Friday, October 21, 2016
October is all about ghosts and goblins and with that in mind, Bish Denham, is here today to discuss her latest release
Thanks for having me on your blog today, Yolanda! I hope this interview will pique the curiosity of your readers regarding my books, The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales, and A Lizard’s Tail.
It's my pleasure, Bish. I love that you're sharing your journey with us!
1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?
The Virgin Islands are filled with history. Although there were Native Indian tribes living in the islands, the Taino, Arawaks, and Caribs not much is known about them, so a recorded history began when Columbus sailed through the chain on his second trip in 1493 and name them. Most of what happened after that was not pleasant because it involved slavery. Because of the violent nature of most of that history, the idea of writing a ghost story was not a big leap. There are plenty of ghost stories in the islands. There are also mischievous spirits, called jumbies, that populate folklore.
What appealed to you about it?
Two things appealed to me for writing The Bowl and the Stone. One was I’ve never written a ghost story, and I wanted to give a try. The other was that I wanted to try to capture a way of life that no longer exists.
Why do you think it is different, and your approach is unique?
This story is different because, as far I know, no other children’s ghost story has been written that is set on the island of St. John in 1962. It was a very unique time.
2. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?
It all depends on the topic. Sometimes it can take years, other times I get an idea and just start writing.
Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
I have so many three ring binders full of ideas I’m overloaded. I still have ideas going back to high school! And that’s a long time ago. When I do pick a subject, particularly if it’s a novel, I keep a separate binder with dividers where I write down brief chapter summaries, character descriptions, general notes on things I might want to put into the story, research if any, time lines… anything related to the story goes into the binder.
3. What resources do you use?
Depending on the story, I generally look for primary sources, autobiographies, histories, encyclopaedias, interviews.
In general and for this book?
For the Bowl and the Stone I didn’t need to do much research because I was a kid living on St. John in 1962. My memory was my primary resource. I also picked my sister’s brain. Being four years older, her memories are stronger in some areas.
4. Does writing provide you a sufficient income to live on?
No, is sure doesn’t, but then I didn’t really expect it to.
Is it your goal to be financially successful, or do you write and publish solely for the 'satisfaction of sharing your stories'?
Sure, it would be nice to be financially successful, but mostly I decided to self-publish because I wanted to share my stories. Also there was this thing called getting older. I tried very hard for about ten years to go the traditional route, looking for an agent/publisher, but had no takers. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Maybe the market for my stories isn’t broad enough, or maybe they didn’t like the stories themselves. Whatever the reason I realized I didn’t want to spend any more time spinning my wheels, so in 2013 I took the plunge and self-published my first book, Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales. Because I was raised in the Virgin Islands I heard Anansi stories growing up and I thought it would be nice to bring some of the stories into the homes of children who have never heard of the mischievous spider. I couldn’t have made that leap if I hadn’t spent the previous six to eight years developing relationships bloggers. They were the ones who encouraged me to try self-publishing. I could/would never have done it with them.
5. What's the next step for you?
Next step? Once I’ve settled down from my book blog tour I’m going to go back to a novel that’s written but is patiently waiting for editing and revising. It’s a complete departure from my last three books which are middle grade stories with a decidedly Caribbean flavour. A Piece of the Sky is a young adult novel and it takes place in… Tibet. I spent about ten years, off and on, doing research for it. Other works lurking in the wings include two possible sequels to my novel A Lizard’s Tail, a Caribbean retelling of Sleeping Beauty called The Legend of Bay Tree Hill, a middle grade historical novel about the life of St. Anthony of the Desert, and a fantasy that’s rather like Discworld meets OZ. There are some others things biting my heels, but they’re going to have to wait a little while longer. As you can see, I’m kind of all over the place. I don’t have one particular genre or age group that I write for. That’s because I have so interests.
Thanks again, Yolanda, for sharing your space with me.
Thank you Bish, it was a pleasure to learn more about you and your writing journey, especially as it resembles my own. :) Getting older and self-publishing went hand in hand for me. But it also helped me to find a publisher. I hope the same happens for you!
Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.
It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole
, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike. island of St. John
But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.
They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them?
As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.
Available now at
Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the
Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.
She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book.
Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”
The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the
Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.
To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog: Random Thoughts
She can also be found on Facebook:
What about you readers, are you an author in search of an agent or publisher. Or a writer trying to find the path that will work for you?
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016
A dream. That's all, just a dream. I crawled under the blankets and fell into a deep sleep despite the last vision in my head. Sea monsters don't exist. I know that, and yet, I'd swear that I just saw two, except I'm sick, and it's the middle of the night. Nightmare, that's all I saw, a waking dream. The medication that allowed me to sleep had created one doozy of a hallucination.
Green slimy monsters had come up out of the waves and carried off several tourists. They walked right past my patio as I sipped a cup of tea in the dark. Different shades of green on a human-like body with scales and fins, horns, and gills. Large eyes that glowed yellow. I could hear voices, or maybe it was thoughts. I never saw their mouth move except in that kissing fish kind of pout, in and out, in and out. Creepy and fascinating at the same time.
As the sea creatures carried their victims into the ocean, I heard their conversation in my head. Maybe I gave them voices. Isn't that what you do in dreams? The smaller one complained about the weight of his victim, the hours they labored, and the wages they made. Typical drudge worker complaints. I thought it was funny. I'd had some of the same complaints before I made my recent move to the beach. A move I'd worked years for and now that I'd achieved my goal, I was too sick to enjoy it. So goes life; two-steps forward, one-step back.
When I awoke, the sun was high in the sky. Warming rays filled the room. I stretched, threw off the blankets, and stumbled to the patio. Vacationers were soaking up the sunshine, playing water sports, and flying kites. The world looked normal, and I felt almost human. I plodded to the refrigerator for a Diet Coke and drank half the bottle in the first swig. Thirsty, I guess because my fever had finally broken.
I'd moved into my condo three days before and promptly came down with the flu. I hadn't even dipped my toes in the water. But I would remedy that today. Flu or not, I had to at least get some sand between my toes, so shorts and a crop top were put on. That new string bikini would have to wait. I still needed to lose twenty pounds I'd put on during the winter cold up north. I ran a brush through my tangled hair, finished my coke, and hurried outside. The sun on my skin felt healing, but the icy feel of the sand on my toes stopped me in my tracks.
To my shock, I was standing on strands of seaweed. A species that didn't exist anywhere but at the bottom of the sea. The same color green that I'd seen the night before. Only then, it had been hanging off the slimy creatures carrying off the tourists. I shivered and backed into my condominium. Quietly, I slid the patio door closed and double locked it. I closed the blackout curtains, then began moving furniture and unpacked boxes against the door and windows.
I worked up quite a sweat and felt silly. I knew I was overreacting. Monsters don't exist. Confused and exhausted, I fell back onto my unmade bed, curled up, and fell into another deep sleep. So much for sun and sand.
This time, when I awoke, night had fallen. Thirsty and hungry, I ate a candy bar and a bag of chips while I sucked down another Coke. Oh hell, there goes the diet. I didn't turn the lights on, but I did open the curtains and the patio door. Sitting in the dark, I watched the waves and admired the full moon and the dancing light that rolled across the waves. Convinced the flu had warped my mind, I finally relaxed and considered a midnight swim to prove that I wasn't afraid of sea monsters.
Then I heard their voices or was it their thoughts. I'm crazy pure and simple, but I had to listen.
"I can't believe they sent us back for the little girl's teddy bear. Ridiculous."
"They want her to grow up happy. Happy children make happy meals."
"That's so true. Plus when you fill them up with all that processed food, they make the seaweed rolls so much sweeter."
"Speaking of seaweed rolls. Last night, I spotted a cute chubby blonde in the lower unit. Maybe we should grab her, too. I'm hungry, and it is lunch time."
~~ Yolanda Renée © 2016 ~~
769 Words / FCA
I hope you found my story entertaining. I did move to the beach, and I was sick that first week, but I did not see any monsters. However, I was inspired by both the illness and the fact that it's Halloween.
Please read the other entries.
Just follow the link!
Monday, October 17, 2016
We arrived last night to the harvest moon.
But awoke to the damage left behind by
The dunes and protective vegetation is gone.
The pier was destroyed.
(sorry for the washed out photo's due to the direct sun)
This is what it looked like before.
The resort is still cleaning up the water and wind damage.
I'm feeling blessed - my condo was untouched.
Time to concentrate on Motive for Murder.
My goal is to have it ready for the publisher by the years end.
Hope all your writing goals are falling into place too.
And I especially hope that your home was left as untouched as mine by
Don't forget the WEP Challenge is this week!
Did you choose or combine the two?
Friday, October 14, 2016
I'm proud to announce that all 3 books
Will soon be available in AUDIO!
October 31, 2016
Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
Piper Goodeve (Narrator)
The trilogy is complete and book 4 is on the way!
For your enjoyment, an unedited excerpt from book 4:
MOTIVE for MURDER
A Detective Quaid Mystery
APRIL IN HAWAII
"Where do you think you're going?" Steven threw the blankets back.
"I'm meeting Elliot for a run on the beach, you know, that thing I do every morning while you continue to dream," Sarah said.
Steven shook his head and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "Damn, I miss our cabin in the woods."
"Really?" She finished fastening her hair into a ponytail and faced him, eyebrows furrowed. "Hawaii was your idea. Cabin fever, if I remember correctly. At least that's what you told Frank."
"I was wrong. At the cabin, we spent hours cuddling. Now you're up with the sun, and the bed is cold."
Sarah sat down beside him. "I miss that too."
He pulled her deeper into the bed, his naked body covering hers. Kissing passionately, she molded her body to his.
"Tell you what." She said after she caught her breath. "I'll make it a five-mile run, and after a quick shower, we'll continue." She smiled but pushed him away.
He fell back on the bed and sighed deeply. "Five miles? I'll bet you do fifteen, just to make me wait."
She nibbled his earlobe. "You’re the one determined to get me healthy. I'm doing all I can to fulfill your wish. I promise a quick run. You start the shower, and I'll be right back."
He sighed again but let her go and pulled on a pair of shorts. In the kitchen, he poured a cup of coffee, grabbed the paper from the front porch, and went to the patio to monitor her run. He never slept during her early morning excursions. While Elliott, her bodyguard and running partner, was always at her side, Steven kept his eye on the dunes and the rocks dotting the beach. He didn't expect trouble, but he was ready regardless of the serene setting that Hawaii offered.
They were on private land, with a private beach, but Steven never rested when Sarah was out of his sight. It had only been four months since the last threat, and he wasn't ready to trust there'd be no more. In December, he'd rescued her from a kidnapper, and a sniper determined to put a bullet in her head, but constant nightmares haunted his dreams.
Frank had convinced him to come to Hawaii and consult on a case while continuing the honeymoon. He'd promised Sarah a year of his time, and while he felt guilty for working, Sarah needed the sunshine. Their cabin in the Brooks Range was great, but she had continued to struggle with her health. The warmth of Hawaii changed all that. In less than a month, she was the picture of wellbeing and this new case was close to a solution.
Their suspect had made a huge mistake moving to Hawaii to continue his exploits. The killings had started in Los Angeles, in January, but moved to Hawaii in March. The killer made his victims eat their own body parts, sexually assaulted them, and eventually killed them. This creep's appetite knew only brutality and Frank wanted Steven's help to capture him. They were close and once the case wrapped up, Steven would take Sarah to Paris.
He sipped his coffee and caught sight of her and Elliott coming back up the beach. The phone rang and when he answered, Frank shouted at him. "Where's Sarah?"
"Get her in the house. I'm on my way." Frank yelled.
Steven could hear the roar of a helicopter in the background. "What's happening, Frank?"
"Bardot. Rudy Bardot, Jarrod's brother, is alive. He's our serial killer, and he's after Sarah!"
Steven dropped the phone and grabbed his gun. Barefoot he took off for the beach.
Two seconds too late.
Rudy Bardot rested a sniper rifle on a dune. His targets were in view. Steven sighted the man just as Sarah and Elliott arrived at ground zero.
Before Steven could calm his breathing enough to shoot, a shot shredded the morning's tranquility!
Elliott always ran with his body blocking Sarah's in safety, but the shooter had prepared for that.
One shot and both Sarah and Elliott went down. The bullet had gone through Elliott's shoulder and hit Sarah.
Bardot dropped his gun, pulled a knife, and moved toward his victims. He wanted a souvenir. " Jolies oreilles," Bardot said. (Pretty ears.)
Steven fired . . .
Well, actually the beginning of book 4.
I hope I've enticed you to start with Murder, Madness & Love
Or if you've already read the trilogy,
I hope I've excited you about the next book
MOTIVE FOR MURDER!
I changed the title from Dark Motives to Motive for Murder.
I've always referred the first three books as my
I thought it made sense to make it the
by keeping the word
in all the titles!
Do you agree?
Friday, October 7, 2016
I am thrilled to introduce L. X. Cain's New Release!
by L.X. Cain
Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.
Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.
“YA horror novelist Cain (Soul Cutter) steps right up to the center ring in this captivating shocker of children disappearing after the circus comes to town.” ~ Publishers Weekly
L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers.
Contact L.X. Cain at:
How do you like your clowns?
Were the recent sightings of menacing but disappearing clowns just a publicity stunt?
If so, good one Lexa! :)
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Brought to you by Alex J. Cavanaugh
When do you know your story is
When you first type "The End," you think it's over.
You're thrilled beyond reason because you've accomplished the desired goal. You walk away, celebrate and then you send it out to betas and editors.
You begin planning the tour, the marketing.
You begin planning the tour, the marketing.
Then the critics of your masterpiece arrive in your inbox.
You're not finished.
That's when the rewriting begins along with more questioning, and uncertainty. Suddenly you fear that none of your hard work will ever see the light of day.
But guess what?
You work through it.
Whether it's significant rewriting or minor, you work through it. You realize all those suggestions from the beta readers and editors make perfect sense, have added to your story, and now, finally, it is perfect.
When you finally hand it off to the publisher, you're sure it's ready, but then, there's, even more, editing and rewriting. But you get through that too, it's what writers do.
Hitting the send button on that Final Finished Edited Copy that now looks nothing like the original, is when you know it's finished! At least that's the prayer.
Have you decided which
WEP Challenge you'll tackle?
What ever your choice
be sure to sign up now!