Literary Spotlight: Dawn Hill Publishing’s New Author Soleil Collins & a Peek of Her Soon to Release Book of Short Stories~ He Came On A Summers Day…


Book by Author Soleil Collins




Here we go Readers & Visitors!

My amazing UK friends of Dawn Hill Publishing is sharing with Cat an exclusive Sneak Peek of a brand new author they represent and some of the first chapter of her “Coming Soon” new release titled “He Came On A Summers Day.” Dawn Hill has some fantastic authors and writers.

I am confident Soleil Collins is as well. I’m honored Dawn Hill Publishing chose Cat and her readers for this opportunity to have the first preview of Soleil’s which I hear is packed with action, thrills and a splash of romance.

I’d highly suggest you give Dawn Hill a visit as they have more amazing authors, writers, and BOOKS
here: https://www.dawnhillpublications.com/ & make sure you tell them Cat sent you!


Here is more about the book:

“Randi Moffatt, bounty-hunter extraordinaire, is looking for an escaped convict – a pirate.

She goes undercover at a popular seaside bar in San Diego, where her prey is known to have frequented, hoping to catch him.

There, Randi encounters several interesting characters, but which of them is her prey? Or is she going to return empty-handed?”


Important disclaimer: 

Just so you know that the content in this new book follows themes and therefore require you to be above the age of 18. These themes are:

– Profanity
– Violence 
– Sex
– Drugs


An Excerpt From the Short Story: 

Days turned into weeks. Joe still hadn’t cracked a smile at me, although Bob did warm up a little. It was understandable that Joe had turned up his nose at the trash that passed for female companionship. I’d even made friends with few of them, mostly hookers who wanted my help setting up customers or warn them of the weirdos.

The daily ritual of sharing my tips was at the end of each day was my opportunity to flirt without interrupting work. It was nearing spring when I decided that enough was enough. It was a quiet night – a Monday, not that it made a huge difference at a Seattle bar by the docks.

      “What’s up, Joe?” I asked him, fluttering my eyelashes at him as I handed him a roll of bills. “Here’s your share.”

He grunted and accepted it, stuffing it into his front jeans pocket.

      “Is that a roll of bills or are you just happy to see me?” I joked.

Nothing. Not even a derisory curl of his lip, which I knew that he was more than capable of issuing. “Go get cleaned up, why don’t you? You stink.”

      That’s the most he’s said since we met. Progress indeed.



* * * * * *



So, who is Author, Soleil Collins? Let me share a little more about her in her own unbridled words…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bonjour.

Ciao. Namaste. And a big, big, hello to everyone. First off, I’d like to thank Dawn Hill Publications for this wonderful opportunity. I was asked to write an introductory piece about my upcoming series of short stories and a little bit about myself.

I wasn’t given a title for this blog, so I’ve decided it to call it fun facts. Now, here’s a disclaimer. I think they may be fun, but you, the readers, obviously decide and let me know.

Let me start by saying that English is not my first language. In fact, I grew up learning and speaking five different languages. Also, I learned to read and write in four of them. Ironically, I understand only three of them reasonably well. I speak only two of them fluently. And I write really well in only one of them. Guess which one?

I’m a bit of a brat. Middle child, spoilt rotten, not by my parents but by a host of cousins, aunts and uncles who forgave my every prank, laughing at my irreverence, egging me to get even more outrageous. I haven’t changed one bit! I’ve enjoyed classical education in a private school where equal importance was given to extra-curricular activities including sports, drama, debate, elocution and politics. Oh, yes, politics. Our teachers were amazing, liberal and broadminded, and allowing us the same liberties to express our views without fear of prejudice or reprimand. The majority of my life has been split between the US and UK, although I’ve travelled widely. I began writing at an early age, mostly short stories, although they were fairly childish, a queer mix of romance and thriller.

They’re not necessarily my favourite songs. In fact, there are a couple in there that I don’t particularly like. They do, however, have a bearing on the stories themselves, which is why I selected them. Either there’s a scene in the video rendition of the song or the lyrics, or perhaps the story the song is trying to tell. The first of them is a song by Looking Glass about a girl who works in a bar who’s in love with a sailor. The protagonist of the story is Randy Moffatt, a slightly slutty, cage-fighting, foul-mouthed bounty hunter who isn’t afraid of a brawl.

Randy’s smart (like me, I think), physically active and able (unlike me – I’m a little lazy), highly sexed (I’d rather not say), sassy (definitely me) and brazen. Which is why DHP have started a new series titled Brazen just for little me, yay! Brazen is the one word which is truly representative of my writing. Who knows? They may even create a new genre called Brazen.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Please do tell me what you think in Cat’s comment section as we’d would love feedback.

Au revoir. Arriverderci. Alvida, for now.

Sol Collins



And to close is a message from the fine folks of Dawn Hill Publishing:

Yay, it’s finally here! 

We’re so happy that Soleil’s first short story is ready to go. Soleil’s titles can be described as action thrillers with romance thrown in to spice things up. Soleil has already written all 12 so we’ll be slowly sending them out to Cat.
She’s now started working on her first book with us and that will be in your inbox very soon.

Her 12 short stories is a great way to set up her very own genre at DHP. Which is, Brazen.

~Dawn Hill Publishing Team

Sharing Award-Winning Author & Writer Diane Olsen ~New Interview About Her Book Series, Rising Wind as Books Two & Three Release Soon…



INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR – Diane Olsen
Courtesy of Deb of Book Goodies
https://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-diane-olsen/



Award-Winning Author
Diane Olsen



About Diane Olsen:

I worked on my first stories and poems up in South Cheyenne Canyon near Colorado Springs, where I was raised. I learned a lot about spiritual life in the mountains while hiking, or on horseback.

Later, I fell in love with Paleontology, Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Montana, and I wrote articles and columns in my spare time. Now I live in Eastern Washington in Kennewick near one of my two dear sons, Andrew and his four boys. My other son Gavin, and most of my family still live in Western Montana.

The stories that come to mind are important to me, and I enjoy sharing them with others. Would that it could be over a cup of coffee, but maybe you will find hope and joy in them without me.


What inspires you to write?

Good question. Truthfully, I guess I felt the need to encourage my sons by becoming more than a wannabe writer, and finish what I started. The ideas for this trilogy came in a single month back in 1999 when my children were small. The stories sat in the back of my mind, coming to fruition in the last few years. I have had some amazing reviews which also inspired me along the way.

Although I have written poems, screen plays, articles and columns; and even a non-fiction tome, “Ancient Ways: The Roots of Religion”, the “Rising Wind” books are my first attempts at novels. I thought that this series would be it for me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find another two books wanting to speak, if time allows.


What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?

I used to love SCI Fi Anthologies and Clive Cussler. I’ve also enjoyed Tony Hilleman and Diane Mott Davidson, Barbara Daniels Dena and the more I think about it, many others.

I probably don’t read as much as you do. I spend too much time writing, and at my age, there is only so much time left.



Tell us about your writing process.

For me writing is a constant, determined struggle. The reward is when the characters drag me along with them at breakneck speed to help them tell their stories. My favorite part is the editing. I must go over a manuscript close to fifty times, but I learn each time. For me editing never really ends.

I guess I am a seat of the pants writer, though I outline at some point. I visualize my characters, and watch eagerly, as they grow, interact and develop. I do my best to make each chapter sparkle, beginning to middle, and middle to end. Technology and boards elude me.


For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?

I think about the characters or listen to a pertinent song, then, if I’m lucky, a piece of the story unfolds or reframes itself. Once I’m in the story, details, or mysterious side paths reveal themselves.

There are times I need to focus on drawing a more complete picture, especially when beginning a new chapter. Something I still struggle with.


What advice would you give other writers?

