Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lilybits: News, Views, and Celebrating our 200th Blog Post!

This is not just any post, it’s a 200th blog post! Mom and I are celebrating today. We're even giving away a $10 Amazon gift card Of course, she couldn’t have done it without my help.

In case you’re wondering about how my campaign is going, I have fired my campaign manager for not being able to get me into the latest political debate. Also, the donations are coming in awfully slowly. An occasional trickle of kibble and treats just isn’t getting the job done. I may have to suspend the campaign for awhile, like Governors, Walker and Perry.

And news:
Lately I’ve been learning about how to take care of dad since he had surgery on his ankle. I’m teaching him to steer his scooter carefully by getting in his way and running away at the last second so as not to get run over. I sleep on his lap sometimes when he is sitting in his chair. This way he stays warm. And sometimes I sit on his scooter and watch him eat. I’m teaching him to share and not feel sorry for himself. He’s not stuck eating kibble and wet food for sensitive stomachs. Yuck! Anyway, with my watchful companionship, I believe he is healing up quite well. 

Partially to celebrate our 200th post, and partially to honor the memory of my Minnesota cousin, Harley, who passed on over the rainbow bridge a few months ago, I am again sharing an earlier post “Help from Harley”. I hope you will enjoy Harley’s practical advice and wry sense of humor.

HELP FROM HARLEY (Originally posted March 20, 2014)
Lily apologizes because Rush Limbaugh wasn’t available and Oprah didn’t have enough advance notice, so today’s special host is Harley the Himalayan of Lakeville, Minnesota. He’s taking questions from cats around the country from his non-motorized power basket situated under the living room table.

Dear Harley: My colorblind human brought home a new pink cat bed for me to sleep in. He doesn’t care, because he can’t see color, but I can. Do I have to be worried about compromising my masculinity by sleeping in it?

Fanger from Fargo

Dear Fanger: You have nothing to worry about. After all, look at me. Besides, the feline babes love it!

Harley the Himalayan in his non-motorized power basket.
Dear Harley: My humans brought home a snotty little kitten. She comes over to lick my fur while I’m trying to sleep. I am a mature, elegant cat who has no time for such nonsense. What do you suggest I do to put her in place?

Tertius from Teaneck

Dear Tertius: I suggest large doses of catnip and if there’s some left over, give it to the kitten.

Tasha, partied out.
Dear Harley: How do you keep your hair so beautiful? Lily says she gets lots of grooming tips from you. What do you suggest?

Tangled in Trenton

Dear Tangled: Two words: crème rinse.

(Not Harley)
Which of these questions and answers did you like the best? I must admit, Harley
got right to the point!

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Tweet this: Lilybits: News, Views, and Celebrating our 200th Blog Post! Amazon card #giveaway! #cathumor

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rick Barry - WWII Buff Blending Historical and Speculative Writing

Chance to enter the drawing extended until
Wed., Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.! See details below. 

Winner announced below in the comment

Rick Barry is a fellow client of Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency. He has a unique story to tell in his latest novel, The Methusaleh Project. He is giving away a copy of his book to one randomly chosen reader in the U.S. who leaves a comment and email address below. Thanks for visiting!

About The Methuselah Project:
In World War II, German scientists began many experiments. One never ended. 

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed―until the day he's shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success―but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn't aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn't Captain America―just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger's sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there's no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It's 2015―and the world has become an unrecognizable place.

Katherine Mueller―crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle―offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee?

Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Rick, welcome to my blog! I’m excited to have you visit. The Methusaleh Project has a fascinating premise. What would you like to share about your book?

This story has been especially close to my heart, even more so than my first two novels, and I believe it’s my best one yet. For years, the World War 2 era has fascinated me, and I’ve read many accounts by men and women who were thrown into it and had to deal with things no human would want to experience. Airplanes have always been connected with my family, since Dad learned to fly back in the 1940s as a teenager. So, for me, penning a story about a World War 2 pilot caught  against his will in a top-secret experiment became a natural storyline.

The fact that The Methusaleh Project takes place in historical and present times and involves a science experiment, makes it look like the perfect blend of historical and science fiction. What inspired you to write such a story?

History fascinates me, especially the 1940s, when the world was going through a global upheaval, so choosing a character from the forties was natural for me.

I will confess that writing a book with alternating chapters from the past and present was a challenge. It forced me to watch my timeline carefully and to align the story with actual events that happened, both in history and the present, right up to the final edit. It was fun and exciting, but a challenge to do without resorting to time machines or anything weird. Although the story is lightly tinged by sci-fi, I wanted the whole plot to seem believable, as if an actual Methuselah Project really could’ve happened. Who knows, maybe it did!

TWEET HERE: The Methuselah Project by @WriterRickBarry is WWII fiction with a twist! #historicalfiction #bookgiveaway

What is your favorite place and time of day to write?

Unfortunately, my schedule often forces me to write in short spurts of 20 minutes here, and 30 minutes there. Sometimes I squeeze in those moments in my little home office before leaving for work in the morning. Often at lunchtime I will eat quickly, then add more sentences to the story for 30 minutes. I’ve used dead time in airplane terminals and on airliners to create. Once in a great while, when I get a rare block of two or more hours, I will write at the local Panera. In fact, my character Katherine even mentions Panera, so yesterday I presented a complimentary copy of The Methuselah Project to the manager of our local Panera and explained that part of the book had been written in her back corner. She was excited to hear it!

Has your work as a missionary impacted your writing? If so, how?

It’s probably more accurate to say that my Christian faith in general has impacted my writing. Since every novelist creates by delving into all the things stored in his heart and memories to embellish his fiction, my underlying God-centered view of the universe underlies each book. What I can say is that my many, many travels to various parts of Eastern and Western Europe have provided real-life details that I’ve stitched into the storyline for realism. 

What will your next book be about?

Years ago I wrote a series of short stories for Breakaway, which was Focus on the Family’s magazine for teen guys. The title for the series was The Next Fithian. The hero was named Rankin, a normal young man who unexpectedly receives a special title, a special ability, and an assignment too big to handle. Now I’ve expanded those short stories into a full-length adventure, which my agent Linda Glaz has begun to shop around. It’s quite different. Yet, when my wife was reading the manuscript she came to me with it in hand and said, “This is it. Whatever else you’re working on, drop it and concentrate on this!” She’d never done that before. My proofreaders had similar reactions. So, I hope some editor out there catches that same vision.

That said, I also want to write a sequel for The Methuselah Project. I purposely left a number of threads hanging. I believe readers will want to rejoin Roger Greene for his next mission.

Thank you, Rick, for joining me this week. It's been great interviewing you!

Rick Barry is the author of three novels and over 200 articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting support at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick and his wife, Pam, live near Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit him at, or on Twitter (@WriterRickBarry).

TWEET HERE: The Methuselah Project: A WWII POW deals with the downside of anti-aging? @WriterRickBarry #WWIIfiction #bookgiveaway

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Meet Award Winning Author, Carole Brown

Carole Brown and I met when I attended an Ohio writers’ retreat with a fellow
Michiganian. I was intrigued by Carole’s ideas as we sat in a brainstorming
session together.

She will be giving away an e-book copy of her latest cozy mystery, Bat Crazy.
Please leave a comment to enter. You MUST leave your email address with
your comment to qualify. Thank you!

TWEET TO SHARE: Why does Carole Brown  like to write cozy mysteries? via @kathleenrouser @browncarole212 #cozymysteries #amwriting 

Welcome, Carole! I’m glad to have you at my blog this week. Please tell us about your latest release, Bat Crazy. That is an intriguing name!

Thanks! Bat Crazy is a fun lighthearted book, as was Hog Insane, and I hope all of them in this series. Upcoming titles include:

  • Ÿ  Daffy’s Duck
  • Ÿ  Mad Dog
  • Ÿ  Kitty’s Mania
  • Ÿ  Horse Senseless

 Who knows if there will be others? J

Here is the blurb for Bat Crazy:

Monster Bats with red eyes that attack humans?

Denton doesn’t think so and Alex hopes not, but who are they to quibble with the local gossip?

Transmission problems and a blown tire land Denton and Alex Davies right in the middle of a dilapidated, unfriendly town that’s welcoming no strangers, least of all nosy ones with a bent toward solving mysteries.

But with support from the town detective--an admirer of the Davies--and their own tenacious personalities, Denton and Alex aren’t easily scared off. Not when warnings in the form of painted bats show up on the porch of their rented cabin, not when the mayor threatens to run them out of town and not even when Denton finds the bones . . .

An ancient story, a bit of a map, a lost jewel and even a bat clan serve to provide the
Davies and their sidekick, Taffy, the dog, their hardest case so far.

I understand this is the second book of a mystery series. What inspired you to write these and to invent these characters?

I’d initially written the first book, Hog Insane, as a short story. Later on, I wanted to develop it into a book and thought their personalities would make great characters for a mystery book.

I suppose I’ve given them many of my own (and hubby’s) loves and traits:
  • Ÿ  Mystery books
  • Ÿ  Traveling
  • Ÿ  A pet: a dog, in this instance
  • Ÿ  Alex has a love of shoes and is a bit headstrong
  • Ÿ  Denton loves fishing, likes his own way, and is intuitive.

