Friday, December 29, 2017

Year’s End

Greetings! As we move toward a new year, Pam Thibodeaux is our final guest on Author Expressions for 2017.  We plan to continue to host Author Expressions in 2018. Bonnie, Sarah, Susan and myself, Jacqueline Seewald, want to wish all our fellow writers and readers a happy and healthy holiday. As you may know, A. E. began with Joyce Moore and a number of other fine Five Star/Gale/Cengage authors, and although except for myself there has been changes in staff, we continue to be authors who want to share our thoughts, ideas, and information with readers and fellow writers. So the tradition will continue.

And now, here’s Pam:

Author Name and Book Title: Keri’s Christmas Wish by Pamela S Thibodeaux, a finalist in OKRWA’s 2017 IDA contest is part of the Mistletoe, Snow and Suspense collection of 5 Christmas stories by 4 acclaimed authors, available for a limited time @ only 99cents! Link for Mistletoe, Snow and Suspense:
Collection includes:

KERI’S CHRISTMAS WISH by Pamela S Thibodeaux Tagline: Can Keri get past her angst over Christ’s birth and enjoy the Christmas season?

by Lillian Duncan TAGLINE: Zoe Adams has a secret—one that’s worth killing for!

WORKS OF DARKNES by V. B. Tenery Tagline: Some secrets just won’t stay buried.

ANGELS AMONG US by V. B. Tenery Partial Blurb: In the season of Love, Peace and Joy, a chance meeting with a young woman in a supermarket sets Detective Cole Allen on an urgent quest to save the lives of three young women.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY by Mary Vee Tagline: A family Christmas just can’t be celebrated with one of them on the grounds.

Excerpt from Keri’s Christmas Wish: An image began to form in her mind…a young girl being led around on a horse by an ethereal figure. As the trio came closer, Keri felt as though she looked in a mirror. Her heart swelled. Tears clogged her throat, filled her eyes, and slipped down her cheeks.

“Hi, Keri!”

The childlike voice reverberated through her entire body. Keri smiled and whispered, “Hello.”

Excitement lit the youngster’s eyes. Brilliant colors vibrated around her. “Do you know who I am?”

“You’re me as a little girl. That’s Spark, my horse who died when I was a teenager.”

Spark nodded his head as the girl giggled—a joyous melody that rang through the atmosphere. “No, silly, I’m your big sister. Only, I didn’t live very long.”

Tension seeped in, a mixture of shock and awe.

“Don’t be afraid. Ask mom.”

And then the mirage disappeared.
Buy link(s) for Keri’s Christmas Wish:

Bio for Pamela S Thibodeaux:
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Contact Links:
Website address:    
Twitter: @psthib
Amazon Author Page: 

Key words: Keri’s Christmas Wish, Pamela S Thibodeaux, inspirational with an edge, NDE, heaven is for real, miracles from heaven, Christmas book, Christian, romance, paranormal, fantasy, Mistletoe Snow and Suspense, Christmas Collection  

Friday, December 22, 2017


It started when I was in college. I’d be upset about something, usually a personal relationship, and write down some of my feelings. Or I’d be facing a critical decision point: where to live, what job to take, or whether to stay in a dead-end job.

Recently, we had some severe family stress that made me turn to writing again. Somehow, the act of putting down the facts, and separating them from my reactions, gave me perspective. I realized I was not crazy, only upset, and that my reasons for being upset were perfectly legitimate (when a loved one is threatened, I turn into a tiger!).

Perhaps being a writer of fiction is a handicap when dealing with emotions. As a writer, I am told over and over again that the way to heighten tension in a story is to ask myself: “how can I make a situation worse?” and then, “how can I make it even more awful?” Now I do that in real life, by imagining situations that haven’t happened, or may never happen. I can lie awake for hours in that gloomy space, spinning dreadful scenarios.

Back to reality: writing it down really helps. Sometimes it’s a monologue, sometimes it’s a list of pros vs. cons for making one decision over another. Seeing the words on paper gives me a little distance, as if I’m reading a psychology article or a story about someone else. Then I can remind myself, “Your worst nightmare has not happened! And guess what, it might not ever happen!” And best of all, a solution—or at least a constructive direction—can and does emerge.
Even better, I am not just avoiding finishing my next novel by journaling, I am exercising my writing muscles and my ability to choose the right words to say what I want to communicate. In fact, I am removing emotional clutter so I can return the novel in a better and more productive frame of mind.

The situation I was worried about is still there, but simmering away on a back burner. I can see hope ahead, and a chance that I can be helpful.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Being an Influencer

Are you an "influencer"? At home? At work? In the writing community? Over your craft?

Perhaps we should talk about...

Merrium Webster's definition of "influence":

1 : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
2 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force
3 : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
4 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway
5 : one that exerts influence 

Most of us wield influence at home and at work based on our role, responsibility and authority. i.e. "When Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy." Or perhaps, "What the boss says, goes." These are cliche but true none the less. (a direct exercise of command)

If you are a part of a local writing group you may be asked to speak, be part of the governing board, and/or participate in regular meetings or events. Depending on your level of experience, and ability to serve, of course. It is a good way to help teach newbie writers, learn the different options available in writing and publishing, and help grow the writing community. (causing an effect in an indirect or intangible way)

But, how do you influence your craft? Read. Writing practice. Repeat. Take classes and workshops. Participate in critic groups. Repeat. Every word you read or write helps you to grow in your craft. Every good book you read will inspire and guide you to be a better writer/story teller. (producing an effect without apparent exertion of force)
Once you have the basics down you may find that you can channel your characters or perform as a scribe to the story instead of pushing it in a certain direction. That is an awesome feeling of emacipation. Like riding a raft, it's more fun to go along with the flow of the river than to fight against the current. (an emancipation of spiritual or moral force)
Writers are influencers. Readers share in the knowledge and/or story the writer publishes. We have an opportunity to present new ways of dealing with difficult relationships through story. We can impart information through the salt of facts, tiny sprinkles pertenant to the time, place, and situation.  Writers can bring myth and magic to a story and influence the characters and readers, too. (etheral fluid; flow from the stars and affect the actions of humans; sway)

That etheral flow can be called the muse, if you like. The muse often influences what we write. The muse could very well be of the stars, but I prefer to think of the muse as the creative spark in the universe that we tap in to from time to time. Xanadu, perhaps. The muse inspires artists of all genres if we are open to it.
Author of the "feisty family series" and a novel of romantic suspense: "Your Every Move." 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sharing Reading Suggestions for the Holidays by Jacqueline Seewald

The holidays are a great time to gift friends, family or  yourself with books to read. With people going on vacation, many individuals enjoy relaxing with a good book. And there certainly are a lot of them being published! You can find books to suit every age and taste whether fiction or nonfiction. Let’s share recommendations, whether it be your   own work or that of others.

I recently read John Grisham’s CAMINO ISLAND. I held off on reading it for a while because a friend who I consider an intelligent fellow reader disliked the book although she is also a fan of Grisham. I have to say I really enjoyed the novel and my opinion differed strongly from hers.

I believe I particularly enjoyed the novel because of the information about the world of bookselling and writing. There was a lot of insider info of interest to a writer like myself.

The novel begins like a caper story which I generally don’t find of great interest. However, the theft is at Princeton University’s Firestone Library where five original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts are stolen. These manuscripts eventually make their way to Bruce Cable, a bookstore owner in the resort town of Camino Island, Florida. Bruce loves collecting rare books. He is an interesting, somewhat eccentric character that Grisham develops thoroughly. Enter Mercer Mann, an attractive young novelist down on her luck who is enlisted to infiltrate Cable’s literary circle and help locate the priceless manuscripts. Grisham provides some clever plot twists. If you haven’t already read the novel, I recommend it.

I also recommend my latest work THE BURNING. The novella is about a family surviving an environmental disaster. It’s good reading choice for the holidays appropriate for men and women of all ages and available in all digital formats as well as print. 

You can check it out here:

Okay, now here’s your opportunity to share the books and publications you think will make for good holiday reading. Feel free to mention work you’ve recently had published if you’re an author. Readers, please mention books you have on your wish list and/or recently read and enjoyed.

Comments/suggestions are welcome here to share.

Friday, December 1, 2017

When parts of your life creep into your fiction, by Susan Oleksiw

Soon after my second Mellingham mystery, set in a small art college, was published (Double Take, 1994), a friend said she and her colleagues at the nearby art school had read the mystery and were now trying to figure out who was who in the book. I was startled and quickly reassured her that no on in the school was in the book. This was not a reaction I expected, and since most of the characters in the story were unattractive, as suspects in a murder case often are, I wanted to reassure my friend that this was not how I saw them.

Some writers mine their lives for plot or characters, rewrite what is real in their lives, and never raise any suspicions. I'm not one of them. I work hard to keep my life out of my fiction, and the purpose of one of my read-throughs is finding just this kind of problem--a scene that recalls an experience that seems obvious to me, which means a rewrite, or a character who is far too close to someone I know casually or at a distance. I might wonder how these elements got into the book, past my vigilant eye, but there they are and out they come.

My friends and relatives have a right to their privacy, and while some writers believe anything a writer comes across is fair game, I don't. Children are especially vulnerable, and I cringe to think what it must be like to grow up and see yourself in a parent's or sibling's book. I wouldn't like it but I know that some others don't mind.

After the publication of my third Mellingham mystery (Family Album, 1995), several friends asked pointedly about a certain character, convinced that he was modeled after a specific person. He wasn't, and once again I was unprepared for the reaction. I thought I'd invented everyone in the book, with nothing matching any living person.

This has been less of a problem in the Anita Ray series, set in South India, even though I send copies of the books to friends there. For the fourth book (When Krishna Calls, 2016), a friend was so pleased that I had captured perfectly the problem of village loan sharks that he insisted on writing a review. He articulated my deeper goal, which is to capture the experience of the people and a place rather than copying a real person. I understood the world of debt among the lower castes because while I lived there I was regularly approached for money by those who worked for me. One woman took the time to explain how the system worked in her part of Kerala. But she is not in the book.

Despite all my care in keeping details of my personal life and those of others I know out of my fiction. I'm beginning to accept that this is not always possible. Whatever story I tell comes from how I see the world, from personal experiences in which I figured prominently or sat on the periphery. But I was there and I played a role. I can't disguise my worldview, and that inevitably means I'll explore the lives and behaviors of the kind of people who are part of my experience. But I'll remain cautious about a scene or character that comes too easily and seems too familiar, and in the final read-through (if not sooner) I'll edit out anything that I recognize as taken from a specific life.

To find Susan's work, go here: