Sherry Gloag Discusses the Origination of Ideas!

What are IDEAS? And where do they come from?

 by Sherry Gloag

Without ideas authors would be stumped. And yet ideas can either swamp, or desert an author in an instant, leaving them ‘up-a-creak-without-a-paddle,’ because they are either chasing their tails trying to keep up with the plots and plans racing through their minds or sitting in front of the blank screen uselessly drumming their fingers on the key board.

If an idea is no more than “something that ‘is’ before the mind when one thinks”, where does it come from?

How does something that is nothing more than a conception, opinion, conviction, or principle, plan, scheme, or method become reality?

According to Plato “the concept of ‘idea’ is based in the realms of metaphysics, and implies knowledge is innate, so that learning is the development of ideas buried deep in the soul, often under the guidance of an ‘interrogator’.”

So are we, as authors, delving into the world of metaphysics every time we have an idea?  And why, you might ask, do so many people admit their ideas first ‘came’ to them in a dream. Even in sleep, or with certain brain areas anesthetized, other areas in the brain can perceive certain things and cause the body to respond to stimuli.

Scientist will tell you that people consciously use as little as five-to-ten per cent of their brain, so what is going on in the other ninety-five percent?

The most obvious answers are, breathing, balance, use of our eyes in assimilating information, co-ordination of our limbs, and how about that ‘gut’ reaction we all experience to certain incidents and sensations? I mean, how often have you met someone, and for no good reason you can later explain, you either take an instant dislike to them or know on some unexplainable level you could trust them with your life?  All this goes on at some subliminal level of consciousness.

But there is a more intriguing aspect to the subliminal mind at work.

People are immersed in subliminal stimuli all day long.  You only have to consider the various methods of advertising.  Some are in your face while others are so subtle you have no idea you have taken the information in, as it has buried itself deep in your sub- or subliminal consciousness.

The information is out there ready to be stimulated by the same trigger, or something similar. However it is created, these commercial companies spend billions annually wooing us on whatever level they can reach us.

So, in many cases our subliminal consciousness becomes the point from which we see, recognize and address the forces and influences at work around us, thus offering a clearer picture than is provided by our limited (five-per-cent) surface awareness.

The notion that the impulses and ideas we assume originate from within us, actually derive outside, beyond us, before entering our subliminal self, to take shape before rising to the surface as if newly created, is still a difficult concept for many people to accept.

Ask ten different authors where they get their ideas from, and you will probably get ten distinctly differing answers.

So where did the idea for the first, in my four book series The Gasquet Princes, From Now Until Forever, published by Astraea Press, come from?

Indirectly, from the Royal wedding of Prince William to his long time girlfriend Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge; and I say ‘indirectly’ because it wasn’t until after the wedding I decided to create a short story involving a royal romance.

I am not a ‘plotter’ so even that decision was out of character for me.  Did that concept come from my subliminal consciousness?  I honestly don’t know.

And what about my characters in From Now Until Forever?

All I can say about them is they certainly did not come from the 5% of conscious use of my mind.  The heroine, Melanie Babcot, and her hero, Prince Liam, turned up almost fully formed and knew exactly where and what they were doing from the first word to the last one.

And the characters in my Valentine story, His Chosen Bride, the second book of the series? Well the heroine turned up without fanfare, or even explanation, in a short story written for Tuesday Tales, an online weekly blog where a group of authors offers partial of complete clips of their stories. I did not know even she was going to be the heroine in Henri’s story until the following week when he made his entrance.  They certainly emerged from my subliminal consciousness, but don’t ask me what the unconscious triggers were that created them before they made themselves known to me, for I could not tell you.

Multi-published author, Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs “thinking time” and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.

Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.

FOR NOW UNTIL FOREVER

For Prince Liam, families meant bad news, unwanted commitments, and the loss of his personal freedom.  Love spawned white picket fences, slippers at the hearth with a wife and kids making demands, so why did those images disappear when he met Melanie Babcot?

Melanie Babcot fought hard to escape the horrors of her youth and vowed to remain single and free, so when paid to protect Prince Liam from insurgents why did her personal pledge fly out the window?

TO PURCHASE:  Astraea Press      Amazon      Amazon UK      Barnes & Noble      Nook

Please enjoy a brief excerpt:

Liam Fitzwilliam Gasquet stared in amazement at the blooming patch of red milliseconds before the pain exploded in his arm. Some trigger-happy idiot had fired in his direction. Indignation didn’t have time to take root before another bullet kicked the dust at his feet.
Not ‘trigger-happy’.
Intentional.
The rebels had found the fourth and youngest son of Jean-Phillipe Gasquet, ruler of the tiny kingdom adjacent to the Swiss border. When had they discovered his whereabouts?
With a reluctant sigh, he faced the truth of it. They hadn’t ‘found’ him at all. They’d followed him.

I want to thank Ms. Gloag for her visit, and to all of you, I’m encouraging you to give this book a try. I fell in love with this couple on the first page. This one is on my 5-star keeper shelf. ~Kay




Sweet Saturday Sample 01/28/2012

Available Now http://www.amazon.com

This is from  my work in progress, Everlasting Echoes, the story of Justin and Beth, being told in response to overwhelming popular request.

The sky overhead was a clear spring blue, though clouds on the horizon hinted at rain. The nip of winter still lingered but the promise of spring held fast. The first calves were already born with many more on the way. Lots of work and long days but the Cross MC was consistently hitting the black for the first time in two decades.

And Justin was late getting to it. He settled his battered Stetson on his head and stepped off the back porch of the main ranch house. As he’d suspected, Ryan was nowhere to be seen, apparently already out making the rounds. The fool boy’d gone and gotten it in his mind that Justin needed to take things easy. Ricky was probably at work. But where the devil were Sandy and the baby?

“Sean and I have things covered outside,” Ryan had said the night before. “We need the books done so we can hit the bank for a loan next week.”

But Justin knew that was an excuse. Sean had the head for accounting and he kept meticulous books, always up to date. No, something else was going on. Still, Justin had never expected his son would sabotage the morning routine. When he’d opened his eyes, he’d discovered his alarm clock had been unplugged and the shades in his bedroom were drawn, so the sun hadn’t awakened him. That had been Ryan’s hand at work. No one else but Sandy saw through his gruffness and she worked in more subtle ways. If the boy was a few years younger, Justin would consider taking a switch to his backside. He chuckled as he crossed behind the house. Right. As if he’d ever been able to carry out such a punishment.

He picked his way across the rough cement slab in front of the old barbecue pit, which they laughingly called “the patio.” Cracks crisscrossed the concrete and the edges had long ago chipped into smoothness, since the patio and barbecue hadn’t been used in years. Sandy kept talking about fixing it up, but it wasn’t a priority since it had nothing to do with the ranch itself. Rounding the corner of the house on the way to the barns, Justin was greeted by a carpet of bright yellow. Hundreds of spring daffodils spread over the ground like liquid gold, their faces turned in his direction as though waiting for him.

Beth had planted a small patch of them soon after she’d come to the ranch. She’d always kept the plants confined to her garden along the side of the house but after her death, Justin hadn’t had the heart to yank the spreading plants as his wife had done, and now they’d taken over the side yard from the house to the old cottonwood with the tree swing.

The spring breeze carried the acrid-sweet scent of daffodils to his nostrils and Beth’s face floated into his memory. Curly blonde hair like summer sunshine, green eyes that held laughter through the worst of times. A gust of wind blew the daffodils nearly sideways, then just as suddenly stopped and the happy faces of the flowers bobbed upright again.

“Hello, Beth,” murmured Justin. “Come by to check how your garden’s growing, did you? We haven’t put in the vegetables yet. You know how hectic calving season gets.”

A gust of air tickled at the hairs on his arms. He knew it was just the wind. Beth had been gone for years, her life cut short one branding season by an incident at the river. Of all the places on the ranch, though, he felt her most in the garden she’d loved. And sometimes he talked to her as though she was still kneeling on the ground there chatting to her flowers and tugging weeds.

He smiled as he rubbed at a twinge of soreness in his left shoulder. “Our boy thinks I’m getting old, Dilly. He thinks I need to sleep in these days instead of getting at the day.”

Odd how he wanted to linger here longer than usual. Instead, Justin inhaled the scent of Beth’s garden again and began walking toward the barn.

Thank you for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed this sweet sample. Now it’s time to return to Sweet Saturday Samples.

Sweet Saturday Sample 01/21/12

Reviews for Operation: Christmas Hearts

We first met Rabbit as the candy-spitting marine who worried about “bad ju-ju”, in Operation Christmas Hearts. The next novel will continue his story.

This is a little bit from The 13 of Hearts, a contemporary work in progress about a superstitious marine and a family on the run.


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The stiff early February breeze puffed out the hood on the sweatshirt and the guy reached up a hand to push it off his head. Rabbit could have tripped over a grain of sand with shock. It was just a kid—early teens at most. He wasn’t nearly as tall as Rabbit had first judged and he was skinny. Walnut brown hair fell past his ears in bushy curls. His face was the color of paste, as though he spent a lot of time inside. And for as long as he’d been standing in front of the bill changer, he hadn’t managed to so much as scratch the front of the machine.

Not exactly a highly successful criminal.

“How’s it going?” asked Rabbit.

The kid jerked upright and then whirled and pressed his back against the wall, his hands curled into poorly formed fists. Rabbit sprung back, giving the kid lots of space, and held up his hands surrender-style.

“Hey, relax.” Rabbit kept his voice low and strove to inject calming tones. The kid looked, ironically, like a scared rabbit. “I was just over there and saw you fighting with the machine. What it do? Eat your dollar or something?”

Something flickered in the silver-blue eyes before the kid averted them. “Yeah.”

Rabbit made an exaggerated show of looking around. “I don’t see a car. What were you planning to wash?”

The kid clamped his mouth closed and gave a one-shouldered shrug.

Oh, joy. Why did I decide to confront the kid again? Rabbit rubbed at the tension in the back of his neck. “Okay, I get it. None of my business anyway.” He glanced at the machine, noting that it could change anything from a one to a twenty. He reached into his back pocket and slipped his wallet out between two fingers. “A guy did me a favor once, so how about I do you one now? How much did you lose? Ten? Twenty?”

The kid raised a startled glance, his eyes wide. He closed his mouth quickly and shrugged. “It’s not important,” he mumbled, dropping his eyes. “It was just a buck.”

Rabbit hesitated with his fingers on a twenty. Either the kid was straight up or he was smart enough not to try to score off a stranger. He moved his fingers to separate a ten from the middle of a bunch of ones and extracted it. “Sorry, kid. I don’t have anything smaller. Go ahead and take this.”

The kid seemed to shrink against the wall. This time when he looked up at Rabbit, his eyes held a trace of defiance. “No, thanks.” He shook his head and inched toward the bay.

Rabbit offered an unconcerned shrug as he stuffed the bill into his jacket pocket and took another step back to give the kid some space. His gut told him the kid was in some kind of trouble that had nothing whatsoever to do with the bill changer. His brain reminded him he wasn’t everyone’s superhero.

“Maybe I’ll see you around sometime. Take it easy.” Rabbit gave a sharp nod and turned. He got two paces.

“Wait!”

Rabbit halted in mid-pace and looked over his shoulder. “Yeah?”

The kid had picked up his backpack and slung it over one shoulder. He kept his arms slightly bent, his hands curled into weak fists. A muscle worked in his jaw but he looked less angry and more…wary?

“What do I have to do to get the ten?”

“Not a thing,” Rabbit answered, slowly turning the rest of the way around while he tried to gauge the reaction he was seeing. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the crumpled ten.

The kid licked his lips and took a hesitant step forward. “Really? Nothing? You’re not like—a perve or something?”

An electric jolt shocked Rabbit’s awareness. How old was this kid? Old enough to be well aware of the ways the world could go wrong, apparently. “Ah, no.” Rabbit shook his head. “I like my dates female and close to my age. What about you? Why aren’t you in school?”

“We got a half day.”

Interesting that he was the only kid around on a half day. Rabbit held out the ten. “Yeah? Lucky you.” And if the kid was hooking school, so what? Not your business, man. “Just tell me one thing,” he said as the kid took the bill and skittered sideways.

“What?”

“You use drugs?”

The kid narrowed his eyes as he pulled himself up to his full height and jutted his chin out. “No. Only losers are users.”

Rabbit nodded his approval. “Good. So why’d you change your mind?”

The boy stared hard at him for a few heartbeats, and Rabbit knew he was being sized up. Too bad the kid was a difficult read. He’d love to know his overall score.

“That’s your second question.”

Rabbit had no power over the urge that pulled the corner of his mouth into a half smile. The kid had definitely bested him there. “Yep, it is. So I guess you don’t have to answer.” He stepped backward. If the kid was ready to end the conversation, Rabbit wouldn’t prolong it. But to his surprise, the kid’s face screwed up with some vague emotion.

“I’m hungry,” he blurted. His hand shook, but he offered the ten back. “I didn’t lose any money in the dollar changer. I was trying to get something out of it.”

So much for not his business. The kid’s admission had just made it exactly that. Rabbit rubbed his jaw while he considered what to do. Obviously the boy was at least a little savvy about strangers. He’d maintained some distance and he didn’t trust easily. It had taken a lot for him to admit to being hungry, though, and something wasn’t ringing right.

“I’m…Pete,” said Rabbit, still smiling, though he was unsure why. “But most of my friends call me Rabbit.”

The kid snickered. “You’re name’s Pete Rabbit?”

“No…my name is Pete Kincaid. Rabbit is a nickname I picked up on my first tour in the Middle East.”

The kid stiffened, but it seemed to be more out of respect than tension. “So, like, you’re a soldier?”

Rabbit snorted. “Hardly. I’m a marine, kid. So, what’s your name?”

“I’m, Nath—uh, Nate.”

“Nice to meet you, Nate.” No last name. Rabbit angled his head. “So, wanna tell me why you’re hungry? You living on the streets?”

Shaking his head, Nate took a step back. “I gotta get home.”

Once again, Rabbit held up his hands in surrender. “Okay. It’s all good. Just wanted to make sure you got a place to go home to.”

“I got a home.” Nate backed toward the open bay.

Just let him go. Not everyone needs saved. Even as the thoughts finished forming, Emotion welled from someplace he’d rather not go, and Rabbit experienced the sudden urge to do something potentially stupid. Aw, heck. “Nate?”

The kid looked up, his face still unreadable. What did a kid have to live through to develop the ability to shield his emotions so effectively at such a young age?

“You got something to write with in that bag?”

Nate lifted one shoulder. “Yeah, probably.” He allowed the pack to slide to the ground and unzipped it. After a bit of rummaging, he produced a pen and a folded piece of paper.

“Write this down.” Rabbit rattled off his cell number. “You ever need anything, that’s my personal phone. Day or night, got that?”

Nate hesitated only a second before he scribbled the number across the paper. Then he shoved pen and paper in the backpack and zipped it closed. “Thanks,” he mumbled. He took off at a run, disappearing into the bay and then out the back. Almost instantly, the tall weeds behind the carwash swallowed him.

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Love at First Sight by Vincent Zandri

Blurb:
A young U.S. Army officer who’s served in Afghanistan finds himself suffering from intermittent bouts of “hysterical” temporary blindness due to impossible and deadly orders he was forced to obey by high command in the field. When he’s reunited with his fiancée in a military hospital in Germany after being separated for more than year, the couple are encouraged by doctors to travel to Venice, Italy together. There, amongst the canals and the cafes, they try to rekindle their love and fight off their personal demons while trying to comprehend the enormity of the heartbreaking role they now must play in love and war.
Vincent’s Bio
Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, CONCRETE PEARL, MOONLIGHT RISES and SCREAM CATCHER. He is also the author of the bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL and MOONLIGHT MAFIA. Harlan Coben has described his novels as “…gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting,” while the New York Post called THE INNOCENT, “Sensational…Masterful…Brilliant!” In March, April and May of 2011, he sold more than 100,000 Kindle E-Book editions of his novels. In September 2011, he signed a major deal with Thomas and Mercer of Amazon for the publication of his new novel, Murder by Moonlight, and the re-publication of many of his back-list titles, including The Innocent and The Remains. Zandri’s list of publishers also include Delacorte, Dell, StoneHouse Ink and StoneGate Ink. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri’s work is translated into many languages including the Dutch, Russian and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for RT, Globalspec, IBTimes and more, he lives in New York. For more go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM
Author Links
·         Website
·         Blog
·         Amazon Author Page
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
My review on Amazon:

When a loved one suffers a physical injury that can be seen and felt, we rally around. Disfigurement we can understand. But the things we cannot see or touch – things like blindness, disabilities but with the only outward signs in the form of a person’s difficulty in adapting to his or her environment…not so much. When you add in the stigma of a psychological disorder as the cause for the blindness, you have a recipe for disconnectedness between loved ones.

Mr. Zandri not only portrays the physical limitations of being blind in a sublime fashion, but also manages to convey the guilt that led to the blindness as a festering wound that the reader will feel, and the frustration of his “sig other” – though we never see a word from her point of view – is tangible. The sense of disconnection between them is complete and will frustrate the reader the same way it frustrates the characters. In the end, in life, it all comes down to the click of understanding what we want most.

Sweet Saturday Sample/Everlasting Echoes

This is from my WIP, Everlasting Echoes, a little trip back in time to find out more about Justin and the love of his life, Beth. This will be third in the Echoes of Orson’s Folly series. Books one and two are available now.

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A mass of color, out of place near the road, drew his attention and he squinted at it, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. A vehicle of some sort was pulled over to the side. Only one reason for anyone to be pulled over out this way. Someone must be having car trouble. Justin altered Zeke’s course and stepped up the pace.

It only took a few moments for Justin to close in on the vehicle, a German-made microbus painted with swirls of rainbow color that formed patterns of flowers and peace signs. He shook his head. Some darnfool city person, out to see the country and probably out of gas thirty miles from nowhere. It was a good thing Justin had taken the scenic route or whoever it was might have spent one long night in the cold.

As he approached, Justin noted the rear engine compartment was propped open. A pair of long legs encased in wide bell-bottomed blue jeans emerged from beneath the rear of the van. Justin’s lips tugged into a smile when he noted the bare feet with the hot pink toenails. He’d never considered himself a foot man, having developed an appreciation for the curvier aspects of the female form. He shifted in the saddle for a better look at those painted toes. Yep, he just might need to make an adjustment on his preferences.

A soft curse floated from beneath the van and one foot began to jiggle in an agitated fashion.

Justin cleared his throat. “As nice a view as this is, and I could darn near watch it all day, I can’t help but wonder if your fingernails match your toenails.”

The jiggling foot froze. An instant later, the legs slid out from under the van to reveal they were indeed attached to some shapely curves. But it was the mass of dark golden curls tumbling about the woman’s shoulders that captured and held Justin’s attention.

She was young, probably a handful of years Justin’s junior. A gauzy white blouse with long belled sleeves fell to the tops of the legs Justin had admired. The garment was loose but somehow managed to reveal the very fine assets beneath as it fluttered in the afternoon breeze. His gaze slid down to her fingertips and he grinned at the flash of hot pink nail polish.

“Find what you’re looking for?” she drawled in a voice drenched in a Midwestern twang. She placed a hand on her hip and cocked her head to the side, an obvious challenge that Justin wanted to take her up on.

Instantly in tune with her saucy attitude, Justin met her gaze and winked. “Yes, ma’am.” He touched a finger to the brim of his hat and introduced himself. “Justin McGee.”

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Thank you for stopping by!

 

Return to Sweet Saturday Samples by poking at the candy!


Very Superstitious: Friday the 13th Blog Hop

tris·kai·dek·a·pho·bi·a/ triskī-dekə-fōbēə/  Extreme superstition regarding the number thirteen.

LOOK FOR THE EYE TO POKE FOR YOUR NEXT STOP!

In my book, Operation: Christmas Hearts, one of the secondary characters has a severe problem with superstition. USMC Lieutenant Pete “Rabbit” Kincaid finds his entire life run by superstition.

Ramstein Air Base, Germany, 1600 hours/T minus 18 days ’til Christmas

Never in his life had Nicholas Turner run from a fight or paid any attention to the what-if questions racing through his mind prior to a mission. Never had he outright questioned an order or wondered if his CO was crazy.

Until now.

He sat on his bunk doing a final inventory check. Transport for the first leg of his deployment to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan was scheduled for 0400 hours, just about twelve hours away. For the first time in his life, Nick was not a hundred percent prepped and fired up to get the job done. His work in Recon had always been intelligence gathering, covert missions that helped with battle staging. When he’d transferred to MSOT, he’d expected more action responses. Never in his wildest imaginings had he expected to find a Marine Special Operations Team pulling a Paul Revere for the enemy.

The door pushed open and Nick’s roommate entered. “What kind of screwed up mission is this?” asked Rabbit. He crossed the room, gave his duffle a kick as he passed it, and sat on the edge of his bunk.

“Just another day in paradise,” muttered Nick, stowing a strap cutter in his stripped down go-pack. “Details of the op are above my pay grade. I just want to get boots on the ground and get it done.”

“Whatever. You know this is messed up.” Shaking his head, Rabbit reached into his shirt pocket, drew out a fresh roll of hard candy and peeled it open. He cursed when he found orange on top then went through his ritual of removing the offending circle and dumping it into the trash can while he avoided touching it. Without glancing at the package, he dropped the next candy into his palm and popped it into his mouth then returned the roll to his pocket. “Whoever heard of giving the enemy a heads—” Rabbit’s face went white then red. Finally, he spat the candy onto his bunk.

The orange circle bounced once then stuck to the middle of the ugly tan and green blanket. Rabbit stared in horror. With a hand that trembled, Rabbit snatched the roll from his pocket. “No way,” he whispered. “The next one should have been white. They never put two of the same color in a row.” He worked at the wrapper until it came open. The very next candy down was white. His breathing came in short bursts. “No freakin’ way.”

As Nick watched his roommate struggle with superstition, he wished he could discount it as a myth. But something twisted in his gut. Something that had never bothered him before. He lifted a hand that shook to the sterling silver St. Brendan medal he wore on a heavy chain around his neck. The need to talk to Ashley sent him to the phones to see if they were operating.

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I’m happy to announce that Rabbit has decided to tell me his story, which begins with an incident that takes place…well, today, Friday, January 13, 2012. But it doesn’t end here. Enjoy this sneak peak, and watch for Rabbit’s story in The 13 of Hearts, due out this summer.

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People always seemed surprised to find that war wasn’t a string of constant bloody battles. More often than not it involved watching and waiting, especially these days. Lieutenant Peter “Rabbit” Kincaid usually hated the waiting. Tonight, though, he wished the waiting would go on another day.

Rabbit brought his cupped hands together and blew into them. His warm breath spilled into the chilly air around him in giant white puffs that stood out against the night of the Afghanistan desert. Who knew a desert could get so freeze-the-butt off cold? Of course it wasn’t like this was any normal desert. This place was the stuff hell was made out of. Even the Afghan people referred to the Helmand Province as the Desert of Death. The packed sand beneath his feet wouldn’t be any softer in the blistering summer months to come than it was currently, at the height of the harsh winter. The barren ground produced little in the way of nourishment for the people, but it did somehow mange to support drug habits worldwide with its bountiful harvests of white poppies.

“I need a smoke,” he muttered to himself, passing the pitiful shelter of the guard shack at Checkpoint Four with a nod to the corporal on guard duty. Instead of cigarettes, though, Rabbit pulled out a roll of hard candy and eased it open. He checked the color with a penlight, and breathed a sign of relief that the first candy was red rather than orange. Rabbit popped the disk into his mouth and sucked on it, the sour cherry-flavor stimulating his salivary glands, reminding him he’d skipped his dinner MRE. He squeezed his eyes shut and then pushed them open again as he fought to keep awake.

“There’s been reports of sniper fire outside of the perimeter after dark, sir,” reported the corporal.

“Understood, corporal,” Rabbit replied. “I won’t go far.”

“Yes, sir.”

The candy wasn’t cutting it. His nerve endings were alive with the sensation of a thousand insects crawling beneath his skin. Need for nicotine clawed at his brain like a living entity. Spitting the cherry flavored circle into the dirt, Rabbit dug out the pack containing his last few cigarettes. Then he patted his pockets, cursing out loud when he realized he’d thrown away his lighter earlier after he’d used it for the third time. He paused and glanced over his shoulder at the guard. “Got a light?”

The corporal tossed him a blue disposable lighter. Rabbit cringed at the color, not his preferred black. But he accepted it with a smile of thanks, the need to light his cigarette outweighing the need to keep his luck running with him. So he jammed his hand into his pocket and tapped the rabbit’s foot there three times while he lit up.

Friday the thirteenth loomed, a mere handful of hours away now. The day Rabbit would rather hole up in his bunk and not come out until the clock hit zero-hundred hours on Saturday the fourteenth. But that wasn’t an option this time. And coming along with this dreaded Friday in January, would be the start of one of the trickiest missions Rabbit had ever been sent on. And this time, he would be the one in charge.

He kicked at a frozen puddle until the ice broke free, sending a huge chunk flying through the air to shatter against a fifty-five gallon drum that was usually lit with warming fire. No fire would grace the barrel tonight with sniper fire in the area. Rabbit glanced at the stub of cigarette between his fingers. Even that small light could draw the wrong kind of attention. With a final puff, he dropped the stub into the dirt and ground it beneath his heel.

The waiting game was almost over, whether or not he wanted it to be.

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While you’re waiting for The 13 of Hearts, why not put off some of today’s superstitions a little longer, and capture a bit of lingering Christmas Magic to be found in Operation: Christmas Hearts? Leave a comment for an opportunity to win your own PDF copy of Operation: Christmas Hearts (or any other of my published novels).

Kay’s Friday the 13th Reading Recommendation: Ghosts in the Graveyard by Kim Bowman – a great way to scare yourself silly on a dark Friday the 13th night! Enjoy a few words from my talented friend, fellow editor, fellow author, and writing partner:

Dread filled Charlie as the apparitions started through the open door. With the moonlight behind them casting them in shadow and the only thing remotely visible the white surrounding black eyes, they looked sinister, evil. The things were close enough now to be heard, and the whispery hissing sounds they made seemed to surround Charlie and prevented any other noises from entering his ears.

***

“Last chance. Let the boy go or I’ll shoot you,” she warned.

More scuffling. Fear that the intruders were going out the cellar door taking Jack with them propelled her forward and she stepped down with her right foot.

As she picked up her left foot, an icy hand wrapped around her ankle in a vice-like grip and jerked. She let out a blood-curling scream.

There was a gasp from both Millie and Charlie and her heart dropped to the floor.

My children! she thought as she tumbled over.

While most kids can’t wait to dress up in costumes and go out trick or treating, Charlie, Jack, and Millie Foster dread Halloween. Even the promise of receiving a slew of candy doesn’t interest them. How could it when they know the truth about All Hallows Eve. That it’s really a day to fear, a day when the dead walk the earth again. With their house sitting directly behind a graveyard, they are prime targets for the spirits to haunt.

Available: at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Astraea Press!

When you’re ready to move on, just poke the eye to get sent to the next stop…if you dare! Rumor has it, you’ll be visiting my friend, Patricia Kiyono

Follow the links as they lead you to the grand prize forum at the end.  Fill out the form provided there and you’ll be added to the drawing.  Among the prizes are books, gift cards, and a Kindle.  That’s right.  Enter to win and you’ll have a chance at the grand prize–A Kindle!

So, if you came to me first, you might want to skip over to the beginning and follow the chain.  You don’t want to miss out on the great posts the others are sharing or the terrific prize at the end!  With all the amazing authors taking part, this should be a fantastic day of hopping!Follow the links to the end for a special opportunity to win a Kindle. Or, if you have simply gotten lost in the links, click me for the starting blog!

Goals, Goals, Goals

This is only the second day of the year and already I’ve fallen behind on my most important resolution for the New Year. Goal setting. I promised myself I would actually outline my personal goals for writing and editing and instead I kind of lazed yesterday away.

Well! This is kind of a good news/bad news situation. Since it’s Leap Year, I still have the entire 365 days ahead of me to figure out. So this can be my second New Year’s Day. Of course, that means Leap Day just becomes February 28 and the year rights itself by March 1. What a great solution to falling behind.

Oh, the bad news? Yeah…I still have to set my goals and get them down somewhere so I can periodically check my progress.

I have a day job – medical transcription. And aside from needing the very steady income, the work is at times very personally rewarding. So that’s among my “other career” goals.

But for fiction, I need to divide the goals into three categories.

EDITING: I edit for a couple of different publishing houses and plan to keep doing so. Why more than one? For one thing it spreads the work, but mostly because the editing is different types of fiction and each house has different heat levels. I plan to continue my editing at my current levels.

READING: You would think between editing the work of others and writing my own stories, I wouldn’t need to read for pleasure. But I find reading without the need to polish allows me to sit back and enjoy the ride, to get caught up in the story. Someone else’s story, not my own. I put pleasure reading right up there among the must-do in my fiction goal-setting. And I’d actually like to increase my reading. Problem is, I need to find a cool place to read where I won’t see my computer or I’ll feel the draw to edit or work on something of my own. I truly enjoy the work of others so reading is important. Maybe I’ll look into a place in my garden where I can kick back this summer.

WRITING: I write sweet stories under my real name. But maybe you don’t know that I have a secret alter ego under which I write erotic shorts. I enjoy writing the shorts rather than the full out erotic stories. I also enjoy writing the full length sweets. And I have several of these planned for my up-and-running series books this year. I think I’d like to try writing some middle-ground, a bit sweet, a bit sensual stories. I’m also diving into some historical romance this year. And I plan to write in the paranormal field, the latter of which will have a slightly more sensual feel as well. For the historical and paranormal books I have planned, I am collaborating with my writing and editing partner, Kim Bowman. Lots of exciting things planned, and getting started has been a hoot, since I am a die-hard plotter and Kim claims to be a pantser. So, in the words of another writer friend, we have become a hybrid of the two: plotantsters.

I’ll keep you posted on the joys and pitfalls of collaborative authoring as we go. Now, what about you? Got your goals mapped out yet?