Group pic with me on the far left.

As any writer will tell you, writing can be a lonely business. Most of your days are spent typing away on your keyboard, researching material, editing or talking to clients. Of course, you have your family and the cashier at your neighborhood supermarket-and they are important-but if you are not careful, you will soon lose your social skills and become a hermit altogether. That is why when I received an invitation to a networking event for women business owners, I decided to come out of my shell and see what it was all about.

Networking

I was not disappointed. Although it was not a writers’ event, I did meet another blogger with whom I was able to exchange ideas and information. The other ladies came from diverse backgrounds, but were equally pleasant, upbeat and encouraging.

Organizers Jacqueline and Liana

The organizers, Jacqueline Jimenez and Dr. Liana C. Saenz motivated and inspired us to see ourselves as entrepreneurs and to not be afraid to branch out of our circles-my interpretation, our comfort zones.

That’s me

I was used to attending writers’ conferences- those are great if you only write books– but if you are a freelance writer like myself, business meetings like this one can open you up to a whole lot of possibilities. You can grow your list of contacts, learn about new opportunities and even gain new clients.

Networking opportunities abound, but be careful to select the right ones if you do decide to network. I returned from the meeting feeling uplifted, refreshed and eager to attend more of the same, with these organizers and others.

During a phone conversation with a friend yesterday, I asked as casually as I could, “Did I ever tell you I’m a writer?”

Now, this is a friend, mind you. Someone I’ve known for decades and I’m now telling her that I’m a writer. Better late than never, I guess. Anyway, just as I expected, my friend told me she’s not a reader, but she did ask a few questions, which I was hoping for.

After asking me what my book was about–I told her it was actually a series of three books–and gave her a brief synopsis of the books. Then she wanted to know how I was able to sit down and write three books.

I explained it was not difficult because the first book was based on a true situation I knew of when I was a teacher back in Trinidad. For those of you who never heard the background to Coming Out of Egypt, here it is in brief:

It was rumored that two sisters attending the elementary school where I taught were being abused by their father. Their mother had died, and the girls lived in a secluded home with their father. They appeared very shabby, were isolative and did not do well in school. We, the teachers, had no legal authority to do anything in that society during that time period, and I transferred from that school without knowing what became of those girls.

So much for the background. How did I write the book?

1. The idea. It was easy for me to get started because I had the basic idea, the above synopsis, but I had to change the last sentence. Instead of transferring from that school to another, I had to stay there and try to help those girls out.

2. The characters. I already had the protagonist, the older sister. Her younger sister June would be the second most important character. Then I added another character– the teacher–and I gave her a name. If there’s a protagonist there will be an antagonist. Guess what? The teacher’s boyfriend was a detective and he became the antagonist.

3. The setting. I already had that too. A rural village in Trinidad.

4. The plot. That is what happens in the story. How do these characters act on this idea in this setting? The pieces began to fall into place. The girls would go to school, the teacher would teach, and the detective would … He would have to find something to detect. Right? More ideas.

In order to make the book interesting, I had to throw in a few more elements. So I threw in some romance–the teacher and the detective, Marva and her boyfriend and even June has a boyfriend or rather, boyfriends. Then I included some police work –our detective is a hard-working guy–so we give him a crime to solve.

By this time I had an idea what I wanted the title to be. The real village where the girls lived is called Egypt Village. Egypt in the Bible represents a place of bondage. Since the book was being written from a Christian perspective, I used the story of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt as a metaphor for the story of these girls’ journey out of their bondage, and thus came the title Coming Out of Egypt.

This whole process may sound easy or complicated depending on how you look at it. However, if you are going to write a book, I would suggest you become familiar with the craft by doing the foll.:
1)Begin reading, if you are like my friend –not a reader.
2)Take a few courses–online or at a community college or some such place
3) Join a writer’s group and
4) Start writing

If you enjoyed this blog post, I will suggest two things:
1. Buy the Book
2. Sign up to join my mailing list. You will be the first to know about my giveaways, special offers from time to time and updates from other authors.

In the spotlight today is An Open Window, a debut novel by P. B. Harrison. Enjoy!

 photo unnamed_zpsye4hyoxw.jpg

Fiction
Publisher: URLink Publishing
Published: November 2018
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Born in a drafty house, Jessie, the firstborn of Mary and her abusive husband, Bill, was born for better things. Throughout her childhood, she tells stories that enable her to escape into her own made up world. She cares for her siblings and manages to establish lifelong friendships. As a teenager, her parents divorce, and Jessie begins to experience days without the need to weigh every action or word. She no longer fears the night or the soft footsteps that once came to her bedside. Because of her capacity for forgiveness and compassion, Jessie refused to be a victim. Later, she is reunited with a high school friend who becomes the man who makes her frightening memories dissolve into distant shadows that hover at the outer fringes of her mind but are rarely allowed in. As a wife and mother, Jessie again turns to storytelling, not as a way to escape her father’s cruelty but to entertain and teach her children. She introduces them to characters that leave them wanting more but appropriating what they have.
 photo An Open Window - Book Blitz_zpsmjsetepu.jpg
About the Author

 photo unnamed 1_zps52v0i0g7.jpg

P.B. Harrison loves to write. An Open Window is her first book. She is married with one son, three stepchildren and five grandkids. She’s an avid outdoors person. She is retired in South Alabama and is presently working on her next novel.
Contact Links

Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

I do hope you are in some warm, cozy spot as you read this. It’s the perfect weekend for reading, isn’t it? I had no idea this kind of weather would coincide with my birthday, but I’m thankful it did. So, to add to your reading pleasure this weekend, I’ve discounted my latest release, In the Promised Land from $3.99 to $1.99. Now that’s a real gift. But regardless of how much you pay for this book, there are many benefits to be gained by reading it:

1. The characters are memorable
2. The plot is based on a true event
3. The message is timely and
4. The setting is exotic

Here’s the blurb:

This third book in the Egypt trilogy wraps up the lives of the characters in a neat and satisfying way, according to some readers. Like the rest of the series, the story is set in the beautiful twin- island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The two main characters, Marva and June, have come out of an abusive childhood (Egypt) and are now adults. Marva is a nun at a home for delinquent girls. Marva is known for being strict and well disciplined, but when her adoptive father is killed in a Muslim coup, the family relies on her levelheaded calm to help them get through their crisis. But little do they know that Marva has a crisis of her own, one that her discipline and her faith seem inadequate to handle.

If that is not enough to whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt:

Excerpt

Coming Out of Egypt, my debut novel and the first book in the Egypt series is at 99c. Maybe you should read this and the second one before you read the third book to get a sense of the progression of the story.

For those of you who prefer paperback you can get it here

While I appreciate you buying my books, may I ask you to go a step further and leave an honest review on Amazon? Authors depend on reviews as they help to guide readers in making their buying choices. Thank you, and stay warm!

Do you sometimes feel your relationship with your spouse can use a nudge? If you answer yes to this question, you may benefit from the Love Nudge app. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this fun, engaging tool will help you and your spouse experience love more deeply. It’s fast and easy to set up and completely free. All you do is download the app, create an account and follow the steps.

Love Nudge™ for Couples will help you put the concepts of The 5 Love Languages® into action in ways that are easy, obvious, and satisfying.

When you take the love languages quiz, you will discover the love language that speaks most to your heart. Is it gift-giving, quality time or acts of service? Mine is acts of service. Take the quiz and find out what yours or your spouse’s is.

Download the The LoveNudge app and enter to win a set of 3 books from The 5 Love languages.

Download the The LoveNudge app and enter to win a set of 3 books from The 5 Love languages.

 photo Flygirl - eBook_zpsdugkra16.jpg

Upmarket Commercial/Women’s Fiction
Date Published: January 3, 2019
Publisher: Acorn Publishing LLC

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Let pilot Tris Miles lift you up, and fly you to new heights with her inspiring story of love, ambition and the meaning of success.
R. D. Kardon’s debut novel puts you in the cockpit with Tris Miles as she navigates the challenges of integrating an all-male corporate flight department in 1997. Tris encounters harassment, marginalization, and backstabbing on her journey to becoming a jet captain. 
____________________________
It’s 1997. Women stand beside men in combat and fly fighter jets. Pilot Tris Miles is not content with her job as a First Officer for tiny Clear Sky Airlines. She wants to be a Captain—the only way she knows to prove her worth as a pilot and atone for a deadly mistake.
To further her career, Tris accepts a prestigious job with Tetrix, Inc. But her dream of becoming pilot-in-command twists into a nightmare.
As the company’s first woman pilot, she encounters resistance, marginalization, and harassment on a daily basis. Fortunately, Tris has one thing her co-workers can’t deny—skill.
When Tris finds herself in a crippled airplane thousands of miles from home she must prove she can lead. With her career on the line, can Tris earn the respect she’s been craving? And if this is the end, can she find the strength to forgive herself?
About the Author

 photo AuthorPhotoCorrect_zps72mwlmme.jpg

Robin “R.D.” Kardon was a litigation attorney before beginning a twelve-year flying career as a corporate and airline pilot. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and three Captain qualifications. Her travels took her all over the world in every type of airplane from small single-engine Cessnas to the Boeing 737. Robin earned her B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from NYU and J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. A native New Yorker, Robin now lives in San Diego, California with her beloved rescue pets. , a work of fiction inspired by her own aviation experience, is her first novel.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

EXCERPT 1

TRIS LOST ALL visibility as the airplane pierced a thick slab of fog. She slid her focus from the miasma outside the cockpit window to the flight instruments in front of her. They were her eyesight now. She trusted them. They told the truth.
She scanned the gauges and smiled. Tris heard their silent language; woman and machine entwined in the exceptional conversation of flight.
“Clear Sky Two-Five-One, cleared for the approach,” the Columbus, Ohio approach controller announced over a scratchy connection. Tris nodded to Captain Danny Terry, sitting two feet away in the left seat. His jaw clenched as he worked the radios on their last flight of the day.
“Gear down,” Tris commanded.
The landing gear groaned and clicked as they lowered into position. Locked on final approach, the turboprop glided toward the runway, a concrete slab somewhere below them. Its twin engines spun in sync on the airplane’s wings. Tris monitored every bump and twitch of the plane. She answered each with a tap of the controls.
Flying is a series of small corrections Tris nudged the yoke to bank the airplane left, the plastic coated steering column cool beneath her hands. She thought of all the ways pilots measure movement: degrees of heading, feet of altitude, ticks of the clock. Always counting up, down, until the next critical moment. As Clear Sky 251 slid toward the ground, Tris counted down.
Then she saw the flash. Just for a second, an amber warning light flickered.
“Danny, check the gauges. We had a caution.”
“Five hundred,” the airplane’s synthesized altitude alert announced. Tris checked the altimeter. So close to the ground and they still had zero visibility through the late-summer glare.
“I don’t know,” Danny said as he scanned the gauges. “Wait. It’s the oil pressure on number one. The needle’s going crazy. It could be nothing, just a blip.”
Or the number one engine could be about to fail.
“Ok.” She’d need full power on both engines to climb if they couldn’t land—and she might not have it.
“Nothing in sight.” Danny squirmed forward in his seat to catch the first glimpse of runway lights. His breath grew more labored with every foot of altitude they lost. He wouldn’t see the runway until the very last second, if at all—right when Tris would decide to land the plane or thrust it back up into the soup.
“Roger.” Tris stayed focused and in control. As seconds passed, the plane slid lower, lower, in a stable descent. The only sounds were the whir of spinning dials, the click of needles, the white noise of flight. Tris eyed the altimeter, her hands soft but firm on the power levers.
Danny’s hand twitched behind hers; a backup. He strained to see the runway. Decision time loomed a few feet away.
The caution light blinked again. Tris had to keep her eyes on the navigation gauges. The closer the airplane got to the ground, the more sensitive those indicators became. If she strayed off course, even a little, she’d lose all guidance and have to climb, or else there was no telling where they’d hit the ground.
She felt Danny’s hands move closer to the controls, protecting them in case she faltered.
She didn’t. Tris saw the runway, dead ahead.
“I’ve got it,” Danny said quickly as he
keyed the mike. “Columbus Tower, Clear Sky
Two-Five-One, runway in sight.”
“Roger, Clear Sky Two-Five-One, Runway Two-Four, cleared to land, wind two-five-zero at three knots.”
“Landing,” Tris said. She looked outside, blinked to focus, and kept the plane moving straight along the runway centerline, edging toward the earth. The altimeter registered field elevation just as the plane’s rear wheels softly touched the ground.

How is the new year treating you so far? Are you taking things in stride? Or are you still wondering where 2018 went? As for me, I’m trying to cope with the chaos 2019 has brought into my life. My fridge is in the living-room, my microwave is on the TV stand and plugged in next to the fridge. My stove and dishwasher are squeezed somewhere near my dining-table, and boxes are piled almost to the ceiling.

No, it’s not a scene from my current work-in-progress, neither am I moving. It’s just a matter of taking care of some water damage in my kitchen, which has left me feeling sick and disoriented, to say the least. But in spite of eating out of paper plates, and eating things I don’t normally eat, life goes on. Right? Right. So, I just finished typing The End to my latest book and uploaded the final chapter to my critique group. Yay!!!

I began working on this manuscript twelve years ago and had to set it aside time and again for various reasons and was only able to work on it consistently this past year. Shows what you can do if you just stick with it. I feel great about myself because I accomplished this under very trying circumstances. So, want to know what my latest masterpiece is about? Remember the Golden Girls sitcom? The four middle-aged women who sat around eating ice-cream and sharing secrets? Well, my new novel is something like that, except that there are three of them and they are too figure-conscious to eat ice-cream very often. And that’s all I’ll say about them for now.

Remember to grab a copy of each book in my Egypt series or whichever one you haven’t read yet and tell your friends about them. And when you have read them, please leave a review on Amazon. You can find them on my my Amazon author page here.

Thank you and happy reading!

I hope you enjoyed reading how my characters celebrate Christmas on the island of Trinidad. If you haven’t read the post yet, you can get it here.

Today’s post is a short one to inform you that In the Promised Land, book 3 of the Egypt trilogy goes on sale from tomorrow. This book, which I like to call a modern-day Sound of Music, will make a perfect gift for yourself or someone this Christmas.

Here’s a short description:

Marva and June are two sisters who have come out of an abusive childhood and are now on the way to achieving their dreams. Marva is a nun at a school for delinquent girls; June is a law student. All seems to be going well for them, until their adoptive father is killed in a Muslim coup. Marva, always the strong, dependable one struggles to help the family cope with this and other unexpected crises. But she finds herself weakening. When her childhood friend, who has always had a romantic interest in her, reaches out to her, Marva finds herself torn between her love for him and her commitment to God. Romance, faith and intrigue are all intertwined in this gripping novel.

If you love nun’s stories, you would want to get your copy of In the Promised Land now while it’s on sale.

You can also read In the Promised Land free on Kindle Unlimited. Whatever medium you choose, I, and other readers, would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

I don’t know if it’s my imagination, or if it’s because Christmas ads and decorations began showing up way before Thanksgiving, but whatever it is, people seem to be making a bigger fuss about Christmas this year. For me, that’s a good thing. As a Christian, I love Christmas and all it signifies. As an author, I’m also noticing a lot of Christmas-themed books, and while my Egypt series is not based on Christmas, books 1 and 2 carry some Christmas scenes that will give you a glimpse of how my characters, and people in Trinidad where the story is set, spend Christmas.

Here is an excerpt from In The Wilderness: Book 2 of the Egypt series:

At last it’s Christmas Eve. Miss Lucy and her daughter have gone home, and we sit in the living-room admiring the Christmas tree and the decorations and sipping egg nog. Below the tree is an assortment of boxes wrapped in shiny gift paper and tied with pretty bows. The television shows women in beautiful frilly skirts and blouses with flowers in their hair, singing and dancing. The songs are in Spanish and they call them parang.
I’m holding Junior on my lap. June sits on the rug at my feet, her head resting against my legs. Junior tugs at her hair.
“Ouch!” She holds her head, and he squeals.
Across from us, Chrissy, seated on her father, also squeals and drops her rattle.
“Did we do this in Egypt Village?” I ask.
June turns her head. “Do what?”
“Sit around the tree and drink egg nog and watch TV.”
“I don’t think we ever had a tree. And we didn’t have a TV.”
No tree? It’s such a beautiful thing. I can’t understand why everyone wouldn’t have one. And no TV either? “We couldn’t afford it?”
June shrugs. “I don’t know.”
That’s another thing I don’t understand. She never wants to talk about our childhood and Egypt Village.
Junior takes another tug at her hair and she sidles away. “Come here, you.” She lifts him off my lap.
I turn to Miss Stewart. “Did you always do this?”
She smiles. “Yes, we did.”
I look at Mr. Bowen.
He nods. “We did, too. And you know what else we did?”
Everyone looks at him. “We sang Christmas carols and told the story of the Savior’s birth.”
“I didn’t know that,” his wife says.
He gazes at her. “Remember I came from a Christian home. When we lived in New York, we went to church on Christmas Eve night.”
“Was it snowing?” June asks.
“Sometimes, but we kids loved it. We would all bundle up in our coats, hats and gloves and sing carols while Dad drove us to church. When we came here, it took us a while before we found a church, so Mom made egg nog and we sat around and did the Christmas thing.”
“The Christmas thing?” June asks.
“Yeah. We sat around the crèche and told the Christmas story.”
That touches me. We don’t have a crèche, but maybe we can do the Christmas thing too.
Feeling shy, I ask, “Can we do that now?”
“Why not?” Miss Stewart gets up and turns off the TV. “Where do we start?”
June bounces Junior on her leg. “Let’s start with ‘Once upon a time.’”
Mr. Bowen picks up Chrissy’s rattle. “Okay, here’s how we did it. One person says a few lines of the Christmas story, then we sing a verse of a carol. Then the next person picks up the story from where the last person left off, we sing another verse and so on.”
“Sounds great,” Miss Stewart says. “I’ll go first. Once upon a time there was a man named Joseph, and he had a wife named Mary who was pregnant.”
June puts her hand up. “Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem in order to be taxed, in keeping with a decree from the emperor Cesar Augustus.”
“You forgot the song,” I say.
June slaps her forehead. “I’m sorry.” She clears her throat. “Silent night …”
We all join in the singing. When we finish the first verse, she repeats the lines she’d said, then everyone looks at me. I smile as I continue the story. “While they were there, Mary realized that it was time for the baby to be born.”
We sing another verse then Mr. Bowen continues, “Joseph tries to find a room in an inn so Mary could give birth, but he found none.”
We continue like this until Mr. Bowen ends with the angels telling the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men.”
I look down at Junior now asleep on June’s lap. I think of the Baby Jesus who came into this world as small and innocent as this baby even though He was God Himself. What a beautiful story!
June interrupts my thoughts. “Sister, I’m impressed that you remember the Christmas story so well.”
I turn to her. “Some things I’ll always remember, but the things I want to remember, I don’t.”

There you have it. Christmas with Marva, June and the Bowen’s. To read more about the Christmas celebrations with the Bowen’s, why not pick up a copy of the book on sale for only 99c. this weekend. And drop me a line and let me know how you spend Christmas at your house.

Have you ever wondered how an author comes up with pages and pages of content that keep you absorbed for hours or even days? How do they edit it so it’s error-free and worthy of being read? In this guest post, J. F. Pandolfi, author of Mr. Pizza, a mainstream novel, takes us behind the scenes and shows us what his writing and editing process is like. Enjoy!

 photo Mr Pizza cover 10-9-18_zpslvuumrse.jpg

Mainstream Fiction
Date Published: August 3, 2018
Publisher: L&A Publications

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Most people make at least one really harebrained decision in their life. Just ask Tony Piza. Deciding he needs a “paid vacation” for a year after college, Tony lands a job teaching at a Catholic elementary school. Talk about the Moby Dick of miscalculations. His pathetic effort is making him look bad, crimping his love life, and leaving him feeling guilty. A new approach, fueled by his irreverent humor, makes him a hit with his students. But it riles the powers that be. A showdown seems inevitable. Whether he can survive it—well, that’s something else.

My Writing Process—Still a Work in Progress

by

J. F. Pandolfi

Writing fiction pretty much involves coming up with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But it’s how we choose to get from one phase to another that can be all over the map.

In writing “Mr. Pizza”, my first novel, I synopsized every scene before penning the first word of the first chapter. Some people are just more comfortable planning every step of the journey upfront. In my case, I think that resulted from having practiced law for many years, which has a tendency to induce chronic anal retentiveness. That said, during the course of writing there were times when the story decided it wanted—even needed—to veer off the pre-determined path. Those detours turned out to be the most exhilarating part of the experience for me.

So for my new book—a sequel that takes place twelve years after the first book ends—I decided to toss out the old game plan. I knew the general storyline I wanted to pursue, but that was it. I just started writing. I’m currently about a quarter of the way through my projected page count. Has it been unsettling? You bet. Like being adrift on a raft in open seas. Or how I felt when my parents took away my pacifier when I was eleven. (What, like you don’t have any issues?) Another thing that required getting used to was taking time after a chapter to figure out what comes next. Other than those occasional detours I mentioned, I didn’t have to deal with that in writing “Mr. Pizza”.

On the whole, I think the occasional angst, and the sometimes lengthy post-chapter interludes, have been a fair trade-off for the excitement of making new discoveries as each chapter comes into focus. But that may change as I get deeper into the book. I’ll have to see. If I find it’s turning out not to be the ideal route, I’ll tinker with some hybrid middle ground.

Another subject I wanted to touch on is: revising your work, i.e. self-editing. It’s something we all need to do, more than once, before having a professional editor take a look. There’s a theory that says you shouldn’t edit on-the-fly. Get through your first draft, then go back to the beginning and start editing. Supposedly, editing as you go disrupts your artistic flow.

But I need to do my first edit of a chapter as soon as the chapter is done. It has to feel right to me before I can move on. I don’t think it’s blocked up my creative aqueduct. (Although I’m not a psychologist, neurobiologist, or plumber.) I’ve also found there’s a practical benefit to how I work. If you change something substantive in a chapter, it could impact a subsequent chapter. By editing each chapter as I write, I can limit—to a degree—that potential domino effect. I may make additional changes when I re-edit, but they’re usually not as significant.

Writing doesn’t lend itself to one-size-fits-all. Explore the self-editing process until you find the method you’re most comfortable with.

Keep writing, and good luck!

About the Author

 photo Joe author photo - close cropped 8-13-18_zpsscfrcfkf.jpg

J. F. Pandolfi went to Fordham University as an undergrad, then taught at a Catholic elementary school before attending Fordham Law School.
Practicing law certainly had its moments, but to call it “utter euphoria”—well, that was a stretch. Plus, the voices that had taken up residency in his head (rent-free, the deadbeats) kept insisting that he share his writing with the world. An award for his flash fiction piece, “Psychology for Dummies”, convinced him that the voices might be on to something. And so he called upon his fond memories as a teacher, which served as a backdrop to his debut novel, “Mr. Pizza”.
J. F. also briefly believed he had won the New York City Marathon. Alas, it turned out to be a dream, apparently brought on by an acute case of restless leg syndrome.
A staunch supporter of the fight to eradicate adult illiteracy, J. F. was accorded a Special Recognition in Literacy Award for his efforts.
Contact Links
Purchase Link
RABT Book Tours & PR

« Previous PageNext Page »