Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And We Thank Thee by Micki Peluso

This article explores the origins and history of one of our favorite holidays.


          By Micki Peluso

Spicy, aromatic whiffs of pumpkin pie, plum pudding, and candied sweet potatoes mingle with and enhance the hearty, mouth-watering smell of roasted, stuffed turkeys. Thanksgiving, a harvest festival thanking the Creator for a bountiful year, has remained virtually unchanged since the pilgrims in Massachusetts shared that first feast with Chief Massoit and some of his braves.

On Staten Island, New York as in homes across the nation, people will gather in love and harmony to give thanks. Holiday fare on the Island will not differ greatly from traditional foods, except for the addition of ethnic dishes, such as home-made ravioli, succulent tomato sauce, crusty loaves of Italian bread, lasagne and delectable pastries indigenous to the New York area. In Italian homes, especially, a nine course meal is not unusual.

The turkey will dominate the day, whether served in homes, hospital rooms, soup kitchens for the needy, or meals on wheels for housebound senior citizens. Restaurants across the Island will also defer to the turkey, serving those who wish to celebrate, but hate to cook. Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds people of the past, celebrates the present, and offers hope for the future; a day that gratifies body and soul.

Although Governor William Bradford, of the Plymouth Colony issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1621, the concept of giving thanks is as old as the need for worship, and dates back to the time when humanity realized its dependence upon a Higher Power.The colonists of Plymouth observed three days of feasting,games and contests following their plentiful harvest in the autumn of 1621. The journal of Governor Bradford describes the preparations for that first Thanksgiving: "They began now to gather in the swell harvest they had, and to fit their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty... Besides waterfowl, there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc... Which made many afterward write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned, but true reports."

Staten Island, at that time, was a beautiful lush wilderness, sparsely inhabited by the Aqehonga Indians, who fished, hunted deer, raccoon, and fowl, and harvested corn, pumpkins, berries and fruit. Settlers arriving from England and Holland in 1630, added sausage, head cheese and pies to the abundant game and vegetation on the Island. Twenty years ago, it was common practice for butchers to hang plucked turkeys in store windows, while grocers displayed fresh produce and jugs of apple cider.

On October 31, 1777, the Continental Congress appointed Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, and Daniel Roberdau, to draft a resolution "to set aside a day of thanksgiving for the signal success lately obtained over the enemies of the United States." The resolution was accepted on November 1, 1777.

George Washington issued a presidential proclamation appointing November 26, 1789, as a day of general thanksgiving for the adoption of the constitution. The first national Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1863, due to the unrelenting efforts of Mrs. Sarah J. Hale. While editor of The Ladies Magazine in Boston, she penned countless editorials urging the uniform observance throughout the United States, of one day dedicated to giving thanks for blessings received throughout the year. She mailed personal letters to the governors of all the states, and to President Lincoln, persuading many governors to set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. Her editorial was titled,"Our National Thanksgiving", and began with a biblical quote: "Then he said to them, go your way and eat the fat and drink the sweet wine and send persons unto them for whom nothing is prepared; For this day is holy unto the lord; neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the lord is your strength." Nehemiah, VIII:10

President Lincoln, moved by Mrs. Hale's editorial and letter, issued the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1863, which reads in part: "The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God." Lincoln designated Thanksgiving as a day "to subdue the anger which has produced and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion." The northern states, in response to the proclamation, held services in churches of all denominations, and gave appropriate sermons.
President Roosevelt, on December 26, 1941, approved the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, to be observed in every state and the District of Columbia.

The first international Thanksgiving was held in Washington, D.C. in 1909. It was the brain-child of Rev. Dr. William T. Russell, rector of St. Patrick's Church of Washington. Dr. Russell called it a Pan American celebration, and it was attended by representatives of all the Latin American countries. The Catholic Church was chosen for the services, since Catholicism is the religion of the Latin American countries.
St. Patrick's Church published an account of the celebration, noting that "it was the first time in the history of the Western World that all the republics were assembled for a religious function...When asked what prompted Dr. Russell in planning a Pan American Thanksgiving celebration, Dr. Russell said, "My purpose was to bring into closer relations the Republics of the Western World. As Christianity had first taught the brotherhood of man, it was appropriate that the celebration should take the form of a solemn mass." The Pan American celebration continued from year to year.

Some Eastern cities adopted the old world custom of dressing children in the over-sized clothes of their elders, masking their faces, and having them march through the streets blowing tin horns. The children often carried baskets, and solicited fruits and vegetables from house to house to help celebrate the day. This tradition was adapted from an old Scotch wassail custom.

The warm, loving atmosphere of this holiday has been immortalized in song, literature, and poetry, such as the well-known poem by Lydia Maria Child: "Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go..."
Thanksgiving signals the onset of the joyous holiday season which continues until New Year's Day. Thanksgiving also proclaims the arrival of Santa Claus, who assumes temporary residence at the shopping malls which will be ablaze with Christmas decorations. Those shoppers brave enough to venture out on 'Black Friday', the day after Thanksgiving, can take advantage of sales.

Today, more than ever, Thanksgiving is intrinsic to our time. The need to give thanks is profoundly American. As a people, we have pursued idealism, struggled for individual freedoms, and enjoyed the fruits of capitalism. Like the starship "Enterprise" on Star Trek, Americans have "dared to go where no man has gone before." The act of giving thanks acknowledges the greater force that inspires this nation, encouraging and demanding excellence. This Thanksgiving, when stomachs are bulging with savory, traditional food, and hearts are full with love for family and friends, it is fitting to give thanks.

Stand up on this Thanksgiving Day, stand
upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and
with clear eyes, believe in your own time and
place. There is not, and there never has
been a better time, or a better place to live.
-Phillip Brooks

Micki Peluso is the author of "And the Whippoorwill Sang."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Books by Micki Peluso

Thanks Micki, for allowing me to post your review of 'The Bow of Destiny.' Looks like a winner of a story. Very well-written review.

Blogs by Micki Peluso

The Bow of Destiny
11/18/2015 6:30:33 PM

Young hunter finds his future as a Ranger for the Elves to fight evil and reach his destiny
The Bow of Destiny; The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1

By P. H. Solomon

Athson, son of Ath, has been living with the Elven Rangers since his family was killed along with his whole village 10 years ago. Savage Trolls showed no mercy, and serve a Wizard who is beholding to a vicious Dragon. As a young boy the massacre leaves him with spells in which his dead family appears to him, including his dog, Spark. The elves give him a potion called Soul — Ease which help during his ‘fits,’ and has to be used often but the day he is out hunting Athson leaves it at the Ranger Station. Even though raised by the elves, Heth and Cireena, and helped by his Elven friend, Gweld, the young hunter cannot escape his past even as he marches toward his uncertain future.

Athson wonders why his Captain Sameth never gives him some serious assignments, as if he knows something Athson doesn't remember – something that he should. When visited at his campsite by what might be a Withling, capable of helping or harming, he listens to her strange prophecy of a special Bow. An eagle screams overhead. The huge bird, croons the haggard woman, will ‘guide the heir,’. . . ‘Who suffers in silence for a secret?’ Is this a hideous dream or a memory fit? Athson picks up the package which the cackling woman tosses at him. It contains bow strings and a message which will forever change his life.

Author P H. Solomon’s first book in the ‘The Bow Saga,’ series is a must-read for adult fantasy lovers and YA. One is drawn in immediately in the first few pages. There is some confusion when Solomon switches between memory ‘fits’ and reality — which is magical in itself. This is quickly remedied as the book flows forward at a steady pace, similar to the excellent fantasy series by the late author, David Eddings.

This story has all the elements of good fantasy; elves, sorcerers, a Dragon, and other terrifying creatures, and will appeal to those who love ‘Ranger’ stories. The Bow of Destiny is highly recommended for readers enjoying the fantasy genre as well as those who might want to try out an especially good one.

Micki Peluso 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Writer's Rock a Facebook On-line Writing Workshop Group

I've decided to give a presentation "On Writing Your Promotional Biography" in my Writer's Rock writing group. 

Who is Writer's Rock? Writer's Rock is a group of talented writers that range from beginner all the way up to multi-published authors. Members give workshops on topics they feel are relevant and interesting to the writing community. We've presented topics such as writing query letters, blurbs, non-fiction, short stories, grammar (with fun exercises) various genres and we can go on and on. Writer's Rock emerged from Writer's Oasis owned and managed by Shirley Flanagan. When she retired, I took over and changed the brand name to Writer's Rock with the input from fellow members. We have 25 members and are growing. 

Who's eligible?  Any writer who wants to grow, develop as a writer and participate. If you're a member of AOL, 9.8 or less you can enter our chat room (Chapter One) We hold our workshops on Monday nights (9 EST, 8 CST, 7 MST and 6 PST.)  

If you're interested you might take a look at us on Facebook/groups Writer's Rock and see what we do. 

AOL is free. You do need to be on another server to join. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: I, Hero: The Beginning

As you can probably tell, I've gotten into book reviewing lately. I'm still working on edits for "Legacy of Danger" and leading the Writer's Rock Workshop on Facebook, but I'm also reading other genres and some newer authors. Quite an enlightening process. I'm having fun. How about that? 

I, Hero
By Jason Zandri

Jason Devron is an ordinary twenty-five year old who’s about to discover an extraordinary life. Jason becomes special.

He wears superhero T-shirts and wears a copper bracelet with magical powers given by a homeless woman he’s befriended, when she dies on the streets. She is a “watcher.” Jason is next in line to become the “Watcher.”

His superhero T- shirts, the bracelet and the influences of literary Greek Gods enable Jason to provide superhuman efforts to save the world around him. A combination of our movie heroes:  Superman, Batman and other endearing super heroes.

In its concept, the story is charming. We all cheer when Jason saves an apartment full of people from an all-consuming fire and a park full of people and police from a terrorist with sophisticated weapons not even the CIA seem to know about. We wonder at his super human rate of speed and his ability to be in several places at one time and his sudden lack of fear as he looks certain death in its face.

This story would rate a four, but because of little character or plot development, point-of-view switches which confuses the reader and some editing errors it rates a three.
Still, it’s a charming story and ideal for a young adult audience. This is the author’s first try in a series that looks promising. It will be interesting to see where Jason Devron goes in his next book: I Hero, Returns.

I, for one, will check on Jason in his next adventure, and hope to turn the three stars into a four.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review for:

                                 Destination Hope: Your Guide through Life’s Unexpected Journeys
By Shellie Nichole
Destination Hope is a spiritual and religious guide through our most difficult periods that life throws our way.  

We go on a road trip to our destinations: The Perfect Road (no such thing) The Street of Broken Dreams (we all have them) The Road Less Traveled (I did it my way) The Fork in the Road (wait a minute, I thought I was supposed to do THIS for the rest of my life. Now you’re telling me WHAT?) Your Battered Suitcase (as we grow older our suitcases filled with faux pas and bad Karma, expand)  Accidents Happen (Oh boy. That was NOT supposed to happen) Travel is Brutal (looking at one’s own reflection in the mirror or I look like WHAT?)  The Hidden Compartment (there’s always one someplace) Rest Stops (a place to reflect and make decisions)  Hitchhikers and Travel Buddies (the good, the bad and the ugly) Enjoying the Scenery.
Shellie Nichole takes us down some familiar and not-so familiar roads to look at ourselves, our lives and our relationship with God (or the Big G) to find our paths through a long, short or medium journey we call life.
Interesting road trip with unexpected twists and turns along with way. Ms Nichole not only reflects but shows us examples of friend’s and her own trips (literally and figuratively speaking.) We share her and her friends’ tragedies, miracles and heartbreaks, and we can use a box of tissues and a cup of tea to get us through. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Book Review for 'Haunted Hearts' by Kim Cox for Rave Review Book Clubs Just plain fun.

                                                                     Haunted Hearts
By Kim Cox

An investigation of a double-murder by two couples—one alive, one dead.

A twenty-year-old murder mystery lands in the lap of first-time PI and psychic  investigator Lana Malloy. Encouraged to take on the case by her well-preserved but very deceased great-aunt, Lucy Malloy, Lana is desperate for money to build up her business and her aunt knows just where she can find the money her aunt had left for her almost twenty years ago. Lucy and her then fiancé needs their murder solved so they can move into the hereafter.

So, who to investigate? Lucy’s beloved fiancée, Davide, poisoned the same night as Lucy and his grandson, Tony have ideas and the two couples search records and haunt relatives, which culminate in a family gathering at Tony’s estate. After a near-family brawl and an attempt on Lana’s life a plan is put in motion. The plan? A séance with two very real ghosts.  

A light-hearted ghost story on the line of “The Canterville Ghost.” No moral here. (except for crime does not pay even after a long, long time.)  Just plain fun.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

                                                            The Anesthesia Game
By Rea Nolen Martin

The characters: Sidney, a fifteen-year-old girl dying from an undisclosed illness which requires chemotherapy and multiple doses of anesthesia; her mother, Mitzy, who needs an anesthesia all her own as well as the help of her  psychic, Pandora;  Hanna, her aunt, also going through personal traumas and an almost-failed marriage and Pandora, Mitzy’s psychic who has no idea why she’s so affected by Sidney, a girl she’s never met, but feels like she’s known for decades.

These four women find worlds in common, not knowing why or how.

Sidney has learned to cope with her illness and treatment through a game she calls “The Anesthesia Game.” She picks a location, tells her nurse and then must give details when she comes out of the treatment. But---is it really a game, or is there more to it? What is fantasy and what is reality?

Are Mitzy, Hanna and Pandor merely trying to save Sidney? Or, are they trying to save the universe from a catastrophe that started centuries ago.

Well-drawn characters in this intense, sometimes funny, sometimes sad and always poignant journey into the lives of four women, all with their own issues, but all after the same goal---to save Sidney.

See on Amazon.com (also on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.) 

Patricia A Guthrie

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Joining online (and off line) book clubs has made me aware of new authors. Rather than constantly buying the tried and true best sellers, I'm becoming somewhat of an avocate of the newer crew coming up. They have an awfully hard time selling their books and getting read. (ask me how I know.) 

I recently joined #Ravereviewbookclubs  and am finding delightful new authors (for me) and well-written exciting books. 

 I've read four new ones during the past week or so, Lisa Kirasian (Bravura) Christa Nardi (Murder at Cold Creek College) Rea Nolen Martin (The Anesthesia Game)  and Jean Marie Bauhaus (Restless Spirits) 

Many of these books are very inexpensive or free---  I've reviewed all but The Anesthesia Game which I'm still reading. 

Meanwhile, my Writer's Rock Writing Group (Facebook) had a great virtual Halloween Party last night at AOL'S Chapter One. (You need 9.7 to get into a chat room these days) We all got into the costumes of a character. I shared Elena Dkany (Legacy of Danger) One of our creative writers got REALLY CREATIVE. She brought in two characters one a villain. We had NO IDEA who she was. We nearly blocked her. But, we all had fun and what a learning experience to keep ourselves in character. 


Monday, October 26, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Halloween, Hallowed is Thy Name by Rev. Dr. Eddie J. Smith

This is a repost from last year. Since Halloween is once again upon us and since I'm going tonight to a virtual Halloween party at my Writer's Rock group, I thought I'd repost this review of Rev. Dr. Eddie J. Smith's excellent non-fiction "Halloween, Hallowed is Thy Name."
Halloween, Hallowed is Thy Name


Rev. Dr. Eddie J. Smith

Review by Patricia A. Guthrie


            There are two major Christian holidays on the church calendar, Christmas and Easter,  the two bookends of the Christian faith.  Or are there?

            Rev Eddie J. Smith contends there are three.  Christmas, the incarnation and Easter, the ressurection. But, what then of the third?  In between these two major holidays there are all the other days. What of them? What will celebrate the life and ministry of Jesus Christ?  Referring to Him, he writes, "And, everything He said and did is the gospel of Halloween."

            Halloween? The day children and adults go to parties, dress up as evil spirits or celebrities or politicians and presidents? Yes, one and the same.  Rev. Smith thinks Halloween "should be considered an integral part of our salvation story . For too long, it has been a sadly neglected as a relic of pagan times."

            He feels that too many people dishonor God at Halloween, and it's a shame they do.  This is a perfect opportunity to praise God through evangelizing  what Halloween is really about.  The evening before All Saints Day.  The ridding  the world of the  evil and bringing in the good news about Jesus. He believes  that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, "The gates of hell shall not prevail."  Satan cannot win over us. The grave cannot rule us.   Even though the church and its flock  fear  and even mourn the holiday,  Halloween should be should be a day of praising God and symbolize the victory of light over death.    "Halloween, hallowed is thy name."

            Halloween, Hallowed is Thy Name is a text book filled with good vs evil.  It discusses the origins of the holiday from The Druids to the Feast of Samhain (devil)  to All Saints' Day.  Why trick or treating? Why the Jack-O'Lanterns, witches, warlocks and ghosts and superstions of all kinds. Where did they come from?

            Then there are the many literary masterpieces of the holiday from The Legend of Sleepy Hallow to the Harry Potter books. He discusses C.S. Lewis, J.R. Tolkien and the magic of Walt Disney and their relationship with God and the Devil.  In the Ring, Frodo fights the devil Sauon, while Harry Potter fights Rawlings devil, Lord Voldemort. Does Harry represent Christ?

            Smith  asks the questions  "is Halloween really the Devils Holiday?"  How does it relate to Christmas and Easter. Original Pagan holidays all. A way the church converted its nonbelievers to believers of Christ through celebration.

            Fascinating is his work on the Nature of Good and Evil, while asking if celebrating Halloween is  imitating evil? He contends no.  Just  the opposite.  And, he backs it up with biblical references throughout the books.

            Whether you believe Halloween is just a party day, something dark and sinister, or evil wiped out by good, this is a book to read. It's historical references to many holidays and how they became  celebrations is interesting reading.  The meanings behind Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Harry Potter and other authors is a book unto itself.

            The only drawback, was, at times, the text became heavy and redundant. But, not often enough to make you want  to put it down.  In fact, it's a book to be stored in your reference section of your library, to become dog-eared  and well used.

            I give this book five stars for its information, dedication and interesting premise.  It's obvious Rev. Smith  spent many hours researching this book and it has  paid off.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review for Murder at Cold Creek College

By Christa Nardi

The new school season is approaching at Cold Creek College. Students are starting to arrive for the new semester. Instructors are bomarded with course schedules, syllabi, text books, administrative directives, personality clashes and --- murder.

With all this going on, the psychology department feels the stress about losing one of their own and after the State and local police get involved with investigations they discover this man hasn’t just had his academics on his mind, he’s had scores of students as well as female instructors and ex-wives in numerous capacities. That leads to heartbroken ladies and suspects.

Psychology assistant professor Sheridan Handley is one who escaped his clutches, but some of her friends weren’t so lucky. A few are now on the “prime suspect” list and Sheridan is determined to clear their names.

Joining up with State Police Detective, Brett McMann, Sheridan profiles and explores the victim and suspects to find the murderer.  

