She opened the stained glass door to the office with trepidation. Never having done this before, her hands shook. Identical platinum haired men greeted her with dazzling smiles. Paige halted as the effect of their stunning good looks left her breathless. One stepped forward, hand extended.
“Good morning and welcome to Bates Brothers Investigations. I’m Norman and he’s Master.”
“Dude, be serious,” the second twin said, hanging back a little.
“Seriously, he’s Norman and I’m Master. Our folks run a creepy hotel. Middle of nowhere, house on a cliff? No?”
“I’m Chay and he’s Trey,” the second one said, shaking her hand.
“But Dad totally wanted to name one of us Norman,” Trey contributed.
“It was all our mother could do to stop him,” Chay added with a smile.
“Did she stab him with a big, scary knife while he was in the shower?” their visitor asked.
“No, but she does love her rocking chair,” Trey replied with a grin.
“We named the dog Norman,” Chay said.
“So, neither of you is Master?” she asked slyly.
“Well….” Trey began.
Chay punched his brother. “No.”
“Don’t need to explain that one,” she interrupted.
THE PREMISE: LAURA AND GIBBONS ARE ON THE CASE AGAIN! AN UP AND COMING AUTHOR IS BRUTALLY MURDERED WHILE ATTENDING A WRITERS CONFERENCE. JANINE HARPER IS FOUND POISONED IN HER ROOM. THE SUSPECT LIST IS LONG BUT THE SAVVY DETECTIVE FERRETS OUT THE REAL WRONG DOER WITH THE HELP OF THE DEAD AUTHORS FRIENDS. THE STING IS ON AS THE HELLCAT FRANCESCA IS BEING INVESTIGATED FOR FRAUD AND MURDER.
CASSIE AND SYLVIE ARE MEETING WITH OSCAR A WOULD BE HITMAN TO NAIL FRANCESCA
Oscar replied “I suppose she would want me to kill you too if you got in the way. I’m not going to do any of that. I want you ladies to call Carolyn Crawford at 22 division and meet us here. I have information for her with regards to the Janine Harper case.
Cassie sat up straight. I remember you now! You were there the day I bought the hemlock bush for Francesca. She told me that it was a gift for a friend. I remember you took it from me and said you would handle it.
yes, and I feel guilty about what I did. Oscar replied. I took it to a shop that handles black arts. Poison potions spells and all that. The man who worked there extracted the poison from the roots of the plant and gave me a vial of hemlock to give to Fran.
Cassie continued. Yes, and then she gave me the gift basket with the poisoned wine in and told me to take it to a delivery service. The rest, as they say, is history and Janine is dead.
Right and if that bitch gets her way you will both be dead by nightfall.
Sylvie spoke. “This is something out of SNOW WHITE where the woodsman takes Snow White into the forest to kill her but leaves her for the dwarves to find.”
Oscar laughed. “Interesting comparison Sylvie. I’m going to make it look like I’m going to kill you both. However, we are going to call your friends at 22 division and fill them in on what’s going on.
Sylvie laughed and responded. “Good, because neither Cassie or I have any intention on cleaning house for a bunch of short dirty men with the help of Woodland creatures.”
Cassie agreed. “Certainly not! I didn’t get my degree in Pub. relations just to be a housekeeper.”
The whole group laughed and moved onto working out a plan to trap Ms. Lewis.
This is better than the plan we worked out with Carolyn and Laura. She went to explain plainly the sting operation to take place at the writer’s conference the following day.
The room was empty except for another doctor dressed in surgical scrubs. He looked absorbed in the science-fiction book he was reading, so she leaned back and closed her eyes. Before she knew it, she’d fallen asleep. A sound startled her and she jerked awake. She blushed as she realized the sound that had woken her was her own snoring. Mortified, she glanced at the doctor, but he hadn’t raised his head from his book. She shifted in her chair, straightened her shirt and closed her eyes again.
“You should head home if you’re that tired,” the man said without looking up from his book.
“I know,” she sighed. “I’m just too exhausted to drive. I’m afraid I’d have an accident and end up back here taking up bed space.”
He chuckled, setting his book aside. “You’d get some rest anyway.”
“No, I wouldn’t, I’d have all you bloody doctors poking me to see what made me tick,” she managed a soft chuckle and nestled further into her chair.
“We’d save special tests just for you. The most intrusive possible, with blood drawn every hour. I’m sure we could find ways to occupy your time.”
“No doubt,” she said, starting to get annoyed now by the conversation. She wanted to rest and she wanted to be left alone, neither of which was happening. “Look,” she said, sitting up in her chair. “I don’t really mean to be rude….”
