoisonbookreviews.blogspot.com/ 
6/14/2013 http://ravenreviewer.tumblr.com/ 
6/15/2013 http://www.smashwords.com/
6/17/2013 http://52booksorbust.wordpress.com/ 
6/18/2013 www.love4indieauthors.blogspot.com
6/19/2013 http://www.griffinshoney.com/ 
6/20/2013 http://indieauthorsbooksandmore.blogspot.com/ 
6/21/2013 http://theindigoquill.blogspot.com/ 
6/22/2013 http://www.ifeeltheneedtheneedtoread.com/
6/24/2013 http://www.indieauthorspromo.com 
6/26/2013 http://bookaholics2.blogspot.co.uk/
6/27/2013 http://faerietalebooks.org/ 
6/28/2013 http://hardcovertherapy.com/ 
6/30/2013 http://ravenreviewer.tumblr.com/ 

 
Everything seems to be going Iian’s way, he has a successful restaurant, a beautiful home, family, and friends. He’s even overcome the loss of his hearing, but why does he still feels like something is missing?

Allison has worked hard to make a name for herself in the art world; now all she wants is peace and quiet to work on her passion. But, with her mother overtaken by illness, she has less time than ever. When everything is stripped away in one tragic blow, and she’s being stalked by a mad-man,
she’ll need the help of her hometown and an old flame, to turn everything around and find what she’s been looking for.

Returning Pride is book three of the Pride Series Romance Novels, a sexy contemporary romance series by Jill Sanders.
Links:
Amazon:  http://amzn.to/10iOCme Paperback: http://amzn.to/11wAMrI Kobo: http://bit.ly/11t7vhB B&N: http://bit.ly/17gq8wT Smashwords: http://bit.ly/16buqkO Retruning Pride's Blog Tour: http://bit.ly/13AGThi
Jill Sanders survived 80's pop music, and life as an identical twin in a chaotic family of nine.  A feat by any standard!  She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, relocating to Colorado for college and a successful IT career at IBM in Boulder.

Narrowly escaping before all creativity was squashed, she jumped at the chance to trade the mundane world of computers for the sexy, exciting world of her own imagination.  She now lives in charming rural Texas writing wonderful novels such as the Pride series.

Her debut novel, Finding Pride, was short listed in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards 2013, and has received glowing industry and reader reviews from around the world.  Her latest release is Discovering Pride. Yet another novel, Returning Pride, is slated for July 2013.

To learn more about Jill, visit her website www.jillmsanders.com, where she blogs daily, or follow her on Twitter: @jillmsanders.

 
Synopsis:
Is it possible for a heart to survive twenty five years of abuse on the most intimate level?

For anyone in a relationship, the words 'we need to talk' can only mean one thing. In the last twenty-two years, the McKenzies have been through it, survived it, learned by it, and grown stronger from it, because life didn't stop for breath when they needed it. Amongst the tears and the tragedies, the hopes and happiness, they've built something amazing: a happy family, a luxury lifestyle and a booming empire. Don't they deserve to have it all?

But for the perfect wife, those four sinister words mean something entirely different. They're a summons into a private world where what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors.

Faith has no doubt in Calvin's undying love for her. It's what kept her sane in the darkest hours. If only she could figure out what it is she does wrong... because it's rapidly becoming apparent their tainted love is running out of time.

Tainted Love is an intimate look at a side of marriage many people never see.

Excerpt:

Are you having flashbacks of the lycra cat suit with the homemade ears, whiskers, and the feather boa tail, D? So you should, you made it! I didn’t tell you I’ve bought one this year and Gawd, it’s awful! I felt so self-conscious. Where do I start? It’s strapless, it laces up, it gives certain areas more and others less and it’s not suitable for public consumption! But it’s the only one I could find.

The three girls thought it would be fun to trick-or-treat at John’s. I did try telling them he wasn’t home. His truck wasn’t in the drive and he was supposed to call my cell when he was ready for Lisa to come home for her big surprise. So it was a surprise for us all when the door opened.

“Oh my! What a fright.” His eyes met mine and I nervously mouthed an apology, because Cal would have hated us turning up uninvited and unplanned. But John grinned. “Now what do we have here?” They giggled and I melted just a little. He had them eating from the palm of his hand. “Right, well, for the little devil, I have this,” and he held out his right hand.

“A hand shake?” Zoe was puzzled before she took his hand, and then she yelped. Mystified, she turned over his palm. “Wicked!” She grinned at the trick hand shocker.

You know how mischievous she is. She’s going to have hours of fun finding new ways to torture us with that.

As though he knew what I was thinking, his eyes found mine with a wicked gleam. I swear I had butterflies. “Now for the fairy princess.” He turned to Caitlyn. “I have this...” He reached inside the door and brought back his hands cupped together. “I found it when I was working on the beach yesterday and thought of you.”

“What is it?” Cate stepped forward and placed her hands on his. “Oh, it’s beautiful, John!” she cried, lifting a star-shaped shell from his hands. “Mom, look!”

You know how star mad she is.

“Wow!” I wasn’t looking at the shell. I was looking at the man who knew my kids as well as I did. “Thank you.” Again, his eyes met mine. Oh wow. D, my knees actually went weak.

“And for the little bunny, I have a big fat—” he swept her into his arms, “hug!” He squeezed as he swung her from side to side.

I think I could have melted into a puddle on the floor right there and then if it wasn’t for the porch railing I was leaning against. I always thought Cal was a good father, but in comparison to the police officer turned carpenter-slash-handy-man who gave his time up to restore derelict piers, Cal was nothing.

“Have you had a good birthday, Bunny Rabbit?”

“It’s been awesome!” Lisa smiled. “Kimmi made me rabbit shaped pancakes for breakfast.”

“Speaking of rabbits, aren’t you forgetting something?” John asked. She looked puzzled. “He’s in the garden.”

“Really? You got me a rabbit?” John nodded. Lisa squealed and wriggled to be let down from his arms. “You’re the best dad in the world.”

I stepped forward to stop my girls from going inside. “Leave them a few minutes.”

The three girls ran to the garden to see the new rabbit. John smiled at me and took my hand. “I have something for you, too.” I was surprised. I didn’t expect anything. “I'm sorry, Kimmi,” he said, and stepped closer. “You can’t turn up here wearing that and not expect this.” He pushed me up against the door. One hand slipped under my jaw toward the back of my neck as he stepped into my personal space.

And I... well, I froze.

D, every muscle clenched, my eyes twisted shut, and I prayed to God he wouldn’t hurt me. I didn’t even breathe.

“Okay,” John whispered, stepping back. But he didn’t pull his hand away from my cheek. “That was not what I was expecting.”

Air passed through my lips, long enough for me to breathe normally again. He let the silence continue while my heart rate slowed. I knew he could feel it beneath his hand. But what could I tell him? Honestly, what could I say? But this man... he’s got to be too good to be true.

“Kimmi,” John said, “The last guy really hurt you?” His thumb caressed my cheek and my face turned into his palm. “But…” He stepped closer again, not too close because he knew it would freak me out. “I’ve tried, Kimmi.” He tilted my chin so I could look at him, and I knew whatever he was about to say was really important. “And I…” His lips brushed over mine and my heart fluttered. “I just can’t wait any longer.”

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Author Bio:

Erin Cawood is a commercial women’s fiction author, with a taste for dramatic storylines and a passion for strong lead characters she really gets behind, cheering on right to the very end of their story. Her focus? Taking romance into the darker, edgier side of contemporary fiction.
Erin lives in Leeds, UK, with her partner of thirteen years and their fourteen year old cat. She spends her days somewhere between the fiction world and the student world. Fascinated by web design and digial communication, Erin is studing a BA(hons) in New Media at the University of Leeds. Before returning to full time education two years ago, Erin worked at a theme park, a convenience store, a public house/restaurant both in the kitchen and waitressing, as an insurance agent and currently works part time in a customer contact centre.

Connect with Erin!

Website: http://www.erincawood.co.uk
: erin@erincawood.co.uk
Beyond My Writing Space: http://www.erin-cawood.blogspot.co.uk
: http://www.facebook.com/authorerincawood
: http://www.twitter.com/erincawood
: http://www.goodreads.com/erincawood

 
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DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Southern California boy who joined the US Marines out of high school and ended up in Vietnam in 1966. In 1968, honorably discharged from the Marines, I attended college on the GI Bill and earned a BA in journalism, a teaching credential and then later an MFA in writing. I took my first creative writing class in 1968 and have never stopped writing.

DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?

It was in 1968 when I decided I wanted to be a published author, and I have worked toward that goal since.

DWED: Would you say the journey to publish was easy or hard? Why?

I’m not sure if I would call it hard. For sure, it wasn’t easy. It was just a long trek and I think the journey is often more important than the destination. I wrote my first book length manuscript in 1968 and when I finished it, I found an agent to represent me. Forty years later, I had written more than a dozen book length manuscripts, attended writing workshops out of UCLA for several years driving 135 miles round trip once a week, and was represented by other reputable, established literary agents but the publishers did not come knocking. If you think the journey is worth it, you don’t step off the road.

DWED: Who or what would you say inspired “Running with the Enemy”? How was the concept for “Running with the Enemy” born?

One writing teacher out of UCLA’s extension program was named Marjorie Miller, and when I joined her class I was working on a memoir of my tour I Vietnam. She convinced me to fictionalize the story and for more than five years in her writing workshop I wrote and revised the chapters that became “Running with the Enemy”. That Marjorie Miller died of lung cancer a few years ago but the novel she inspired lives on. She was a tough task master and I still recall thinking I would be writing one of the chapters for the rest of my life, because she refused to accept it until I got it right—thirty revisions later.

DWED: How does “Running with the Enemy” stand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within its pages?

I’m not sure if I’m the right person to answer this question. Each reader may experience the novel in different ways. The story may stand out because it covers several areas that most people haven’t heard of about the Vietnam War.  For example, it has been reported that a few hundred Americans fell in love with Vietnamese women and went AWOL to vanish into the rain forests and go native in remote rural areas of the country—some of them may still be there.

The idea that someone in the US military was selling weapons to the Vietcong actually happened in my unit. The armorer for C Company of the 1st Tank Battalion was caught selling weapons to the enemy and he ended up being court-martialed and sent to prison for twenty years.

In addition, the character that is accused of raping a Vietnamese girl and killing her father was modeled on one of the men in my communication platoon who was caught and court martialed for rape and murder and sent off the a federal prison in the states.

The CIA connection with drugs from the Golden Triangle has also been documented.  All of this and more is within this novel’s pages.

At length how would you describe the feedback for “Running with the Enemy”?

As I’m writing this, the novel has sold less than ten copies and there hasn’t been much feedback yet. However, the feedback I received for more than five years from Marjorie Miller and several other published authors attending the same writing workshop out of UCLA was positive, and Miller found a literary agent from a reputable agency to represent the novel. The novel even reached a senior editor at Random House who said he enjoyed reading it but the market for Vietnam novels was glutted and they weren’t selling. That agent represented me for about two years and we heard the same thing from several editors. I moved on to new projects and shelved this novel for about twenty years.

DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?

I have no idea what my style of writing is.  I’m too close to it.

DWED: What kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?

If anything, I think the theme of loyalty appears in my work. The main characters are human and they are flawed but loyalty and trust are very important.

DWED: Who is your favorite charter in “Running with the Enemy” and why?

I think Ethan Card, the main character because he is willing to risk his life out of loyalty to those he trusts and loves the most. He’d rather die than run out on someone that puts their trust in him.

DWED: Who is your least favorite character in “Running with the Enemy” and why?

I have to say that title is shared by two characters: Victor Ortega, the rouge CIA agent who is a sociopathic serial killer who enjoys tormenting and torturing his victims. The second least favorite character would be Giap, because he obsessively molests and terrorizes his half-sister, Tuyen, Ethan’s lover, and he wants to murder his own mother.

DWED: How is the tour for “Running with the Enemy” going?

I’ll have to answer that in a year or two, because it seems promoting one’s work never ends. I published my first novel in December 2007, and I’m still promoting it. In addition, it took more than two years before the sales of that book started to pick up as word of mouth slowly spread.

DWED: Where will you be stopping next for your tour?

Krystal, I’m looking at the schedule and see that my next stop will be June 24 and 25th with Marianne at Reviewing Novels on line.

DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you through 2013?

Thanks for asking. Besides keeping up my Blogs, I’m working on a teacher’s memoir called Crazy Normal, a classroom expose, and I’m planning to publish before the end of the year. During the 1994 – 95 school year, I kept a daily journal that ran more than 500 pages, and I’m using that journal to take readers into the classroom of a public high school like they may have never experienced it before unless they were a teacher.

DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?

Don’t expect fame and fortune. Instead, write passionately for the love of it and write what you want to write—not what the market is buying.

http://lloydlofthouse.org/




 
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Genre: Vietnam War, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller

Synopsis: In this suspense thriller set during the Vietnam War, Victor Ortega is a rogue CIA agent, and he needs someone to blame for his crimes. Recon Marine Ethan Card is the perfect patsy. As a teen, Ethan ran with a Chicago street gang, and he has a criminal record. He also has a secret lover, Tuyen, who is half Vietnamese and half French.

Tuyen is a stunning, beautiful Viet Cong resistance fighter. Since she was a young child, Tuyen has lived under the control of her brutal, older, sexually abusive half-brother, Giap, a ruthless and powerful Viet Cong leader, who has forced her to kill Americans in battle or die if she refuses.

When Ethan discovers he is going to be court marshaled for weapons he did not sell to the Viet Cong and Tuyen will be arrested and end up in an infamous South Vietnamese prison, where she will be tortured and raped, he hijacks a U.S. Army helicopter and flees with Tuyen across Southeast Asia while struggling to prove his innocence.

Rating- 4 stars ****

 

My Thoughts:

Who could not love an action packed war thriller with gripping scenes, romance, explosions and much much more? When first delving into this book I loved it. Lloyd started out with a bang giving me, his reader, a stunning opening that kept my rapt attention and a thirst to keep on going.

I followed Tuyen and Ethan as they struggled with the forces around them and found themselves on the wrong side of Military law and the unforgiving law of the Vietnam jungle. Not only were they being hunted by a traitor framing Ethan, but they were also hunted by Tuyen’s malicious half brother Giap and his crew, but also the refugees of the jungle who wiped out villages and took slaves.

While I loved the vibrant storyline, I became a little flustered with the language, racial slurs, vulgar suggestions, military speak. I found it hard relate at times because of the lack of connection. But regardless of this small setback it did not detract much from the following the story and enjoying it.

Tune in tomorrow for our exclusive interview with Lloyd Lofthouse, Author of Running with the Enemy.


 
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DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.

  To start, I’d like to thank Krystal for featuring me on her blog. It’s very much appreciated.

       I grew up in English boarding schools where we were always very cold and very hungry. We awoke and went to sleep with bells, our lives a humdrum existence of rules, regulations, church, chapel, classes, chores and prep. Books were my escape and although that is a cliché, it’s one that’s true.  When I was twenty, I moved to the States to go to journalism school and after I graduated I immediately started working on newspapers. It was a very happy moment for me because I found I could read and write all day and get paid for it.

DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?

      Not consciously, and I am surprised every day that I have, but it seemed a logical extension from my career as a journalist. I wrote two other novels before this one and they just weren’t working, and then, one day in July 2010, I found myself in front of my computer looking at a blank screen. Three weeks later, The Blasphemy Box was written. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t plot it out. It just appeared before me on the screen as I typed madly away.

 

  DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?

I would say it was exceptionally hard for so many reasons, not the least of which was having to foster, over time, the necessary self-confidence to write a book and sell it. 

DWED: Who or what would you say inspired “The Blasphemy Box”?

To some degree, it was seeing myself aging, and all that came with that.  And I didn’t like any of it, one bit! I was seeing how, on the march towards 50 and with their physical appeal waning, women in our youth-obsessed culture can become almost invisible. And perhaps I was just writing the novel I wanted to read, a book showing how there are a million Maddys out there struggling away, but not done and over with just because they’re fifty,  not useless and used up just because they’re fifty,  not unattractive and unalluring just because they’re fifty. There are so many novels out there for young, hip women, but so few for the women they become, their older, (better?!) selves.  

  

DWED: How does “The Blasphemy Box” stand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within it pages?

   The story of a husband leaving his wife in middle age is not at all uncommon. You hear about it all the time. What makes my take unique is the way I have treated the subject: in a humorous yet heartfelt way. Though we feel my heroine Maddy’s pain and identify with her everywoman struggles, she never becomes a mawkish or maudlin figure crying into her teacup or a bitter person wracked by rage. Her dry British wit, her acute sense of humor and her wacky observations about her world and her current situation all contribute to make this an uplifting story about a devastating situation called middle age divorce.

 DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for “The Blasphemy Box”?

 It has been overwhelmingly positive with a slew of five-star reviews.

DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?

 I have always been told that I have a “voice” and that when people read what I write they can hear me speaking. 

DWED: what kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?

 I am not trying to instill any message, really. I am just telling a story, and the human race will never tire of stories because they tell us who we are. Or who we can be. 

 

DWED: Who is your favorite character in “The Blasphemy Box” and why?

         I would have to say Maddy, the protagonist, is my favorite character. She shows a lot of dignity in a very trying, humiliating and terrifying situation, while simultaneously managing to take care of and to protect her kids. That’s a good mother. 

DWED: Who is your least favorite character in “The Blasphemy Box” and why?

 I would say I dislike Anita, Maddy’s mother in law, and Steven, her soon-to-be-ex-husband, equally.

DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?

 I only wish I knew!

DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?

I would say something very simple:  writers write, so if you’re a writer, write.

DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?

Just that I would love to hear from anyone and everyone who wants to engage. I love making new friends and learning new things and the internet is a wonderful place to achieve both.

Author Links:

http://amzn.com/0615736      

https://www.amazon.com/author/mandybehbehani  

www.facebook.com/pages/Mandy-Behbehani/160373794122565

twitter handle: @mandyscribeista


Book Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
DAY 1 OF SEPARATION

Marriage is the chief cause of divorce

— Groucho Marx

You know that nightmare you’ve always had?

The one where you wake up one day to find yourself fat, frumpy, fifty, and alone?

I’m living it.

It’s barely nine on a frigid January morning. The three children have gone off to school, and I’m in the kitchen in my pajamas on my laptop working on my novel when Steven comes lumbering through, toward the front door of our Victorian house in San Francisco, dragging two of my large Louis Vuitton suitcases.

It’s been only a week since he said he was leaving. Not even a week. Six days. We’d only just celebrated the kids’ birthdays. After twenty years of marriage, I just didn’t believe it. I thought maybe he had a cold and was feeling out of sorts. Sure, we’d been bickering a lot lately, mostly about how he was working until all hours of the night with no convincing explanation. And about how he was sick and tired of seeing my nose in a book and that I should take it out and pay more attention to him. And about why he hadn’t touched me for several months. And about that wooden box with a slot on the top, which suddenly appeared on the kitchen table to remind me not to curse. Steven called it the Blasphemy Box, and I was to insert a quarter into it every time I swore. (I’m from England where cursing is the second language.)

He told me he was leaving while we were perusing the baking aisle at Whole Foods. It was the first time he had been grocery shopping with me in a long time. All I could see through my tears was a row of boxes of “No Pudge Fat-Free Fudge Brownie Mix.” I kept asking him if he was joking. He said it was no joke. I blinked the tears away and tried to maintain my British cool—public grief is just not done in England after all, where I come from. I babbled about needing bitter cocoa powder, mascarpone, and ladyfingers for tiramisu. I asked him if he wanted something other than tiramisu. But he just stood silently next to me, not looking at me, far away, already gone.

Had I seen this coming? No! (Well, not exactly.) I thought we were just used to each other, just comfortable with each other, the spark gone, the flame tamed, but still together as one. I guess not. We didn’t talk about it again in that intervening week. I couldn’t. It’s called denial. I thought if I didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t happen. But it has. It is. Happening. Now.

As he lumbers toward our front door, I look up. “So, that’s it. You’re really leaving.”

“Maddy, don’t start…We’ve been through this. It’s over. ”

No matter how many times he says it, I still can’t believe it.

“Because of some bimbo half your age?”

“And half your size.”

Ouch.

“Her name is Gabriela, Madeleine.”

Gabriela. I want to skin her and wear her like last year’s Dior.

“Yeah, right,” I say, furious, then numb as I get up, pull my stomach in and try to stand straight. I am trying to hold back my tears. I really am. I dig my finger into my thigh, hoping the pain will distract me from the other pain and humiliation. Of course it doesn’t. I just feel the cellulite growing there like kudzu.

 
 

Excerpt – Sins of the Father

There hasn’t been a time I can remember where she wasn’t sick or in pain. As she grew older, her body seemed to take on the shape of a penguin, her back arched, knees bent, and her hands flopped over at the wrists angled towards the floor. Father had to be my rock, since mother couldn’t tend to me the way she used to; her body no longer allowing her to hold or caress me.

I remember the days when she used to cry, her eyes begging me to understand how much she longed to touch me, to place her hand on my face to feel its texture, to smooth her fingers through my hair to braid it.

She couldn’t help me with prom, couldn’t even hold a camera to take a picture. Mother couldn’t even dress herself, the task daunting as her fingers barely moved anymore.

Her arms were frail but littered with little lumps from the nodules underneath her skin. She barely talked or went out into the sun due to the inflammation of her glands in eyes and mouth.

Most often she ate through a straw and even when that became too much, was given an IV drip to keep her fluids up. Father or I applied her eye drops thrice a day to ease the dryness in her eyes.

As I opened the fridge taking out a pack of chicken cutlets, I thought of how important my father has been for both of us. He has attended every ballet recital, spelling bee, soccer event, tennis tournament, acceptance speech, graduation…any monumental element in my life, since mother could not.

And on top of all the excruciating childhood memorials, he still made time to work sixty hours a week, and attend every wellness care, chiropractic and therapeutic doctors visit with mother.

He still made time to help with her daily routine. When the part time nurse we hired needed to leave early or take an extra day off, father would be there to take over. He never let me miss a class, seeing my friends, or school event to care for mother.

It was the guilt that kept me home instead of going to UCLA in California like I wanted. It was the thought of not giving back to the people who cared for me so deeply that kept me home, attending the local Georgetown University so that I could help. 

I got a part time job at Stella’s boutique between Wisconsin Ave and M Street, father’s position in the bank being influential in getting the job.

I was able to have lunch with him sometimes since our jobs were so close, attend my classes, complete the household chores, hang out, work, and be there for my parents. It’s the least I could do, since father gave his life basically, for my mother and me.

It was because of this dedication to our life and family, that when the pounding on the door interrupted my meal preparation, when the police stormed in with big bold letters SWAT on their back, helmets on their heads, guns in their arms pointing here, there, everywhere, that the reality of who and what my father really was didn’t seem plausible.

I denied everything they said. All the accusations were wrong. My father was a sweet, humble, hard working, brilliant, loving husband and father. My father was not a rapist, neither was he a narcissist. He definitely wasn’t a killer, their killer…The Potomac Creek Killer.

Follow the Tour!

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In light of a family passing i will be taking the next few days to be with Family in our time of need. Therefore i will not be posting. This weekend was supposed to be dedicated to promoting my upcoming Blog Tour for my novel Sins of the Father slated for release on 6/15/13. The tour will begin on 6/10/13 and end 6/30/13.

Feel Free to follow the tour at your leisure....Until we meet again....