BOOK TALK TUESDAY: Guest Interview with Charlotte Henley Babb

It’s my pleasure to welcome Charlotte Henley Babb, author of  Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales!

Maven cover 333x500Fairy-Frogmother200x300mavenstiltskin200x300bubba-beast200x300

What is your book about?

Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Where are the stories for women of a certain age, the ones Clarissa Pinkola Estès calls The Dangerous Old Woman?  The Boomers are the first women to live to a ripe old age, many of us still with our mothers alive. Our only role models in fairy tales are bumbling grandmothers and evil witches.  I wanted to write about negotiating the second half of life. One of my great-unts is 97 years old. If I live that long, I have 25 years of adult life left. If I’m to spend it in a rocking chair, the porch will have wi-fi and I’ll be burning up the data with my tablet.

Describe your writing in three words.

Fractured fairy tales

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I’m still learning outlining, so my main technique is character based—what would Maven do and why would she do that? Have I told enough backstory to make that plausible? When I know the motivations of all the characters, major and minor, the story is done, and just needs polish. This may take several drafts

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Yes and No – there are certainly traits that are from people I know, but for the most part they are just my imaginary friends.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

Ironically, I’m looking at two villains in my second novel, both of whom I’d like to redeem but one of which, and maybe both will have to die. They have chosen their path, they refuse to change, and there’s only one way out for them—at least that I’ve been able to see so far.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

If I could do a movie today, I’d have Kathy Bates play Maven, Judi Dench would play Fiona the Fairy Godmother Superior, and Queen Latifa would play Belle. Harrison Ford might be a good choice for Jones.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

Anyone among my friends who will listen!!! Actually, I’m a member of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop and, and I get very good critique from them.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Today?  “the cult of the Grandmother” and “the two million year old woman”  Last month I did a fair amount of research about women named Charlotte to celebrate my birthday month. I’m particularly fond of my blog post about Princess Charlotte of Monaco…trailer trash got nothing on the crowned heads of Europe.

What projects are you working on now?

Current WIP is That Darn Maven, in which Maven is punished for her antics in the first book by being transformed into a cat, who must grant three wishes to get her human form back, but none of the characters she meets are making any wishes.

 I’ve completed a couple of short stories to be released on Kindle when I get time to format and upload them. I’ve been working on the print version of Through the Veil, volume one of Maven Fairy Godmother, since my ebook publisher allowed the print rights to revert to me.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I appreciate the kind words from readers on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s extremely gratifying  to know that some people get what I am doing and think it’s funny.  I’d love to know what stories they’d like to see fractured and whose point of view they would find interesting. I have a short story based on Sleeping Beauty that involves Maven and the Palace of the princess, rather than the princess herself.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

§  @charlottebabb  on twitter


Short fiction can be found here:

Bubba and the Beast

Can a wish be granted across the veil? Trolls need love too, but can Maven find Grizelda’s true love without her wand and wings?


Maven takes a hike across the gender fence to see if the grass is greener, or the straw more golden, but there are some cats who just want to tangle his/her threads.

 Fairy Frogmother

Maven’s favorite spell backfires and turns her into a frog. How can she grant the wishes of the prince, his rogue fairy godmother mom, and frog princess Medori, if she can’t even hold her wand?

Broke, busted and despairing over the mess her life has turned out to be, middle-aged Maven Morrigan is offered a job as a fairy godmother, a one-time-only last chance to make something of herself and to make the world a better place.

Not knowing whom to trust: her boss, her slithery familiar or her own Bump of Direction, she has to find her personal power by relying on herself, her real-world failures, and her sense of the absurd, to survive in this imaginary garden with real trolls in it, so her clients get their happily ever after.

(a scene from Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the veil)

A scratching noise caught Maven’s attention when it began to rattle the door. The latch moved, but not quite far enough to allow the door to open. Maven set her teacup down and pushed herself up out of her chair. She was stiff from sitting still for so long.

All right, all right, don’t have a hissy fit,” she muttered. “Are you going to let me open the door?” she said to the house.

The latch flew up, the door crashed back against the wall, and a wolf leapt into the room. Covered with twigs and leaves, as though he had penetrated the underbrush with his long nose, he panted heavily, his sides heaving. His paws left mud and smears of blood on the floor.

“Oh, NO!” he gasped. “A Grandmother!” He looked back out the door, where someone was coming after him. They could hear the shouts and stamping of someone coming through the woods.

“Calm down,” Maven said. “I’m not going to eat you. What’s wrong?”

The wolf turned to go back out.

“No, wait. Climb into bed.” Maven looked at the nightgown and the bonnet on the peg. Fairy tale people were pretty easily fooled, but surely not that easily. She threw the nightgown over his head and tied the bonnet over his ears. “Don’t wag your tail.” She threw the cloak over him too. Not too bad if they didn’t actually see him. “Roll over.”

“I’m not a dog.” The wolf growled.

“You’ll be dog food if they catch you. Shut up. Look sick.” Maven turned to face the fireplace. “All right, Hut. Make it dark and musty in here, and make a kettle of whatever kind of bad smelling stuff they use for medicine around here. I don’t want anyone chopped up on my watch.”

“I prefer to be called Cottage.” The walls sounded peevish.

“All right, Cottage, you can be the freaking Taj Mahal as long as you do what needs to be done. Fiona would not have gone to this much trouble just to aggravate me.”

“Don’t count on that.” A brownish smell began to bubble from the kettle, an herb that seemed vaguely familiar, but Maven couldn’t place it.

Before she could ask the cottage, the door, having latched itself again, shook with the blows of pounding fists.

Maven leaned heavily on her cane and made her voice croak like a frog. “Who’s there? I’m just an old crone here, go away.”

The door rattled with the heavy blows, shaking the latch loose again. Three hulking woodcutters came in, axe handles in hand.

“Where are you, Wolf?” He saw Maven leaning on her cane. “There he is now.” He grabbed her by her shawl, which came off, exposing her iron gray hair and her face.

“My, what small ears you have.” he exclaimed, pulling on one of them.

“Must be why you are shouting,” Maven said. She pushed against him to no avail. She stomped on the instep of his hobnailed boot, but it only hurt her foot.

“And what small eyes you have.” he said, turning her face between his thumb and forefinger.

“Big enough to see your face and remember it,” Maven said, her look being dark enough to kill if he had been bright enough to see it.

“And your nose isn’t long at all.” He began to look truly perplexed.

“It’s long enough to smell herbs cooking in a sick house.” Maven shook herself loose. “Now if you don’t want to be in the bed at your house, you’d better get on out of here.” Then kicking her self mentally for having a big mouth, she saw that they hadn’t seen the wolf in the bed at all.

“Can’t have a wolf running around, eating helpless grandmothers.” He stepped to the bed, his axe ready to fall and his cronies right behind him. “It’s for your own protection.”

“No!” Maven stretched herself up to her full height, drew in a deep breath, and pointed her cane at the woodcutters. Tulip had said she could turn anyone into a frog for self-protection, so she could do it to protect someone else.

She gathered her anger and forced it through the cane so that green sparkles flew out the end.

By the time the sparkles settled, three bewildered frogs sat on the floor beside their axes, one of which fell, narrowly missing the bed. The bed had seen it coming though, and dodged.

Maven shooed the frogs out, keeping their axes for future reference. She stacked them into a corner where they became a mop, a broom, and a pitchfork.

Thanks” she said to the Cottage.

Certainly,” it replied, less coldly than before.

“All right, you, get up.” Maven shook the wolf’s shoulder, only to feel it quivering. “You’re safe now, from the frogs.” She untied the bonnet and helped the wolf out of the nightgown. “How did they get on your trail? You must have done something to get their attention.”

“Humans. It’s always the wolf at the door; never mind what they do to us.” The wolf growled, slinking away from her towards the door. Yet he was afraid to go out.

Maven thought he looked pitiful, wavering. She dipped water out of the bucket into a bowl and set it on the floor. “Here, at least drink something and rest.”

“You aren’t afraid that I will eat you?” The wolf said. His legs shook, on the verge of collapse.

“You weren’t planning to, were you?” Maven said.

He slunk over to the bowl and lapped noisily until the bowl was dry.

Maven sat back in the rocker. She swirled the tea leaves again to listen to the wolf’s story. It was a different perspective, film noir, and at a 24-inch eye level, but it was clear he was a sheep in a wolf’s body.

“You are obviously a witch. Are you going to turn me into a frog too?” the wolf asked finally. “I’d probably be better at being a frog.” He laid his chin on his paws. “At least people wouldn’t be afraid of me.”

“Actually, I’m a fairy godmother. On vacation.”

What would a wolf wish for?

“That explains the brambles around the cottage.” He began to chew at the brambles in his paws. “I thought I would never get through. I don’t remember this cottage being here before.”

“That’s magic for you.” Maven shrugged. “Now, you rest here tonight. I’d be glad of the company.” She spoke to the kettle, and the medicine smell disappeared. She made more tea, and when a plate of meat appeared on the table, she laid it on the floor by the wolf. After he had eaten, he curled up by the hearth and went to sleep.

Maven moved closer to the fire as well, her legs cold and shakier than the persona warranted. She was so tired.

She picked up the bit of gossamer that had been her shawl before the woodcutter grabbed it and stretched it around her bare arms. No wonder she was cold. Her hemline had crept up at least a foot and her sleeves had disappeared. She tugged the rags down, making them slightly less ragged, and much warmer.

What had happened to her gossamers?

She had used her energy, her anger, to transform the frogs. Now she could see why she had to be careful. It hadn’t seemed like all that much energy, but the adrenaline pumping through her was hers, not the energy available in the cottage. She turned the rocker towards the fire.

