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

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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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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.

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Celebrate with Us! More About JD Holiday

JD Holiday is another driving force behind Cereal Authors and has been in the group since its inception. Author and illustrator of children’s books, she has created lovable characters for readers of all ages.

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JD’s Bio:

Author and illustrator, J.D. Holiday is the author of four children’s books: Janoose the Goose and the sequel Ganoose and the Fall Feather Fair, The Spy Game, and a chapter book for six to nine-year-olds, The Great Snowball Escapade: and for adults, a collection of short stories, stories and imaginings for the reading spot. She has written a variety of short stories and articles.

JD Holiday Blog

JD’s Writers Blog

This And That Art

JD’s Interview:

Have you ever, over the years, lost yourself in a certain piece (novel) to such a degree your family, friends, and even YOU, didn’t recognize yourself, and if so was it worth it?

Yes. It was a romance that now, 45 years later, I can’t remember the title though the author was Janet Dailey. I do remember the story itself. I couldn’t cope with life at the time; family deaths, oppressive in-laws who we had to live with for a time. My husband considered that reading was all I did. While reading this one book I cried my heart out and wished I could be living the heiress’ life, or anybody elses life for that matter. I guess, in hindsight it might have given my husband some insight that I was not coping with his family after the deaths of my parents.

Describe your Muse and the working relationship you share.

I don’t have a muse that I know of. All my inspiration comes from my wonderful childhood. Oh, it wasn’t all roses, but it was fun. Every one of my stories comes from it.

How long does it take you to write and illustrate a book?

That always depends on what is going on around me. Most of my stories I wrote years ago, but I think most of them took a few months to write and even up to eight months for the longer stories. My book, The Great Snowball Escapade, is a chapter book for 6 to 9 year olds which I wrote in 1989. The illustrations took about 6 months fitting them in around my family, work, cooking and pets who all come first.

If you had to start your writing career over would you do anything differently?

I would have started self-publishing years before I did.

What are your publishing goals? Meaning: Would you like to become a bestseller or just make a comfortable living at it?

Yes, I always wanted to make money from my books and maybe have a movie made of one. I still could happen! Really!

What does your favorite book say to you? What do you feel it might say to someone else?

My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. It has taught me how race differences are only skin color. No more. It shows you there will always be bad people and good people, and that you can be a good one. This story should say the same to everyone else who reads it, if they are on honest with themselves and no matter what race they are.

What makes you laugh or cry?

I laugh a lot when my family is around. We always find things to laugh about, even if hard times.

The state of my country makes my cry. I haven’t felt this sorrow in years.

Character Quotes, Uncategorized

Lone Wolf Tales – A Little White Lie by Dellani


“I have included analysis of Aurialonus done by an expert in aberrant psychological conditions, with an emphasis in megalomaniacal psychosis.”

“That’s a mouthful I’d not want to repeat,” Ray quipped, winking at the Admiral.

Greyling smirked, a chuckle escaping her lips. “Well, it took a little practice to get it right.” Her demeanor changed abruptly as she went back to business. “The intel information will be available to you and your team, Colonel. I have taken the liberty of including names of possible team members broken down by specialty. I fear it’s a rather short list,” she added quietly.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Lone Wolf by Dellani

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Beautiful New Cover by Suzette Vaughn

“I’d have been fully compliant to anything you said, even if it went against my common sense? If you said, Matilda, go jump off the cliff, I’d do it?”

Wil nodded again, terribly embarrassed to admit his intentional duplicity. He couldn’t bear to look at her, afraid he’d see disgust in her eyes.

“I thank you for refraining from doing that to me. I like to think I’d jump off the cliff of my own free will, not because you told me to.”

He chuckled softly. Not the menacing sound, but a true, mirthful rumble deep in his chest. “Woman, you are too much. If you weren’t dressed like a man, I’d kiss you.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from It Takes a Thief by Dellani

it-takes-a-thief-cover“So, are you blaming the robbery on this Orchid?” The D.A. asked with a disapproving sniff.

“No, sir. I did it.”

Jason’s lawyer gasped. Shaking his head, he voiced his objections, but his heart wasn’t in it.

“I planned and completed the robbery. What I did not do,” Jason spoke directly to the judge. “I did not kill those people. My plans, my methods, they’re always clean. I don’t hurt anyone and I don’t kill. I steal, Your Honor. I’m a thief, that’s a fact I don’t deny. But I never wanted anyone hurt. Orchid took the loot, shot me and left me for dead. She shot the others, killing all of them. She set me up to take the fall.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Indian Summer

Character Quotes from Indian Summer by Dellani

Indian Summer“Tell me, Ana, what do you know of Señor Enriques who was here today?”

Ana hesitated to answer at first. She was always eager to impart what she knew of the local men. Be it good or bad, she held to the gossips’ truths of the town. She sighed deeply and seated herself at the table, another thing she had never done.

“Miss Gabriella, I’d not talk awful of anyone as you know.” She held up her hand. “I know I gossip, Miss, but that’s just for sport. I mean to really speak ill of someone with full knowledge and malicious intent and I just won’t do it.” She sighed again. “All I can say, Miss, is that one is better left unnoticed. Best to let sleeping dogs lie, Miss.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Conduct Unbecoming by Dellani

conduct front coverVivica burst out laughing. She shook her head, giggling. “How is it you’re not married already with a dozen kids?”

“Lucky, I reckon,” Jasper countered. “Seriously? I never found me a woman like you. Why don’t you have yourself cloned?”

“She’s all mine, Jasper.” Teague put a protective arm around Vivica’s shoulders.

Jasper’s expression turned wounded. He put a hand on his chest as if pledging loyalty. “I’m hurt, McTeague. When have I ever poached your woman?”

“Well, there was Jenny Fortenberry. . . .”

“I mean when it really meant something? Jenny was a skank. I saved you from yourself on that one.”

“Never. ‘Cause you know I’d kill ya.” Teague’s lips twitched and he smiled.

They tapped knuckles.

“I liked it better when you couldn’t back up that claim.” Jasper winked at his friend.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Scene from For Love of Katie B by Dellani

character-quotes-image“It has been my experience that what helps a woman relax more than anything, is to punch something. Am I right, ladies?”

We all yelled in unison. Li put his hand up to his ear.

“I’m sorry. Please repeat. My hearing is fading.”

We bellowed louder, satisfying him.

“Since we men don’t much fancy being punching bags, we shall use the standing heavy bags. Taking turns, work out in pairs. Ladies first.”

We put on our gloves and started jabbing the huge, padded, water filled contraptions. I took a few experimental hits at mine, while Li walked around, correcting. When he got back to me, he frowned.

“Widen your stance, Kate. Guard your body more. Give it hell. It can’t bleed.”

I hit it harder. He continued to frown.

“Kathleen, Brent didn’t spend a butt load of money on top of the line, professional grade heavies for you to tap it like a delicate flower. Smack the f**ker!” His fist shot out, hammering the bag so hard, it jumped slightly. The water in the bottom made the blow sound like a gong. “See that label?” He pointed to the name of the manufacturer, about head height for me. “Picture a face there. Picture the man who broke your heart and make him pay.”

I raised my hand to punch. Before I could strike, he pointed a few feet lower.

“His nuts are right there,” he said. “You have knees and feet as well as hands.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from A Little White Lie

white lie coverA Little White Lie is one of 9 short stories in Lone Wolf Tales.

“So what do you want from the four of us?” Wil wanted information and now. He was a man of immediate and direct action. If there was a job, he wanted to get started on it yesterday.

“You will be going in and freeing the royal family, and putting Aurialonus to the sword,” Greyling said dramatically.

“Wait a damn second,” Wil stood, leaning over Greyling’s desk. “You want the four of us, one of whom is a semi-invalid, to take out Aurialonus and his band of merry lunatics? Those people are religious fanatics, Elise. They think that Aurialonus is a god and that he and Jesus do lunch! I like playing the odds, baby, but not that long.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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