Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Book Excerpt #1 - Intensification - Pen Pals and Serial Killers Story Three

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today, I'm scheduled to give you all an excerpt of my WIP, Intensification. Warning: It's not for the feint of heart. This excerpt will introduce you to both main characters, Detective Hank Reynolds and Claude. I hope you enjoy it! As a side note, Provocation is with the proofreader, and a release date will be coming at you soon! If you missed the first two excerpts from that book, check them out here and here. Grab your coffee, or tea, and let's get going!

First, a little about the book:

Title: Intensification - Pen Pals and Serial Killers - Story Three
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length: Looking like it'll be around 70k
Release Date: TBD (Spring 2018 for sure)

Blurb:
Detective Hank Reynolds has just been handed the case of a lifetime. Another reality TV star has gone missing, and it’s up to the Atlanta police department to find her before it’s too late. While he’s digging around, he discovers there have been nearly twenty similar kidnappings in the surrounding areas over the last twenty years, and while trying to find out more—and a witness that’s still alive—he’s dragged into a past he wishes he could erase. His dreams become nightmares about the women, and his sanity unravels. Even his eyes begin to play tricks on him, but no hallucinations are as devious as the antics of the killer—who’s always one breath away—waiting for the chance to strike again.

Now for the excerpt!



Chapter One
Claude

Rolling over, Claude’s eyes fell on the clock. Ten p.m. He grinned. That would give him plenty of time to do the things he wanted to do and still be back before it was time to get up and get moving for the day.
His feet made no noise as he padded down the hall to the garage, and he disabled the alarm system before opening the door. Careful not to knock anything over, he made his way in the dark to the table on the other side of the room and slid it to one side. A few wrenches hanging from pegs banged together, but there was no noise otherwise. Every night he went out, he was more grateful he’d thought to put the rollers on the legs. Once the table was slid aside, he stuck his pinky finger through a hole in the sheetrock and pulled.
It swung forward easily, the hole the only indication there was anything there. Inside were the articles he’d worn every night: A gray coverall, high boots, and a baseball cap with his favorite team’s logo emblazoned on the front.
He chuckled as he pulled it on, the NY turned toward the back. F--- the Red Sox and the horse they rode in on, he’d be a Yankees fan until the day he died.
Carefully, he folded the pajamas he’d been wearing before and put them in the hidey-hole, closing the door softly. His boots were in his hand, and he waited until he was safely in the alcove of the side door before slipping them on his feet. It wouldn’t do to leave prints from boots he wasn’t supposed to have anywhere inside.
Hands in his pockets, he stepped to the sidewalk, casting his gaze both directions before turning left and scurrying down three blocks then going right. His house was the fourth one on the left in the cul-de-sac, a large Tudor with an impressive privacy fence, a high gate, and only a few lights on inside that backed up to a large, wooded area. Before he went up to the door, he grabbed the mail out of the box, snickered at the fliers inviting him to shop at one store or another—they really didn’t want him anywhere near their establishments—and threw everything in the neighbor’s recycling bin.
It had been nearly a week since he’d been able to come home, and he could almost hear his beauties calling out to him. His hand shook as he put the key in the lock and turned, the excitement he was feeling threatening to boil over and consume him whole.
Claude dashed in and spun to engage the deadbolt, also sliding the long chain into place. Once it was locked, he allowed himself to relax. He peeled off the hat and boots, leaving them near the door, and the next to go was his coveralls. No clothing was required in his home, but he preferred to keep the boxer-briefs on. Sitting on chairs in the nude just made his balls sweaty, and he wasn’t about to suffer the discomfort.
As he walked through the kitchen, he swatted Alice on the ass and whispered in her ear, “I’ll be back in a few minutes. I have something to take care of first.”
She giggled in response, and he checked her wires to make sure she was secure before moving on to Nadine.
“How are you tonight, my love?” he asked, caressing her beautiful, brown face.
“I’m excellent, Claude. How are you?” Her sweet voice was like milk and honey to his ears, and he kissed her on the tip of her nose.
“Wonderful. Glad to be home.” After checking her wires as well, he ignored the other ladies and went for the door to the basement. He glanced around to be sure no one was watching and pulled his key out of its hiding place under the plant nearby.
Door finally unlocked, he gave it a hard tug, enjoying the cool hiss of air as the seal broke. He stepped through and pulled the door shut all the way, re-engaging the locks, before hitting the switch to turn on the light. The LEDs nearly blinded him, and as soon as they came to full strength, she started screaming.
Again.
There was no need to run or get angry, so he whistled as he made his way down the steps to her cage, laughing to himself the whole time.
When he rounded the corner, something whizzed past his head, and he ducked back.
“Easy now. You sure you want to throw things at me, madame?” He’d been working on his French accent, and it was nearly perfect.
“F--- you! Let me the f--- out of here, you f---ing psycho!” Her cage bars rattled.
“That’s not a nice way to speak to me, cherie. I saved you.”
“F--- that!” Her voice was so shrill, it echoed off the soundproof walls and bounced around like a pinball.
He winced and leaned out a bit so he could see her. There was nothing else nearby for her to throw, and her hands were empty, so he stepped all the way out and smiled at her. “Cherie, I’ve missed you.”
She backed away from his side of the cage, flattening her body to the back bars, her eyes wide and fixed on his approaching form.
That was the reaction that made him feel most powerful—when they moved away as though they could sense there was something dark inside him.
“I recognize you. You were that guy on the news, huh?”
“No. That wasn’t me.”
“Then your twin brother? I don’t understand how you two can be so diff—”
He launched himself at the bars. “Shut. Up.”
Laughter sprung up and out of her.
“Don’t you dare talk about things you have no knowledge of, or I’ll end your life right now.”
“That’s what you plan to do anyway, right? So why should I give a sh-t if you care what I’m saying or not?”
“Because what you say is the line drawn between whether you enjoy your death or have a really f---ing hard time of it, bitch.” He snarled as the last word dripped from his lips and smiled when she flinched.
As he tracked a path around the outside of the cage, she moved, too, keeping her body on the side farthest away from him. The way her muscles moved under the skin of her thighs made his c-ck hard, and he wiped drool off his chin. Her breasts were magnificent creatures, rising and falling every time she panted. Though she could use a washing, she was still the most alluring one he’d taken.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispered as he moved.
“F--- you!” she screamed.
“I can’t wait to add you to my collection. You’ll be my prized possession. I already have a room made up for you, and it’s just like something you’d pick for yourself. I can hear you thanking me now.” He lifted his voice a few octaves as he mimicked her. “‘Oh, Claude, I love every part of it so very much! You’re the best ever.’ And then maybe you’ll give me a kiss.”
“You know nothing about me, and there’s no way I’m ever going to kiss you.”
“Oh, but I do, Sharon. I do. I watched you for months on television, and then I followed you, always in the shadows where you couldn’t see me. That prick you were dating wasn’t worthy of you, darling.” His hand snaked out and caught her hair, and he pulled her to the bars closest to him. “You’ll never have to worry about not having the right man again, because I promise to take care of you for all time.”
“Killing someone isn’t taking care of them.” Tears were streaming down her face then, and her shoulders sagged. “Please, Claude. Please. Let me go?”
Pulling her head back, he yanked on her hair so the skin on her throat grew tight, the pulse banging away just under the surface. His teeth ached to sink into the supple flesh, tear at it, but he knew if he did, her corpse would be ruined, and he wanted her in his collection very badly.
He inhaled, savoring her perfume.
“Please,” she whispered.
“No.” It was a simple answer, and he watched her to see how she might react. That always told him the most about the women—how they responded when they didn’t get something they’d begged for.
Rather than grow angry, she softened, and her shoulders shook.
“Weak. Just as I expected.” His fingers opened, and he dropped her, letting her sink to the floor. “Tomorrow, mon cherie. Tomorrow!”
After bringing her some food that he left on a paper plate near the cage, he replenished her supply of water bottles then whistled his way back upstairs.
His ladies were waiting, and he had big plans for the evening.
He locked the door and stowed the key after making sure none of the women were watching, and then he went to join Ginger on the couch. “Mind if I have the remote?” he asked.
“Not at all, Claude.”
Taking it from her hand, he was careful not to knock around the supporting wire and damage the limb again like he’d done the week prior. It had been a bitch to repair, and he just didn’t have the time to dick around with it.
With a click of the red power button, the television came on, and he activated the DVR, looking for the latest episodes of She Wants to Marry Him.
Carefully, he put one arm around Ginger and pulled her close, moving her head so it rested on his shoulder. He kissed her blonde hair and laughed when the photos of the women on the show scrolled across the screen, their names emblazoned underneath. “Remember when you were on this show?”
Hand in her hair, he moved her head up and down.
“I bet you do. That d-ckless wonder didn’t know what he had in you, did he?”
Her head moved left and right.
“Let’s see what happens tonight.”
For two hours, he caught up on episodes he’d missed, using the notebook on the coffee table to write down details he thought might be important later on.
He tossed the pad back on the table, turned the television off, stood, and adjusted Ginger so she looked like she did when he arrived, caressing her chin with his thumb. “You’re so beautiful. It’s a shame you didn’t win that one, but it was probably because you’re so stupid.”
Returning to the kitchen and Alice, he wrapped his arms around her from behind and pressed himself to her back and rear. She was still firm, and he liked it. Her roundness made him ache with desire. He buried his face in her hair but pulled back when he got a whiff of something unpleasant.
Moving her hair to one side, he examined her neck, and found a small patch of skin had peeled back, revealing the stuffing he’d packed her with. A little more digging in the hole found the culprit of the horrendous smell. It was a tiny patch of mildew. She’d been near the sink too long and needed to dry out.
“Alice, darling. You’re positively rotting from the inside out. I’ll need to move you, okay?”
Her head moved up and down.
“Perhaps Hailey would like to take your place. I’ll just go ask her. Be right back.” He sprinted up the stairs, flipping on the light at the landing, and making a hard right into the master bedroom. There, he found Hailey lying on the bed with Juniper lying nearby, one hand covering one of Hailey’s breasts. “Get up, ladies! I need Hailey dressed and downstairs to take Alice’s place. You want to do that, sweetheart?”
