Friday, November 25, 2011

Thank You

I'll admit it. I'm not comfortable saying thanks. I receive a compliment or a present and I have a difficult time just saying thanks. I don't know why.
It's just me. I mean it but sometimes it's difficult for me to express it.

We've all seen the email about giving thanks even though we complain about our own personal situations. You know the one I mean. I get it forwarded to me every year by at least one of my family members or friends. I'm bored with my job but am thankful for it because there are so many unemployed. My house is a mess and the landlord is a jerk but I'm thankful because many people don't have a home. My car is eleven years old but many people don't have cars. I have bills stacked up and drowning in debt but am thankful for the money I receive from working to chip away at the stack because there are people worse off. I don't have much to eat and not sure what I'll scrounge up for dinner but thankful for the little bit of food I have because there are those who really don't know from where their next meal is coming.

Or how about the email about parents. Surely, you've seen this one. The one about how my parents are rotten people because they gave me a curfew and didn't let me party all night when I was in school. They were rotten because they didn't let me stay home all day but made me go to school to get an education. They were rotten because they disciplined me when I committed acts of disrespect or was a complete brat.

I sort of like those emails. I read them and I appreciate them. Also, I get the emails about friendship and where I'm supposed to send the email back to the sender to express my friendship. I never do. Not because these people aren't cherished, but because I'm just not that good at doing those things.

This Thanksgiving what did I do? Did I spend the day enjoying family and a fine meal? No. I worked. I worked Wednesday night and Thursday I spent a couple of hours with a few friends and a fine meal. Then I slept for eight hours before I went back to work. Tomorrow, I spend the day with family and another fine meal. That's it. No shopping, no being one of the mob waiting in line for Black Friday. Just a quiet day with a few friends and my cat who couldn't care less about the holiday.

I'm sitting here at work bored out of my mind. I haven't seen a single person since the second shift person left. I've watched mindless television and read chapters out of the latest in the never ending stack of books I own. I've printed out the required reports that I really didn't need to print. But that's another story and I don't wish to throw around trash talk about work. Because I'm thankful to be indoors all night long as a few feet away there is cold and wind and if I weren't here, others would have to sacrifice their time or I would be home wondering where to go for my next paycheck.

No, I don't have much. My apartment is small and the apartment house is an eyesore. But it's home and a place where my cat is comfortable and happy. I don't have much money, but somehow I get by even if it is one paycheck to the next and somehow I'm able to buy food for my next meal. I don't have much of a social life and I don't remember the last time I went out on a date. But I have friends I talk to every week either on the phone or through email. And I'm thankful they consider me a friend. I'm not a world leader or a person with a lot of influence on the masses, but I have my small circle of loyal students who look to me for guidance and discipline and training. And I have made a happy life for a furry companion who wants only a little food and water, a regular treat and an occasional belly rub.

And I'm thankful for every person who allows me into his or her life through my books. All of those who granted me interviews, allowed me to sit on a panel at a conference or event, or to give a talk or be part of a discussion. And I don't care how popular or famous I become, I will always thank every person who takes the time to purchase my books.

I don't say thanks all that often and it's difficult, but I mean it just the same. I hope you understand.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Around the Globe with ANGELA ROE

Oh my goodness, where do I start with my introduction of this week's featured author? I met Angi back in the first critique group I joined eleven, twelve years ago. For a few years, I lost track of her as, well, you know, stuff happens. Then, in January I'm preparig for the release of my first book, Night Shadows (available at fine Internet book stores near you) when Echelon Press comes back with news about the acceptance of four of my short stories. A couple of days pass and one morning I realize I could be in trouble, because one story, Bar Scene, I collaborated with Angi to write. Finally, and fortunately, I managed to reestablish contact, and once again, we're involved in a weekly (well, we try for weekly, but you know, stuff happens) writers' group.

She's a romance novelist, a freelance writer, a freelance photographer and a freelance editor. She also write non-fiction and have many online articles published on topics as diverse as home improvement, ballroom dancing, fitness, marketing and research, computer programs and business associations. She provides SEO copy to industry-leading Web content providers.

So today, I hop in my transporter and pick up Angi, thinking we're going someplace warm on this cold November morning. But I forget that Angi is a take charge type of gal and, like so many in the past, she pushes me aside and assumes control and in a few seconds we're in Chicago, walking alongside Lake Michigan watching rush hour traffic while sipping Starbucks coffee. Well, she is. I opt for hot chocolate, because, hey, it's Chicago in November. Thanks, Ang.

1. Who is Angela Roe and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

My neighbors are intrigued by my being an author. They say it with such reverence that it makes me smile. They obviously have no idea what it means, the hours sitting in front of a computer, lost in a world of your own, oblivious to the real world taking place around you, much to the annoyance of your family and friends. If it didn’t result in a book, I’d be medicated for hearing voices in my head, but I call them characters so it’s okay!

2.Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I think people would be surprised to find out I'm dyslexic. While it certainly has a huge impact on certain parts of my life, it doesn't impact my ability to read or write, thankfully. Mostly for me, it manifests itself with numbers, and reversing the order of things. So if you tell me to go to a specific street and turn left, I'll go to that street and turn right...nearly every's annoying but you learn to live with it.

3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming a NASCAR driver?

I don’t think I ever made the decision, I’ve been making up and telling stories my entire life, long before I could write them down, according to my parents. I made up stories to entertain myself during car trips and my mom referred to them as the movies in my head. Being a writer isn’t a career decision, at least not for me, it’s just who I am.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

Oh wow, all of them! Nora Roberts comes to mind, I’d love to know how she got around the antiquated idea that you can only show one person’s thoughts or feelings in a scene…two people are there, I want to know what both are thinking and feeling…Andrew Greeley was probably one of the first authors I started to follow and I love how diverse his writing is. I think he is also responsible for my addiction…I mean my love of Chicago!

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?

You’d be in terrific company with my characters. They’re fun, funny and find themselves in situations that most of us can relate to in one way or another. Their situations are exaggerated, but the feelings evoked are universal. Plus they’ve got a unique way of looking at things that will make you smile and make time fly.

6. Share the Roe process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.

The Roe process…I like that…the truth is, there isn’t one!!! I typically find myself struck by a phrase or a line and the book develops from there. Once I hear it, the characters are pretty much full-blown in my head and clamoring at me to tell their story. I sit down to write with no more idea of what is going to happen than you have when you pick up the book to read it.

I make up my worlds, I set it in a general location but the specific city is fiction. It’s easier that way, otherwise I’m sure to mess up the streets and have them going the wrong direction and tick people off.

I write all day. I try to promote my books in the morning until around 9 or 10am and then I write afterward. I write until I have to stop to do something like laundry, or mow the lawn or make dinner. After dinner, I spend time on various social networks and then I read for about an hour before bed.

Editing stinks and I hate it so I tend to do it based on the reviews I get during critique group on Sunday night, and other than that, I leave it until the book is completely finished. Then I usually give it to someone I trust to read and give me feedback. If I agree with the feedback, I make the changes. Then I do two final edits, one strictly for content and one strictly for grammar and spelling. Once that’s done, I give it to my husband and he reads it and points out all the mistakes I missed.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Write it down. Forget about editing and spelling and all that stuff, just write it down. If you find yourself at a point where you need more information…say your character picks up a gun and you need to know more about guns, make a note (research guns) and go on with the story. The most important thing a writer can do is write so my advice remains to write it down.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

That’s fun, isn’t it? I can totally relate to the ones that say things like…”My doctor says I have ADHD but I think he just doesn’t get me…oh look, a squirrel!” I think my philosophy is to have fun. Yes, there are things we have to do that aren’t fun, but we can add fun to them. I listen to audio books while I clean my house, for example. I hate the housework but I love the books and it keeps me occupied while I mindlessly scrub the bathtub. So add fun to your life. You’ll enjoy it more and so will the people around you!

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

Good gravy, no. I can’t, really, the voices won’t leave me alone. I am currently working on book number two to the Walkers Ridge Romance series and the basics for books three and four are in place. I also have multiple works in process that I’m working on and I have an on-going series called “Carried Away” that I add a small volume to each month. So not writing isn’t something I’ll ever entertain!

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

Visit my website, and you’ll see everything from my books that are available to my blog site. There are links there that’ll take visitors to sites where they can download samples and purchase my books and they’ll be able to contact me through that site as well.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, I appreciate it. I’m a huge fan of your work, as you know, and I consider it an honor to be here.
Following are a list of Angela's books and stories. She's a prolific writer with more material to come. Keep visiting her website and she always appreciates feedback on her books. However...if you want to stay off her S-list, do NOT say her stories are cute.

This Montana Man
Caroline Edwards takes a year's lease on a run-down farmhouse in the middle of Montana. She needs the solitude to complete her newest novel. Jamie Overton isn't pleased that his mother rented out the old house and thinks it should be torn down. When he meets Caroline, he's convinced this city girl is out of her element. Will those sparks grow stronger when Caroline's ex puts in an appearance?

The Journey
A touching tale of the transition from one life to another.

The Creeps
Each of these stories will give you the creeps, sending shivers up your spine for entirely different reasons. Keep your kids close and leave the lights on tonight.

It Was Snowing
Walk along side this couple as they find themselves the unwilling subjects of a snapshot depicting a painful and life-changing moment

Carried Away
Come ride the rails with me as we get to learn a little about the lives of our fellow train passengers. You may notice a few things about this train. It’s bigger and comprised of private compartments of various sizes, most which come with their own bathrooms. Consider this twist literary license. Some of my characters are quite insistent upon their right to privacy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adult Truths

So, this week's is an early post as I'm not going to be around the computer tomorrow. I've had this in my bin waiting to be used but I can't take credit for creating it. I received this as an email from a friend and thought I keep it and share it.

What does this have to do with writing? I'm not sure, but give me a moment and I'll think of something. Just a little fun to get you through your day. Put a little humor in your writing. Cold one of your characters have similar thoughts? Could you take one of these 'truths' as a writing cue, maybe to help with writer's block? Or could you just enjoy them for what they are?

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 ; the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Ladies.....Quit Laughing.

Heal the past, live the present, dream the future.

Enjoy life!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Around the Globe with DAVE ANDERSON

This morning, I set the controls in my transporter for Portland to visit this week's featured author. Now, I have an interesting situation because he really wanted to have the interview about half an hour before the beginning of the Daytona 500. He wanted to be sipping $8.00 beers and eating cheese-steak sandwiches in an air-conditioned box with an expansive view of the track. Also, he wanted to take time to boo the Busch brothers during their introduction. I thought it would be a great idea.


The Daytona 500 isn't until February and this is the beginning of November. Sooo, I've settled on a compromise. We're still in Daytona, and I've persuaded the track administration to let us visit for a short while at in the best box, AC on. I've brought in a couple of six packs for him, and since I'm not a beer fan, a few sodas for me. I've even managed to get some sandwiches delivered. In the box is a large screen TV with a video of the 2011 race in it's entirety so he can boo and cheer to his heart's content.

Sheesh, the things I go throuh for these authors...

1. Who is D.M. Anderson and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I live in Portland, Oregon, which was recently voted the “most miserable city” in America, mainly because of the weather, unemployment, divorce rate and number of suicides. Since I'm happily married & employed, and do not plan on killing myself anytime soon, that leaves the weather, which is mostly rain. Living in Portland is like being on the set of Blade Runner 24 hours a day. It never bothers me like it bothers my wife.

In the real world, when I'm not fighting crime, I teach middle school English and mostly write stories for that same age group. I'm still trying to get used to kids asking me to sign their copies of Killer Cows while doing hall duty. I'm not complaining, though. I don't know any other teachers who are sometimes asked for an autograph during the school day.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

As an author, I don't know what would surprise anyone, other than the fact I'm probably more inspired by movies than other writers. Not that there aren't writers who have inspired me, but my approach to writing novels is that they are “movies for your head,” with better special effects and no bloody 3-D.

As a teacher, a lot of people seem shocked that I have long hair and listen to death metal, especially at my age. But what can I say? I like being different.

3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming an nuclear scientist?

Well, duh...nuclear scientists don't get paid for making stuff up. Nobody's lining up for a nuclear scientist's autograph. Besides, writing is a lot of fun, because you get to make up anything you want.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

I think, since I love movies so much, I'd love to share dinner with Roger Ebert. I do not always agree with his assessments of films, but he's easily the best writer on the subject. I think it would be fun to debate things with him. After that, probably Stephen King. He's my all-time favorite author. I would try not to ask the usual dumb questions like, “Where do you get your ideas?”

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?

Well, if you were stranded with teenagers in-tow, I think my books could keep them amused so you wouldn't half to listen to them complain. Although all of my books are intended for young adults, the one thing they all have in common is that they are about extraordinary things happening to everyday ordinary kids. In the case of Killer Cows, kids might imagine what they would do if they had a flying saucer. But in the case of Shaken, my second novel about the worst natural disaster in American history, they might read the ordeal these characters go through just to survive, and then thank God it isn't them.

6. Share the Anderson process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.

I do not start with an outline, mainly because I think writing is more interesting if I don't always know what will happen next. So I pretty much map-out the main characters then go to work cranking out the rough draft. Sometimes my ideas evolve into an story, sometimes they go nowhere. As far as research goes, I think it is important for some stories. For Shaken, I needed to do some online research about how earthquakes trigger tsunamis, as well as how fast tsunamis travel. I'm not saying Shaken is a 100% accurate depiction of such a disaster, but it is important that the reader feels like what they are reading at least sounds plausible.

My writing schedule varies, depending on my day job and other obligations. I do try to write for a couple of hours each day (with weekends off during NASCAR season). I think it's very important that any would-be author writes on a regular basis, even on those days when they may not feel quite so inspired. That whole notion of waiting until your inspired is ridiculous. If you really want to be a writer, part of you has to look at it like a job.

Editing and rewrites suck. I hate 'em. And I've never met any writer who thinks otherwise. But hey, that's what separates the wannabes from the committed. I revised Killer Cows several times before submitting to anyone, and at least four more times after signing a publishing contract.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Start with the fun stuff! Beginning a story is the hardest part, especially if a writer has so many great later scenes mapped-out before-hand. So why not start with those great scenes and worry about exposition later? I've discovered that getting to the 'good' scenes first actually increases the chances I'll finish the actually story.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.' What is your philosophy of life?

I guess, since I just recently recovered from a serious illness and almost lost my life, I'd have to say my current philosophy is “Every day above ground is a good day.” It's a line from the movie, Scarface, which I hated. But whenever things aren't going exactly as I'd like them to, either in writing or my work, remembering that line always puts things in perspective.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing. What’s next for you?

Right now, I'm working on a few projects. I'm trying to finish up my third young adult novel, which is a horror story. I'm in the revision process and it's giving me fits, mainly because I totally scrapped the last 40-or-so pages and started over. This could either be my greatest book or the one that kills me.

I'm also putting together a collection of dark tales, most of which were published before in various small press magazines before I turned to young adult fiction. These stories are definitely not for kids.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

There's lots of info on my blog, D.M. Anderson's Free Kittens (, which is also an outlet for frequent lists, cartoons, narrative essays and updates on my writing career. It also features the occasional author interview. People can also go to the Echelon Press website ( ) or its young adult imprint, Quake
( There are a lot of great authors and books featured on both sites.

Probably the easiest place to find my published books and stories is at Amazon. Killer Cows is available there as both a paperback and Kindle edition. I'm pretty sure that's the first place Shaken will be available when it is released.