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Well Within My Writes Blog

Short Stories in serial form by Judah Raine

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Ugly Paradise

I have another welcome guest today. Lindsay Paley, author of a wonderful book that delivers just the right amount of suspense and romance with an intriguing plotline, joins us to discuss Ugly Paradise and her life as a writer.

 

What was your inspiration for writing the book? Do you feel it has a particular message?

‘Ugly Paradise’ was inspired by a trip to Bali a while ago. It’s a beautiful place - The Island of the Gods the locals call it. Yes, my story does have a message. It deals with the fact that society values external beauty over inner harmony and peace, hence the strap line - ‘Beneath beauty, evil lurks’.

 

Which is your favorite character, and why?

My favourite character in the novel is Jemima - Luxelife magazine’s editor. She is a strong, principled woman who is not afraid of standing up for what she believes in. She is generous with her time and her support of the main character Katie as she goes through a difficult time in her life, both physically and emotionally.

 

pesto and potholesMy special guest today is Susan Baganz, author of Pesto and Potholes, a wonderful book full of hope and inspiration published by Prism Book Group. Thank you, Susan, for taking time to chat with me and share a little about yourself and about Pesto and Potholes.

 

What was your inspiration for writing the book? Do you feel it has a particular message?

I kept thinking about all the young people who walk away from the church. Why? I know people far smarter than me have written books about it - but I remember being a young believer, attending church and wondering: Why is this so important? Yes, Scripture commands us to “not forsake gathering,” but why? As I matured and became part of a church plant in Menomonee Falls, I was well-led by pastor Mark Steele (who has since gone to be with Jesus). It was there that I learned the deeper value of

biblical community, worship, accountability, and the church as a family. I hoped to show that reality in my story. The church is a place for all of that, so we can grow in Christ - emotionally and spiritually.

 

moon landingI was thinking the other day (I do, occasionally) as I set aside a little time for social networking, that the world has changed dramatically in my lifetime - and no, I'm not anywhere near 'geriatric.' Mature, perhaps, but I still have full control of my faculties and can very clearly remember all the 'firsts' I've seen - TV, cell phones, fax machines, concorde, the first lunar landing (conspiracy theories ignored), the first heart transplant, among many others, and of course, the Internet.

It's hard to imagine now that once the Internet was the exclusive playground of the weird and geeky, intellectual techie types one and all, who inhabited the cyber universe as a kind of parallel universe from which the uninitiated were excluded. We've come a long way. Nowadays, the average person can open the door to unlimited information in less than a second. Psychologists are working groundbreaking research into cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, cyber-emotional-displacement, etc. Marketing has become an almost alien beast which must be fed, and billions are poured into the development of software, platforms, APIs, training, and branding strategies that change overnight because the beast keeps morphing at the speed of light.

Most of us manage to just keep up. Barely. The up-side, of course, is

 

A Dose Of DangerIt's great to have a visitor today - Kim McMahill, author of A Dose of Danger, published by Prism Book Group, has bravely endured '20 questions' time and volunteered to fill the hotseat on my blog today. The book, a romantic suspense novel, was recently released and will, I'm sure, be very successful. It's well worth reading, so make a point to click the link and find it once you've spent a little time with Kim and got the 'inside story.'

 

What was your inspiration for writing a Dose Of Danger? Do you feel it has a particular message?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun paying more attention to what I eat and my overall health. The more I read about nutrition and fitness, the more confused I become, especially when it comes to supplements. There are a myriad of products out there that make all sorts of claims, but what’s true? I’m sure the answer is very complex, because there are a lot of variables that influence a product's effectiveness, which makes the subject an excellent topic for fiction. I primarily write to entertain with stories of adventure and suspense.  If the reader finds a helpful message in one of my books, that’s wonderful, but mostly I simply hope to provide an escape from

 

Prism Book Group

It's wonderful to have the opportunity to welcome a remarkable lady to my blog today. I have the great pleasure and privilege to work with her and Prism Book Group as a line editor, and can honestly say she runs a tight but very 'fun' ship. I thought I'd make time to do a reveal on both Joan and her publishing business, to see just what it is that has earned them a solid place in a very competitive industry.

 

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do at Prism Book Group?

My name is Joan Alley, and I’m the woman behind Prism Book Group – founder, owner, business manager, head editor. I also handle the formatting, cover art, graphic design, website design, and promotion for the company. But don’t let that long list fool you

 

Dead Man's BayOne of my most treasured possessions is a simple wooden tatting shuttle which used to belong to my little Granny Ethel - who, ironically, was often referred to as 'Big Granny' to set her apart for her great-grandchildren and avoid confusion with the relevant Granny attached to that family. I say ironically because this enduring matriarch of our family was a tiny little woman, yet one of tremendous emotional strength, courage, humour and practicality.

That little tatting shuttle brings back so many memories. I inherited this after Big Granny's death at 99 years old - yes, it seems that hard work, clean living, and a good conscience do make for a long life. The shuttle came to me because I was the only granddaughter who had learned how to tat - with much laughter and, I would imagine, extreme

 

monkey4Living in Hillcrest, a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Durban, is perfect for someone with roots on the farm but a need to be 'in the city' for various reasons. We have abundant bird life, large tree-filled gardens with space and peace to spare, and a few entertaining but not necessarily welcome visitors.

My daily routine is simple - I wake very early, usually before the sun, and spend the first hours seeing in the dawn and then visiting my various social networks and working on my blogs before focusing on my work schedule for the day. Somewhere between 08:00 and 10:00, usually on a Tuesday and a Friday, we have a troop of monkeys come flying through. Flying, here, is almost literal. The trees provide a wonderful trapeze network for these little characters to traverse the neighbourhood. And please don't ask me how they know which day of the week it is. I haven't the foggiest notion, though the idea of them having little diaries is kind of cute, but

 

lavender lifeI am truly blessed. I wake every day to the joy of living the lavender life - one of hard work, but rewarding work, doing something I love. I choose my own hours, based on the workload, and at last have time to look at doing my own writing once again and, soon, being able to play in the garden and catch up on all the shaping and creating that still needs to happen in my 'little place of paradise.'

Working as a fulltime freelance editor has been a dream for many years. So many times, working a full and demanding job and slogging away at editing in every free hour I could find, I would wonder if it was worth

 

murderThe writer itch cannot be denied. The plots and sub-plots continue to stir and settle into a sequence of events, and characters surface and will not be denied.

It's a crime. A real one. Actually, it's a series of real ones, small pieces of a larger puzzle, where no co-incidence should go unexplored. I'm having a blast, but I'm also discovering how much there is to learn.

And that, of course, is the greatest fun of all. I'm not afraid to admit that I've never yet had any first hand experience with committing any crime, either

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Every good novel begins with an outline. Doesn't it?

Of course it does. I mean, how else are you going to get all your characters worked out and ironed out and written out just like they should be? Everyone knows that a good novel needs a good structure, good characterization, good plot line, good setting...and the only way to get that right is a good outline. Isn't it?

So, always willing to learn new skills, Yours Truly set off to create The Outline. I wasn't going to write a word until I had it just so. I would be ordered, disciplined, super-duper-efficient and

 

hayfields rainbowTwo Sundays ago I took part in a celebration... of grief and hope and something way bigger. It's taken a while for me to find the courage to speak it.

On 24th December 2012, my brother (in-law, but real brother in all ways that count) lost a long battle with brain tumors and left a huge hole in the space he once filled. And oh, how he filled it, that lion among men, true "patriarch" with wisdom and courage and the easy confidence of a true gentleman.

We gathered on "his" hillside to drink a toast to Willy, with an ache

 

horse postWell, here we go again! Nothing quite like being hacked to change one's perspective. The temptation is, of course, to moan and mutter and gnash my teeth, and I confess to a somewhat colorful stream of creative appelations for the cyber-jackers in unguarded moments.

The fact is, though, it's pointless staying mad, if for no other reason than the fact that it's pandering to their sense of power. If the truth be told, now that I've got over the initial disbelief, I feel very sorry for them. Clearly they don't have a life if they have to get their jollies by violating others, just because they can. It's really quite sad.

The upside of all of this is that I get a "do-over", just when my three books are due for re-release. So yes, while it's a pain to be back at the beginning, it's also a good opportunity to change a few things and make some improvements.

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, just be patient with me while I sift through the cyber-wreckage.

Take care,

Jude