She was very tired now, and finally feeling warm again, she drifted off into a nap.


Charlotte Henley Babb, presently living in Spartanburg, SC, is originally from the Charlotte, NC, area. When she told her mother she wanted to be a teacher, her mom said, “You’d better find a job.” She thought her mother just meant that she had to pay her college tuition!

She is the first college graduate in the history of her family, and the second high school grad, after her mother. While she has done many other things, as her mom suggested, teaching has always supported her true vocation: writing.

Babb earned a Bachelor of Science in English/Education from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, a Masters of Secondary Education from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, and  a Master of Arts in Humanities from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her studies have focused on writing, special needs learners, personal growth, and computer applications.

Charlotte’s new MA in the Humanities—Myth and Education, gave her a California perspective on her Southern heritage. She studies mythology to deepen her work with themes from ancient sources. Sharing perspectives with people from across the country lets her delve into the cultural notions that are as invisible as water is to fish, fertilizer for the soul!

For the first eighteen years of her work life, she taught remedial English at three rural high schools, mostly to students in technical programs or in the bottom quartile. She taught at Spartanburg Community College and Spartanburg Methodist College, as well as University of Phoenix since 2002. She is currently the web designer and social networks manager for Sherman College of Chiropractic. As her mom, suggested, she did finally get a ‘real’ job. She was the webmaster and newsletter editor for the Southeastern Writers Association from 2005 to 2011.  To supplement her income, she has worked various jobs:

§  computer support technician

§  cloth store associate

§  waitress

§  office temp

§  art, craft, and frame store

§  washing machine gasket inspector

§  newspaper ads designer

§  craft fair creative

§  technical writer of ISO 9000 procedures

§  telephone tech support

§  telephone tarot reader

Each job has given her more insight to the challenges involved being human and living in the human condition. She is a mistress of juggling time and energy. She still reads the Tarot, but not for money. She has one daughter, a freelance illustrator of fantasy and science fiction.

Fantastic interview! Thanks for stopping by today, Charlotte.

Guest Interview with M.C.V. Egan


Hey readers, Happy Tuesday! It’s my pleasure to welcome M.C.V. Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths! Book Front Cover

What is your book about?

My book is about a modern day couple in London researching a certain event in their past lives. They come in contact with a woman in Florida researching the same event and together they uncover the facts about the crash of an airplane; the G-AESY Lockheed Electra 10A. They use traditional methods of research as well as the help of psychics through psychometry and past life regressions. The book touches on well-known and little known pre WWII events. All data that can be proven is clearly footnoted for anyone to corroborate.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The Bridge of Deaths is a blend of fact and fiction. The inspiration came from my maternal grandfather’s death, there was always intrigue around the pre WWII plane crash that took his life and that of four others. I grew up understanding it was sabotage, as I set out to investigate there were many contradictory issues.

Describe your writing in three words.

Originality, persistence and Creativeness.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I do create outlines and lists, but I am flexible and know not to limit these, it pays off to be open minded, because if as a writer you can surprise yourself you are sure to pass that element of surprise or thrill on to the reader.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

I used the character Catalina to detach and still be able to explain how I came across some of what I researched. She is based on me in just her relation to one of the casualties and her origins.

I made her obsessed and lonely. I am married, a mother, a step-mother, a dog owner and my life is not at all like the character.

The character Bill is based on the real subject that allowed me to use his past life regressions with a request of absolute anonymity.

The character Maggie has traits of many women I have known in my life. Some I see very clearly because Maggie is such a strong go-getter. I have gotten a lot of feedback from readers who say that they know someone just like Maggie.

In the books intro I explain how I created her, so she may well be also loosely based on the young woman at the past life regression group that inspired her.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

I used the character Catalina to detach and still be able to explain how I came across some of what I researched. She is based on me in just her relation to one of the casualties and her origins.

I made her obsessed and lonely. I am married, a mother, a step-mother, a dog owner and my life is not at all like the character.

The character Bill is based on the real subject that allowed me to use his past life regressions with a request of absolute anonymity.

The character Maggie has traits of many women I have known in my life. Some I see very clearly because Maggie is such a strong go-getter. I have gotten a lot of feedback from readers who say that they know someone just like Maggie.

In the books intro I explain how I created her, so she may well be also loosely based on the young woman at the past life regression group that inspired her.

In the books intro I explain how I created her, so she may well be also loosely based on the young woman at the past life regression group that inspired her.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

Now this is a popular question and I love to dream big. The perfect guy for Bill is Alex O’Loughlin, as he would have to play both Bill in 2010 and The Pilot in 1939. My husband says Emily Blunt is the perfect Maggie … so hard and so many characters and real people, but why not dream big right? Here is my full star cast.

Bill / Pilot Clifford C. W. Wright – Alex O’Loughlin

Maggie/ Pilot’s wife – Emily Blunt

Catalina – Julia Ormond (She might be too young)

Anthony Crossley – Colin Firth (He might not be young enough)

Cesar A. Castillo – Andy Garcia

Erich Bruno Wilhelm Beuss– Hans Landa (He would need to gain weight)

Samuel James Simonton – Johnny Depp (the not quirky type from movies like the Rum Diaries)

Alfred Stanley Marsden Leigh – Jeremy Renner

Since dreaming does not cost anything I will choose a shy is the limit crew for the parts of the various inspectors, engineers, airline owners as they can be older, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, John Travolta.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

I have friends that are great Beta Reader’s and my husband, then on to professional editing.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Well I won’t tell you about any of my recent Googles for the book I am working on, but for The Bridge of Deaths for me the weirdest was the position of corpses during fire and drowning. I finally found a wonderful pathologist who helped me and that was far better than Google.

What projects are you working on now?

I am working on a book called 4covert2overt in 33 Days it is the story of a young woman in search of ‘self’, with the back drop of the global concern for all soldier’s moral dilemmas. It is very different from The Bridge of Deaths as it should be as I am working with a co-author.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Your questions were great and they cover so much that I would just like to say how very happy I am to be a guest on your Blog.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

The Bridge of Deaths can be found anywhere that books are sold on-line here are the primary links.


AMAZON Paperback

Barnes and Noble


On August 15th 1939, at the brink of World War II, an English plane crashed and sunk in Danish waters. Five deaths were reported: two Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, a German Corporate Lawyer, an English member of Parliament, and a crew member for the airline. Here is a conceivable version of the events.

M.C.V. Egan author Pic

M. C. V. Egan is the chosen pen name for Maria Catalina Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths. Originally from Mexico City, Mexico; M.C.V. Egan has lived in various parts of the USA as well as France and Sweden. She is fluent in four languages; Spanish, French, Swedish and English.

Maria Catalina Egan is married and has one son, who together with their five pound Chihuahua make her feel like a fulltime mother. Although she would not call herself an Astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in Astrology. This is one of her many past times when she is not writing or researching.

She is currently working with Jolie DeMarco on a novel called 4covert2overt in 33 Days.


Web Site


Thanks for stopping by today, Catalina. I wish you great success with The Bridge of Deaths and 4covert2overt in 33 Days!

BLOG TOUR: Guest Interview with J.Q. Rose & Giveaway

It’s my pleasure to welcome J.Q. Rose, author of Coda to Murder!

Blog tour MIU Card

What is your book about?

Pastor Christine Hobbs deals with situations never addressed in seminary such as catching the person who murdered her church music director in the basement of the church or caring for a pig and kangaroo in the back yard of the parsonage.

Coda To Murder 333x500

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The word, forgiveness.

Describe your writing in three words.

Fun, entertaining, escape

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I usually let the story swirl through my brain for quite awhile. I usually figure out scenes and characters while taking a shower or quiet walks. Then I scribble down about 15 plot points in my spiral notebook to use as a guide to keep on the story on track. This is not written in stone, only on paper and erasable pencil!

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

I was thrilled when Pastor Laurie consented to be interviewed for my inspiring book for girls, Girls Succeed. I used some of her background and mixed it up with some other women I admire to come up with my main character, Pastor Christine Hobbs.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

Not so much killing off a character as actually choosing someone I like to be the killer!

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

I’m not really up on actors’ names. But if you can think of a gal who is tall, lean, smart, and pretty then she would be my Christine.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

My critique writers group named the Koffee Kuppe Writers because we hash all the stories out at the little restaurant in town known as the Koffee Kuppe. I also share chapters with a writers group that meets at our library.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Probably doing research for writing my stories. If I tell you what I googled, it may spoil the ending of my mystery, Sunshine Boulevard.

What projects are you working on now?

Mainly I am working on promoting, but when I get through the big push, I will return to a book I started many years ago, a coming of age story for a 13 year old girl. Lots of humor and funny situations. I also plan on writing more non fiction for girls and continue working on a mystery/paranormal featuring another strong female character.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I am thrilled to have a mystery/romance to share with you. I hope it’s an entertaining and satisfying read for you. Please feel free to contact me with feedback on my stories, a wave, or a hug at jqrose02 at gmail dot com

Where can readers find you and your books online?

J.Q. Rose blog:

Girls Succeed blog:

Author website:

J. Q. Rose Amazon Author Page:



Now available at MuseItUp Publishing:

Barnes and and other major online booksellers.

Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer. 

Detective Cole Stephens doesn’t want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?


After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. Her latest mystery, Coda to Murder, was released in February. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Thanks for stopping by today, Janet. I wish you great success with Coda to Murder!

Guest Interview with Brandi Schmidt

Hey, readers! It’s my pleasure to welcome Brandi Schmidt, author of The Kindling!


What is your book about?

Simple answer is True Love. Complicated answer is a journey of Tru learning she is a Sparkler, a decedent chosen to facilitate true love and all the greatness, danger and death that comes with it. Tagline: “Who knew the spark of true love could be so deadly?”

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was given the entire story in a moment. I thank God for that. I never thought I would be a writer. I was inspired by reading the Twilight Saga (I know … so were thousands of others). I had never been so moved by words and I wanted to have that effect on people, so THE KINDLING was born. It is a three book series at this time. We will see where the characters take us.

Describe your writing in three words.

Funny Paranormal Romance

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I outline each chapter. It may change as I go, but I keep that outline updated and highlight sections once complete …. Nerdy but it works for me.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Yes and No – there are certainly traits that are from people I know, but for the most part they are just my imaginary friends.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

No…I don’t want to spoil a great part of the book so that is all I will say 🙂

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

Tru would be played by Felicity Jones (that is who she looks like to me)

Weylin would be played by Ian Somerhalder (HOLY HOTNESS!)

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

My critique group, The Lit Ladies, they are amazing. I couldn’t have done this without their support.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Biblical conspiracies

What projects are you working on now?

Book #2 in The Sparkler Series, THE FLAME

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

THANKS…I hope you enjoy the book.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

March 5th it will be on Amazon and other eBook suppliers.

Tru Darling is a Sparkler. She didn’t choose to be almost electrocuted, inherit otherworldly powers, and fall for the hottest evil guy in St. Louis—but that’s exactly what happened. Her power to see true love spark in the eyes of strangers, to watch it flicker with excitement, fuse with it’s perfect match, or witness it burn out from despair, is a wonderful curse that drains her emotionally and physically. But she can’t afford to be weak while she’s hunting down soul mates, saving others’ faith in love, and contemplating if her new hot boyfriend is her guardian angel or the angel of death. Being a Sparkler may have its perks; enhanced vision, intuition, and physical beauty. But what of the personal costs that come with Tru’s destiny? Constant danger, unbearable pain, and lost souls she just can’t save. Tru must choose between a normal life without love or a birthright that comes with great passion, danger, and responsibility.

“Hi there,” Ginger bounced onto a barstool next to me, her spark still all a tingle.

“Hey, how are you? You look so much better than you did the other day.”

“Oh yeah, that.” Ginger looked down and fiddled with a coaster. “I’m sorry about that. I was kind of crazy for a moment. I really didn’t mean to unload on you like that. But thank you so much for talking to me. I really took what you had to say to heart and got a new outlook on the dating world.”

“Really? What do you mean?”

“Well, you said that I have a soul mate. I figured, why can’t it be Garrett? So I called him, and we’re dating again. It was all a huge misunderstanding. He apologized, and everything is, well, great.”

“What? I said he was not the guy, not your soul mate.”

“Yeah, I know, but really, how do you know that for sure?”

“Because I know,” I almost yelled at her.

She leaned away from me, looking totally freaked. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my voice. “What I meant to say is that there is someone better for you, a perfect fit. Someone that won’t make you cry, no matter the misunderstanding.” I was almost pleading with her.

“Yeah, yeah, I know, like a fairytale. That’s all good and stuff, but this is reality. Sometimes you just take what you can get.”

“What? Don’t you want your boyfriend to be ‘the one?’ Why on earth would you settle?” I couldn’t believe she would just give up. I guessed that was what most people did, settle. If you cannot be with the one you love…love the one you’re with.

“I don’t really know you, but you seem like a good person. A little too intense, but a good person. Thanks for the opinion, but I know what I’m doing.” She thought she was much wiser than me, but I could see the little girl inside her that just wanted to be loved. I couldn’t think too badly of her. I remembered not too long ago, lying on the cold ground outside my garage wishing I had someone,

anyone, just so I wasn’t alone. But that was before, before I knew what true love was, before I knew it actually existed.

“But,” I started to protest. She held up a hand, and I knew there was no talking to her tonight. Why should I continue to fight? She’d given up. Why couldn’t I?

The burst of cold air rocked the restaurant, making us both shiver and whip our heads towards the open front door. There stood a hooded man covered with snow. He was stamping his feet and cursing the weather under his breath. Then I noticed the small, snow-covered bouquet he held in his hands. It was him, it was Kevin. I almost jumped out of my chair, but something inside me said to sit and wait, to let things happen naturally.

Ginger sat next to me sipping her Coke. I could tell she was about to leave. I overheard the manager talking to Kevin

“I have these flowers to deliver. I’m late. The snow caught everyone off-guard, and it was a parking lot out there.” He took his hood off, and I saw his lovely spark. It pulsed with excitement, and so did my heart. “Is there a Ginger here?”

“Hey, Ginger, I think that guy over there said your name. They may want you or something,” I said, trying to be as nonchalant as I could, although my heart was about to burst. She turned, smiled, and bounced out of the stool. I watched breathlessly.

“You need something?” Ginger asked cheerfully.

“Oh, you are here. These are for you,” the manager said, surprised. Ginger smiled and grabbed the bouquet from Kevin. She buried her nose in the flowers and pulled out the card. She didn’t see him yet. She didn’t look up. He was still standing in front of her, staring at her with wide eyes. Reading the card, she froze, obviously not expecting what was written. I remembered it clearly, since it was from me. It read, Look up to see your future; there was always only One.

Slowly, she raised her head.


Brandi Schmidt lives outside St. Louis with her husband, three beautiful children, and one loveable Golden Retriever. She is in love with love and admittedly cries at anything sappy. She graduated from Washington University with a BA in Biomedical Engineering Science, but soon found statistics and facts were too confining for her creative mind. Thus, writing became her release into a new and wonderful world of words.

Thanks for stopping by today, Brandi. I wish you the very best with the release of The Kindling!

Upcoming Book Talk Tuesday Interviews

Interviews You Don’t Want to Miss!


January 15th – Internationally acclaimed bestselling author RJ Parker is most well known for his books, TOP CASES of The FBI (Winner of the World Book Awards 2012), Unsolved Serial Killings and Women Who Kill. He has seven true crime books available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats.


January 29th – Peter Cimino, author of Lucky Says Hello (Pete Carissimo, known to his friends as Big Pete, is a successful Sicilian immigrant businessman and politician in New Jersey. He has connections, associations, and relationships in all walks of life—including a clandestine partnership with the notorious mobster, Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Pete vows his alliance with Luciano is strictly related to business, that he is not and never will be a gangster. However, in the fall of 1931, he finds his stellar reputation, successful business, and budding political career facing ultimate ruination with his secret allegiance on a head-on collision course with exposure. Backed into a corner, Pete is faced with becoming something he vowed he never wanted to be; a real gangster.)


Don’t forget REFLECTION is available for purchase starting January 25th at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, SmashWords and more!


Blogging Today at Terry Ordell’s–Terry’s Place!

Stop by Terry’s Place and find out how I combine two of my passions…writing and gaming!


Confession of a Gamer Chick

The Big List of RPG Plots (download)

Interview with Stacy Green & Charity Raffle!


Please give a warm welcome to Stacy Green!  Today she’s here talking about her upcoming release–INTO THE DARK–and how YOU can help the homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas.

What is your book about?

INTO THE DARK is about a woman who must stop running from her past and face her issues head on in order to defeat the stalker determined to take her life.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Lots of things! My inspiration started off rather shallow: I wanted to write about a hot SWAT officer. I chose Las Vegas as a setting because they have one of the few full-time SWAT teams in the country. I knew I wanted a hostage crisis to take place in a bank, but it wasn’t until I Googled “Las Vegas tunnels” that I truly realized where I wanted to take the book. Learning about the homeless living in the storm drains beneath the city not only gave me an escape route for my bad guy, but the stark contrast of life beneath and above the city gives the book real depth.

Describe your writing in three words.

Suspenseful. Fast-paced. Engaging. And FYI, I hate talking about myself like that, lol.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

With this book, I really didn’t. I started writing it almost three years ago, and it was mostly created on the fly. Which meant a lot of revising as I learned about story structure and plot points. My next novel is due in March, and I spent much more time plotting it before I started writing. And the process has deepened with the book I’m working on now. For me, it’s been a learning process of figuring out how to make the rules gel with my own personal process.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Bits and pieces of them. The stubbornness of Emilie, Nathan’s angst and intelligence–those are all traits from specific people, but the characters are truly their own personality.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

Not yet, but I’m anticipating that in the trilogy I’m working on.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

Ha! Loaded question. Nathan is black-haired and blue-eyed, so from a purely physical standpoint, Ian Somerholder pops into my head. Matt Bomer as well. As for Emilie, she’s a few years older, and her beauty is real but understated. I always picture Christina Hendricks when I think of her.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

My critique partner, Catie Rhodes (an amazing writer) and my close friend, Kristine. Both are honest and don’t sugarcoat, which is vital. The book–and my writing–won’t improve without constructive criticism.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

I have to pick one? With my genre, I’m always Googling strange stuff and thinking that an outsider would have me investigated if they saw my history, lol. Poisoning, how long a body will last in certain weather, and how to disappear are just a few.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working with a developmental editor for my second book, Tin God, which is due out in March. I’ve got some extensive edits to finish, but I’m really excited about it. I’m also almost finished plotting the first book in a trilogy featuring a forensic psychologist, and I can’t wait to start writing.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I hope you love the book! The characters are relatable, the story is fast-paced, and I’m really proud of it. It’s not typical romantic suspense, because the suspense plot comes first and drives the romance, but the love story is there.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

Pre-Order Into The Dark, and it will be available on all digital formats and in paperback via Amazon and Barnes and Noble on November 30th.


Available NOW:

Welcome To Las Vegas, a short story featuring the perils of the Las Vegas storm drains. Contains an exclusive excerpt from INTO THE DARK.



Enter the INTO THE DARK Charity Raffle!

The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.

And there’s more! To celebrate the release of INTO THE DARK, I’m giving you TWO ways to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Both options will get your name into the drawing, which runs from November 5th until the end of my blog tour on January 30th.

Entry Option 1: Earns FIVE entries in the contest. Email Stacy your receipt of purchase (simply copy and paste proof of the order into the email, excluding personal information) of INTO THE DARK or the answer to this question: in what state was the Taker born and raised?

Entry Option 2: Earns TWO entries in the Contest. Donate to HELP of Southern Nevada and help the homeless. Readers can go to HELP of Southern Nevada, the organization that aids the homeless featured in INTO THE DARK, and donate. Email Stacy the receipt (personal information excluded). No donation is too small!

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy INTO THE DARK!


Branch Manager Emilie Davis is having a day like any other–until two masked men storm into WestOne Bank demanding cash. Her hopes of a quick end to her terror are dashed when she realizes one of the men has no interest in the bank’s money. Emilie is his prize, and he’s come to claim her.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate.


Who is the man the media has dubbed the “Taker?” Why is he after Emilie, and what is the connection he’s convinced they share?

Emilie can’t run from the Taker, and she can’t escape her own past. As her life closes in on her, she has nowhere to turn but to Nathan. The lines of professionalism blur as Nathan becomes determined to save Emilie. Together they venture into the depths beneath Las Vegas and discover a shocking piece of the puzzle.

But the Taker remains one step ahead. Desperate for the threat to emerge from the shadows, Emilie makes a bold move to reclaim her life, and it may cost her everything.


Pain shot through her temple. Suddenly Emilie was back in the bank lobby, trying in vain to ignore Taker’s odd stream of dialogue:

“The past has always fascinated me.” His face hovered over her left shoulder. “When I was a small child, I spent hours exploring the countryside. History was everywhere: the aged buildings, abandoned houses, the people’s stories. I wanted to learn everything I could. Understanding the past is the only way to accept who we are as individuals and as a culture. So many lessons from our ancestors can be applied to our own lives, and in some cases, the road ahead has already been paved. We just have to find it. Do you understand, Miss Emilie?”

Her knees ached as she fell to the hardwood floor.

He moved in front of her as he spoke, each slow breath magnified by the filter of the black facemask. “The past is an important part of life, isn’t it? Our past can affect us forever. A split- second decision can change everything.”

She stared into his dark eyes. Framed with thick, black lashes and a smattering of fine wrinkles, they were too beautiful to belong to someone like him. “You know what I mean, don’t you, Miss Emilie? Isn’t there a single moment from your past that defines you?”

A hand rubbed her back. “Emilie, are you okay? It’s me, Sarah.”

Emilie summoned her strength and rolled over. She forced herself to open her eyes. Color flooded her vision. Jeremy’s wife knelt over her, put together as always, in a red sundress. Her thick, honey-blond hair flowed around her shoulders like a halo.

“He’s been here,” Emilie said. “The Taker, he left this for me.” She thrust the clipping at her friend. “He’s been here.”

Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page. 

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.
Amazon Author Page
Twitter @StacyGreen26

A big thank you to Stacy! It’s been a pleasure. 🙂

Guest Interview with S.S.Hampton, Sr.

Please give a warm welcome to author S.S. Hampton, Sr.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

What is The Gates of Moses about?

Venice is sinking. A powerful storm coming in from the Adriatic Sea will prove to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. An engineer who attempted to save Venice failed, and though he evacuates his staff, he remains. He hasn’t told anyone that many years before during a visit to Venice, a succubus claimed him for her lover. One member of his staff suspects the truth, and she slips back into Venice to confront the succubus, to free him before the stormy sea breaks the sea wall and submerges the city forever.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’ve always wanted to visit Venice. I’ve read how much of the coast along the northern Adriatic Sea is actually sinking, and rising sea levels from global warming, is putting Venice at risk. I think the image of such a beautiful city sinking beneath the sea is a powerful one. Throw in a dash of the Atlantis myth, and a pinch of legends about succubi, and it all came together. Along with some extensive plotting and re-plotting.

Describe your writing in three words.

Speculative. Dramatic. Paranormal.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

No. I develop the plot, and though it’s not written in stone, I generally follow it unless something in the story compels me to change course.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

No. Never have. I may borrow a trait or two, but that’s about it. My service in the Army National Guard, along with a deployment in 2006-2007 during which a Soldier from my unit was Killed In Action, and several were Wounded In Action, has left me with a certain, “attitude.” I tend to write a lot of military fiction, especially after my deployment. If I were to base a character on someone I know, and I wrote that the character was killed, or suffered horrific injuries, I would feel like I’ve cursed the real person to such a fate. I’m not superstitious, if that’s the word to use, but for that reason I won’t base any character on someone I know.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

No. I haven’t written a series yet where a character keeps appearing, but when I do I’ll have no problem with that because sometimes that has to happen.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

For the part of Dr. Gregorio Romano, the engineer, I’d choose Channing Tatum (The Eagle). He’s a bit young for the character I envision, but hey, it’s a film. For the role of his staff member, Patrizia Celentano, who returns for him, I’d choose Erin Kelly (Loving Annabelle), or Leelee Sobieski (numerous film roles). And for the role of the succubus Alessandra Lombardi, I’d choose Virginia Madsen (numerous film roles) or Monica Bellucci (numerous film roles).

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

No one. I’m not a member of a writing club, and I suspect family and friends would tell me that my story is great—even before I start editing it. I know it’s not great. So, I edit the manuscript until I believe it’s ready, then I submit it to the publisher.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Ahhh, I don’t remember. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What projects are you working on now?

Fiction-wise, there’s a story about a haunted German Tiger tank in the Afrikakorps during World War II. There’s several stories about December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and the world, according to some believers. A story about zombies. And I’m preparing for an initial foray into the Cthulhu Mythos (H.P. Lovecraft is one of my favourite authors). I like writing horror stories. I guess that as long as it isn’t real, a lot of us secretly enjoy the sudden “jump” when “something goes bump in the night.” And I like combining horror, or the paranormal, with military fiction. Somehow, to me, the two just go together. After all, it seems like there’s plenty of “true” stories about haunted battlefields. Anyway, on a non-fiction level, I’m getting my website up and running to showcase excerpts from my stories, along with story covers, and to post photographs (I’m also a photographer). I’m also trying to raise funds so I can conduct a PTSD research project here in Las Vegas, and up in South Dakota, for my final anthropology class.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Only that I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my stories, and you thought it was time well spent. And I truly appreciate your interest. Thank you.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

Dark Opus Press

Edge SF

Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing

Ravenous Romance

An engineer dedicated to saving Venice from the rising seas, fails in his task. As a severe storm and high tides threaten to burst through the flood walls, he resolves to remain in Venice with a ghostly lover who claimed his heart years before. A woman from his staff who loves him, does not evacuate, but remains to battle his ghostly lover before he dies in a sinking Venice…

The dull booms, like the measured beats of a primeval heart, echoed through the gray drizzling afternoon. Each boom was a countdown to a finely predicted cataclysm that man, through his mistaken notion that he could control nature, had finally admitted that he was powerless to hold back.

Dr. Gregorio Romano, tall, with dark brown hair and watchful hazel eyes, stood before the open tall narrow window of his corner office in the ornate, gilded Ducal Palace of the once La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, and peered into the gray drizzle toward the unseen barrier islands. The almost submerged islands of Lido and Pellestrina, with their channels opening onto the Adriatic Sea, formed the southeastern perimeter of the timeless Venetian lagoon. He listened to the echoing booms of the rising, stormy Adriatic, and thought of a mythical, prehistoric mother who gave birth to an imaginative species that dreamed of the impossible and often made it happen. And now the mother was ready to take back one of the greatest dreams of her children, ready to clasp it deep within her bosom.


“Yes,” he replied as he gazed at the gray choppy waters of the lagoon.

“Have you reconsidered? Are you ready to evacuate?”

“Not yet.” Gregorio tilted his head slightly as a sleek dark gondola glided effortlessly across frothy, white-capped waters and halted before the flooded wharf, the Riva degli Schiavoni, in front of the Palace.

Patrizia Celentano, the first and last female gondolier of Venice, looked up at him and gave a friendly wave. He raised a hand in return. Her gondola was a traditionally built and shaped boat, but rather than the traditional black as required by law, she painted it a dark wine color. Though she offered to erect a shelter to protect Gregorio from the elements, he always preferred to ride in the open.

“We can evacuate you by force if necessary.”

“You won’t,” Gregorio smiled as he turned to face his computer on the polished wooden desk. The broad, bearded face of his boss, Dr. Niccolo Ricci, nodded in agreement. “There’s no need, and a helicopter is scheduled to pick me up from the roof of my home tomorrow morning at 0600 hours.”

“The calculations might be incorrect. The gates could break tonight…”

“The Gates of Moses.” Melange Books, August 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-61235-440-8

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004. He was mobilized for active duty for almost three years. He continues to serve in the Guard, where he holds the rank of staff sergeant. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. He has wanted to be a writer since he was 15 years old. His first short story was published in 1992, and it wasn’t until 2001 that he had another short story published. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories, and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Melange Books, Musa Publishing,

A big thank you to SS Hampton, Sr. for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure. 🙂