Friday, 28 October 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...J Q Rose!

I'm deliciously spooked to have as my Lowdown guest this Halloween weekend the author J Q Rose, writer of mystery, suspense, and horror - with humour! While she's written many newspaper and magazine articles and features, her first foray into the world of fiction, a story called Sunshine Boulevard, has recently been released by MuseItUp Publishing. Read on....if you dare!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I would like to retrieve a day spent with my grandmother, Maw. She always had her treadle sewing machine ready to make doll clothes with me. We often baked something delicious. Mmmm….I can smell the chocolate crumb cake in the oven now. Add a cold glass of milk. And of course, we would go shopping with my mom. I can still see Maw’s twinkling eyes and grin on her face when she would open her billfold to show me all the cash she had in there for shopping. (She had just cashed her social security check and they were probably all one dollar bills!) Lots of happy times with Maw.

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done?

When I was very young, I loved watching Westerns with Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Rex Allen. Yes, I was a tom boy, but perhaps the girly girl in me appreciated these handsome men. The shows influenced me. I told my mom I wanted a gun and holster for Christmas one year…no dolls!!
Well, if you recall, the bad guys were always supposed to get hanged in the Westerns. I don’t believe they actually showed a hanging, so I decided to try it out on a cat. Yes, indeed I slung the rope over our back yard clothes line, tied it around Fluffy’s neck, and pulled her up with the rope to swing in the air. Thank goodness my mother came to the yowling cat’s rescue. I think this may qualify as a naughty deed. I want to point out that I am an animal lover, so I know for sure at that age I had no idea I could have killed the cat with this hanging.

What’s the worst job you've ever had?

My father was an undertaker. So you would think working in a funeral home would be a bad job. But, no, the worst job I had was selling encyclopedias door-to-door. A car full of us college-age kids drove into a town, and our leader dropped one of us off in a neighbourhood each night. (I don’t believe I told my mother I was roaming strange neighborhoods alone.) I knocked on doors and tried to sell the set of books. I learned a LOT about selling. I also learned, no matter how much money you had…I was in some ritzy neighborhoods… there was always a discussion if the family could afford the books. Yes, I sold several sets of encyclopedias that summer, and the commission was excellent. The only problem after beat feetin’ around the state and garnering great sales, the customer had three days to cancel the contract. Some weeks, I got zilch for all my effort when expecting a fat pay check. Crushing…

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

(NB - please tell me which one’s the fib and I'll post the answer at the end of your Lowdown, unless you’d prefer not!)

1. My husband and I were full-time Rv’ers for over eight years.
2. I gave birth to triplets...all girls born on New Year’s Day. The hospital wouldn’t give us 3 gifts for the first babies of the new year.
3. Fortunately I have received only one speeding ticket while driving my red Mustang convertible.

What would be your perfect day?

My day has to begin with a blue sky and warm, but not hot, sunshine, perfect weather for a cookout at our house. My daughters, sons-in-law, and grandkids are in attendance which already makes it perfect. Delicious food, lawn games, and water balloons make up the activities for the day. A strawberry shortcake with ice cream would top it all off. Oh, and the clean up? Perhaps a bunch of invisible workers would magically arrive to put everything away, do the dishes, and clean the kitchen while I sit on the deck and relax with my hubby.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

I have a tall lamp I purchased at an auction. It is one of a matched pair. The other one resides on my hubby’s night stand. The lamp has a gold shade and a base of three copper rods with copper ivy wrapped around them. I don’t know why I have a lamp because I use a reader’s book light to clamp on my book or Kindle instead of the lamp light since I read in bed and do not want to disturb my hubby. Kleenex tissues, several books everchanging titles, and my Kindle are permanent fixtures. Tums, an anti-acid tablet, is always available for those nights when I eat too much pizza for supper or too many onions, etc.

What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

My favourite sandwich is the Brown Bear Burger Supreme prepared masterfully at The Brown Bear in Shelby or Pentwater, Michigan. Grilled burger made of one pound, yes one pound, of ground beef grilled and topped with cheeses, pickles, grilled onions, ham slice, peppers, and sauce served in a tasty bun the size of a dinner plate. It is enormous. We use a knife to slice the burger into four pieces and I eat this “sandwich” with a knife and fork. No way can I get my mouth around it to take a bite. It’s fun sitting in the old bar and watching all the patrons devour one of the restaurant’s many burger choices- not all are one pound. This summer the Supreme was voted the best burger in West Michigan. You’ve gotta try it if you get to this area.

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

This is the easiest question to answer…I dislike all aspects of housecleaning, but I find cleaning toilets absolutely the most disgusting.

What’s the best review you've ever had?

My writing compared to Stephen King’s is quite a compliment. Here’s part of that review - author Rochelle Weber wrote in her Amazon review, 'Move Over Stephen King, J.Q. Rose's writing is as "bad" as Stephen King's. When I read Salem's Lot, I couldn't put it down and I slept with a Bible, a Lutheran prayer book, and a Catholic prayer book for several weeks. I didn't pick up another of his books for twenty years. … The fact that I read the whole book (Sunshine Boulevard) is a testament to J.Q. Rose's writing. She had me from the first truly weird death to the ominous ending.'

Wow! That's quite some compliment, Janet! So, aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

I always dreamed of being Carol Burnett. She had the most entertaining show on television. She made everyone laugh and forget their troubles for that one hour through her crazy skits and loud, and I mean loud, singing voice. I also thought I would be a great actress and dancer, but alas, none of that happened...until...I was chosen to play a maid and a Hooverville bum in our community players production of Annie. How I got into the play is a long story for another time. I was a chorus member. I did not have a speaking part as the maid, but I had one line as the bum. The very best part of the play, for me and the scene I was most proud of, occurred when I joined all the other bums at the front of the stage and formed a chorus line performing like New York’s Radio City Music Hall’s Rockette dancers kicking and dancing as we sang. I finally fulfilled my dream in front of an audience of townfolk and friends who raucously applauded our efforts every night. I think even Carol Burnett would have been proud of my “performance.”

Thanks so much Janet, for being my guest today, and that burger sounds like a must-try! If you didn't twig it yet, answer No.2 is Janet's fib!

I've so enjoyed having you over to my blog today, and know we're all going to hear so much more from you in the future. You can find out more about J Q Rose and her writing by visiting her website here.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Could Your Novel Be Adapted For The Stage?

Welcome to paranormal author Margaret West, with details of an amazing competition!

'A great big thank you to Jane for allowing me to hijack her wonderful blog today.

My latest release Abigail Cottage has been picked out by director Elizabeth Newman of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, as the best paranormal she has read this year.

On the back of that, Elizabeth has decided to launch a competition for three lucky authors in the UK and one international author.

Elizabeth has worked as a casting director for theatre and television and has been a lecturer and senior lecturer at various HE and FE facilities across the country.

As the Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre, Elizabeth directs productions and also runs the Theatre's new writing department - and she's in search of authors who are interested in adapting their novels for the stage!!!

This competition has been inspired by her working with novelist Margaret West and her novel Abigail Cottage, who has already been picked to join the chosen three at the Octagon in December 2011.

The competition will open on 20th October 2011, and you will be able to post your submissions on the Authors Promoting Authors Food for Thought Blog, hosted by Margaret West during the week of 20 - 27 October 2011.

Guidelines for the competition can be found on Margaret West’s blog on Wednesday 19 October.

The Winners will not only attend the day workshop at the theatre with the team of playwrights currently working with Ms Newman to adapt Frank L Baum's classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at the Octagon, which opens on the 19 November 2011, but they will also be invited to see the show in the evening.

The international winner will have a skype session with the director on adapting their book for the stage.

The winning briefs will be announced on the 22 of November 2011.

Please note: the writers will have to fund their own travel/accommodation to attend the workshop day at the Octagon.'

This sounds like an amazing opportunity! As Margaret says, you can find the guidelines and ask any questions you might have at her blog tomorrow, Wednesday 19 October. Be there!

Thanks to Margaret for passing this along!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Writing The Scots I Know....

Come and visit me at Anne E. Johnsons blog today, and see how I decided to write the way I wrote.....:)

ANOTHER 5 Stars for Edinburgh Fog!

Author Lindsay Townsend has given Edinburgh Fog a 5 star review, so you can imagine I'm well chuffed!

'If you fancy a trip to Scotland, then please read Jane Richardson's `Edinburgh Fog'. It's full of the sounds, smells, sights and sounds of that amazing city, and more. The story is one of love lost and then recovered, a haunting, beautiful tale that stays long in the memory......'

You can read the whole thing here!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

#SampleSunday - Julia reappears, from 'Edinburgh Fog.'

“Hiya, boss. So where did you hide the body?” Ben’s deep Edinburgh brogue lent itself particularly well to sarcasm. Behind Ben, Chrissie Henderson, Greg’s bar manager and second-in-command, gawped goggle-eyed around Ben’s lofty shoulder.

“What body?” Greg looked down at his blood-spattered shirt front. “Aw, no, would you look at that! I cut myself shaving. I thought I’d staunched it.”

Ben laughed as he tipped ground coffee into the pot and filled it with hot water. “Lucky there’s a spare shirt hanging in the office.”

Greg groaned. “But not so lucky, it’s one of yours.” The reason Ben could never do Saturday afternoon shifts was that he spent them propping up the back row of the Edinburgh Academicals’ rugby third fifteen. Borrowing a shirt from a rugby player like Ben would be like draping himself in a beer tent.

“Maybe I can cover it,” Greg suggested, adjusting his Tellers’ staff tie. At three inches wide, it was still three inches too narrow to cover the stains.

“Aye, right.” Ben grinned. “On the other hand, you could wear the clean shirt and just keep puffing out your chest for the rest of the day so it looks like it fits you.”

Greg admitted defeat. “I’ll go and put it on. Give me a minute.” He eyed the pot of coffee. “Have you just made that for a customer?”

“Table six.” Ben made to pick up the pot, and then caught the determined gleam in Greg’s eye. He sighed heavily, and slammed the plunger down. “It’s all yours, boss. I’ll make them another.”

Five minutes later, ignoring Ben’s hearty guffaws, Greg emerged back into the bar. He’d tucked the enormous shirt into his jeans as best he could, but it felt like wearing a bedspread. The sleeves bunched up underneath the arms of his waistcoat, no matter how many times he rolled back his shoulders to make it more comfortable. Ah, well. At least he could congratulate himself on his self-imposed and totally egalitarian uniform policy. Even though he was sole owner of Tellers’, he still dressed the same as everyone else...even if he looked utterly ridiculous.

Lunchtime was the usual Friday affair, trainee lawyers and giggling office-girls from the Georgian-pillared businesses in Queen Street and Charlotte Square. The booze they knocked back made sure the most efficient thing they’d achieve that afternoon was a spectacular slump over a desk. Three o’clock came and went, bringing its throng of no-class-but-plenty-of-cash Edinburgh WAGS, all done in after hours of nail extensions, Brazilian waxes and clearing the designer concession rails in Jenners department store. They ordered sustenance in the form of Tellers’ own coffee blend and plates of Danish pastries, which they prodded with forks but left uneaten.

After they’d cleared out, Tellers’ was at last blessed with a couple of hours’ peace. The staff heaved a collective sigh and set to preparing the place for the Friday evening crowd. Nothing eventful happened except Chrissie tripping over Ben as he knelt behind the bar to re-stack the mixers shelf and tipping half a bottle of vermouth and a bowl of stuffed olives down the back of his neck. Ben took it in good part, commenting that while he smelled like a martini, he was only stirred and not at all shaken.

Leaving them to clean up as he sliced lemons and limes for the bar, Greg mused on whether the olive incident counted as Thing Number Three, and was on the point of convincing himself that definitely, absolutely nothing else could possibly go wrong for the rest of the day, when she walked in.


Greg froze, hypnotized by the reflection shimmering in the long mirror behind the bar. It disappeared briefly, moving out of his line of vision and he stepped sideways, following the mirror along the wall, seeking her out if only to convince himself that it couldn’t possibly be her — that Julia hadn’t just walked back into his life four years after he’d walked out of hers.

Read a Five-Star review and buy Edinburgh Fog in all its formats including Kindle here at MuseItUp Publishing.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...Adriana Ryan!

Adriana Ryan is an exciting new author whose debut novel Her Heart's Desire will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in March 2012.

Welcome, Adriana - and let's go with the questions!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

This GIANT marble I used to own. It was an incredible deep green color, and I was so proud of it! I still think about it sometimes. Don’t ask me why, because I have no clue either.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

Ooh, I love this game! Okay, here goes:

- I own so much makeup that I have a makeup “train case,” which is essentially a briefcase professional makeup artists use to tote their “offices” around.

- I have never had a broken bone.

- My inner nerd gorges on virtually everything in the field of discrete mathematics.

What would be your perfect day?

I’d wake up to a sunny day, write a satisfying scene, hear the sounds of a happy family in my home, and read a great book till I drifted off.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

My glasses! I am essentially blind without them, and some people claim I’ve crooned to a pair of boots by the bed, thinking that they were my cat. Ahem – no comment.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

This changes according to what’s going on in my life, what I’m writing (especially what I’m writing, actually! Each story comes with songs that sound “right” and ones that don’t), and what I have access to. Right now I’m loving “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. Girl power!

What's your guilty pleasure?

Netflix streaming! I am strongly anti-cable television as far as my family goes, but I just can’t help myself. It’s like I get addicted, have to watch all the episodes they have of one show, and then I go off of it for a while. For instance, I had a phase where I couldn’t get enough of the free Law and Order episodes. Then it was Intervention, and now it’s Monk! TV’s such a waste of time and brain power when you have kids and need those last bits of reserve for your writing, but alas, I do not heed my own advice!

Which household chore would you happily give up forever?

Oh, God. Folding clothes. I mean, who even came up with that? It’s so arbitrary!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I so wish I had better self-confidence. Being a writer is awesome, but it also means that you can be isolated all day if you want. Sometimes just talking to other people feels like a foreign language.

What single invention would change your life for the better?

A magic clothes-folding-contraption! It would take my clothes from the dryer, fold them, and put them where they belong.

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

The sense of genuine caring I have for the world. I am a compulsive volunteering machine.

And now, it's confession time! - the fib is that my inner nerd gorges on anything in discrete mathematics. I’m, in actuality, a total forensic psychology nut. In fact, it’s what I’ve selected to be my “day job.” The other two, unfortunately, are totally true – I have a severe eyeshadow addiction, and I guess I have super Calcium-infused bones!

Thanks so much for being my guest, Adriana - it's been a joy getting to know you. Good luck with all your future projects!

To find out more about the fabulous Adriana Ryan, visit her One-Link HERE!