Most of the book is slower paced than most ‘who dun its.’ This books not only gets involved with solving the crimes from a psychologist’s standpoint, but shares with us the lives of academics on and off campus, with some lovely descriptions of Cold Creek College. We don’t find all the clues we might need. No magnifying glasses in this book. Just a circular idea chart with the suspect in the center connected with all the people (and wives) in his life.

And connect the dots, Sheridan does to such an extent that she gets closer to the truth than even she knows, until she, too, is confronted by the killer.

The book starts out slowly and is written through Sheridan’s eyes in first person. You might find too much description and narrative when you’re used to the usual suspense novels. But soon, you get so into the academic life and personalities you forget all about that, you relax and wonder ‘who dun it?’

Well done.  


Friday, October 23, 2015

Review for Bravura
Lisa Kirazian
Reviewed by Patricia A. Guthrie
“You are the music while the music lasts.”
T.S. Eliot
Taken from Part Six of Bravura

The decade is the 60’s into the 70’s. The years of Kennedy and Nixon, Viet Nam and The Beatles. The Metropolitan Opera has just moved into Lincoln Center, Van Claiburn has exploded onto the classical music scene and Grace Bumbry, Maria Callas, Renata Tabaldi are gracing the operatic stages. Rudolph Bing is the Director of the Metropolitan Opera House.  Life is a struggle for young musicians as it is and has been for all ages.

Brother and sister, Kate and Neil Driscoll, a violinist and pianist, have joined the throngs of students at the Royal Academy in London and meet up with lifetime friends and colleagues, Anne, Colin, Jeremy and Maggie who will take this epic journey with them. This is the story of their lives from conservatory students to accomplished musicians, their day-to-day struggles to reach the top of the music world and how that intermingles with love, loss, disgrace and redemption.

A beautifully woven tale takes you into the inner sanctum of the music world. For the musician it is sublime. Ms Kazian strokes her words like a conductor might pen a manuscript with highs lows, crescendos and decrescendos. In describing her opera singer she writes the arias in the original language then gives us the translations so we can comprehend her emotions, personally and professionally while singing to ever more glowing audiences.

The book contains the joys and sorrows of each character so you might want to keep a box of tissues nearby.

Well done. It will be interesting to see what she does with the next two books of her three part series. 

Comments are welcome. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015



By Patricia A. Guthrie 

            WHAT IS A BLURB?
            What the heck is a B-L-U-R-B, you ask? A blurb is that dust jacket, back of the cover that tells the reader what your story is about and intrigues the readers enough that they will buy your book.

            TIP: A blurb is NOT a synopsis. Although many will say it’s a short synopsis. Not so. A synopsis tells you the whole story in a nutshell. A blurb MUST NOT give away the ending. Stimulates interest and curiosity? Yes. Entices the reader to buy the book? Yes. Gives away the story? No.
            WHY DO YOU NEED ONE?
            Let me count the ways:
            1. Your editor asks you to
            2. You need one for your website page
            3. You need it as part of a proposal for your publisher, agent, editor presentation
            4. Competition entry or
            5. If you should be so lucky, a journalist asks you for one.
            And most important, after the cover, it’s probably the second biggest selling point of your book.
            When I decided I wanted to learn more about how other authors wrote their blubs,  I checked five or six sources to see what these writers thought. I discovered that most provided basically, the same elements, so I knew I was on the right track.
            I concluded, it’s not always the present you give that gives the pizazz, but the packaging. So, here goes my packaging for “How to Write a Blurb.”
            TIP: Keep your blurb short. Readers don’t have the time to pour over a lot of text. Less is more in a blurb. Keep it to a few short paragraphs and focus on the main character, genre, and main plot and leave out the subplots.
            Make it arouse the reader’s interest in reading the story, arouse their curiosity—promise them a good read, an adventuresome read. As one writer put it the “What’s in it for me?” factor.
            TIP: know your genre well enough to know what your readers want to know about your book.

            TIP: Go to your own collection of books or Amazon.com and find books in your genre. Look at their blurbs. What makes you want to open those pages? What are some keywords that may be used throughout your selections?  How long are these blurbs? Some may be longer than others (see examples) but they’re all short.
            TIP: What market are you selling to? That answer will determine the most important information to keep in your blurb. If you’re writing primarily mystery, you don’t want to overshadow this with the romantic lives of your characters. And, if the reader expects romance, don’t emphasis everything but. Give the readers what they want---what they expect.
            If it’s a multi-genre book, let the reader know it’s a romance but it’s also suspense or mystery or other. If it sci-fi and there’s romance, you’ll want to let the reader know romance plays a part, but the Sci-fi is the important part.  Same with fantasy and other genres.
             Use language in your blurb that may reflect the overall atmosphere or mood of the story. Word paint your blurb. (as much as you can for so short a synopsis.)  If it’s funny, reflect the humor. If it’s dark write the blurb with dark and ominous sentences like: “And fear was the summer slogan in Lake Nager,” from ‘Waterlilies Over My Grave’ (or something even better)
            KEY ELEMENT: PROTAGONISTS:  Focus on the main character, the one who has the most and stake and the most to lose. In romantic suspense (or romance) there are two equal partners. Each one has his own goals, motivations and conflicts. You might include both---you might not.     
            KEY ELEMENTS: GOAL, MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT: What does the h/h want (goal) why does he/she want it? (motivation) and what stops him/her from reaching his/her goal? (conflict)
            I’ll repeat: What does s/he want during the course of the book and why does s/he want it. (goal and motivation and conflict is key in the blurb.) And, what or who’s stopping them from reaching that goal.
            In romance novels. You might have two equal protagonists, one who has the more at stake or the more to lose?                                                                         
            The conflict part usually starts with “but” or “however.”
            Sometimes the H/H/ inner conflicts are as or almost as important to the story as the outer conflict. But, the inner conflicts should at some point intercede and explain why they can’t reach their outer conflicts.
            You can generalize how the characters intend to overcome their problem, but don’t give away how they do it.
            Here comes the story question (the hook.)  
            Will the hero or heroine protect the lead secondary character and come up with a plan to thwart the villain’s game plan that will lead them to disaster? And, what will happen if they do not succeed?
            In ‘In the Arms of the Enemy’ “Maggie and Adam must learn to work together before they find the killer on their doorstep.” Try to make your blurb dramatic filled with tension and intrigue. Remember its short, so make every word count.
            Also, you might bring out the story question. Do H/H track down and kill the bad guys before the killers ignite the world’s most powerful bomb? or do they get blown out of existence and the world as-they-knew it comes to an end? (just an example off the top of my head---oh, and half the movies I’ve seen.) Show urgency that the good guys must win the day or the consequences will be dire either for them or the world at large.  
            Here are few do’s and don’ts.
            Don’t give away the ending.  
            Don’t tell everyone how great your book is or compare yourself to other writers.
            Don’t use overused phrases. Try to be unique---different from other writers.
            Here are a few blurbs that may make this clear:

Here’s a blurb from James Patterson’s latest novel ‘The Murder House’
No. 7 Ocean Drive is a gorgeous, multi-million-dollar beachfront estate in the Hamptons, where money and privilege know no bounds. But its beautiful gothic exterior hides a horrific past: it was the scene of a series of depraved killings that have never been solved. Neglected, empty, and rumored to be cursed, it's known as the Murder House, and locals keep their distance. 
HERE IS THE MOOD AND EVEN THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH HAS THE CHARACTER, Ocean Drive, GOAL TO BE THERE multi-million-dollar beachfront.... MOTIVATION (money and privilege know no bounds) and CONFLICT: but  it was the scene of depraved killings....

WHO: Detective Jenna Murphy used to consider herself a local, but she hasn't been back since she was a girl.
GOAL AND MOTIVATION Trying to escape her troubled past and rehabilitate a career on the rocks, the former New York City cop hardly expects her lush and wealthy surroundings to be a hotbed of grisly depravity.
But CONFLICT when a Hollywood power broker and his mistress are found dead in the abandoned Murder House, the gruesome crime scene rivals anything Jenna experienced in Manhattan. And what at first seems like an open and shut case turns out to have as many shocking secrets as the Murder House itself, as Jenna quickly realizes that the mansion's history is much darker than even the town's most salacious gossips could have imagined. As more bodies surface, and the secret that Jenna has tried desperately to escape closes in on her, WHAT SHE MUST DO she must risk her own life to expose the truth—BEFORE: before the Murder House claims another victim.

Full of the twists and turns that have made James Patterson the world's #1 bestselling writer, THE MURDER HOUSE is a chilling, page-turning story of murder, money, and revenge. A BIT ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
You can find in this blurb, the character, her goal, motivation and conflicts surrounding her and the right mood and atmosphere in the wording. (I’m going to read that book.)

This is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Joanna Wayne’s ‘Showdown at Shadow Junction.’

HEROINE When Jade Dalton (GOAL) escapes a ruthless kidnapper on the trail of a multimillion-dollar necklace, she flees to the one place no one will find her: her estranged father's Texas ranch.
GOAL: Find a place where nobody will find her.
CONFLICT: The killer is determined to find and kill her.  
HERO: Booker Knox (GOAL) is also on his way to Dry Gulch. MOTIVATION after a potentially dangerous situation thrusts her into his arms, GOAL the navy SEAL appoints himself Jade's personal bodyguard. 

MOTIVATION:  It isn't every day Booker finds himself being kissed by a gorgeous stranger. CONFLICT Except Jade's a fugitive from justice who's also being hunted by a determined killer.
WHAT HE PLANS TO DO: Now Booker will do whatever it takes to protect the beautiful big-city event planner. OR ELSE: Failure isn't an option. Neither is walking away when this is all over.
Here you have two characters both with goals, motivations and conflicts and a hint toward the future.  Note in romance and romantic suspense novels the hero and heroine generally have equal status as protagonists.

Here’s a blurb from my romantic suspense novel ‘In the Arms of the Enemy.’

MOTIVATION: When the murder of a racing stable’s prize horse and his trainer is blamed on the stable’s owner, his son, HERO Adam Blakely, GOAL is determined to find the killer he thinks might be the trainer’s partner, Maggie McGregor. 
HEROINE Maggie GOAL is determined to leave the tumultuous world of horse racing and returns home to try and find peace.
MOTIVATION: When a handsome horse owner moves his horse into her father’s boarding stable and asks Maggie to train his horse, MOTIVATION family finances dictate Maggie accept—CONFLICT and that’s when the accidents begin.
CONFLICTS: Drowning in deception and lies, Maggie and Adam search for a killer and uncover an insurance scam so insidious, it threatens to rock a horse racing empire and bring the killer to their doorstep.
REVIEW: Review magazine "Affaire de Coeur" says, "With a strong mystery and a sizzling romance, Ms. Guthrie captivates readers from the start. This is an enjoyable thriller with a plot that will keep you guessing until the climactic end.” Affaire de Coeur gives ‘In the Arms of the Enemy’ *****

This is a romantic suspense so the hero and heroine have equal footing in status.
Maggie is the heroine. She wants to get away from horse racing and find peace and a normal life.
Adam is looking for a killer and thinks Maggie might be responsible.
BUT: When Adam comes to her stable, accidents start to befall Maggie and her life is now in danger.  Further complications: Adam falls in love with his prime suspect.
WHAT TO DO: The have to learn to work together and trust each other when they uncover an insurance scam that kill race horses for money, and find a killer before the killer finds them.
I’ve also put in a short paragraph of a review from a well-known review magazine.

How to Write a Blurb (Back Cover Copy) by Marilyn Byerly
The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blurb for your Novel by Milena Calizares
4 Easy Steps to an Irresistible Book Blurb by Beth Bacon
Writing a Short Book Blurb by Marg McAlister

Writing the Fiction Synopsis by Pam McCutcheon 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Well, well, well.

I finally figured out why I didn't have any comments. I DID. I just didn't know it.

Fiddled around with my blogger settings and now can find the comments. I can now respond.

Pat G.


Sadly, the neat photo of a me look-alike didn't come through on this copy and paste method of posting John W. Howell's article. It's a great article though if you're either a writer or a reader. So, enjoy. thanks John for allowing me to share. I could share a photo of me doing the same thing on my desk, though. (a cartoon of a blonde in front of a computer beating the desk.) WOOPS. YOU CAN SEE THE CARTOON IF YOU CLICK ON THE BLANK SPACE WHERE THE PHOTO SHOULD GO. 

October 12, 2015 · by John W. Howell · in Ten Things Not to Do · 50 Comments


The inspiration for this list is my latest efforts to self-publish the next John J. Cannon story titled His Revenge. Since I had absolutely no experience in publishing the journey was a long winding road marked by plenty of mistakes. I’m sure the trial and error method of my learning is not over yet, but here is some of what I learned. Don’t forget I’m a fiction writer, so some of these lessons have been enhanced with dubious facts to make them more interesting and hopefully humorous. I would, therefore, resist publishing this list on the Huffington Post. (hear that Arianna?)

Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Decide to Self-Publish Your Book

10 If you decide to self-Publish your book, do not drink any alcoholic beverages for four weeks before and two weeks after you hit the publish button. If you do, at best those little things you forgot are not necessary. At worst, you find out after six weeks you submitted the wrong cover with the manuscript. (You know the one. It has “fiction” spelled “fuction”).

9 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not try to edit the manuscript yourself. If you do, at best you will have a fool for an editor. At worst, your book will be featured on a blog with the lovely title of  “The Poorest Written Books of the Year.” (You are so lucky to have the top position)

8 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not think you don’t need to know how to format the interior. If you do, at best your readers will be treated to several blank lines. At worst, your book will resemble something created by a room full of monkeys on keyboards. (Yeah, it can be done but that one page with only the word “then” on it took the cake)

7 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not think that cute Crayola picture done by your youngest on the cover is relevant to the book. If you do, at best you will miss some sales due to the confusion. At worst, you will get some letters from outraged parents who thought the story of a mass murderer was a kids story. (Ah well, you can always refund the money)

6 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not think you don’t have to follow the instructions on the publishing site. If you do, at best you will finally give in and start over following directions after wasting many hours. At worst, you will be locked out of the site for one hundred years. (Most places have no sense of humor when it comes to messing with their process).

5 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not think the various choices offered by the site are not significant enough to understand the differences. If you do, at best you may end up with a book that does not make you happy. At worst, your book is so expensive to produce you have no royalty or room to promote. (You are independently wealthy Right?).

4 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not think you don’t need to order a proof copy. If you do, at best you will miss some of those little messy typos and double periods. At worst, you totally missed the fact that you mislabeled the chapter headings and now have two of each. (The reviewers will have so much fun pointing out the mirror effect).

3 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not rush the process. If you do, at best there will be something overlooked but no one will notice. At worst, you forgot to include the dedication that you already read aloud to the recipient. (Hard to convince the person you were sincere after this omission).

2 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not think you can skip the marketing. If you do, at best your family and friends will carry you for a couple of sales. At worst, you will be one of several hundred thousand books published at the same time and will be entirely lost in the numbers. (You did expect to sell your beautiful book right?)

1 If you decide to self-publish your book, do not lay awake at night worrying about possible mistakes instead of planning every detail. If you do, at best you will feel out of control. At worst, you will have a lot to worry about since without planning mistakes will happen. (Even with planning there could be some, Nobody’s perfect).

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015


It's been about a month since I last posted. I've been horrendously busy with: editing Legacy of Danger, editing and critique two novels by other authors, promoting 'In the Arms of the Enemy', 'Waterlilies Over My Grave', and a short story 'Willed Accidents Happen' onto all the newly discovered (on my part) online book clubs. Was this a successful venture? So far, maybe not. Maybe it just needs some time.

Legacy of Danger will soon be finished. Going through final edits now, Then comes the publishing side then the dreaded marketing side. Meanwhile, what comes next?

I've gone through many novels, many of which lie in the bowels of the computer never to see the light of day. Will I pull them out and rething them? Well, maybe not.

To recap: Books sold: In the Arms of the Enemy (a romantic suspense novel) which deals with a horse trainer, insurance fraud, murder and the horse racing industry.  Book Two: Waterlilies Over My Grave (a psychological romantic suspense novel)  which deals with a woman who runs halfway across the country from her psychotic husband who's bent on revenge.  Book Three: Legacy of Danger (a paranormal romantic suspense novel) which involves a young woman who inherits a castle in Romania, who's family is decimated one-by-one and who's own life is in danger--to be protected by an FBI agent abraod, one old high school boy friend who dumped her after the senior prom and her dead husband's ghost.

Do you see a theme here? Romantic suspense. They all are filled with secrets, deception, murder and general mayhem and for all, the things that are not as they seem.

So, what's next? Maybe the theme here should be animals. Horses and dogs to be exact, the second (or third) love of my life, excluding the people in it. Maybe back to Stolen Horses: Broken Dreams, the story of one womans attempt to get back her stolen horse and the dregs of the horse communities she discovers.

Maybe that's next: and of course things will never be as they seem.

Hope to continue this on a more consistent basis.

I hope to have more articles on marketing successes and failures, writing articles and other things. Some of which are more questions than answers.

Have a great day and happy reading and/or writing.

Patricia a. Guthrie

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I really have to update my website. With a new short story on Kindle and a paranormal soon (hopefully) to come out, there's much more to say...promote...show off?

My writing day: Lately, most of the days have been spent marketing my short story. I admit, one reason I chose to put up a short story is with the hope that the story will draw people to my other two books. I'm not sure how popular short stories are in the course of the book world. I guess we'll find out. I've been hearing, through the writing grapevine, that the general public tend to graviate toward books they can read during lunch hour and on trains, buses and automobiles (isn't that a move?) I may put up more.

First things first. Marketing: I'm hitting many book promotion sites. Not sure how many authors actually buy books by other authors. I do. Because, I'm also a reader. So are most of the authors I know. (and don't know.) The promotion sites seem to play the "pass it forward" routine. You promote the site's books on other promotional sites and they'll allow you to promote your book on theirs. I have to admit, it sounds good. We'll see if it works.

I'm also on Linked In, where most of my traffic are other professionals trying to sell me their wares. I'm innundated with book cover designers at the moment. Most are really great people. Some are pushy and not so great. I've done little with Twitter. I probably should. Same with Instagram. I know nothing about that site.

Google:  I find Google hard to get around in. I have a lousy page--lousy profiles. Huge photos of one book plastered all over the place with small messages from various people. Really need to change that page. There are other places. I'll keep plugging away, until I hit the right marketing button.

What else I'm doing: Editing Legacy of Danger. I should probably start promoting that on the right side of my blog page, near Waterlilies Over My Grave and In the Arms of the Enemy. I also need to put up Willed Accidents Happen.

Like to move forward with this blog a bit more consistently. Too many things get in the way.

Anyway, I'm off now. Please, please, if you purchase Willed Accidents Happen, I'd be grateful if you left
a review. A short one would do.

Have a great reading, writing or whatever you do, day.

Pat G.