Sandra Bass Joines is a sweet lady I met through One Stop Fiction. Sandra has written a book on spine surgery recovery and a romantic suspense novel called Tears of Sand. Most recently, i.e. last weekend, she has published her second romantic suspense novel called Shoe in the Road. It’s a story about a woman finding a shoe in the road. Oh, and about finding true love after leaving a cheating husband and a suspenseful road trip. Let’s talk to Sandra to find out more about this strangely titled novel!
Sandra Bass Joines
Hi Sandra 🙂
Thank you so much for affording me the opportunity to share a little about my latest novel SHOE IN THE ROAD and how it came about.
It’s a strange title. Can you tell us how you got it?
Titles come to my mind before stories do. The title for this last novel, for instance, popped into my mind one day when I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. I thought that would be an interesting name for a book – shoe in the road. I had no idea what it would be about or anything regarding characters. I sat at my computer one day and typed Shoe in the Road on the first page. I then closed my eyes and listened (I try to listen, not think). At this point, the idea presented itself to have a shoe influence the lives of the heroine and hero.
So, after you had the title, how did you come up with the story?
The story pretty much wrote itself. Well, I have to give some credit to the heroine’s conversations with her deceased grandmother’s ashes (don’t worry, they were in an urn) and an ornery cat who invited himself into the story. I’m a southern girl who can spin quite a yarn. Therefore, it seemed logical that a girl running from a controlling, cheating husband would certainly be more interesting escaping in a 1960 Coupe de Ville convertible named Gussie than in a traditional vehicle.
Why did you use this setting for your novel?
A showdown between Boston Calbreth, the heroine, and her husband made sense to happen in a place I have heard scary stories about all my life. Tales of people going into Tate’s Hell Swamp and never coming out have been passed down from one generation to the next.
How long did you take to write the story?
It took six weeks to write the novel and a year for revising and editing. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write. I plan to put as many as possible on paper.
How did you experience the launch of your book?
I am in the middle of a launch using a four-day free promotion and a four-day ninety-nine cent promotion before raising the book to full price. So far, everything has been running smoothly. Each time I make a scheduled change, I am afraid of doing it incorrectly or concerned that Amazon or one of the promotion companies will not come through. I am enjoying the ride, and am grateful to all the wonderful people who are supporting me.
Sorry everybody, but the four-day free promotion has passed. The book is still in the £0.99 promotion (US$1.38) period for a few days, though. I have read the book and it is a lovely story. I liked the way Sandra writes, as if talking to a friend (which Boston’s Grams is, of course). Don’t miss this opportunity to grab it while it’s on sale!
Today, I’m introducing to you… Terry Marchion. I met Terry online through One Stop Fiction. He is a lovely man who doesn’t mind going out of his way to help a fellow writer (he’s one of my beta-readers and my writing would be terrible without him). He has written three sci-fi novels about Christopher and his uncle Tremain, who live on a space colony called New Earth. Terry gives us a peek into his WIP, The Misplaced Mentor. It’s the fourth book in the Adventures of Tremain & Christopher series, so be sure to read all the way till the end :). But first, let’s get to know Mr. Marchion a bit better.
Interview with Terry Marchion
Are you a full-time writer?
Ok — I’m not a full-time writer — I do hold a day job, which sucks away a lot of my time – eventually, I’d love to write full-time, but I’m not there yet. I’ve always written – in one way or another, but I’ve never had the confidence to pursue it. When I was around 18 or so, I did submit a short story but was promptly rejected. That colored my dreams for quite a few years until 2016, when I submitted a pitch on a twitter event. I received a few replies of interest but was rejected then too – go figure. But, thinking that others could read AND like my work inspired me to go the indie route and do it all myself.
What do you like about writing?
I like the freedom writing gives me — it’s sometimes frustrating, but also very liberating. I’m satisfying my need to be creative and hopefully being entertaining at the same time.
What don’t you like about writing?
I don’t care for the politics around writing — I’ve come to like the process of writing and formatting and having others beta read — the rest is work. LOL — but I’m learning to embrace the work too.
Who should read your writing?
People should totally read my stuff if they like fun adventures with a sci-fi bent to them. Think the old serials of the 40’s — Buck Rogers, for instance, or the episodic tv shows we all watched like Lost in Space, Star Trek, Doctor Who — that’s the spirit this adventures series is written in.
What is the best thing you’ve learned about writing?
The best lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and never to give up.
What is the worst thing you’ve learned about writing?
The hardest lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and to never give up. I want it all NOW dammit!! LOL
Where do you write?
Where do I write? Everywhere! I don’t have a dedicated writing spot — I tend to feel constrained if I can only create in one place — I use a laptop or a tablet/keyboard combo or just a pen and paper to get my thoughts down. I eventually go solo on the laptop to put it all together. But at least I’m writing.
What is the most memorable sentence you’ve written?
I’ve yet to come up with a consistent writing schedule, but I’m working on that.I don’t have a memorable line yet, but I’m working on it. Hopefully, one of my characters will spout something I just can’t predict.
Thank you so much, Terry, for sharing this with us. I’m sure we all can do with that boost to never give up! They say great writers are the ones that don’t quit, so I clink my glass to you and will keep on writing!
Without further ado, here’s that special snipped I promised you from Terry’s fourth book, The Misplaced Mentor, which is to be released soon.
Preview of The Misplaced Mentor
Marjorie’s apartment sat in the middle of the city, just off from the bazaar. Tremain and Markus walked the short distance from the lab complex, past the flapping tents and awnings of the bazaar, down to the residential area, overlooking the coast. The austere building was built around a park, complete with park benches and walking paths. The pair walked up the stairs to Marjorie’s apartment in silence, the smell of stale air, cooked food and paint heavy in the corridor. Once outside the door, Tremain consulted his tablet.
“Well, you are right, it shows she’s inside. Well, at least her tablet is.”
“What if she’s injured . . . or worse?” Markus whispered.
Tremain turned to his friend.
“Have you regressed to a teenager again?” he scoffed, “you’re jumping to conclusions,” Tremain gestured to the door. “after you.”
Markus knocked on the door. There was no answer. He gripped the door handle. It buzzed in answer. Naturally, it was locked.
“Oh, it’s a biometric lock. Only Marjorie can unlock it.”
Tremain nudged Markus aside.
“Or someone with a key,” he said as he pulled a device from his lab coat. He fit it around the handle and pushed a few buttons. In seconds, the lock clicked open, pinging in acceptance. “There, we’re in.”
“Tell me we didn’t just break the law,” Markus asked.
“Of course not, who do you think helped Marjorie design that lock? Naturally, I had a back door for emergencies.”
Markus sighed in relief.
“Good. I didn’t want the authorities called down on us.”
Tremain shook his head.
“Need I remind you that YOU are one of the authorities?”
“I suppose you’re right. Come on, let’s go in.” He pushed the door open, ready to enter, but Tremain held him back.
“Hold on, let me look first.” He said as he pushed past his friend.
“Why? What do you think you’ll see?”
Tremain stood just inside the doorway, scanning the areas he could see. No bodies visible, so that was a positive.
“I’m just seeing if there is anything out of place.”
“You’ve been here recently?”
“No, I’ve never been here, but there’s a lot you can deduce from what you see initially,” Tremain stepped into the apartment, beckoning Markus to follow, “for instance, she’s not much into decorating, is she?” He gestured to the walls, which were bare, save for a few small pictures. The furniture was functional, but not cozy. The apartment’s front door opened into the living area of the apartment. Directly in front of them was a short hallway which led to the bedrooms and bathroom and off to the right was the kitchen.
Tremain and Markus stood in the center of the living room. The coffee table was littered with some papers and pamphlets. Markus walked through the kitchen to the bedrooms while Tremain leafed through the papers. He picked one at random and frowned when he looked at it. A photo of a plot of land appeared at the top, with a description of the property below it. At the very bottom was the agent’s details. The next few papers were the same, a piece of property, some large, some small, but all were offered by the same agent. He checked the dates.
All were printed at least six or more months ago. He scratched his head as he pulled up one of the pamphlets. A brochure about a construction company. Another was regarding refrigeration processes and equipment. Tremain’s frown deepened. Markus came from the bedrooms, shaking his head.
“She’s not here. I did find her tablet, on her bed. She didn’t want to be tracked down.”
Tremain showed him the real estate listings.
“She was looking at land all over the place. And,” he pointed at the various brochures, “she was building something,” He scratched his head again, “something secret. She didn’t want anyone knowing about it or we’d have heard.”
“So what does this all mean?” Markus grumbled, “Where is she?”
Tremain crossed his arms as he thought.
“She’s definitely not on one of her sabbaticals, that’s for certain,” He paced the room, “she’s consulted with an agent for land, so I think that’s where we go next.” He stopped pacing and slapped Markus on the arm. “A perfect job for a Senator. You find out where she bought land, and I’ll investigate these disturbances.”
Markus nodded and left on his mission.
Tremain lingered just a bit, glancing around the apartment. To be honest, it reminded him of his own. He spent more time in the lab than at home, so it made sense to keep it sparce. Even in her retirement, Marjorie hadn’t made her apartment more cozy, which implied she spent more time elsewhere. Something caught his eye. In the corner of the doorway was a scattering of dirt. He knew he and Markus hadn’t tracked anything in, so where did this come from? He knelt down and felt the dirt. It had a fine grain feel to it, almost like sand. He gave it a sniff, but couldn’t detect anything. The beach wasn’t that far, definitely in walking distance. She must have brought some sand in with her when she went for a walk. Filing that away for later, he locked up the apartment and headed back to the lab.
You can find all of Terry Marchion’s book on Amazon.
I met Yenpri online last year, during a take over organized by the lovely Pletcha PJ Webb. Yenpri was a fun guy, actively participating in the quizzes and games, and afterward, we chatted a bit. I found out he lives in South-Africa and I once visited his hometown. If only I had known him then, I would have certainly popped in for a cuppa 🙂 . Please welcome Yenpri.
Meet Yenpri Laypil
Author, photographer, and dreamer. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my writing, and a little something about me.
Ok, before we begin, I have a couple of confessions to make. The first is that I used to watch Star Wars every single holiday during high school and college (yep, every single episode!). The second is, the first time I played Pokemon, I stayed up until 3 am trying to level up my Charmander! (I’m a big fan of the Fire-type!). The third is that I love writing and entertaining my readers with fascinating and intriguing stories.
A little bit about how it all started. Our journey begins with the writing the Outcast of the Dark Knight series in the year 2000. I can share an incredible story with you about Outcast. I had just published the first edition of the book: it was in July 2014 and I was very happy and excited and you know how it is, you keep on Googling yourself just to see what comes up for your book. Then, one day I googled the book’s name and low and behold, a Youtube link pops up for BookmanBookwoman (Larry and Saralee Woods) and my book was on their list. I WAS GOING NUTS! My folks were going nuts! I couldn’t believe that my book was picked up by these incredible fold, reviewed and appeared on their TV show. It was incredible! Then, it just got better because another book called ‘The Silkworm’ written by Robert Galbraith (more affectionately known as the great JK Rowling) was also on the list. That was a great honor for me to be alongside one of the greatest authors of our time.
I knew I loved writing from a very early age and I had this story bubbling within and I just had to get it out there. Today, with the fourth book in the Outcast of the Dark Knight series out, I’m proud to say that the journey has just begun!
I also write within the mystery/thriller genres and that’s where ‘Rhino Was Rhino Is’ comes into the picture.
And of course, we all need some romance in our lives, so don’t forget to get your fix with ‘An Interview with Mr. Fountain.’ I loved writing this and honestly couldn’t stop laughing at times.
For me, the greatest honor I can receive is my fans enjoying reading my books. That makes me happy and it makes it all worth it!
I thought it might be a fun idea to introduce you to some other authors. Once a week I will pick out an author for you and direct you to their page.
Meet Gregg Savage
This week, I felt the twang of nostalgia when I read Gregg Savage’s guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. He tells his tale of how he became a writer after telling his (step)daughter Ruby a story every night. My mind was taken back to when I was prompted by my children to write. It is funny how life can take you in directions you never thought were possible 🙂
Click on the link below to read his journey to become an author.
As I’m working very hard on finishing Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy, I’m going into silent mode. I read the other day the handy tip of another writer to dedicate one month to writing, the next to promoting. That’s exactly what I need to do as I’m wasting too much time on promoting at the moment and not getting very far with my writing.
I promised my readers that my book would be ready by the end of this year. That’s not going to happen and I feel bad for letting my readers down. Going into silent mode will mean that the first draft will be finished before Christmas and that I can hopefully publish the book by Valentine’s Day. I thought that would be a great day to publish the final chapter of my paranormal romance 🙂
So no blog posts from me until I get that first draft finished. As I wrote Book 1 in two weeks, it shouldn’t take that long!
Yesterday, Halloween 2017, I took part in the Dark Fantasy Books takeover and had a ball. ‘What’s a takeover?’ you may ask. That’s exactly the problem; most people don’t know what it is, let alone that they can participate. I’ll try and remedy this situation and hopefully help authors and readers alike. A win-win situation!
What is a Takeover?
According to the Collins English Dictionary, a takeover is the act of taking control of a country, political party, or movement by force. The takeover I’m talking about is less aggressive as it is a virtual party where various people take the reins and host the party for a limited time, usually half an hour. I have only done Facebook takeovers (two in total; I’m still a noob), but you can have them on any type of social media.
There should be guidelines to a takeover and the person organizing it usually lets all participants know what is expected. See it as a real party. First, you introduce yourself in a post. You talk a bit about where you’re from and what you do. Then you promote whatever you’re promoting in a couple of posts, including samples and links to your product. You usually end with a post on how people can contact you for more information.
Sounds like a boring sales talk? Wrong! Laced through this information are quizzes, games, funny anecdotes, unknown insights, and samples! People have to post funny GIFs, answer questions about topics of the takeover, and there are usually jokes. The crazier the questions, the crazier the answers, the more fun to be had!
Gain for Readers
Takeovers are so lucrative for readers! I was, again, amazed that all participants in the takeover were only authors. Apart from being lots of fun with quizzes and games, there are lots of free books up for grabs. Most authors give away prequels for free and the prizes are usually their books. Next to this, you get to know the author. You get a connection with them and this makes reading their books so much more interesting.
So you get a fab time and free books. What more could you ask for?
Gain for Authors
When you do a book takeover, you usually do it with a group of authors that write in your genre. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded spirits, read samples of their work, and make new friends. It is amazing how small the world becomes in this virtual reality. Best of all, your work gets seen by more people who hopefully will share your work, spread the word about your book, and possibly write a review.
I guess the key to a successful takeover is promotion. If you don’t promote the takeover well in advance, nobody will know about it and nobody will show up. You can use all social media available to spread the word. Do it clear and do it loud! The more attendees, the merrier 🙂
If you are a reader and you know an author, participate in a takeovers when they advertise one. Like I said, it’s a win-win situation!
It’s almost Halloween and you may have been invited to a Halloween party. Not sure what to bring the host as a gift? Why not a creepy one?
Twisted50 is a compilation of 50 contemporary horror stories.
‘A great mix of truly twisted stories to suit all horror tastes, from the psychological frighteners to the stomach-churning gore fests. Each tale brings a modern spin on horror, each author leaves their own unique imprint in your mind. It’s hard to pick a favorite as there are so many great ones to choose from.’
Or, if you’re invited to your sister’s party, why not give Twisted’s Evil Little Sister?
‘This second anthology from Twisted50 again showcases more wonderful writing from different writers. The range of stories – style, subject matter, and tone – is excellent; there are ‘tales of the unexpected’ moments; moments which pack an emotional punch; horror presented as something personal; there are stomach-churning moments and moments of dread. And so it goes on… In a busy world, these stories provide a quick ‘reading fix’. You’ll find, with the range of stories, there is something exhilarating, dreadful, unexpected and absorbing to tickle your horror fancy.’
Yesterday, I had a meeting with the local Writers Club again. One of our new members wants to start a book but doesn’t know where to begin. When I myself decided to write, I just started. The first scene I wrote happened in the middle of the story (which I only discovered later), but this doesn’t work for everyone (and I wouldn’t suggest it either). Fortunately, I recently read about the snowflake method and could recommend it.
The Snowflake Method of Writing
With this method, you start with one sentence which depicts the core of your story. In the next step, you expand that one sentence into a paragraph, outlining what happens in your story. Setup, major disasters, resolution. Next, you do this for each of your characters. If you don’t have a development for your characters during your story, your readers will find your characters flat and can’t connect with them which you don’t want. It also will give you more to write about as the direction of development for each character won’t always go along the same line, pace, direction. The fourth step is to expand each sentence into a whole paragraph. Next, you will be expanding what you’ve got even further. Once you’ve got the basic storyline, make a chart of the scenes. Each scene will have to depict a development. If there is no development in a scene (good turns bad, ideas change, emotions change), delete it as it is just page filler. You now put in more and more details, until you have a full story. An article in which it is explained in more detail can be found here.
This is how I sort of began my third book, Killing A Vampire. I know the characters in it, I know what is going to happen, and how it’s going to end (I must admit this took me a while to figure out), but I didn’t know what was going to happen in between the major plot twists. I used Scrivener’s corkboard and note cards to layout the chapters/scenes.
I actually used the word count as a basis. Both my other books are about 72K words, so I wanted my third book to be at least this size. They both have about 60 chapters, so I created 60 note cards. It also meant that each chapter/note card needed to be about 1200 words. Then I started filling in on each card what would happen in that chapter. Sometimes I write more words, sometimes I write less. The good thing about Scrivener is that you can move the cards around as you please. Overal I want to stick to the 1200 words, so readers can read the short chapters while they have a little time to read and not have to cut off their reading while something major is happening.
It’s perhaps not as creative as some ‘on the fly’ writers write, but I’ve been thinking for a long time about this story and, even though I know in advance where the story is going, the how is still created only once I sit down and write. I just don’t have to think about the why and where anymore, which I feel is like a weight off my shoulders.
If you have a different way of starting a novel, let me know. I’m all ears 🙂
I just found out I have another review for Raising A Vampire! This time the reviewer is from closer to home (Aberdeenshire). Boris must have seen my add on a local Facebook page 🙂 . Here’s what he said:
“Set a few years after the first book, Kate and Charlie’s daughter Sue is now 8 years old but looks twice that age. Sue’s true nature is revealed when she defends her mother from an attack. Soon they find themselves held prisoner in a facility especially designed for suckers. There’s bloodsucking, romance and betrayal: in short everything you would expect from a vampire book.”
Glad you enjoyed it, Boris, and thank you so much for the review!
I just provisionally signed the rights away for two of my stories, ‘Vampires Anonymous’ and ‘Rumour has it…,’ to #Create50! They will have the rights to publish for two years should they pick my story/stories from the one hundred and eighty-two shortlisted entries as one of the fifty winners for inclusion in their anthology, Twisted50 Vol.2. They have so many stories to chose from, they may even include them in a Vol.3. So fingers crossed!
Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet lately. It was partly because of my shoulder playing up, partly because I was working hard to get a decent copy of my first novel on Amazon. The work is done now and it’s available for FREE for 5 whole days as of the 27th of October! Get it while it’s hot and download your copy soon!
This week’s articles are about horror, haunted houses and what a little white lie may lead to.
Focus on Filming focusses on cinema’s scariest haunted houses and the stories behind them.
Health Herald helps keeps you ‘unscared’ with an article on how not to overthink things. And while you’re trying to keep your mind from worrying, why not learn to play an instrument. It’s appears to do good for your brain in the long run.