“Sure you do,” he smiled, looking up from his book for the first time. He was quite attractive, but had a smug expression on his face as he clasped his hands together between his knees. “You say that so I won’t think that you think I’m being intrusive. But whenever someone starts a sentence with things like, I don’t mean to be rude, or with all due respect, they mean just the opposite.”
Back to school is right around the corner; some kids have already started the new school year, while others make final preparations. Usually, it’s an exciting time, but some kids dread the thought of going back to the place they feel the most insecure or where they’re an easy target for others entertainment. Bullying comes in all forms such as verbal, physical, isolation, and bullies themselves are often hard to identify. Sometimes they’re the stranger in the shadows, others, they’re the most popular kids on campus, and sometimes they hide behind being kind and respectful. But these days any kid given the right circumstances such as being in a group egged on by their peers, hiding behind a device, can feel empowered, and become hateful or bolder in their word choices than they normally would to others.
Social media has played a huge role over the years desensitizing kids to bullying acts that occur both physical and verbal. Behavior once considered unacceptable has slipped into the realm of socially acceptable, not only in teenage circles but often in households all across the world. Watering down meanness and turning it into humor is unsettling to me as a parent.
Outrageous name-calling or verbal onslaughts for the sake of the latest trend or lingo, can often turn conversations into subtle attacks that can cause harm and inflict damage in less than ten words. Especially if one has no idea how fragile the other person on the receiving end might be. Words and rumors causing reputations to be ruined, individuals isolated, and unfortunately, too many times we’re witnessing the unthinkable when tweens, teens, and sometimes even adults take their lives without a solid punch ever being swung. Weapon of choice these days? Phones mostly, but bullies aren’t limited to those, tablets, and the ol’ desk top still works as well.
Teen language and lingo is so foreign to me, it changes daily, and I have two teens still at home. It often sounds like slang bombardments with laughter attached. “I hate you.” “Everyone hates you.” “No one likes you.” “Drink bleach.” “Kill my self.” And I hate this one, “Kill yourself.” “Do it!”
If questioned the standard answer is the same, “I was just kidding,” or “It’s a joke.” Alternatively, “I didn’t mean it!” But unfortunately, fragile teens will take those type of words literally to heart. It wears on them and breaks them down. One has no idea of the fragile state of mind of young teens, many who are legally medicated without others knowledge.
According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. However, for every successful suicide, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Unfortunately, many of those are related to bullying. Cyberbullying is experienced on some level by many kids today. Kids are killing themselves because the bullying is torturing them and affecting them to such a degree they’d rather be dead. How disturbing is that! Again, no one can tell how the fragile state of mind is of the child on the receiving end. Disturbing.
I was inspired to write a book that addresses bullying and teens, The Greenlee Project, it’s a MCA® winner for YA and General Fiction and has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products, and services by the Mom’s Choice Awards®. It also won for YA and General Fiction at NTBF. The Greenlee Project demonstrates the effect of using social media negatively. How it affects the victim, family, friends, communities, and even the bully or bullies that are sending the damaging texts. So-called good kids, unexpectedly, become the so-called bad kids. How? Easy, one touch of a button; send!
During my research for The Greenlee Project, I observed teens on different campuses, sat at football games and in cafeterias with the teens. Visited libraries, and interviewed teens, teachers, parents, and counselors. I have teens of my own, and my house is often full of kids. But I can honestly say I was shocked about some of the things I learned during my research.
We all know that bullying has existed for years, but no one will argue today it’s a different world. Social media can put the victim on a public platform delivering the maximum amount of damage within seconds. It spreads like wildfire.
We can’t take away nor do I suggest taking away devices. But be vigilant. Watch your teens. Bullies pick on kids of all sizes and economic status. They do not discriminate and most victims, once tweens or teens, do not openly share their feeling of being abused by other kids. If you’re looking for a book that will open up a conversation about this topic, girls, and boys, read The Greenlee Project with your teen. I gurarentee emotions will brought to the surface and a discussion will start. There are even discussion questions in the back of the book to assist with the topic. Don’t wait. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.
Greenlee Lynn Granger is about to find out the meaning of technology used as a malicious tool: a normal teen one day, and ruined the next. Who knew a boy’s affections could turn her life into such turmoil? Becoming a designated project, a joke in front of the whole school, turns Greenlee’s life upside down. What she does next is shocking. An emotional glimpse into the reality of cyber bullying : cruel betrayal of such magnitude devastates Greenlee. Greenlee knows her choices will determine the future of her abusers. Her relationship with her family and friends strained, she’s forced to make mature decisions. Cyber bullying affects the victims and everyone who surrounds them. What a waste: what path will Greenlee, her persecutor, and family take?
We have all seen the devastating and lasting effects upon children, teens, their families, and the community as a whole, due to bullying and cyber bullying. This book sheds light on the impact that the bullying act has not only on the victim but also on the families of the victim and the bully, teachers, communities, friends and the person acting as the bully. Greenlee’s strength, courage and determination to stand up and right this grievous wrong is encouraging and inspiring. Greenlee could be any girl, anywhere, in America. And Clay Monning, a star athlete, could be any parent’s great kid. Peer pressure, bad decisions with horrific consequences, changes everything for both of them. Good kids, turned bad. How? Social media.
Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers’ Favorite
The Greenlee Project by Amanda thrasher is a brilliantly written story about a selected few students who are considered to be the B.P. (Beautiful People) who truly believe that it is they who run the high school that they attend in today’s electronic society. The story begins with Greenlee Granger, a fourteen-year-old girl who is going through a huge social dilemma at school. After her father drops her off at school, instead of going inside, she decides to take a long ride on a public bus. Time doesn’t seem to exist until she finally gets let off, God knows where, in a town 20 miles away. She finally gets back to reality and calls her father to pick her up.
From here the story unfolds as you get to know her circle of friends and social status, as well as the cute new boy that just transferred to her school. Clay joins the football team because he was the star quarterback where he came from. Now he has to prove himself and make the team. When it comes time for him to be initiated, he is allowed to decide the ritual, and sets out to make it a memorable one, so he proposes “The Greenlee Project.” The only people that can know about the initiation are his new team mates. That is until queen bee, Laurel, sets her sights on Clay as well.
Amanda Thrasher does a superb job of describing the intense situations that arise when the elite crowd’s attention is threatened by those that they feel are beneath them. Ms. Thrasher also delivers the pressures that the B.P. experience to maintain their status quo. All of her characters are well developed and, by the end of this powerful story, Amanda adds some unexpected surprises that really put a twist in the outcome. The Greenlee Project is an eye opening, powerfully written book that I highly recommend for teenagers, faculty, and parents. Well done!
We’re doing something a bit different today. Instead of just one author, you’ve got FOUR! There’s a reason for this, so please bear with us but a moment and read on.
Sarcasmˈ/särˌkazəm/ Noun: The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Synonyms: derision, mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing….
And the list goes on. It’s important to define this word, because not everyone knows what sarcasm is, but we all use it to one degree or another. I’m convinced my family would be unable to communicate without it. In fact, my youngest son was, without doubt, the most sarcastic five year old in his kindergarten class.
Sarcasm is a tool that, when used properly, can add interesting dimension to an author’s dialogue. Imagine your favorite characters on a TV show or in a movie, chances are, they’ve got a snarky side. These characters, and their lines, are memorable because they really spice up the chitchat. This witty repartee is fun to listen to, read and to write. I’ll be honest, I don’t think my characters could communicate without sarcasm, either.
I’ve been told I’m sarcastic. I shall neither confirm nor deny this allegation. Instead, I’d love to share some of my work with you and you can judge for yourself. Over the next few weeks, a few of my (supposedly) sarcastic friends are going to talk about using sarcasm in our work and in life. Rather than giving them a big introduction, I’ll let their work speak for them. If you’d like to find out more about these ladies, click the Guilty Parties link above.
Sit back, sip your favorite beverage, (I find that sarcasm is best with lemonade, but you be the judge) and be prepared for some dry humor, wise cracks and a tad bit of sarcasm. Just a little…not too much….
Someone wants movie producer Kent Griswald dead. Unfortunately, the first attempt is foiled by the fact that it’s not Kent on the beach, but his younger brother. In broad daylight, in front of dozens of witnesses, someone takes a pot shot at Connor. Detectives Weinstein and Scott are dispatched to investigate.
Detective Vanessa Weinstein came on the scene ten minutes after the shooting. Aggressive and competitive, she was an up and comer. She knew how to play the game and used her femininity to her advantage. Dressed in a black power suit and a very white shirt, she stood out clearly on the beach. Somehow, in some mysterious way that Walter Scott couldn’t explain, the woman didn’t sweat. Her black hair was sleek, unmoving in the wind off the ocean. Her skin was perfectly dry, not even a bead of sweat on her full lips.
“The rest of Daytona’s in hell in this late season heat wave and you stand there looking like the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Scott complained, wiping his face with a handkerchief.
“Don’t sweat in my crime scene,” she said in a bored tone. “What’s going on upstairs?”
“Got two perps, one actual shooter, one decoy. Second guy left his weapon. Your guy left a shell casing. Looks like both had the same kind of gun. No serial numbers on mine.”
“Why would they make it easy? You didn’t find my gun, huh?”
“Nope. But the shell’s a 5.56mm, so we’re figuring they both had identical weapons. MSSR.”
She nodded, taking a sip of hot coffee from an insulated mug. Scott slurped water from a rapidly warming bottle and wiped his brow on his fist.
“Jeez, can we at least get outta the sun? I’m gonna fry.”
“You should try getting a tan, Walt.”
“I’m Scottish and Scandinavian, Ness, I don’t tan. You could put me out here all day, I’d burn red as a beet.”
“They’re purple.” She moved into the shade of a cabana bar where they’d set up their command center.
My characters wield sarcasm like well-sharpened sword. Laura Hamilton Fitz uses sarcasm to deal with sticky situations when faced with bad-asses trying to kill her and annoying people she has no patience for. Many people will tell you she has an attitude but as a busy mom, CSI and corpse magnet extraordinaire. (see I used sarcasm there) Laura doesn’t have time for BS.
Stella is Laura’s nemesis (next to her mother of course) and knows how to push the girl’s buttons. I am surprised that Stella herself hasn’t made it to Laura’s hit list…. Anyway, in one scene from Dead Men Don’t Swing Laura puts Stella in her place after the pest gives her a hard time about doing a eulogy for a dead, and might I add, not well liked tenant.
I went down the hall to the laundry room. I couldn’t even fathom doing a load before checking the traps and washing out all the machines before using one. I was just putting my loads in when Stella flounced in. I gave her a look that said, “Don’t start lady.” She’s either dense or doesn’t care and got on my case about the eulogy.
“Ya know Stella, you’re usually an astute woman but right now you are down to two brain cells and they are limping. I am only going to say this once, so listen closely! You can shove your eulogy! I don’t know the guy. The other tenants aren’t being forthcoming with details except for stuff I refuse to put in a tribute to the dead man. I also don’t have the time for this crap and it’s not my job.”
Ruth Davis Hays – Translations from Jorthus Series
Tools of the trade Sarcasm can be a fun and useful tool. It can be brought up in different ways. It can be presented in the narrative to express a character’s particular view of the world:
High school locker rooms. Every kid’s favorite place. The arena to expose our physical flaws to our worst critics like exposing our jugular to a vampire. (Watchdogs, a young adult novella in progress)
Or it can be a personality trait displayed in speech:
“A snow storm in the desert? Nothing out of the ordinary here!” Keinigan tried to pry a laugh from his dour companions.
Yet, his question was taken in earnest by the good dravan scholar, who proceeded to educate him on climate aberrations and how a reoccurring anomaly marked over a span of documented time can be construed as an ordinary pattern.
Keinigan groaned and pulled his cloak down over his head to block the freezing winter winds. The amount of snowfall was indeed strange for this area, but he made a mental note not to attempt humor around Master Calbraum anymore. (The Illusion, a Jorthus novel in progress)
My favorite, from time to time, is to use it to quickly convey a relationship between characters:
Before Dharromar could open his mouth, Keinigan’s fist smashed into his jaw. When the stars cleared from his brain, he was blinking up at his attacker. “I get the feeling you’re not happy to see me,” the changeling groaned from the dirt.
“Actually, I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time.”
“Little bit. You?”
“Wonderful. Your concern for me is truly touching. Now if you really want to be a help, you could come down here and suck my bolls.”
“Maybe later. I’m too busy celebrating.” Keinigan shuffled around the tent randomly as he listened to the voices of Lylith and the magda councilors filtering through the fabric. “Didn’t you hear? The changeling has returned to save us! Hoorah! The darquone are already retreating just hearing you’re back. I feel folching fantastic!” (The Illusion)
When the bite of sarcasm is set in contrast to more sincere narrative or dialogue, it stands out to the reader and punctuates either the writer’s opinion of the character or the situation. I find it incredibly irresistible at times, but must remind myself to read it not as intended but as written, in order to find out if the words are successful. If the sarcasm does not come across, either I am not doing my job or I need to rethink my use of the tool.
Disheartened, Cassie began to make a quiet retreat when she turned around and saw a homeless man who put his hand over her mouth and dragged her towards an abandoned building behind the brownstones. Biting his hand, and elbowing him in the face, she managed to free herself from his grasp. Turning around, she kicked him right in the yam bag when the homeless guy yelled in agony, “Damn’ it Cass!”
Doing a double take, she looked closer at him only to realize it was Amato. “Jesus, John, what the hell you doing walkin’ up on me like that?”
“Tryin’ to get you out of trouble!” he said through gritted teeth. Doubled over, Amato took deep breaths trying not to vomit in the alley.
Blushing, Cassie tried not to laugh. She was tempted to apologize but that wasn’t happening. Besides, it was nice to know she could still handle herself even in her messed up condition. A few minutes passed before she asked, “Ya gonna be alright?”
He looked up at her bewildered, “No wonder we broke up.”
Shrugging her shoulders, she answered right back, “Not every man can handle a strong woman.”
“Not every man wants a ball buster.”
Straightening up, Amato signaled for her to follow him as he limped away. Not feeling all that great herself, was starting to feel a sharp pain in her head. She had forgotten to take her meds and was now paying the price for it. As the two of them hobbled away from danger, the sounds of the city permeated the air playing a soundtrack to this ridiculous love story. Sirens, barking dogs and Amato’s bitching rang loudly in Cassie ears as she wondered how the hell they were ever gonna make it through this?
Join us the 15th of every month when one (or more) of us will share snippets of our stories — focusing on sarcasm, of course! We will comb through our work and find the best bits for you. You have our promise on that! Would we lie to you? ~Dellani
Vivica grabbed the dogs off Teague since they had progressed to smelling parts of him better left alone. The smallest was a Jack Russell.
“That one is Pesky,” Vivica said as the little one leaped four feet in the air trying to get in Teague’s arms. “The middle child is Evita and the big one is Rex.”
“Hello Pesky, Evita and Rex,” Teague said, scratching them all behind the ears.
Pesky followed him, still trying to get him to hold her. He finally picked her up and she yipped delightedly. Evita licked his shoe and Rex sat opposite him staring. He looked like he was part something very large, like an Irish Wolfhound or possibly a horse. Evita looked like a beagle blend. They all seemed to accept him, delighted at his presence. While he held Pesky, winning her over completely by rubbing her belly, Vivica made coffee.
“I hope you don’t have to get up too early,” she said.
“I can be a little late with Scott. He’s not an early riser anyway and he’ll understand once I tell him why I’m late.”
“Oh? What will you tell him?” Her green eyes held a reprimand, thinking he would make fun.
“I’ll tell him I was getting to know the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Her eyes and smile softened, her lip trembling as tears threatened to fall. “You have this way of blindsiding me with compliments, Teague McMurtry. Why are you so damn adorable?”
He smiled, his voice dropping into the delicious, dark chocolate range. “It’s easy to compliment a woman when all I have to do is tell the truth. You are beautiful, vivacious, magnificent, stunning and seductive.” He set the dog down, walking over to where she stood. “I want you to tie me up in your hair and never let me go.” He took handfuls of her hair, bringing them to his lips, inhaling deeply as he buried his face in her dark tresses.
Last week, I discussed the closing of Predators & Editors and the possible alternatives authors can use when investigating a potential publisher or service provider. Today, I’m going to list sources that can help indie authors educate themselves on the publishing business. After all it’s much harder to take advantage of an educated author and that’s what most scammers fear.
Authors are notorious for drawing back the curtain on the publishing industry by talking about their experiences with editors, posting their contracts, and even revealing their monthly income. This rips the veil of secrecy that kept the publishing industry mysterious while keeping authors broke. Oh sorry, I meant starving for their art.
Anyway, let’s get started…
News About The Industry
Did you know that All Romance Books and Ellora’s Cave went under in 2016? You would’ve if you had been keeping tabs on the industry. Listed below are just some of the blogs/newsletters dedicated to the publishing industry.
Book Life (Focuses on self-publishing and owned by Publisher’s Weekly.)
BookBub PartnersMainly they discuss their platform but they also share tips on book launches, marketing and self-publishing hacks.
This is just a small list of all the wonderful blogs and podcasts that indie authors can glean from. As self-publishing becomes more and more the norm, authors are going to have to make decisions about the direction of their careers. Some of these blogs and podcasts can help at least point you in the right direction. The author community is a very supportive place as you can see, we do watch each other’s back. Though losing Predators & Editors was a big blow to indie authors, it didn’t break anyone’s determination to keep on keeping on. This is the greatest thing about the author community, and I’m proud to be part of it and you should too.
If you have any suggestions for newbie authors whether it be a podcast, blog or book, let us know in the comment section.