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Saturday, 27 December 2008
Storm by Joyce A. Anthony--an Excerpt
Topic: First Chapter

 

Prologue

The wind whipped against the lighthouse, shaking it so fiercely that Sam could picture it toppling into the stormy sea.  Waves pounded the rocks and halfway up the sides of the lighthouse-waves that were twice Sam's height.  His thin frame tightened as he braced for each violent shake from the waves that fed hungrily on the wind.  Sending a silent prayer skyward, Sam checked to make sure the light was still working.  Weather like this could easily send an unfortunate ship spinning into the rocks, shattering it to mere splinters in seconds.  The light continuously spun, sending its warning outward. 

There's something different in this storm, Sam thought as he made his way to the lower level of the lighthouse.  Another wave rattled the windows in the area Sam called home.  "Yes, indeed," he mumbled out loud.  "Something is definitely different."

Unable to sleep, Sam played solitaire and let his thoughts wander.  He didn't mind being alone in the middle of the sea.  His job was an important one.  A ship getting lost out here and crashing upon the sharp, rocky island would mean instant death to all aboard.  Sam hated to think of what the aftermath of such a disaster would be like, so he was meticulous in keeping the light well-oiled and the glass sparkling.  He'd been emotionally alone his entire life, yet never felt lonely.  Life was everywhere around him and Sam never ceased to wonder at the power and beauty of the sea.

He wandered over to the window and looked out over the raging water.  Bolts of lightning lit up the churning waves and thunder reverberated from every direction, not so much following the lightning, but accompanying it-the two creating a chorus of unimaginable power.  The lighthouse continued to shake with every clap of thunder, but she held her ground, steady and sure in the face of danger.  Sam felt safe within her walls.  Still, as he watched wave after wave crash against the rocks outside, he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something different about this storm.  He'd been through many raging storms in his years at sea, but the feeling wasn't the same.  With one final look out the window, Sam went back to his game to wait for morning.  He knew it would be a long night.

 

* * * *

 

 Morning arrived, clear and cloudless, with the sky a bright blue shade found nowhere else in the world.  Sam stepped outside to take a look at what damage the storm had caused.  He took a deep breath of the salty air.  He could feel it energize him.  The thought crossed his mind that there wasn't a bit of blood flowing through his veins after all this time.  "No," Sam said to the sky, "there's nothing but pure salt water running through these old veins."

A storm as powerful as the previous night's could cause a lot of damage.  Sam had found, at one time or another, various kinds of debris and sea life.  He'd found sea creatures stranded on the rocks and pieces of broken ships that hadn't made it through to the end of their journey.  Today, everything appeared fine.  Then he saw the gulls.

It wasn't often you saw more than a lone gull this far out at sea.  The last time Sam had seen so many circling like this, a dolphin had been thrown from the sea and lay stranded upon the rocks.  The gulls had gathered and circled, waiting for the dolphin to lose its fight for life.  Sam had worked all day, dragging the stranded creature to the edge of the island so it could swim back to safety.  His heart sank as he headed toward the gulls. 

What now? he wondered.

Following instinct rather than any tangible reasoning, Sam headed for a large boulder to his right.  If nothing else, he thought, I'll get a clearer view of the surrounding area.  The air suddenly stilled.  The gulls landed and ceased their constant cries.  Sam looked around him and wondered at the total silence.  A tingling ran through him like the lightning the night before had charged the air around him.  It wasn't an unpleasant feeling.  Sam continued his climb up the boulder and, reaching the top, he froze.

He wasn't sure what he had expected to see-maybe a dolphin or a tortoise.  What he did see, however, was so unexpected and out of place that Sam felt unable to move for a time. Wedged tightly between two stones was a wicker basket, like those used for laundry.  It appeared whole and undamaged. 

A cry broke through Sam's reverie; there was something alive inside the basket! Approaching the basket cautiously, he looked around for any signs of life other than the gulls.  The gentle lapping of the waves eased his nervousness, but not his confusion.  Inside the basket, wrapped tightly in a soft blanket, was a baby. 

"Is anyone there?" Sam called out, turning slowly in a circle.  There was no sound, no movement.  Sam saw no boat to indicate that there was anyone else on the island.  Searching the ground for footprints, Sam found none.   This made no sense.  Babies don't just appear out of thin air.  He closed his eyes.  He was seeing things.  That's what it was.  Opening his eyes again, Sam discovered that the baby was still there.  The air still held the abnormal silence. 

It's like the calm before the storm, he thought, only this time it's come after the storm

The baby was watching Sam, quietly now, an expression of interest in his dark eyes.  Stooping down, Sam gently reached out to touch the child's forehead.  "Well, I guess this is one critter I can't throw back in." The baby laughed and the sound startled Sam; it was a sound that seemed so out-of-place here.  Rocks upon rocks surrounded them.  The lighthouse stood on the only piece of flat land the island had. 

Island?

It occurred to Sam at that moment that nobody could have gotten there without a boat, and the storm of last night would surely have caused any boat coming close to splinter against the rocks.  There were no signs of a wrecked boat anywhere.  Sam's confusion grew, but common sense finally kicked in. 

"You must be wet and cold," he said to the baby.  "I need to get you inside." He reached down to lift the infant and found, to his utter amazement, the baby was as dry as he was.  "Who are you? Where did you come from?" The baby's eyes met Sam's silently. 

Sam carried the tiny bundle back to his home.  In all his years, he'd never held a baby, and he found himself taking extra care for fear of being too harsh.  He wondered what he could feed the baby.  He was sure he'd heard somewhere that babies needed special food.  "Hope you like fish, little one.  That's about all we get around here."

Gently laying the baby on his cot, Sam unwrapped him.  He looked the baby over carefully for signs of injury.  There wasn't a mark on the perfect skin.  "Looks like everything is in working order," he said out loud.

Eyes as black as a starless night looked up into Sam's gray ones, and Sam suddenly felt he was in the presence of someone so much older than the tiny child he held.  The eyes seemed to speak of mysteries Sam could only guess at.  The child's hair was wavy and black.  Sam gently reached out and allowed the hair to curl around his finger.  The child reached up and took hold of Sam's outstretched finger and Sam had the strongest feeling of pure love he'd ever known. 

"What am I to do with this child, Lord? Please show me what you want of me." Sam unwrapped the child's hand from his finger and sat down on the cot.  The baby had drifted into a peaceful sleep and Sam's worried expression turned to a gentle smile as he looked upon the sleeping baby. 

I'll find a way to take care of you, he thought. 

A ship came to the island every six months to bring supplies.  Sam checked his logbook-five months to go.  He'd turn the baby over to the supply crew when they came and they could take him to town, where his parents could be found.  Sam felt that was the best thing. 

"What shall I call you until then? You need a name."

Thinking back over the past few hours, Sam still felt confused as to how this child had come into his little piece of the world.  Answers or not, Sam knew the coming months would not be easy ones.  His nice, quiet, uneventful life had been turned upside down without warning.  You never can tell what the storm will wash ashore. 

"Storm," he whispered to the sleeping baby.  "I'll call you Storm."

 

 

Chapter 1

Storm watched the tiny island disappear as the supply vessel carried him away from his home of thirty-three years and toward a future that was even more unknown than his beginning.  Sam had often told him the story of the day he was found.  He once told Storm he felt guilty for not turning him over to those who could have given him a better life, but somehow the supply ship came and went, and each time Sam felt that he would be giving up the family he never realized he'd needed. 

As Storm grew, Sam taught him all he knew-about the lighthouse, the sea, and the world beyond.  Storm was a quick and eager pupil, asking constant questions, drawing out every detail Sam could find.  One day Storm questioned Sam's version of how he came to be on the island.  It made no sense to Storm that a child could have just appeared, let alone survived the kind of storm Sam described.  Sam confessed the circumstances still baffled him.  "Some things, Storm, just are," he finally said.  "We can question endlessly and the answers forever elude us."

Sam's hard life finally caught up with him and Storm took over the duties of running the lighthouse.  The two men spent hours, playing cards or simply talking.  Sam couldn't remember a time when he'd been happier.  Storm knew no other existence. 

When the older man caught a chill that invaded his body so thoroughly that he could not shake it, Storm did what he could to make Sam comfortable.  In the end, Sam's fight drew to an end and he called Storm to his side. 

"Storm, you are destined for great things.  You must go and meet them willingly."

"How can I survive in a world I do not know?"

Sam took Storm's hand in both of his and looked deep into the dark eyes he knew so well.  He was searching for something-a word, a sign, anything-to help him know what he must say.  The words came to him clearly and he held tightly to the younger man's hand.

"Follow the railway tracks and seek the whirling rainbow.  There you will be what you are meant to be."

"Whirling rainbow?  I don't understand.  How can I find what does not exist?"

Sam's voice was softer now, and Storm had to put his ear close to the dying man's lips.  "Faith and courage, but mainly faith, will lead the way."

Storm gently washed Sam's body and dressed him in clean clothes.  They had discussed this day a few weeks ago and Sam had told Storm that he wanted his body thrown into the sea.  The sea had been a part of him during his life, and he wished to be a part of it at the time of his death. 

Storm silently watched as the waves carried away the only family he had ever known.  As a large wave enveloped Sam and drew him beneath the surface, the young man turned slowly toward the lighthouse. 

"I'll see you inside the rainbow, Sam."

 

* * * *

 

"Where are you heading?"

The voice broke into Storm's thoughts and he returned to the ship.  "I'm not sure.  I guess whichever way the wind blows me."

The supply ship had docked and Storm looked around, with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.  This was his first time away from the lighthouse; he had never seen houses and cars and stores.  Yes, he'd seen pictures, but they were nothing compared to the reality that surrounded him now.  Sounds were everywhere and Storm found he could not identify many of them; you can't describe a sound recognizably in a book. 

When one of the sailors asked if he was okay, Storm realized that he had been standing quite still, overwhelmed by all that surrounded him.  "Yes.  Yes, I'm fine."

Letting instinct lead him, Storm headed toward the setting sun.  As he passed, people stopped and watched him.  There was an air about him that demanded attention, although nobody could have put words to what it was.  His dark hair flowed past his shoulders and halfway down his back.  It had never seen a pair of scissors and was thick and wavy, glistening each time the sun glanced off of it.  Eyes of dark obsidian reflected everything he looked at.  They were warm eyes that conveyed a sense of peace and understanding, never revealing the turmoil they hid.  His skin had been permanently wind-burned to a rich tan and his muscles were those of a man who had worked hard, not one who worked out.  Storm's hands were strong and rough, yet he held them in a way that made you picture them wiping away a tear or cradling a wounded bird.  Gentle hands. 

To those he passed, it appeared this man knew exactly where he was heading.  He didn't rush, but neither did he linger.  He walked purposefully, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells around him.  Not once did he notice the curious stares of those he passed.

Storm was nearing the edge of town now and he still had no clue where he was going, but he figured the direction of the setting sun was as good as any.  He remembered Sam's advice-to follow the tracks-but he had not seen any in town.  It was getting dark quickly and it made no sense to continue further until morning.  The weather was clear and warm, so Storm figured he didn't need too much shelter for the night.  It never occurred to him that there might be danger.  His entire life had been safe.  Finding a willow with branches that nearly touched the ground, Storm lay beneath its branches and drifted into a restless sleep.

Storm found himself surrounded by color-moving, pulsating color.  They seemed to be lit from behind by an unseen light.  The sound of music, unlike any he had ever heard, vibrated from everywhere.  He stopped to marvel at how beautiful the sound was.  He turned his head, first one way and then the other, trying to pinpoint just where the sound originated, but it seemed to be coming from everywhere at once.  It occurred to Storm that the music was coming from the colors themselves, as their movement coincided completely with the sound.  If he had been asked to explain his feelings at that moment, he would have found it impossible.  Every emotion he had ever felt passed through him, one right after the other, each lasting mere seconds.  The colors and music hypnotized Storm and he found himself spinning to the rhythm. 

What was that smell?   Lilacs! How he knew this with complete certainty, he couldn't say; he'd never seen a lilac, let alone smelled one.  The strong scent infiltrated his senses and added to the hypnotic feeling.  The colors swirled faster now, each one mingling with the next.  It was hard to see where one ended and the other began.  Storm spun faster and faster with the colors. 

Fear started to take over his mind and he wanted everything to stop.  "I'm not ready yet.  Make it stop." His cries were drowned out by the music-no longer sweet, but a crashing jumble of notes.  Storm covered both ears and screamed, the only thing he could do to release the immense pressure building up inside of him.  Sweat poured from him, joining with the colors in a way that made it appear as multi-colored as they were. 

Storm wanted it to stop; he willed it to stop; finally, he pleaded silently for this nightmare to end.  Another long, primal scream escaped him, this time accompanied by a loud clap of thunder.  At the same moment, a bolt of lightning flew through the air and barely missed Storm.  It was followed by yet another loud clap of thunder.  The colors around Storm exploded into millions of splinters, each containing its own inner light and color.  Storm's spinning abruptly stopped and he sank to his knees.  Tears flowed down his cheeks-tears that joined with the multi-colored fragments in the air. 

Then he heard the Voice; or rather he felt it, as it seemed to come from both inside and outside him.  "Stand up to your destiny, son. 

The strong voice demanded to be obeyed, and Storm stood without thinking.  "Who are you?" he asked.

"You know who I am-and who you are.  The time has come to take hold of your destiny and complete what you have come here to do."

"But I don't know what I'm to do! Tell me.  Tell me where my destiny lies!"

"The answer lies within the whirling rainbow.  Trust yourself."

The Voice was silent then.  Storm looked around him and saw the colors fade.

"Wait.  Where am I to go?  What must I do?"

Silence was his only answer.

***

To meet some of the characters from Storm and read some reviews, please visit http://joyceanthony.tripod.com

To view the book trailer, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCU-D9W72E4

To purchase your copy of Storm, please go here:

http://www.storm.2freedom.com/

Thank you!!


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:20 AM EST
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Thursday, 25 December 2008
A Mother at Last
Topic: Miscellaneous

 I was tagged to write a Christmas story. This was first started my Marvin Wilson over at http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com/ and he passed it onto Ron Berry over at  http://unwriter1.wordpress.com/ who passed it onto me.  I decided to write of the one Christmas that will forever stand out in my mind.  I hope you enjoy it--and feel the joy that was felt that Christmas.  May your most heartfelt wishes become reality this year!

 ***

She had taken them in one by one.  First came the boy that was passed from one person to the next.  He found a home with her, a home of love and caring.  Next came a brother and sister.  They had lost their mother to death and their father to anger and pain.  She went to the children's home and brought them into her own--giving them love and nourishment of both body and spirit. 

Last came the little one, not yet a year old.  "Merry Christmas, she's yours." The words came from the bay's father--not wanting the baby. She was in her fifties, but took the girl under her wings and raised her--giving her a home, love, a chance.  Only this one called her "Mom", but there was always the slight nagging that she would be lost before she grew up. After all, her dad lived les than twenty miles away.

They all grew and had families of their own.  Aunt Rheuie they called her and she accepted this.  She was unable to bear a child from her own body-but she loved each one as though she had carried them herself.

***

The snow fell that December. It had been thirty years since that last wee one was left with her.  As she watched the snow grow deeper her heart sank-would she be alone this Christmas?  Surely nobody would travel in such a storm.  Rheuie barely heard the knock on the door, but there it was again. Her heart sang with joy, seeing the woman and three children on the other side.  Her "bay" had made it.

With shaking hands, grown frail with age, she opened the litle package slowly.  Inside was a small box of dark blue velvet, holding a ring of gold, with four tiny stones.  Tears fell when she read the single word engraved on the band, the one word that made all those years worth it:

Mother!

 ***

I will let everyone know later this weekend who I pas the New Year's story onto.


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:10 AM EST
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Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Questions and Answers with Crystalee Calderwood
Topic: Author Interview
Where did you get the inspiration for Angeline Jellybean?

I don't even remember how I came up with the story. I was taking a picture book writing class back in 2007. Our assignment was to write a picture book under 500 words, and that's what I did. I wrote it in rhyme because I wanted to see if I could write a rhyming picture book. I didn't even really expect to like it. That's how Angeline was born. A few rounds of revisions and a submission later, here it is!

Is Angeline anything like you?

Oh yes. *laughs* Angeline loves jellybeans almost as much as I love chocolate. Of course, I have learned to limit my chocolate intake, and I didn't have to go through the nasty side effects that Angeline did! Angeline is also very strong-willed and has a bit of a temper, which reminds me of a certain little redheaded girl I once knew.

When did you start writing?

I've been writing as long as I can remember. I used to write short stories way back in first grade. I've been reading even longer, since before I started school, so I only felt it was natural for me to write. I wrote poetry for many years. It wasn't until I went to grad school to get my MFA in Creative Writing that I discovered writing for children. That was in 2006. I ended up with a dual emphasis in poetry and writing for children and adolescents. I am amazed at how far I have come along with my writing since then.

How do you get the ideas for your picture books?

Well, I live and experience life, first of all. I get most of my ideas from things I've seen, experienced or heard. I also try to interact with children. I spent a year as a volunteer reading to children in daycares across Pittsburgh. In that year, I learned more about what children like than I had learned in my entire life. I also love to read children's books. I'm always asking myself if I can write something better than or different than the kinds of books that are out there. I'm not interested in writing books that copy a current trend, unless I can put my own spin on that trend.

Do you experiment with other genres as well?

Yes, I do. I started out writing poetry. I have also experimented with flash fiction. But nothing makes me happier than writing for children. I'm really a big kid at heart, and I write the kinds of books I would have liked to read when I was younger. I have also recently completed a young adult novel in verse, and I'm very excited to break into the YA market was well

***

Update:  I spent hours yesterday working with Wordpress, but couldn't get it to do all I want. I'm heading over to Blogger now and see how I can work with that.  Please watch here for updates.  Thanks for your patience, everyone!


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:00 AM EST
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Sunday, 21 December 2008
Meet Crystalee Calderwood
Topic: Blog Tours

I would like to introduce you to Crystalee Calderwood and her recent book, Angeline Jellybean. Unfortunately, I can't share the cover photo with you today (see note after post), but let's meet Crystalee:

Crystalee Calderwood is a born poet turned children's
writer, small town girl turned big city dweller. Crystalee
moved from Altoona, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, when she was twenty-two years old to
attend the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chatham
University. It was there she took her very first class in
writing for children and adolescents, and she's never
looked back.

As a member of Literacy AmeriCorps Pittsburgh,
Crystalee has had the pleasure of interacting with children in
the community through the non-profit organization
Beginning with Books. She introduced children to great
books in hopes that they would fall in love with them the
way she has. She is currently teaching computer skills to adults.

 

And here is a look into what Angeline Jellybean is all about:

Angeline wants to eat nothing but jellybeans. Year round, from Easter to Christmas, she asks for her favorite treat. But a strange event teaches Angeline that there's such thing as too much of a good thing!

With colorful, delightful illustrations by Stephen Macquignon, Angeline is sure to win over hearts of young picky eaters everywhere.

 

 

For more information on Crystalee, please visit:

Blog: http://www.crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com  Website: http://www.crystaleecalderwood.bravehost.com  
You can purchase this wonderful book at:
http://www.amazon.com  
http://www.barnesandnoble.com 
http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Store-Books.html 
 
Please come back on Tuesday, when we will be talking with Crystalee--
you won't want to miss this one!
 
***
Note to my readers:  It seems I've used up all my space here :-( I spent
nearly two hours tonight trying to upgrade, but Tripod is not cooperating
with me :-(  I will be moving this blog to another account tomorrow.  The
link will be left here so you can find me.  Please make a note of the new 
link and drop by the new blog and say hello.  Thank yu for your patience
in this and your continued support.  I will make the move as smoothly as
possible.  Joyce 

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:02 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 21 December 2008 4:05 AM EST
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Friday, 19 December 2008
Getting to Know Jean Henry Mead
Topic: Author Interview
Jean Mead the person: 

1.      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

 That's a tough question. Impatient, determined and compassionate. I'm impatient to get things done, determined to succeed in whatever I attempt, and hopefully, I'm compassionate.
2.      How do you think others would describe you?
 Because I'm basically shy, people sometimes think I'm aloof. I hope they think I'm dependable because I try very hard not to let anyone down. And I'm sure they think I'm a little eccentric, but most writers are.
3.      Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
love animals, especially dogs. I also like photography and I'm a bibliophile. I have thousands of books, some of which I've had since I was a child. We're either going to have to build a library or just buy multi-format books for our ebook readers.
      
4.    Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.
I had two dogs until last month when my lovable black lab, Muggles, was struck by a pickup truck. I now have a very lonely Australian Sheppard, Miriah, as well as two crazy ducks named Vern and Shirley. I also have Chicki, a hen that was nearly killed by her flock mates. Only Miriah is allowed in the house. :)
5. What is your most precious memory?    
When my first grandchild was born and my very nervous son-in-law brought him out of the delivery room wrapped in a blanket.
6. What was your most embarrassing memory?
 I embarrass easily so it would be hard to remember just one. Okay, I do remember when the batteries fell out of the bottom of my tape recorder and rolled under a massive desk the night I crashed a cocktail party at a local bank to interview sportscaster Curt Gowdy. I had to return the following day to interview him in the bank lobby with lots of people present. Not an easy way to conduct an interview.
7.      If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
I would either be a photographer or an anthropologist. I'm fascinated by ancient civilizations. If not married, I'd probably be an aid worker in a foreign country. I've worked at various jobs such as teacher, secretary, sales, office manager, parts chaser for our business, magazine editor, photojournalist and news reporter, but nothing pleases me more than being a novelist.
 
8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary. (This was so hard)
Jean was born the eldest of five children and the only girl in an otherwise all-boy neighborhood, the reason she was a tom-boy and unafraid to try new things. Her curiosity sometimes got her into trouble but it served her well as an adult when she began her writing career. Divorced at 27, with four young daughters, she started college, carrying a full load of classes while working, and coaching her daughters' softball teams. Doing their homework together, the five of them managed to stay on the honor rolls. 
 Four years later, she remarried and the family moved to Wyoming where they began a new life.
     
Working as a magazine editor and freelance photojournalist, Jean's magazine articles were published domestically as well as abroad, winning some awards. In 1982 her first book was published and others followed. Later, her grandchildren arrived and life was complete, although not always easy. She once said that she would like to be remembered as someone who tried her best.
Jean Mead the writer:
9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

 
I realized I was a real writer when I got my first news reporting job with the local daily newspaper while editor of my campus weekly.  But I wrote my first novel when I was nine, a chapter a day to entertain classmates. I wrote it on construction paper with pencil and it got rave reviews from my classmates because it  made them laugh. I've always included humor in all my books, including nonfiction. I cringe remembering my first newspaper article, titled, "Are mosquitos bugging you?" I don't think the publisher appeciated my wacky humor.
10.  What is going on with your writing these days?
I'm working on a third novel for my Logan &  Cafferty senior sleuth mystery series as well as a children's book, The Mystery of Spider Mountain and an historical novel about the hanging of "Cattle Kate." Three books at once is about all I handle. The second novel in my Logan & Cafferty series, Diary of Murder, will be out next spring
11. What are your future goals for your writing?
To continue writing my mystery/suspense series and western historicals. Maybe even more children's novels. I would someday like to have some of my novels published as audio books.
12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
I'm usually at my computer by eight each morning where I remain until noon, and one until three in the afternoon. I love writing, so it's not a chore. Getting the housework and laundry done is the real chore. I've heard other women writers say, "What I need is a wife to keep up the household." I agree. Men writers are usually relieved of household chores but are burdened with the responsibility of earning a living. But a lot of women work and write too.
13.  Why do you write?
Because it's in me to write and it brings me great of joy when the writing goes well, which is most of the time. I give my characters free rein and they rarely lead me astray. I just type as fast as I can to keep up with them.
14.  Which writers most inspired you?  Why?
Ernest Hemingway inspired me because he changed the way modern literature is written. I have a difficult time reading some of the flowery language of the classics although I have over a hundred classic novels on my bookshelves. It's probably because of my journalism training, and Hemingway began as a journalist. I was also born on his birthday.
                
I studied Dean Koontz's writing style when I was attempting to make the transition between journalism and fiction. I've always liked the way he strings his words together, although some of his early novels were pretty flowery at times.

 
15. How do you define your writing?
I had to think about that for a while. Someone recently compared my historical novel, Escape, to Hemingway's work. I was flattered but can't quite see it. I like to follow actual events in my historical books, so it could be considered faction rather than fiction. I like to think of my books as an honest portrayal of the human condition, both past and present. And of course, generously sprinkled with humor. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we're in trouble. I enjoy writing mysteries most because they're such a challenge. I also like reading mysteries and trying to solve the crime before the fictional detectives.
16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
That they couldn't put my books down, that they enjoyed the humor and solving the mysteries as well as learning something from reading them.
Jean Mead the details:
17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?
My website is: JeanHenryMead.com (http://jeanhenrymead.com/)
Blog sites:
Write On! Advice From an Editor: (http://advicefromeditors.blogspot.com/)
A Western Historical Happening: (http://awhh.blogspot.com/)         
I also contribute to Murderous Musings (http://murderousmusings.blogspot.com/) and                          MakeMineMystery (http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/
        
18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
They can email me at JeanHenryMead@aol.com. I'm always happy to hear from my readers.
19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
Most of them are out of print but can be found on various used book sites:
A Village Shattered, Escape, A Wyoming Historical Novel; Wyoming in Profile, Casper Country: Wyoming's Heartland, Maverick Writers (written as S. Jean Mead), Westerners, Wyoming's Cowboy Poets, Wyoming Historical Trivia (written as J. J. Hammond), Escape on the Wind, What Our Parents Should Know: Advice From Teens (edited), and Shirl Lock & Holmes (as Jean Henry).
20. For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
Mystery, suspense, humor, a little romance, western facts and fiction, and hopefully an enjoyable read. 
In conclusion:
21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
That my writing comes from the heart. That I love my characters and live with them 24/7 while I'm writing a book, which means that Sarah Cafferty and Dana Logan live with me most of the time. That I spent nearly four years researching and writing Casper Country: Wyoming's Heartland and had so many notes left over that I wrote Escape, A Wyoming Historical Novel.  That I've interviewed hundreds of writers, actors, Hollywood screenwriters, artists, politicians and other celebrities. Most of the interviews are between the covers of my books: Westerners, Maverick Writers and Wyoming in Profile. And that writing is my favorite pastime.

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:32 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 19 December 2008 4:37 AM EST
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Thursday, 18 December 2008
How to Be a Sales Superstar - A Review
Topic: Book Review

How to Be a Sales Superstar

Author:  Mark Tewart

ISBN-13  978-0470300961

www.HowToBeASalesSuperstar.info

www.MarkTewart.com

 

 

 

In his book, How to Be a Sales Superstar, Mark Tewart boldly states that everyone has within him or her the potential to stand out above the rest in sales.  He goes on to state that the traditional sales training rules are partially what holds most people back from achieving-the other half of the equation being psychological mindset.  Mr. Tewart then proceeds to go step-by-step into what a Sales Superstar needs to do in order to succeed.  He covers the essential people, life, marketing and sales skills necessary-explaining the why behind the reasoning, as well as showing you exactly what needs to be done. 

I approached this book as I do any book on sales--very skeptically. I learned years ago that the "salesman gene" was left out when I was created.  Before I finished the first chapter, however, I knew How to Be a Sales Superstar was different than any other book on the subject I had read.  By the time I finished the second chapter, my enthusiasm had grown considerably.

Mark Tewart first delves into the psychology behind the sales superstar mindset.  He gives you exercises designed to bring out your ideas of exactly what you want to achieve and why, explaining that you need to know this before you can effectively convince others they need what you have to sell.  He has you identify the roadblocks that have been holding you back and explains how you can rid yourself of these.

Next, Mr. Tewart takes you step-by-step through the sales process, from meeting and greeting a potential customer, through building a relationship and eventually through the sale and followup. He takes the time to break each step down into easy to remember steps that can be put into action now.

Upon finishing How To Be A Sales Superstar, I felt for the first time in my life that I could actually do this.  Mark Tewart's book infused me with enthusiasm and confidence and convinced me that sales is not a dirty word or a skill for only a select few.

I highly recommend How To Be A Sales Superstar to everyone, no matter what your occupation.  The skills in this book will work equally well whether you are selling a product, service or yourself.  If you believe you already know how to sell, this book will show you how to do so at a much higher level.  For those of you like me who feel you are missing the sales gene, you'll learn to activate that dormant gene and achieve success as a sales person.

On The Rainbow Scale of Excellence, I give How To Be A Sales Superstar a rating of seven colors--a perfect rainbow!


Posted by joyceanthony at 10:01 AM EST
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Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Questions and Answers With Mark Tewart--Sales Superstar
Topic: Author Interview

What inspired you to write How To Be A Sales Superstar?

I became distressed as I witnessed the majority of salespeople suffering and even failing in their careers. I felt that salespeople were being misled by traditional sales training techniques. These techniques are no longer the answer to selling in today’s market. I felt compelled to share the information and strategies that I have personally used to create superstar success and also have used with thousands of other salespeople and businesses to explode their success.

Why is traditional goal setting keeping salespeople broke?

Traditional goal setting focuses on the wrong things. You can set all the goals you want but if you don’t change your mindset, belief system and actions you will fail. This failure creates a pattern that becomes indelibly lodged into your subconscious brain and then reflects into your everyday actions. This book clearly outlines the steps you must take to erase the negatives you have acquired and replace them with exact patterns you need to create immediate and massive results. I would like to pose one question to you, if conventional goal setting works then why aren’t more people reaching the level of success they would like? The reason is that conventional goal setting creates frustrated and broke salespeople.

How important is attitude and how does one gain the attitude of a Sales Superstar?

Everyone has heard the adage that life is 90% attitude. It may be 99% attitude. The reason is that the right attitude must be present for you to gain success and it must also be present to maintain success. When salespeople start their career, they hear over and over that you have to have a good attitude. The challenge is that nobody shares for these salespeople exactly how you do it. Words are easy but in the stress of real word selling the ability to create and maintain a positive attitude is more difficult. However, it’s amazing what salespeople can do in their lives if they know the right formula to gain and maintain a superstar attitude. I share the precise, step by step formula in this book that gives salespeople an enormous advantage.

In your book you discuss why over 90% of salespeople underachieve. Can you discuss a couple of the main reasons why?

Traditional sales training and teaching focuses on outdated sales methods. In this book I outline new strategies based upon today’s marketplace. I combine those updated sales skills with specific people skills, life skills and marketing skills that salespeople need for superstar success. If you read conventional sales books they focus things such as how to close the sale. If salespeople don’t clearly understand other skills sets, those techniques will not matter. As a matter of fact, those skills will hurt them more than help them.

What are some of the biggest mistakes salespeople make in customer followup?

Most salespeople don’t follow up. The majority of salespeople who do follow up don’t have a system to follow up on an ongoing and automated fashion. This book outlines a follow up system that personalizes and builds a relationship with the customer and sets up future sales, referrals and additional revenue streams from continuity programs using multiple media and technology.

What is the difference between action management vs. time management?

You can’t manage time. There is 1,440 minutes everyday. Superstars take specific actions in a day that lead to results that are exponentially better than the average salesperson. Conventional time management techniques focus on items such as to-do lists. In this book, I define how items such as conventional to-do lists keep you from being successful and what you must do differently to reach maximum productivity that result in superstar results.

Enjoy this video from Mark Tewart~I'll be back tomorrow with my review of How to Be A Sales Superstar

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:19 PM EST
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Honest Scrap Award
Topic: Miscellaneous

I received the Honest Scrap Award today from Nikki Leigh ( http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com:80/2008/12/honest-scrap-award.html  )

Below are the guidelines when winning the Honest Scrap award:


1. List 10 honest things about yourself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep!)

2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers who will be brutally honest with their answers


So let's start with the 10 honest things about myself:

1. My eyes were blue until I was twelve-then they turned brown.

2. The first Bible verse I ever memorized was John 3:16.  I was four years old.

3. I collect railroad memorabilia.
4.  I have my own Pokemon deck-and can win with it!

5.  My college career placement test said I should be a forest ranger.

6.  I once ate rattlesnake and mountain oysters in the same meal.

7.  I once beat a metermaid over the head with a broom.

8.  I have an obsession for pens and blank legal pads.

9. Two sounds I find physically painful are a phone ringing and an alarm clock.

10.  I say what I mean and mean what I say.  People who only have listen or try to figure out "what you really meant" anoy me to know end.

Here are 7 blogs (in no particular order) I believe deserve this award now. Remember, this award is given to those who have the gut to say it as it is, to tell the Honest Scrap:
Free Spirit -- Marvin Wilson -- http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com/
Kat Logic -- Katrina Wampler --  http://katrinawampler.wordpress.com/
Musings of a Quirky Loon -- http://www.quirkyloon.com/
Straight From Hel  Helen Ginger --  http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/
Emma Larkins --  http://emmalarkins.blogspot.com/
Unwriter --  Ron Berry --  http://unwriter1.wordpress.com/
Double M's -  Morgan Mandel --  http://morganmandel.blogspot.com/

Posted by joyceanthony at 8:13 PM EST
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Mark Tewart Talks with Books and Authors
Topic: Author Interview

 1)      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

determined, persistent, committed

2)     How do you think others would describe you?

Determined, persistent, committed, loyal, honest, driven, family man, successful, hard working, adventurous, fearless, high achiever, no BS, straight shooter, tough, risk taker

3)      Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Personally, it's my family and reaching my potential and helping others reach their potential especially youth. Professionally it's reaching my potential and helping others do the same. That can be in my speaking, training, coaching, consulting or my other businesses. I also am passionate about creating things such as new businesses or new projects.

4)      Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

My family has two dogs - Maggie is a Black Poodle and Mojo is a Yellow Lab who is as big as a horse

5)      What is your most precious memory?

I am blessed to have so many. So many revolve around my family and also my kids. I coach youth sports and my son and it's incredibly rewarding. I love all the memories our family travels and vacations.

6)      What is your most embarrassing memory?

My most embarrassing memory is when I started my business with no liquid cash and having times I had to put things on credit that I should not have and feeling like I had let myself and my family down. In my youth I was a very good basketball player but was cut from the team one year and was in absolute shock because I knew that I was good but I was cut because my off the court behavior had become wild and undisciplined.

7)     If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I am blessed that I do so many things. Beyond writing, I am a speaker, trainer, consultant, coach, and entrepreneur. I think I need several outlets for my stimulation. I am fortunate that I am self employed because I think I am virtually unemployable.

8)      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

A good husband, father, son and person. Mark made a difference for many that he met. He did not die asking for another chance.

9)      Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When I wrote my first article and submitted it for review to be published and the editor called me all excited and said it was great and wanted me to publish an article every month.

10)   What is going on with your writing these days?

I am publishing articles every month. I write a couple of monthly ezines and am starting the process of my new book.

11)   What are your future goals for your writing?

I plan to write one book a year or more for the next ten years and continue to write monthly articles and ezines.

12)  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I write most mornings. Sometimes with my travel and workload I take one day and just write for most of the day.

13)  Why do you write?

I enjoy expressing myself. I feel I have valuable information and insight that may benefit others. Writing is also a great creative outlet for me. I also enjoy the feedback I get from my writing. Personally, I think I am English challenged. Nobody would confuse me being a masterful writer with great technical skills. Actually, I am sure my editors have had some great laughs reviewing my work. However, I have been blessed with having wonderful response form my writing. I think people are looking for people to communicate form their hearts and appreciate that more than the technical. Maybe that's a lesson for all politicians.

14)  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I can't say I have one favorite author. However, my personal reading tastes are non fiction, biographies, self improvement etc. I love Think and Grow Rich, The Richest Man in Babylon and Psycho Cybernetics had a huge impact on me. My brother gave me that book when I was in middle school and made me read it. Pretty heady stuff at my age but it was impactful.

15)  How do you define your writing?

Straight ahead, to the point, conversational, sometimes humorous, politically incorrect

16)   In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

I don't hold any pretense that anyone will be saying anything about me or my writings fifty years from now. Moby Dick or War and Peace my writings are not. However, I would be pleased if my writings had made significant impact on someone and maybe a few people would point to works as being timeless in helping someone. I have had many authors and books pointed out to me that I never would have known but a few people spread the news to me and many others. I would like the following sentence. If you want to be successful, you should go back and read Mark Tewart. That would be awesome.

17)  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Absolutely! Go to http://www.marktewart.com/ - http://www.tewart.com/ - http://www.marktewartlive.com/ - http://www.howtobeaslaessuperstar.info/

18)  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

You can email me at info@tewart.com or you can call my office at 513 932-9526

19)  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them? 

How To Be A Sales Superstar - Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It is available in bookstores and Amazon and other online retailers. My other books are more of trade specific book, manuals etc. but you can go to http://www.tewart.com/ or http://www.marktewart.com/

20)  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I think they will be surprised when they read a book about sales that they can get so much useful information for not only sales but their businesses and their lives.

21)  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I wrote my book on sales because I grew sick and tired and even upset that I saw so many intelligent and talented people who were not reaching their potential and even failing in sales. I also saw this same frustration in business people, entrepreneurs and people from all walks of life. I felt like I had a message to share that could cut through the clutter and allow people to experience the big successes they desire. I felt that traditional sales training and much of the motivational training was outdated and lacked a base in reality. I wanted people to have usable tools instead of just theory.

I want the people who are the seekers, the ones who are trying to reach success in their lives to have the information to do so.

 

 

To read the first chapter of How to be a Sales Superstar and to receive several FREE bonuses from Mark Tewart, visit http://www.marktewartlive.com/.

Full tour details are posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-be-sales-superstar-by-mark.html

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:11 AM EST
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Monday, 15 December 2008
Mark Tewart Shares on How to Become a Sales Superstar
Topic: Blog Tours

Over the next several days, we will be visiting with Mark Tewart, author of How to Be a Sales Superstar.  Sales is something each of us do, no matter what our profession. Mark shows us not only how to sell, but how to be the best salesman.

About How to Be a Sales Superstar: Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It

A handy guide that every sales professional or business person can use to become a sales superstar. These days, making the sale is tougher than ever. That's why sales professionals and business owners need more than just smooth talk to make it in the business. Selling is a job that requires an updated toolkit for real, lasting success. How to Be a Sales Superstar teaches salespeople all the specialized skills they need to be a superstar and shows them how to implement those skills immediately. Readers will master the people skills necessary to relate to prospects and read their meaning; the life skills needed to be successful at any endeavor; the marketing skills to draw in new customers and keep the old ones; and the sales skills to eliminate objections and close the deal.

You can become a sales superstar-and get rich doing it.

About Mark Tewart

Mark Tewart is renowned expert on sales, sales marketing, sales management and creating a high performance life. Mark is a motivational speaker, consultant, coach, entrepreneur and owner of four businesses, and author of "How To Be A Sales Superstar - Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It" published by Wiley which is available in book stores and Amazon. Mark has spoken to over 2,000 audiences in the last fifteen years. Also, Mark has published hundreds of articles in numerous trade magazines and authored numerous books, audios, videos and online training materials. Mark has had a top ranked Satellite TV show and been interviewed by magazines, newspapers, radio and TV shows across the world.

Mark Tewart's websites include: http://www.marktewartlive.com/, http://www.marktewart.com/ and http://www.howtobeasalessuperstar.info/


To read the first chapter of How to be a Sales Superstar and to receive several FREE bonuses from Mark Tewart, visit http://www.marktewartlive.com/.

Full tour details are posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-be-sales-superstar-by-mark.html


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:40 AM EST
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