Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
by N.S, Wikarski
It was a dark and stormy night…
Well, it wasn’t night. It was the middle of the afternoon but the rest is true. My first book had been out for about a year and I was doing book signings at a series of small chain bookstores in Wisconsin and Michigan. Anyone who’s familiar with the upper Midwest knows that on summer weekends city dwellers flee their homes like rats abandoning a Warfarin-dusted high rise. They jump in their cars and head for the quaint and charming tourist towns along the shores of the Great Lakes.
It was the middle of June and I was scheduled to appear at a bookstore in one of those quaint and charming lakeside hamlets. It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption that I would be able to sell a case of books that weekend and go home happy. You know the adage about assumptions so I won’t repeat it.
I will, however, repeat the opening line of this post. It was dark and stormy. In mid-June at high noon the temperature struggled to reach a soggy sixty degrees. This is never a good sign when one is counting on a large turnout. In retrospect, the weather proved to be the least of my problems.
As I entered the bookstore trailing a case of books, the clerk looked puzzled. “Can I help you with something?”
“I’m here for the book signing,” I said cheerily.
“What book signing?”
I patiently led the clerk to the plate glass window at the front of the store where my announcement was displayed. I tapped the page for emphasis. “This book signing.”
“Oh Jeez, that was supposed to be today?”
I nodded gravely.
“Wow, I’m so sorry. We don’t have anything set up for you. We didn’t run any announcements in the paper either.” The clerk scurried over to a kiddie table near the front of the store where a Harry Potter display was arranged. Shoving the books aside, he said, “You can set up here.”
I looked at the table dubiously. It stood two feet high and two feet wide. I’m not a tall woman so it wasn’t an impossible situation, just a mildly uncomfortable one. I sat down on the kiddie bench that accompanied the table and set up my wares.
The store, which had been empty until now, began to fill with people. Very wet people who felt the need to shake rain droplets off their slickers and umbrellas as they entered. Positioned as I was, most of the rain fell on me.
Over the course of the next fifteen minutes, people continued to trickle in, shake themselves dry, and browse. One gentleman stopped at my table. I looked up at him hopefully, thinking he might have a question about my work.
“Harry Potter, huh?” He pointed to the books stacked beside my own. “I bet you wish you had her sales.”
I smiled and nodded thinking, “Today I’d be happy with anybody else’s sales but mine.”
He moved on. I continued to watch the traffic ebb and flow for the next hour. At first I felt badly that nobody was buying my books until I noticed that nobody was buying books period. About fifty people had come through the store by now. They stamped their feet on the door mat, flapped their umbrellas in my general direction, then formed an impromptu conga line that snaked around the aisles and terminated at the exit. They all left without buying a single book.
“Is it always like this?” I asked the clerk in disbelief.
He shrugged. “We get a lot of browsers.”
At that moment a teenage girl walked up to me. “Where do you keep the books on Ed Gein?”
For those not familiar with Wisconsin local history, Ed Gein was a ghoulish murderer in the 1950s. Aside from a few killings and dismemberments, he exhumed corpses from the Plainfield graveyard and fashioned trophies out of their bones and skin. Gein served as the inspiration for no less than three movies (Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence Of The Lambs).
I smiled wryly at the girl for a moment. Ed Gein was the perfect exclamation point to my own personal day of horror.
Instead of telling her I didn’t work for the store, I stood up and said, “I think I saw some titles about him down this aisle.” I was determined to sell at least one book that day. Even if it wasn’t my own.
Volume Four - Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult's leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent--their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Metcalf's child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana's leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana's troves--a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf's son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie's powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
What would you love to produce in your life?
A movie based on my Double Helix series!
How do you feel about self-publishing?
I think self-publishing provides an avenue for people who want to take control of their work to get that work out into the world. Unfortunately, many people don’t care enough about the quality of the work that they release, but there are many authors who do care, and who do invest a great deal of their own money in editors and cover artists to make sure that the novel they release is the best it can be.
Do you know your neighbors?
Yes, of course. The ones on the right have four kids and four dogs. The ones on the left have three kids who have all since left home, and a cat that passed away several weeks back.
How important are friends in your life?
They’re important, certainly, and I think it’s critical to point out that your family needs to be your friends too. I consider my husband my best friend.
How many friends does a person need?
Enough to enrich your life. I realize this is a bit of a cop-out answer, but the fact is that it varies for people. I tend to get by on fewer but deeper friendships. Others, I’ve noticed, enjoy more friends, but we’re both contented with the kinds of friendships we have.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating – PG-13
The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name. Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts. The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past. It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.
Seven days to a new world. It was an exact description of everything her life had become. It was every bit as daunting.
“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her. It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life. It was another thing entirely to go through with it.
She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house. This time it wasn’t morning sickness. That was long past. At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries. Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less. The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.
She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior. Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful. Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was. Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded. Like her father. Like Nick. She was a fool to agree to this. She pivoted and marched away from the ship.
No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made. She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers. This was right.
“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”
The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries. She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.
“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.
“Yeah. I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”
Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched. “Oh. Oh dear. Well I suppose….”
She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver. As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over. All that worrying for nothing.
She squared her shoulders to face her fate. “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”
Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown. “Regardless?”
“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained. “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….” She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.
Eric’s lips twitched. The morning sunlight caught in his eyes. “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”
Amelia blinked. “You what?”
“I told them we’re newlyweds. I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over. Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again. Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom. They sold me a ticket for that.” He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’. “Sorry.”
Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him. He wasn’t abandoning her. He had gone out of his way to help her. Her heart squeezed as it never had before. She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his. She was rescued after all.
“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan. You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.” She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.
“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – R