Find a New Author Support Community

Relocating can be a major pain, whether in state, or across the U.S. In our case, across the country.

Where do you begin to find an author group like the one discovered years before and lost with each successive move? If you use the computer and do internet searches, you can browse the web. But where to start? Meet-Up’s? The local library? You need encouragement and support with your writing goals. You need positive critique. You need to find the holes in your work so you can plug them.

The rewards for finding the right author community are numerous and there are resources out there to help: Continue reading Find a New Author Support Community

Forbidden Birth – Review

Forbidden BirthForbidden Birth by William Rubin

Genre: Currently #1949 in Best Seller’s Rank for Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense, Medical

Publisher: Crystal Vision Creations

Publication Date: July, 2016

Submitted by author for review 

Forbidden Birth – Cover conveys medically themed novel

I was sent this book by the author, Dr. William Rubin, as a medical thriller to read and review. After reading “Forbidden Birth,” however, I’m wondering if it shouldn’t have been classified as cross-genre, as there were also elements of horror, crime, and mystery; even sci-fi.

Dr. Christopher Ravello has given up a lucrative medical practice to join the newly formed Medical Crimes Division as a homicide detective of the New York Police Department. Compelled to fight crime on the street level after the brutal murder of his mother, he moves his well-to-do family to a blue-collar hood of questionable security and works with childhood buddy Kev Kennedy as they bump up against a serial killer known as The Giver. The antagonist is presented as extremely intelligent and, indeed, we get to know him well as he rationalizes the necessity for the work he is doing and the status he’ll achieve when his work becomes known. Continue reading Forbidden Birth – Review

Coca Leaves and Kola Nuts-America’s Favorite Drink

What patent medicine begun in 1885 eventually became one of our most popular drinks?

Here’s a hint: It contained two “medicinal” ingredients–extract of coca leaves (cocaine) and kola nuts (the latter being a source of caffeine). How much cocaine was actually contained within the syrup at the time is unknown, but we do know that cocaine continued to be an ingredient in the syrup (however minute) to secure the trade name “Coco-Cola” right up to 1929.

Colonel John PembertonWounded in the Civil War, inventor Confederate Colonel John Pemberton became addicted to morphine. His need to replace morphine led to the formulation of the Coca-Cola recipe, originally produced as a coca wine. It was formally registered as a French Wine (Coca) nerve tonic. It was reformulated in 1886 in a non-alcoholic version, became Coca-Cola, and sold out of Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. But “soda” drinks had already become popular.

Coca-ColaIncreasingly found in pharmacies by the 1830’s, soda fountains were helping to dispense medications with the flavor of mineral (or naturally carbonated) water. Back then, two plant roots, specifically sarsaparilla and sassafras, were recognized for their unique flavor and presumed to contain medicinal properties. Sassafras (as well as sarsaparilla) was a major ingredient in root beer, brewed as a mildly alcoholic beverage. (Studies found sassafras oil caused cancer or permanent liver damage in laboratory animals in 1960. A process was then discovered to remove the harmful substance.)

And, by the way, Coke’s main competition was created by Caleb Bradham of North Carolina when he concocted a fountain drink in his pharmacy that was intended to aid digestion and boost energy in 1898. The main ingredients are pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts, later to become Pepsi-Cola.

And really, this is nothing. Think what man discovered they could do with rice, corn and grapes and those drinks have been around for thousands of years! ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box

Creating a Book Trailer–DIY Or Not?

Book Trailers 101My stated goal last year was to make a new book trailer. It didn’t happen. Looking at book trailers these days, most appear to have been professionally crafted; definitely not your standard home-grown variety. I tried creating a book trailer four years ago and had a great time with it–writing about it on this blog.

But things have changed a bit since I made that first book trailer. Even in that short span of time, the technology has gotten better, sources for free video clips have widened, and the bar has been raised considerably.

Video Editing Software

Back when I tried that first book trailer, I used Windows Movie Maker, the default Windows video editing software, to create “Cocos Island Treasure.” It’s a fairly basic program, keeping it simple from font choice to video to photo clips to audio. (I experimented with introducing a voice over in addition to music clip in “Lucky Joe.”) Other popular programs are Sony Vegas and iMovie. Sony Vegas was sold in May 2016 and now may be more expensive than before extended into Sony Pro and certainly more sophisticated than my level of expertise. iMovie was created by Apple and is the default video editing program for the Mac. The iMovie alternative for (PC) Windows 10 (and older) is the Movavi Video Editor. The latter currently runs $39.99. Yes, there are free trials.

Continue reading Creating a Book Trailer–DIY Or Not?

Craig’s List-Looking for Furniture?

Pool Shark Cue RackCraig’s list has a reputation for unusual or hard-to-find items; it’s a go to whenever you are looking for something. Looking for a desk recently, I found some very unusual items and I’m not sure if it is just a representative sample of what can be found perusing “furniture,” or whether it’s the area of search (NW Indiana). For instance, this area seems to be big on “man caves.” Here is the perfect accessory for the pool table out there. Called a Pool Shark Cue Rack, it will hold 4 for the measly price of $100.00.

The French tend to go a bit overboard with their French Provincial; this love seat with matching couch at only $400. (Do you like the way they pulled the plastic off for the picture and then left it there?)

French Love Seat

 

Herman Miller Landscape Social Chair

 

 

 

 

Need something a little more modern with some color? How about these Herman Miller Landscape Social Chairs–only $150. (Well, you have to imagine it with legs.)

Even more simple, you say? How about these “hand chairs?” $100 each. Pick a color–any color–or not.

hand chairs

An absolute must-have around here with all these lush green areas, however, are riding lawn mowers. You won’t find them in furniture–or lawn equipment for that matter. Apparently once you finally get one, it’s stays in the family for life. I didn’t see one. ©2016 Virginia WilliamsResource Box

Beyond the Red Carpet-Heart of Stone – Review

Beyond the Red CarpetBeyond the Red Carpet/Heart of Stone by Debbra Lynn

Genre: Heart of Stone is #653 in Best Sellers Rank for Mystery, Crime Fiction, Murder

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Publication Dates: December 2016/June 2016

Submitted by author for review

Because I was sent these two books of the Hollywood Lies series together, I’ll review both here beginning with Beyond the Red Carpet, a debut effort by Debbra Lynn. Though I am not usually one to read a book with some serious “adult content,” (language and sexual content) this book caught my attention with an interesting plot that was laid out by flashbacks setting the ground work for the present (2015) scene–describing a well planned, or “perfect” murder. Both covers are dark and set the stage for murder mysteries.

The initial protagonists don’t all stay in that position as the plot progresses. Not the first time a marriage has been misrepresented as a beautiful, loving couple, Marcus and Sophia have their share of conflicts that escalate into ever-increasing paranoid revelations by Marcus. He has become involved with Sophia’s best friend, Cat, who is definitely no friend, getting her claws into Sophia’s husband, who is a wildly successful and powerful Hollywood director. Continue reading Beyond the Red Carpet-Heart of Stone – Review

It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!

Nano CrestOn Sept 27, 2015, I wrote regarding my introduction to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month website created by Chris Baty in 1999 and succeeded by Executive Director, Grant Faulkner in 2012. Think you still have a book in you? November is the month to find out. Just 50,000 little words, only 1,667 words per day in 30 days. Think you can do it? How about if you had help, a coach, or several coaches, hints, information, word count, encouragement, and other participants pushing to complete their book in the same month? It’s a band of engagement–join the fun!

National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The experience is free–yes–they’ll accept donations and getting into the spirit of the thing, you can order NaNoWriMo mugs, clothing, books, and posters. And it’s so simple: Continue reading It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!