Mountain Laurel – Segment 4

Last week when we left Andy Roberts and Lewis Washington in a Nashville bar, a voluptuous brunette had caught Andy’s eye and, we were just starting to hear the story of how Andy got to Nashville. I have a feeling this is going to be juicy. Of course, Andy is lost in his thoughts and sharing very little of this with the insistent reporter.

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The brunette managed to bump into me as she brushed past on her way to the ladies room. “Oh I’m so sorry,” she tittered.

I silently tipped my black Stetson and turned away.

“Pardon my French, Mr. Roberts, but what in the hell does a fifteen-year-old kid do in Nashville?”

A smile crossed my face as I remembered the lady who took me in off the streets. She was a beauty with flaming red hair and fourteen years my senior. But, she could sing. She was already a star, performing on the Grand Ol’ Opry and recording on Columbia Records. She would tell me I was the prettiest thing she’d ever seen and I’d blush.

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I raised my head and stared long and hard at my reflection in the mirror behind the bar. I never thought of a man as being pretty. My eyes weren’t violet like April’s, they were more of a blue-gray and I had a head of dark wavy hair.

cowboy black hat

I was tall and slender and she loved dressing me in expensive rhinestone suits. She was as fine a lady as had ever been born. She took me with her everywhere she went and introduced me to all of the Nashville players.

And at night, when the curtains fell and we were alone, she took me to her bed. She made me a man…a real man. She taught me how to please, exactly how to touch all the right places and what made a woman lose control. By the time I turned seventeen, I opened shows for her and warmed her bed when her husband was away.

Corinna South was on top of the world. She drank heavy, fought hard, loved harder and sang with all of her heart and soul. Then a car wreck took her from me and from the world. There would never be another Corinna South and I’d never give quite as much of myself to another woman.

Despite the thoughts that flooded my mind, I managed a civil reply to the insistent man. “I was lucky. Corinna South needed an opening act and I auditioned.”

After a long moment, I stood, threw some bills on the bar and headed for the door.

tip money

Lewis shouted after me. “But, I’m not done yet, Mr. Roberts. We’re just getting started.”

I waved at him over my shoulder and dug the keys to the Jaguar out of my pocket. Without a second thought or backward glance, I turned the car onto the highway and gunned it. I didn’t let off the gas until the speedometer hit one-hundred. When it slowed to ninety, I hit the cruise control.

It didn’t matter that I had a show to do twenty-four hours from now, or that a pretty blonde waited for me at my uptown Nashville apartment. I located a half-empty bottle of whiskey under the front seat. A quick twist of the lid and the amber liquid burned its way down my throat.

Jack Daniels Half Full

The sun was starting to slip behind the mountain when I turned down the rutted lane that led to the familiar miner’s shack. My Jag hit bottom as the tires slid into deep ruts. I maneuvered it the best I could and rolled to a stop in front of what was left of our cabin.

TO BE CONTINUED………

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Two Shorts & a Snort, on #LisaBurtonRadio

A huge thank you to C.S. Boyack for this feature on the Lisa Burton Radio Show!

Entertaining Stories

Lisa Burton

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re calling back into the nineteen-sixties. I just need to hook up this Einstein-Rosen switchboard.

Done, and we’re connecting.

“Eastham Correctional Facility.”

“Good morning. This is Lisa Burton, and I have an appointment to speak with Charlie Riddle.”

“Very good, ma’am. The prisoner is standing by. I’ll connect you.”

“Hello. Lisa? Lisa Burton?”

“Is this Charlie Riddle?”

CR: Yeah, it’s me.

“Charlie, I’m sure we’re all sorry about your circumstances. We’d like to understand how you got to this point in your life.”

“It’s a long story, but if you’ve got time, I have plenty to spare. I grew up in Odessa, Texas. If you’ve never been there, it’s flat land with nothing but sand and oil wells. My ol’ man worked the rigs, so as soon as I turned seventeen, I hired…

View original post 1,128 more words

Mountain Laurel – Segment 3

Andy Roberts is a singing star in Nashville, Tennessee. He is sitting in a bar drinking and wanting only solitude, but an insistent reporter keeps interrupting his thoughts. So far, we know that Andy Roberts isn’t his real name and we know he lost his father to a coal mining accident when he was a young boy. He has a little brother, Timmy, who is mentally disabled and a sister, April, who is beautiful with long dark hair and violet eyes. When his father died, his mother fell into a deep depression and stopped functioning for the family. Let’s check back in and see how things are going. When we left them, Andy was about ready to punch the reporter in the face for insisting that Andy tell him his real name.

###

No kid should have to go through life as Norbert Angus. If I lived to be a hundred years old, I’d never understand what possessed Mama and Papa. At least, Papa had shortened it to Bert, but that wasn’t much better in my way of thinking.

From the corner of my eye, I spotted a voluptuous brunette who wiggled through the barroom door. For a split second our eyes met and she tugged at the fringed sequined tank top giving me an unobstructed view of her cleavage.

brunette

I sighed and looked away. It was all the same. The shows, the reporters, the whiskey, the women and worst of all, the memories…the memories that haunt me and won’t let me be.

The day the welfare lady returned to take Timmy was the one time I saw Mama show a spark of who she’d once been. She grabbed the lady’s dress screaming at the top of her lungs, fighting for her child. Timmy’s wails only added to the chaos. But, in the end, the welfare lady won and stuffed Timmy into the back seat of the Ford, spinning rocks and dirt as she took off.

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We never saw him again. Guilt and shame rolled over me in waves as I gripped the whiskey glass, finally setting it down before I shattered it. Here I am, a big Nashville singing star, and never once have I tried to find Timmy.

Not long after that horrible day, April married the first soldier that came along and moved to Toledo, leaving just Mama and me. The memory of Papa placing his hand on my shoulder a few days before he died, and making me promise to take care of Mama, April and Timmy if anything happened to him, stuck in the back of my throat now like a bitter quinine pill. I failed him. I failed myself and I failed Mama.

The awkwardness of those days that followed would be forever branded in my mind. The way Mama stared through dull eyes into nothingness, the way I made clumsy attempts to feed us and the way I longed to escape.

Within a few months, Mama took to the bed sick. She never got up again.

Just before my fourteenth birthday, I was an orphan, facing the world alone.

The reporter’s whine jarred me as he dove into his second beer. “I understand that you came from Kentucky, Mr. Roberts. How did you get all the way to Nashville?”

I pushed the memories aside and faced Lewis. “I walked.”

“Walked?” He scribbled furiously.

“Got a hearing problem, Lewis? After my mama died, I went to Toledo to live with my older sister and her husband. I was almost fifteen when I struck out for Nashville. All I had were the clothes on my back and a beat-up Harmony guitar.”

guitar on back

“That’s a hard walk.” He took a long draw from his mug.

“You have no idea.”

TO BE CONTINUED……….

Jump on board the #RRBCTreatReads Blog Hop! #RRBC #RWISA

I am about to be away for a few days, but this is the complete lineup for the RRBC “TREATS” Read Blog Hop! Jump on board and show these award-winning authors some love!

Watch Nonnie Write!

Hello, ladies and gentleman!  I’m back with a lot of fun for you to dive into and some amazing reads hot on my “tail,” as they say down in Texas.

For 13 days, the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is hosting a blog hop for the grand prize winner, the runner-ups and the finalists in the 2017 KCT INT’L LITERARY AWARDS CONTESTS!  Now, all of these members are RWISA Members and that means that you can bet your bottom dollar, the reads are good!  (If you don’t know about RWISA, hurry and check them out!)

I’m sharing the Line-up here because I can just feel you itching for some good reads and you can definitely find one here, every day thru the 30th.

***

“TREAT” READS BLOG HOP LINE-UP

Tuesday, 9/18/18:“THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEYS OF BILLY BATTLES” by Ronald Yates

Wednesday, 9/19/18:  “IN THE SHADOW OF LIES”

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#RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop – Day 3 Gwen Plano

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“Greetings!  Welcome to the 2nd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!”

Author, Gwen Plano

Gwen Plano (1)

Book: LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

Letting Go

 

Book Blurb: Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

 Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek

Twitter: @gmplano

#RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop – Day 2 – M.A. Adler

rrrbc-logo

“Greetings!  Welcome to the 2nd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!”

Author, Mary Adler

Mary RRBC 2

 

Book: IN THE SHADOW OF LIEShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K7WYTSU/

In The Shadow of Lies by Mary Adler

Book Blurb: Richmond, California. World War II.  Marine Lieutenant Oliver Wright comes home from the war in the Pacific injured and afraid his career as a homicide detective is over.  But when an Italian Prisoner of War is murdered the night the Port Chicago Mutiny verdicts are announced, and black soldiers are suspected of the crime, the Army asks Oliver to find out the truth.

 He and his canine partner Harley join forces with an Italian POW captain and with a black MP embittered by a segregated military. During their investigation, these unlikely allies expose layers of deceit and violence that stretch back to World War I and uncover a common thread that connects the murder to earlier crimes.

 In the Shadow of Lies reveals the darkness and turmoil of the Bay Area during World War II, while celebrating the spirit of the everyday people who made up the home front. Its intriguing characters will resonate with the reader long after its deftly intertwined mysteries are solved.

Twitter: @MAAdlerWrites

 

#RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop – Day 1 RON YATES!

rrrbc-logo

“Greetings!  Welcome to the 2nd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!”

Author, Ronald Yates

RON YATES PIC

Book: THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEYS OF BILLY BATTLES https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GKU3P28/

Billy_Battles

Book Blurb: The year is 1894 and Billy is aboard the S S China sailing to the inscrutable Far East. Trouble is not far behind. He has met a mysterious and possibly dangerous German Baroness. He has locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea.

Later, he is embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina–which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam. Then, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the brutal anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are only beginning.

 As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, and an assortment of vindictive and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present? The answers are just ahead.

Twitter: @jhawker69

Mountain Laurel – Segment #2

We met our main character in the first segment of Mountain Laurel last week. So far, all we know about him is that his name is Mr. Roberts and he’s obviously a country music star in Nashville.  We also know he lost his father in a coal mining accident when he was a young boy. A reporter is trying his best to get an interview out of him and so far that isn’t going well. Let’s head back to the bar and see how he fares.

###

I had a little brother, Timmy, seven years younger. Timmy had been born different. They said his brain never developed the way it should. He’d sit for hours and play with the dust that danced on the sunbeams through the windows, lost in his own little world. Oh, how Papa doted on him.

After that fateful day in the coal mines of Kentucky, the life we’d known as children of Robert Anderson was over. Mama fell into a deep depression and locked everyone out. If it hadn’t been for April, us Anderson kids might’ve starved to death.

My one solace was music. I’d often disappear for hours at a time, taking my guitar with me. A stream ran a few hundred yards from our miner’s shack on the side of the Cumberland Mountains. That’s where I’d go. I played my guitar and sang to the fish that jumped out of the water, turtles that sunned on a log and frogs that leaped from stone to stone.

The fat man cleared his throat loudly. “Mr. Roberts, I don’t think you’ve heard a word I’ve said. Would you at least answer one question?”

Oh yeah, I’d forgotten all about the insistent reporter. I turned to look squarely at him. “What’s your name?”

“Lewis Washington, sir. What inspired you to write your hit song, Cumberland Mines?”

“It was a tribute…to my father.” I motioned to the bartender and returned to my thoughts.

Not too long after we lost Papa, the local welfare lady came. I hid under the porch and listened.

Mountain_Shack

“Mrs. Anderson, we’re sorry for the loss of your husband, but it has come to our attention that your young son, Timmy, may need to be placed in an institution where he can get the kind of help he needs.”

I didn’t have to see Mama’s face to know she gave the lady a blank stare. That’s all she’d managed to give any of us for months.

The welfare lady droned on and on. By the time she drove her ’49 Ford down the dirt road that had brought her to our shack, I knew she’d be back to get Timmy. I crawled out from under the porch and kicked at the dust that settled under my feet.

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Anger took over and I bounded up the porch steps and into the house. Brushing past April, I went straight to Mama. Nothing I said would make her look at me. She was gone.

The worst thing a boy can do is cry in front of his older sister. Once I’d said my piece, I grabbed my guitar and headed for the creek as I’d done a hundred times since Papa died. Oh, how I pounded on the guitar that day. The more I cried, the harder I hit the strings. But, by the time I dragged myself back to the house, I’d written my first song about a tragedy in a Cumberland Mountain coal mine.

“Ahem. I heard Andy Roberts ain’t your real name.” The reporter didn’t give up.

I glanced at his flushed face. “Nope.”

“What’s your real one?” The way he held the pencil over the paper reminded of me a bird about to dive for its prey.

“You’re getting awful personal,” I growled. For a long minute, I considered punching him in the face.

TO BE CONTINUED……

The Button by D.L. Finn #RRBC #RWISA

Thank you, Jan, for inviting me to be on your blog to help celebrate this week’s release of The Button!

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Blurb:

Lynn Hill left a difficult childhood behind when she turned eighteen. The 1980s were going to be the beginning of a great life. Then what started as an ordinary evening out with her best friend, Stacy, turns into a nightmare. Lynn hears warnings: “Go!” “Leave!” Believing she is hearing things after partying too much, she goes back for one more drink before going home. That decision sets off a chain of events that nothing could have prepared her for. While humans and not-so-human beings are attempting to either help or harm her, Lynn risks everything to find the only person she trusts, Stacy. Who can help her? The stepbrother who shows up right when she needs him or the attractive, helpful bartender who gives her his phone number? Lynn must learn to trust again. Her survival depends on it in this paranormal thriller.

Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Castro Valley, California, 1976

Lynn was suddenly aware of her surroundings. It was tranquil floating above her still body next to angels. She felt indifferent at seeing her pale form hooked up to wires and IVs, although the beeping machines indicated that her body was still alive.

“You have to go back—you have more to do,” the female angel informed her.

Lynn met the angel’s steady gaze. While she was in awe of her beauty, it was the angel’s silver dress that drew her attention. It reminded her of how the water in her grandmother’s pool had wrapped her in serenity when she sat at the bottom. She’d loved doing that for as long as she could hold her breath. It was one of the few times she felt safe, cocooned in water where no one could hurt her. That dress, flowing like water around the angel, affected Lynn in the same way as the pool did—it made her feel safe. The angel pushed her hair back, causing it to cascade over her peacock-green wings.

Lynn turned her attention to the male angel. His smile was mesmerizing—like a lava lamp, hot and fluid. What a babe! With his long brown hair, strong chiseled features, and green eyes she could get lost in, she felt she could totally spend eternity with him. He smiled broadly at her, but the smile quickly disappeared when the female angel scowled at him. Wait a minute—do they know what I’m thinking? Not cool! Lynn felt her face redden.

The embarrassment was quickly erased as both angels smiled at her again. Lynn wished they’d say more, but she wanted to continue to hang out with them. She was feeling a peace she’d never felt before.

She started to express her desire to stay. “I don’t—” was all she got out before images of an older version of herself filled her mind all at once. Then she was thrust back—into her life and that pallid body hooked up to the beeping machines…


Random Finn facts:

  1. One of my favorite poems is “A Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I have a framed print of it above my computer.
  2. I love the seasons: the red leaves of fall, the first flowers in spring, stargazing on a warm summer night, watching the landscape change during a snowstorm and listening to it rain–no matter what season it is.
  3. I prefer to drink my tea out of a coffee cup, although I collect teacups.

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D.L. Finn is an independent California local, who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks and cedars, her creativity was cradled until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to her readers to join her.

D.L. Finn’s social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Linkedin

Google

Links to Purchase:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

D.L. FINN BANNER WITH WORDS

D.L. Finn is an uber-supportive member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS

Do Press Releases work?

Press Release Crossword

As a staff writer for two magazines, I receive a plethora of Press Releases every day.

I can tell you some grab my eye immediately and some I never open. So what is the secret?

First of all let me answer the question: Do Press Releases have value?

The immediate and short answer is “Yes.”

The longer answer is:

  • Press Releases are a great way to shout out an accomplishment
  • Press Releases can open doors for interviews
  • Press Releases can gain you new followers and fans
  • Press Releases offer a way to reach many with one click

So, what is it about these Press Releases that prompt me to open or delete them?

The first thing I watch for is relevance. I write for music magazines, so a press release about a new company opening down the street will not get my attention (unless it is a recording studio or music store).

That is the number one point I’d like to make. If you are considering sending out a Press Release about an award you received for a book, don’t send it to a publication that only specializes in politics (unless your book is about politics). You wouldn’t want to send your press release to a publication that only does music reviews (unless your book is about music.) I’m sure you get the idea.

In my case, if the press release I receive is not about an artist relevant to Texas or Oklahoma, I delete it.

The headline of the press release is the next most important aspect to me. It can make or break the effort. A boring headline won’t prompt me to open it, but an excited, energetic headline will draw me every time. I’ve even opened Press Releases that I knew had no relevance to me just because of the compelling subject title. They made me want to know more. That is probably the single biggest challenge for anyone writing a Press Release.

Here is a formula that might be useful.

Headline Formula

If you can get them to open it, you at least have a 50-50 chance of some follow-up action.

Since my book of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort,” won the Grand Prize in the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB 90-day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story contest, I will be sending out press releases locally and statewide.

Here is my headline for local media:

Local Indie Author wins the Grand Prize in an International Short Story Challenge

And for statewide media:

Texas Indie Author wins the Grand Prize in an International Short Story Challenge

Then, in the body of the ONE page Press Release, I can give more details. To me, the draw in the headline is three things – One that I am a local author, two this was not a local contest and three I am an indie author.

What are your thoughts? Have you sent Press Releases in the past? Did you get any results?  I’ll keep you posted as to my results. I’ve had a good response in the past, getting two newspaper features and a TV appearance.

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In the meantime, if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of “Two Shorts and a Snort,” here is the purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

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