Friday, November 15, 2013

NaNoWriMo update - Come and check out a fun new novel!

Today is November 15th which means that NaNoWriMo has arrived at the half-way point! Any NaNo writers out there? How are you doing? Keep it up...just two more weeks to go!

If you saw my last post, you read about a new book coming out by an author named Leigh Scott. It's a trilogy called The Goddess of Tornado Alley, and this first book is titled Dead Beat Dates and Deities. She posted the first chapter of this novel on her blog on November 1st. Today she is posting chapter two and I don't want you to miss it. Follow this link to check it out.:

In case you didn't see my post a couple of weeks ago, here's the synopsis to the first book of the series:

Twenty-nine year old loan officer Frances Reed, more commonly known as Frank, is smart and beautiful, on just this side of plump with a fondness for caramel macchiatos and white cheddar cheese popcorn that borders on addiction. She’s been on more than her share of dates but has yet to find her prince among an army of toads. Her love life is helpless and she’s sure she’s doomed to live her life without finding that special someone she wants to fight over the remote control with.

During another disappointing date, this one at a restaurant in the local mall, Frank drinks one too many margaritas and decides to ditch her suitor while he’s in the bathroom. She consoles herself with a sale at her favorite lingerie shop but gets a concussion instead of a push up bra when she falls headfirst into a decorative Aphrodite fountain. While unconscious, she has a ‘dream’ in which the statue comes to life to reveal that Frank is a descendant of the goddess herself. With Frank being as romantically challenged as she is, Aphrodite is less than pleased.

Believing this encounter to be nothing more than a hallucination, Frank decides to dismiss it…until her paramedic falls instantly in love with her best friend and a spark is ignited between her mom and her doctor. It soon becomes apparent that people fall in love when in Frank’s presence. Using her newfound ability, Frank starts up a wildly successful online dating site that puts her little town of Sparrow, Nebraska on the map.

What in the world is a goddess born from the sea doing in Tornado Alley? And why can Frank make love connections for everyone in town but herself? 

Happy reading, and for all those NaNo participants...KEEP WRITING!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Do you do NaNo?

It sounds like a title of an episode from Mork and Mindy, doesn't it? If you're a writer, though, you know exactly what NaNoWriMo is. 

I wanted to send you a link to a writer who is participating for her first time this year. Her name is Leigh Scott and she's begun writing a new humorous trilogy called The Goddess of Tornado Alley. This first book is titled Dead Beat Dates and Deities and Leigh has just posted the first chapter, (unedited) on her blog. 

Here's the synopsis of this first book:

Twenty-nine year old loan officer Frances Reed, more commonly known as Frank, is smart and beautiful, on just this side of plump with a fondness for caramel macchiatos and white cheddar cheese popcorn that borders on addiction. She’s been on more than her share of dates but has yet to find her prince among an army of toads. Her love life is helpless and she’s sure she’s doomed to live her life without finding that special someone she wants to fight over the remote control with.

During another disappointing date, this one at a restaurant in the local mall, Frank drinks one too many margaritas and decides to ditch her suitor while he’s in the bathroom. She consoles herself with a sale at her favorite lingerie shop but gets a concussion instead of a push up bra when she falls headfirst into a decorative Aphrodite fountain. While unconscious, she has a ‘dream’ in which the statue comes to life to reveal that Frank is a descendant of the goddess herself. With Frank being as romantically challenged as she is, Aphrodite is less than pleased.

Believing this encounter to be nothing more than a hallucination, Frank decides to dismiss it…until her paramedic falls instantly in love with the ER nurse and a spark is ignited between her best friend and her doctor. It soon becomes apparent that people fall in love when in Frank’s presence. Using her newfound ability, Frank starts up a wildly successful online dating site that puts her little town of Sparrow, Nebraska on the map.

What in the world is a goddess born from the sea doing in Tornado Alley? And why can Frank make love connections for everyone in town but herself? 

If this sounds at all interesting to you, please visit Leigh Scott's blog, give this first chapter a quick read and leave her a comment.

If you like what you read, wander over to Leigh's Facebook page and press that awesome Like button. I know she'd be incredibly grateful to you if you did.

For those of you who have begun NaNoWriMo for this year, good luck and happy writing!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Giving character's a dialect

The book I'm working on right now is called Alabama Skye. Parts of it take place in Scotland in the busy port city of Portree, (pronounced Port-righ) on the Isle of Skye. 

While a large portion of the story unfolds in a small and fictional seaside town on the gulf shores of Alabama, one of my prominent characters has brought to the states with her a thick Scottish brogue. I have gone back and forth between writing her speech the way I hear it in my head; heavily accented and peppered with Scottish terminology, and then backing off of it a bit and writing it lightly so the reader knows she's Scottish but not forcing it quite so hard.

Work space. My ever present Kindle, handwritten notes, my trusty Gaelic dictionary and my Kermit the Frog water bottle. All of it is necessary, trust me.
I would be very interested to know, as writers, and more importantly, readers, what are your thoughts about accents in the books you read?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

10 Things I've Learned Since Publishing My First Novel

I published The Color of Thunder almost nine months ago. After much research and debate, (only with myself because I'm incredibly talented when it comes to self-debate) I decided to self-publish with Xlibris. I sent my finished manuscript, cover art, author photo and bio off on December 8th and had a published book, beautiful and complete 10 days later. So, what have I learned since then? Honestly, a whole hell of a lot. Here is a list of ten of those things:

1. Being an author isn't nearly as solitary a profession as I once thought it was.
Unless you've decided to co-write, I admit, the actual creative process is definitely a solitary one. Before I became published I had no idea that there was such an amazing community of writer's out there. Authors are insanely cool people who want to succeed in their craft and who want other authors to succeed as well. I thought that as a self-published author, I would have to rely on only myself throughout this entire journey. This was definitely a case of having to learn through experience. I now know that I can lean on my comrades out there to help with beta-reading and for publicity and other countless resources. I also know that it’s a whole lot of fun to support other writers and I’m very honored to be a part of this wonderful, creative group. I see often times on Facebook where authors help plug a fellow author’s new book, and just a few days ago, my all-time favorite writer, James Lee Burke wrote a beautiful piece in memory of Elmore Leonard. We are a tight-knit, supportive group, and while about 98% of my interaction with my fellow writer's is online and I haven't actually 'met' them in person, I definitely consider them to be my friends and feel quite lucky to be able to do so.

2. Reviews are very important...and hard to get.
I now have 20 reviews on my amazon page. It took a long time to get that many and I'm pretty sure a large percentage of my family and friends may never speak to me again. When you are just beginning and are completely unknown, who else can you ask to read and review for you but those people to whom you are the closest? A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have read and reviewed for me. Oh, and here’s a head’s up; I’m diligently working on my second novel and I’ll apologize in advance because I will probably ask you to help me again after the first of the year.

3. There are ways to get reviews without endangering your personal relationships.
Now that I am a member of this awesome writing community, I have found other ways of getting reviews. Writers, more often than not, are also readers. We're also a pretty open-minded group of folks who have learned that you have to go after and ask for what you want. If you need a review, ask for one. It's surprising how willing other writers are to take on a reading project and to give an honest review in return. On the flip side, I have learned that sometimes it’s nice not to have to ask for reviews and have become very diligent about leaving my own reviews for books I have read, regardless whether the author is self-published or carried by a publishing house. I think back to all of the books I have ever read that I didn’t write reviews for and cringe knowing that every review counts, not just for a beginning author, but for those who are well known in the business.

4. rocks.
I've been a goodreads user for years. It started a while back when I was looking for fiction books to enhance my homeschooling history curriculum. I did a Google search and found a list of books on goodreads that helped me as a teacher. Because I'm an avid reader, I was ecstatic about this wonderful website full of nothing but books! Books I'd read and could talk about or recommend to other readers, titles of books I'd heard of but wanted to learn more about, favorite authors I followed almost religiously and new ones I had yet to discover. As a reader, this site was like a fairyland! When I became an author I realized that goodreads is an amazing resource for writers as well. Now I'm a member of a reviewing group and a beta-reading group on goodreads. I have an author page and have participated in a very successful give away for The Color of Thunder. Some people can't start their day without a cup of coffee. Mine kicks off only after a glance at my goodreads page.

5. Reading books in a genre you wouldn't normally read can be a wonderful thing.
When I became a member of the reviewing group on goodreads, I signed up because I needed reviews. In return for those reviews I was asked to read other novels and give reviews of my own. What books are read by each person are chosen by a group of moderators and the reviews are not reciprocal. It is a lot of work to keep the ball rolling, I’m sure, but the group is fantastic and the moderators are not only organized but seem to have a lot of fun with the process. Because it is my responsibility to read the books assigned to me, I have an obligation to read things I would not normally choose for myself. I haven’t liked every book I’ve read but I really did like several of them. It made me realize that there are a lot of really great books out there that I've been missing because I haven’t been as open minded about subject matter or genres as I could have been.

6. Taking the leap is worth the risk of failure.
I was so excited about publishing The Color of Thunder...until it was out of my hands and on online bookshelves everywhere and I realized people would actually be reading it and, more than likely, forming some pretty strong opinions about why it was good or bad. I recently entered a short story contest and got word back about a month ago that my piece had not made it into the final round. When I mentioned this at a meeting for my writing group this past week, my statement that I had entered but had lost was met with objection. One of my new found writing friends said, "You didn't lose. You won simply by writing the story and having the courage to enter it." I won't win every contest I enter, nor will every book I write experience glowing and positive feedback, but because I wasn’t too afraid to put myself out there, I can consider myself a success.

7. It takes however long it takes.
It took me a total of thirteen, almost fourteen years to complete The Color of Thunder. I was talking with my husband and sharing with him a very nice compliment I'd received from a reader about the character development in that book. I laughed and told my husband, "Well, when it takes you almost fourteen years to write a book, you really get to know those characters well." He reminded me that while I started the book nearly fourteen years ago, I hadn't worked on it steadily throughout that time. When it came down to it, the actual process took me about a year and a half which really isn't that long a time. The point is that writing is a creative process and it takes however long it takes. I think it's good to set goals. I have a goal for the second novel I'm writing and I'm going to try really hard to achieve it. Having goals is very important...but being self-published means that you set your own time frame. I have to be happy with my work. I’ll know when it's time to finish editing and let it go…and I will also, if I’m lucky, learn something new with each work I write.

8. The novel, (or primary piece you are working on) is important...but it's good to work on other projects as well.
I have written more since finishing The Color of Thunder than I did in the many years before the completion of that novel. Once the manuscript was handed over to the publisher I was then asked to write about writing the book. I was asked to fill out questionnaires and answer interview questions...and it was honestly a whole hell of a lot of fun. Two months after publishing I became a part of the Writer's Emporium. This is a writing group that meets at the library on the Vogelweh Army and Air Force Base. The librarian who runs the group and I had been friendly long before we ever started attending meetings. (As a long time homeschooler and an avid reader, I tend to make friends in a good portion of the libraries I visit.) She has challenged me to work on projects outside of my novel writing. In fact, one of the writing projects I did for this group wound up being the piece I entered in the aforementioned short story contest, and I've committed to NaNoWriMo this year with my fellow writing friends.

9. Not only is reading different genres a fun way to spend your time, but writing them can be beneficial, too.
My first two novels have had some pretty heavy subject matter in them. In The Color of Thunder I wrote about religion, the Civil Rights Movement and the loss of a child. Alabama Skye is a bit lighter. It definitely has a lot more humor in it but still, the story involves a murder, a hurricane and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the afflicted and that person’s family. The third book I plan to write, titled Red Beard and the Ravens, will be historical fiction about Frederick Barbarossa, a German king and emperor, and his wife, Beatrix. I’m playing with the idea of throwing in a bit of a ghost story with that one which will take me down a writing path I have not yet traveled. While I am very proud of what I’ve already written and excited about this future book, I do think it would be fun to lighten up a bit…perhaps go a little Janet Evanovich with my writing, or perhaps throw in a bit of MaryJanice Davidson. I have always been intrigued by Greek mythology and, after talking to my husband (who listens patiently and even enthusiastically about such things) I’ve decided that I may embark upon a trilogy of stories based on a fun (and a bit silly) idea that sprouted in my over active imagination about the goddess, Aphrodite. This ties back to plunging into other projects. I’m going to try to hammer out my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo on this new novel idea in the month of November and see how it plays out. Barbarossa may have to move aside for a bit and allow Aphrodite to step up first.

10. It’s true what they say…the sky is the limit.

As a self-published writer, I truly have no boundaries. I can write about what I want to write about and write as much as I want. I don’t know what direction I want this to take me. I wrote and sent out a whole lot of queries years ago for my first novel. The book was a lot different back then and even carried a different title and ending. I still have the collection of rejection letters tucked away in a box in my office and, while that was very difficult for me, it was a step in the journey I’m glad I took. I may want to hop back on that train again, look for an agent and a publishing house. Then again, I may not. Being self-published is a pretty amazing ride, too. For now I will just continue to write. I will enter contests, read and write reviews and I will continue to publish as I have…and then what? Well, I don’t know. Honestly…the sky is the limit.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Praise for The Color of Thunder

I've received a few more wonderful reviews for The Color of Thunder! Reviews are absolutely essential for any writer's success. If you are interested in reading my novel and posting an honest review, please let me know and I'll send you a copy. If you are an author and would like to trade books and reviews, I'm definitely interested in that. Leave me a comment here and let me know.

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovingly and Thoughtfully WrittenJune 23, 2013
gloria piper (ORLAND, CA, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Color of Thunder (Paperback)
The title is beautiful and holds a promise of a beautifully written story. Chapter One opens with a description of setting so charmingly presented, I was immediately drawn in. The story follows a family's life in Mississippi from 1946 to 1965 as told in first person by Faith Linsey.

Her daddy is a Baptist minister with a huge following. His devotees see him as almost God. But Faith discovers a terrible secret that lowers him in her esteem, and she dares tell no one.

Wing builds character so well that she shows the reader what kind of man Faith's father is. The community and radio audience see him as perfect, but we see him as the distant old-fashioned head of the family where sons are cherished and women are expected to serve. The minister cannot stand his daughter Grace, who is sickly, or Hope, who is rebellious. Faith, as the elder daughter, works alongside Mama without a thought of childhood pleasures.

We watch a family evolve in a world where black neighborhoods hang on the periphery and are hardly worth a nod of acknowledgement. Description creates atmosphere that can strike us with keen nostalgia. Wing's detailing of a dinner of home-fried chicken with gravy-smothered mashed potatoes had me yearning for that meal of my childhood.

Detail is so rich that sometimes it's overdone, causing a slow-paced novel to drag when the ordinary is minutely displayed. At times I wondered what it added to the story. In fact before Chapter 4, I was wondering where the story was going.

Early on, I was nearly overwhelmed with character names. Later, I realized these individuals, whom we never hear from again, are used to give a sense of community in which the family lives. Or they influence the development of our family characters. Therefore, the names to remember are only those of family or those outsiders involved in major events that affect Faith. Wing helps us remember.

The mundane detail of most of this novel creates a contrast with the tragedies that strike, thus accentuating them. We pick our favorite characters and see how the times affect them. And those incidents that stick with Faith also stick with us.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

4.0 out of 5 stars Of Race and ReligionJuly 22, 2013
Taboo subjects are often the fuel that powers a strong, thought-provoking story, and no two subjects are as divisive in America today than race and religion, which are both tackled, and adeptly, in J.C. Wing's The Color of Thunder.

The story follows Faith Linsey and her life in America's south during the post-war/pre-Civil Rights era. Tragedy, revelation, and even death, raise questions for Faith about the people she knows and the God she trusts.

Throughout TCOT the writing is consistently and effortlessly beautiful, and features an almost biographical level of detail.

The Color of Thunder is a strong debut and promises great things from J.C. Wing.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

's review 
Jul 31, 13

The Color of Thunder is a lovely narrative detailing the experiences of Faith in the South, and transcending its beginnings in 1946 to the 1950s. The author formulates some wonderfully detailed characters, and the reader gets a real sense of the gossipy neighbors and family dynamics. I was very much engrossed by the religious subject matter, as it is a theme I've tackled myself, while the dark undertones gripped me. Jackson is a land of hypocrisy and darksome corners.

My only negative points are intertwined with a huge positive, and that is the author's idiosyncratic style. J.C. Wing is evidently very well read, and the abundance of varying descriptive passages make it stand out as a work of a publishable standard. However, I believe a publisher would give the work a good trim. There is a certain prolixity of adjectives present, particularly in the opening chapters, which need to grip the reader, and the long sentence structure sometimes becomes exhausting and would benefit with some stoppages, hyphens linking words that are typically combined in such a manner, or, dare I say it, the dying breed of semicolons to help break up the text. Nevertheless, the story is wonderfully portrayed, the writing hits you with a sense of aesthetic perpetuity, and the characters are incredibly well fleshed out. A great read.

                                   <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written!!May 8, 2013
This review is from: The Color of Thunder (Paperback)
As a reader of mystery/suspense/action I was not sure if the theme of this book would keep me interested...I was 100% wrong! J.C Wing is a wonderfully descriptive writer. I felt as though I was a secret member of the Linsey family. Not only could I see, smell and feel all of the things Faith experienced, I learned about life of a southern family and the issues facing society at a turbulent time in history. The Color of Thunder kept my attention from the first page to the very last!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Promotion of self-published authors

The Guardian has just begun a new series showcasing the best in self-publishing. Indie author, and writer Hannah Freeman published the following online article on June 20, 2013:

Here is an excerpt of the article:

Welcome to our new series on self-publishing. For a long time, we have been trying to find a way to cover self-published books. As many of you will remember, we've had a couple of false starts, but now we think we've come up with a way of finding the best self-published works without getting overwhelmed by emails and manuscripts.
We have started this series because we know there are some great books being self-published, but it's not always easy to find them. We don't only want to discover the good stuff for ourselves, but for other readers, too.
The format of this series is straightforward: each week we invite a self-published author to complete a Q&A, telling us about their work and giving us a little taster of it. They then nominate the next self-published author to answer our questions - like a daisy chain. If we find that we have a run of pieces from authors writing in the same genre or on the same subject, we will break the chain. This is where you come in. Using the form below, we'd like you to tell us about any great self-published authors you have read and you think deserve more attention. We'll pick the next author from your suggestions. Make sense? I hope so.
As always, if you have any suggestions about how this could be better executed, do please tell us in the comment thread.
If you are a self-published author who'd like to put forward your book for this series, please fill in the form and make it clear that you are the author. This will not automatically disqualify you from being picked, but we will prioritise those titles that we think have been nominated by a true fan.
If you know of a self-published author you'd like to recommend, please take the time to do so. Promotion is a difficult thing. Authors, especially those of us without a big publishing house and their publicity behind them, need all the help we can get. Besides, you may just find another handful of authors you enjoy reading!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The power of a good book

Somebody very special to me died recently. Her death should not have come as a surprise. She’d been struggling for half a dozen months, the last two of them horrendous in many ways not only for her but for her four daughters who had rallied around her and devoted their time, energy and love as they cared for her. I knew she would die soon and had known it for a while. Her mind had become a muddy, scary place due to Alzheimer’s and her sight had been leaving a little at a time in the past thirteen years since she’d be diagnosed with macular degeneration leaving her confused, unbalanced and afraid. She’d suffered two severe head injuries in the same number of months and had been left speechless and in pain by the second one. Her weight dropped and only one of her arthritic hands had the strength to grasp the fingers of her daughters or those of her grandchildren when they came to sit beside her. Her body and mind were both unsettled and agitated, rarely at peace and her legs and feet swelled beneath the bed covers.

I did not see her in this state of confusion and failing health. I am far away. More than 5,000 miles and the wide expanse of the great Atlantic Ocean have separated us for nearly two years. Three years before that there were at least seven states resting between the two of us, but that was only geography. What she and I had was history, and we had plenty of it.

There are very few memories of my childhood taking up residency in my head that do not include her in some way. For the first thirty-eight years of my life I either spoke to her on the phone or stood next to her at least three or four times a week. I loved her when I was a small child snuggled up in bed next to her as she read books with me. I loved her as a struggling teenager, her home an undeniable refuge to me as I matured and grew into a young woman. I loved her as an adult, as a wife and then a mother of my own beautiful children who grew to know and love her as well.

There were many phone conversations these past five years. Miles and time zones stretched between us but there was always that familiarity, that bond that had begun decades earlier that had rooted itself and was neither concerned with nor diluted by distance. Letters were written, cards were sent and visits were made. She kissed me, those light and feathery butterfly touches of her lips, and her crooked hands held tight to my fingers and I knew she loved me. I knew that as a child and now, even though she’s gone, I know that still. 

Another undeniable fact that I have known for some time is that someday I would lose her. The last exchange we had on the phone was memorable in ways both good and bad. The voice I heard on the other end was without a doubt the one I had known all my life. The tone and cadence lifting and falling as it always had in its soft and flowing way, but the words she spoke were nonsensical and out of context. She knew who I was but not where I was calling from. I was certainly her granddaughter, but in her mind I had regressed somehow and was a handful of years younger than my true age. My children had become infants again and she wondered how we liked our new house although we have lived in the same place for some time. She was confused and child-like, floating along a sea of quiet chaos that her unwell mind had created and the conversation made me sad, made me ache for the woman she had been years before.

Although I have physically not been among the other members of my family trailing in and out of the nursing home, hospital rooms and the quiet and somber halls of hospice, I have followed along through this time in the only manner I knew how from such a distance. Several times I have wondered if this absence, my not being there as her mind and body grew increasingly weak made those words I heard nearly whispered on a sob through the telephone line, “She’s gone” that much harder to hear. It’s impossible for me to know for sure, but even though I traveled all of those many miles back home, spoke at her funeral and watched them lower her casket into the ground, the absolute finality of her death is just now sinking in nearly three weeks after she took her last breath. The fact that I wasn’t there when it happened, or even the few years before her steady decline has not made the loss of her any easier to bear, nor the pain any less severe. I lost her as much here where I am as those that spent every day with her did.

In the days that passed between her death and the long trip back to the states I understood that this would be a difficult journey. As I gathered my things and packed them up, I found myself slipping inside my bag a well-worn copy of a book I hadn’t read in a while in the hopes that the story sandwiched inside the covers would take me away, even for a short time as I flew across the ocean. What I didn’t remember was just how special this story is and as I read it again, first on the plane and then at night when the room I’d slept in during four years of high school was hushed and dark, the pages lit up by the buttery yellow light of the bedside lamp, I was happily reminded. I am reminded every single time I pick it up and read the text along the pages and this time I silently congratulated myself for tucking the book in with the rest of my things. It was a comfort to me, this book, and I was glad to have it with me.

To Kill a Mockingbird has been a long time favorite of countless readers. I am no different than many when I say I’ve read it at least a dozen different times and, although my son shakes his head at such an illogical idea, perhaps I am not the only person who believes that one can never have too many copies of one’s favorite book. I have five copies of Harper Lee’s masterpiece. One of them belonged to my aunt when she was in the eighth grade. Its binding is hopelessly broken, nearly a third of the pages are loose and out of order and the torn and tattered cover, which still has the price tag of sixty nine cents stamped upon its frayed corner, is held together by a bright green rubber band. Another copy was given to me just recently by a very sweet and generous friend. It’s a 35th anniversary hard cover edition in pristine condition with Harper Lee’s signature marching boldly across the title page. I love each and every copy I own and will keep them all forever. Truth be told, I will probably gather a few more before it’s all said and done.

My true comfort during this unhappy time came from my husband and our children; this wonderful trio that knows and has suffered from every one of my downfalls and faults a multitude of times…and loves me in spite of them all. They packed their belongings and braved the lengthy boredom of international travel to be by my side. They touched me with warm hands, held me tight, let me cry and reminisce and understood how great my loss was. I could not have gotten through it without them and am grateful to know that when a memory lights up in the corner of my mind and sadness comes to me again, they will still be there for me.

Books can’t help with all that ails you, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, you come across one that is so special, one that touches you in a way you simply cannot explain and, even without realizing it, you lean on its prose and strong sturdy lines of typewritten words to lend you a bit of the support you are seeking. To Kill a Mockingbird has done this for me. That’s the power of a good book.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another amazing review...and a new book I think you would enjoy

Before I published The Color of Thunder, I didn't think much about other least writer's I don't usually read. For some reason I had it in my head that there is a big competition out there...or that author's were each on their own fighting to be on top. This, my friends, is not the case, and I'm so glad that it isn't. 

Mind you, I wasn't really sure what it was going to be like to be published. I started The Color of Thunder  way back in the late 90's. I was afraid for a long time, rewriting and editing the same chapters over and over again because I was fearful of actually putting myself out there to be read and judged. Then my husband and I began our family and, although I thought about this unfinished novel a lot, I was immersed in this wonderful thing called motherhood. When I went back to it, really got serious about it, it wasn't that I wasn't afraid any longer, (truthfully, in many ways I still am,) but the time to finish it and to get it published had arrived and I decided that I wasn't going to quit until it was out there.


My experience has been amazing...mind-blowing and wonderful. I have met some incredible authors who I am excited to call my friends. That whole competition thing? Not so much. All of us want to help one another, we want the other to succeed. We email, read each other's novels, post reviews and encourage. It's awesome.

I've already written about an author by the name of RP Dahlke. She writes mysteries and I'd already read and enjoyed all four of her books before we had an occasion to talk to one another. She's writing a fifth book right now and if you like a good mystery with a bit of humor and a great cast of characters, I suggest you check her out here:

There's another author I'd like to encourage you to read as well. Actually, a pair of them. They are a husband and wife writing team, one from New Zealand and one from England, and their pen name is Lambert Nagle. This is the review of The Color of Thunder that I received a few days ago from them.

The Color of Thunder is a beautifully written coming-of-age story told from the viewpoint of Faith, one of three sisters in the Lindsay family. The story begins in 1946 in Jackson, Mississippi. These folks are model citizens: fine, upstanding, and pillars of the community and none is more self-righteous than the Lindsay family patriarch. Or at least this is what Pastor Lindsay would like his family to believe but one night Faith witnesses her father's dirty little secret first-hand, which forces her to confront Pastor Lindsay's warped religious belief system. By day he likes to preach God's word, spouting homilies such as 'love thy neighbour.' But by night, he and his fellow citizens have no qualms in carrying out vigilante acts of unspeakable violence towards their fellow man. And all the while the womenfolk either don't know or worse still, pretend not to know and turn the other cheek.

As a fellow reviewer has noted, there are parallels here with Louisa May Alcott's Little Women here and this is what lifts this story above its peers. To re-imagine the family saga and update it for the 20th century, replacing the Civil War with the Civil Rights movement is astute and brave. In the hands of a lesser writer this might have been difficult to pull off but J.C. Wing does a magnificent job and does so with such accomplished writing that I can't imagine why no agent or publisher has yet seen the commercial potential in her work. More fool them.

I would give this book 5 stars for the characterisations alone. Faith and her sister Hope are living, breathing, three-dimensional characters. Faith is as patient as Hope is feisty and for much of their childhood Faith despairs that her sister will ever grow up. But the bonds of sisterhood are too strong to allow the temporary setbacks to dent their solid friendship, although Hope at times seems to be a very hard person to love. As Faith says,' I love my sister unconditionally and no matter how mean and rotten she'd been to me or how many names she called me, I was there for her and she always knew where to find me.'

The other achievements in this richly evocative tale were the finely observed details that invoke all the senses. You can almost taste the food made by Faith's downtrodden mother - from the peach cobbler to the fried chicken and creamy mashed potatoes. And as I finished the book I imagined I could smell the unmistakable fragrance of magnolia as it was just beginning to fade...
But the lingering memory I will have of The Color of Thunder is the advice that Faith's friend Ruby gave her as a lasting legacy - 'grab all the sweet you can in this life.'

Move over Jane Smiley, J.C. Wing has arrived!

Right now I am in the process of reading Lambert Nagle's book Revolution Earth and I am enjoying it immensely. It takes place in four different continents and is written in a rich, colorful and engaging language that is so entirely entertaining. It's a thriller involving a Metropolitan Police Detective, a Big Oil PR guru, a group of eco-terrorists and one determined girl suffering from the injustices of a seemingly uncaring legal system. I will save the rest of my narrative for the glowing review of this book that I plan to post shortly but I will say this: Read this will not be disappointed!

Check out this link to read more about this writing team and to purchase Revolution Earth
It's available from amazon in paperback for $8.97. The Kindle version is only $2.99. 

Summer time is nearly upon us and a lot of us will be traveling. You need a book to read on the bus/train/plane/boat. This one would be an excellent one to have on hand.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

a little something about spring

I belong to a writing group set up by an awesome librarian and friend of mine by the name of Holly. She runs the library on the Vogelweh base and back in February she asked me to join.  It's called the Writer's Emporium and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the experience but was very happy I chose to attend the first meeting. I was newly published and very excited to go and talk about my new book and share with the group the things I'd learned from self publishing.

We decided that our first writing assignment would be about the month of March. A lot of things happen for me in's kind of a big month for me, but I chose to take a fanciful path with this prompt. I thought I'd share it here. Hooray for spring! I'd love to hear your comments. Please leave one for me if you're so inclined. 


           The young woman’s arm, outstretched and hanging over the shining metal of the car in which she rode bucked gently in the wind, her fingers pressed together in a mock salute and her hand riding the air currents rushing past the open window. Clouds were forming in the sky looking like swollen dirty cotton balls as they rolled in and began spitting cold rain that dotted the pale protruding limb. The only color she could see was the shiny, bright, neon pink polish she’d picked up on sale a few days ago at the mall that covered her short oval nails like enthusiastic little flags moving in the chilly wind. March comes in like a lion so the old saying goes, and that was the truth of it. What used to be the first month of the year many years ago in Rome was arriving quickly on the coat tails of winter, full of boisterous bluster much like the growling and grumbling in the back of a big cat’s throat.
Brown eyes raised upward and squinted against the oncoming rain to watch the clouds that now looked like thick plumes of smoke rising from the ruins of a city demolished in heated dusty battle. From within the amorphous swirls of darkening silver and gray, the girl almost believed she could see the figure of a man, tall and broad shouldered carrying a spear in one meaty fist, the weapon wrapped in a thick vine of laurel. Mars, the Roman god of war looked to be treading upon an unstable ground of moving gray with a pair of large bare feet and hairy unclothed legs beneath a skirt that looked surprisingly masculine while motioning time itself to move forward with a wave of his powerful arm. The thirty-one days of this unpredictable month boasted the name of this esteemed mythological deity who was said to have used his military power to secure peace, and each minute ticked by like an attentive and patient soldier in his army as the rain continued to fall and slowly obliterate from view the swirling clouds that moved above the speeding car.
With a turn of the head and a pair of raised eyebrows from the front passenger seat the girl acquiesced to the silent maternal request, first tossing a temperamental roll of her eyes before moving her wet arm into the warmth of the vehicle as the window whirred silently upward and locked itself into the frame. Almost instantly the glass was covered in a countless array of dots of cool rain, each one a round wet orb that splintered and multiplied her view of the outside world. If there had been a question of the god of war’s existence just moments before it was all but obliterated now as the sleek lines of the car moved quickly above wet pavement, throwing up a pair of plumes the color of ice behind the rear tires. The clouds above continued to move and churn as the chill in the interior of the car was chased away by the warm air spewing from the vents in the dash board. The change in temperature and the weather stubbornly limited her view and encouraged the teen to relax in her seat, her blond head pressed against the soft pliable leather as the film of limitless road and soft-edged scenery rushed past in a watery colorless blur.
Like the rhythmic beat of the windshield wipers that cleared the driver’s view in the front seat, the words in the ten syllable pattern of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter telling the tale of Julius Ceasar marched silently into her memory. She thought of her English class situated teasingly before the forty minutes of freedom that was lunch period and the steady, not completely unpleasant drone of her teacher’s voice as he recited the dying words of the Roman dictator uttered while he is being brutally murdered by a pack of conspirators at the Senate. “Et tu, Brute?” the dying man whispers as he falls dead upon the ground on the ill-fated day now remembered as the Ides of March. As the girl slowly drifts to sleep, a thoughtful smile plays along the line of her lips. A soothsayer’s warning and a wife’s premonition be damned. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be stubborn. Behind her now closed eyes she sees a vision before her; one of many a teen girl’s dreams in the shape of a handsome hulking vampire with a very unsexy moniker that hardly matches the body seen beneath the Calvin Klein underwear campaign he modelled for. The fifteenth day of March hadn’t been lucky for old Ceasar, she thought, but that was way back in 44 BC. It was so hard to mourn the death of someone she never even knew when more than 2,000 years later God saw fit to bring Kellan Lutz into the world on that very same day. Her smile widened just for a moment with the thought that the Ides of March was not entirely bad before she allowed the thump of the wipers and the movement of the car to lull her into the land of dreams.
It felt as though winter had shown up, liked the surroundings and settled itself for an interminable amount of time with its sharp claws imbedded firmly into the very fabric of the young woman’s being. The grayness and bitter temperatures seemed more like permanent residents instead of seasonal visitors and the twitch beneath her skin that felt like spring time had grown into an uncontrollable itch that no amount of scratching could diminish. She was no snow bunny and the bleak white canvas filled with nothing but shadows of screeching, dark winged birds and tall scraggly arms of bare trees reaching eerily up into the dense milky sky had her inner beach bum screaming to be heard. The girl longed for March’s lions, their eyes dark green with spots of red the color of bloodstones to stalk across the sky on big padded paws and pull from behind their muscled backs the wide warm banners of crisp aquamarine like bright Mardi Gras flags brightening up the sky to usher in the first day of spring. Nothing could bring out the drama queen in this sun worshipping girl more than winter’s never ending cold and snow, and no doubt the Old Bard himself would have happily awarded her over enthusiastic mental rumblings a well-deserved round of applause.
She barely heard the noise at first, so immersed in her silent diatribe against the bleakness of the first two months of the year that it took her mind a handful of minutes to register the tapping somewhere near the vicinity of her right elbow. She slit one eye open and focused on the culprit; one small and rather dirty troll strapped tightly into a heavy duty car seat next to her. There were square shaped books with hard unbendable pages and a cup with a supposedly spill proof lid leaking a suspicious honey colored liquid that smelled like sweet white grapes lying across a pair of rather chubby denim-clad legs. On the ends of those legs were two kicking feet keeping time with the almost lyrical gibberish flowing out of the toddler’s graham cracker encrusted mouth, and hair several shades darker than his older sister’s stuck out at wild angles giving him the look of a very young but energetic rock star. The girl wanted to be annoyed by the interruption of her nap but upon resting her eyes on her baby brother’s chubby pink tinted cheeks she found herself smiling at him instead. Okay, he wasn’t a troll she silently conceded. A pixie, maybe, or perhaps a leprechaun. Yes, she thought with a nod of her head, that’s what he is. He’s a leprechaun though cuter than most she’d seen depicted in books or movies but still as short and unruly. The stripes in his long sleeved shirt were the bright green color of the three-leaved shamrocks that St. Patrick used to teach the Trinity to the pagan Irish. The little imp grinned as he twisted in his chair to look at his sister and the smile on her face widened in return. The only rainbow he was liable to lead her to was perhaps a pilfered package of Skittles candy broken open and spilled on the floor, or a bright array of building blocks that hurt the tender insteps of her feet when she tried to traverse the messy landscape of the child’s room in the dark.
She reached for the upended cup and felt the stickiness of the juice coat the pads of her fingers. Score another point for false advertising, she thought. The lid was definitely not spill proof but who in the world would notice after looking at the mess her brother had become since he’d climbed into the car seat more than an hour before?
“Be like the Irish, little man,” she said quietly handing the cup over to him. The little sprite reached over with a pudgy hand and took it from her exchanging the juice for a wide gap-toothed smile. “Drink up.” When he wrapped his lips around the spout and took a pull from it the girl laughed. With that diaper of his bowing his short little legs he walked a bit like a drunkard much like any other toddler she’d ever seen, and without a nap he was nearly as surly and cantankerous as a few of the drunks she’d encountered.
With a shake of her head she turned and peered out of her window once more to find that the thick veil of clouds had begun to part. The rain was still spitting at her window but with much less intensity and the drone of the windshield wipers had slowed to a sluggish beat. She had to squint to see it but she was sure that the tiny little triangle of sky she saw behind the gray curtain was actually blue. Her eyes held fast to it as if they were daring it to change but she remained hopeful that it wouldn’t. It was the pale soft color of a robin’s egg nestled in a nest and the shell grew a little bit bigger as she focused on it, the cars and highway signs a blur in her peripheral vision.
Gradually the rain let up altogether and what remained was a world left shiny and clean if not still a bit chilled by the cool air. It looked reborn, almost fragile in its new state and as the clouds loosened the threads of their fabric and the weave became looser and looser, more of the pale blue sky was revealed. The girl silently coaxed the sun out of its den like she would a baby bird out of its shell. “Come on out,” she thought, the voice in her head gentle and soothing. “Come out and meet this cold winter world that needs your heat and light.” As if it had actually been listening to her the soft rays of sun peeked through, rays as warm and soft as thick creamy butter burned off more of the clouds and ever so faintly there appeared to be the smallest hint of a rainbow, the streams barely creating the merest suggestion of pastel colors reflected in the moisture that still hung in the air.
The car slowed and veered right off of the highway and the quiet clicking sound of the blinker faintly filled the warm air. Smoothly the girl’s father turned left and the scenery from the other side of the window moved but not on high speed as before. The girl caught glimpses of shiny rain washed windows glinting in the increasingly courageous rays of the sun above and the bare limbs of the trees were showing small tightly folded buds dotted along the wooden sleeves like little decorative buttons. Dirt as dark as coal filled planters and roadside gardens, the brave thick stalks pushing up through it the color of emeralds and sporting long wrapped hats the shade of downy feathers on a newly hatched chick.
A smile floated across the teen’s glossy lips once more as she peered up and watched the movement of the clouds, their shape rounded and snowy white now and moving across the sky like a herd of lazily grazing sheep. These were March’s lambs quietly following the thunderous noise of the lions and she decided she liked them just fine. Yes, she liked them very much indeed.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I am now a part of the USAFE library directory

The Color of Thunder is now listed in the United States Air Force in Europe library 
system. How cool is that? I received this email a few days ago stating that the book 
had come in and that it was ready for me to pick up.


Vogelweh Library

 Vogelweh Library                       04/18/2013                         MPS

The following item(s) are being held for you at the pick-up location listed below. 
We will reserve
the item(s) for you until close of business on the following date(s):

 Title                            Due/Expire Date Barcode             Call Number    Price
 ------------------------------   --------------- ---------------     --------------------Pickup Location

 The color of thunder /           04/25/2013      35612050403774      F WING              Vogelweh Library


The libraries are important...and there are a lot of military families all over Europe who rely on the library system to supply them with the books that they need or want. (There aren't a lot of Barnes and Noble's around the streets of Germany, Spain or Italy selling books in English...and military families live on a budget. It's too difficult to buy every book a person might want to read.) I filled out a purchase request for The Color of Thunder and it was immediately approved. Because I was the one who requested it, it came to me as soon as it arrived and I couldn't be happier. Now all of the wonderful men and women who serve in the United States Air Force and their families can borrow my book.

I'm hoping it will be well traveled!

Here's to our U.S. military...and to libraries, too.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Great new review for Color of Thunder on Amazon

I received an amazing review on Amazon yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. Here it is:

Format:Kindle Edition
I don't read a lot of women's fiction, being a reader/writer of mysteries, however, when the author asked if I'd read for an honest review I said I'd put it on my TBR file--with no promises to read, finish, much less write a glowing review.

I have to say I was immediately enchanted by the author's wonderfully colorful descriptions of Jackson Mississippi. Everything from the flowering trees to the color of the windows in her preacher father's church are magical in the descriptions . And then there is the narrator, Faith, whose young life transcends from an eleven year old into, at the end, a young woman of deep personal convictions.

The book reminds me somewhat of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Faith is the oldest of three sisters, and yes, the youngest is born sickly, but beloved and fiercely protected by her two older sisters.

There's loss, love discovered and tragedy in this book, and through it all there's triumph in the end.

I am so impressed by the writing in this book, that I have to say that I think J.C. Wing has the potential of becoming one of America's top women fiction authors, and I look forward to reading more of her wonderful stories. If you like Anne Tyler you'll love J.C. Wing.

RP Dahlke, author of the Dead Red Series, and A Dangerous Harbor on Kindle

This was left by a fellow author named RP Dahlke. Here is a link to her Amazon page if you'd like to wander over there for a  visit.

I have read all four of her books and think they are terrific.

Don't forget to visit my Amazon page as well:

Right now Amazon is selling my paperback for $17.99 which is two dollars off the original price. The Kindle version is only $3.99. 

Happy reading, everyone!