Friday, April 29, 2011

TURNING by Dawn Kirby

First Touch

His hands slipped down her back sending chills down to her toes. Warmth spread throughout her body. Strong fingers bit into her sides. Her breath caught when she felt skin tear. Nicholas pulled her closer, nibbling on her ear. Alana closed her eyes and let her head roll back as his lips travelled to her neck. Despite the cool hand wrapped firmly around her throat, she let her body go limp in his arms. Safe and exhilarated was the only way she could describe how she felt.

He buried his fingers into her long brown hair, amused at how easy he’d won her over. Here he was, his finger resting on her lifeline, his fangs ready to drain it, his mind telling him not to, and her so willing; so trusting. She was his for the taking and he wanted her. The only question in his mind now was how to keep her.

Hours ago he’d gone out in search of easy prey. Instead of finding a mere meal he’d found her. A raving beauty with a brain. The fact that she also had a heart bigger than any country he’d ever visited didn’t hurt either. Nicholas needed love. What he needed more was a companion. In her, he saw both.

“Nick,” she whispered, covering his hand with hers.

“Nicholas,” he corrected, “My name is Nicholas.”

He covered her lips with hers before she could say another word. She wrapped her arms around his neck, absently twirling locks of long black hair around her fingers as they kissed. In one quick motion he broke away from her embrace and swept her into his arms. He kept his icy blue eyes locked on hers all the way up the stairs. In those few seconds his earlier question was answered.

Neither would get the thing they wanted tonight. If he wanted to keep her with him, he had to do it the right way. That meant keeping her at a distance, at least for now. He’d seen the scars a recent break up left on her soul when he first approached her. Now, after looking into her mind, he could see they were much deeper than he’d first thought. Vampire or not, he didn’t want to be the rebound guy.

That said he didn’t want anybody else to be either. As he laid her perfect body down on the white satin comforter Nicholas came up with a plan. One that would give him the ability to physically feel her no matter how far apart they may be.

“I’ll not take you tonight, love,” he said leaning over her. Alana started to protest, but found his finger on her lips instead. “Listen to me. You’ll not remember me come morning. Though I’ll feel you every night of my life, I will not to seek you out until you are ready.”

“Isn’t that for me to decide?” she asked him. “Don’t I know what’s right for me?”

In a flash he was on her. He pinned her hands over her head as his fangs sliced through her shoulder. Tears sprang from her eyes as a blinding flash of pain spread throughout her body. She struggled to get away, but he was so strong he merely had to wrap one leg around hers to keep her still. Worse, she could literally feel the blood leaving her body. Within seconds she began to feel lightheaded.

As quickly as it had begun the attack stopped. The room went dark. Her head was swimming. Alana thought she felt her body being carried, but she didn’t feel any hands holding her. She glanced around the room trying to focus on something, anything to help bring her around.

Frantically she searched her shoulders for the wound the monster in her dream had inflicted, but found nothing. Another quick glance around the room left her both confused and relieved. This was her room. She was lying in her bed. She was wearing her pj’s. Relief washed over her. That horrible experience had been nothing more than a nightmare.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Another Day... or Not!

I've got two things to share:

#1:  I want to introduce, Dawn Kirby, a paranormal romance writer that will be writing regularly for My Friends Call Me Kate. As you can probably guess, I found Dawn on Twitter and fell in love with some flash fiction stories she has been writing on her blog. After a few e-mails it was decided that Dawn would be joining My Friends Call Me Kate to write a weekly series titled, TURNING.  Starting this week, portions of the story will be featured every Friday.  The most exciting thing is that Dawn is writing this series specifically for My Friends Call Me Kate. These are all new stories written just for you!  I invite you all to follow along and welcome Dawn with open arms. I'm sure you will love her writing as much as I do.   You can read all about Dawn Kirby on her link at the top of the page.   She's a cute one, too!

#2:  It seems that author, Nigel Bird, took notice of My Friends Call Me Kate and asked that I be a guest on his blog, Sea Minor.  Dancing With Myself is an ongoing series wherein guests are asked to interview themselves. Oh, boy! All I can say is that I'm deeply honored to be included among this amazing group of people and would like to personally thank Nigel for the opportunity.

If you've ever wondered just how and why this blog was started, and where on earth the name comes from, well, read on, my friends.  It's all me. No hiding. Just me bringing a little reality to why I'm doing what I'm doing.  Read... laugh... comment.  CLICK THIS LINK FOR A GOOD TIME =)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hard to Surrender by Daniel Ames

One of my favorite quotes is something supposedly attributed to Vince Lombardi. The way I understand it, Lombardi used to bark the following mantra to his players during practice: “The harder we work, the harder it is to surrender!”

According to Packer lore, because Lombardi pushed his players so hard in practice, in games they owned the fourth quarter. When the other team was gasping for breath, weak from fatigue toward the end of the contest, the Packers rolled on, just as strong, if not stronger, than when they began the game.

The harder we work, the harder it is to surrender.

I’ve got entire books of quotes, especially about writing. So why does Lombardi’s quote resonate so strongly for me?

I guess the answer is my first collection of poetry, Feasting at the Table of the Damned.

I had always loved poetry, from an early age. In college, whenever I had free electives, I always took a poetry course. And then, I began writing. Just a poem here or there. Eventually, I started sending them out, and eventually, most of them were published.

But as I began to build a reasonable body of work, I came to a crossroads. Did I really want to continue? As much as I enjoyed seeing my work published, and as much as I appreciated the positive feedback, I wasn’t certain where I was going. I knew I would always write poetry because I loved the process, the challenge of getting across an idea with power, elegance and brevity.

The realization appeared slowly but with the weight of concrete: the next step was a book, and I wasn’t sure I could do it.

I spent more time than I care to admit ceding fear to the doubt nearly every artist (except maybe Norman Mailer) experiences at some point.

And then the crazy Italian from Brooklyn who somehow wound up in Green Bay popped into my head.

The harder we work, the harder it is to surrender.

I had worked too hard, labored too long, sweated too much over my collection of poems to just walk away.

So I wrote the book and sent it out. Eventually Aquarius Press of Detroit offered me a publishing contract.

The book has a lot to do with struggle. The obstacles everyone deals with, like the fight to live, to stay sane, to live life with passion, and the struggle to pass through this world with eyes wide open, hungering for comprehension.

Some of the poems are dark, others light. Some are nostalgic, others rife with anger and bitterness.

And yeah, there is the issue of surrender. It’s my belief that everyone, at some level, has the urge to surrender. To give up. To just throw all the wasted time and effort and years and pain and bullshit all into the toilet and flush it away.

But most of us don’t surrender. Miraculously, we lift our heads and turn an honest face into a wind that we know has the power to literally rip us apart.

That’s why I titled the book the way I did.

The table is set, I hope you enjoy the feast.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feasting at the Table of the Damned by Daniel Ames

Today I'm going outside my comfort zone. Like, really, really outside my comfort zone, to discuss a book a poetry, Feasting at the Table of the Damned,  that I received from author Daniel Ames.  He was kind enough to give me a copy of his first book of poetry for my birthday.  As you can probably guess by now... we met on Twitter. Daniel is officially part of what I call my Twitter family.

My first encounter with poetry, besides the usual copied poems we were all forced to write on cards for Mother's Day and Valentine's Day in kindergarten and early elementary school, was in my 5th grade class at Condon Elementary in St. Helens, Oregon. Oh, how I wish I remember this teacher's name. I remember what he looked like. He stood about 5'6" and had thick graying hair with a full beard and mustache. His eyes were a light blue.  He had a limp with partial paralysis on his right side from having polio as a child. He was kind. He was funny. And sometimes, when he didn't think we were watching, he'd pick his nose hairs with tweezers.  He really was my favorite teacher. Probably because he treated all of us the same; as if we were all capable of achieving greatness. He treated us that way even when we failed at something.

For me it was poetry.

He spent several days teaching us the ins and outs of poetry. He talked to us about rhythm and rhyming... and about a hundred other things, I'm sure. It was a long time ago, and I'm afraid in all of the years I've spent filling my brain with goodness this was, sadly, the only time I ever remember being taught anything about poetry.  Well, he taught us and sent us off to write a poem, and then  had us take turns reading our poems to the class.

Oh, boy!

I don't have the poem I wrote memorized in its entirety, but I do remember the first two lines...

*dramatic pause*            

I'm about to enter embarrassment territory, but it's all for the greater good... I promise.

There was a little deer
Standing next to a can of beer...

Hey, no laughing. I was in 5th grade for crying out loud.

The poem did improve along the way, and according to my teacher, my rhyming and rhythm were perfect. But we both knew that poetry wasn't my thing and that I wouldn't be earning a living writing greeting cards for Hallmark.

Since then I've always been fascinated with poetry. I just find it hard to understand. I think I've been conditioned in life to believe that every single thing, every single day, is a test. When in some ways it probably is, in other ways... like reading poetry, it isn't.

I had to remember that while reading Feasting at the Table of the Damned  by Daniel Ames.  His poetry wasn't a test for me.  It was a chance for me to take a look inside myself and find a relationship with the imagery he put together with words.  At times the book is filled with humor. At other times it is dark in its truthfulness. I could read about places that I've never been to and envision them in full detail with every word written in a poem. I found myself connecting and remembering some of the pain I have felt in my own life. Every word rang true to me. It was a beautiful tale about life. The good and the bad. Both, woven together as a reminder of how our choices, and unintended life circumstances, change us.

With permission from the author I would like to share with you a poem from Feasting at the Table of the Damned, that overwhelmed me the most, and even now, haunts me.  It is titled, The Murdered Years. Perhaps its content resonates with me because of my employment with the District Attorney's Office where we prosecute cases caused by the most horrific of circumstances. This poem, this poem out of all the poems in this book, spoke the loudest. All of my feelings, and probably those of my coworkers and friends, can be found within these lines.

The Murdered Years

they are strewn from here to Tijuana
tossed into the dumpster
thrown from overpass
buried in the field of unknowing

their last moments were not pleasant
rich with strife and frothing
crushed by the hoary thumb of
corporate America

kicked from the car during marital strife
passed out beneath the bar stool
while a friend rifles pockets for cash
and the bartender looks the other way

no detective has taken up the cold case
no pictures have been placed on milk cartons
they are gone and forgotten
unmarked graves
wandering eternity

the slaughter has slowed a bit
but the blood thirst is not fully slaked
a year goes for a walk and never returns
a year picked up a john, didn't come back

they are the kind of moments no one cares about
no relatives will put pressure on the authorities
the days, weeks, months will remain missing
and no one is holding out hope they're still alive

so we go on

we put one foot in front of the other
we scratch at the foot that is no longer there
a song catches our ear and we turn
until the memory vanishes

one day, maybe, the cadaver dogs will howl with glee
the coroner will dissect where it all went wrong
someone will mourn the murdered years
say what a waste, they were so young and innocent

Daniel Ames will be visiting My Friends Call Me Kate on Wednesday and will talk to us about why it was so important for him to publish this book.  Feasting at the Table of the Damned is available for pre-order here.

Dan Ames is a poet living in DetroitFeasting at the Table of the Damned is his first book. You can learn more about him at

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shotgun Honey

Hello. I thought I'd let you know that I've been asked to assist in the editing of this really awesome online zine called Shotgun Honey. Created by a twitter pal of mine, Kent Gowran, it features short stories that are 700 words or less. Not only will I be working with Kent, I'll be working alongside another great man named Ron Earl Phillips.  I'm such a lucky girl! Truly.

We'll be looking for the following:

Crime. Hardboiled. Noir. Something like that. 700 words maximum. Make it tight. Make it hum. Send submissions, queries, questions, and random thoughts on BBQ and/or rock'n'roll to:

New stories run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  So check it out, save it to your favorites and if you're willing, send us a story.  You can read all the good stuff here:

I'm also supposed to double as the mascot... The Shotgun Honey Bunny.  Unfortunately, I'm still searching for the perfect ears... and tail.  I'm just pleased that my one year serving as a mascot for Marshfield High School is finally paying off! GO PIRATES! 


Monday, April 11, 2011

A Deadly Cliche by Ellery Adams

"Why are you calling him a victim?"

Olivia frowned.  Was this cop some recent hire looking to impress the chief?  He was as fresh of face and as awkward of body as a preadolescent boy, but his speech was clipped and laced with arrogance. "I chose that term because unless that man buried himself up to the neck and then somehow found a way to cover his head with a bucket, someone else performed those actions for him."

In A Deadly Cliché by Ellery Adams, Olivia Limoges brings us back to the coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, where the townsfolk are still curious, the beaches are still beautiful and the Bayside Book Writers are still meeting regularly to critique the work being done on their individual novels.

The book starts out with Olivia and her ever so faithful poodle, Captain Haviland, discovering a dead man buried in the beach just a short walk from her home.  More than a little bizarre, this body has not only been buried neck deep, but the man is found naked and holding a shovel in his hand. 

The murder on the beach seems to take on new meaning for Olivia when she finds out shortly after discovering the body that there has been a series of burglaries throughout Oyster Bay.  Even more interesting, strange items are being strategically left behind at each crime scene leading the authorities to call on the Bayside Book Writers for assistance.  Butter with a knife sticking out of it is left at one crime scene and a deck of cards with a missing Queen is left at another. The most creepy case was the discovery of antique dolls that had been damaged; one being left with a silver spoon shoved in its mouth. 

But it isn't until the murder of one of the home owners that the Bayside Book Writers make a connection between the burglaries and the body found on the beach.  Using the investigative reporting skills of a member of the Bayside Book Writers, the group is able to find the hidden meaning behind all of the clichés, but not before the killers make their final move.

In A Deadly Cliché by Ellery Adams, we also get a closer look inside Olivia's past when a mysterious package arrives at her restaurant demanding money to learn the whereabouts of her father, a man that has been missing for 30 years.  The story adds another dimension to the history surrounding Oyster Bay and leaves you mourning at her loss and rejoicing at the future she has ahead. 

Another favorite part of this series is that these characters are writers and while reading  A Deadly Cliché you get a good look at the novels these characters are creating.  The novels being written within the book include fantasy and science fiction.  In all honesty, it is just as fun reading the novels that are found within this novel.  Ellery is a gifted writer and I'm curious to know if she really plans to pen a book in the science fiction / fantasy genre.  I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series.

Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.
You can learn more about Ellery Adams on her website .

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why I Shy Away From S-E-X Scenes by Ellery Adams

Today I am pleased to welcome cozy mystery author, Ellery Adams, to My Friends Call Me Kate where she'll enchant us with her knowledge about sex... or something like that.

Why don’t I write steamy lovemaking scenes?

Because I’m no good at s-e-x.

Wait, that came out wrong.

When I began writing mysteries, I focused on the puzzle first. I’ve always been a bit of a jigsaw puzzle geek and now I even do cryptograms when I’m waiting a long time (at the doctor’s office, for example. Why do we make appointments just to sit for thirty-forty minutes anyway? They should just hand out numbers like they do at the deli counter).

Next up, I turned my attention to the characters. From that point, the setting came into play. I steered away from romantic entanglements because I could never write them as well as the other stuff.

Now, with my Books By the Bay mysteries, I start with the characters and they drag me by the hair, this way and that, in true caveman style until the book unfolds like a rose. Thus far, none of them have shown an interest in getting naked. Great. I get down to the other elements and don’t have any R-rated sex scenes to worry about.

My heroine, Olivia Limoges, is a haunted, cynical, independent heiress who refuses to be swept off her feet by anyone. What a relief! Still, I can’t leave her on the shelf forever. I mean, the woman’s got needs. I can do a closed-door fling with the charismatic bookstore owner for now, but eventually, the man the readers sense Olivia belongs with is going to do something so heroic that she’ll have to defrost long enough to well, disrobe.

But not yet. I can hold off for another book. Because when that scene happens, it has to be right. It’s Olivia’s first time, after all. At least, it’s her first time being put on display by me.

This moment has to be as deftly executed as the clues woven into the plot. She has to be ready. I have to be ready. How much do you want to see in your mystery? Tell the truth now. Do you want your couples to go inside and shut the door? Or do you want to peek through the keyhole?


Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia. 

You can learn more about Ellery Adams on her website

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams

"Heading toward the lighthouse keeper's cottage, Olivia felt a tightness in her chest.  Something was wrong.

At the same moment she felt that sharp stab of fear. The beam of the flashlight sought out a darker patch of black in the shadow cast by the cottage.

Olivia's heart nearly stopped. She broke into a run, her legs moving with agonizing slowness over the sand..."

A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams takes us to the small coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, where the townsfolk are curious, the beaches are beautiful and everyone seems to have an interest in poetry.

Still haunted by her past, Olivia Limoges returns to her hometown of Oyster Bay with her lovingly adorable poodle, Captain Haviland.  Although Olivia is considered a mystery to the locals, her family history is well known and Olivia can't seem to get past the gossip that surrounds her family. She's beautiful, wealthy and owns the local five-star restaurant in town, as well as other local properties that have left her the landlord to many of the townsfolk.

While having breakfast at a local diner, she eavesdrops on a conversation being had by a local group of community writers. After discussing her own work in progress with her friend, Dixie, a fun loving waitress on roller skates, Olivia takes a chance and speaks to the leader of the Bayside Book Writers club, the openly flamboyant Camden Ford, and makes plans for the meetings to be held weekly at the lighthouse keeper's cottage on her property.

The group seems to make an instant connection and things seem to be working out well for Olivia until Camden doesn't show for their weekly meeting on the evening they are supposed to be critiquing a chapter in his novel.  With his whereabouts known to one of the members, the Bayside Book Writers go out in search of Camden in the hopes of finding out why he has decided to ditch the critique, and more importantly, why he is frequenting the trashiest bar in town.

Not only do they find Camden murdered in the alley behind the bar, they find a haiku poem left with his body.  Being familiar with such things, the Bayside Book Writers team up with local law enforcement (sort of), and set out to find the reasons and person(s) responsible for Camden's death.  The possibilities seem endless when the Bayside Book Writers discover, individually and collectively, that Camden's novel surrounds the private life of the high-powered Talbot family and that the Talbot family is working very hard to secure a massive piece of property in Oyster Bay.  Soon the town of Oyster Bay is besieged with fear when another body is found with a haiku poem and both Olivia and Captain Haviland are being warned to stop their investigation.

That's right; I said Olivia and her poodle, Captain Haviland, are warned to stop their investigation. 

A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams is another cozy mystery with a steady pace and lovable characters living in a setting that will leave you breathless.  What I loved most about the book was the inside look at the struggles and frustrations writers apparently have while writing novels. Watching this group of writers work together to help everyone succeed in their goals reminded me of my twitter family; a group of authors that I love dearly.  It also made me thankful that they have each other to rely on for support and instruction.

Oh, and I also fell in love with Captain Haviland. Captain Haviland is one smart pooch!

A Killer Plot is the first book in the Books By The Bay Mystery series. I will be reviewing the second book in the series, A Deadly Cliché, later this week.


Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.

You can learn more about Ellery Adams on her website