“Of course, Claude. Anything for you,” she answered.
He dug a pretty dress out of the closet and helped Hailey into it, and then he lifted her over his shoulder and carried her down, careful not to bang her head on anything.
Alice was unhooked from the wires, the dry sponge taken from her hand, and she was placed on the floor nearby. Hailey was buckled in, the sponge put in her right hand, and a clean plate fixed to her left with some Velcro strips he kept in a nearby drawer.
After carrying Alice upstairs, stripping her naked, and arranging her in the bed with Juniper, he pressed his back to the wall to admire his handiwork, deciding quickly that her hand was too high. He adjusted it so it was between Alice’s legs and sighed.
Perfect.
Again, he backed up to the wall and peered at them. His ---- immediately as he watched them play with one another, giggling, kissing, and rolling on the bed, but he shook it off. There was no time for that right then. He had to get back before his time expired. Kissing each lady on the head, he scurried out and down the steps, his hard-on dropping the moment he stepped off the last one.
“Well, my lovelies, I’ll see you all tomorrow! We’ll have a splendid party soon! I’ll bring champagne, and you can welcome Sharon with open arms when I finally bring her up.”
They cheered.
He quickly dressed and hurried out the door, being sure to lock it behind himself, before jogging back the way he’d come.
Quickly and quietly, he snuck through the garage door, changed, rearmed the alarm system, and slipped back into bed.

Hank

At six a.m. sharp, the alarm sounded, jolting Hank out of a deep sleep. He rolled onto his back, one hand absently slapping at the offending noise. Finally, it stopped, and he groaned. It was like he hadn’t slept in weeks, and it was starting to take a toll on him. A decision was made then and there that the sleeping pills the doctor had prescribed would be taken that night. Just one night of rest was all he needed to trudge on through another few weeks of restlessness.
He peeled himself out of bed, pressed the button on the coffee pot, and headed for the shower. Music poured out of his mouth, and he took the detachable sprayer and held it in front of his lips, filling the small space with crescendos and a strong, natural vibrato. It was his favorite time of day, before dealing with the people from the office, before having to get into it with victims calling about some bullshit that may or may not have happened in the middle of the night; in that moment, he was just a man with music in his soul and warm spray from his shower microphone.
Once he was clean, he stepped out and toweled off, going to the kitchen to pour a huge cup of the coffee he could smell from the shower. He gulped at it, loving the way it burned as it made its way to his stomach. A sigh tore out of him. Perfection.
His routine was firmly established, and the next half hour was spoken for as he trimmed his beard, brushed his teeth, and dressed for the day in slacks and a button down, strapping his gun belt to his waist. He always grabbed was his wallet and badge as he left the bedroom, and those went in his back pockets. Then, he filled his travel cup with coffee and left for the day. On the drive to the precinct, he checked his voicemail. There were three calls: One from his ex-girlfriend inviting him for drinks—delete, another from his partner about the upcoming softball game—save, and a third from someone he didn’t know asking about the rich girl kidnapping—delete.
He sighed and threw the phone on the passenger’s seat, leaning back with two hands on the wheel, and finished driving to work while yelling at other drivers to pay attention to what they were freaking doing before they killed someone.
Pulling into the lot, he parked in his designated spot and got out, coffee in hand, to go up to his office. His partner was already there.
“Morning,” Hank said.
“Dude. Phones are blowing up over that rich girl model that went missing. Cap says we need to nail this bastard soon.” Tony thumped the desk with his forehead. “Sorry. Good morning to you, too.”
“Do we have any new information?”
“No. That’s the thing. There have been a million and one ‘hot tips,’ but none of them check out, ya know?”
Falling into a rolling chair behind a desk facing Tony’s, Hank shook his head as his anger bubbled. “Don’t know what Cap wants us to do about it if we don’t have any damned leads. The guys snatching these women might as well be g--damned ghosts!”
“I know. You’re preaching to the choir, man.”
“I’m just so f---ing frustrated with it all.”
“Well, what do you want to do today? Beat the streets?”
“We’re gonna have to.” Frustrated, he pulled the file folder over and flipped it open. A pretty brunette smiled out of the photograph. Missing nearly a week, she’d disappeared while grocery shopping at a local store, one with no exterior cameras. He read over the report once again, but the only thing that stuck out to him was that she’d been on TV on some reality show about marriage. There had been a couple of similar cases over the previous two years, and he assumed it was a pattern. He wondered if anyone else had put that together.
Their captain stuck his head out the door and barked at them to “get in his office. Now.”
With a sigh, Tony and Hank rose and went through the glass door.
“Take a seat, boys.”
They did, neither of them saying a word, Hank still clutching the file.
“I need you two on top of your game. This f---er has everyone terrified to take a step outside.”
He held up a hand. “Whoa. Hold on a sec, Cap. I’m thinking maybe this isn’t random and isn’t linked with those other two snatch-and-grab jobs from Fulton County. It struck me a few minutes ago that four young women who’ve been on one reality TV show or another have gone missing over the last few years. That suggests a pattern, right? I’m not sure Jane the Wife has anything to be afraid of—as long as she doesn’t live in Fulton.”
“Right. Suggests. There’s no way to be sure of that, Reynolds. If they’d all gone missing after being part of one show, we’d have something.”
Truer words were never spoken, and he knew it; he just didn’t really like it all that much. A kidnapper had to be established a number of years, and have a definitive pattern, but the cases they were working had no links between all the victims, only four out of six. It also seemed their realty perp only been active a little while. If Hank’s suspicions were correct, the guy had already snatched the three other women who were in the public eye, but lesser known than the most recent.
“My gut tells me we’ll catch someone soon, so I want you boys looking into everything you can think of, okay? Get out there and get me some answers. I need to assure people that my guys aren’t complete morons.” Cap crushed his cigarette in the ashtray and waved his hands. “Get!”
Tony and Hank got up and left, neither of them with a spring in their step.
“Let’s go, big guy,” Tony said.
“Wait a sec. I’m gonna grab another cup.” Hank refilled his travel thermos and capped it. “Okay. Ready. Let’s do this sh-t.”
They got into Tony’s car, a black Impala, and pulled out, headed for the last known address of the missing girl and the grocery store she’d gone missing from.

~~~~~
I hope you enjoyed that! EEP!

What do you think? Is Claude's house weird or what?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Monday, February 26, 2018

How to: Deal with the Flu

Is it Monday already? *waves* Hi there, good people of the blogosphere! Holy crap did I ever have one helluva week. Tuesday, I woke up feeling like death warmed over. It's been a fight since then. I've decided that I'm never getting sick ever again, there's just too much to do in a week, and I can't be missing work, so wish me luck with that. I finally feel kind of human, so today's post is tongue-in-cheek about how to care for yourself when you catch the flu. Because I missed some days posting (which sucks because my posts were all planned out), I'll be doing a quick adjustment to my lineup for the next couple of weeks. Ready to dive into today? Grab your coffee, and let's get going!

Here are the steps to take when you have the flu:
  • See your doctor and get tested so you can get the good meds, but please, wear a mask when you go out of the house.
  • Crash in bed, and don't get up unless the house is on fire or you realllllly have to pee.
  • Send someone out for medication to alleviate the symptoms; make sure you have something for fevers.
  • Drink a LOT of water. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, it'll also help keep your fever down.
  • Find a new show and binge-watch it.
  • Don't plan to cook or clean or do anything but lie in bed.
  • Have soup.
  • Sleep as much as you can. Sleep helps your body worry about fighting off the flu rather than keeping your daily body in balance.
  • Be prepared to suffer alone. No one wants to catch what you have, so help them help you. Limit your activity in your home, and use lots and LOTS of anti-bacterial stuff on surfaces.
I know all that seems like no-brainer stuff, but you wouldn't believe the folks out there trying to work while they're sick. Take the time off. You'll get better faster.

This year, the flu seems to present itself differently for everyone, so here are some signs to watch out for:
  • Vomiting. Not just mild nausea, I'm talking full-on, bowl-hugging, seeing-everything-you've-eaten-for-a-week vomiting (this is how my husband's started).
  • Headache. Like someone is splitting your head open with an axe (this is how mine started).
  • Chills. Your whole body feels like one big nerve on edge.
  • Fever. You'll know you have a fever when you get cold/chilly.
  • Sore Throat. As though you've swallowed a piece of sandpaper that won't go down.
  • Cough. Hacking-up-a-lung coughing (this is how my daughter's started).
  • Body Aches. Every muscle hurts.
  • Sneezing. Uncontrollable, with or without a stuffy nose.
Now, not everyone has all of these symptoms when they catch the flu. My daughter had no chills or fever, but she nearly coughed up a lung. My husband never got a cough, but he sneezed like crazy. I only had chills and fever and body aches. So, no matter what symptoms you have, start at the doctor!

This flu is nothing to play around with, y'all. And if you start wheezing, go to the ER or UrgentCare.

Did any of you come down with the crud? Did you have symptoms not listed here? How did yours present?

Help folks out and post your story in the comments below!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Meet a Book Blogger - A Star that Reads (Starr Ochoa)

Hey y’all! My name is Starr, I’m a reader, a future nurse (my hope), and a person who is dabbling in writing.

I run an Instagram blog that you can follow @astarthatreads. I started this blog because my friend forced me to get an Instagram account so we could stay in touch and I didn’t just want another social media account that I wouldn’t use. I started thinking about things I would do with it and realized I wanted to share my love of reading. I mostly read romance, but willing to try and open to other genres.


I’m currently doing author spotlights on Instagram: You give me teasers, cover reveals, excerpts, etc, to share to my followers and hopefully you gain some followers as well. I’m willing to share all genres through my blog.

*Review policy, I haven’t thought about a set of rules I follow, but I will be honest. I try not to post bad reviews , but if you want to send me your book and want me to review it, I will! My reviews are either short and sweet or a paragraph of me fangirling and demanding people get this book. Lol. I post on Goodreads, Instagram, and Amazon.

Thank you all for taking the time out of your day to read this long post. ❤ I hope you decide to join me on Instagram.


How awesome is that?? Y'all go give her a follow and some content, for Pete's sake!

Monday, February 19, 2018

How to: Microplot

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a fantastic weekend and are ready to crank out the words this week! Today, I'm talking about microplotting. You know, that thing you do when you're furiously writing your novel. Oh! You don't do that? Don't know how? Well, sit back, relax, sip your coffee, and read on!


Some people have a detailed plot when they sit down to write their novels. If that's you, this post isn't your friend. But if you're of the other kind, the plansters, who only know where the story begins and ends when you start writing, and maybe have a couple of plot points you want to hit along the way, you may find this useful.

Microplotting isn't a long, drawn-out plot. You make decisions on the fly about what's going to happen to your characters, and you type them out like so:

In this chapter:
Beatrice will discover who has betrayed her.
How that happens:
She finds the key.
She opens the door.
She reads the riddle.
She solves the riddle, but has to seek help from Hayman to do so.
When Hayman reads the riddle, he becomes ill.
Beatrice must speak the answer aloud.
The betrayer's name appears in smoke, and it disappears just before Hayman comes to.

Then, you go above the microplot and write furiously. When you're typing out the microplot points, that's when you look up any names or important features you want to remember as you're writing. If there's something you don't know or forgot to include, type XXX in the place of the item and move on. Keep writing. Don't slow down to look it up. If you're consistent with your marker type, then you can do a find later and take the time to fact check or do research.

Microplotting can push your novel to a whole new level, but be careful of getting sidetracked. Stay on the path to the conclusion you're pushing toward. It's fun.

I don't know about all of you, but every time I've tried plotting out each chapter, I fail and end up having to scrap it and re-do the whole thing. Now, I go high-level plot points and fill in the blanks as I write. My loose outlines look something like this:
Chapter 1 - Introduce character, tone, and setting. Be sure to drop nuggets of what's coming (the beginning of change from now to the end).
Chapter 2 - Beatrice gets in trouble at school for something and a letter is sent home.
Chapter 3 - Beatrice is grounded because of the letter, and she ends up acting out at school again in some way.
Chapter 4 - Beatrice is suspended.
Chapter 5 - Beatrice meets Mark, and he ignores her because she's a "bad girl" (this makes her want to change because she really likes him).
... other chapters I fill in like the ones above.
Last Chapter - Beatrice and Mark finally get together.

So, in each chapter, I microplot how to flesh it out once I get there. Those outlines are treated as living documents and are changed often.

I hope this helps some of you when you're sprinting!

Did you find this useful? What do you do when writing? Plotter? Pantser? Plantser? Hit me with your process!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, February 16, 2018

Let's Stop Talking About Gun Control and Mental Health

Hello, good people of the blogosphere. Today, I'm going on a NSFW rant and providing a realistic action plan for those of you that are interested in being the change you want to see happen. Get your coffee ready, because... Well, you may be here a while.
Earlier this week, there was yet another shooting at a school, taking seventeen more young lives. Understandably, people are pissed. I'm pissed. I'm sure you're pissed.

Those seventeen lives were just beginning.

Those seventeen lives matter.

As of today, those seventeen join many, many more in a string of senseless MURDERS at SCHOOLS. Let's call them what they are.

School is a place my child should be safe. It's supposed to be the fucking government's responsibility to CARE for, and PROTECT my child when she's not with me.

But they're failing to do that.

Let's look at some 100% honesty right now:
  • Shooter drills AREN'T WORKING (they were in place in Florida and activated - seventeen children STILL DIED).
  • Americans will NEVER give up their guns, and the US will NEVER try to force its citizens to give up their guns.
  • Most schools in the US are on a limited budget, hence metal detectors can't be afforded.
  • A majority of kids aren't as supervised nowadays as they were even ten years ago by their parents.
  • When kids see counselors at school, the kids aren't feeling heard (if they feel as though they can go to the counselor in the first place, that is).
  • Guns are too accessible.
  • Talking about mental illness and praying isn't doing DICK.

So, rather than scream at the media, march to show how you feel, or post a rant on Facebook about how GUNS ARE EVIL AND SHOULD BE DESTROYED, how about you do something in your own community?

ACT. Don't just talk about how pissed you are.

An action plan that just might work:
  • Get involved. Go to the school and talk to the principal or the PTO person. Get all the parents in your community together in a MANDATORY meeting. You don't show up? Your kid gets suspended until you attend a meeting. The worst thing the principal can say is no, and if he/she does that, ORGANIZE A MEETING OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL ON YOUR OWN. Don't fucking give up.
  • Harsh? You BET YOUR ASS IT IS.
  • But it's time to make people stand up and take responsibility for their own kids' actions. It's time to get them INVOLVED in preventing this shit from happening AGAIN.
  • Involve local law enforcement. Have those wonderful folks in blue come in and teach child/gun safety to EVERY parent (that's what your meeting is about). In school or out of school, MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
  • Hold a community fundraiser to buy trigger locks the officers can give away for free and use them to teach people how to use and how to keep firearms SAFE and out of the hands of our fucking kids!
  • Have the counselor talk to the parents about recognizing signs of depression and thoughts of violence.
  • Visit EVERY GUN STORE within a 30 mile radius of YOUR house, and ask them what THEY'RE doing to vet the people who come in to buy firearms. Demand change if need be. These stores have a responsibility to act in a way that makes the cities they sell guns in safer. 
  • Ask local law enforcement to visit the stores regularly and do checks. FOLLOW UP.
  • Do a fund raiser to help PAY for those metal detectors we ALL want so very badly.
  • People will follow you. They're SCARED. And they have every right to be. Sometimes, people just need a leader with a loud, strong voice.
Don't talk about change. Be the change. Make the change happen.

If ONE person in every school district takes these safety matters into their own hands, that takes care of the whole US.

It just takes one person to make a difference.

This action plan won't be 100%, but it'll CERTAINLY reduce the likelihood of more of this shit happening a great deal.

Parents HAVE to be involved. Don't wait or depend on the government to do something.

DO SOMETHING.

I'll be doing something, because I refuse to sit by and let fear of sending my child to school be a chain around my damned neck. I want her to live, grow up to be whatever she wants, have the chance to fall in love, get married, and have children of her own.

I do NOT want some angry little bastard to get a bug up their ass and take her life before she's even begun to live it.

HELL NO. FUCK THAT.

Sorry for the language today. Y'all have anything to add?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Emancipation Wins Silver in the Chapter of Excellence Contest by WAD

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today's post... Oh my goodness. I was so excited last night when I got an e-mail announcing that Emancipation took a silver award in the Chapter of Excellence Contest held by Writers After Dark. I have to share some of the details! Grab your coffee, or tea, and let's get going!

Here's all the details about the book (gonna start there):

Title: Emancipation (Pen Pals and Serial Killers - Story 1)
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length: 70k
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle  ~ Paperback

Blurb:
Tobias Butler has been sitting on death row since being sentenced for a gruesome murder in 2007. Bored out of his mind, he decided to apply to the online pen pal program in 2012. It's a pleasant distraction—nothing more, nothing less—for three years, until he's contacted by a beautiful, smart young lawyer named Jess. She's convinced he's innocent and wants to see him freed. As they organize their attack on the judicial system, he wonders how she plans to get his conviction overturned—because he's guilty, and he knows it. Jess is desperate to release him—and he's desperate to feel his hands squeeze the life out of her once she does.

Information about the contest:
Writers were to submit either the prologue or chapter one to the contest, and each entry was judged by how well that chapter gripped the reader, making them want to find out more.

Click here to see ALL the winners. There are some awesome books on there, and I'm humbled to be included among them. 

Here's my certificate:

EEP! So excited! Huge thanks to WAD for everything they do.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Author Life ABCs - C

Happy Wednesday again, everyone! So, for your second post today, I'm back on my Author Life ABCs with the letter C. Today's topic is appropriate, I feel, because it's also Valentine's Day. We're out there spreading the love so our friends and family have an amazing day. What I want to know is what you're doing for yourself today. Let's chat about my word and the topic a bit. Ready? Hold on to your desk, and let's get going!


Today's word is:

Crossfit
/ˈkrôsˌfit/
noun - trademark
noun: CrossFit; noun: Cross Fit
A high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several sports and types of exercise.

Stay with me! I'm not talking about Crossfit for your body, so let's rename it to CrossCT (Cross Creative Training).

That's right, a one-hour exercise program for writers to keep our brains engaged and active. I hope y'all try this! I'm gonna! Ready? 3, 2, 1, GO!
  • 5 minutes of hard and fast writing only dialogue
  • 10 minutes, new characters, describing scene
  • 5 minutes, same characters, short world-building in a genre other than your own
  • 5 minutes learning the definition of a new word by randomly flipping open the dictionary and popping your finger down
  • 10 minutes, four new characters telling the reader their first impressions of one another
  • 5 minutes of micro-plotting
  • 5 minutes of speed editing the first dialogue you wrote
  • 10 minutes of prose with no dialogue using the word you just learned
  • 5 minutes of typing out a conversation with one of your characters

And you're done! That seems fun, right? Anyway, what I'm trying to get to here is that you should take terms and things you're familiar with and apply them to your writing. Have some fun. Flex your muscles!

Never stop learning how to write, market, and do. This is your career.

What do you think? You gonna give it a whirl?

I'll post my results sometime next week. Should be fun!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Photoshop 101.3 - Magnetic Lasso Tool

Happy Wednesday! You're getting two posts today and two posts tomorrow! I'm playing catch up, and I can't WAIT to show you all what I've been working on, but it'll have to wait until the author is ready to share it. :) Today, for this first post, I'm going to introduce you to a tool called the magnetic lasso. It's really nifty! Grab your coffee, or tea, and let's get going, shall we?




So? What did you all think of that one? Did you learn anything new or useful?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fun Fact Friday - Obscurities

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm so looking forward to the weekend. Are you? Kicking back, relaxing, and spending time with family is like a dream come true. Today, I'm giving you a few obscure facts you'll be able to share with people over the weekend (and maybe discuss the ins and outs of). Ready? Grab your coffee, or tea, and let's get going!


  • There are about 40k injuries per year (to Americans) due to toilets.
  • The number of licks it really takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop is 142.18.
  • The man who invented the Pringles can was buried in one.
  • All the swans in England belong to the Queen.
  • This # is an octotroph.
  • This ~ is a tilde.
  • Deer can't eat hay.
  • You can catch leprosy from an armadillo.
  • Grapes explode when you microwave them.
  • Your lipstick probably contains fish scales.
  • A jiffy is actually 1/100th of a second.
  • About 100 people die every year from choking on a ball-point pen.
  • An infant doesn't have kneecaps; they grow between age two and six.
  • Jellyfish are 95% water.
  • Words with no rhyming counterpart: month, orange, silver, and purple.
  • Honey is the only food that doesn't spoil.
  • It's against the law to catch fish with your bare hands in Kansas.
  • Most people fear spiders more than death.
So, there are your obscure facts for this week. I hope you have some fun whipping these out on your family over the weekend.

Do you have one to share? Pop it in the comments below!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Giveaway on the IBGW Blog! - Eternal Earth - PNR

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm sharing a giveaway that just rolled out over on the IBGW blog and giving you all a little info on how you can get in on the action. Ready? Get your clicking fingers warmed up, and let's get going!
At INDIE Books Gone Wild, we always do a giveaway when one of our author's books goes live. We also send out a newsletter so these giveaways land right in your inbox. No, we don't spam, and yes, we ONLY send giveaways. Signup link for the newsletter is in the Rafflecopter below, and it's always one of the entry options (that means a free entry every time for our subscribers).

Here's the book up for grabs today:

Title: Eternal Earth (A House Series Novel)
Author: Layla Omorose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 284 pages
Buy Link: Amazon $0.99


Synopsis:


AN OBSESSION HE COULDN'T CONTROL

For over a year, Adien, the Trinity Hound of Earth. has watched Harmony Sonders from a distance. Silently protecting her from his enemies and those who sought to harm her...including himself. One look from her is enough to have him longing for the one thing he never wanted...

A MAN SHE DARED TO TAME

Harmony Sonders has spent the last few years piecing herself back together after escaping a marriage that nearly killed her. With her life finally where she wants it, the last thing she needed was for another man to come and throw her world into chaos... and that's exactly what Adien Tygerian does. A wicked temptation, he awakens a side of her she didn't know existed... a piece of her that demands she claim what is rightfully hers and damned the consequences. 

A DESIRE THAT WILL ROCK THEIR WORLD

With their enemies gathering their forces and the birth of a new power at hand, can Adien and Harmony break down the walls that guard their hearts and take hold of a love like they've never known to protect the ones they love or will the ghosts of their pasts lead to their damnation?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Meet a Book Blogger - Twinsie Talk Book Reviews (Angie Stanton)

*Waves* Hi. My name is Angie. I own and run Twinsie Talk Book Reviews with 4 other FANTASTIC ladies. Our blog will read and reviews any genre of romance book. We generally just grab something one of the 5 of us like and read it. Some of the authors we read are one-click favorites and some we find from review requests sent to us. We started blogging as mainly an erotica or paranormal blog but added more bloggers so more genres are now being covered. I THINK straight up horror is the only genre we don’t read.


We started blogging in October 2012 because we were so involved in a lot of authors' street teams. We felt blogging was the next logical step to scream out the love for our authors. We thought getting 1,000 followers would be cool…now we can’t wait to hit 14,000!!

Some people ask what our review style is……. Is Hot Mess a style??? LOL When I write a review I sit and purge my thoughts on paper. I am writing it like I am telling my best friend about the book. There are guaranteed to be typos or some kinda crazy grammer with ….. and a lot of !!!!! and lots of #Hashtags but that is totally me……. off the cuff and just spilling what I need you to know about the story.

If you are looking for a review that says something like “Mrs. Smith delighted us with her current release” type of review…. I am Not your girl. If you want a review that says “Sweet Baby Jesus she did it again and I am loving this book!” come and sit by me 😊

Unfortunately, because if Amazon banning bloggers for no reason, a few of us are in the naughty corner but the other still post reviews on Amazon. We all post on Goodreads and do a blog post for all our reviewed books. If you need a book review posted to B&N we will as long as we know to do it because we generally don’t have authors asking for reviews there.

Well thanks so much for reading my rambling. We hope you will jump over and say hi or even give us a like. We are always looking for new to us authors so if you can, please comment with an author you love and then we can maybe find a new author for us to love as well!!

Web: http://www.Twinsietalk.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Twinsietalk
Twitter: https://www.Twitter.com/Twinsietalk
Tsu: http://www.Tsu.co/Twinsietalk
IG: http://www.instagram.com/twinsietalk
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/brwkPv

Thanks so much for dropping by, Angie! It was awesome to meet you! Y'all go give this little lady some love!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tuesday Motivation - Decide What Kind of Day You'll Have

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Whew! Monday is gone. Thank goodness. Mondays always feel so long, don't they? It's like the day that doesn't stop, even though it's really just a twenty-four-hour day like every other. Anyway, welcome to Tuesday! Today, I'm gonna talk about a quote I read on Instagram from @in_gratitude_tv (you can click their name to give them a follow—I highly recommend you do) that I liked a lot. It resonated with me. Why? Well, grab your coffee, or tea, and let's chat about it.

Here's the quote I'm referring to:
This is true no matter who you are. As soon as you open your eyes, you either allow your brain to flood with dread or hope for the following hours you'll be awake and living life. You can either look for the bad things coming during the day, or you can focus on the positive.

Trust me, I've been in some of the most horrifying situations imaginable, and I never lost my positive outlook because I chose not to.

Every day's feeling is a choice, and the decision about how you're going to handle it lies in your hands. Yes, each and every day. As an author, I can wake up and think about that negative review, dwell on it, let it worry me, and let it drag my spirits through the mud, or I can think about those positive reviews, let them lift me up, embrace them, and let those words fuel me through another day.

It's my choice.

If I have difficult things to navigate through outside of author life, I can either choose to allow them to overwhelm me, or I can think about how to slay them, turn them around and make them work for me.

For several years, I battled the lowest of lows. I'm sure many of you wake up and feel like the day is crap and all you want is for it to end. The mindset spoken of in the quote is how I pulled myself out and allowed myself to be a happier human being.

With me, I had this habit of staying in bed after my alarm and wallowing in all the negative things I saw in the day ahead, dwelling on my past mistakes, dreading what the day would bring. I turned it around by making myself leap (yes, an actual leap) to my feet and instantly giving thanks for all the things I had. I focused on one thing I was looking forward to that day and was grateful to have the ability to learn something new. Then, I gave myself "me" time, of one hour, to drink coffee and do something I enjoyed without thinking about anything else. That meant I had to get up an hour before anyone else in my house, but it worked. I wasn't stressed by the time I saw people because I'd started my day for ME.

Now, it's a natural act. I don't even have to think about being grateful; I'm filled with gratitude instantly.

I still carve out my time every morning (no matter what) because I know I need to do that in order to be the best me I can be.

Guess what else? No one gave it to me. I had to take it. With five (small) children at home, being a full-time student (22 hours a semester) that maintained a 4.0 GPA in one of the most difficult programs at my college, being the primary care-giver (also, maintenance man, lawn person, etc...) for my household, and dealing with a ton of medical crap, I still made it happen. You can, too.

Here's my task for you today (if you're not doing this already): Find out what that "thing" is that will start your day off right, and figure out how to make it happen for you. Make it happen each and every morning.

Find your happy. Take it. Choose what kind of day you're going to have.

Do you do any of this? What's your morning thing?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Monday, February 5, 2018

How to: Photoshop 101.2

Happy Monday, everyone! Today's post is, once again, about Photoshop. We're looking at the selection tool and all the options therein. Grab your coffee, or tea, and let's get going!




What did you think? Are you getting anything out of the videos?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, February 2, 2018

New Release - Savage Beauty

Happy Friday, everyone! Well, today was supposed to be a guest post, but no one sent me anything. Ha! That's okay, though, because there's a fabulous new release by Casey L. Bond I'm able to share with you all instead. Ready? Grab your coffee, or tea, and let's get going!



Title: Savage Beauty
Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tales
Length: 296 pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle

Blurb:
Once upon a time, a beautiful queen was cursed by a dark faery. That curse, inherited by twin princesses, Aura and Luna, binds their lives in the strangest of ways. At an early age, the girls were more than sisters. They were the strongest of allies until a combination of jealousy, anger and dark magic tore their relationship to shreds.

Aura took everything from Luna: her home, her family, and her love by murdering the prince who’d chosen her instead of Aura.

Luna wants revenge, but she’s running out of time. She must sever the magical bond tying her life to Aura’s before their eighteenth birthday or be bound to her forever. In desperation, she seeks help from a dark fae prince, but the price is steep – a piece of her soul.

Fate is a real witch. Luna was willing to give up anything to stop her sister, until Prince Phillip of Grithim, the brother of the only man she’s ever loved, falls into her life. Neither of them can fight their attraction, despite their guilt.

With Aura hell-bent on destroying everything she holds dear, Luna must decide whether she wants revenge or Phillip. She can’t have both, and in the end, this may be a battle both sisters lose.

**Savage Beauty is a fairy tale retelling of Sleeping Beauty... with fae witches.

~~~~~


What do you think? Will you be snagging it?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo