Amanda Thrasher, Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes, Karen Vaughan, Ruth Davis Hays, Stephanie Osborn

Happy New Year from Cereal Authors

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Reflections on a Year by Ruth Davis Hays

2017, what have you done to me?

I dreaded the coming of 2017. Long hours of painful work anticipated. Anxiety over payments owed or debts that would accumulate. Rollbacks of regulations and freedoms that were imagined to be permanent for our future collective good. But, nothing had braced me for the fears that did arise this last year.

In the past year, I have gone from devastation to thankful and grateful reprieve.

Let me preface this by saying that I am close to my mother. Very close. Early on in 2017, my mother was hospitalized with jaundice. That led to the discovery that she had a cancerous tumor blocking her pancreas.

Now, pancreatic cancer is one of the most pervasive and aggressive cancers. I know this because a dear friend of mine died just a few years ago after fighting pancreatic cancer for six years.

This news shook me to my core. I had to face the real possibility that my mother, the stable influence throughout my life, might not live past my fiftieth birthday this year. So many things raced into my mind of what my sister and I needed to decide on, from an estate and parental care point of view concerning our aging father and the house our parents owned. We suddenly found ourselves in the realm of having to deal with “what might happen after…”

And it was the After part that tore us to ribbons. We both love our mother more than words can say. She was our rock. She was our inspiration. We would both rather die than see her in pain. But, we both had already seen friends dealing with cancer, up close and personal. So, we dreaded having to see our mother in that position.

But, by the grace of all that is holy, her jaundice was a blessing in disguise. The cancer had not spread beyond her pancreas and she was able to be connected with the best surgeons in Florida.

It is the second week of December. It has been a long and emotional year for my family, but after chemo and surgery, my mother has been labeled as clear of cancer. I am beyond thankful to have her healing and still with us for this holiday season. I am thankful that she is celebrating the new year with us. And, through it all, I am thankful for the love and support that we have received from friends and relatives.

Politically and artistically, not much has been achieved in my personal life, but as far as my family life is concerned… 2017 was a win, because it helped my mother heal her body against a frightful foe.

© 2018 Ruth Davis Hays

To Find Out More About Ruth Davis Hays

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My 2017 in a Nutshell by Karen Vaughan

Wow what a year and boy, did it go fast. I feel like I did a lot this year professionally and personally speaking, but lets just stick to writing and promoting.

OWL AND PUSSYCAT/OWL BRANCH PROMOTIONS:

My promotional business with Viv Drewa morphed into a partnership with Crystal Gauthier and we became part of The Owl Book Promotions. I met a lot of great new authors that have since become great Facebook friends if they already weren’t. However due to Health issues of one of the partners we went back to Owl and Pussycat Promotions.

WRITERS ROUNDTABLE saw a lot of new literary guests come to the show. In essence, my interviews were entertaining, to say the least and look forward to an exciting 4th year on the air.

WRITING, WRITING, AND MORE WRITING:

I had Dead Men Don’t Swing republished during the year through Southern Owl Publications, which is owned and run by Crystal Gauthier. I plan to do this more in 2018.

I also attempted to work on some WIP projects and get them done but alas they are still WIPS. Maybe next year! I won the NaNoWriMo this year for What the Heart Wants

I have tons of ideas for stories but again the muse is fickle.

When not doing writing related things I dabble in arts and crafts or I can be found reading and gaming.

Here’s Merry Christmas to everyone and a happy 2018

© 2018 Karen Vaughan

To Find Out More About Karen Vaughan

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Reflections of 2017 – Amanda M. Thrasher

2017 is coming to an end; shocking, since it seems like the year was a blur. As I reflect upon the past twelve months, it feels as if I lost time (I didn’t), but the year that was filled with successes, regrets, and joy, indeed flew by. My oldest daughter, now a beautiful young lady, is about to jump into the next phase of her life. As she visits colleges, I’m terrified she’s unprepared, but surely I’m mistaken? She’s as ready as every other kid about to leave home, right?

My personal work, writing, suffered this year due to a lack of time dedicated to existing projects and for that, I have sincere regrets. I am thrilled that Bitter Betrayal released, and in time for TLA, that was a huge relief. Despite my lack of writing time our company is thriving, and that is a direct result of our (mine personally) and the commitment of others to ensure that we worked tirelessly on behalf of the authors that we represent. The company is in an excellent position and will start 2018 with the most robust first quarter that we’ve ever experienced to date. Starting off the year in such a way will allow me, as an author, to take back the time I need to commit to writing and finishing existing projects. Projects that mean a lot to me and that I’m passionate about such as finishing Captain Fin.

I believe 2017 was a fruitful year, but a year where I wished I’d spent more time with my family, and as I stated wanted to finish Captain Fin (which will be a priority in 2018). My daughter, the senior in high school, should have spent more time with me (not that she would have) but I wished I’d forced the issue a little more, though I was pleased I was able to attend most of her soccer games this year. She experienced her first real heartbreak; every young woman goes through such, but it was awful to witness, and my heart broke for her. She learned from that experience to never look backward and is now excited about her future and a new relationship.

My youngest daughter continually challenges me as a mom, but in the neatest way. Learning to drive, testing those around her, she still has the sweetest spirit of any child I know. Others would not understand this statement, one of the mysteries of this young girl. 2017 was a year in which she truly blossomed, and it was a beautiful thing to witness.

Watching my son work and grow is always a treat. Continually striving to be his best, a great father, husband, and son. Spending time with him is still a joy, and one of the greatest gifts of 2017 was going on vacation with him and his family. Our family (Mike, the girls), my dad, who I adore, and my sister who I appreciate more now than ever. Having us all together at the same time, in the same place for an entire week, was the highlight of my year.

As an author during 2017, my work The Greenlee Project, a book about bullying, won the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for YA-Social Issues. Because this book is so important to me, I was naturally thrilled about this, and the news brought me to tears. Bitter Betrayal was the Gold Recipient of The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) for YA and General Fiction. The Mom’s Choice Awards® evaluates products and services created for children, families, and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products, and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of items from more than 55 countries. It, Bitter Betrayal, also won the New Apple Literary Award for YA and General Fiction.

My goal for 2018: Finish Captain Fin and write the fourth installment of the Mischief series. And of course, continue my role as CEO of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press.

© 2018 Amanda Thrasher

To Find Out More About Amanda Thrasher

Bitter Betrayal buy link

The Greenlee Project buy link

 

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It Was a Fairly Good Year by Dellani Oakes

2017 has been an eventful year, in one way or another. We witnessed the birth of our second granddaughter in July, and rode out a hurricane. (When I say rode out, I really mean that we retreated to Virginia and visited our daughter for nearly two weeks) The good thing about that trip was that I got some uninterrupted time with my beautiful granddaughters. (The eldest is 9 going on 90)

Hurricane Irma gifted Florida with something to which my body has strenuously objected. I’ve been sick on and off since she roared through. Whatever it is, I sincerely hope someone takes it back, because I’m tired of it.

On a professional note, I consider 2017 more of a success. A few years ago, after looking at the queue of unfinished work, I set myself a goal of finishing a book a month. In 2014, I finished 14 books. 2015 was even better, with 25. I reverted to 14 in 2016, but 5 of those were start to finish books: two at 9 days each, then 6, 4 and 2 days. To be fair, the 2 day one was a novella, but the rest are over 50,000 words each. Shortly after writing of this article, I finished a piece for December. Making a total of 14 once again. It’s a novella, but I’m still pleased with it. Not bad, considering how much time I spent on the road between here and Virginia, and how much of that time, I was sick.

I published several books this year. So Much It Hurts, a contemporary romance, was released by Tirgearr Publishing on November 1. I also released an adult coloring book, Doodle Your Stress Away. I re-released a new and improved version of Indian Summer, as well as publishing its sequel, Savage Heart. I also published The Maker – Book 3 in my sci-fi series. Now, if they would sell, I’d be ecstatic.

Looking toward 2018, I hope for better health, and the ability to release a few more books. I’m constantly writing, creating interesting blog posts, and enjoying my days in the literary universe. I call it that, because it’s much more than a world. Books set us free from the here and now, carrying us far away from the everyday. What a blessed release, to lose oneself in somewhere completely different, even if for a short time.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

For More About Dellani

Stephanie Osborn purple top

Happy New Year By Stephanie Osborn

The Earth does orbit Sun from year to year,

And on each pass, it reaches such a place

As makes no diff’rence to the orbit’s sphere;

Still, yet the natives pause in daily chase.

Anon, the New Year comes around each pass,

Tho’ meaningless the point in orbit be.

And number’d high, the planet does amass’

And celebrations raucous we shall see.

For me, ‘tis most a time to sit and think.

Of what has passed and what is yet to come.

Of past, of present, future, all to link.

Of old and new, and stories yet to plumb.

So Happy New Year to you all, my friends!

I lift libation as the old year ends!

© 2018 Stephanie Osborn

 

For More About Stephanie Osborn

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From all of us at Cereal Authors, we hope you are blessed with a happy and healthy 2018.

 

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author, books, Cereal Authors, Fantasy, Fiction, Musings, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Teens, Uncategorized

Watchdogs Part 3

by R L Davis Hays 2017

WIP copy

“Tori, honey? Could you come in here when you get a sec?”

My mom’s voice sounded strained and I had just walked in the door. What could it be so soon? The bittersweet smoke lingering in the air screamed to me of the presence of Derek, her cigarette-toting man-thing.  By God, he had the worst taste in smokes.

I used to love the smell of my grandfather’s pipe, stuffed with the butt-ends of his cheap cigars, a sweet hickory scent that infused my grandparent’s log cabin with the trappings of comfort and acceptance.  Not the same as Derek’s at all.

Clutching my backpack, I hurried to my room, briefly catching the sight of dark hair on curled toes peeking out of two Birkenstocks that had seen better days.  Through the door to our living room, I could see his pajama clad legs as he sat in the same spot he had claimed the first day mom brought him home.  What little sunlight that floated through the window draperies caught in the cloud of clove smoke and was prevented from intruding further.

“Did you hear your mother, Victoria?”

I dropped my backpack to the floor, my hand on the handle to my bedroom.  So close.  I almost went five seconds without Derek parenting me.

“Yes, Derek.  I heard her.  Can’t I just put my stuff up first?”

“You don’t have to backtalk.”

My eyes rolled out of sheer habit.  Tossing my pack to my bed, I moved into the kitchen to see my mother, her walker against the counter, trying her best to reach up into a top cupboard.  A stack of groceries covered the counter-top, the bags littering the floor, and the back door was standing open.

“Why doesn’t Derek help you with the groceries?” I asked for the millionth time as I lowered her off her tiptoes and placed the soup cans onto the shelf with ease.  Perhaps I was born for the simple task of reaching high areas for my tiny, middle-aged mater.   Seems as likely as any reason.

“He doesn’t come over to do chores, Tori.  He works hard. Let him relax,” she mewed.

I sighed.  It was the same line she used for my absent father who watched her body disintegrate until he had had enough of “taking care of a mooch” and decided to leave her.

“He could at least shut the door if your arms are full, couldn’t he? That wouldn’t take any of his precious energy.” I mumbled so she could not hear too much as I closed the wooden door.

“I’m perfectly capable of–”

“No, you’re not, Mom.” I heaved a sigh and grabbed the plastic handles of a floor-dwelling bag. “You have a freaking walker to deal with. You shouldn’t have to carry groceries from the car by yourself.”

“No, she shouldn’t.” Derek magically appeared at the arch to the dining room. It was like the click of the back door summoned him.  His gravel choked voice continued to scold me as if I had been the one squatting in the other room listening to her struggles this whole time. “You should be more helpful for your mother.”

After the day I had just been dealt, something in me snapped. “You’re right, Derek. I should’ve known my mom was at the store and should’ve dashed home like The Flash to help her with the bags! Utterly brilliant!”

“Tori.” My mom admonished me with her tone. “Just put the things away for me, please? I need to lie down. Can you do that without yelling at anybody? Please?”

I wilted. “Sure, Mom.”

She shuffled to the arch where Derek ushered her to the hall with a waiting arm. He was such a freaking hero. I resumed sorting the items from the bags, muttering to myself. “I wasn’t yelling at just anybody. It was still a pretty stupid thing to say. How am I supposed to help when I’m not even home, Derek? Tell me that. Like you tell me everything else; you’re so smart and so wonderful. Why can’t you tell me that? Huh?”

Meaningless, pointless venting.  Eventually my grumble petered off to silence and I was absorbed in organizing the shelves, the frig, and the small pantry closet near the back door.

An hour later, I realized Derek’s true genius. I had cleaned the kitchen without being asked.  Pure evil, that’s what he was.

books, Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Fantasy, Fiction, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized

Character Quotes from THE EXCURSION by R L Davis Hays

But, here they were. Lylith, Lady Pinne, Rachel and her new admirer, Hamlin, as well as the knight Trevalin and even Master Calbraum… all willing to help him merely because he had told the truth instead of trying to steal what he needed. He was amazed.

gala n kein CA“These people don’t really exist, do they?” he muttered aloud as he felt the warm form of Gala slip into a spot beside him. She was his back up. Since the Journeymen had hired her, she was his best bet on finding them. Though, to be honest, neither of them knew exactly where to go. This whole force of magda and arms were only going to be applicable if the journeyman took the bait.

“Do people really do this much to help each other?” he marveled, but Gala brought in the touch of reality that he needed.

“No. They want to arrest the Journeyman and you are their best way of finding him. Otherwise, we’d be on our own, Keen,” she stated flatly.

“Thanks, Gala.” He snorted. “You always know how to make me feel special.”

With that, she got back up and left him to sulk.

books, Cereal Authors, Life, Literary, Musings, Ruth Davis Hays, Sassy Sarcasm, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process

Sarcasm vs…

I used to have a snarky reply for every question. When I was a teen, my mother used to ask why I was so “smart-mouthed”.  When I was college-aged and in a group of friends I considered to all be equally intelligent, I would let the sarcasm fly. I knew they would “get” it.

Looking back, I don’t know if I was eager for the laughter (even if it was only my own), or if I was guarding my emotions. Can’t get hurt if they think you don’t care, right?

But recently, I’ve noticed that I’m not as off the cuff as I used to be. The sarcasm comes out when I’m irritated or tired; it’s reserved for those special moments when I’ve been pushed too far.

When Dellani first spoke to the Cereal Authors about posting on sarcasm, I thought it would be easy. On the contrary, I’ve found myself at a loss lately. Thinking on it, I tried to trace back to where I had lost my everyday sarcasm. I believe I tempered it when I was raising my son. (There is only so much witty, sardonic banter one can throw at a five year old before it just sounds cruel.)

As my son developed into a teenager, I let it creep back and he seemed to take to it like a duck to water. Now, he’s the smart-mouthed one. (Maybe it’s a teen thing!)

In looking for examples of sarcasm in my writing, I’ve come across the conundrum of:  Is this sarcasm or is it irony?

So, I thought I’d try and work that out this month, and in doing so, found that it is not a situation of Sarcasm vs. Irony. It is rather a hand in hand relationship.

Dictionary.com describes Sarcasm as “a form of irony in which apparent praise conceals another, scornful meaning…” and “mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult.”

It is usually delivered through dialogue or tone. Now, a person’s tone is somewhat difficult to convey in a literary piece without actually using a descriptive speech tag like “he said in a mocking tone.” (A bit subtle, don’t ya think?)

Irony has one definition that is just as vaguely symbiotic:  “the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean.

However, irony can be more situational and punctuated by the use of sardonic, biting dialogue. And with its second definition:  “an incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity,” and “In Literature:  a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.”

There we go, as clear as day. A big, bright, sunshiny day.

For a crude example of the two, I came up with a situation in the blurry haze of the morning.  Say that there are two characters riding an elevator together, and one guy passes gas. The other notices and remarks, “Nice. Thanks. We needed an air-freshener in here.”

Now, if that same gassy character is lying in bed, lets one fly, and then flips over in his covers and essentially Dutch Ovens himself. (That is not only karmic justice, but on the ironic side.)

I warned you it was crude. I’m not sure where I was going with this article, but it sprang out of a contemplation of myself. Like I said, I used to wield sarcasm in almost every social situation when I was young. I used it to not get too close or appear too vulnerable to those around me. One definition of irony rang true to me on this point. “(especially in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.”

Detachment from an emotion.

Yes, there it is.

That is what drives the sarcastic banter among several of my main characters. Especially those that have the most to lose by admitting their true feelings or having those feelings exposed. Sarcasm is their shield, as it was mine. (And still is on many occasions.) It is an essential element in them, their way of dealing with their world. I cannot picture them without it. And, I don’t think I would want to.

Just a musing for this month, as I approach the Half Century mark in my life, that I thought I would share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

books, Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized

Character Quotes from THE EXCURSION by R L Davis Hays

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As soon as he was done, she pointed languidly at his cheek and asked, “Those scars on your face. Where’d you get them?”

“Why?” he asked, noticing a different tone in her voice.

“They’re sexy looking,” she added playfully.

He sobered a bit, raised one sharp eyebrow, and said with a clever cock of the head, “A massive reaverbear slashed me with its two long claws right before I chopped its head off.”

“Really?” Her eyes were wide.

He couldn’t conceal his smile, confessing the lie in his eyes.

“Com’on! Really?” Rachel pushed his shoulder, a bit harder than she had intended.

They both laughed.

“No,” he admitted.

“Seriously then, where’d you get ‘em?”

“I can’t tell you.” He resisted, then added with a wicked grin. “Then I’d have to kill you.”

Rachel shoved him with a fumbling slap on his chest. “Hot! Got any others?”

“Nope,” he laughed, suddenly sorry that his fae flesh healed so well. “Sorry, those are the only ones.”

“Well, you showed me yours, I guess it’s only fair that I show you mine.” Even she could detect the slurring now from the ale, and she giggled again. Struggling with her tunic shirt tucked into a wide leather belt, Rachel pulled it until a short, thickly seamed scar on her abdomen could be seen just below her ribs.

Keinigan’s eyes were drawn to her soft light flesh there, and his mind uttered a grateful prayer to the gods. He glanced around to see if any other patrons might see this little display as he uttered, “Well, mine are on my face, that’s hardly fair.” Followed quickly by a breathy query, “Got any others?”

Leaning towards him, she caught his mouth in a playful kiss. “Shut up.” She smiled, now feeling much warmer and eager to share his tenderness. “Yes.”

“What kind of scars?” He looked her up and down as he smirked.

“Surgical,” she said. They were very close together now, his lips brushing hers temptingly.

“Really?” he whispered. “Where?”

She grinned, her eyes shining with the flirtatious glee. “They’re down there,” she said pointing to her hips as she watched his eyes flame. “One for an appendix and the other for a hernia.”

“And, how do they look?” He waited with bated breath for her answer.

“If we go someplace private, I might can show you.”

She snuggled in for another passionate kiss. As it ended, he practically overturned the table as he leapt to his feet.

“Oh! Alright, let’s go!” he chimed.

Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized, YA

A Work in Progress — Watchdogs

Part 2

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.

I may not be the tallest girl in my class, but I’m gangling enough to pass as a teenage boy if I wanted.  All shoulders and elbows.  Stupid pseudo-ectomorph body type.  My breasts popped out in seventh grade, but quickly gave up the fight against gravity.  Now they are just two medium ski slopes dangling above a small paunch of “baby fat” that refuses to go away no matter how many sit-ups my coaches tell me to do.  I don’t want a six-pack; I just want to be able to button my jeans without lying flat on my bed.

If having attention being called to my body’s disproportions during (not one, but two) gym classes each weekday and giggled about by my peers was not enough, I was sure to be reminded of my “budding womanhood” by my mom’s creepy-ass boyfriend when I get home.

Geez, why can’t we just be prepubescent one night and burst forth from a chrysalis two days later as a legal adult?  Why must we suffer for eight to ten years like this?

I hate high school.  So what? I’m sure everybody does.  I’m not a whiner.  It’s just that transitioning to a new school mid-semester because my old school burned to the ground puts me in unfamiliar territory.  I’ve known some of these kids most of my life, we just went to different schools for a lot of that time.  Now I’m in their world, uncertain and vulnerable.  It takes every aspect of myself that I was comfortable with and sticks it under a new microscope to be poked and prodded by narrowed eyes that are less than impartial.

Gym is the worst and the best.  The coaches push me to join after school athletics and I usually get picked right away for team sports. This is because of the way I look, not because of any proven skills.  I’ve had to adapt over the years, so as to appear that I know what I’m doing.  Example:  I can hit a ball hard enough; I just don’t always know how to make it go in the right direction.

I would much prefer to be in an art class or computer lab.  Thus, I suffer through my typical day.

Also, I’m the type of person to use the word ‘thus’.  Enough said.

Amanda Thrasher, books, Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes, JD Holiday, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben, Ruth Davis Hays, Stephanie Osborn

It’s Our 5th Anniversary & We’re Celebrating!

 

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I can’t believe it’s been five years!  You know they say for a 5th anniversary you’re supposed to buy wood but the only thing I can think of that a writer would want that’s wooden is maybe a pencil?  Okay, how about a paperweight?  Hey, you know paper is technically made from trees, imagine it, I can be the Oprah of loose leaf paper…

Oprah Meme

Call me crazy but I don’t see anyone getting excited over paper products.  As you see, tradition isn’t very helpful when it comes to a fifth anniversary.  However instead of going on about how lame these gift traditions are, I’d rather explain why we decided to do this blog in the first place…

Once upon a time, a group of authors got together and decided form a collective blog where we shared book excerpts, writing tips, or just plain ranted.  Today, with over 1,100 posts, we’ve surprised even ourselves by the amount of work we’ve done and I can only speak for myself but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here.  If it weren’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have started, let alone finished my romance novel, Fedelta.

This blog keeps me accountable, it forced me to take my career seriously.  It also keeps me surrounded by other authors who are also pursuing their dream and that’s infectious.

As I look back on the last five years, I noticed that many of the authors that started out with us are no longer around.  Some had health problems or money issues, while one of us actually died!  It’s been quite the journey nonetheless and the fact that we’re still here, and still writing, tells you about our determination.  This isn’t our hobby, we’re serious!

Anyway, enough of my babbling, I wanted to showcase the works of our authors here and hope you take the time to pick up one of our books.  Just click on the graphics, and it will take you to that author’s Amazon page.

Dellani Oakes Author of Sci-Fi & Romance:

Dellani s Sci Fi 1

Dellani s Romace Collage

J.D. Holiday: Author of Children’s Books & Short Stories:

JD Holiday Collage 1

Karen Vaughan: Author of Cozy Mysteries:

Karen Vaughans Collage

Amanda M. Thrasher: Author of YA & Children’s Books:

Amanda Thrasher s Collage 1

Amanda s YA Novels Collage

Ruth Davis Hays Author of Fantasy Novels:

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

Rachel Rueben: Author of Romance & YA

Rachel Rueben Collage 1

Stephanie Osborn: Author of Sci-Fi & Mystery Novels:

Stephanie Osborn s Book Collage 1

Stephanie Osborn Mystery Collage

I guess the moral to this story is, to always surround yourself with people who are doing the thing you want to do.  Despite what the naysayers tell you, you can succeed at a career in publishing.  It just takes time and dedication.  A few years ago, there was a TED Talk concerning the subject of grit and how success is usually determined not by intelligence or talent, but by grit.  Grit is often defined as determination and/or resolve.  After seeing that video, this blog immediately came to mind, because I can say without a doubt, that the Cereal Authors are some of the grittiest authors you will ever meet and I mean that with all the love in the world.  ❤

Anyways, happy anniversary guys, it’s been a privilege to know you all and to be part of this blog.  And here’s to the next chapter of our journey…

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Most of the images in this post are courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

 

Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben, Ruth Davis Hays, Sassy Sarcasm

Sassy Sarcasm with Dellani, Karen, Rachel and Ruth

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.

Sassy Sarcastic
Sassy Sarcasm

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….

© 2017 Dellani Oakesdellani photo dark red

Undiscovered – Dellani Oakes

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.

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 200

“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.

“Whatever.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

KAREN TIMMYS 2013

Dead Men Don’t Swing – Karen Vaughan

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.

Dead Men Don't SwingI 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.”

© 2017 Karen Vaughan

Ruth Davis Hays

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:

The Illusion by Ruth Davis HaysA 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.”

Feel better?”

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.

© 2017 Ruth Davis Hays

Rachel Rueben

Fedelta – Rachel Rueben

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?”

Fedelta 2He 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?

© 2017 Rachel Rueben

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

author, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Life, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

So New, It Doesn’t Even Have a Title

A work in progress:

The juice box was definitely against me. Its resistance was punctuated by a taunting titter.  My efforts to open it were futile, it mocked.

 

WIP copyNo, wait. The snickering was not the juice box. It came from down the lunch table.  I didn’t even have to look their way. I knew who was laughing, and I didn’t want to see if it was me they were laughing at.  In my heart, I knew it was.

 

I continued to stab at the little cellophane covered hole with the sadly beveled end of the hard plastic straw like Van Helsing at the climax of a bad B movie. The final strike bent my straw, but rewarded me with a squirt of lukewarm apple juice in the face. An arterial explosion worthy of the best special effects artist in the business.

 

The laughter from the perfectly coifed girls at the other end of the table could not be ignored this time.  My life was not a bad horror movie; it was a comedy and I was the hapless victim of a situational schtick.

 

Staring down at the lunch tray, I watched the juice drown my stale, rectangular pizza slice.  At least, I wasn’t hungry anymore anyway.  My appetite was ruined by the whispered jokes about me destroying the little paper box with my brute strength.

 

I closed my eyes and swore that if I heard one more comment from those four makeup-slathered, social media celeb wannabes about me being a “she-male”, I’d flip this table on their heads.

 

Not that I hold any direct animosity for She-males, or what have you, but I do resent lies being spread about me.  And, I resent those who start the lies.  Namely, Brittany.  My mom says I spend way too much time worrying about Brittany, her crew, and what they think or say about me.

 

Mom says it doesn’t matter what others think, only what I know about myself.  Yeah, she’s full of inspirational poster stuff like that.

 

Sorry, Mom.  But, it’s hard not to see myself reflected in the eyes and jeers of my fellow students.  My peers.  What a joke.  I have so very little in common with them that I hesitate to call them peers of any sort.  Alas, for the next year or so, I must.

 

Of course, using the word ‘alas’ in casual conversation is one of the things these girls would tease me about.  Can I help it if my grandfather read Shakespeare to me for the last fifteen years of his life?

 

The siren-like bell blared from the hall to announce the next class would begin in five.  I gathered my sloshing tray and stood, never glancing at Brittany once.  Fifth period was next.  Gym class, right after lunch.  Brilliant scheduling.

 

When was this nightmare going to end?

*****************************************************************************

I woke up the other day recounting my dream several times as I did to try and remember it. The sights, the feelings, the familiar trappings of high school. I often dream that I’m back in school, but never had I wanted to write them into a story. This one was fun.  Well, to me, running for my life and fighting creatures while possessing an unnatural strength in a dream is fun.  Others may call it a nightmare.  Either way, it spawned this new character. This is a little beginning snippet from what I will call my first Urban Paranormal Young Adult story.

It is such an infant at the moment that it has no name.  Heck, I just came up with the protagonist’s name this morning.  I hope you enjoy!

Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Ramblings, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized, YA

Realms of Light — a fanfic continues

Again, a disclaimer:  I do not own, nor did I create, these characters. I wrote this as homage to my favorite writers, J. R. R. Tolkien as well as Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. — Ruth Davis Hays

 

After an exhausting and confusing time of “follow the leader”, the two found the front door and had gone inside.  The house seemed to unfold, with each room larger than the last and offering more doors that led to more and more rooms.  Each one stranger and filled with more interesting little things than the one before it.  Indeed, it could take an eternity to wander and explore the whole place.

In one tall library that had a fireplace larger than they were high and a long polished wood table, they had come across the kender, Gintilli Dibbertill.  She was a slender and muscular girl with a long, blonde topknot tied in the same fashion as Tasslehoff’s.  She looked much like Tas, only feminine in all the right ways.  Her manner was very similar to Tas’s as well.  She talked excitedly, moved around almost constantly and was intensely interested in anything new.  Frodo guessed that this was just the way kender acted and made the best of it.

Tasslehoff had scolded her for changing the entrance to the tree house while he had been away, though he had complemented her on the “merry chase” she had led them on while trying to find the way in.

“I thought you might like it,” She had simply said.  She was evidently undaunted by his first reaction.

Frodo explored part of their house with them.  The fascination that they showed in many of the twists and turns made him wonder if it was the first time that they had seen some parts as well.  Then he remembered how kender like to find new things and realized that they must change the house constantly so that it can always be new to them.   At times, they bickered like siblings and at other times they seemed to titter and giggle like ‘tweens in love.   He was curious as to what their relationship actually was, but thought it improper to ask.

At length, they all settled in the tall library again to eat.  That was when Gintilli introduced her half-sister, Glorianthea.  They had overlooked her the first time through the room as she had been sitting in a far corner silently.  Now, she was sitting at the long table, silently.

She was very different from the other two kender.  Though she had the same size and features, she was thinner and paler than Gintilli.  Her dark brown hair was braided in a single long braid down her back and her slanted, chestnut eyes stared vacantly before her.  She also did not seem to move, nor register that they were present in any way.  She just stared.

Tasslehoff called her unnerving.  Gintilli called her annoying.  But, Frodo simply found himself staring at her curiously, almost as if he was waiting for her to move or look up at him.

Dinner was a bit odd, as Tasslehoff and Gintilli seemed quite used to ignoring Glorianthea, but Frodo felt it rude leaving her out of the conversation or not acknowledging her presence in the least.   After he had offered her something to eat for the third time, Gintilli finally said not to bother.

“She won’t take it even if she can hear you.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  She will eat but, only when no one else is around.  She must feed herself because I leave food with her and when I come back, it’s gone.  I just never have the patience to sit around long enough to see her eat it.  It gets too boring,” She said in her soft, high, almost sing-song voice.

“Why is she like this?” Frodo asked.  He looked at her wide, almost sad eyes.  Her face was smoother than Gintilli’s with the small pointed ears making her look as if she were a tiny, petite elf maid. He felt his pulse race and remembered a similar feeling long ago in the presence of another elf maiden.

“She’s been like that as long as I can remember,” Gintilli began.  “I think she saw a dragon once and this is what happened.  I don’t know why, though.  I’ve seen a dragon or two myself and I was never scared stupid.”

“Dragons do tend to make one’s stomach feel funny,” chimed in Tas,  “But, I’ve been around a ton of them.  I got used to the feeling.  Maybe it tried to eat her.  That might make her not want to go outside.  But, we keep telling her that there are no dragons here.  At least none that I’ve seen yet.”

“Perhaps there is more to it,”  pondered Frodo.

They talked late into the evening around the fire in the huge hearth, but Frodo’s eyes kept straying back to Glorianthea’s still form in the tall chair at the end of the table.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~