Category Archives: Marketing & Publicity
From Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake
SYBILLA DISANTE AND THE SEPIA WORLD
The night before my parents were killed in a car accident I dreamed of a huge baby buggy smashing through a window of the twentieth floor of a high rise.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a great talker. My custom has always been to observe, listen, and hold my thoughts inside. People call me “unknowable,” and I can’t say they’re wrong. After the accident I hugged my silence more closely than ever, but in a strange moment when I felt my heart would turn inside out if I didn’t speak I told Ethan Chance about my dream. Ethan was my closest friend, because among all the kids my age, seventeen, only he shared my passion for black-and-white movies. Even when I don’t care to talk about my feelings or my views on society and politics, I can enjoy a good conversation about Casablanca or Metropolis.
He listened as I described the shattering window and the buggy disappearing over the ledge. Then he told me in an awed hush, “You’re psychic.”
I laughed him off but cringed inside. I might like to tell myself stories about ghosts and imagine that the wall separating past from present from future might be frayed in spots, but to suggest I might be psychic was to drag those gossamer daydreams into the bitter cold realm of reality. I didn’t want to be psychic. If I’d somehow prophesied my parents’ deaths, then the right word from me might have saved them. This I couldn’t bear to think. So I changed the subject very quickly to Dr. Strangelove.
Yet in the days that followed I started to wonder whether my sweet-natured cinephile friend had cursed me, or if my Creek grandmother had been right when she told me that gifts can be born from grief. My sense of sight began to play tricks. When I walked alone on the edge of the wood that bordered Spirit Lake I would spy a ripple in the air, such as we sometimes see in the thick heat of a summer day. It looked like a curtain moving, and I thought I could glimpse a shadow-scape beyond the lush trees and glassy lake, a scene with the sepia shade of a nineteenth-century photograph. People moved through it in the garb of long ago, going through the motions of working and chatting with each other and not paying me the slightest heed.
Check out Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake (kindle and paperback)
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Melba Moon (Author), Mary Marvella (Author), Jackie Rod (Author), Jodi Vaughn (Author), Georgiana Fields (Author), C. C. Ansardi (Author), Nan Monroe (Author), Yasmin Bakhtiari (Author), John Robinson (Author)
Yours truly, writing as MJ Flournoy, has a new book out. A Matter of Trust is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements and was published by Renaissance Ebooks, Sizzler Intoxication Line.
The release date was September 22, 2013 and I am thrilled for Jolie and Mac to have their story in print. There is another character in the book that I found very compelling. In fact, she almost took over the book. It took both me and Mary Marvella to keep the Maniac under control. When a secondary character has a strong, compelling voice and the author really likes the character, they tend to try to take over. But that is something a good editor can help you with fixing. Often a writer gets so caught in the character, that she/he doesn’t realize when that secondary character is trying to upstage the hero or heroine.
Getting the balance right is often A Matter of Trust. Trust your editor, she or he won’t steer you wrong. Read below, you’ll see what I mean!
A Coke, a fat one, or an orange soda.
“Not gonna happen.” Jolie Wyngate shrugged, climbed from her car and hurried toward the convenience store to pick up a quick snack before continuing on her way south.
And why not?
“Because I have to drive another hundred and fifty miles, and I don’t intend to stop every half hour for potty breaks.”
You are so not any fun! It’s just a Coke, for Pete’s sake.
“And you, lady, are so predictable.”
Make it chocolate then.
Chocolate, a compromise with which she could live. “Right.”
And stop speaking out loud, people will think you’re crazy.
“Me crazy? Get real, Maniac, I’ve talked to you since childhood. If I haven’t landed in the loony bin by now, I hardly think it’s going to happen.”
Humor me, then.
Jolie shrugged, continuing toward the store. She’d pick out a chocolate bar to keep her unseen companion happy.
Serve you right if I quit talking to you all together.
“Put it in writing.” Jolie reached for the door handle.
A giggle erupted within Jolie’s mind. Then, in the tone Jolie hated hearing: Shush, pay attention. There’s something wrong in there.
Oh, hell. Jolie bit the soft flesh of her lower lip. Her hand tingled as if the door was electrified.
Shit, this was the real reason for the Maniac’s sudden thirst.
The cool, dry air of the convenience store surrounded her when she stepped through the open door. For a second, the young clerk behind the counter looked up from the newspaper spread in front of her. Nothing. Jolie expelled a breath of relief, exchanged a quick smile with the clerk, and then headed toward the candy isle.
Then she saw her. The little girl wandered listlessly down the candy isle, her small hand trailing over the rows of candy, gently touching, but taking nothing. Jolie watched her for a moment, then scanned the store and saw no one in sight.
The child turned, her gaze lifting until it found Jolie. She tilted her head to the side, her eyes searching Jolie’s for an instant. Then she moved closer and stared up at her. The expression on the small face caused Jolie’s heart to turn over. She knelt to the child’s level and touched the riot of red curls. A jolt of emotion skittered along Jolie’s spine, but Jolie forced herself not to pull away.
“Hey, sweetie, does your mommy know you’re out here alone?”
The little girl looked about three. She continued to stare mutely. Jolie smiled at her. “That your mommy behind the counter?”
She lifted the child into her arms. Unprepared for the sudden shock of pain and despair that engulfed her, Jolie almost dropped her. Instead, she tightened her arms instinctively around thefrail body.
Something’s not right.
Slowly the child shook her head. She lifted her small hand and traced a line down Jolie’s
cheek, her touch feather-light. Sadness engulfed Jolie at the child’s soft touch.
You feel it.
Jolie pushed the intrusive thought aside. With the small child still in her arms, she moved toward the checkout counter. “Your little girl?” Jolie asked. “Found her wandering on the candy aisle.”
The clerk focused a smile on the little girl. “I wish, got me two boys. Pretty little thing, ain’t she?”
“She’s here all alone?” Jolie tightened her grip on the child.
“Looking for yourself a new momma, are you, Elizabeth?”
A voice from behind her startled Jolie. Her grip tightened on the small child. She whirled
around. Her fight or flight instinct kicked in when she faced a man with long, dirty-blond hair, scraggly beard and dirty clothes. He reached to take the child from her arms.
The tiny body shrank deeper into Jolie’s arms. Her small hands gripped tightly to Jolie’s shirt. Her brown eyes widened and filled with tears, but not a word crossed her lips.
“That’s her grampa,” the clerk explained when the man pulled the resistant child from Jolie’sarms.
Panic filled Jolie. The child’s eyes never left hers while the man paid for his cigarettes and
beer. Large brown eyes, shadowed by a sadness much too deep for her years, eyes that tugged at Jolie’s heart.
Do something: don’t let him take her.
Not now, she silently warned the Maniac.
Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
We are storytellers.
From the earliest humans who painted on cave walls, to the Egyptians who sent their pharaohs into the afterlife with hieroglyphics, to the kids on the way to the newest movie at the metroplex, we have an affinity for stories which transcends all time periods, cultures, races, and religions. The ‘art’ of storytelling is not just for enjoyment. There are theories that, in fact, storytelling actually may have been more important in the evolution of humans than opposable thumbs.
Really? How could that be? According to Lisa Cron in her great book, Wired for Story, “opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” Humans are the only species on earth which can imagine the future and, through planning, prepare for it. We can anticipate and outcome – a successful hunt, the end of a long journey, even death itself – and understand the experience through other people’s knowledge. Story gives us that edge.
In fact, “the pleasure we derive from a tale well told is nature’s way of seducing us into paying attention to it. In other words, we’re wired to turn to story to teach us the way of the world.” We crave story to understand and deal with what is happening around us.
Like most writers – and readers – I love story. I’ve always loved story. Listening to story and making up my own stories gives me comfort in the crazy world we live in. And, in fact, the way I tell a story and the types of stories I read ultimately define me as me, as opposed to being you. We each are the sum of our experiences, the collections of what we have been, the hope of what we will be. The stories we resonate with become part of who we are.
Why do you like the stories you like? What story themes do you find yourself drawn to? Do you love the tear-jerkers? Or the funny ones? Or stories that make you shiver in the night?
Or, all of the above?
Oh, and opposable thumbs are nice too.
One would think that teaching creative writing and drama for fifteen years prepared me as an author, but the truth is, honing my craft was merely the tip of the iceberg. I learned very quickly that creative prowess doesn’t prepare you for the world of publication. Writing is the easy part. When you finally scribble the wonderful words “The End” on your masterpiece and accept a publishing contract, a sense of elation washes over you, the likes of which I can only compare to holding my newborn for the first time. The feeling was pure ecstasy . . . followed shortly there after by wave of complete consternation. Now what?
I had thought that once I signed on the dotted line, I could sit back and begin writing book number two, while my publisher turned my fabulous manuscript into a best seller. That’s the idea, right? Not even close. Little did I know that “The End” was really just the beginning. Reality is often a far cry from dreams and getting published was no different. Especially if you’re navigating uncharted waters alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade being an author for anything in the world. I’m living my dreams. For me, writing has never been an option. I’m compelled to write. It’s a part of me as much as my smile or my heart. I can trace the compulsion back as far as age three, even before I could print my name or read more than a few words. According to my mother, I loved dictating stories to her and insisted she read them back to me along with my favorite fairy tales at bedtime. Like Sarah Hamer, my favorite author as a child was Madeleine L’Engle. Her Wrinkle In Time series thrilled me and ignited my passion for time travel. All through school my favorite subjects involved writing or drama. As a teen I kept my stories and poetry under lock and key in diaries. And as a young adult I wrote in journals and fell in love with romance.
But there’s a big difference between writing for yourself and releasing your craft to the world. If you’re lucky enough to find a publisher that is totally in love with your manuscript, they’ll put you in print. But how long will it be before they move on to the next budding author? The reality is, it’s usually up to you to get your book seen. So, did I birth a book or an author? The truth is both, and the arduous odyssey was truly a roller coaster ride. Sometimes the task was so overwhelming, I felt trapped by my computer while my friends and family were sure I had fallen off the planet into some mystical cyberspace universe.
I didn’t mean to ignore them. But, in a way, they were right. I had been sucked into an unfamiliar world that beckoned me with an alluring whisper––like a mermaid’s song that enchants all who hear her, distracting each soul, then enticing them to dive into the depths of the seas or run their ship aground. Okay, so I went a little overboard there, but the lure is as real as my imagery. I was charting unknown territory and it was exciting, demanding, amazing, exhausting, daunting, thrilling and sometimes downright scary. At times I felt as if my brain might explode if I took in one more sliver of knowledge.
But GDB has your back. I’ve walked the road ahead of you and, like a big sister, I will grasp your hand and hold on tight as you cross the next street. I will help you discover everything you didn’t know you needed to know to make your dream of becoming a successful published author a reality.
Hugs to you all,