Sunday, July 28, 2013

My First Interview for Secrets, Lies and Apple Pies!

Check it out - I was recently interviewed by the fabulous Crystal Otto on The Muffin, a blog that delivers "fresh news daily from the bakers of".

Click here to see the interview and to learn more about my second novel, Secrets, Lies and Apple Pies plus few baking tips for your next pie!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Welcome Eric Trant and a Guest Post on "How Writing Heals"

Anyone who has ever picked up a pen or dabbled on a keyboard must read this post. You may, as I often do, think of the act of writing and reading your own work as entertaining or interesting. The thought that writing has a healing aspect to it may not be something you readily recognize. However, after reading Eric's post, I believe you may look at your own writing in a whole new light.  So, how does writing heal? Read on!

Welcome Eric Trant, author of the thriller Wink, and a post on "How Writing Heals".


Perhaps you've heard this before, that writing heals. I don't know if you believe that or not and it really does not matter what you believe. Fire is hot whether you believe it or not. Writing heals whether you believe it or not. So I am not going to try to convince you that writing heals, but instead I am going to make that a prior assumption and focus on how writing heals.
Here's the deal: when you write about something, and I mean write about it and think about it, then you are forcing yourself to delve into that topic in a way you would not and cannot otherwise delve. When you speak about something, the words get jumbled and your thoughts are mangled and there is this linear and one-way train of thought that does not allow you backtrack or sidetrack or review what you just said. Even when you stop and ponder what you just spoke, you think to yourself, That's not what I meant. You took it the wrong way. You don't understand what I'm saying.
Writing is not so forgiving. Writing is absolute. Especially with the computer, where it is so easy to backspace and recreate there is no excuse for writing something that is Not what I meant. So when you write, you mean what you write, and when you read it later, you are speaking to yourself through the written word and there is this flow of time that passes through you and you hear that voice from 1999, 2001, 2003, 2011, and so on. It speaks to you, and if you listen, you can hear the healing words.
You pick out anger and insecurities and improper beliefs. You hear wisdom that may surprise you. Some words may be prophetic, expressing events that occurred well after the words were written, events now lived and in the past and Holy Cow did I really write that!
I've always believed this, and I read things I've written over the years and I speak to myself across time both forward and back. A recent and powerful example is from Wink, where I investigated the loss of a child and touched on the topic of organ donation. After I had written a scene about the aftermath of the loss of a child, I lost my own child in real life. My eighteen month old son suffered a seizure and died in his mother's arms, otherwise healthy and happy and who the heck saw that one coming? Not me, and not my wife, and certainly not our two other children.
We donated his heart and liver and both kidneys. The heart recipient is a beautiful fifteen month old girl who lived to see her one-year birthday because of our son.
So I went back and read what I had written before that event, and I nailed it. I read and reread that scene, and if you read Wink you will probably think I wrote that scene after my loss. I assure you I did not. When I tell people I wrote it before we lost our son, they are shocked, and they look at me for a moment, processing that fact, and then they say, Really?
Yes, really.
So I spoke across time to myself, and despite the harsh nature of the scene I wrote, there is truth in it, and when Wink went to editorial, I told my editor to check that chapter for grammar and punctuation and I would change nothing else about it. That chapter heals me even through its crass tone, and the writing of it and the reading of it forced me to look deeply into the black eyes of that subject matter in a way that I never found in therapy or speaking to others verbally. I had to stare down the beast and bridle it and break it, and that heals you.
As writers, I want you to be aware of the healing properties of your work, and the impact they may have not only on you but on others. You will touch your readers in dark places and may shine a light on something they never considered. You may even discover something in yourself.
How has writing healed you?

Author Bio:
Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Out of the Great Black Nothing and Wink from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work on his blog:, order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.
Eric is an advocate for organ donation and lost his 18mo son in May of 2012. Eric and his wife courageously donated their son’s heart, kidneys, and liver. The couple went on to begin  a foundation to support organ donor families. Eric speaks openly about this emotional journey on his blog and the topic of organ donation is very close to his heart.

Find out more about the author by visiting him online:

Author website:

Wink: A moving, fast-paced and incredibly emotional story about love, friendship and transformation.
In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother's abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty's comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother's warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.
Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.

Wink is a thriller that captivates readers and leaves them longing for more. Trant is a talented author whose character descriptions go far beyond the physical.
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (April 16, 2013)
Twitter hashtag: #WINK

Wink is available as a print and e- book at 
Amazonand Barnes & Noble. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Welcome Donald Dempsey and a Guest Post: "Writing About a Difficult Childhood"

Welcome Donald R. Dempsey, author of Betty's Child, and a guest post on "Writing About a Difficult Childhood". 


While I personally am fortunate to not have experienced a difficult childhood, I hope that Donald's honest and open thoughts on the subject will be able help someone considering writing about their own background.  

             Have you ever heard the old adage about being careful what you ask for?  That parable certainly rang true for me when I decided to write about my childhood.  I think it’s only fair to warn anyone considering delving into their troubled past to expect the same.  You’ll remember events you might wish you hadn’t.  Scabs will be pricked and old wounds will be opened.  Pain you’ve tried to forget will run amok, loose and demanding to be reckoned with.  You may find yourself haunted by what you draw from the shadows of your past, so be prepared to deal with some emotions you may or may not expect.

            You might think I’m being melodramatic.  In fact, I’m sure some reading this will feel that way.  I know people who have endured extremely painful childhoods, eventually built a life of their own, and treated their past like it was just a terrible passing storm.  As if they were simply able to repair the damage and go on living like everyone else, raising families and building careers.  Either able to casually talk and even joke about their childhood, or choosing never to acknowledge it, until it slips into an obscurity only those closest to them even know about. 

            But almost every one of those people will have a sibling who didn’t fare as well, a tortured soul who doesn’t possess the same inner fortitude.  They will have spouses and children who don’t fully know the extent of what was endured.  They might have bitter parents who will deeply resent having their sins bared for all to see.  Most will face some combination of these elements, so be prepared for some backlash.  Many people do not want to read about pain.  Especially if said pain was partially or fully inflicted by them.  

            I like to write fiction.  I dabble in poetry.  I’ve often spent time plotting and framing a story, laying out notes and diving into a project.  But I always get sidetracked.  Run out of gas.  I have chapters gathering dust.  Unfinished manuscripts on the computer never even printed out.  Poetry half finished.  Some of these are phrases I’d like to end with, or thoughts I want to complete.  I’m amused when I come across these fractured and incomplete words of mine. They’re old friends that I love to spend time with.

            But my memoir was different.  It always wanted to be written, roiling around within me whenever I was suffering a bout of melancholy.  It whispered and nagged.  I tried not to acknowledge the need to cut it loose.  If I told my story I would have to relive some painful times, address some emotions I’d pushed down so deep they barely existed anymore.  To be honest, I was afraid.  My last thought before I began was that I would write this for me, and probably never finish it anyway.

            I didn’t expect what poured out of me.  The memoir practically wrote itself.  I was done in less than five or six weeks.  Some parts of the book I barely remember writing, and never made a conscious thought to express.  The only advice I will give to someone undertaking a similar project is to cut it loose.  Let it out.  Anything too painful can always be edited.  Many of my reviewers use the words ‘raw’ and ‘real’ when talking about Betty’s Child.  What they’re picking up on is the brutal honesty of my story, and most if not all of that was just released, and not planned at all.    

            Expect to relive memories as if they happened only yesterday.  Once released, suppressed emotions may have to be dealt with.  I had a lot of trouble sleeping.  As children our instincts attempt to drive away the pain we aren’t yet equipped to deal with.  When that pain returns it is usually with a vengeance.  Coping with the past may prove difficult.  Make sure it’s a journey you want to undertake.  There are parts of Betty’s Child I still have trouble reading, and I find it odd that the only book I ever managed to complete contains the only words I’ve ever written that I’m not exactly fond of.          

About the Author:

Don Dempsey experienced childhood abuse and neglect first hand, but went on to have a fulfilling family life as an adult and to own his own business. "If you're lucky, you make it to adulthood in one piece," says Don. "But there's no guarantee the rest of your life is going to be any better. Abused kids are often plagued by fear and insecurity. They battle depression and have trouble with relationships. In the worst cases, abused children perpetuate the cycle." But Don is living proof that you can overcome a childhood of abuse and neglect. "You start by letting go of as much of the guilt (yes, abused kids feel guilty) and as many of the bad memories as possible. At the same time, you hold on to the things that helped you survive. For me, it was the belief that you can make life better by working at it and earning it. It helps to have a sense of humor, too."

Betty's Child is the story of one young man's ordeals with poverty, religion, physical and mental abuse, maternal insanity, and the dire need for confidence and direction as he attempts to come of age.

Donny Davis is struggling to coexist with his mother, a single woman who moves from place to place, always just a step ahead of the law, scamming churches, and running bad checks. She has already been incarcerated for these self-same illegal activities, but refuses to alter her lifestyle; a lifestyle that includes bringing home men she knows little or nothing about. One of these men eventually assaults Donny. He feels trapped, as his mother makes excuses for her boyfriend's actions, but he fears more for his younger brothers than he does for himself. Scarred and sullen, Donny shamefully attends the church his mother is scamming. He stays silent, but something within him begins to rise up, and his youthful indignation swells to an outright full rebellion. As his life with his mother grows ever more fraught with peril, Donny's world begins to completely unravel. His beloved dog is taken from him. One of his younger brothers is brutally attacked. He loses the few friends he has when the family is moved by the church they attend. And then, the very pastor who has control of them begins to accuse him of his mother's sins. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome Trisha Slay and a Guest Post: Confessions of a Closet Star Wars Geek

Welcome Trisha Slay author of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away! 

Check it out, click here!

Say the two words, "Star Wars", at my home and there's an immediate reaction.  I have two boys, after all, ages 6 and 9 who are always ready for a lightsaber duel.  Even my daughter isn't immune to the power of the "force".  For my husband and I, it comes down to childhood nostalgia.  No matter how many new movies they make, we will always regard the original trilogy of Star Wars films as the best!  So, yes, I will admit that there's a little "Star Wars Geek" in each member of my family.

Is there a little (or a lot) "Star Wars Geek" in you?  If you're a child of the 70's and 80's (like me), it's time to step out of the "Star Wars Geek" closet!

Confessions of a Closet Star Wars Geek

Once upon a time---not so long ago and not so far away---I walked into a movie theater with a fountain soda in one hand and a box of Lemonheads in the other as the opening credits started to roll for the most anticipated movie of the summer. By the time I walked out of that theater, 124 minutes later, everything had changed. Everything.

The year was 1980. The movie was THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Does that surprise you?

This is where I admit that I went to a movie theater three years earlier and watched the original release of STAR WARS, but I was not truly moved or changed at all. It was a fun movie, but it was not my favorite movie. I was six-years-old in the summer of 1977. THE RESCUERS, CANDLESHOE, and CHARLIE’S ANGELS made a much bigger impression on me that year. Still, I owned the original Kenner action figures and the Princess Leia Bubble Bath. I wished for my very own R2-D2 to clean my room. Every empty cardboard wrapping paper roll would forever and always be a lightsaber to me.

But, the truth is, I was NOT an original 1977 STAR WARS geek.

Then, in March of 1980, my most perfectly wonderful world crumbled. Grandpa Eldon – my best friend, the light of my life and the man I knew as “Daddy” from my earliest memories – suffered a massive heart attack. He died a week later in the hospital, leaving a terrible, jagged hole in my soul. Three months later, stumbling around in a fog of grief and pretending everything was “fine, fine, just fine,” my grandmother and I went to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Now that is the point where I was turned inside out and scrubbed clean. Yoda changed everything. “I love you” and “I know” changed everything. “I am your father” changed EVERYTHING. For a few blissful years, I was comfortable and happy being a complete and total STAR WARS geek to the core.

That was the 80′s. Eventually, STAR WARS deteriorated into a cliche. I became addicted to MTV, fell in love with Duran Duran, sprayed my hair into preposterous shapes and pretended that my heart was not yearning for a galaxy far, far away. Somewhere along the way, STAR WARS fans became the punchline to every snarky joke about what was sad, pathetic and weird in our culture. And I would laugh at those jokes, even as I died a little bit each time. Fighting through every day, always feeling awkward in my own skin, I did not want to be seen as one of those weirdo STAR WARS geeky types. 

Even in the early 90′s, when Timothy Zahn published his incredible Thrawn Trilogy, I read the novels by flashlight in my college dorm room while continuing to keep my fangirl persona a secret. In my late twenties and early thirties, I did get a bit more brave. There were a few times when I let some trusted friends get a tiny peek at my inner geek. I’ll never forget the time I simultaneously delighted and horrified my best friends by achieving national ranking in a STAR WARS trivia contest (just before the release of the new trilogy). 

Dating guys who staked any claim to the STAR WARS universe was always a disaster for me. If I dared to bare my geekery, I was inevitably smacked down by their need to demonstrate superior knowledge of facts, figures, starships and weaponry. (What is it with men who think being a true fan of anything  = memorization skills?)

I still remember the moment when the basic concept for this silly fangirl story came knocking on my brain. I did not want to write it for many reasons. No way! But the main character, Erika, simply would not leave me alone. Somehow, I'm still not sure how it happened, I found myself pitching this unformed, unwritten concept of a "fangirl novel" to an editor at an SCBWI writing conference in Los Angeles. Her reaction was electric. I knew immediately that I had to write this book. And as I was writing, I fell in love with my own inner STAR WARS fangirl all over again. 

So now I am out of the closet, proudly flying my geek flag. I dig droids. I really do believe that anger, fear and aggression lead to the Dark Side. But I won’t camp out in front of movie theaters and I will never wear a metal bikini. There are limits to my devotion. 

With the launch of my first fangirl novel---NOT SO LONG AGO, NOT SO FAR AWAY (Deeds Publishing, May 2013)---I have forced myself to reach out to the larger STAR WARS fan universe. It is still hard for me. Most of them were brave and brazen fans when I was weak and ashamed of my inner geek. Still, I force myself to reach out. And guess what? I am continually in awe of the warm, wonderful and, yes, slightly wacky STAR WARS fan community.

Thanks Trisha for bringing back some great memories of the 80's!  And, I agree to boycotting camping out in front of movie theaters wearing a metal bikini!

Check out Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away:
(As Yoda would say, "Check it out, you must.")

Click here to check it out!

         More about Trisha Slay
Trisha Slay is a writer with a passion for storytelling. She has studied at the Institute of Children's Literature as well as furthering her skills through online workshops. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the Atlanta Writer's Club. She enjoys participating in writing groups and spends a great deal of time improving her craft. Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is her first novel.

Tricia hopes Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away would be compared to Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She has said that "If those two books had a Star Wars-obsessed little sister, I'd like to think she would be my novel."

Tricia lives between the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia Mountains, but hails originally from the way of the San Francisco Bay area. When she is not working on her next book (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back), her interests include: 70s pop culture; unsolved mysteries; Star Wars (original trilogy); historic movie theaters; haunted history; reading (especially YA novels); nutrition/weight watchers/healthy vegetarian cuisine; hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with her guy); yoga/meditation; miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as envisioned); and writing letters she never intends to mail.

Contact Trisha Slay: