Friday, December 19, 2008

What is Music Anyway? What Does it Have to do With Writing

What is Music Anyway? What is Writing Anyway?

In the Intellectual Devotional by David S Kidder & Noah D Oppenheim we are given a lot of food for thought. One thing they say is that Music has a pattern where noise only has sound. I’m afraid that could define Heavy Metal for me. Noise, loud and busy that has no rhyme or reason for being. Sorry Heavy Metal fans, it just doesn’t translate for me.

Kidder and Oppenheim say the basics of music compared to noise have to do with
Pitch —How high or low a sound is to the ear;
Scale—a stepwise arrangement of pitches;
Key—which is an arrangement or system of pitches usually based on one of the major or minor scales.

Simple isn’t it? The Ghost Music of Vaudeville as a mystery has a similar basic set up. Pitch: how intense (high) or relaxed (low) the action
Scale: an arrangement of pitches that take us from each paragraph with a beginning, middle and end, to each chapter with its beginning, middle and end; to the book as a whole with a beginning, middle and end.
Key: That is a little harder, but I think of it as all the system of pitches – the paragraph, page, chapter, and book according to one of the Major (genre) or Minor (sub-genre) scales –genre and sub-genres of the mystery from cozy, procedural, true crime, or hard boiled.

Therefore, everything in writing the mystery can be reduced or elevated to its musical counter part. Our culture influences our pitch, scale, and keys whether that is in writing or in music. Extremes may abound even while the rules are followed. For instance music in India compared to the music here in the west such as opera, or rock. Or compare the Native American Drum, to the drum of modern rock – they are nowhere in the same playing field – the Native American Drum is spiritual, the rock drum is entertainment. Both, however, are entertainment and in some circles could be called something spiritual.

Music and writing are both creative processes. Whether we use pitch, scale, and key or whether we use some other method to join the parts into a complete whole – they compliment each other, and I believe they embody each other.

It is said that we each “march to our different drummer,” and I believe that is as true in creating fiction as it is in creating music.

Sing loudly, write like the wind and enjoy the rhythm you create!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Appropriate Reasoning

You have to admit these are perfect gifts - Books that is - The printed word will never go out of style for any gift giving reason.

Two pertinent lists from Jessica James, author of Shades of Gray, posted on Amazon:

Top Five Reasons Why Guys Should Give Books as Gifts

5: She can't connect with a new sweater like she can with a book.
4: Hey guys, they're easy to wrap!
3: They come in all sizes, shapes and colors--what could be easier?
2: It's cheaper than a romantic getaway but can produce the same result.
1: Books are gifts of love and joy--and can create everlasting memories.

Top Five Reasons Why Girls Should Give Books as Gifts:

5: They're easy to store--on coffeetables, bookshelves, nightstands or countertops.
4: They never go bad no matter how long they're stored--and they can be used quickly or savored over time.
3: Books can teach, educate, entertain--and distract him from football.
2: It's a small investment that can return dividends for life.
1: Books are the perfect gift of enjoyment that don't require him to leave his chair.

[Thanks to Traci A. Lower.]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Well, I sent Bette Midler off the book she is in Ghost Music of Vaudeville. It should have reached her December 1, her birthday. How cool is that! Only problem is, she took yesterday off from her appearance in Ceasar’s Palace Las Vegas -= *sigh * to celebrate her birthday,which probably means it’ll get lost in the avalanche of birthday well wishes.

It’s hard to believe she is sixty three years young. She is so energetic and looks so good. You could say money bought that for her, but I doubt it. I think it is how she chooses to live her life. She lives full of the enjoyment of every moment. She has won so many many awards. “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time,” as the saying goes. She is the WSISG (What You See Is What You Get) girl in person. She is genuine and touchable. She needs to fool no one.

Check her out at her website on line she’s incredible. I’m glad she found a place in my book. I hope she will inspire You to do what you dream.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Bette Midler and Vaudeville

This is one of the Keith Theatres that plays a part in my book.

Have you ever witnessed a more energetic and fantastic a performer? She gives the appearance of having so much fun at what she does, and she does everything so well. When I was writing my novel Ghost Music of Vaudeville I needed a wild card draw to help the people in that book raise enough money to save the old Keith Theatre and the apartments above it that had become homes for actors and actresses that were trying to keep the music of Vaudeville alive. I needed someone who was warm, approachable, energetic and likely to come to the aid of a good cause. Bette Midler's name just popped into my head. I can't think of a better choice. If, in real life, Charlie Wolfe was trying to save Ironwood, Michigan's bastion of history and they needed a star to help them out I'm sure if she was approached she'd be there in a heart beat. She fits the book and the lives of the characters perfectly.

If you would like to read a chapter of Ghost Music of Vaudeville, please go to my website and click on the Books link.

I've spent the last couple days looking for places where I might find out more about Bette and perhaps an address. I have not found an address, but I've watched video's of her, listened to her sing, listened to her play a role in movies -- I found out she was born in 1945 one place said Hawaii another said New Jersey -- it doesn't matter to me - I'm glad she was. She was a fan of Judy Garland - I can see that in her stage presence. It has been a wonderful experience to submerge myself in finding out more about her - and I wish that she could appear to help me at my booksignings of Ghost Music of Vaudeville, I have a young lady who may portray her - she is the spitting image of Drew Barrymore so I'm sure she could do a Bette Midler as well.

Entertain lavishly and let yourself burst out with song when the occassion merits it - and then preserve what you can of history for our younger generation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prolific Writers - Are You One?

So you think you write a lot — How many books have you written? As a reader, how many books do you read a month?

Barbara Cartland, who my college Women’s Lit Instructor disliked intensely, wrote a stunning 723 books and made the Guinness Book of World Records for her efforts. She wrote a novel in one or two weeks. The critics say she actually didn’t write them she dictated them to her secretaries and they typed them up. I beg to differ with them. It was her creative genius that dreamt them up in the first place. If she hadn’t dictated them would each of her secretaries have written a best seller and had them published?

I take issue with the big name authors who have an understudy of sorts write from their outline and create a book for the named author. I see James Patterson and a few others are finally listing those as co-authors on the covers of their books. But now does that make them author of those books or the co-author? Who gets to count coup – will Patterson have 300 books because of their efforts or will he let them count those as their own?

Isaac Asimov wrote over 200 books, by himself – he then, in my humble opinion, especially with all the special issues Sci Fi authors face, was a prolific writer.

Georges Simenon wrote 400 books each book took him eleven straight days of writing. I’m sure he took food breaks and a nap break here and there – but that’s profound. Imagine fellow NaNoWriMo authors if you could write a novel in 30 days, why not one in eleven days?
How many words a day would that be? Approximately 4,500 words a day. Hey you could do that couldn’t you? {smile}

So write like the wind, read like a Tsunami and perhaps you will earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for your effort. After NaNoWriMo I’m sure many of you are thinking you deserve at least that commendation. I am proud of those of you who tried, even if you didn’t finish. And I am doubly proud of those who did – included in that my own daughter who finished her novel at just under 54,000 words ahead of the deadline. GO BECKIE!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Words Once Printed - subject to change

Change is good--except or unless...

When an author re-reads something they have written long ago it’s sometimes very disconcerting, at least I thought so. I thought I was the only one who looked at my once written, even once published books and thought, oh my good gracious how could I have let that go as a publishable piece? I don’t feel so bad any more after reading this from Aldous Huxley (Brave New World 1932 among other novels) This was in the revised/republished 1946 edition of Brave New World. “…Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment….”

He goes on more eloquently but it boils down to what we both feel after pouring over the short comings of a novel written at a younger more inexperienced time in an attempt to patch a faulty piece into a perfect masterpiece. That particular piece having missed that mark the first time around—should be repaired to a place where growth had taken me. To spend time trying to mend the artistic sins committed by that different person, the person I was then—is surely vain and futile. Its defect may be part of its charm.

I could rewrite the whole book as an older, perhaps wiser, other person. What might happen then though is I probably would get rid not only of some of the faults of the story, but also rid it of some of its merits as it originally possessed them.

So, resisting the temptation to wallow in artistic remorse, I leave well and ill alone and move on to ‘next’ with what I have learned and am able to create in my next novel, with much thanks to Aldous Huxley for making me feel less alone and imperfect.

Billie A Williams
Cricket Sawyer

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Exercise: The Reluctant I

In the picture my Mom is in the forefront, my Aunt Lois is pointing to the cake. Mom's birthday, but they shared the same birthday two years apart.

I sat there listening to her always with the phrases for everything. A quote a song title a bible verse, pulled as if from a small box in her mind. This time it was essential that her directive be avoided (not that it was known then.)

"Brags a good bargain, but hold on is a lot better," she said.

"Then how do you propose a writer will sell his/her work? No one can promote what another has written as well as the author. It's his/her baby, birthed with no fewer labor pains than the birth of a human infant. It seems weird to internalize that phrase and know now that one size, or in this case, one phrase, does not fit all.

Years after her death her phrases pop up as rules of life. Life is not a box of little ticker tape answers to every questions, though a lot of those do strike home with a ring of truth. Following, hanging on her every word helped to raise a lemming, a self-conscious, fearful individual with a couple dozen successes that many have never had, and yet that success feels like an embarrassment. It shouldn't.

Not all her phrases affected life that same way. Expressing the way her grandfather began a story - a phrase she repeated often, began a story created for my only Young Adult Historical novel. Watch For the Raven was born from her phrase, "When Tag was a pup, and turkey's chewed tobaccy."
Her phrases in all fairness did guide and still do.

We stood, the five of us, at her coffin during her wake, the final time we were able to talk with her and reminisced those phrases and funny fax paus she emotionally rendered throughout our growing years. "I'll slap my face against the back of your hand," was meant to be an admonition to my brother for inappropriate actions and words that we no longer remembered. We did remember watching our dad try to repress the laughter lighting up his mahogany eyes, the twitch in his lips that threatened to curve in a smile. Five faces suppressed the laughter only until she caught her mis-spoken words.

Laughter, hearty and long, followed as the tension in the room dissolved in fits of laughter, as it was as we swayed, arm-in-arm, remembering--the good, the bad and the hilarious--

And now alone, I think of perhaps the only wrong phrase, at least for me, that she ever insisted was law. Perhaps, she was right, but never for her daughter, the multi-published, award-winning author who needs to promote herself to sell her books.

Perhaps there is a way to brag without boasting, is that what she meant? Be proud but not too proud? Be verbal, interesting, social, outgoing, be discovered by your talent, not what you say on your own behalf. If only it was possible to ask her for clarification, if only she had lingered as long as her phrases have. If only she had stayed until I had my first book published--then maybe it would have been different. Maybe then she would have said,"You deserve to be proud and brag," perhaps...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Want Free Books?

If you want to read some of my books for free--go here and then send me an email to become part of my STREET TEAM. - directions are at
It's a win win situation. check it out now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Some things you may not know about Books

Books return dividends for life.
A new tie never changed anyone's life like a book has.
A book is affordable, portable, memorable, and keeps on giving forever
A book is the perfect gift for someone who has everything, and even more so for someone who has nothing, its an opportunity to escape into to dream and hope with.
Books create miracles within.
Give a book - birthday, anniversary, Thanksgiving, or even Christmas.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Still Not Convinced - You Need This Book?

Interview With Masha Malka

Enjoy an insightful conversation with Masha Malka, author of The One Minute Coach.

1. Tell us a little bit more about your journey and the most important lessons you’ve learned in the process?

I immigrated to the USA at the age of 17 with my parents, very sick grandfather and a younger brother. We were allowed to take $100.00 per person and a little suitcase of clothes per person. None of us spoke English. Also, as refugees we lost our citizenship and we could not communicate with the friends we left behind because we didn’t want to get them in trouble with the KGB.

As a result, I went from an outgoing, well-adjusted, happy teenager to a depressed and introverted one. And it took me some time to rebuild my confidence and my self-esteem.

Although I was always a good student, did well at work, and seemed quite happy on the outside, inside I felt completely lost. I lived in the darkness of not knowing what I wanted and who I was. As I mentioned, I had a low self-esteem and settled for a lot less than I deserved.

Fortunately there are people such as Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hansen, Stephen Covey, just to name a few who help those in the situations like I was. Although my transformation was often painful and not easy, it was definitely worth it!! In fact, this is exactly why I do what I do now. Because I know it is possible to create the changes that we want if we really want to, if we are willing to learn what to do and then take appropriate action, of course…

Thinking about the most important lessons that I’ve learn in the process, it would be

1) That I am responsible for my own life

2) Never to let anyone, including, or should I say especially myself, make me feel guilty

3) And to value myself as the most important person in my life (different from being selfish)

2. You’ve lived and worked in 6 countries with very different cultures (Ukraine, USA, Austria, UK, Bulgaria, and Spain)... Does where we come from determine how successful we become?

Where we come from, age, socio-economic status, education level, the people that we know - none of these determine how successful we become. The only thing that does is a person’s MINDSET or their belief system – they way the respond to life’s situations and challenges.

3. What does being successful mean to you?

For me the word “success” is equivalent with the word “freedom” – freedom from my own limiting beliefs; freedom to be who I am and living the life that is meant for me to live!

4. Your new book, The One Minute Coach: change your life one minute at a time has just been published. Tell us a little bit about the book.

The One Minute Coach: change your life one minute at a time book is a compilation of inspirational one-minute messages all followed by application/action steps and engaging images.

Although this book can be read from the beginning to the end, it can also be used as a reference guide. For example, what many people say works best for them is to wake up and just open the book on any page. It takes one minute to read, get motivated and start the day in a positive way.

Some of the chapters in the book include:

ü The secrets of people who are successful

ü Freedom to be who you are

ü Why do we suffer

ü How to get what you want

ü What it takes to be a great leader

ü Time management and decision making tools

ü The best source of wealth

ü The most important job you do

ü The secret to a great life

ü And more (52 chapters all together)

5. What makes The One Minute Coach different from other self-help books out there?

Although there are many self-help books out there, what makes “The One Minute Coach” different is that it is specifically designed for busy people who understand the importance of learning and growing but just don’t seem to be able to find the time to read lengthy books.

Also, the book is written using Accelerated Learning Techniques, incorporating images, stories, short paragraphs, etc., which makes it easy to read and assimilate even when there is a very complicated topic.

6. With three young children, coaching career, a new book, family and personal demands, do you find it difficult to stay level-headed and keep a healthy balance?

If I tell you it is easy, I will be lying to you! J

First, I make sure that my needs are met. Getting enough rest.

Also, knowing how to prioritize is what helps me achieve a lot. You know the famous 80/20 rule (Paretto principle) that states that most people spend 80% of their time attending to activities that only give them 20% of the value. People who are more productive and efficient are not like that because they have more hours in the day or because they are more intelligent… they just know how to focus on the 20% of activities that give them 80% of the value.

7. You call yourself “The One Minute Coach”. What made you chose this name?

Everyone seems to be very busy these days plus people like and want quick results and immediate gratification. If people think they can change in one minute, they are more likely to invest that minute – and it does not overwhelm them.

The truth is, it takes even less than a minute to change. Change happens the moment we make a decision to change. However, often it takes many minutes to accumulate the knowledge that will help us make that decision.

As someone once said, it took me 20 years to achieve an overnight success!

8. There are many coaches out there, what makes you different?

1) Fist of all, I don’t just coach in the way most coaches do. I have created a system that I call “Foundation to Success” and I always start with teaching this system to my clients. I think a lot of issues and problems can be eliminated (and not just temporarily but forever) when we treat the cause rather than the effect of the problem. There are 6 elements to the foundation:

1. Purpose

2. Vision

3. Values

4. Goals

5. Action Plan

6. Mindset

2) Also, my background in teaching and Accelerated Learning Techniques helps me present the information in the way that is easy to understand and apply

3) My personal journey to success as well as almost 6 years of experience working with people from all walks of life

4) Finally, and probably most important, I am very good at connecting with people and making it easy for them to open up, sometimes face their fears and make the changes they want to make.

9. Do you have an advice for people who want to write a book but still didn’t do it?

First of all, ask yourself how much do I want to write this book and why? Get motivated.

Then, before you do any writing, do the research!

If you find out that your book is needed, that you have a market for it then break it down into small manageable bits. One page at a time you will get there!

10. What One Minute Tip can you leave us with today?

If there is something you want in life and still do not have it, never blame yourself for it. Because if you can dream it, you CAN have it!

If you haven’t reached your goals yet, it is not because you are not smart enough or capable enough – in fact you have everything you need to achieve your goals… you are just missing the right tools: information, skills, and mindset, to do it. And that is all learnable!

So never stop dreaming and never give up going after your dreams. Enjoy every moment of your journey, because it is YOUR journey and not necessarily the end result, that makes life exciting, worthwhile and fulfilling!

11. Thank you Masha! Please tell us how can people get in touch with you and where can they purchase The One Minute Coach: change your life one minute at a time book.

I would invite people to access a very special page for our book launch of The One Minute Coach. Order you own copy of The One Minute Coach within the next 24 hours and receive over $9,000 in bonus gifts from experts around the globe. Go to

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ORDER NOW -for yourself or a friend -

Here’s a peek at what readers will get

The One Minute Coach: change your life one minute at a time

By Masha Malka

Foreword (by Cary Johnston)

Part 1: Freedom To Be Who You Are
Whose Life Are You Living?
The “Impossible” Is Often the Untried
If They Can Do It, So Can You!
Are You Starving Your Soul?
What Fulfills You?
The Gift of Personal Freedom
It All Comes Down to Faith

Part 2: The Secrets of People Who Are Successful
What Successful People Know
What Is Success?
One Word to Define Success
What Determines Success?
How to Get What You Want
Can You Really Change Your Life in One Minute?
Do Not Underestimate Your Skills
The Most Important Ingredient for Your Success

Part 3: Why Do We Suffer?
Are You Looking For Problems?
How to Get What You Want
An Opportunity for Guaranteed Enlightenment
Success Is Not Forever, and Failure Is Not Fatal
How Successful People Deal with Failure
Are You Guilty?
Eliminating Worry
Why Do We Argue?
How to Eliminate Self-sabotaging Beliefs
Everything Is Relative

Part 4: The Secret to a Great Life
Who Are You Not to Be?
Life Is About Creating Yourself
What Does It Take to Be Attractive?
How Much Do You Love Yourself?
Have a Great Day!

Part 5: Are You a Natural Leader?
Leadership Begins With You
The Power of a Team and Cooperation
Using Words with Good Purpose
Personal Satisfaction at Work
Helping Is Not Always Good
What Is Your Greatness?
Are You Busy Being Busy?

Part 6: Time Management and Decision Making
Effective Decision Making
How Much Do You Rely on Logic?
Are There Bad Decisions?
The Currency of Today
Creating a Balanced Life
The Value of an Hour
The Slower You Go, the Faster You Will Get There
Are You Living for the Future?

Part 7: The Best Source of Wealth
Produce the Results You Are Looking For
What Did You Miss Out On Today?
The Power of Questions
Ask and You Will Receive
Excellence Is Not an Act, but a Habit
You Have The Power – Mind Power!

Part 8: It Is Never Too Late
You Make a Difference!
Can One Person Change the World?
NOW is the Right Time

The Most Important Job You Do
Thank You!

References and Recommended Reading
About the Author
About the artist

To order the book got to

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who is THAT Woman? Why Should I Notice?

Masha Malka is a former Soviet refugee who knows first hand what it is like to be living below poverty level; to have low self-esteem; to start out without the language, money, or contacts and to make a great life for herself!

Masha went from living a life with little clarity and focus to becoming a successful entrepreneur, author, Clarity and Focus guru, international speaker and trainer as well as the mother of 3 children.

Understanding what it takes to successfully balance the demands of a growing career as an author, international speaker and a life coach with 3 children, husband, family, friends, and personal needs - she is passionate to show others how they can do it too!

Masha has delivered workshops, seminars, written articles and books, and provided personal training and coaching in the field of success and the skill of learning since 1998.

She graduated with Highest Honors from Florida Atlantic University majoring in Elementary Education. She then continued her graduate studies at Capella University completing a graduate certificate in Teaching and Training Online as well as Instructional Design for Online Learning. A life-long student, Masha is currently taking courses for an MBA. She is also a certified trainer in Accelerated Learning Techniques as well as Transformational Thinking.

Come Back Tomorrow for some exciting news on how you can grab what she has to offer. It's exciting, it's life changing, and you won't want to miss out - plenty of freebies to go along with it. See you tomorrow right here!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How Safe is Your Chocolate - or Toys?

Barcodes aren't just for books you know.

Something we all need to know - a note in Cynthia Sterling's excellent newsletter today.

The whole world is scared of Chinese made goods. Let me tell you how you can differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China...the first 3 digits of barcode690, 691, and 692 are MADE IN CHINA. - 471 is Made in Taiwan .

This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves.
Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products "made in china", so they don't show in which country it is made.
However, you may now refer to the barcode, remember if the first 3 digits is 690-692 then it is made in China .
00 ~ 09 USA & CANADA
30 ~ 37 FRANCE
40 ~ 44 GERMANY
49 - JAPAN
50 - UK

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Perserverence What is it? Why bother?

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo - yup I signed up again this year and then I wonder when will I find the time to do that too. Then I read something about Michael Crichton -- he is the author who won the Emmy and Peabody Awards. He is the author of ER and other television serials. He has sold over 100 million copies of his books in 30 languages, He directed 7 films of the 12 of his books that were made into movies. Remember Jurassic Park and Twister Westworld--those where him - books and director - there were others. He is the only person to have the number one book, movie and television show in the U.S. all at the same time. What does he have that I am missing - well, I know his books are fantastic. *sigh* He says, "Books aren't written--they're rewritten..." Guess I haven't put in enough time at the rewrite stage yet.

The publishing industry is full of examples of those who succeeded. Rarely will you find an overnight success - not even JK Rowlings was an overnight success. I guess that's why I read biographies to find out how they did it. It all boils down to never giving up.

Michelangelo - 4 years on his back to paint the Sistine chapel or
Roosevelt coming back from debilitating polio,
Japan's Shun Fujimoto landing a perfect triple, somersault-twist dismount from the rings to win a gold metal --he landed on a broken right knee (broken earlier in a floor exercise)but he knew to win the gold he needed to participate.
According to Michael Jordon, you have to be willing to be "the first one on the floor and the last one off," when all your teammates have gone home or are out for the evening having a good time - you need to be practicing, working, practicing to make the grade. "Fake it until you make it," but work, work, work until you do...I guess that is really the only way.
So I'll see you at the wall, I'm off to work. I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.
Have a productive day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Qutters Never Win and Winners Never Quit

You heard about the guy who gave up on his gold mine one foot before the biggest vein in Gold Rush History didn't you? I was reminded of that the other day while reading Success Principles (Ya, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy Jack Canfield)--Don't quit too soon. How do you tell when is too soon. I guess the headline of this blog post tells you -- Quitters never win and WINNERS NEVER QUIT.

Yesterday we went shopping and spent nearly the whole day gone. So I decided our little cat needed a toy for being home all alone all day by herself. (No she's not spoiled, {grin}.)

Long story short - what does this have to do with quitting, hang in there I'll tell you. She chews anything with a string. Buy her a mouse toy and she'll chew off the tail before you can count to five. You can't take it away from her she is like the coil of a slinky toy - impossible. She will chew the strings off a rug, the tassles off anything. No strings allowed where this cat is.

Well, we got her her first toy that hangs from a suction cup,pole and elastic string, you know with the elastic string that makes her jump and tug and play for hours. Not our Lady Slipper. She always goes for the source when she plays. She attacks the source making the movement not the toy - strangest thing. Anyway, she grabs the fish toy on her first swipe and pulls it down and holds it down while she chews the string. We tried everything to get her to stop but she wouldn't. So I thought in 3 minutes her new toy will be done. Guess what she quit - she quit with one nylon thread holding the toy to the post. One single thread that a breath of wind could have broken. She quit too soon. It reminded me I better not quit - my success could be just over the next horizon.

So could yours. Quitters never win. Onward and upward. Never give up, it may be that last nylon thread barely holding you back.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't Wait For Your Ship to Come in Swim out to it!

In my morning reading today I came across this quote by Jonathan Winters: "If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it."
There was another a day or too earlier that said something, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Abraham Lincoln.

In other words, the only thing that will create success, or create that book you've been waiting to write, or create some other printed words you dream to have written, is ACTION. There is no way around it if you don't put your butt in a chair and write - you will never publish a word. You need to banish all fear of failing, of making a mistake -- mistakes are the lessons of life.

This Frank and Ernest cartoon strip says it all. Frank is at the counter at an employment office he has a long long sheet of paper he is apparently reading from to the guy who is taking his application. The caption says--"I don't have any formal education so I brought you a list of the mistakes I've learned from."

Feel the fear and do it anyway is almost a buzz word nowadays, but it's absolute truth. Do not be afraid of mistakes, no one is perfect. Perfectionism will stall you in your tracks. Not that you should adopt a careless, reckless, not-give-a-darn attitude. You should do the best that you can do with what you have at this very moment and let the rest happen.

"You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know so much is because I have made so many mistakes," says Buckminster Fuller (a mathematician and philosopher who never graduated from college but received 46 honorary doctorates.

Write Like The Wind
Tung Umolomo
South African Adventure
ISBN 1-4237-0092-6

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You Are Better Than You Think You Are!

Well Okay, perhaps we don't even begin to live up to our potential. I was reading an article by a gal named Melissa Galt today--Her great grandfather was Frank Lloyd Wright famed architect, her god mother Edith Head -- do you know she was a teacher and it was a couple of her students sketches that started her on her career as the designer of Hollywood fame and fortune. Well Ms Galt's mother was Ann about blue blood - okay so maybe she wasn't rich - certainly Mr. Wright wasn't rich when he died -- he said he would rather have the luxuries of life then the necessities {grin} and Ann Baxter wasn't rich by the time she died -- but Ms Galt had a vision, and her mind was rich with possibilities and she followed it.

Some psychologist - James Joyce I think? said that we use less then ten percent of our brain - can you imagine if we engaged that whole mass what wisdom, what creative talent, what potential we would have to be as great as our greatest relative, whoever that might be.

Stretch yourself - stretch your mind - grow into what you might become. I double dog dare you to = )
Still time to enter the Ancient Secrets Give-A-Way check it out on my website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There's a Giant Give-A-Way going on

This mystery/suspense/adventure has at its core a necklace of power stones that was stolen from the goddess Ebony. The power of the stones has been concealed in a jeweler’s paste to cover their worth and their strength – guaranteed the story will entertain you for hours with it’s Indiana Jones type trek through the dangerous Valley of the Kings and the South African jungles.

To read the three chapters go to

And then go to Wings ePress, Inc [ ] or or or email the author for your copy. Send a copy of your receipt to me at or snail mail it to me at P O Box 134, Amberg, WI 54102 and I’ll put you in a drawing for the necklace or one of the other prizes listed below. [Sorry but if you are over seas and your name is drawn as the grand prize winner of the necklace, I will offer you a choice of either or Barnes and Noble $25.00 gift certificate.]

GRAND PRIZE: Ancient Secrets handcrafted necklace

FIRST PRIZE: PDF copy of Knapsack Secrets (the first book in the secrets series)

SECOND PRIZE: A handmade friendship bracelet straight from the children of the South African Missions —South African Missionaries tend to.

THIRD PRIZE: A signed poster —your choice—with the cover art of Ancient Secrets, Knapsack Secrets, OR Ghost Music of Vaudeville

Every entrant will get a download copy of the flash fiction story Dick and Jane – a thriller designed to catch you off guard and let you know things are never over until they are over — and the fat lady may have sung even.

In addition 25% of my royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to The Missionaries of South Africa. [Check the donations page on my website to see quarterly totals of donations from all my books}

I look forward to seeing your entry!


*I reserve the right to not give the necklace away until at least 40 copies of my book have sold. Thank You. Billie A Williams

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Never Too Late to be Gutzy

I just watched this incredible video - do you think you are past the age of succeeding? Have you given up on making your mark? Do you think because you've not made it yet you never will?
When life gives you lemons, make lemon aide - you've heard that a million times well
go here to and watch this video if you need to be inspired. And please leave a comment for Douglas if you will.

Enjoy - life is full of surprises.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Eppies are still looking for entries

If you are looking for a way to get you name in lights -- entering and winning contests is one way and this one is especially good - ebook only.
check it out.

Time Sensitive material:

Of interest to authors who are published electronically. Please distribute to your membership


EPPIE Contest in Full Swing to Highlight Excellence in ePublishing

Worldwide–September 16, 2008—EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection, proudly announces the annual EPPIE contest. This is the premier contest in the book industry that celebrates the outstanding achievements of electronic books by authors and publishers. The EPPIE Awards have been given annually since the first EPIC conference to recognize outstanding achievement in ePublishing. The contest deadline for entries is October 4, 2008 at Midnight CST.

Categories are judged by volunteers, the largest percentage of which are members of EPIC, an organization consisting of electronically published authors and industry professionals. Guest judges, all of whom are either published authors or publishing professionals, are used only as deemed necessary by the EPPIE Chair/Committee.

The First Round Judging delivers our EPPIE Finalists, whose works are forwarded to a second panel of judges before the winners of our thirty categories are selected. Winners from each judged category are announced at the EPIC conference's gala award ceremony, taking place at the annual EPICon Convention, taking place March 5-8, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

EPIC is also the proud sponsor of the QUASAR/ARIANA Awards for excellence in graphic cover art for eBooks.

For contest guidelines, please visit

Electronically Published Internet Connection
Contact: Karen L. Syed, EPIC Publicity Coordinator
9735 Country Meadows Lane 1D, Laurel, MD 20723
410-878-7113 (v) 410-988-2864 (f)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tess Gerritsen, The Keepsake - Billie A Williams, Ancient Secrets

Tess Gerritsen – Keepsake; Billie Williams – Ancient Secrets
UnPuzzling The Past

What is it about our historical past that draws us in and holds us as we explore it especially the things we hold most dear—KEEPSAKES (released September 8) from that life we need to explore. In my book ANCIENT SECRETS (released September 1) I explore a necklace belonging to an African deity—the goddess Ebony. It is a keepsake. It has traveled from one owner to another all over the world, a troubled path after it was stolen from the goddess years before. Its powers are supernatural.
Tess Gerritsen’s riveting new book, The Keepsake, explores a supposed similar archeological treasure. You can feel the desert heat enveloping your body so you nearly are crushed by its intensity. You blink your eyes in the glare of the sun while the sandpaper-like grit of the desert sands scrap against your skin.
Ms. Gerritsen’s language puts you there. Her skill with phrase and image keep you there as she cranks up the heat, notches up the suspense. At the end of her first chapter, if a mosquito landed on your arm or someone’s footfalls echoed in your hall, you would bolt in terror at their presence. That is how a great writer hooks and drags you into a story.
My own story circles the wagons before the impending attack. I slide in with tourist-like curiosity. Emulating someone like Ms. G, excuse me , Tess will take some practice.
I can call her Tess now. She is real. I have an autographed bookmark from her and even more importantly a personal note. It’s a small sticky note like a post it™ note but it’s way larger then life to me because it is a hand written note —to me!
It made me remember that contact, human connection is why we research our past and cling to those KEEPSAKES and ANCIENT SECRETS we bring with us to the present.

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen – ISBN 978-0-345-49762-8
Ancient Secrets by Billie A Williams ISBN 978-1-599705-396-9

First Lines:
Tess Gerritsen “He is coming for me.”
Billie Williams “It looked like she had been sitting on the park bench we had bought for her birthday last summer.”

How it comes together: using setting
TG: “No longer am I standing in the desert gazing at a sky smeared by sunset the color of bruises.”
BW: “The cold, bright corridors of the hospital where shoes squeaked on the too polished, disinfected floors made you wince, shhhhh, the silence hissed like a librarian in his mind.”

Using Sound/weather
TG: “The wind moaned like a woman when it swept down the Wadi.”
BW: “She must have stood up and let them fall. She left them lay like wasted time, just there. No breeze to stir them, march them away, dance them off to some happier place.” (speaking of sheets of paper)

Using smells
TG: “I sniff the air, as recognizable as the scent of hot sand and savory spices and the sweat of a hundred working men toiling in the sun.”
BW:” “Live Mother,” he said as they shut her in the orange and white van that smelled of disinfectant. Had the last patient they transported died, he wondered at the smell.”

Using emotions – fear/apprehension
TG: “I lie on damp sheets, heart battering itself against my chest. I am afraid to get out of bed—afraid not to.”
BW: “Something about them as he touched them though, struck him with unanticipated grief. When he lifted the black stone, it was as though some invisible electric impulse traveled from his finger tips up his arm and to his heart. His heart ached with sorrow. Years worth of sadness flooded over him, washing him in blackest despair, creating nearly unbearable heart wrenching sorrow. He dropped the black stone he held back into the red velvet lined coffin it had come from as though it burned his fingers instead of his heart.”

I am struck by how few words she needs to make her point, ratcheting up her tension and bring the reader to her. My way is meandering and wordy. I see and I understand why we study other writers with a writer’s mind. They teach us by example – showing instead of telling.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Want to have some fun?

Here is a link to a jig saw puzzle of my cover
AncientSecrets Jigsaw Puzzle
The system will time you and let you know of others times the person who has the fastest time Friday,and Saturday, will receive a PDF copy of One of my cookbooks. Your choice.
So have fun - and send me an email of your time.
billie at billiewilliams dot com
This is the new cover for Skull Music -- the panel behind the jar shows an actual Dolphin brain, the one in the jar is human. Awesome cover isn't it?
Comments welcome.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I'm so excited! Today is release date for Ancient Secrets - take a long deep look at the cover - read the blurb - push yourself out of your comfortable chair - and go get the book - Want an autographed book plate and bookmark? Send me an email at: billie at billiewilliams dot com [ you know how to fix it to a real email addy right?]

ANCIENT SECRETS: novel of Sorcery, jealousy and legends tangles three unlikely adventurers in a drama of treachery in an effort to return the necklace stolen from the ancient goddess Ebony before the earth suffers her final blow. The only available path— through the Valley of the Kings laced with trials in the South African Jungles.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interview with The Power Stones featured in Ancient Secrets

Hello Readers,
Before Ancient Secrets is released on September 1, 2008 I thought you might like a peek into the mysterious Beaded necklace that seems to have caused all the trouble in the first place. The Beads think you will not believe what they have to say - and I caution you they can be acerbic - but I'm sure they will increase your interest in the novel Ancient Secrets...So read on.
Interview Power Stones of Ebony
Mortal, you cannot interview beads; you would never understand the language.

Are you up to a test about that?

Ask away.

How do you think I heard your first question if I couldn’t understand you. My sources tell me a pure heart and a heightened sense of the intuitive powers will get me with in range of your voice.
Why did you murder Mrs. Olenmurphy?

First off, she isn't dead, just in a coma, but she had the beads – its tradition. You handle the beads you die.Except her case is an exception - if you follow the story you will learn why.

Why does a person who can hear you not die?

They do

Then you mean because I have handled the beads I will die?

Did you touch them all?

Well, I don’t remember

If you touched them all you would be dead.

Okay so I must not have.
They are so beautiful though I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to rub them, fondle them wear them.
Does wearing them constitute touching them?

No, you must fondle each one separately.

But they will all be touching your skin simultaneously.

That is the trick simultaneously.

I see, so if a person picks them up and slips them on and all the beads touch the neck simultaneously they are immune/safe from the powers.

Oh you are a quick learner. Are you a college graduate?

No need to get snippy. I just wanted to be sure I read your message accurately.
Why are you telling me all this?

You’re a writer right? You may be able to convince the dimwits that I can actually, independently murder my victims with out old shaman Jahara being involved. Why should he get the credit for what I do. He merely wants to return the beads to their homeland.

Is there any thing else you want to tell me about the beads/yourself?

I hardly think you are ready to listen to the life we have had being shuttled from here to there, sold and resold, painted, glued and tossed in the garbage. Always someone sees our beauty and restores us to the light. It usually means their death because of course they have to polish us one bead at a time.

What kind of beads are you.
Colors indicate the bead: black is onyx, white is opal, blue is the Sapphire, green – emerald, yellow – cats eye (my personal favorite) Red is the ever blood red ruby and the diamond has no color only crystal appearance and no one believes even with its brilliance that it is truly a diamond. No one believes either that color indicates mood or emotional effect. I have a whole list of those too.

Okay give me the low down on the emotional end too—and how it affects the person holding them.
Black as you guessed is sinister. The white you would think is purity but it is not it is the supernatural, the spirit world. Blue the color of the ocean deep dark and mysterious – the water world where mermaids play and sharks eat intruders. Green the jealous emerald of Ireland, fiery and jealous of anything it is not or has not. Then come the yellow cat’s eye – sees all, night vision can see in the darkest regions of the human heart and make those dreams come true or at least nightmarish wanders intrude and never leave. Red, the blood red of satan himself. He spills the blood of innocent lambs to cover his vile deeds watch out for red. The only pure one is the diamond who has had the life compressed from her and compressed into her she is all, sees all, knows all, is all, diamond is power and light. Need I say more?

No, I guess I have it all now. Thank you for your time. I will try to portray you honestly if my class will believe it.

And why wouldn’t they. Are they skeptics? Other writers? Readers? They are all cut from the same cloth they will believe or I will have to make my presence known to them and they will see the power of the beads. Don’t call me death beads though. I am Life, Power, Love and Light. It is mankind, humankind that is evil and twisted and steals me to use for their own evil ends.

Comments welcome!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barbara Edwards - Interview

Hi Barbara,
I’m so delighted to have this opportunity to chat with you. Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and let’s sit on the deck and enjoy the cooler fall evening as we explore everything we can about you and your writing.
Iced green tea and home-made almond cookies for me! I’ll try not to talk with my mouth full.
First off – I know every one will want to know who is Barbara Edwards when she is not the intriguing romance writer for some historical or contemporary tale? What do you do on your days when you put the pen down and the keyboard away for a bit?
Barbara Edwards is a married lady with a family and a very big dog. I have several pastimes. One is Civil War reenacting; the other is gardening. I love portraying a woman mourning her fallen soldier and describing life in the South during and before the Conflict. Gardening is more work, but I’m planting Antique roses as I find them. They are wonderful flowers with delightful aromas.
How long have you been writing and when did you think you’d like to become a published author?
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. I started off with poetry, tried short stories but found they grew too big. I didn’t expect to be published then. It was a way to let out all that emotion. After I joined RWA, I realized writing was more than a hobby. It was important to me and I wanted the recognition of being published.
What is your favorite genre to write – Judging from your website and the books you have published so far I’m going with historical romance but I know that isn’t all you are writing. What genre haven’t you written in that you would like to explore and what genre can you never see yourself writing?
I love historical romance and have a couple bubbling on the back burner. To my surprise, my most recent novel turned into a paranormal. It started as a romance, but the characters went off on a strange journey and I went along for the ride. I can’t write inspirational, to my disappointment. It’s very popular, but I find myself slipping into sensual.
I admire anyone who can write believable historical novels. In my opinion getting the language and customs right is only one of the problems of writing in that genre, whether it’s romance, adventure, mystery or whatever. You need a really good ear and eye, or a really good editor that can catch inconsistencies or errors in wording etc., in my opinion. How do you manage this?
The secret is not a secret: its lots of research. I’ve always loved history so it’s not a chore. I even read historical non-fiction for fun.
You are a member of the Romance Writers of America, how does belonging to this group enhance your writing career? What benefits do you feel belonging to an organization of this proportion give you?
RWA is a great organization with access to editors and agents that you can’t find elsewhere. I’ve belonged long enough to see major changes, big squabbles and wonderful solutions. I’ve learned so much I would need an encyclopedia to list it all. The biggest benefit is the friends I’ve found. I can go anywhere in the country and have lunch with someone I know from RWA.
Teaching Romance writing is another one of your career threads – I’ve heard that when you teach you learn twice – do you feel that teaching the subject has enhanced your own writing, if so how? Have you heard from any of your students that they have sold a romance novel, or published a book?
I love teaching writing romance. The students always ask things I’d forgotten I knew. It helps to be reminded of the basics. Several students joined the local chapters and I know one who has submitted.
Can you tell us about Ancient Awakening your latest book due to be released by Wild Rose Press?
Ancient Awakening is a paranormal set in a small New England town. Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.
Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.
Say I’m an aspiring author, if you were to give me some advice on writing what would that be?
Write. Write every day. Write. Finish the book. Write. Learn how to make it better. Write.

You hear that writing romance is easy, and that the readers are all women with dreamy ideas about romance and happily every after. I know and you know romance readers are very selective, intelligent and discriminating readers — what would your answer be to someone who says writing romance like Harlequin books is fluff, not real writing?
I’d say the person was an illiterate know-nothing. And if they knew how to read, they’d recognize that romance authors are the best writers in the world.
What is the hardest part of writing in the Romance genre for you?
I believe in love being the strongest emotion, and I have to make my conflict reflect that.
What next for you? What are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel to Ancient Awakening. Also, I have the outline for another historical romance, a humorous contemporary and the beginning of a romantic suspense. It’s like choosing chocolates from a box. Which one is next?

Where can my readers find out more about you and your work. Do you have a website, a blog, are you on any of the social networks such as Ning, LinkedIn, facebook, and the like?
I don’t have much social time, but belong to a number of writing loops.
Barbara Edwards
Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press: Ancient Awakening, a Black Rose for Barb'Ed Comments for Annie's Heart, Another Love, Rachel's Rescue
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us and do plan to come back again soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Meet Dave Richardson

Hi Everyone,
Please come on in sit a spell take in a look see at Dave Richardson's book Vietnam Air Rescue - I'm sure you will get a new picture of history and life.

I need to work Aug. 1 won't be here to post but I hope you will leave a comment - check below for special information if you do.

I haven't been able to get a great deal of information for this book or author due to other commitments including some emergency doctor appointments for a family member - so please check out the tour schedule posted below - and do enjoy Dave, he has so much to offer.


Each person who posts a comment on any or all of the blog tour spots will be entered in a random drawing for a copy of Dave Richardson's. In addition – the blog owner that hosted the winning commenter will also win a free copy of Vietnam Air Rescues. Share your thoughts and comments with author Dave Richardson. He will check in throughout the day to answer questions. You’ll learn more and you have a chance to win his book - if you haven't already read the book pick up visit his website today and order a copy

For more information about Dave Richardson and his virtual tour, check the schedule at ..

Thanks for stopping by. See below for where Dave will be next.

Join us Tomorrow for Dave Richardson

Vietnam Air Rescues Tour Schedule for August

Eavesdrop—as a father recounts to his adult children his exploits as an Air Force “Jolly Green” combat helicopter rescue pilot in Vietnam

Be There—to see what it was really like…

Ride Along—and determine what you would have done when another man’s life was literally hanging in the balance…

Feel—what it meant to save a life…

Experience—heart pounding action in…Vietnam Air Rescues.

Join author Dave Richardson on his August blog tour to learn more about his life as a “Jolly Green” rescue pilot, picking up aircrew shot down in North Vietnam and Laos. This book is a real treasure with details of his 7 rescues of 9 men and over 30 anecdotes relating to his experiences. The book is profusely illustrated with more than 100 photos, maps and drawings. To order your copy visit his website at

Author Dave Richardson
August Tour Dates

August 1

August 4

August 5

August 6

August 7

August 8

August 11

August 12

August 13 - Call in number (347) 326-9387

August 14 - In Detail with Nikki Leigh

August 15

August 18

August 21

August 22

August 25 Dave & Kenny Interview on BlogTalkRadio with Nikki

3:00 – 4:00 EST – Call in number (347) 215-8201

August 27

August 29

August 30 - Call in number: 347-215-8319. Time: 8-10 AM (Pacific)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Come to Your Senses

This morning as I was reading a chapter of Lawrence Blocks Spider Spin Me A Web, A Handbook for Fiction Writers -- I am nearly at the end. All the articles are ones that he has written way back when - but they are still as current as new fallen snow. What impressed me was one where a young woman was worried about the decline of the publishing market. The midlist was shrinking, only the big names could get contracts - and so on. Well, that article was from back in 1980 something. Guess what folks, it hasn't changed - at least our perception of it.

Block says, "What advice do I have for you? The very best advice of all Stop Writing! Quit wasting your time. Instead of postage, and envelopes and typewriter ribbons [Author note: you can tell this is a tad old]put your money into something sound, like lottery tickets and Czarist bonds. Come to your Senses!" He does go on to say the only reason he would dare tell us that is because he knows we are writers and we can only continue to write, we cannot stop. So it fits even yet - instead of printer ink, or just your time when you send e-submissions - get a "real" job. LOLOL

Isaac Asimov still echoes in my mind "I write for the same reason I breathe, for without it I would die," I say Amen to that.

So Write Like the Wind, Write on, just write until you can't write anymore, and let it be it's own reward.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Growing your Newsletter list

Having a newsletter or ezine is a great way to build your address list - But how do you do this? Well my guest blogger today will give you a few tips.

1. Send a Sample Copy

Send a sample copy to everyone in your database - clients, colleagues, and friends. Send out your first, or best, issue announcing your new ezine, and inviting them to sign up. Due to SPAM regulations, it's not a good idea to sign anyone up without their permission.

2. Sign-up Form

Have a prominent sign-up form near the top of your home page, and have a sign-up box on every page of your web site. People can enter into your web site at any page, so you want to capture them no matter where they land.

3. Signature Line

Promote your ezine in your signature line. Have a simple description of your newsletter topic and the benefit to readers in your email signature line that goes out at the bottom of all your emails. Include a *call to action* to subscribe to your ezine with a hot link that allows people to sign up directly.

4. Archive Back Issues

Offer a sample issue, or archive back issues at your web site. Many people want to see what they'll be getting before they sign up. They want to see your writing style and to know there will be value to them in subscribing. You might also have a sample issue available by autoresponder.

5. Tell a Friend

Encourage people to pass the word. Have a note in your ezine letting your readers know that you're building your subscriber list. Ask them to pass it along to friends and colleagues who might be interested in your topic. Provide an easy way for people who receive your ezine this way to sign up.

6. Business Cards

Tell people about your ezine on the front or back of your business cards. Let them know why and how they should subscribe. That way, everyone you meet can be potential subscriber.

If you're not currently doing all of the above to promote your ezine, commit to doing at least one thing this week to expand your subscriber base and the reach of your newsletter.

Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? You're welcome to, however we do require that you include the copyright and the following bio with live web site link. Please also notify us where the material will appear.

© by Jan Marie Dore of
Jan Marie Dore mentors coaches, speakers, consultants and other solo-professional women to work fewer hours and make more money with online business
building strategies. Get your free 'Professional Women's Success
Kit' and other marketing resources at

Monday, July 7, 2008

B is For Basics--Background is Basic

You can’t beat a good character for making sure your readers get involved in your story. Not only that, but it gives you proper motivation for your story goals.

For instance, if you use the zodiac signs to chart your character traits—the simple ones that give general traits without worrying about sun signs, moon position and all that. You can find the perfect character with the traits you need to give your protagonist so she can act in appropriate ways. And you can find the perfect opposite to drive her crazy, create the conflict in a romance and/or the angst with the right villain.

While your protagonist is water (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio) your romantic interest/or even your antagonist could be a fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius). The traits of those people, both strengths and weaknesses should give you enough individual conflicting traits to weave a great story.

Once you determine your characters’ Birthdate, you can dig further to define him or her. There are references to birthdates tied to tree charts. For instance, Aries birthday falls somewhere between March 21 and April 19, so we will pick April 3 (out of a hat) that makes her a Rowan Tree (The sensitivity) who is full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egotism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, even complications and the list goes on. I can pick and choose which traits I want to portray for my character. Certainly you can find an opposite for most of those characteristics, not that you need to use them all.

Another consideration for backstory would be where they grew up. Both parents alive living together or raised by a single parent, adopted or foster parent(s)? What about home life? Siblings, or an only child, what state, country, large or small town/city?

Look at your own background and that of your friends, and someone you dislike—even the choice of careers helps shape your character. An adopted daughter of a multi-millionaire family, living in Hollywood, California will probably have a completely different outlook on life than a girl born as the fourth child in a family of seven children in a small farming community in the Midwest where the land and the life challenges by the weather, amount to survival for the strongest. Throw these two together even without or in spite of their birthdates, they will exhibit different traits and may be polar opposites.

Your character’s background is an important part of your story worth telling. It makes him real. It helps your reader relate to him or her. Even if you don’t use all the information you have laid out in your character chart, you need to know it so your character behaves appropriately in every situation and hooks your reader.


Billie A Williams is an award winning, multi-published author whose

characters are

accidental sleuths who solve crimes with

wit, wisdom and chutzpah.

Characters in Search of an Author

ISBN 978-1932794151

Available anywhere or

Friday, July 4, 2008

Anatomy of a Good Story

Most everyone would agree the best books, actually all books, begin with characters who want something. They spend the whole book trying to obtain this goal, brass ring, or prize, whatever you choose to call it. Other people and events conspire to keep them from acquiring it. That’s it in a nutshell.

Simple isn’t it? How come then, are there so many, many books on writing? How many ways can you say the same thing? Here’s a clue – you could give a room full of one hundred people the same plot for a story and you would wind up with one hundred variations on the original theme or plot.

Everyone is unique. Everyone is the only one with their particular make up, experiences, learning, parents and all that makes them who they are their learning is unique, too. We all learn in a way unique to us. So, when we read all these various ways of saying the same thing, we eventually hit upon one that gives us that “aha!” moment.

When that is achieved we put pen to page or fingers to keyboard and begin our very own story worth telling. You decide which genre you will write in, and possibly the subgenre your story leans to. Even if you are writing in one of the most popular genres, say Romance, or Mystery—there are still dozens of sub-categories or genres.

Why should I bother with sub-categories or discovering what genre my book is going to be before I even start to write it? One reason is that all genres have their own conventions, style, requirements that readers come to expect from them. But that is only one of the many considerations in building a good story. Here are some others.

Time period when your story takes place


Age range/ or target market


Characters that are fully defined — you will want your readers to care about them.

Point of view



Summary of the story – it keeps you moving toward your target—your goal

According to Nancy Lamb in her book The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, “A good story flows from a solid understanding of writing and structure, along with a confident grasp of character and plot and dialogue.

In conclusion, storytelling is a gift, an art, a craft and you can develop yours. Art has form and structure, so too does novel writing. Craft has rules, process matters and novel writing or story telling has rules for the process. Simple really.

About the Author

Billie A Williams is a multi-published, award-winning author her

Accidental Sleuths solve crimes with wit, wisdom and chutzpah

Monday, June 30, 2008

Here's Owen - and Marvin - We found them!!!!! Owen Fiddler Interviewed

(Owen walks in, followed by Marvin.

Marvin reminds Owen to

snuff out his smoke, which Owen does reluctantly. They both take a seat.)

(Billie) - Hi Owen, Marvin.

(Owen) – Hey.

(Marvin) – Hi Billie, good to see you again.

(Billie) - I hope your day goes well. Thanks for coming, have a sip of ice tea or lemonade and chat with us. How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? How’s your investment portfolio doing? Getting any writing done? How’s the wife and kids?

(Owen looks at Marvin, confused. Marvin says to Owen) – Small talk, Owen, relax, that’s just Billie – she can get a bit facetious at times. (Marvin turns to Billie, says) – Weather’s fine, the investments are as falsely inflated as the stock market, the writing never stops, and the wife and kids’re – well, speaking for me, doing just fine. C’mon, Billie, I know you didn’t ask us here to discuss our favorite colors. (smiles and chuckles)

(Billie laughs with him) – Yes, well - now that we’ve got the chatty ‘how’d ya be’ stuff done lets get to some questions that I’ve been dying to ask and I know my Printed Words readers are holding on with their fingernails white with anticipation. Let’s start with this:

My definition of Irony: All is not as it appears to be. Is Owen a definition of irony? Does the braggadocio, full of himself, acerbic wit, curmudgeon cover insecurity or lack of self-confidence?

OWEN: Yup. All that. You pegged me right good, Ms. Williams. Hey, where have I seen you before … Playboy, right? March issue, 1997? So what’re you doin’ later?

(Marvin) Owen! For god’s sake, stow it, will ya? Jeez-o-Pete – sorry, Billie.

(Billie) Oh, no harm, Marvin. Owen, you DO live up to your rep, don’t you? My, what a charmer. But on a more serious note, and I’m talking to Owen now - by your own admission you take no responsibility for your actions, YOU SAY—and yet you do. You seem to be trying to set the record straight. You seem to be saying – “Hey, I fell off the turnip truck but it wasn’t the end of my life - it was only the beginning.” Isn’t that taking responsibility in some fashion?

(Owen lifts his eyes to the ceiling, stares for a moment, then sighs with a fall of his chest, looks pleadingly at Marvin who just stares at him, then looks at Billie) – Yeah. I guess you could say that. But really I’m not all that comfortable calling all this attention to myself. The only reason I agreed to let Marvin write my story was I figured maybe I’d get ahead some, you know – maybe make some money. Am I taking responsibility for my life by sharing my story with others? If I am, that’s just a plus for me according to you, I guess. ‘N thank ya kindly, Ma’am.

(Billie) - Do you believe in the oft-quoted message that ‘nothing happens by accident’? Do you think perhaps you were chosen to trod the path you trod in order to better understand the message that you were to write to others?

(Owen looks at Marvin as if to ask if he should answer – Marvin nods yes) – Okay, Look. There’s all this fuss bein’ made over my life story. I can’t figure it. I mean, there’s tons-o-folks you could write the same book about. Marvin picked me, he says, cuz I’m like some kinda average example. So, all this heavy stuff about troddin’ paths and all that (bleep)? I really don’t know. I’m just Owen Fiddler – nothin’ more, nothin’ less.

(Billie) - The things we see and dislike in others is a mirror of ourselves – or reflects what we don’t like in ourselves to put it another way or so I’m led to believe. You say in an interview I read recently that You (Owen Fiddler) represent those aspects we often abhor in others but fail to recognize in ourselves. Can you expand on this—I mean how do you mean this phrase? Do you mean if I hate my sister for being gorgeous that I have these same traits that make her appear gorgeous to me? Or because I joke that my other sister is a motor mouth that I am one?

(Owen) – Well, if the bra fits, wear it. Or, lie about it and stuff it with tissue. Gorgeous sister, eh? Think I could meet her?

(Marvin) – Oh-when! … we’re not on The Dating Game, pal. Keep it relevant, will ya?

(Billie – chuckles) – You guys’re a stitch. You know, the name Owen seems to say “ow(e)n up to your mistakes, ow(e)n what you say, ow(e)n what you write, ow(e)n what you project,” at least in my mind. Is that what you intended with the title of this book, naming it after yourself? Or do you mean you own the Fiddler?

(Owen turns to Marvin, perplexed, says) – She’s getting’ a bit deep for me. You named me, what the (bleep)’s she talkin’ about?

(Marvin) – Hmmm – actually, Billie, you are close in your assessment of the meaning of Owen Fiddler’s name. In a certain way, you are right on. However, the real meaning of the name, the more succinct interpretation as I intended it is … oh, how can I say it without unbagging the cat? Put it like this: Owen likes to dance, but he never pays the fiddler. Therefore, he is in a constant state of Owen Fiddler.

(Owen) – I’m getting’ a (bleep)ing headache. Is this all you got – ice tea and lemonade? I need a beer and a shot of tequila.

(Marvin) – Knock it off, Owen. Sorry again, Billie.

(Billie) – Quite all right. Now, you say that Owen Fiddler is not a religious book, but a highly spiritual book. Isn’t religion about inspiring, enlightening? And isn’t religion spiritual? Isn’t this just a fine/very thin line you are choosing so as not to believe in anything but yourself? Are you saying that all religions are nothing more then doctrine, rules, regulations and sermons of what not to do and how bad we are?

(Owen) – Well, I never been inspired by religion. Religious people’ve always struck me as robots. Reciting scriptures, all actin’ the same, rigid in their ways and habits – and super judgmental about anyone who isn’t exactly the same as they pretend to be. Bunch o’ nicey-nice folks afraid to have any real rip-roarin’ fun ‘n lookin’ down their noses at people that do.

(Marvin) – I’d like to interject a comment here. Because this is an important point. In fact, Billie, you touch on a few important points with your insightful inquiry. There is a radical difference between religion and spirituality. Allow me to explain with an example. Jesus was divine spirit incarnate. However, Christianity, the organized religion as we know and experience it today, two thousand years after His crucifixion, is for the most part a sham of a representation of what He taught and pointed His followers toward. Now before you denounce me as a heretic and organize an Owen Fiddler book burning with me strapped to a stake in the middle, please just stay with me for a minute.

Jesus did not found Christianity – His followers did, long after his death and resurrection. Jesus just loved people – He loved everyone equally without judgment and led them to the truth. And he bade us to follow His example. Can we say this of the religious community we have today? Is forgiveness, compassion and non-judgmental love for everyone the hallmark of the church that goes by His name? No. Never has been, at least not for sixteen hundred years or so. Wars are fought; throngs of innocent lives are slain, in the name of Christianity. Can there be any more supreme irony, any more of an obtuse oxymoron than the concept of a “Holy War?” Remember, it was the religious people of Jesus’ time that had Him crucified. They chose to liberate Barabas – a murderer, rather than let Jesus live. If Jesus were alive and walking the streets today, the religious would kill Him again. His spirit is too radical – too free – too liberated - far too spontaneous and wild to be confined by an organization. Religion fosters fear – fear of unbridled freedom, the kind of limitless freedom that Jesus was and is. I mean, we’re talking about a guy who could fast for forty days and rebuke the devil and then turn around and have a feast with thieves and hookers while enjoying a healthy wine buzz. I tell you, the Church would not recognize its own savior if he were to return today. He’d be declared the Anti-Christ and assassinated by the clergy.

And I’m not just picking on Christianity – the same can be said for Judaism and Islam. You asked earlier about irony. How’s this for even more irony – Judaism, Islam and Christianity, their devout followers all believe in and worship the same One God of Abraham. The Old Testament and the Koran are (in large part) just different scriptings of the same stories, parables, and theological tenets. So why then, are they killing each other? Put Moses, Mohammed and Jesus in a room together. Do you suppose they would argue, come to blows and try to murder each other over their different interpretations of The Way? I think not. Yet their so-called followers do just that.

(Marvin notices Owen has fallen asleep, snoring) Owen! Wake up! Show a little respect, for heaven’s sake.

(Owen jerks awake) Huh? Wha?

(Billie laughs) - I think I see what you’re saying. But let me ask you this - do you think by saying it’s not a religious book that readers will take a chance on reading it and find out too late that they have been touched by religion? That they believe in a higher power and perhaps even the good of most if not all mankind given the right chances?

(Owen) – I’m sorry, what’re we talkin’ about?

(Marvin looks at Owen as if he were a used cud of chewing gum) – That’s all right, I got this one. Ahem. Yes. Absolutely, that is my hope and intention. OWEN FIDDLER is a brave book, if I do say so myself. I took a chance on publishing it. The strictly religious community will probably eschew it as being mere filth. I mean, Owen cusses, gets drunk regularly and is prolifically promiscuous. I’m a writer of truths, and that’s just the way he is. And conversely, the book runs the risk of being considered (ironically) by the secular community as too “religious.” The book has characters in it drawn from Christian theology. Again, I’m being true to myself. I am a Christian – albeit a rather non-religious Maverick spiritualist version of the faith – in the eyes of traditionalists, at least. But the book is not preachy - it’s engaging, entertaining, sometimes humorous, often it tugs at the heart, sometimes it gets irreverent and even sexy. I would think that anyone of any faith or path or no particular path at all can enjoy and appreciate the story. The message is universal.

In my perfect world, OWEN FIDDLER would come to be known and appreciated as a valuable “crossover” book. A modern day parable that has meaning to everyone, whether they are “religious,” “Spiritual,” or follow the Law of Attraction, or even just honestly agnostic. I’m all about bringing people together in love. It’s a form of worship for me.

(Billie) - What does Owen like to do when he is not writing and thinking about where he has been, what he has done, and what he will do next. Waking up on any given morning what are your thoughts? Going to the grocery store – what do you contemplate buying? What is a typical Owen Fiddler day?

(Owen yawns – awake now, somewhat) – Most mornings my first thought is I need to puke. I hate getting up, having to go to my (bleep)ing job, working with those (bleep)ing (bleep)holes, bringin’ home less money than I got bills. My daily life sucks. I live for quitting time, getting drunk and scoring on whores. Cheap thrills.

(Billie) - I watch Judge Judy, as millions of other people do, nearly every late afternoon. She gets really upset that so many people don’t take responsibility for their own actions — everything is someone else’s fault – Owen, you are so typical of today’s society - what made you decide to jump on a band wagon and fess up to all that’s happened in your life and try to make everyone else see – you are what you chose?

(Owen) – Fessin’ up was Marvin’s idea. I only went along with it for the money. I ain’t to blame for all the (bleep) that’s happened to me. Uh–uh. No (bleep)ing way. (bleep)

(Marvin) – Owen! The language? Billie, can I jump in again right here? Nowadays everybody has some syndrome or another. No matter how stupid, wicked, spiteful or hateful the action taken, it’s because the perpetrator suffers from some syndrome or another. Not their fault, the “Devil made them do it.” Nobody’s taking responsibility for their actions anymore. Am I right? Isn’t that why Judge Judy is so popular? We’re all sick and tired of this blame-game finger-pointing society, but everybody figures it’s the other person, not themselves, that’s behaving irresponsibly. Well, take a good look at Owen Fiddler, ladies and gentlemen, because he’s the eclectic synthesis of all syndromes, the mother of all fault-finders. Mark my word, eventually some attorney will get his client exonerated of a rape or murder charge by using the “Owen Fiddler Syndrome” argument.

(Billie) – Owen, I can’t help but mention, and I hope you won’t mind sharing the spot light with Marvin Wilson – that you were awarded the Silver Avatar Award for excellence in spiritual books. Congratulations! Tell us a little about this award and how it makes you (Owen) feel after what you said about your book not being religious?

(Owen) – Well, yeah – thanks. I never had no award or nuthin’ before. Kinda surprised me, be honest. Marvin tells me I’m gonna have some kinda spiritual experience, meet up with God or some (bleep). And so the story goes, I guess, there’s supposed to be a purpose to my life that has some kinda spiritual message in it. For the life of me I don’t know what the (bleep) that could be, but Marvin swears by it. I ain’t read the book yet myself – not very big on reading – too much work. If they wind up makin’ a movie out of it, I’ll go see that. Marvin networks with lotsa writers, he got hip to this AVATAR website, or organization, whatever – supposed to be pretty prestigious if they grant your writing an award. Has to be a work with clear and insightful spiritual content. Well, we won the silver – which is pretty darn good for a novel, from what I hear.

(Billie) - Thank you so much for allowing me to put you in the hot seat and for answering my questions. I must mention one more thing. The video trailer up on One True Media.Com is absolutely beautiful. The soul of the characters, the mood or essence of the characters portrayed from Frenda to Kris to the devil grab the viewer as much as the beautiful musical backdrop. You did good Owen! Please give our readers a link to that video as well as some idea where they can buy your book – and check in on Marvin Wilson – the string master who helps you keep your truth for the rest of us.

(Owen) – Sure. And thanks. For the compliment. Ahm, just click on Owen Fiddler is Here! for the video. It’s pretty cool – won the New Covey Award, the trailer did. You can buy the book on or or at your favorite bookstore. For reviews, excerpts, info, and even a short live talk I do, go to:

(Marvin) Yes, and both Owen and I have MySpaces. His is at: and mine is - drop in and leave us a note, we’ll get back to you. Also, I LOVE getting emails from my readers, I’ve made so many wonderful friends since taking up writing – mail me at:

(Billie) - One final question, Owen. Even though you say you have a selfish point of view, that you have been a fool, I think it is all a charade and you are one heck of a decent, loving, and wonderful kind of guy —who has so much to offer. A clue to this is you are doing it in such a non-threatening way that you reach out and grab people and get them to listen. Do you agree that you are WAY smarter then you give yourself credit for?

(Owen) – I guess I’m not sure what you mean. Hardly nobody’s ever said such nice things about me before. (face reddens) ‘S why I do what I do. All the stupid (bleep), you know. I’m afraid of real intimacy. Not sex, y’know, I mean real love – all intimate and the heart laid open and exposed. I never liked myself, figured nobody could really love the real me, so I put on this macho tough guy loner image and stay toasted most the time. A guy’s gotta feel good somehow. Tell ya, though – it’s a lonely life, bein’ selfish. Marvin tells me I’m gonna wind up happy and really be all those nice things like you said. Seems too impossible to believe.

(Billie) - Well, believe it. I know what I believe, and your curmudgeonly old self really is, after all, just a cover up. Hey, you guys, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with you and you are welcome on my blog any old day. So, do come back—ya hear?

(Marvin) – Thanks so much, Billie. The feeling is mutual. You’re good people.

(Owen) – Yep, I’d have to admit I actually had me a good time. And with nothin’ but a lemonade to drink at that! Ain’t that somethin’? Hey, Billie - speakin’ of good times – can I get your number? Call ya later?

(Marvin buries his face in his hands)