Thursday, March 31, 2011

YA Review of Lauren McLaughlin's CYCLER, by DL Larson

The cover caught my attention. The front has a young woman in a pretty pink bra and boy's boxers, while the back cover is a young man wearing said boxers. The two look as if they could be twins. They are not ... they are the same person. Four days of the month Jill turns into Jack, a full fledged male, with male thoughts, male actions and a male temper for being confined in Jill's girly bedroom with nothing to do but think about his own miserable life that only exists four days every month.

Cycler is a unique book and a fast read. Jack squeezes into Jill's thoughts but Jill self-hynotizes herself so she doesn't remember his thoughts. It's a dangerous game she plays and pretends her world is normal as any teenage girls. McLaughlin does a superb job creating her main characters Jill and Jack and she brings Jill's BFF, Ramie, in to make a tangled triangle of friendship and love. Jack loves Ramie while Jill doesn't realize he knows her BFF.

Wanting to be normal is a strong thread for all the characters in this book. Each character struggles with awkward situations, many darn right humorous and something all of us can relate to. Some graphic sex talk may raise a few eyebrows but it also comes across as natural just as the strong ties of friendship between Ramie and Jill.
Secondary characters seem a bit cardboardish. Jill's parents have a hint of creepy about them; the mom is overbearing and robotic while the dad is a limp noodle hiding out in his basement in inappropriate clothes for any generation. Perhaps her sequel will explain the weird parents.

For those who are looking for a diversion from vampire fever, I recommend Cycler. It's a good first book and could be an interesting topic for discussion at a teen book club. The sequel, (re)cylcler, came out in 2009 to great reviews, and Scored will be out in October 2011. I'll probably purchase both books since I enjoyed the first so much.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Any day can be a tag day by Morgan Mandel

Our own Acme member, Robert W. Walker, mentioned the importance of tagging our own books on I agree it's very important to put those tags on. If you've set it up yourself, make sure to include the tags. If your publisher put your book up, you can still add tags.

It's one of the best means of free publicity you can get. Another thing, after reading someone else's book, even if you don't do a review, tagging can also help a books' ranking, and is a lot easier and faster to do.

I go to the tag section of the book and check the boxes I agree with about the book. Afterwards, I always click the letter "t" twice and a box comes up which can easily besaved. It's that easy to tag.

Whether you do it for yourself, or someone else, it helps get a book noticed at Amazon, so remember to tag, even if it's not a tag day in your neighborhood.

Morgan Mandel

Killer Career is
99 cents on

Sunday, March 27, 2011

And the Results Are In....

I have to say, it's been a productive week. I set a whole bunch of goals, and I am proud to say I've accomplished nearly all of them. Below find my list of goals from last week. In bold you'll find how I fared with each of them.

*Write everyday. I need to get back to my WIP which is the third in my series for Wild Rose. I'd taken a little break from this to finish a Christmas novella I had an idea for. (As a sidenote, the novella manuscript was just requested by an editor at TWRP, so keep your fingers crossed!) Yes. Yes. Yes. I did over 30 pages and I'm up to just over 42,000 words. AND, the editor at TWRP who has my novella said she'd be reading it in the next couple of weeks and if I don't hear back from her by next Friday to shoot her an e-mail. So, things are rolling!

* Finish my 'Birthday at Disney' scrapbook. We took this trip two years ago. Yep. Hauled everything out on Thursday and worked until I finished.

* Do my taxes. Promised myself I'd get them done in February. Ooops. Done, and getting a refund from both the state and the Feds!

* Organize my sock drawer. Exciting stuff, I know, but seriously, it's a disaster in there. Check.

* Spend some quality time with a friend. By quality I mean watch a movie featuring Edward, our favorite vampire. Well, we didn't watch our favorite vampire, but I had lunch with a couple of friends on Tuesday. Even better.

* Tweak my website. I want to add some pictures and such. Did some updating and figured out how to add pictures, but I didn't add any yet.

* Get my nails done and get a haircut. Done.

* Finish judging contest entries for my RWA chapter's contest. Yep.

So, now that I'm heading back into the real world this week, I'm sure things will slow down in the realm of getting things done, but it was nice to have some time to accomplish some things.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Goals by Margot Justes

Goals are set and meant to be accomplished, at least that is my understanding. I looked up the word in the dictionary. A goal is 'the result or achievement toward which effort is directed'

Simple enough, set the goal and achieve it-assuming the goal is realistic, it is all well and good, until life intervenes and set goals go out the window faster than hot air in winter.

Last week, I set goals to edit 50 pages of Blood Art, send out 3 query letters, and make a tiny dent in A Hotel in Venice. Not exceptionally difficult tasks and easily accomplished, or so I thought.

I did none of those things, and more to the point I have no idea where the time went.

One reason, I thought might because I'm on the CN RWA board, I get so many more e-mails, but then so do the other board members, and I won't even mention the Spring Fling committee, who are working incredibly long hours so that we can have a terrific 2012 conference. Well, maybe I will mention them after all, their efforts are amazing.

So where did the time go? I have no idea, but I thought about the catastrophe and incredible destruction in Japan, how many lives were lost? Will be lost, how many sacrifices will be made to secure the safety of the Japanese people? How many people will work in certain death to make sure that happens? How dare I complain I didn't meet a few writing goals.

That on-going tragedy in Japan really put things in perspective. Just what am I complaining about? I feel blessed and grateful for what I have.

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Patience & Persistence Makes a Writer

MARK TWAIN, my spiritual mentor since beginning my long journey as an author and the guy I stole more from than anyone else I have stolen from, he has a great many great quotes but this one I purely love: "KEEP AWAY from people who try to belittle your ambitions. SMALL PEOPLE always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can be great."

I have had my collegaues in the teaching profession say to me, "Rob, you actually think anyone can do what you do, don't you?"

"Of course and why not? When it comes to writing fiction, guess what? Doing of it is the teacher, and I pretty much taught myself, set up my own curriculum and went at it. So why not another? Why not my students?"

Of course not all students succeed, and not all great young writers prevail. It is a myth to believe that well crafted writing alone will lift an author to the top of his profession. Most never get past all the frustration and need for patience, the time it takes to evolve into a talented writer who can actually make shapely fiction. For it takes years, and for most of us, a lifetime as truly, there are few things in life that require as much self-teaching and practice and skill-building as crafting solid fiction.

Dearn R. Koontz once advised me to slow down, adding, "Robert, you don't do your best work until you turn 50 anyway."  He was right of course but at the time I was teetering on 50, and very frustrated and feeling I had put in way too much time on a dying propostion to begin with...contemplating quitting altogether. Who needed the headaches and the heartaches and the belly aches from hunger and depression at not achieving the gold ring?

What Koontz meant and what I know now is that it has taken me 30 years of continuous writing to get to the level of proficiency I am at currently. Sure there are those amazing wonders among us out who careen to the top of the bestseller list with their first publicaiton but scratch the surface and 99 percent of the time, you will learn that first publicaiton came only after six, seven or even ten previously written UNpublished novels.

I feel indeed I am doing my BEST work in a checkered career now, that my more recent titles -- all of which have been written within the last few years as Kindle Originals are my best to date works, books I could not have written when I was young and full of eager impatience to be published. 

With each book I have written, I have gotten better over these many years, and to get so good as to be speed writing with confidence, most of us have to go through the harrowing period I call the Valley of Death thorugh whch Job himself must suffer...that it takes the patience of the biblical Job to prosper in any of the major arts - be it film, sculpting, painting, computer graphics, poetry, biography, fiction. Whatever your addiction craves to create.

Frightfully now, up on Kindle bookshelves, my readers can go wayyyy back in time, look over my early works, and see how terribly weak they are compared to my latest works. What a difference; it is like when Martin Cruse Smith went from doing a schlocky vampire vs. Native American horror novel to writing such as Gorky Park, not that any of my books are Gorky Park. But I began writing thin books, thin in size and in depth, lacking setting and character but with a lot of plot. Only over time and with experience(s), did my novels fatten up completely to the point they turn some folks off due to sheer page numbers.

My newer work, however, are character-driven, filled with fully realized characters rather than the thin shadows of my early, past creations.It is instructive even for me to go back in time and read the kid's early stuff--and to realize that while the kid had something on the ball and a lot of gall, hutzpah, smarts...that the work was thin by comparison to the old gent's stuff.

Don't believe me? Look at my first published novel alongside Children of Salem or Titanic 2012. There simply is no comparison. While the kid I was had sparks of passion, perhaps even a bic lighter flame of smartness, the depth of all the elements coming together in the later works is just so much more of...of everything readers want and need..In orther words, Dean Koontz knows of what he speaks. It takes a life devoted to writing to reach par.

I am soon to be 63 and I began writing as a kid, maybe around fourth grade, and wrote my first short stories as a child, my first novel as a high schooler, modeling it on Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn-- a sequel!  The arrogance of youth, but in tracking Twain so closely as to "write Twain", well the genius became my spiritual mentor, and I never forgot what he taught me about writing.

Still it was I who unearthed Twain; he did not come to me in a drean or a zombie state. It takes a powerful yearning to want to imitate and emulate a writer of Twain's caliber. So when the Chicago Tribune review of City for Ransom compared my work favorably to Twain, Dickens, Doyle, and Poe I felt in great company. I began to feel I was getting pretty good at what I chose to devote my life to.

It takes enormous patience, the sort of infinite patience required of a teacher these days, the sort that requires a higher PQ than IQ...a high Persistence Quotient.

Thanks for visiting and do leave a cogent comment; would love to cogently respond to you as well or simply to hear from you.

Robert W. Walker
"What Moves Kindle Bks. off Shelves" -- Kindle Community forums

Inspiration! by DL Larson

Our guest blogger this week, F.M. Meredith, has the energy and know-how to get things done. If you have not read her blog at Acme Authors (Wednesday, March 23) please take a moment to do so. Her schedule is full and she has the capacity to be in several places at once! Perhaps she's a magician, a juggler at least. She is a great-grandmother! She is a wonderful author.

Since I just put my grandson down for his morning nap, I understand a bit about juggling a schedule. My daughter is getting married in two weeks, my husband and son have ventured into a business expansion and just two days ago I made a plethora of food for their Open House. I had a polka-dot party for my preschoolers at the library and judged our 2011, two day, Chess Tournament. Our Teen Book Club met and chatted about Dear America Books and our Teen Advisory Board has decided to send books to Taiwan. I was several days behind on my Bible Study, but went to our gathering anyway. I have yet to buy anything for my daughter's two bridal showers this weekend and I haven't a clue on what I might wear. And it's only Thursday!

Writing has been not only nudged off my plate, it's been dropped off the table of things to do. So, why did I wake last night at 1:15 and go downstairs and work on my writing for two and a half hours? I need my sleep. I'm exhausted, I need a mom to clean my house. I have guests coming in two weeks to stay at our home. Messy is the kindest word I can think of when I glance at the various rooms in my house. Okay, dirty too! I can see where I stopped cleaning when I attempted to put up Spring/Easter decorations. Three tubs sit in my dining room, half empty and taking up space. Yet, I woke with the urge to write!

The sensible me says, "Get a grip! You do NOT have time to write!" The writer sasses back by saying, "You've gone without sleep before. And besides, I need to do this!" Then I read Meredith's blog awhile ago and I feel energized, ready to trade sleep for writing production. Writing is part of who and what I am. When I don't make time in the day for writing, insomnia always sneaks in and makes me pay. I will write. One way or another I must write.

Thank you F.M. Meredith for sharing your insights with us this week. I know it takes determination and tenacity to become a successful author. You have proven hard work pays off.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Please Welcome Morgan Mandel's Guest, F.M. Meredith, Prolific Mystery Author

F.M. Meredith

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of nearly thirty published novels. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is Angel Lost. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and her blog at

Today, you can catch a glimpse of what F.M. is doing to promote her latest book. First, here's a little bit about that book.

Angel Lost by F.M. Meredith
As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher, the new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems, Abel Navarro’s can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother, Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD, and then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?

My Promotion for Angel Lost
by F.M. Meredith
I do a lot of the same things as everyone else, Facebook and Twitter, and I’m on a blog tour through the month of March and will be visiting a few other blogs in April.

About Blog Tours: I host authors on my own blog and I’ve found that some of my guests don’t really have a clue about what they ought to be doing. Oh, they send me exactly what I ask for, and usually write great blogs, but they don’t do a thing to promote (I do) and they don’t come back and visit to see if anyone has left a comment or a question that they can answer.

The champion promoter on Facebook is Rob Walker and I can’t really add anything to what he’s doing, in fact I’ve copied some of his strategies. Just know, Facebook is there and it’s great way to reach a lot of people. Facebook and Twitter are other ways to steer people to your blog posts. And if you use you can connect with most of the social networks you’re on with one post.

Though I love promoting on the Net I do a lot of in-person events too.

The only mystery con I’m going to this year is Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. This is one of my favorites because I’ve made a lot of friends who attend every year and are also my fans. Attending is much like going to a family reunion.

I only have two bookstores where I make regular appearances; one is our local used book store and I’ll be doing the launch for Angel Lost there. I’m also going to an independent, Willow Bridge Books, in the foothills to give a talk to their writers’ group. I love going there and I always sell a lot of books. This year though, I’m traveling to Sedona AZ and will be speaking at the Well-Red Coyote Book Store because my hubby and I and our daughter and her husband are going there on vacation. I spoke there about three years ago and it’s wonderful bookstore. (Another tip, combine your speaking engagements with your vacations.)

Writing conferences are another favorite, though I don’t attend them anymore unless I can be a speaker. (Don’t get me wrong, I always learn something new at a writing conference and they are always great for recharging my battery, it’s just that I have so little time I have to choose what works best for me. So, having said that, this year I’ll be heading to Public Safety Writers Association where I’ll learn from the experts and know I’ll be on panels because anyone who wants to be on one will. ( Plus I’m the program chairperson and because my sister lives in Vegas where the conference is I’ll visit her while I’m there.)

I’m also one of the instructors for the Cuesta College Writing Conference  which leads me right to Book Festivals.

The Sunday following the conference is the Central Coast Book and Author Festival in San Luis Obispo. This is an event I never miss. Craft Fairs are also great venues for authors to sell books and this year I’m going to the Jane Austen Festival in Fresno—yes, I know my books are not historical or about Jane Austen, but I was well-received last year and invited back this year. My point here would be to look for places where you can sell your books.

I’m also going to be talking about what gave me the ideas for my books at a college in Southern California. Check out your nearby colleges and see if they’d like to have you as a speaker. Some pay a speaker’s fee and some will let you sell your books after the talk.

If you belong to a Sisters in Crime chapter or more than one like I do, you could offer to be a speaker at their meeting, or perhaps they have a speakers’ bureau like the LA Chapter of Sisters in Crime that arranges for panels at local libraries.

The potential for speaking engagements and selling opportunities is only limited by your imagination and time. I hope I’ve give you some ideas.

Please leave a comment to welcome F. M. Meredith, author of Angel Lost the latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Books as a Work-of-Art

This past Sunday Morning on the CBS program of the same name, a segment aired about a company that publishes very, very expensive books ranging from just under $50 to thousands of dollars.

What! Well, that caught my attention.

Turns out there’s this publishing company - Taschen Books - owned by Benedikt Taschen and he has about a dozen stores around the world - AND he only sells the books that he publishes. Again, very, very expensive books.

Here’s the intro to the program:

At a time when bookstores are disappearing and books themselves seem threatened, Benedikt Taschen of Taschen Books has reason for optimism. John Blackstone reports on Taschen's home, his business, and his eclectic taste.

Here’s the link:;contentBody

Why bother watching it? Well, you might just become inspired.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What’s your choice? by June Sproat

I woke Sunday to a rainy dreary day. As I lay in bed listening to the children bicker and fight over the remote control I wondered what I would do if I had a whole day to myself to do whatever I wanted.

I soon came to the conclusion that rainy days are perfect for spending the day reading and writing, two of my favorite things. So I kept thinking, as the screams from the next room got louder and chants of mom, mom, mom, seeped through the closed door, if I had my perfect day, but could only do one of my favorite things, which would it be: read or write?

Fortunately I didn’t have to choose and decided I would try to do both but I couldn’t help wondering…what would you rather do, spend the day reading or writing??

Have a great week!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break Goal List's that wonderful time of year when I get to leave my classroom behind for a week and enjoy a little time away from school in the real world. Of course in the real world, things still need to get done, so here's my goal list for the upcoming week. (Some goals are writing related, some are not.)

* Write everyday. I need to get back to my WIP which is the third in my series for Wild Rose. I'd taken a little break from this to finish a Christmas novella I had an idea for. (As a sidenote, the novella manuscript was just requested by an editor at TWRP, so keep your fingers crossed!)

* Finish my 'Birthday at Disney' scrapbook. We took this trip two years ago.

* Do my taxes. Promised myself I'd get them done in February. Ooops.

* Organize my sock drawer. Exciting stuff, I know, but seriously, it's a disaster in there.

* Spend some quality time with a friend. By quality I mean watch a movie featuring Edward, our favorite vampire.

* Tweak my website. I want to add some pictures and such.

* Get my nails done and get a haircut.

* Finish judging contest entries for my RWA chapter's contest.

So, that's that. I have a week to get it all done. Stay tuned next week to find out how well I did.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Traveling by Margot Justes

Celebrity Cruises altered the itinerary for my cruise in October. Alexandria, Egypt was cancelled. I suspect not because of the peaceful overthrow of the government, but the cancellation occurred after the religious conflict between Christians and Muslims broke out.

No one from the cruise line announced that was the reason, it's my own supposition about the timing of the cancellation, and of course there is the unrest in the Middle East as a whole.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The Pyramids are still on my bucket list. The closest I've come is reading Elizabeth Peters' books and that just made the desire that much greater. Her descriptions are so vivid that you're right there along with Amelia Peabody and her celebrated spouse Emerson solving a mystery, amidst the archeological digs.

I cancelled the Celebrity cruise and went back to my old stand-by Royal Caribbean. Ashdod (Jerusalem) and Haifa, Israel are still part of the itinerary but now I'll also visit Kusadasi, Turkey, as well as Rhodes and Crete, Greece.

Egypt has been postponed until 2012. I sincerely hope that a solid democratic government will flourish, since that is what the general populace wanted when they peacefully toppled the old regime.

One can only hope for a peaceful resolution however tenuous the thread.

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Creating New Worlds by DL Larson

I noticed the challenge I had written last May, 2010. The challenge I made sits in written form on my desk as a tent card, reminding me every time I sit at my computer that I made a contract. My challenge was to complete my WIP, Renzo the Reliant, by May 20, 2011.

Meeting my challenge will be very difficult, but this week I've been reviewing my plot, character development and making sure my sci-fi world is consistent and believable to my readers. Since this is my third book in this make-believe world, I don't want to create one thing only to realize I did it differently in a previous book. For readers to accept my story, it has to be real, it has to be the same forward or backward. I can't change the nature of things I created, unless I can explain my way out of it.

When creating another world, I explore ideas similar to creating a character. Once I've gotten the basics down, I finalize the structure by writing lists. If Crystal Mountain is by the Lordy's River in one book, it sure better be there in the next one too. If one character came from a certain place in book one, he needs to be from the same place in book three. All the same principles apply to creating a new world as when creating a new character.

By keeping notes, I've created a quick reference of the world I created. If I've forgotten how to spell the name of something, I look it up on my list. It saves time and aggravation when writing.

If you have other ways of keeping your characters or new world consistent and true, share your ideas with us here at Acme Authors.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sticky Points by Morgan Mandel

Some people say to write what you know. Others say write so you can learn.

No matter which advice you follow, I predict you won't be able to figure everything out yourself. There will be sticky points which can prevent your manuscript from getting finished, or worse, getting finished wrong, if you're not careful.

I ran into one such spot in my current work in progress, Forever Young - Blessing or Curse. My heroine needed to go to a hospital to have her baby. I'm not a mother, so I needed a few answers to such simple questions as, Will hospitals accept you if you have no insurance, How do birth certificates work, etc. I asked a fellow Chicago-North RWA member, Christina Fixemer, these questions and she readily supplied me with answers. The Internet may have been an alternate place to find what I needed to learn, but in this case, someone who'd been through the experience was an easier and better source.

What about you? Would you like to share a sticky point in one your books and where you turned for help?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career 99 cents on
Kindle and Smashwords

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life Intrusions

Hey All,

Sorry for being M.I.A. the past couple of weeks. Two weeks ago I was out of town at a basketball tournament, and last week week I wound up in the ER all day. (Long story...I won't go into it here...)

At any rate, since I've been away for a while, I thought I'd give a little writing update for my post today.

*THIS CAN'T BE LOVE received a fabulous five book review from LASR. You can click here to read the entire review, but my favorite part was this: "If you like a contemporary, passionate and emotional read, then laugh and cry along with this one. An author who can make the reader feel so many things is one that has staying power in the writing world." Talk about a pick-me-up in what started out to be a bummer of a week.

*I submitted a query and a synopsis for a novella entitled "A Christmas to Remember" to Wild Rose. This was an accomplishment for me, bacause I was working on a set deadline (which I usually don't) as holiday stories needed to be submitted by a certain date. I made it one week ahead of the deadline. Yay me! (Unfortunately, my editor there has left, so I feel like I'm back in the slush pile, but I did get a confirmation indicating my letter and synopsis had been passed along to the senior editor of the Champagne Rose line and I'd hear back from someone in about 45 days. Which seems like a really long time, but actually not too bad when you think about the publishing world in general. I've just been spoiled with my editor usually getting back to me the same day and requesting a full.)

*I am making much progress on my WIP "This Feels Like Home". I am about 55% of the way done. (36,000 words out of 65,000) I hope to get back to this one over Spring Break which is coming up week after this.(Although I did set this one aside to work on my Christmas one the past few weeks.) I hope to have it done and submitted this summer. If accepted (keep your fingers crossed) this will be the third and culminating book in my series: This Time for Always and This Can't Be Love having previously been released.

So, that's what I've been up to. What's new with you?!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another Art Theft by Margot Justes

A Rodin sculpture was creatively acquired, in other words stolen, from the Israel Museum, now mind you this was bronze; heavy stuff, that bronze.

Yet, it was removed from the premises, granted this was not a huge piece by Rodin, the estimated weight was about 140 pounds and it was approximately 50 lbs but hardly something you can put in your pocket or under your clothes and walk out without someone noticing an odd appendage lurking about on your person.

How does a statue weighing 140 pounds disappear from a museum? It appears the Israel Museum was undergoing substantial renovations and probably sometime during the construction the statue disappeared. Pooh, it was moved and apparently kept on moving.

Some art experts fear that it might be sold for scrap. What a horrendous thought, an irreplaceable work of art, sculpted by a master and cast in bronze would be sold for scrap.
I hope the piece found a loving home somewhere, that is a much better alternative than reducing a glorious piece to scrap.

The only reason I say it was cast in bronze is purely for clarification, because I have been asked how difficult is it to sculpt bronze? Very difficult. In fact it is impossible. Bronze is always cast from the molding of the original work of art.

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sometimes a film is more than just a film

Thought I'd get your opinions on films today, Friday, March 11th 2011.  There are those films that make us laugh, those that make us cry, and those which wring us out and make us laugh as well. Then there are westerns which some of us love, horror films, some crave, romance and chick flicks needed by others. And then occasionally a film comes along that just is memorable and shakes up our notions of what we felt so comfy in accepting--like our reality.  When our reality gets shaken to the core, some of us react to such a film well while others not so well.

For me a film is only as good as the lasting effect it has on its viewers as holds true for readers of books. In this vein, I would name for comedic effect Tootsie for instance, so many memorable scenes yet I have not seen the film in years, maybe ten years.  Also for laughs as well Being John Malchovich and My Cousin Vinnie.  I also loved the more recent Sherlock for its historical breath and background as well as the repartee between Holmes and Watson  and am looking forwrd to its sequel. For horror, I loved Stir of Echoes. For Westerns it has to be The Wild Bunch.

However, while science fiction like the classic Outlnder, Star Wars, Star Trek are all fun, what of the book that rocks your world or the film that rocks your universe?  One such film that shook me up so thoroughly as to jar my insides to wrench my gut and mind at once is a little known film but a fantastic movie entitled The Man From Earth.  The effect is powerful.

To attempt to summarize The Man from Earth would only lesson its power. This is a film one needs see twice for the sheer power and beauty and simplicty and complexity all rolled into one.  Star gazers, history buffs, philosophers, theologians, anyone who ponders imponderables --this is the film for you.

What about you?  Seen any good films lately?  If so share them in the comments section.  We have made it so simple and easy to leave a comment at ACME, so please, share.

Robert W. Walker (Rob) - free intro. chapters

Standing On The Right Track ... by DL Larson

I received two rejections this week. Both via e-mail. The writing styles were quite different, but the message was simple and direct; my story was not a good fit for their needs. I've been receiving similar responses for awhile now. I'm thick skinned enough to know my books will not be a good fit for every publisher, but I also know I have good stories to share and I will keep trying.

Publishing through a traditional house may not be the best solution right now. I have investigated the many and varied ways to self-publish, yet I hesitate and don't know why. I feel as if I'm standing on the high dive and wondering how much it will hurt when I jump. I don't know if the pain I fear is physical, emotional or financial. So, I'm asking for your advice.

1. How did you decide self-publishing would work for you?
2. What were you looking for in self-publishing?
3. What did you give up or gain by self-publishing?
4. Are you glad you self-published?
5. What do you know now and wish you knew before you self-published?

I'm sure any advice you wish to share with us at Acme Authors will benefit many writers wondering similar thoughts. I keep thinking of the old adage, "even if you are standing on the right track you'll be run over if you aren't moving."

For me, it's time to make a move!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's Out Now? by Morgan Mandel

On Monday at Make Mine Mystery I asked everyone to share something about their works in progress. (You can still do so, if you wish, by clicking the link I just provided.)

Today, I'm asking you to let us know what you have out now. Just mention one, please, because it's hard enough for people to remember even that. Also, provide one or two buy links to make it easier for people who are tempted to cave in.

I'll start with mine:
Killer Career by Morgan Mandel
A career change from lawyer to writer seems tame enough.Not when your mentor, a bestselling author, not only writes about murders, but also has a vested interest in them. Not when your law partner won't let you go without a fight. 
99 cents on Kindle and Smashwords.

Now It's Your Turn --- What do you have out now?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Some things never change! by June Sproat

The sun will always rise in east and set in the west,
Elvis will always be "The King",
John Wayne will always be "The Duke",
And having a daughter in high school I can honestly say that high school doesn’t change either.

Oh, it may be a different building in a different location, but there will always be the jocks, nerds, popular people, and the ordinaries.

This is good to know because one of the reasons I wrote Ordinary Me was because I could remember what it felt like when I was in high school. How something bad would happen and I thought it was the end of the word. Turns out it wasn’t. That was sort of the point I wanted to make. It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on and everything will work out.

So, yeah, change is good, but on the other hand as in books, some things never change – and that can be a very good thing.

Have a great week,

Ordinary Me is available for $.99 (for a limited time) on Kindle!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Get It Right! by DL Larson

My calendar tends to dictate my life. Rather, the commitments I've posted on my calendar keeps me on track and on schedule. There are times when, however, my calendar is not correct. If the information I put on it is not accurate, unsavory results insue. Let me give you an example or two.

A few years back I received a jury summons in the mail. I marked the date when I was to call the court to verify if I would be needed. I jotted the info on my calendar and hung the summons on my frig for future reference. June 5th came and I called the number. As I waited for someone to pick up the phone on the other end, I reread the summons and gasped. I should have called May 6th! The automated voice didn't know I was a month late in calling for jury duty. I spent the rest of the day talking to folks and apologizing for transposing numbers. In the end all was forgiven. I didn't have to go to jail. I only had to serve two days of jury duty which meant sitting in a room with several other strangers and having an occasional chat with the judge and lawyers in attendance.

I thought I had learned a valuable lesson, but again my calendar tricked me. Or perhaps it was me who tricked my calendar! I was to attend a seminar downtown Chicago with another woman who had just started working at NIU. We had talked on the phone but never met. We decided not to go into the city the night before since the weather was nice and she had another meeting to attend. We still needed to beat the traffic and arrive before 7:00 a.m., and so we agreed I would pick her up at 5:00 and we would scoot into the city ahead of most of the traffic. I arrived a few minutes early, pleased that I wasn't late.

I knocked on the door. No one came. I peeked into a window and saw only darkness. Oh no, she wasn't ready. We were going to get caught in traffic and be in trouble since we were the mediators at this conference and should be the first to arrive. If we didn't leave in the next five minutes we would not make our meeting. I pounded the door rather firmly. A light popped on and I sighed. She was awake and coming toward the door, dressed in a robe and obviously still half asleep. We were in big trouble and I contemplated going on alone or having her grab her stuff and get ready at the hotel.

I had a moment's panic. Maybe I had the wrong address. Maybe this wasn't the woman I needed. The door opened and I said, "Lilly?" She nodded and relief spread through me. "Did you over-sleep? We need to get going?"

"You're Deb?" I nodded, glad to at least be at the right address. "The conference is tomorrow," she said rather nicely. "You're a day early."

Lilly called it our trial run and took every opportunity to share our story with others. I don't know how I got mixed up on the dates, but once again my calendar had failed to provide me with accurate information.

I'm really glad Lilly had a great sense of humor. I don't know if I would have been as gracious if some stranger woke me early in the morning.

So when folks make plans with me or I make plans, it's really not surprising that I repeat the date and time over and over just to make sure I have it right. I really don't want to be the ditz in the room, although I have to admit, on occasion, I'm pretty good at being an air-head.

I just tell folks I'm working on a character in my book. I want to get it right!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Day is It? By Morgan Mandel

Now that I'm unemployed, I lose track of the days. Often I have to ask myself, What day is it? Then, something I did the day before or plan on doing today clues me in and I know where time is.

When writing a book, it's good to keep in mind that your readers also need to know what day of the week it is, also what season, what year. The place in time is just as important as setting, goal and conflict.

So, throw in some clues every now and then to ground your readers in what day it is.

Can you think of any books where you know right away what day it is? Or day of the week?

I'm wondering if Ground Hog Day was a book before a movie.

Morgan Mandel

Killer Career 99 cents at
Kindle and Smashwords

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

I scan the headlines of quite a few newspapers online and often I’m struck by how unbelievable many of these stories are. They’re true - just unbelievable.

No - I’m not talking about Charlie Sheen! There’s quite enough of that.

A recent story in my own town concerned a 48-year-old man who for the past two and a half years has been in an online relationship with a woman who didn’t exist. How was this revealed? Well, the alleged woman claimed to have been kidnapped and asked for more money. The man went to the police who after a fairly easy internet search found that the picture of the alleged woman was from a sample driver’s license for the state of Florida. The man was devastated to find out that she didn’t really exist but I suspect that the more than $200,000.00 he sent whomever it was at least added fuel to the fire of his anguish.

Then there’s the woman who in her early fifties has cashed in her life savings, her retirement accounts, sold her house and moved to a different state following a guy she just met who has promised her the world as long as she cashed everything in so they could start a new life together. She resists all attempts from her children and her siblings to make sure she’s okay- in fact she’s down right hostile when they ask how she’s doing now that she’s followed this guy to another state.

As writers we try to create believable characters that the reader can relate to but in real life, the people - or the characters - described above make you want to shake them until they come to their senses.

I mean, really, who does this stuff? Well, more people than you can possibly imagine.

One common element, despite gender or race, or even socioeconomic status seems to be age. Most of these bizarre and unbelievable behaviors tend to happen when someone is in their late forties into the mid-fifties. We often dismiss this as a mid-life crisis but a psychological perspective indicates that it may be in response to childhood trauma of some sort.

Whatever the reason is, writers often have to create characters more believable than real people. Truth really is stranger than fiction.