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Category Archives: Guest Authors

Writing friends that have something to share on my blog.

Short Story-Cold Turkey

Today’s short story comes to you with a little help from my friends. A few weeks ago, I posted a story starter and asked my readers to contribute the next line or few lines. Here is the resulting story. I hope you enjoy it.

A big THANK YOU to Tina, Olivia, and Jerri for playing along.

Cold Turkey

Dalyn flipped on the kitchen light. She shuffled toward the refrigerator and pulled the door open, hoping there was some milk left. There wasn’t of course. Tad always drank it all and never bothered to go buy more. She closed the door and stood looking around the kitchen as if a gallon of milk would instantly appear. She sighed and started opening and closing the cabinet doors, but nothing seemed as appetizing as a bowl of fruit loops.

Her disappointment quickly turned to irritation, and the more she thought about it, anger. Realizing she had no other choice, Dalyn went back upstairs where Tad was peacefully sleeping. For a moment, she thought about how crazy her actions seemed and she started back down the steps. Suddenly, she turned on her heel and charged into the bedroom where Tad lay, snoring obnoxiously. She stood in the doorway, thinking of a way to ruin his sleep as he had ruined her quest for a bowl of fruit loops. While stood there with her rage festering, Tad stirred and looked rather confused.

“Why are you standing there?” He asked weary eyed.

Dalyn gently smiled and simply said hello before she flipped on the overhead light and yanked the covers off him, rolling him into the floor.

“You asshole! I’m done!” She shouted.

She awoke in a cold sweat. What a nightmare. Fruit Loops, high fructose corn syrup. She was so glad she had abolished such atrocities from her diet. But not the milk, not the dairy. They say dreams can offer warnings. She must abolish milk as well. But, how could she live without chai lattes? Cold turkey was the only way. Turkey, there is something she hadn’t thought about in years. She had conquered meats. She could do dairy as well. She snuggled back into the pillow.

The next thing she felt was a wet kiss on her cheek. Her husband was leaving for work. “Do you need me to pick up anything from the store on my way home?”

“No, nothing.”

“Are you sure. I drank the last of the milk yesterday.”

“No, nothing.”

Dylan sunk back beneath the covers, telling herself the first twenty-four hours are the hardest.


Help Me Write a Story

Have you ever thought about writing or wanted to write? It can be pretty intimidating to get started. I know it was for me anyway. So I thought we could play a game if you’re interested. I’ll post an opening paragraph below. In the comments, you can add a sentence or a few sentences (also known as a paragraph) to the story. On or around September 9th, I’ll pull all the comments and put them together in a post to showcase our amazing collaborative story.

Ready? Here you go:

Dalyn flipped on the kitchen light. She shuffled toward the refrigerator and pulled the door open, hoping there was some milk left. There wasn’t of course. Tad always drank it all and never bothered to go buy more. She closed the door and stood looking around the kitchen as if a gallon of milk would instantly appear. She sighed and started opening and closing the cabinet doors, but nothing seemed as appetizing as a bowl of fruit loops.

AND GO! Us the comments to add what comes next!

Guest Author: Pam Marie Thompson

Guest Author: Pam Marie Thompson

I have a new guest author to introduce you to today. My guest today is Pam Marie Thompson and a new friend of mine. Pam and I met in a local writing group and I was immediately drawn into her story! Here she is to tell you a little about herself, her writing, and her new book “Ten Saturdays.” She will be having a book launch at Empire Books and News on Pullman Square in Huntington, WV on July 25th from 2:00p-4:oop.

Q: Who are you?

A: When someone asks: “Who are you?’ the first most reasonable response is your name. Ok, I will bite. Pam Marie Thompson. The thing is, no one is ever only defined by the few words of their name despite genealogy and heritage.

Q: What have you wrote?

A: I am new to the publishing world but I have written all my life on napkins and tables and the back of anything! I should have written every day of my last 51 years because I love it and it simply falls out of me. Instead, I wed, let life spring from my loins and went to work for a local school system.

Ten Saturdays” is my first and only published work (except for some poems in high school). It is live right now on several sites. Rendered from a writing class, it is a sardonic diary of my attempt and resistance to write a book. Stories spill over every page and the characters jump up from around a writing table and out of my own history. Readers have reported that it is funny. That was definitely the goal.

Q: What is your writing process?

A: My writing process for this work was easy. I wrote every Saturday. Each chapter was constructed immediately after each class session. I do not edit as I go, I simply manage the flow and then I put it away for a day or two and revisit it again to check grammar and continuity. My writing group was immensely helpful with questions of editing and I would emphatically encourage any potential author to join one. For now, I am good at getting things one sentence at a time. My husband teases that my book was written in his car because I am always reaching for some scrap piece of paper so I don’t lose a good sentence when I have one rolling around in brain air.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: Ideas are plentiful in my world. I work with special needs children and so my days are full of hilarious anecdotes alongside more meaningful messages. “Ten Saturdays” covered my current events of taking a class at age 50 and of flashbacks that popped up alongside writing assignments and excerpts.

Q: If you could hang out with one author (dead or alive) for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Marie Manilla and I would spend the day together if I could choose one author whose brain I could pick. She beat out Breece D’J Pancake, so it says a lot about her! I love her style, and her crafty use of vocabulary. I feel a kindred sway to her way with wordage! I would crawl up inside her to see how she can brilliantly make a character transition from vain to evil without the reader even suspecting it. She knows how to sneak up on you and I need to know how she does that!!!

Q: Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?

A: My favorite character does not even belong to me. He is Marie’s. I love Bing from her novel: “Shrapnel“. Bing is so like half of my family members and even though he appears at first to be so closed off and racially affected, he is still a likeable guy which makes you cheer at his redemption. Marie is responsible for my affection for him as well.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Three new books are in progress as I type. I have to let them come out when they want, so I don’t have any timelines. I am working on a collection of short stories, a novel about a whistle blower and a psychological study of a hypnotist who is not a nice guy! I sorta’ go back and forth on each one and write whatever falls off my fingers. ADHD has been very helpful in that arena.

Q: What book other than your own would you want to see made into a movie? What book do you hope is never made into a movie? Why

A: “Wild Rose: The True Story of a Civil War Spy” would make an awesome film. She was a fabulous little hussy who spied for the South and slept with congressmen for ‘ the cause’. Hiding secret messages in the bun of her hair, she is credited with several Southern victories on the battlefield. She drowned when her boat overturned from the weight of the gold she had sewn into her petticoats. Imprisoned with her young daughter, her life was epic.

I sincerely hope that “Out Of The Dust” never sees the big screen. It is a sweet little Caldecott winner that plays out in poetic stance. Some books are meant to be held like little babies.

Q: What advice would you give to other writers?

A: A writer needs to explore the publishing world before signing anything with anyone. Find out the difference between a subsidy firm, a traditional firm and a self-publishing firm. Don’t get starry-eyed because someone likes what fell out of you. Take your time, use the brain God gave you.

Q: What is the worst writing advice you ever received?

A: The worst advice I ever received was that I should not throw out any part of my writing. Sometimes, you need to do just that exactly. If you are deep in write and it is nothing but wrong, you might need to backspace that puppy and clean slate it.

Want to know more about “Ten Saturdays” or Pam? Go here:

Ten Saturdays

Pam Marie Thompson Author Page

Guest Author: Athena WiseNRich

Today’s guest author is a dear friend of mine who crossed my path when we shared a common “day job” a few years ago. She’s here to talk to us about how we let ourself get in the way of ourself.

Without further ado…Ms. Athena WiseNRich…

Are you a rigid thinker? Do many of your responses start with, “No…”? Do you hear yourself begin a sentence with, “I/we can’t…” or “I/we don’t…”? Does your mind skitter away from thoughts of change? Are you certain there’s nothing better for you than what you’ve got right now? Ah…it’s possible you may be a rigid thinker.

How can I possibly say that? Let me introduce myself: Athena WiseNrich, recovering Rigid Thinker.

For many years I heard the voices of others, real and imagined, in my head; “No…,” “You can’t…,” “You don’t…” Then those voices became MY voice: “No…,” “I can’t…,” “I don’t…,” and I was a believer. No matter what anyone said, did, wrote, or sung to me, I wouldn’t/couldn’t change my thinking and everything — EVERYTHING — I saw supported that negative thinking. I remember idly following a thought that started with, “What if…,” chugged past “I can’t even…,” and arrived at the junction of, “What’s the point?” and “It just doesn’t matter.” My rigid thinking had become rigor mortis. I was alive, yet dead.

I could have continued to exist at that crossroads; I know many people who have taken up residence there. I remember living in a house with a crooked staircase and asking someone to come up with a plan to fix it; their response was rigid: “No. You’ll get used to it.” I’ve spun in the family circle of folks who believe they have no power in their lives and I’ve watched their dispositions sour by the year. I’ve seen friends, acquaintances and strangers stand in the middle of a stream and refuse to move, no matter how fast the current or how high the water, simply because they couldn’t see another/better option. What I couldn’t see is how I could live like that.

I decided I had to change. If I wanted to bounce out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face that remained there all day, I’d need to adjust the way I felt about my reality. I wanted freedom, fun, laughter, warmth and intimacy. I didn’t want bondage to someone or something and I certainly didn’t want anger, depression or suppression. Living with a crooked staircase was no longer an option.

How could I do that? For me, it started with an agreement with my inner being: do the work. Delve deep into murky corners and painful memories and hear — really hear — what I believed to be true. And identify the original voice of that belief. It’s not always easy to comply.

Human beings repress thoughts and memories for a reason; sometimes it’s survival, sometimes it’s fear. Sometimes it’s denial. Murky corners are scary things; what’s the point of shedding light on things said or done so many years ago? At first I thought I could gloss over memories, like brushing a coat of primer over a water-stained ceiling before painting it the color of my choice. I quickly recognized that, unfortunately, if I don’t fix the leak in the roof, the stain returns with the next rain — and it may be bigger.


Well then, second step: meditation and journaling, counseling and conversation with professionals. Through years of practice and open communication with others, I’ve learned who I really am, what I’m willing to stand for (inner strength vs. rigid thinking) and what I need to change. I learned (and this was VERY important) to make MYSELF happy. I learned I have no control over the happiness of anyone else; I can only control my own. I learned I can choose my beliefs, take responsibility for my actions, disassociate from the deeds of others and stand alone without rigidity. I learned to plan my own journey, avoiding swamps and pitfalls by recognizing the terrain. And I learned the difference between what is “My Sht” and what is “Not my Sht.”

Over the years, I’ve “loosened up.” I strive to accept humans for the divine and perfect beings we are. (Yes, I did say perfect. There’s only one of you, so how can you be less than perfect?) Every opinion someone expresses to me is feedback, not criticism or direction. I get to choose how I feel about it and whether I embrace or reject it.

What do I do now when I encounter rigid thinking? How do I react when someone takes a stand for “being right” and defends it with every breath they take? Eh. I let them. After all, their opinion is just “Not my Sh*t.”

Thanks, Athena!

Want to read more from Athena? You can pick up a copy of her books Sitara: Legend Of The Morning StarGuide to Affinitive Readings, Elemental Creativity, The Blade and the Broken Heart, and Zaftig Goddess Wisdom.

You can also follow her for more get out of your own way wisdom:

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Guest Author-Brent McGuffin

Because authors don’t always sit alone in dark rooms, feverishly clicking away at their keyboard or scribbling in notebooks, I’m inviting other author friends to drop by and talk about their writing.

My first guest author of 2015 is fellow Wicked Wordsmith of the West writer, Brent McGuffin! Check out his blog and follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @themcguffin.

Q: Who are you?
A: Who me? Why, what did I do? Oh, wait, okay. I’m Brent McGuffin.

Q: What have you wrote?
A: Well, lots of things. Like just earlier I wrote my name. I wrote a couple of little stories in an anthology last year around Halloween (Hey Marsha, you were there too!!). It’s called Wicked Words and you can find it here (Shameless Self Promotion). I’ve written loads of other things. A couple of books about a three year old girl who can see spirits who have passed on. A crazy amount of short stories. I’m working on two books right now, a YA Zombie Apocalypse story (I know, zombies, right?) and I’m finishing up my NaNo novel which is a supernatural story about a couple of guys who return home to find a cult has been kidnapping children, but why? Oh, and my zombie cookbook!!

Q: What is your writing process like?
A: I usually just string words together that I type into this tiny machine. In the past I would just write when I could. Usually late at night after the world has gone to sleep and I could focus on what goes bump in the night. That worked with varying degrees of success. Sometimes 2000 words, sometimes 200. However, during this last year’s NaNo I figured out during one of our Write-Ins that I got more out in timed sprints than I did in marathons. Meaning that writing for 15 to 20 minutes and then breaking for a breather and then going in again resulted in me getting more words (and often better words) on the page in nearly the same amount of time. So, I started putting this into my daily writing. I also started writing at different times of the day, morning, afternoon, and evening. Whenever I could find a block of time where I could get some words in. And I wrote more that month than I’ve ever written. Yay me!! I finished out Nano with over 70,000. I think the reason for this was that I was less stressed and creatively fatigued. Also, I had time to give a treat to the muse I keep in a cage under my desk.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: I steal them from other, more successful writers. I’m only half kidding. Everything has been done, sometimes you gotta. But more or less I get them from everywhere. Prompts, seeing people walk down the street, an old episode of The X-Files, the muse I keep in a cage under my desk, a trip to the pharmacy at Wal-Mart. Everywhere. Oh, and shame on you for even asking that question.

Q: If you could hang out with one author (dead or alive) for a day, who would it be and why?
A: Another crazily unfair question!! There are too many. But, gun to my head, Stephen King. Why? He’s Stephen Freaking King. There’s a reason he’s the king and it’s not just because his daddy married his mommy and they loved each other in a tight love-hug to make him and gave him the name. He never ceases to amaze and entertain me. I’d love to pick his brain…and talk to him about writing.

Q: Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?
A: You are just full of the cruelest questions, Marsha. What did I ever do to you? Oh, wait…
Again, gun to my head, I’d have to say Jo from my little girl sees dead people novel, Kyriel (Coming Soon). She’s sassy, spunky, fearless, and loyal and tons of fun to write. I can’t wait to share that book with people and she’s one of the top reasons.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: You mean after finishing this cruel test of yours? Breakfast. Oh, you mean as a writer? More writing. We have another anthology planned this year, so that’s fun. I also plan on getting some professional editing on the books that I have done and try to get them out by traditional publishing and if nothing bites, I’ll go the self-publishing route. I also need to finish up last years NaNo novel and I have another novel I’m ready to start when that’s finished about a killer vigilante who is kind of like the lovechild of Batman and Sheriff Buford Pusser.

Q: What book other than your own would you want to see made into a movie? What book do you hope is never made into a movie? Why?
A: Hmm, I just finished a book last week by Caroline Kepnes called YOU. If done right it would be amazing. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would look like as a movie. Also, Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. That would be crazy fun on the big screen.

Sadly, most of the books that I hope aren’t made have already been made. The good and the bad. But I still hold out hope that Taken by the T-Rex remains only on the page.

Q: What advice would you give to other writers?
A: STOP! Go back! This way only leads to pain and suffering!! If that didn’t deter you. NEVER GIVE UP!!

Q: What is the worst writing advice you ever received?
A: Write with your left hand. But other than that, I’m not sure that I’ve gotten any bad writing advice. Even when I didn’t agree with it or it turned out to be something that didn’t work out for me I still learned something about writing and about myself as a writer. I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I should be doing something else with my time or that I should write differently but I’ve had more people tell me that I should be a writer and that they liked the way I spun a yarn.

I hope you enjoyed this Q & A with Brent. Stay tuned for my February guest author! Who will it be?

Guest Author-Olivia Ferguson

Because authors don’t always sit alone in dark rooms, feverishly clicking away at their keyboard or scribbling in notebooks, I’m asking other author friends to drop by and answer a few questions for your enjoyment.

My first guest author spot goes to Ms. Olivia Ferguson!

Q: Who are you, what do you write, and how do you write?

A: I am the great Olivia Ferguson!! I have written in several different genres over the course of my writing career thus far. I’ve written creative non-fiction, memoir, several short stories, middle grade reference books, and regular old fiction. Paranormal fiction is my favorite, however. As far as my writing process, I’m kind of a mix. I’ll outline to a point, but I never over outline. I think if you over outline your story you’re restricting yourself from many other possibilities. I know some might argue that you could just change the outline, but I think of it like this. If you do a complete outline before you begin writing, then during the writing process your mind will be so focused on making the content of that outline happen that it won’t be free to wander into other possibilities. So I’ll do a basic outline to get me started and as my mind wanders and discovers new plot threads, I just jot them down to add to the story as I go. My outlines are pretty much bullet points categorized under the chapter in which they should happen.

Q: Where do you get all your ideas? (This is an author’s FAVORITE question!)

A: There really isn’t one specific place that I get my ideas. They’ve come to me at many different times in many different places. My first full length novel was actually inspired by a dream. I’d been culminating my Sunstone Covens series for years, and had actually written bits and pieces with different characters. But when I had that dream, I just knew that it was how the series was supposed to begin.

Q: If you could hang out with any author, dead or alive, for a day, who would it be?

A: If I could hang out with any author for a day, it would have to be Anne Rice. She’s my absolute favorite author. I’ve loved vampires from a very young age and was thrilled when I discovered The Vampire Chronicles. With those books she really opened the door for all of today’s vampire novelists. She basically humanized the vampire, which was something that hadn’t ever been done in the genre before, and this paved the way for other novelists to create their own type of vampires.

Q: Which character from your writing is your favorite?

A: My most favorite character that I’ve ever written is Elias Black. He’s so unpredictable and downright psychotic that it was fun to be able to just let go, put myself into his character and go crazy. When writing my scenes with him, I would just ask myself what the craziest thing for him to do would be. I also based a lot of his demeanor and such on Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. There were times that I would write a scene with him, then go back to edit and end up in tears from laughing so hard. Oh, he was great fun! And the fun ain’t over yet!

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m currently working on three projects, however slow the progress may be. The first project is the second installment of the Sunstone Covens series. Like I said, the fun with Elias ain’t over yet. Next is my young adult series about a girl who makes a deal with the devil. I think we can all imagine how that’s going to go. Then again, who knows? The third project is a Harlequin type romance inspired by the Longmire television show. After becoming and being abandoned by the child’s father, she returns home to Wyoming. Her ex-fiance, determined to make things right, assumes responsibility for her and the child, no matter how determined she is to do things on her own.

Q: What would you tell other writers?

A: Advice that I would give other writers is to not listen to all the advice other writers give you. Just kidding. Sort of. You can listen to all of the advice, and some of it is really great. However, what I do is take the advice and try it. If it doesn’t work, then I discard that piece of wisdom and move on to the next. What works for one writer may not work for another. You have to figure out what works best for YOU. Another thing I’d like for all writers to know, especially those new to the business, is that not everyone is going to like what you write. And that’s okay! For every person who isn’t a fan, there’s someone else that will be. Also, write! Write every day! Even if it’s just for twenty minutes, squeeze it in. Practice makes perfect, and it definitely applies to writing.

Q: Where can I read more about you?

A: Check out more on my site, My Literary Life or follow me on Twitter @oliferguson.

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