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2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Cindy has read 0 books toward her goal of 24 books.

Posts Tagged ‘suspense’

Stand Up and Do Something

Welcome back to my blog! Today I have Randall Allen Dunn talking about his book The Red rider.

Here’s Randall!

Sooner or later, we all must fight monsters. We are forced to confront and conquer our personal fears, flaws and failures, before they conquer us.

As a Christian, I believe God helps us in our weaknesses. With guidance, strength of resolve and supernatural power. But we must choose to cooperate with him, on his terms, in order to succeed.

This causes a dilemma for Helena Basque, the teenage heroine of my novel, The Red Rider. As a child, she was known as “Red Riding Hood” for the red cloak she always wore. Up until the day she faced a giant wolf killed her Grand’Mere. Helena survived with triple scars across her face and endless nightmares of a wolf standing on its hind legs and speaking threats.

When similar wolves attack her family and neighbors, Helena realizes they threaten everyone in her province. She then shoves her fears aside, determined to fight them or die trying.

After the first wolf attack, her parents forbid her to wear her red cloak again. With a new resolve, Helena dons a red hooded cloak and arms herself with a repeating crossbow to hunt the wolves down.

This doesn’t sit well with her priest, Father Vestille, after he learns the wolves are actually human beings who transform into monsters to attack their victims. They both question whether it is right in God’s eyes to murder these men. But Helena is convinced of her duty. She must embrace her faith and courage to overcome her doubts, even as her appearance and behavior make her a social outcast. She must persevere in her quest to free the province from the monsters that threaten it, whatever the personal cost.

She relies on the advice of her hero, Francois Revelier, the woodcutter who saved her from the first wolf:

“You know what a hero is, Helena? A hero doesn’t have to be big or strong or smart. He just has to stand up to do what’s got to be done. People might not understand what you’re doin’ or why you’re doin’ it. But it’s still got to be done, whether they understand it or not. A hero’s somebody who stands up to do it when nobody else will. You gotta stand up and do something, or nobody’s ever gonna get helped.”

We must commit to destroying our private demons. All fears, flaws, failures and doubts. Even if we risk our reputation to do it. Others depend on us to be the best people we can be, so we must rid ourselves of every monster that tears us down, through faith, courage and determination. Follow Helena’s example to conquer your own monsters, so you can find true freedom and peace, free of fear.

Stand up and do something.

RED RIDER on Amazon – It’s free today (October 15):

RED RIDER Landing Page:

RED RIDER Pinterest Board:

Cindy here again.

Thanks for being here Randall. Sounds like an interesting book!

Until next time…



What are you thankful for?

Photo purchased through Depositphotos

Photo purchased through Depositphotos

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this time of year. Thanksgiving is a family time. A time to examine our lives and reflect on what we’re thankful for. I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my cats, my (relatively) good health. Though I would love to be a full time writer I’m thankful for my day job. I’m thankful for my readers. I’m thankful that my parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. They’ve had good times and bad times over the years but they stuck together and have a marriage I hope my fiancé and I will have.

Even though Thanksgiving is today we did our dinner yesterday. Loved seeing my family and eating great food. I’m still stuffed. :) I’ll be watching what I eat for the next little while so I can dig into my niece’s Hallowe’en stash. She’s almost six but she doesn’t eat all of her candy. Her parents end up throwing most of it away. She just likes to go trick-or-treating. :)

What are you thankful for?

Until next time…


Sleep apnea, Hallowe’en reads and an update

It’s been a while since I posted on my own blog. :) I’ve had a lot of guest posts recently and those will continue every so often but I found I’ve missed blogging here.  I blog regularly over at Writing Wranglers and Warriors. I’ll start posting a schedule here so you can check out my posts over there. Today I’m there blogging about the importance of sleep. Check it out: How well do you sleep?

Hallowe’en Reads

halloweenreadsLooking for something spooky to read for Hallowe’en? Romance Junkies has put together a list of Hallowe’en reads. Check out their list (my short story Reflections is included) by clicking on the picture.

There are lots of great looking books there.










I’m working away on Almost Normal. It needs to be delivered to my editor by the beginning of December. And I’m working on a novella for an erotica box set as my pen name. That’s due October 3st. So while I will be blogging here again it might be infrequent for now until I can get these projects off my plate. I will still be blogging at least twice a month over at Writing Wranglers and Warriors. We have a great bunch of writers there with interesting posts. You should check it out.

I will hopefully have a lot more updates soon. If I can find the time I’ll be switching the blog over to a Hallowe’en theme after Thanksgiving. Oh and I’m testing the post scheduling function on the blog. I’ve been having troubles with it lately. If it works this should go live at 8:00 am Wednesday morning. Fingers crossed. *edit – My fix did not work so I’ll have to think of something else.

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Until next time…



What is a Gunsel?

Welcome back to my blog? Today I have Jim Cort talking about gunsels.

Here’s Jim!

A gunsel is a hoodlum who carries a gun: a hit man, a torpedo, a button man. That’s what the word has come to mean, but it didn’t always mean that.

When Joseph Shaw became editor of Black Mask magazine in 1926, he envisioned a tough, uncompromising, more realistic style for the detective stories the magazine published—an American style. He began assembling a stable of writers who could give him what he wanted. Early on he uncovered a gold mine: Dashiell Hammett.

British story paper Thriller 1930 - Public Domain

British story paper Thriller 1930 – Public Domain

Hammett had been a detective himself and knew what he was talking about. His stories were spare, tough, fast-paced and authentic.  But authenticity became a small bone of contention between the two men. Hammett wanted his characters to talk as he knew they really talked. Shaw, a gentleman of the old school, was wary of rank language and removed it wherever it appeared. Hammett tried to slip the occasional offending word or phrase past him, but rarely succeeded.

This brings us to 1929, and the serialization of The Maltese Falcon in Black Mask. Two prominent characters in The Maltese Falcon are Casper Gutman, the overweight leader of the criminal gang, and his baby-faced killer, Wilmer Cook. At one point in the story, Our Hero, Sam Spade, calls Wilmer a gunsel. Shaw saw the word, saw that it contained the word “gun,” and assumed the word meant “gunman” or “killer”, which, in fact is what Wilmer was.

And nowadays that’s what it means.

But in 1929 gunsel meant something quite different. It was a hobo term derived from the Yiddish gonzel, “little goose”. It referred to a teenage boy who traveled with an older man. The implication was that both of them were homosexual. Coming from Spade this would be the vilest of insults.

But Joe Shaw thought it meant “gunman.” Other Black Mask writers adopted the word, and pretty soon everybody thought it meant “gunman”.

And so, of course, it does.

Jim Cort has been writing since anyone can remember. His novel The Lonely Impulse is available from Smashwords:

Cindy here again!

Great post, Jim. Fascinating how the meanings of words get changed.

Until next time…



Create Your Own World

Welcome to my blog! Today I have Marti Colvin talking about creating your own world.

Here’s Marti!

News got you down? Kids misbehaving? Gas prices going through the roof? Is dental work in your near future? No problem pal, just ESCAPE. That’s right, why spend every minute of every day dealing with your problems when you can leave and visit a world of your choosing, and watch someone else deal with his or her problems.

If you are a writer, you get to live elsewhere most of the time as you plot and write, dropping back into the world to pay the bills and pick up the kids from school. If you are a reader you can visit your other world(s) as often as you like. In fact, as a reader, you can reside in many different realities.

I almost always keep two or three partially read books of various genres in strategic rooms throughout the house. Yes, of course, the bathroom is at the top of the list, followed by the bedroom and any table with a lamp near a couch or chair. It only takes a few seconds of reading to re-engage with the story when I sit down, whether it’s a portal type of sci-fi/fantasy book where the character is suddenly thrust into a strange world a la Alice in Wonderland, or the type that begins the story in another place or time from page one. A lot of the books I read are mystery and adventure stories, the same genre in which I prefer to write.

What separates a “good read” from a “ho hum” book for me is to what extent the author successfully catapults me out of the here-today and into the elsewhere-other. I have quite enough of my own family multi-generational drama to last, well, a lifetime and I hear plenty of current politics, crime and tragedy from the evening news. This is, after all, where I live.

What I seek in a book is the opportunity to go, for however brief a time, to somewhere I don’t live, at some time I don’t occupy, and with interesting characters, not necessarily people. Dragons are good. Often the very same angst and pain exists in the book world that is in my everyday world, but because of the setting they are more interesting. Another terrific advantage, at least in a mystery story, is that the crime is always solved and the mysteries neatly resolved by the end of the book, unlike real life.

A good writer can place you completely in the action, action that you might not really want to see in real life, but that is delicious in a book. The house perched beside a remote lake, the ghost in the hallway, the special agent who takes you with him on a mission, the glowing UFO in the sky – wait, is it coming toward you? For a few minutes or a few hours you are right there, with the characters. Most importantly, you are not here.

A brief foray away from the here and now can refresh your mind and spirit, and perhaps you will see things a little differently when you return. If an author paints a reality that you very much enjoy visiting, you can hope that there is a series of that storyline. If so, you can go for an extended stay with now familiar characters, time and place. Have a good trip!

About Marti:

Marti Colvin, writing as I.C. Enger, lives and writes in the Seattle area with her husband Randy and their cat Charles. Her first book, Blue ICE, was published in July 2012. Green ICE  is the second of a series of  Lake House Mysteries that are set along the Washington/Canadian border and involve Homeland Security Special Agent Jack Strickland and out-of-work Seattle city planner Brooke Breckenridge. The third book, Black ICE, will be released in the summer of 2014.

Green Ice Cover



In Green ICE Brooke, special agent Jack Strickland and a Native American shadow wolf, Ed Red Wind, are plunged into their most complex mystery yet. Brooke is busy working for Makkapitew County in the Planning Division when she learns that development can be deadly.

Marti is a member of Sisters in Crime and Public Safety Writers Association. Please visit her website:





Cindy here again!

Great post, Marti! This makes me want to go read.

Until next time…



Top ten horror movies – black and white

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the blog. Today I have Jim Cort talking about his favourite black and white horror movies.

Here’s Jim!

A while back we were treated to a list of 10 best horror movies. The movies were all excellent choices, but none of them was in black and white.

I frequently use movies in my writing classes to illustrate some point of dialogue or characterization. My students always make fun of me because I never showed a movie more recent than 1960. I plead guilty: I love old movies, and for my money, black and white is where scary lives.

Here’s my list:

1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) This is a story told by a madman, and everything about it is off kilter, skewed, unwholesome. Nothing seems real; nothing looks real, but people die just the same. At the heart of it all is the Doctor and Cesare, the murderous somnambulist. Or are they? “Du musst Caligari werden!”

2. The Phantom of the Opera (1925) This movie is all atmosphere and the towering performance of Lon Chaney as the Phantom. Like the best horror films, this movie likes to mess with your head. When the Phantom is not on screen, you still know he is there. There is no moment in the history of film more shocking than the unmasking scene.

3. The Mummy (1932) The power of this movie lies in the love story. The performance of Boris Karloff–tender, pitiable, aloof, mysterious, menacing, is enthralling. Everyone else is in his shadow, but worth special mention is Zita Johann, an exotic and ethereal presence as Karloff’s love interest.

Picture 1932 Halperin Productions - from the public domain movie White Zombie

Picture 1932 Halperin Productions – from the public domain movie White Zombie

4. White Zombie (1932) The zombies here are “real” zombies, not the brain-eating stumblebums we have today. It brings home the real horror of the zombie. When Our Hero and Heroine encounter a mob of these jolly fellows at their work on a country road in the dark of night, their coachman whips up the horses and the coach bolts forward and away down the road. Our Hero berates the coachman for such a dangerous stunt, “We could have been killed”. The coachman replies, “Worse that that, M’sieu, we might have been caught.” This was Bela Lugosi’s favorite of his movies, and he is brilliant in it.

5. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) Once again, we have “real” zombies, chilling, menacing, even when they do nothing. One of the superb collaborations between Val Lewton and Jacques Touneur—this one a reworking of, of all things, Jane Eyre. Their philosophy was “Less is More”. What scares you in this movie, and in all the movies I’m mentioning, is what might happen.

6. The Uninvited (1944) One of the few ghost movies of the 1940’s where the ghosts are real, and maybe the only one in which they are malevolent. I’ve seen this movie a dozen times, and when the ghost finally does appear, I still get a chill down my spine.

7. Them! (1954) The best of the big bug movies, thankfully free of the there-are-things-man-should-not-meddle-in sermonizing. The story is told like a mystery, which adds considerably to its impact. And when the big bugs do show up, they look pretty good. Not CGI-quality, but pretty good. We need to remind ourselves that in monster movies, the monster is the least important element.

8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) a fine example of 1950’s paranoia. The movie becomes more and more claustrophobic as we realize that anyone could be one of Them. It is so well done, and the actors so skilled, that we gloss over some fundamental questions about how the snatching actually works. The important thing is that it does work, and it could happen to you.

9. Night of the Demon (Curse of the Demon) (1957) Based on a classic story by M.R. James, this is another tour de force by director Jacques Touneur. The movie is about black magic and an unbeliever who is forced to believe. The movie tells us in no uncertain terms black magic is real; the devil is real, and he can get at you if he wants. What could be scarier than that?

10. The Haunting (1963) An unforgettable take on the classic haunted house story in which the house itself is the evil presence. Graced with an impeccable cast, the relationships, the atmosphere, the suspense, the feeling of brooding menace combine to make this film an unsettling experience. All of these elements, by the way, are completely absent from the execrable 1999 remake.

There’s my list. Like I said, black and white is where scary lives.

Jim Cort has been writing since just after the earth’s crust cooled. His novel The Lonely Impulse is available from Smashwords:

Cindy here again.

Great list, Jim. I haven’t seen those zombie movies. I will have to check them out. I love the 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That movie was super scary.

Until next time…



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