Write if you must. Whether for your own entertainment, or for the joy of it. If you are impelled to publish, then be prepared to work very hard to find a way achieve to that goal.

May you be blessed by finding honest help in this process. I was lucky to find wonderful friends to assist me. I was like a deer in headlights – in many ways I still am.



Ancient Ways: The Roots of Religion by [Diane Olsen]
This One Won a Bronze Medal
By Illuminations Christian Awards



How did you decide how to publish your books?

I had published articles and columns when I was younger, but I had ideas for several stories and a non-fiction book that kept nagging over the decades to be completed. Ok, once completed, what does one do with them?

Luckily, I found a marketing promotor (Catherine Lyon) who became my friend. We checked out several possibilities, and evaluated them for our particular needs. She has helped me with all the advertising and encouraged me to learn as much as I can about the details of the publishing process. This education has taken me nearly as long as, and overall, was nearly as expensive as earning my degrees, (LOL.)


What do you think about the future of book publishing?

I am not sure how publishing will be changing over the next few years. I am hoping to convert all of these stories into audiobooks. But I’m sure tales and poetry, in some form, will delight humankind for generations to come.

What genres do you write?
Multicultural Adventure/action/mystery; Non-fiction; Christian.

What formats are your books in?:
Both eBook and Print


You can connect with author on social media:

All Author
https://dianeolsenauthor.allauthor.com/
FacebookTwitterGoodreadsAmazon



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award Medal-Winning Writer and Author, Diane Olsen, is the prolific writer and award-winning author of her debut book titled; “Ancient Ways: The Roots of Religion.” Her new release of “Rising Wind: The Thunder Beings” series is now available on Amazon online, Barnes & Noble, and fine online book stores.

Her title of “Ancient Ways” is a bronze medal winner given by Illumination Christian Book Awards” is a thought-provoking and informative look at the development and evolution of religion throughout time and a well-considered concept – the idea of a connective thread of monotheistic faith throughout the history from the birth of human creation.

Now comes her new release titled; “RISING WIND: The Thunder Beings” (Book One a Series.) Adapted from an original screenplay Diane wrote several years ago, she has now written it for all her readers to enjoy as an amazing fiction packed with Action-Adventure, with Native Mystery and Suspenseful elements.

Diane was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and she now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the State of Washington. Diane was an Undergrad at Colorado State University Ft. Collins: Pre-vet med, Anthropology, then attended and received her BA and MA at the University of Montana, Missoula: Anthropology, Archaeology, and Paleontology.

She was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for two years. Diane enjoys writing, reading good books, spending time with her grandkids, and loves cooking. A few of her favorite books are ‘The Book of Certitude (Kitab-i-Iqan), The Upanishads, and The Great Initiates.’ Diane resides in the Pacific Northwest.



My New Author Interview of All Things Recovery, Literary, and Helping Others. All My Passions In Life…

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Yes, that is ME in the photo with my Red Big Jim’s Ride Around America Shirt on and with some amazing recovery friends this past April 2019 at a Speaking Event I spoke about my story from gambling addiction and my life today almost 13-yrs later maintaining recovery and advocacy work to raise awareness …

Now, it’s not every day I happen to get invited for an Author Interview. I’m a wee bit shy since I do battle agoraphobia and I get a little nervous doing interviews. But since I have had so many new blog friends come to visit and follow along on both my recovery and my book blog, I thought I would take up the offer from Terry who owns Author Shout which is an amazing large reader site as Terry connects authors and readers together so readers can find many awesome new books.

The interview has been updated as my journey all began with one little book I published and grew from there! I hope all my new friends and followers will enjoy learning about “All The Hats I Wear” on my recovery and literary journey! And if you didn’t know?

My at-home business is promoting many fine authors and their books and can be seen on my other WordPress Book Blog of “Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den” and home of “Lyon Media Services”…

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Just some of my back story as I am a Best-Selling Author of The Kodel Publishing Group with her shocking debut memoir titled; “Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

Catherine’s Memoir is both an in-depth and raw look as she takes readers on a journey of many important topics that ‘touched’ her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood. Not a book on how to recover but an in-depth look of how events in one’s life, or past trauma and abuse, or even the ways of parental discipline can be some of the underlying factors to why some people may turn to an addiction later in adulthood as form of escape, numb hurt feelings, or just trying to cope with everyday life when not emotionally strong and haunting memories of it come calling…

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude that past childhood pain and traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escapism into a “dream world” to forget, if only for a few hours the haunting memories of her childhood sexual abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the “perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling with alcohol abuse right before entering treatment. So, something like gambling to be for fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice!

Now maintaining recovery nearly thirteen years, Catherine has become well known in the addiction/recovery communities and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and why the expansion of Indian Casinos and State Lottery offerings needs to stop across America. Catherine’s featured in many mainstream media and recovery publications like Columbia University’s Media Release through the 2×2 Project “Gambling with America’s Health. Also was interviewed for “NAUTILUS &Time Magazine online article in September 2016.

She is a former writer and columnist for “In Recovery Magazine’s-The Author’s Cafe”  and after it’s sale was hired as a freelance writer and columnist for Keys To Recovery newspaper. She is also an “Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger” for “Addictionland”   of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts like the late Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Tommy Rosen, and Arnie Wexler. She recently handled all the media and social media manager for “Big Jim’s Bike Ride Around America” until Jim Downs was forced off the ride due to serious medical issues after 4 months of biking over 5,000+ miles.

Catherine, aka., CAT lives just outside Phoenix, Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband for 29-years. She is a ‘Cat Lover’ and has three, Ms. Princess, Mr. Boots, and Simon-Peter. She has no choice but to be an avid reader for her business, but she loves cooking, gardening, swimming, and rafting. She owns and runs an online marketing business called: “Lyon Book & Social Media Promotions.

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Author Interview With Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Q. What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.

Why did you write and disclose personal family experiences? Were you afraid of backlash or judgment from family and others?

 

A.  I feel that is what writing a memoir is all about. Since my book is about my life of many topics including gambling addiction and recovery and not a book of HOW to RECOVER, I wanted readers to have an inside view of how our family life growing up can later become some of the reason some may turn to addiction in the first place.

I, nor many people do not grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic. Some grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive situation. That was my experience, and later became added “fuel” to my gambling addiction. I wanted to “set the back story” so to speak so readers had an understanding of how many of us turn to addictions instead of knowing there are places we can get help like counseling or therapy when your “past comes back later in life haunting you.”

As far as any backlash, my family needs to understand this memoir is not about them, it about how I was affected by how I was raised and disciplined. I was also sexually abused as a little girl, and I stuffed that away for years without my parents knowing until adulthood. You will have to read my book to learn how all that turned out. So, you have to brave enough to share the good, the bad, and all the ugly if you are going to write a memoir without the worry of backlash. I am trying to help others through my book. For me, that is what I focused on and help others know they are not alone if this happened to them.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

A. Not really. My first book came very easy to me. And believe or not I hand wrote the memoir in 6 spiral notebooks. At that time, I was not writing a book, I was writing for myself to heal and to see all that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had taken from my life. The book part and becoming published happened a year later as “divine intervention” I say.

I then was invited to be part of a compilation book which published in December of 2017 titled “Ten The Hard Way.” And I have been working on my next book for a long while and will be about HOW to begin recovery and what to expect. The only weird thing? I love writing when it’s raining. But I am not an outline or draft type of writer. I just let the words flow out of me onto paper. More of a freelancer.

Q. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

A. I can thankfully say no to this question. One of the best pieces of advice I had received from another writer was, “write what you know.”

Unfortunately, I know much about gambling addiction, recovery, mental health challenges, and childhood trauma. All these topics have ‘touched’ my life and I advocate about passionately …

Q.  What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

A.  I would have to pass on what was told to me in the above answer “write what you know or I feel what you are passionate about.” If you love animals? Write an animal children’s book. If you have an open imagination? Write a thriller or mystery. An action or adventure story.

I am a writer and author “by accident,” Lol. So I feel funny giving other aspiring authors advice. I am a book promoter/marketer for many fine authors of all genres as well, so one piece of advice I can give to first-time authors?

Your book takes many hours, days, and months to promote. Book sales and book reviews will not happen overnight, so don’t give up or get discouraged. KEEP Writing and Promoting your books!


Q.  What are your current/future projects?

A.  I do have a couple of projects on am working on. My second book is almost complete and will be a follow up to my memoir and a helpful resource for starting recovery from gambling addiction on how to make their first year in recovery.

Another I have been working along time will be a stab at fiction! It is about a woman who is being chased by her “addiction demons” in recovery and takes a Lighthouse Keepers job on the North Oregon coast looking to start life over and for some solitude and serenity in her life. But her past comes calling! The rest you’ll have to read if I ever get it done! Lol.

Q.  Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

A.  I actually added in my current book with the reasons “how and why” I came to start writing in the first place. It was about the suicide of a woman at a hotel and casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon. I read about in our local newspaper. Reading it lit a fire in me to see all that my gambling addiction took from me. But, no spoilers here. LOL. You need to read my book titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,’ which is now listed here on Author Shout, and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

Again, I write what I know ….Lol.
Balance is a challenge for me to fit my own writing time in as I promote for other authors. It is why it has taken me two years to get my next books done and published. So except for the compilation book, I am still a “one book wonder” at this point. Again, I sure do write a lot for several recovery publications and my own blogs.

Q.  What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

A.  I think we all know indie and self-published authors are changing the landscape of the “traditional” way authors get published these days. You no longer have to look to or be with a big publishing house anymore. Now, that is not to say they’re most likely are some self-published or indie books that may not be very appealing. (No offense to authors). As I have read a few myself and the authors are not writers, LOL.

However, there are awesome writers and authors producing some fantastic works and it is refreshing to see that all authors can now be noticed and praised for work well done! That is part of the change with being able to self-publish. I have promoted authors that were picked up and offered publishing contracts. So the traditional publishing houses are finding many good writers and authors. That is a great thing.

Q.  Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

A.  My current book was picked up by a publishing firm in So. Oregon where I used to live. But my publisher is a smaller independent publisher. I did, however, receive an awesome offer when it came to my royalty share. the Kodel Group are more like a “self-publish” helper. I had an editor and designer for my current book already, so they just did my format, typesetting, and upload through Amazon’s KDP Direct Publishing of my paperback and for my e-book.

Going this route was a more inexpensive way to publish. Nowadays most publishers won’t do any book promoting for authors unless you buy a publishing package, except they may send out a press release about the new book, so authors Beware…Be ready to set a budget to promote your books on your own. I do all my own book promoting throughout social media and PR releases through several PR services. Authors can promote for free at many book sites. There are many low-cost options to gain exposure, sales, and reviews. Just like doing advertising on “Author Shout” and others like awesomegang.com or bookgoodies.net …

Q.  Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?

A.  No. The only change or difference that I made was to my book cover. I have two different covers that are the same, but my e-book cover has different colors. I wanted my e-book cover to have more vibrant Las Vegas catching colors. That was about the only change.

Q.  What opportunities have been presented to as an author you in sharing those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)

A.  Being a person of long-term recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol for almost 13- years now, publishing my book was my way of helping others with the problems as I had and was the only way I knew how to help others. By sharing my story in many ways like media, radio, and podcasts shares to others HOPE that they can recover from this cunning and devastating illness.

Many blessings and doors have opened for me to share my voice and writing and to have a platform to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of addicted and problem gambling. I want those who have never been touched by this addiction have more understanding and empathy for those who suffer. The opportunities that have come from people seeing and reading my book are have been many!

Being a former recovery columnist for a premier magazine called; “In Recovery Magazine.” I did many amazing interviews and articles of many high profile people who share their recovery as well and many have become friends and supporters of mine. I am now a writer for a premiere recovery newspaper out of So. California called; “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and I am still an expert gambling addiction and recovery blogger “Addictionland” a platform to raise awareness and educate the public about problem gambling. I have a few more, but I am ‘humbled and thankful’ for all the opportunities that have come my way. These offerings help keep me in recovery as well.

Q.  What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

 

A.  Now this question is an easy answer! Lol.
Since I market, promote, and advertise books for many authors and my own book for living, authors can hire me for “done for you” set-up of social media places to be and a full-service plan that won’t break the bank here at “Lyon Media & Literary Services.”

I’ve been doing book promoting and marketing a long time and it doesn’t have to be costly. I do research often and keep up on the latest low-cost options and new media places too! I want to be able to help new authors learn ‘how and where’ to promote their books. Many of the sites to place book ads are free or you can do low-cost book ads or book promotions and giveaways.

There is no shortage of authors needing help as they continue to write more books, and why among other reasons why they hire me to promote their books.

My number one valuable tip? Layer your book ads when your book first releases. That way you will find and it will help build your readership through many book promo sites like Awesomegang.com or Bookgoodies.net . . . And Author Shout! Just a couple of my “go-to places.”

Q.  What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

A.  My current book is a Memoir of my life with many topics discussed throughout which I mentioned above.

Q.  What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

A.  I carry a spiral notebook or my laptop with me everywhere I go!

 

Q.  Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?

A.
  Now that I am working on books two and three, I am trying to keep both within 300 to under 500 pages. I also let my editor worry about that! Lol.

Q.  How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

A.  Yes. My writing has evolved so much since I wrote my first book. I feel the more you write, the better you get. Now that I am writing more as a profession as well, I have taken some webinars and use writing software to make sure I continue to become a more seasoned writer.

I would hope to think writing my book and my recovery blog for my book and where I continue to write my recovery journey in many publications helps others. We just never know who our story will touch or help. I wanted others who still suffer or are stuck in the “cycle” of gambling addiction that ‘Suicide Is Not An Option to Stop Gambling Addiction.’

Again, like the woman I had read about in my local newspaper. And like my own two failed suicide attempts when I was deep in my addiction. Suicide is never the answer.

Q.  Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?

A.  Yes, I do feel a press release is very important and has value. Many first time authors can not afford mainstream advertising or hire a PR firm. So a press release sent out through PR websites is a stellar way to let people and literary media places know about your book and it’s release. I do them for my book promoting clients as some PR websites let you send a couple out for free.

A few I like and use are NPR, WEBPR.com, and NewswireToday.com are some good ones. I get some good results in books sales and book reviews.

Q.  Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are underrated, overrated, or don’t matter at all?

A.  Of course, there is value to book reviews for many reasons. Readers who shop for books, let us say on Amazon, they look and read reviews before they buy a book. I know as I do and I am an avid reader! Amazon emails me when someone reads a review I have placed and tells me it helped them decide to purchase.

Reviews on Amazon also helps your book’s rankings among other books in that genre. My book is still in the Top 100 in Paid Kindle E-books at #83 for Gambling Addiction Books. Rankings and tell us as authors how our books sell and compare to other books sold on Amazon. When a reader takes the time to write a review after they read my memoir, I use that as well if they leave suggestions to improve my craft as a writer.

Q.  What is your biggest fear about having a book published?

A.  This question goes back to how I answered your very First Question. I sat on my manuscript for almost a year because of fear. It is more difficult being afraid of how readers would react to my memoir as it is based on truth and is a real story and facts. I also had some fear about what my family would think even though I have been estranged from them for years. But I decided it wasn’t for or about them. My book was about healing and forgiveness for me and insight for readers.

Q.  What is the intended audience for your book?

A.  People in or reaching out to recover from gambling addiction, awareness of mental health, and those who had been sexually or physically abused, went through childhood trauma. Also for readers who want more understanding about these issues.

Q.  Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

A.  The Internet has changed not only the landscape of how authors can easily promote their books throughout social media, but the Internet has also changed how people can find information to get help from addiction and recovery support.

As a book promoter as my in-home business, the Internet has allowed me to work from home and make an income as I still have mental health challenges with Agoraphobia, Depression, and Mood Disorder, the internet has changed the way we do many things for school, work, and not just the bookselling and publishing industry.

Q.  What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

A.  Taking on paid writing jobs has boosted my self-confidence as a writer. That also helped me get the offer to be a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine.” And why I write for several other addiction/recovery publications. For me, it is two-fold. I become a better writer and I have great platforms to showcase my writing while helping others recover.

Q.  What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

A.  I really can’t answer this directly as my book was written very unconventionally. When I was writing at the time, I wasn’t writing a book. That all happened later on.
I do however recommend using some form of writing aide software which I do use.

Q.  Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

A.  All of the above. Especially for therapy and a recovery outlet.

Q.  Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?

A.  None. Seriously. I had none as it all poured out and I just kept writing it all in my notebooks!

Q.  Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

A.
  God created editors for a reason. Lol. My editor was Julie Hall. She works for our local newspaper in Grants Pass, Oregon. She isn’t an editor by profession. But she edits and proofreads for the newspaper. She had taken my six notebooks and performed “magic.” Then she sent the first 50 pages to a publisher friend of hers, and that is how my book made it to being published as Steve from The Kodel Group kept hounding me to publish as to help others!

Q.  What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

A.  For my recovery and helping others is what inspires me to write. If I can help others by sharing my story and experiences through words? That makes me happy. And what a living legacy to leave behind.

Q.  What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

A.  Since I do write a lot and for several publications, coming up with new topics to write about can be a challenge. Writing is very freeing to me. I enjoy it and hopefully continue writing and publishing more books to help others and for readers to also enjoy.

Q. Now lastly, If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

A.  A message of HOPE to others who suffer from addiction of any kind. We can recover no matter how bad or how far addiction has taken you. We all have that tiny sliver of light given by our Higher Power within us to turn our lives around if we want it bad enough. I have learned that recovery is possible and it works if you are willing to work for it. I will be a “work in progress” until my last breath, but the life lessons learned and wisdom gained has been well worth the RIDE!

 

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Books by Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

      Ten the Hard Way: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery (Ten the Hard Way; True

Connect with more from Catherine Townsend-Lyon …

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I am Honored to Announce My New Author Interview With NF Reads. I Enjoy Writing.

NF READS ~ NFReads.com | Interesting Articles. Inspiring Stories.

I was honored and had the pleasure of being invited for an in-depth author interview by NFReads.com about my craft of writing, about why I wrote my book, about recovery life, and some other intriguing questions. I included and shared some book marketing tips for authors in the interview and shared about my long-term recovery as well.

I hope you will take some time to visit and read the Full Interview!

Interview with Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)

“Books can come by imagination with vibrant storylines and characters. Come in many genres and about real life, or sometimes they come by way of a little “Divine Intervention” like my book.”   ~Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

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AND The Last Question Was?

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself?

Oh my. OK. I love dill pickle slices and mayo sandwiches. I am a cat lover with three therapy cats named, Mr. Boots, Miss Prissy Princess, and Simon-Peter. I love writing when it rains and will keep my door cracked and window open to hear it while writing even if it is 20 degrees outside!

Lastly? 

Well, after everything I’ve been through in my life up to now? GOD let me keep my sense of humor!


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56848129_657000964754004_2110962222527152128_n(A little fun and $$$$ Raised For Big Jim’s Ride 4 Addiction at The Arizona State Capitol Event as One of The Guest Speakers – April 10th, 2019) LOL!!

My Friends At TCK Publishing Helps Authors Be Amazing Writers With These Tips and Advice . . .

Welcome Friends, Writers, and Authors,

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Today I have a featured guest article from my friend Tom Corson-Knowles, CEO of TCK Publishing who shares some amazing advice and tips on becoming a more seasoned writer. I enjoy visiting his helpful website as he shares so much it keeps me coming back often and learning more about writing, authoring, selling my books and I can pass it on book marketing tips to all my author friends and clients.

Authors, make sure you check out his upcoming 2019 “TCK Publishing Readers Choice Awards” and enter your book! There are fabulous prizes and it helps get more exposure to your book! So let’s all learn some tips on becoming Better Writers!

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40 Tips On Creative Writing by Dan Buri FACEBOOK and TWITTER TEASER

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“Writing professionally is a full-time job with part-time hours and never-ending responsibilities.”
Most professional writers don’t actually spend 8 hours writing each day, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working.

If you want to become a more productive writer, you have to learn to manage your work, your life, and your mental and physical wellbeing. You can’t sustain high levels of creativity and productivity as a writer without working on yourself.

Here are the 10 things that helped me become a more productive writer, and I hope these tips help you too.

1.  Schedule Your Work

You have to make time in your schedule for writing, marketing, and business time.

Don’t let a day go by without writing and working on your career. Even if it’s just 15 minutes here and there it adds up. The work habits you build will determine your success or failure.

Every day you skip your writing work, you bring yourself closer and closer to failure, anxiety, stress, and the really bad habit of procrastination that dooms far too many writers’ promising careers.

2. Study

Learn everything you can about writing, publishing, and marketing. Ignorance is not bliss. It will ruin your dreams.

Check out the best books on writing.

Learn how to improve your readability.

Understand how to do market research for writing and learn more about your customers and readers.

Every day, study so you can learn a little bit more about the incredible art of writing.

3. Make Mistakes

You’ll learn more from your mistakes than just about anything else.

Be bold. Get rejected. Publish crappy articles and books (at first).

You learn as you go and you have to be willing to fail or you’ll never learn what you need to learn to succeed.

The only difference between you and the most successful writers in the world is they’ve made more mistakes than you have. Learn from your mistakes and keep going.

4. Get Rid of Bad Habits

To become a successful writer, I had to get rid of my addiction to video games, binge-watching TV series and complaining. I also had to develop new habits like working out, taking walks, meditating, and asking for help. I had to ask hundreds of people for help along the way. I never could have done it alone.

Bad habits and addictions will destroy your creative output. You need every extra hour you can get to take care of yourself and focus on your writing career.

If you waste that time on bad habits, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot.

5. Build Relationships

Meet other writers and creative people with big ambitions and good work habits. Just being around people who published 1, 2, or more books since you started yours will motivate the heck out of you.

You’ll see that other people are succeeding and you’ll be inspired to work extra hard to make your dreams come true.

6. Ignore the Noise

Don’t waste time with complainers, energy vampires, or depressed people. Their energy will infect you. It’s nearly impossible to create while depressed or stressed.

If you find something or someone in your life is distracting you from being productive, happy, and fulfilled, deal with it now! Putting it off will only make you feel more stressed, anxious, and depressed. And if that’s how you feel day after day after day, chances are you’ll never become a highly productive writer.

7. Manage Your Emotions

Writing is painful as hell. You will feel miserable sometimes. You’ll be scared, angry, hurt, feel emotions you haven’t felt or haven’t wanted to feel for years. It’ll open up parts of yourself you never imagined we’re there. Embrace it. Get help. See a therapist. Talk about your feelings and problems.

8. Take Care of Yourself

You are your biggest obstacle to success. You have to learn to work harder on improving yourself than you do at your writing career.

When you work on improving your life, even if it’s just a little bit, it’ll help you become more creative and productive.

Take that walk around the block. Eat healthier. Meditate. Get rid of bad relationships. Make your relationships better. Reduce your stress.

Small things may not seem that important but they can make all the difference in the world over your lifetime.  Creating is hard enough without adding 10 more problems to your life.

Solve the little problems and becoming a more productive creator will be a lot easier.

9. Add Value Always

Focus on adding value not making money.

Your readers need your help. Your job is to help them, no matter what kind of books you write. Your story and the message could change their life. It’s your job to do the best you can possibly do to help your reader. Nothing else is as important to your career as helping your readers.

When you have a big decision to make about the direction of your work, the title for your book, or any other creative decision, ask yourself:

“What’s best for my reader?”

Whatever the answer is, it’s almost always the right choice. Do what’s best for your reader. Add value to their lives. If you do that well enough, everything else will work out.

10. Experiment

If what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, it’s up to you to change it. Do something different. Try new things. Experiment. Play like a kid. You are smart enough to figure it out if you really want to become a successful and productive writer.

Believe in yourself, believing in your dreams, and believe in your work.

You can do it if you’re willing to do the right thing day after day after day.

That’s how you build a successful life and a successful writing career.
……

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If you liked this post, please visit my friends from TCK Publishing as below are some other articles you might love:

Always Enjoy Having My Friend Marilyn L. Davis of “Two Drops Of Ink” Sharing Writing and Literary Advice.

Welcome, Everyone! Especially Those Who Love To Write!

I happen to be doing my Twitter book shares today for all my author clients and came across an amazing post by my dear friend and fellow writer, Marilyn L. Davis.  Not only is she a “writing expert,”  but I learn so much from her and her literary blog.  I have written a couple of posts for her but this past year has been so busy with my marketing business and co-writing another with a friend that the time has just gotten away from me to write more for both her literary blog, ” Two Drops Of Ink ” and her informative recovery blog where I also write posts on From Addict 2 Advocate.

That will have to be my ‘New Year Resolution’ going into 2019, writer more for others! Lol.  I am happy today to share her new post from her fabulous literary blog  Two Drops Of  Ink.  Even though this article is from back in 2015?  It is informative and has some amazing writing advice as to overcome that intimidating “Blank Page.” I hope all you writers who visit get something to take with you after reading this post. Make sure you take a visit to Marilyn’s blog. Some amazing and helpful tips there!

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Overcoming the Big, Blank Page

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“Confront the page that taunts you with its whiteness. Face your enemy and fill it with words. You are bigger and stronger than a piece of paper.”Fennel Hudson, A Writer’s Year – Fennel’s Journal

Blank Page? Fill it Wisely

I have gotten emails from other writers asking how I continue to make my niches new and exciting. They perceive that I do not seem to suffer from Writer’s Block. The reality is that I do, from a different perspective, Writers Glut. I have too many ideas floating in my head, both forTwo Drops of Ink and my other blog, From Addict 2 Advocate.

One problem with brain overload is that we have difficulty focusing.

Sadly, for a writer, when we lose focus, we might end up in a situation like Gordon Comstock, the protagonist in George Orwell’s book, Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Comstock struggles to complete an epic poem, which disintegrates into fragments because the writing is not cohesive.


While information or links enrich our posts, when we use more than necessary to make our point, the post often becomes:

Just in case you didn’t know, the Megillah alludes to five books of the Bible read on certain Jewish feast days and considered by some as long and tedious, and frankly, long and tedious are the last things that people want in a blog post.

Too Much for Just One Page?

With too many words or ideas clamoring for attention, it’s often necessary to find ways to focus the writing. Certainly, you can free write and fill the pages with words, and in turn, move the random thoughts and ideas from brain to paper. Since it’s the first draft, you also don’t have to worry about how disjointed it might be.

 

  1. Are you passionate, angry, or saddened by the subject?
  2. Can you convey your emotions about the issue in powerful words?
  3. Has your viewpoint changed since you wrote about the topic last?
  4. Are you writing about an underdeveloped aspect of the subject?
  5. Does your site need updated information about this particular topic?
  6. Do you think there’s already too much information about your topic?
  7. Is this a worthwhile topic?
  8. Did you research to find correct, factual, and accurate information?
  9. Can you support your information with credible links?
  10. Can you add useful or valuable information about the topic?
  11. What are your qualifications to write about a topic?

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Mastering the Blank Page

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skill einstein expert Overcoming the Big, Blank Page marilyn l davis two drops of ink

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After your point of interest, decide your level of skill in presenting the information. 

  1. Skilled

  2. Authority

  3. Knowledgeable

  4. Professional

  5. Expert
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When you establish your skill level about the topic, approach it from the standpoint of the reader. Frame questions to help you narrow your focus.

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What were you curious about when you didn’t have much information about the topic? What stimulated this interest? Write as if you’re discovering something beneficial and exciting, as this tone and sense of wonder will translate and engage your readers.

When we write from the standpoint of learning and teaching, we aren’t condescending nor pompous in our choice of words and tone. CLICK TO TWEET

Remember what you did not know and tell the reader about it. While you’re an authority on the topic now, there’s always a backstory about what you learned. These stories can also add some humor. “Then there was the time that I didn’t understand…” and let your readers know that you’re an authority or knowledgeable, but had to learn a lesson the hard way.

We’ve all made mistakes, in fact, mine was misspelling message with massage and trust me, that one change in letters made my piece unacceptable for small children, even though spell check let it pass. Thank goodness for an editor with an eye for context like Scott Biddulph.

What to Leave In and What to Leave Out

As you learn and write about your topic, you may understand the subtle nuances of it. Elaborate on them. Remember, you’re not writing this as a new topic. You’re writing this with a skilled eye and can expand on the obvious facets of the topic. However, your readers may just be learning about the topic, so teach them. It is not redundant to explain the basic aspects of the topic.

If you have professional or expert knowledge about a topic, you need to let readers know that while any post is your opinion; you back it up with years of experience, your education, or current research.

Qualifying your information or credentials is not bragging. You’re doing this so readers learn to trust your posts.  CLICK TO TWEET

Your readers know that you’ve worked in a field, have advanced degrees, or you can let them know where you’ve been published. Letting them know that other sites value your writing goes a long way in establishing this trust.

Even for an expert, it’s not enough to write about the technicalities, subtle nuances, obscure facts learned over the years, or minutiae of the topic; you still have to write new insights, interesting content, and provide original thoughts. Whichever skill level you have about the topic, it is your writing that will make it worthwhile. Your distinct tone, style, and phrasing can and will make it original, which allows you to produce a stand-out piece.

How you convey your information might be:

  1. Repeating sage wisdom of the ages with a new twist.
  2. Reforming someone’s thinking with persuasive facts, passion, and your point of view.
  3. Revamping one of your old articles with updated information.

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Taming Block and Glut

Some days, we simply have to accept that we can’t produce and publish a piece. We’re either too distracted to narrow the focus, too uncertain about our skill level of the subject, or we can’t think of a perspective that isn’t saturated. On those days, unless you have a deadline, give yourself a break.

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Overcoming the Big, Blank Page marilyn l davis two drops of ink

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Adopt the Scarlett O’Hara mentality, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow”, or  remember the words of Ann Lamott, “The word block suggests that you are constipated or stuck when the truth is that you’re empty.”

When you think you’re empty, then reference the following:

  1. Have you taken a reader’s comment and expanded on it?
  2. What grabbed your attention today?
  3. What piques your curiosity?

I think writers are often too hard on themselves. Writing is one of the few professions that it’s hard to walk away from because it doesn’t need an office. Furthermore, I’ve never seen any mention of traditional writer hours. For most of us, it’s when we’re awake.

Too Tired or Too Much Going on to Focus? 

Writers are always writing, even if it’s just in our heads. We read signs on the road, imagine character’s conversations, or a great title pops into our brains while at lunch. Those are the creative ways that we think. But sometimes, all those great ideas don’t go anywhere.

Unlike most professions, we’re never without the tools necessary to write. We’ve got electronics to record our thoughts, and even with a power outage, our phones still have Evernote. Not to mention, paper and pen.  CLICK TO TWEET

So sometimes, we’ve got to let our brains rest.

  • Jot a few good sentences down.
  • Put the writing in your Darling file
  • Review it the next day.
  • Drink some tea, meditate, take a nap, or call it a day and go to bed and read.

After all, glut and block will undoubtedly pass by morning.

 

 

Here at Two Drops of Ink, we also believe that how something is said is just as important as what is said. In this spirit, we invite you to submit your writing.


Two Drops of Ink
 is accepting submissions for all genres except “R” rated romance or anything politically partisan.

We are proud to collaborate with our montly and guest contributors.
We hope you consider submitting to an award-winning site.

TWO DROPS OF INK: THE LITERARY HOME FOR COLLABORATIVE WRITING

How Do You Write? Are You a Spiritual or Straight Forward Writer? Either One Is Fine …

I wanted to share with you today a good friend and his amazing writing. His blog is one of my favorite sights. Even though I mostly guest share every now and then some of his posts on my recovery blog, this particular post is about how he writes and felt it was more appropriate to share here on my book blog because as writers write for many reasons. We also write for many different purposes like for a book, a publication, an article, or just to write a new blog post.

But whatever the reason or what motivates you as a writer, we can share the process behind it. Tony Roberts does this in a unique way. His site is amazing, interesting, and informative. I surely know once you visit, you will know you are in a special place.

He is like me, he to battles with mental health challenges, but it does not stop his creative writing process. Let’s read just how Tony gets prepared! … Catherine *Cat* 🙂

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~ Courtesy & By Author, Tony Roberts ~

 “Careless or Carefree Speech” 

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With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3.9)

Each time I sit down before a keyboard and stare at a blank screen, I say a quiet prayer that my words glorify God and encourage God’s people. There is so much hate speech in the world today. I count it my ministry to say something not only truthful but uplifting.

Speak the truth in love, as Paul writes in Ephesians. When we do, we make a tremendous impact on those who hear us, many of whom have been beaten down for years with messages that they are no good, that what they do is not worthy, that they will never measure up, that they are not loved.

I had a high school tennis coach who knew the power of encouraging speech. He knew next to nothing about tennis, but he knew how to inspire us. He taught us that we each had an integral role to play on the team. He made us want to improve to become as valuable as we were in his eyes. He brought in talented community players as his assistants to teach us the game.

He had nothing to pay them except his uplifting words that they were making a major difference in the lives of young men. And that was more than enough In just two years, we went from being the laughing stocks to perennial conference champs, the team to beat filled with confident young men who had someone who saw their value not just in sport. but in life.

Each of us has immeasurable value as ones created in the image of God. This image has been stained by sin, no doubt. But we don’t restore this goodness with damning speech. Too often, as James shows, we allow careless speech to slip through our lips. We beat people up with what we say and the way we say it.

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Often this is with the best intentions. We say things we think will be helpful. We talk about people under a thin veil of concern, when in fact, we are just gossiping in such a way that we tear them down.

As one who has a severe mental illness, I have experienced first hand how debilitating speech can be. When I got out of the hospital after my first episode, I found there were many more talking about me than talking to me. By God’s grace, I did receive a great deal of encouragement from some who counterbalanced the ill effects of the gossip. But it still hurt. And left permanent scars.

Instead of careless speech that tears down, we are called to a sort of carefree speech that comes from a faithful heart. When genuine faith lives in the heart, it will be connected to the tongue and impact what is said. Love, peace, and joy will be seeds of hope sown to produce hope in the lives of the hurting.

““For the rest of his life, Oliver Twist remembers a single word of blessing spoken to him by another child because this word stood out so strikingly from the consistent discouragement around him.” ― Charles DickensOliver Twist.

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Who will you encourage this week?

What will you say?

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Exclusive and Coming This Fall by Rusty Blackwood. Sneak Peek Chapter of The Perils of Autumn.

I always enjoy sharing one of my favorite romance fiction authors and writers. I am also honored to call Rusty Blackwood a dear friend of mine and meeting several years ago through social media and became fast friends. She is an amazing author with books like,

 

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Passions in Paris:  Revelations of a Lost Diary  Willow's WalkDerwood Returns

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“Such a talented writer that all her books should be on the NY Times Best Seller List!
Who says authors don’t interact with thier readers? Rusty sure does. Just as she enjoys sharing her process of writing a new book as well.”

So, I am privileged she asked and has given my readers another exclusive look and share a Sneak Peek Chapter of her new book coming out this fall titled; The Perils of Autumn. I know all my avid readers will love reading a good long juicy chapter to prepare you for this amazing new release this FALL …

 


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 Photo of Miss Blackwood by Miss Carson Doan ©2013 Carson Doan Photography, St. Catharines, ON.

 

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The Perils of Autumn ~ Chapter 35

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A Four Course Journey Through Hypocrisy

 
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( This is a working cover only for The Perils of Autumn. Image courtesy of Google Images ©)

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A Note From The Author, Rusty Blackwood:

“Hello Avid Readers. This chapter is fairly long but it helps to set the flow of the story. The chapter centers around a dinner party that Autumn gives with hopes of bringing Cyril and her mother closer together – as Autumn and Cyril are becoming close and Abigail (Autumn’s mother) who is not pleased with their relationship because he is so much older than her daughter. The housekeeper, Agnes – life long friend of Cyril’s – begins to show her true colors” …You may read another chapter from my Official Author Website Rusty Blackwood and make sure you sign up for my newsletter while there for this new fall release, news, and author events too!

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Saturday had arrived and with it growing anxiety for Autumn. She wondered at this for she had everything well planned, dinner would be at six, the menu had been decided, and the weather appeared favorable. Much of the meal would consist of items she and her mother had never consumed, but there was always a first time, and the selection was good. It would also be a feast for Cyril’s pallet, for the menu consisted of many of his favorite foods that he had not enjoyed in quite some time. There was not a doubt he would partake heavily. His assignment was the stocking of the bar which would be left to his choosing. Autumn’s mother did enjoy a nice sherry, or an after-dinner brandy, that of which Autumn had already informed Cyril, and she was certain he would include them in the lineup.

Noon had come and gone. Autumn couldn’t help noticing the cold shoulder she was receiving from Agnes whenever she entered the kitchen, but it was something the older woman must come to terms with, and Autumn was not about to ruin her expected pleasure over someone’s possible attempt at sabotage. She kept checking the time, noticing the hands on the clock seemed to speed faster with each look. Three o’clock finally loomed; it was time to adjourn to her suite. She had less than two hours to prepare for the planned festivities. After a final check in the kitchen, she trod to Cyril’s room to see if he was resting, but he was not there. He did say he was going to exercise Dan for a while; must be where he is. I do hope he’s watching the time, she thought with concern while climbing the stairs to her privacy. Now, what should I wear? She didn’t want to be over-dressed yet wanted to appear festive. It may be a simple dinner for four, but it was a most important one; she wanted everything to be just right, and that included her.

Her wardrobe had grown over time. It brought her comfort when opening her closet doors to find an actual selection within. Both she and her mother could now enjoy nicer clothes, as well as a wide variety. Her mind suddenly flashed to the days when it hadn’t been that way. There had always been clothing, but not always the nicest nor the most recent in style but at least they were clean. She smiled when realizing that sparseness was no longer the case for either of them. She had always admired her mother’s impeccable taste, the way she made a statement with the combination of simple items used with flair, creating her own look, and pulling it off with grace. Autumn’s style was different from her mother’s. It didn’t matter if something was not of the latest trend, in fact, the more flamboyant the better, and aside from wearing conservative riding habits, she fancied her own look with whatever took her eye at the time.

Before long she was attired in a mid-length, long sleeved, crushed velvet coat dress in royal blue, set off with a matching belt sporting a huge square chrome buckle. She wore chunky, three inch heeled knee-high boots of the same color and fabric of the dress, but what set them apart was a spattering of shinny chrome studs around the cuffs, and down the sides. To complete the look, she chose dangly silver hoop earrings. Her cheeks were adorned with a soft pink blush, dark auburn mascara complimented her thick, wispy lashes, and a bold crimson lip gloss finished the look. She decided to wear her shoulder-length hair loose and flowing, and as she stood before the full-length mirror she had to smile, feeling every inch the seventies girl that she was.

The limo, driven by a suit-clad William was Lexington bound to retrieve Abigail Leeves who was expecting its arrival at the time her daughter had given, and she would be ready. A feeling of nervousness touched her stomach, but she shrugged it off, knowing there was no need for such nonsense, and she would not have it. She had always faced uncertainty head on, and this would be no different. She held to her usual conservative look, consisting of a three-quarter sleeved teal linen dress with gold piping, flat heeled, mid-high charcoal leather dress boots, and matching gold necklace and earrings. Her fur trimmed, black shear ling coat fell just below her knees, and was set off by a black leather shoulder bag boasting an elegant gold chain. She struck a stylish figure that she hoped would make her daughter proud.

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Back at the mansion Autumn’s nerves were beginning to get the better of her. Surely things will go as planned, she trustingly thought, picturing everything in her mind as vividly as if it were playing out before her. She couldn’t wait to taste the traditional English fare that had been planned for everyone’s enjoyment, certain her mother would feel the same. She has always encouraged new avenues to try, so this will be no different, but still her nerves encompassed her stomach, as she further thought, what time is it now? Realizing it was almost five, she rushed downstairs just in time to meet her dashing squire of the manor, looking dapper in a light grey pin striped suit over an open-collared apricot colored linen shirt, and in lieu of a necktie, he wore a large silk apricot pocket square tucked loosely in his lapel. It truly was his color, for it set off his silver hair perfectly.

 Sweeping his dancing eyes over her, he exclaimed, “You look exquisite, my dear!”

 “Thank you, Cyril; you’re not a bit shabby yourself!”

 “I suppose one could say we are totally mod.”

 “Mod was last decade, now we are considered groovy.”

 “Then groovy we shall be. Care to cut a rug with me?”


Giggling like an adolescent, Autumn playfully slapped his right shoulder before throwing her arms around him. He grinned at her daring gestures all the while realizing how they affected him, kept him youthful, and wanting to play. However, he didn’t think it wise to appear disheveled when his guest arrived.

Straightening his suit coat, he said, “I so look forward to seeing your charming mother again. How has she been keeping since leaving hospital?”

It took Autumn but a second to clue into the mannerism Cyril was expecting, as she replied, “She’s feeling fine and doing much better, thank you for asking. The new medication Dr. Boxford ordered appears to be helping much better than the previous one. Possibly she had become immune to the prior dosage; that often happens in cases like hers, but her mobility is much improved, and her discomfort has lessened. She’s even walking without the aid of her cane. It is a great relief for both of us,” and letting her eyes again travel over him, she coyly confessed, “You, my elegant horse master, look wonderfully debonair. I just had to say that before my mother arrives.”

He bowed, while sweeping his right arm before him. “My sincere gratitude, Miss Autumn, your charming presence at my side on her arrival can only do me proud,” and sensing her sudden nervousness, he asked, “Are you excited?”

Autumn couldn’t believe the extent of her nervousness, she actually felt nauseous, certain her sweaty hands would slip from within his; that alone increased her anxiety. She took a deep breath, straightened her posture, and then walked hand in hand with him to answer the call of the doorbell now ringing out its usual refrain. The door opened to reveal Abigail Leeves, standing in wait.

Cyril graciously extended his right hand, as he stated, “Welcome to Landon Manor, Miss Leeves, and might I say how lovely you look. Do come in.”

Noticing the grip her daughter had on the Englishman’s left hand, Abigail was thankful he had reached out with his right, but she pleasantly smiled, and stepped into the opulent foyer as he helped remove her coat, and then hung it in the closet.

“It is a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Landon,” Abigail announced, “thank you for inviting me to dinner. I look forward to us becoming better acquainted,” and letting her eyes travel over her daughter, now standing on her own, she said, “You look stylish, my dear. I adore your outfit, it is typically you.”

Autumn said nothing, only smiled as if her mouth had become paralyzed in its present clown-like position while she walked aside Cyril and her mother toward the double parlor. As the trio entered the massive room, Agnes appeared through the dining room door, and appearing to ignore those present, went straight to the bar located at the far end of the room.

“Agnes,” Cyril called out, signaling her total lack of manners, “you remember Miss Abigail Leeves I assume? Do come and say hello. I shall tend to the drink orders directly.”

The sullen housekeeper moved toward the women, extending her hand to the elder of the two, stating, “Hello again, Miss Leeves, it is nice that you could attend our little soirée. I trust your journey was a comfortable one. William does try his best to avoid most bumps in the road,” and she smiled in a sinister way.

As Cyril escorted Abigail to a comfortable heather-toned wing chair, she replied, “It was fine, no bumps, just a smooth ride throughout its entirety. I must say what a pleasant man William is, a most delightful chap indeed.”

Escorting Autumn to a matching chair opposite her mother, Cyril said, “That is our William for you. He enjoys nothing better than a fine conversation. I trust he didn’t bore you with constant horse topics. He tends to forget that not everyone is as interested in them as he. May I offer you an appetizer, accompanied with an aperitif of your choice?”

Abigail looked amused but comfortable as she studied the colorful selections on the silver serving tray, and upon choosing one, she replied, “A glass of sherry would be nice, thank you. Regarding your inquiry concerning William and our conversation, he did not bore me in the least. I find the world of horse racing interesting actually. My daughter has tried explaining different aspects about it during our phone conversations; she is certainly taken with it ever since you taught her to ride. The pony you assigned her is a lovely one, very pretty.”

Autumn, now channeling a bobble head doll, moved her eyes between Cyril and her mother, before stating, “Cinnamon is hardly a pony, Momma, but rather a breed known as Morgan. A small horse – an Indian pony actually – though not a pony. It’s somewhat difficult to explain.”

The expression on Cyril’s face revealed amusement. He found it enlightening that Autumn was trying her best to explain something that she was still a novice about in many ways. He admired her forthrightness in doing her best to clarify things, but he surmised his help was required.

Pulling a chair aside Abigail, he explained, “The majority of horse breed at my stables is thoroughbred, or warm blood, horses bred for professional racing and show events such as open-hunter, show-jumping, and dressage, however I do keep a few different breeds for pleasure, such as Autumn’s mare Cinnamon, whose breed is Morgan. They are solid, tough horses, smaller than a thoroughbred in height and build, not nearly as hot blooded or high strung, but they are perfect for pleasure riding as well as teaching beginners to ride, such as your daughter, whom I understand had never sat on the back of a horse.”

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Setting her half empty glass upon an adjacent table, Abigail replied, “We were never fortunate to be around horses I’m afraid, though I know my daughter has always had an affinity for them but we never lived where having one, even a pony, was possible. However, I am glad that she has been allowed to experience what she was denied throughout her formative years.”

Oh, Mother, must you make us sound like a welfare case? Autumn agonized in thought, doing her best to prevent her eyes from rolling as she continued to listen to the conversation.

Nodding his head in a receptive manner, Cyril remarked, “Yes, I am too, but it has been my pleasure to assist her by teaching her the basics, and she is a fast learner, picking up difficult aspects exceptionally fast.”

“Yes,” Abigail agreed, “that she is, always first to jump into the fray.” Oh, Mother, please, must you be so explicit? thought Autumn with growing annoyance fast boarding on embarrassment. She had to change the subject.

“I’m glad you had a good trip out here, Momma. I knew you would enjoy conversing with William, he is a most interesting dude, always has something delightful to say. Maybe after dinner you might like to have a tour of the stables; even meet Cinnamon — and Dapper Dan!”

“Excuse me, Dapper who?”

“Sir Dapper Dan. That is the official name of Cyril’s horse, a magnificent, dapple grey thoroughbred stallion that is a blue-ribbon winner in his field. Why he simply soars over hurdles, regardless of how high or difficult to maneuver. Then again a lot of that can be credited to Cyril’s exceptional horsemanship.”

The Englishman’s face suddenly reddened, he was actually blushing, as he stated, “Oh my, you must forgive your daughter’s enthusiasm, Miss Leeves, she is rather bias, however the credit she gives Dan is certainly well placed. He is both my stalwart friend, and my champion on the course. We have been together a very long time, and he never ceases to amaze me.”

“Yes, Momma, it was Dapper Dan that saved Cyril the day of his accident. The horse got down on his knees and eased himself upon his side as to allow Cyril to climb on his back, where he then brought him to the stables. It was a miraculous feat, a total gesture of love. I don’t know many humans who would go to that length for another.”

Looking amused, Abigail exclaimed, “My-my, you certainly do have a friend in your horse, Mr. Landon! I would very much like to meet this applauded steed. I must say you were a lucky man.”

“That I was and do call me Cyril. Mr. Landon seems so formal, and I always address my friends by their name.”  “Then you must call me Abigail. I understand you own a Triple Crown winner. That must be thrilling, to say the least.”

“That it is, Abigail! Devil May Care won the Triple Crown in 1969, setting a record for speed along with it. Unfortunately, that coveted series is open to three-year-old contenders only, but nothing can ever erase the memories of his win. I am now hopeful for my newest three-year-old stallion, Fenn’s Fancy. He has what it takes, but it is also up to chance, so we shall see.”

Before another word could be spoken, Agnes, who had previously left the room immediately after acknowledging the company, returned to announce that dinner now awaited them in the dining room. Cyril stepped between Autumn and her mother, and offering an arm to each, accompanied them to the dining room with its emerald green damask walls, and highly polished, colonial-styled walnut table. Six deep maroon-cushioned chairs lined the table either side, capped off with a captain’s chair at each end.

The table, sporting a tapestry runner in maroon and gold, sat beneath a shallow but tasteful flower arrangement consisting of Baby’s Breath, Stephanotis, and trailing English Ivy. Crystal serving bowls lined each side of the runner, each offering an English staple from the designated menu. Autumn and Abigail were seated across from each other on the halfway mark of the table, and Cyril and Agnes took up residence in the captains’ chairs.

To Cyril’s right side, chilling in an ice-filled sterling bucket in its stand was a vintage bottle of champagne. Popping the cork, he walked around the table filling each crystal goblet located aside a gold embellished dinner plate, on which sat a green enameled salad bowl offering a traditional London salad, consisting of assorted greens, walnuts, and apples.

The meal progressed with conversation taking place wherever it seemed to fit. Everyone appeared to be enjoying the assorted flavors of each dish, until the bowl containing Toad in the Hole was passed to Abigail, who awkwardly hesitated, giving the impression she was not sure about what she was viewing.

Agnes was quick to notice. Swiftly wiping a maroon colored napkin across her mouth, she openly inquired, “Is there a problem, Miss Leeves?” It was obvious Abigail did not wish to make a scene, but the pungent look on her face openly revealed her displeasure.

“I am sorry, I don’t wish to seem impartial but …this dish looks as if it contains sausage.”

“It does!” Agnes blurted.

“One cannot make a proper Toad in the Hole without sausage. Why don’t you try it before you turn up your nose? You might find it to your liking instead of jeering at it like you’ve been offered poison.” Abigail sat in quandary, not certain what to say. Cyril could not believe the words emitting from his housekeeper’s mouth. He was totally appalled.

“How dare you speak to my guest in such a disgraceful manner, Agnes? I demand you explain yourself and apologize immediately.”

Autumn sat in disbelief yet knowing full well that the outburst was because of the woman’s growing animosity toward her and Cyril’s blossoming relationship, but she would not sit in silence while her mother was chastised because of it.

“I too am waiting for an explanation, Agnes. If my mother has hesitated to try something there must be a good reason; even if there wasn’t, it does not give you the right to speak to her like that.”

Abigail graciously blotted her mouth, before stating, “I am sorry. I certainly did not mean to cause such uproar, but I cannot eat sausage without it triggering a gallbladder attack. I have not been able to eat sausage since I was a child.”

“No mind, Abigail,” Cyril assured, “you need not explain. Agnes is the one who needs to do that, and if she cannot, she may excuse her presence from my table. Miss Autumn and I can serve the dessert and tea.”

Agnes found it hard to absorb that Cyril would speak to her in such fashion. It hurt, even though she had been wrong to use the tone that she had with Abigail, but she would not be spoken to in this manner, and she would not be banished from the table like an impertinent child.

She abruptly rose to her feet, and began walking toward the kitchen, but stopped, whirled around, and snapped, “I am the housekeeper here, Cyril, until you see fit to dismiss my service! I will clear the table and see to the dessert, but I will not join you!”

The look on Cyril’s face revealed total displeasure. He had always conducted himself with honor, respecting everyone around him, but he could not tolerate what was presently happening before his eyes.

He stood erect, extending each hand toward the women sitting at the table, and in a rather shaken voice, he said, “Would you both please accept my sincere apology I … I do not know what has gotten into her, I don’t understand it at all, any of it. In all the years that I have known her she has never lashed out like that. Abigail, I had Miss Autumn invite you here because she and I have grown close, and you and she are so very close that I want to know you better.

I held such anticipation for this dinner, having you here with me, in my manor at my table with Autumn and me. I hope to have many more dinners with you at this table … Please, I must excuse myself for a moment, if you will both indulge me.” Moving toward Autumn, he added, “Please top up your mother’s glass and keep her company ’till I return. I shan’t be long.”

It was plain to see that the proud Englishman was distraught and had to get out before he lost his composure. It was embarrassing to have an employee – though an old friend – conduct herself in such a disrespectful manner. He would not have it. She had not only spoken to Abigail in the unacceptable manner in which she had, but this was the mother of the woman he had fallen in love with, regardless of whether she had reservations about it or not. She had to be made to understand. He knew he must not be gone long; that would not be acceptable either, but what he had to say could not wait.


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I am enjoying the creation of this novel immensely. The more the story grows the more in-depth it becomes. The characters are raw, bold, and pretentious, yet each carries a certain uniqueness that pulls you in and makes you want to know them more.  ~Rusty Blackwood

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Rusty Blackwood Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Romantic fiction author Rusty Blackwood, who chose her plume de nom by combining the colour of her russet hair with her husband’s great, great, Scottish grandmother’s maiden name, was born in St.Thomas, Ontario, Canada on October 5th, and grew up on her paternal grandfather’s farm in the County of Elgin, located in the south-western portion of the province of Ontario.

She acquired her love of literature while still in elementary school where she entered her original compositions into county fairs, school contests, and whatever venue allowed participants in the writing field. She has carried that love ever since and has put it to use many times since becoming a professional writer in 2001.

From the time of youth she has loved the Arts in their many unique forms and is a graduate with honors in Interior Decorating & Design. She spent many years on the south-western Ontario stage performing with her family’s country music band: The Midnight Ramblers, followed by the country – rock – blues band: ‘MIRAGE’ as an accomplished vocalist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist. She now resides in the cultural city of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Please visit her official website  Rusty Blackwood – Bio/Contact for numerous reviews, author interview requests, and information on her work.