I like to give Denton and Alex a bit of dry humor, episodes of dry teasing, and plenty of love. They don’t always agree--in fact, seldom do, but since the first book, they’ve learned to deal with their differences.

I’ve always loved mysteries. Especially cozies. They are so warm, fun and well, COZY! Lots of fun to read. So it made sense that someday I would attempt writing a mystery series along with my suspense novels.

When I decided to do a mystery series, I wanted to use titles with “insane-type” words in them. Hog Insane is the first book introducing the characters Denton and Alex Davies who are early retirees, who travel around the country in their RV solving mysteries with their pet dog, Taffy.

Do you have a theme which runs through your writing? If so, what is it?

In this series, the main plot is the mystery, of course, but I filter in relational threads too.
In the first book, it was the relationship between Alex and Denton. Their personal likes and differences, Denton’s stubbornness and insistence on having his way in a certain instance, and Alex’s independence, caused a rife between them that was both serious and complex. Not only did Denton have to learn what/who is important but that his opinion isn’t what always matters. Alex, on the other hand, needed to learn that life doesn’t always flow in the direction we desire. Happiness can be found in areas for which we hadn’t planned.

Fortunately--for readers!--it resolved satisfactory. 

In Bat Crazy, there are two:
  •   An older couple who had the potential of having it all: success, looks, love, etc., but their own pettiness spoiled it for them. Neither would compromise their desires in the least. They live out their lives seeking and never finding true happiness.Ÿ  
  • The second couple is young, hardworking, and smart. Their love might cause difficulties in the way they handle situations, but that same love covers a multitude of “sins.”

Both of these couples play an important secondary part of the mystery, and in that same secondary way, I hope readers get a hint of what true relationships are meant to be. Not perfect, but determined, faithful and compromising as needed. Love isn’t easy at times, but it’s sure worth fighting for!

Is coffee or tea your favorite beverage when facing a deadline? Or something else?

Coffee, of course! And I like mine hot, with a bit of cream. NO flavors. Yeah, I know. In today’s world, that’s a bit odd, but it is what it is.

In my normal writing days, I jump up every so often for a few minutes break. Deadline periods find me so focused on reaching goals that I forget--or don’t have the time--to think about food, drink or much else.

I can “reward” myself later with favorite snacks.

Is there any part of scripture which you feel guides your writing?

I suppose the time I realized I needed to be faithful to what God wanted me to write, was the most freeing, satisfactory period of my writing. Of course, that came with choices.

  • Ÿ  What’s popular in today’s reading world and what type of book(s) did God want me to share with others? 
  • Ÿ  What publishers require/want to sell: is that what God wants ME to write? If so, wonderful! If not, can I be brave and determined enough to follow his leading in my writing journey?

Ÿ  Restrictions on how or what to include in your books. This is a toughie. Not everyone can write/deal with some of the real world’s topics and that‘s okay. But abuse, a loosening of marriage morals, trust and deceit, and many other issues are not going to go away. God’s given me the ability to address some of these topics, and I have to be faithful.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe there are rules and boundaries and suggestions that are good and right. I appreciate that and do my best to accept them. These help make me a better writer.

I love this scripture found in Revelation chapter 17, verse 14b:
. . . For he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called and chosen and faithful.

Beautiful, and meaningful to me.

Please tell us about where your favorite place is to write.

Lol. My huge desk that hubby refurbished for me. Somewhere (don’t ask me where!) hubby found this huge, ugly, black wooden thing. Rounded on one corner, it was far from anything I’d ever desire. UNTIL, he showed me what he wanted to do with it. Ah, it’s beauty was revealed. I have plenty of room and with the bookshelves he built on the wall above it, plenty of nooks and crannies around me, you can find me there in my little corner many hours of many days.

Other than that, I find myself enjoying my writing hours while we’re traveling at times. I not only get writing done, but have a brain-stormer, sounding board, and critique partner all wrapped up in one with my husband beside me. (He can’t escape, see, cause he’s driving! J )

 About Carole: Carole Brown not only has her award winning (Winner of the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Award in General Fiction, nominated for an Epic Award, RWA International Digital Awards finalist in Inspiration, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but also a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, is filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia.

A fun, lighthearted mystery series began with the first book: Hog Insane, introducing Denton and Alex Davies and now her second book in this series, Bat Crazy. Her WWII romantic suspense Spies series began with With Music In Their Hearts, featuring three red-headed sisters, three spies, and three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Where to find Carole online:

Barn Door Book Loft: