Today, author Terri Louise here to talk about her new release, Legs, Trains, and is this REALLY a Hospital: Diaries of a Damaged Soul Volume 2 and a few of her other works. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Terri!
1. Why don't you start by telling us a little about your Diaries of a Damaged Soul series?
My books series started out as a ‘Real’ diary. I was keeping track of the things that my EX-Husband did for court purposes. How many phone calls he made, whether he threatened me that day, how he treated the kids and me, etc. And, when I was injured in 2010, I took that diary and started writing the first in the series. Some things are trivial, but, others……they needed to be said, and other women and or men, need to know……stand up for yourself! No one else will. Verbal abuse is real and painful! And……I had had enough of it. I got no help from the court system and no help from our prosecutors……so……I wrote. And I really could not afford therapy. These Diaries are and were, my ONLY therapy. I can only hope, they helped someone, somewhere. I know they helped me. Yes, these events “REALLY” did happen!!!
2. In the description for the first book in the series, you describe, “The cover to this book is blurry on purpose. As confusion is a difficult thing to replicate with JUST written words, a visual blur helps to GIVE you the impression of this confusion felt during the marriage. So, don't be upset when it arrives and it is indeed....a blur.” Do you use a similar marriage of form and content in your writing?
I really do try to. If I can’t quite get the image to appear on the written page, then, it is my responsibility to help finish the image to the reader so they can understand what I am attempting to describe. I tried my best to get verbal abuse to come alive on those pages……but, unless you have ever been there, you won’t feel it. I wanted people to feel the confusion. A technique an abuser will use……confuses you. They weave you into a circling story of deception, keeping you off of the topic at hand, and throwing you into a perpetual nightmare. I can not have a conversation with my Ex, that keeps the main topic going. He will circle around, taking the focus off him and the question, and get me confused. I purposely have to stop him, tell him to stay on topic, and start again. And even then, he can and will change the subject, thereby, never answering what we were talking about. And by then, I am either confused or angry and just give up. AND that was his goal to begin with! That is why, I used the blurry cover on the paperback to similate confusion.
3. In the second book in the series, you describe how an industrial accident—as well as the bureaucratic red tape that stalled your treatment—forever changed your life. Could you share a little more about that?
I know this happens across the country, but, I never thought it would happen in Idaho. People are still human beings in Idaho. When I arrived at the hospital, in an ambulance, I was rushed into the emergency room. The questions started coming from all directions, and the one that stopped the urgency to help me was, “What is your insurance carrier?” Well, I have no insurance of my own. My cancers made it so expensive, that I could not afford it, and when they heard that, they stopped what they were doing, and almost ran from the room. I did explain this was a State Insurance claim, and that it would be paid for, and it was. But, the damage was done. I suffered in that room! They did not get me liquids, and they did not send an experienced nurse to help me when I needed to urinate. Of which, I could not move to do on my own. I did get SOME pain killers, but, no diagnosis. “BACK PAIN” was their official ruling. They never took x-rays and when I made a nurse get the doctor back in the room, I asked him to reconsider the MRI, and he told me, “It was a waste of emergency room services!” My neurosurgeon got me an MRI that afternoon…… I had a blown disk that smashed the disk below it and had fragments pushing up against my spinal cord. The man almost paralyzed me. Their money came before my safety. That’s NOT the Idaho people I know, and I have been appalled since!
4. I know from my own experience that past abuse can take a long time to heal. Have you found writing these books to be cathartic?
Yes I do. I know I am not healed 100% and probably never will be, but, writing helped with the healing a lot more than I expected. I was able to release the anger and the fear and my poor bruised feelings. I probably said more than I should have, but, if I had left anything out, it would not have been as emotional. I have had many a woman reader tell me, they could not put the book down, and spent the entire weekend reading and healing with me.
5. Writing is a journey, one that can allow the writer to see things from a reflective or wider perspective. What would you say you have learned the most in your journey as a writer?
I am laughing to myself….there are so many things. I learned…… my 8th grade English teacher was right. I learned all those years being tortured by my grandmother about grammar and spelling was worth while. And most of all, EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! And even then, walk away from the story for a week, and then edit some more.
6. You will be releasing a novel later this year. Would you like to share a little about it?
Awww, yes. “Coffee of Change” is my first fiction novel. I really have had a good time with this work. Six women that meet on a website to heal from ex husbands. They go about their daily lives, but come to the website to heal from the damages of life. They have very little in common other than the website. They hold each other up, support one another’s decisions and live their lives. But, life is pretty tough on them, and thank goodness for one another. One has her son kidnapped, one loses her mother, another is suffering through cancer and one is a stewardess just flitting through life. I wrote a fun little sex scene for the stewardess and almost had to take a cold shower. Whew…. I hope that means it will be good for the reader too. LOL!!!
The idea for this book occurred from a reality in my life. I did find a website that probably saved my sanity after my Ex-husband left. I did meet six women, and I have even met one of them. They are my friends and I hold them dearly in my heart. We have, indeed, supported one another through thick and thin. Kids, accidents, cancers, divorces, court room dramas, etc. They are fabulous women. We didn’t and don’t always agree on how to handle everything, but, we have always been there for one another…….. since December 2008. And, I don’t know what I would do without them.
Hugs to my CafeMom friends!!!!
7. For you, was there any challenge in making the jump from writing narrative nonfiction to novel? Which do you prefer to write?
I like writing them both. I had no problem jumping from one genre to the next. One just needed to be written before the other. I guess it was just a stepping stone. Thank you for asking….
8. Did you always know you wanted to write books?
I always knew I wanted to write. I had an 8th grade teacher I drove nuts. He probably pulled a lot of his hair out because of me. I wasn’t always great at editing or commas …… I just couldn’t get the story on the page fast enough. I would turn in extra credit all the time. He went out of his way to remind me to slow down, reread, punctuation, and get the whole story out. Describe the characters. It took me the longest time to get that. That just putting it on the page, did not mean, the reader could see what I saw. So, with the new novel, I have gone to great pains to follow Mr. Reichert’s advice. And in the back of my head, my fourth grade teacher, (also my grandmother), is reminding me of spelling….. So, even with the story, comes a lot of people in my head…. LOLOLOLOL!!! Funny how all these years later, that advice still rises to the surface.
9. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Dianna Gabaldon is my favorite author. What a story that woman can tell!!!!
The Nancy Drew series written by a slew of author’s published under Carolyn Keene. I read everyone that was written,(while I was growing up),until recently. I haven’t had the opportunity to see what is new.10. What advice would you give to people who are interested in sharing their stories via narrative nonfiction?
It’s funny you should ask. I was recently asked that question by a snow plowing customer. He did not know how to start the history of his family, and before I knew it, he was telling me some things. I stopped him, and explained….. “Just the way you just told me. Tell your story about your family and their roots, by telling it, as if you were talking to an old friend.”
I am by no means an expert, but, if there is a will, there is a way. And never compromise your virtues or your ideas. Get them down, the way you feel comfortable. Billie Sue Mosiman recently said this better than me, and I am paraphrasing here…. ‘The story ends, when the story ends.’Good advice. How about a bonus question: If you had a million dollars to give away to one charity, which would it be and why?
It would have to be a charity that feeds people and clothes them in America. So many people fall through the cracks in our own country. I understand why people go on missions and do good deeds in other countries, but, right here, right now, in our own country, hundreds of thousands of families are struggling day to day to make ends meet. And these are hard working parents and grandparents…not welfare recipients. I would give that million dollars to food banks across America. Not to sound biased, but, I would start in Idaho. I have seen personally, how easy an accident, can cause chaos in the financial future of a family living paycheck to paycheck. Author Bio:
I am a mother of two, an aunt to 7. My daughter is finishing college as a writer, and my son is in high school. I have been married once, and quite possibly ONLY once. I proudly represent my town's little league as their president and this year the secretary, the vice president and anything else that needed done. I live in a small town and have for all but two years of my life. I have traveled through many of the states in our wonderful country and still am astounded by its beauty! And still, home is where my heart is. I wanted to write when I was a young thing and life got in the way. In 2010 when I had an industrial accident, while healing, I started to write to stave off the boredom of just laying there. Once the writing bug got hold of me, I never stopped. I had forgotten the love I feel from putting the written word to page. What a great feeling! I currently, try to work, with my parents in their construction company. They are patient and understanding.... and for the last 22 years, I was a heavy equipment operator. Now, not so much. But I never give up!
I love a story with a good unexpected twist—one that defies cliché and really takes the story to a whole new level. I remember when I first watched M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense and the thrill that overcame me when I realized what was going on.
When I set out to write Finding Poe, I couldn’t wait to get to the final pages. I was so eager to write that special twist of my own. Even more, I couldn’t wait to see how readers would respond to it. It was an interesting challenge to find that balance between too obvious and too obscure, and I can only hope that I was able to find a happy medium that would make the experience both challenging and rewarding for the greatest possible number of readers.
So I am reaching out to all of you with the simple question: At what page did you figure it out? Please do not share the twist here, as I do not want to spoil it for those who have not had a chance to read the book. With that said, I cannot wait to chat with you all about it!
For those who missed my interview but would still like to catch it, you can listen to the archived show by clicking on the audio stream:
Thanks for listening--I hope you enjoy!
This short collection includes the novella, Sudden Death Overtime, the short story, “Time Out,” and a preview of Nothing to Lose, by author Steve Vernon. For the purposes of the review, I will be including my ratings and responses to the former two, as I do not like to review partial works (but with that said, I did find the preview of Nothing to Lose an enjoyable read).
Sudden Death Overtime is a short work that begins very fluidly—almost literary in prose—and slowly transforms into a horror comedy with absurdist attributes. The story mainly follows a small group of geriatric men, far past their prime, and their response to what they come to realize, after a number of people go missing, is an encroachment of vampires in their sleepy town. Although I do have to admit I was disappointed when the style changed from lyrical to fast paced and abrupt, I still really enjoyed the read. I’m typically not a fan of absurdist stories, and I’m very critical of horror comedy, but the author pulled it off. I think a continuation of literary prose would have offered a neat juxtaposition against the backdrop that unfolded, but for what it was worth, it was a fun story and definitely a refreshing break from the onslaught of vampire tales currently going around. I rate Sudden Death Overtime a solid 4 stars.
“Time Out” is a lovely piece about childhood, nostalgia, and the changes that occur as we go from child to adult to older adult. Short but sweet, “Time Out” took me back to my own childhood and the reflections I have from the perspective of my own age. I rate this short story 4.5 stars.
Overall, this short collection will delight anyone looking for a unique jaunt through two different genres pieced together by their common themes of hockey and youth remembered. It’s a quick read, one I rate at 4.25 stars.
Alan Dale is a sci-fi/horror writer who often finds unique takes to his genre. His most recent release, DNA: Code Flesh, book one of The Dead Nations Army series takes a thoughtful and innovative approach to the zombie horror sub-genre. Thanks for joining us today, Alan! Please tell us more about your motivations behind writing this series.
The Motivation behind “DNA”
We live in a society that is always claiming to want to do right by it, but aren't we just looking out for the interests of a select few or those who represent our individual interests? To cannibalize itself, society forgets that from top to bottom, left to right, we are constantly destroying ourselves by laying people in our wake. Do I believe in Darwinism? Absolutely. But we tend to have so many who do unjust, immoral, or flat out evil things and claim it to be "in the best interests of..." when its plain narcissism. DNA discusses that scope of behavior through analogy.
Now more than ever the elite, nepotist, and wealthy worldwide are getting their own gold dusted sandboxes and plotting out how to have it all to themselves. Don't believe me? Read your hospital or medical bills lately? How's insurance? They punish people who work with higher rates, huh??? How about gas prices? How about the costs of education? The new system is designed to eliminate any and all who don't sit at the table of the golden geese. Our history has shown this time and time again and now sadly with the world becoming smaller it is easier for a collaboration. DNA hopes to entertain and enlighten because change is needed from one side of the globe to the other.
About a decade ago, I began seeing more and more of what was going wrong in our world. Being both a journalism and history major, I tend to wax nostalgic and read a lot about past civilizations and dynasties. It is scary how similar the demise of our nation parallels those of other empires past – think Greece, Rome, Persia, etc. The difference is, that with the world becoming so much smaller and compact due to technological advancements, the so-called ‘elite’ have decided to become buddies.
It is a known fact that when a population’s decision makers and governmental leaders come from means (you know, Silver Spoon kids), ultimately its nation and infrastructure fails. Why? Well how can the 1 percent who have no semblance of what struggle and day-to-day survival is, relate to the 99 percent? They can’t. Historically, they tend to be greedy and want the whole playground to themselves. The problem is now all of those kids have grown up and can Skype with those of their ilk in Japan, Russia, Germany, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and of course the United States. This does not bode well for the people. Thus, DNA was written as a way to first, entertain, second, educate, and third, predict and show where we are headed if we do not stop this from happening. I mean c’mon? Really? The insurance rates? The medical billings? The gas prices? Grocery prices? Etc. Etc.
It’s not just us. It’s everywhere. But, sadly, if we don’t fix it, we are in trouble. “DNA” basically explores what will happen and what we ultimately deserve when things don’t get properly dealt with. If I may offer a teaser…it’s the first zombie-horror story with a totally ‘happy’ ending….but, be careful what we wish for.
For years the planet was run by the New World Order, but not to its liking. After mandating the use of death row and life sentenced inmates as subjects in scientific experiments, the NWO has decided to tighten its grip through its greatest political decision. However, the experiment backfires, leaving the world in the middle of a war stuck in the middle of another war.
Two of those combatants, Bridjett and Shad Alexi, siblings, torn apart by different allegiances both work to find the common ground amidst a war that will soon grow beyond the parameters anyone would have ever imagined.
Having contaminated the "cocktail" used to keep prisoner test subjects, or SCRATS, alive, the NWO hoped to create an army purely under its command. Little did they know the "cocktail" would turn thousands of SCRATS into zombies and lead to a worldwide epidemic of undead walking the earth. About the Author:
Alan Dale has been a sports and news journalist for on and off for the last 25 years. He has won national awards for sports writing and received numerous accolades for his work. Recently he completed "The Enternet: Trapped Inside A WEB" and the “DNA: Code Flesh (Part One)” teaser novella as part of his “Dead Nations’ Army” trilogy.
Currently, he lives in Portland, Oregon and enjoys time with his girlfriend Thia, cat Kid, and two dog friends, Qi and Puck. Thanks so much for stopping by! To learn more about Alan Dale and his works, check out the links below:
“DNA” fan page: http://www.facebook.com/WeRZombies
Alan Dale’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/#!/ADaleandDNAArmy
Alan Dale’s Blog: http://alandale.wordpress.com/
While irony has a place in many genres, it is a fundamental element in satire. When properly used, it can enrich and add necessary depth to a work, offering commentary in ways that few other literary elements can. Irony expounds a premise through that which is not said, but rather implied by exclusion, creating a deconstructionist venue that might show more than simple description might tell. With that in mind, I offer the reader an exposition of irony through a close reading of an excerpt from my dramatic satire and dystopia, World-Mart.
World-Mart takes a critical look at corporate America, speculating the direction our country is heading in its promotion of big business and slow but steady quashing of the small but personal “mom and pop” enterprise. In this first excerpt, one of the main characters, Shelley, experiences her first lone shopping venture at the Food-Mart. Over the loud speaker, she observes, “‘Attention Food-Mart customers,’ the voice announced. ‘For today only, the canned meat product booth is having a buy three, get one free sale (limit two free items). And remember, a hard worker is a happy worker. Thank you for shopping at Food-Mart.’ (59). The main irony here is that Food-Mart is the only place where citizens can legally purchase groceries. By calling customers specifically “Food-Mart customers,” the establishment creates a false sense of value in their patronage, while actually mocking their value as consumers. The limit of “two free items” further exemplifies the actual devaluing of the customer.
Consider what follows: “And remember, a hard worker is a happy worker.” By inserting this message, Corporate again imports a false sense of value in the mundane everyman. While their actual role is minimal and disposable, the message to these people is in reality aimed at keeping the little man as complacent, yet efficient, as possible. The final sentence in this passage, “Thank you for shopping at Food-Mart,” is just as condescending. Given that there is no other place to shop, the token of appreciation is actually nothing more than a slap in the consumer’s face, lip service that says just as much about Corporate as it does those it would control.
Later in the story, main character George crosses a Corporate landfill, which includes an airplane graveyard. In this section of the novel, a juxtaposition of the real and the fantastic offers a glimpse of all that might be lost through current abuses of energy, waste, and power. George remembers airplanes, but only as a child. When he is faced with the airplane graveyard, he must reassess his memories, the phasing out of large, fuel-consuming vehicles that occurred during the time of his realization that fantasies such as Santa Claus do not exist in reality. By comparing both to God, there is the implication that the heart and soul of American economy have died with the death of free market and commerce, that corporate takeover have killed the average American’s dream of better things to come—that the average American’s free choice to believe in something greater than the reality standing before him, both limited and grim.
In the classic “show and tell” of literature, irony shows in ways few others might. It allows the reader to look at a given issue from a creative and open point of view, offering an opening for personal take and interpretation with its implied direction. Irony can be direct or implicit, best analyzed through the deconstructionist point of view, offering greater power to the reader in personal interpretation and analysis. Properly used, irony enables the reader to apply a given reading to his or her personal experience, enriching through implication rather than direct prose, allowing the reader to own the text and interpret it as he or she will.
George Irwin remembers a time before the Big Climate Change, back when the airlines were still in business and people still drove their own cars. The world has changed much over his lifetime, but he still believes in the American Dream. When an alleged terrorist act lands his wife in the hospital, however, George stumbles upon a Corporate secret that could mean the end of all civilization.
World-Mart is free on Kindle through this weekend. If you prefer paperbacks, the trade paperback edition of World-Mart is also currently on sale for 10% off the suggested retail price.
Thanks for reading!
Tom Potter shifts from one hellish vision to the next in this dark, hauntingly gruesome novella fashioned in the vein of Jacob’s Ladder.
Yeates’ obvious flair for creating an immersive atmosphere had me hooked from the first page. I found his use of language to be fluid and beautiful, and I thought the story was evocative and horrifying. My main issue with Hell’s Teeth was an overwhelming problem with punctuation, the number of comma splices and inappropriate use of semicolons repeatedly distracting me from what was otherwise an amazing read. I did also find the constant barrage of darkness and horror a bit draining by the end, feeling that some kind of break from it all might have strengthened the final stretch. With that said, I found Yeates’ storytelling to be impressive, and even with the punctuation issues I rate Hell’s Teeth a solid four stars.
With this weekend’s release of The Raven
and my recent release, both in Kindle and paperback, of Finding Poe
, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the legacy Poe left behind when he died so mysteriously in 1849.
When I originally conducted my research for Finding Poe
, I found it interesting how many people had attempted to complete his unfinished work “The Lighthouse
”. Upon deeper investigation, I found that Poe was the basis for a good amount of popular fiction (see this link
for a lengthy list) and, moreover, that I was not anywhere close to being the first person to come up with the idea of integrating concepts from Poe’s work into an original story about him. The 2006 film, The Death of Poe
is a great example of a work offering a similar theme.
I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I was also determined to bring something fresh and unique to the table with Finding Poe
Though he has been gone for 163 years, Poe has left a lasting impact on both the deductive mystery and the Gothic romance. The Poe House and Museum in Baltimore
showcases what we love most about his work, although a lack of state funding may jeopardize the future of that establishment (you can send donations to its curator if you are interested in preserving this historic monument). Poe’s works are readily available through websites such as OnlineLiterature.com
, and Kindle versions of his work, many of which are also free, are available through Amazon
Unfortunately, pre-release reviews for The Raven
have been shaky, although the current buzz on Twitter (I could not find the originating link) quotes Stephen King as asserting, “John Cusack is brilliant as Poe.” With that said, David Germain of the Associated Press
writes, “Cusack makes a terrible Poe,” adding that the film is a “pile of cinematic bird poo.” According to the Washington Post
, “Other than some stylishly gothic visuals crafted by director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta
), The Raven
is an unimaginative mess whose superficial appropriations of Poe’s devilish yarns are deeply unworthy of the author.” Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News
calls it “ridiculous” and a “wannabe Sherlockian thriller.” Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune
gives it a measly two stars, bemoaning, “The Raven
squanders a promising scenario while half-burying Cusack's mercurial skills as a leading man with the wiles of a character actor.”
Did that deter this avid Poe fan from seeing the film? Absolutely not—and I couldn’t disagree more with the critics’ initial assessment. I posted review of my own, setting the record straight. You can read it here
So, with so many different takes on Poe, his works, and his continued place in pop culture, where does Finding Poe
stand? Horror author Dana Fredsti
writes, “Atmospheric, lush, and lyrical, Leigh M. Lane's Finding Poe
is a haunting Gothic novel which will delight anyone familiar with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as anyone who enjoys an evocative and classic tale of terror.” I’d like to hear from all of you too: What do you think makes Finding Poe
stand out among the wave of contemporary Poe-inspired works? Don’t have your copy yet? It’s only $3.99 on Kindle
. Don’t have a Kindle? Download this free app
to read Kindle books on your PC, Tablet, or Smart Phone. Better yet, get your paperback copy
right now, while it’s on sale for $7.91—that’s 28% off the list price.Leave your thoughts on Finding Poe for your chance to win some fun SWAG. Up for grabs are sets of refrigerator magnets, signed Finding Poe postcards, and a signed paperback copy of the novel. Thanks for stopping by!
In a sudden and worldwide outbreak, zombies are on the attack. This novel follows the stories of several groups of characters as they attempt to cope with the reality of a real-life, Romero-style zombie invasion, while struggling to survive the effects of waning resources and failed martial law.
Brown has a beautiful way with words, skillfully bringing one image to the next within the reader’s mind’s eye. What captured me the most was the brilliant juxtaposition of the undead and the slow waning of the human spirit within the living, the apathy and brutality exhibited by the survivors growing as the story progresses. I did find the sheer numbers of characters a little overwhelming, at times taking a page or two at the beginning of a new chapter to figure out whether I was reading about recurring characters or an altogether new group. I also had an issue with the choice to follow one character in first-person, especially since that character did not carry any more significant weight throughout the story than any of the other main storylines. The first-person narrative also carried some tense issues, going back and forth between present and past, which may have been a stylistic choice, but one that affected the flow of the prose just the same. There were some grammatical issues as well, and the ending, while clearly leaving room for sequels, was a bit anticlimactic. Had these minor issues been cleaned up, I would have given this book 5 stars, but as it stands, it is a very good read, one I very happily rate at a solid 4 stars.