A Voice in the Silence

It’s my honor to welcome D. L. Finn to Entertaining Stories today. She’s here to tell us about her newest publication, and it sounds pretty good to me. Denise is a friend, a Story Empire partner, and a great author. I hope all of you will make her feel welcome, and don’t forget to use those sharing buttons at the end.

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Thank you for having me here today, Craig, to celebrate the release of A Voice in the Silence.

I’ve never had a pet who wanted a bath. Our dogs thought it was a punishment when I went from water to soap, while the cats would attempt to end all water contact with their front claws and propelling back legs. So, I had fun writing the bath scenes that included animals.

Imagine Drea’s surprise that they seemed to enjoy it, not only the dog Charlie, but the cat Jane, and rat Ben too. You’d either think they were the best-behaved and trained animals ever—or wonder. I know my mind would come up with an unusual scenario or two, but never consider these animal’s truths.

Still having a dog, cat and rat show up just when Drea needed it was an enormous boost for her in the depressed state she was in. She deserved that small moment of peace to bond in everyday chores like bathing these animals before her life, and theirs, unraveled.

Fun Finn Facts

1. Could there be labs trying to create talking animals? If they do and they escape they are welcome at my house.

2. Do our loved ones who have passed on try to communicate with us? I believe so.

Blurb

Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.

Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.

Excerpt

Drea gasped and sat up on the couch. Her heart was racing like her nightmare of falling off a cliff had been real. Although it was still dark out, dawn was peeking through the veil. She had slept soundly through the night. The familiar crackling of the fire was absent. She shivered in the cold room, wrapped the blanket tightly around her, and took the simple route of turning on the central heat over rekindling the flames. This time of year, she preferred the warmth of a woodstove over forced hot air, but since becoming a widow, she chose where to put her energy.

The animals were curled up on the blue wool hearth rug and hadn’t stirred. A pleasant sensation passed through her— a sense of belonging, or being needed. That inspired her to pull on her snow boots, coat, and gloves and grab her new black fabric wood carrier. She shut the door quietly behind her without letting it latch. The garage door creaked open, exposing her to the winter chill.

The headlamp fit snuggly across her brow. A simple flick of a switch lit her path across the pristine snow to the woodshed. As the narrow beam of light guided her forward, her boots sank into the covered landscape. She quickly filled her carrier with oak and turned to go back into the house when her path crossed another set of footprints.

Her heart raced as she studied the tracks. They were bigger and deeper than the ones she’d made. The square heel left out any possibility of being a forest animal, and the tracks led away from the house into the trees. A quick scan of the area didn’t offer any answers.

She took a deep breath to push her fear away. Next time, she’d bring her gun. How stupid to go outside alone with a killer on the loose.

Charlie’s paw swept the door open, and he sprinted to her side.

She met the dog’s wide-eyed gaze. “Someone’s been here.”

Charlie sniffed the air, nodded, and fell in behind her. His head bumped against her legs, quickening her sluggish pace. Looking to her right, she spotted more footprints—right outside her front window. Time inched forward as goosebumps crawled over her skin.

Finally they were inside the garage. She dumped the load on the concrete floor and raced to the button that would shut the door and offer her protection from the outside world. Charlie stood statue-still next to the closing door, which moved at the speed of a turtle. She sighed in relief when the outer metal door thumped shut and quickly gathered up the wood.

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Author Bio

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

D.L. Finn Links:

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D.L. Finn blog

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I was supposed to read today

I’m a couple of books behind right now, and have some serious reading I need to get on with. I earmarked this holiday for that purpose, but it never happened.

Things were flowing so well for Lizzie and the hat, that I couldn’t help myself. The wild goose chase continues, but she accomplished some things today that should help her out with her assignment.

Joyeux had to turn Lizzie down cold. The device she wanted to borrow is still in use, and Joyeux can’t spare it right now.

Help came via Cyrus Yoder, but it was Destiny the elemental that made her new device. It’s a mallet. The old fashioned kind that looks similar to half of a rolling pin. I can’t wait to see what kind of monkey business I can concoct with that device.

Cyrus is still grouchy and reserved. Dash is still helpful when he’s allowed to be, and Noodles made his first appearance. He’s going to have a bigger role in this story, but I never got that far.

Fallout from a giant flood is part of the influence in this book. Lizzie is broke. (When isn’t she) Venues for her band are struggling, so the hat booked the band into a junior high dance. I’ll probably get to that bit on my next writing session.

It was a good four-day author stretch. I moved both Mari’s and Lizzie’s stories ahead. Mari’s word count is at 23,800. Lizzies is at 12,500.

I’d like Lizzie’s story to remain at that short novel size. So she might be 25% finished. Mari’s story is intended for a full sized novel, so perhaps 25%, but it might come in a bit shorter.

I expect things to slow down with the changes being made at my workplace. It’s okay. I have two complete novels in the can right now, add these two, and I’m in a pretty good position.

I’ll need to set aside some time to add the cartoons to The Midnight Rambler, and do a final editing pass on it before fall. I will also take time to edit book one of my space opera, which still needs a title.

I might have to use my headphones and read during the evenings. They tend to drown out whatever Old What’s Her Face has on television so I can concentrate.

I hope all of you who got a holiday found a way to enjoy it.

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Strange thought today

My family has never been one for Hallmark holidays. I haven’t heard from any of my kids today, and it really doesn’t matter.

I’ve been dwelling on the idea that last year I called my father and wished him a Happy Father’s Day. It was the last time I would ever do that, and I kind of wish I could today. Strange idea, but if you follow this blog or read my fiction, you can consider the source.

Aside from that, it was another low word count day. I feel much better about it, though. The wild goose chase has begun. Lizzie and the hat left Good Liniment in search of Joyeux DuPont.

Joyeux has a cool new house I wanted to describe. The witches in this series are kind of eccentric. They have to fit into modern society, almost hide among us. When they’re at home they can be themselves. I try to make their homes something just a degree off the standard. We’ve seen Evelyn’s 1960s rancher and Cyrus’ Victorian. You will soon see Professor Lagomorph’s modern architectural nightmare.

Joyeux bought an old water tower. The kind that used to house city offices in the lower levels. She’s in the process of turning it into her home.

I rarely blurt out what any witch’s strong discipline is, except in the case of Dash Goodman. There are enough clues for readers to figure them out. Joyeux is turning the water tank into her personal greenhouse, and it’s already filled with some cool things. I think readers are going to like her. She got a brief intro in Good Liniment, but will get more of a chance to shine in this story.

If you’re a fan of Noodles, the pet creature, he’s going to shine in this one, too.

While it was a low volume day, I feel better now that the chase is on. This one should pick up the pace now, and I have tomorrow available, too.

Call your dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day while you still can.

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Slower going today

Lizzie and the hat went a little slower than I anticipated today. It makes perfect sense when I think about it. I’m in the phase where I’m still moving pieces around.

Once I got past some of this in Mari’s story my word count really picked up. I had to get Lizzie inside the server farm so she could deal with the gremlins. That didn’t go well, so she needed help.

Some of this stems from the ongoing series aspect here. I can’t just plop Dash Goodman into the story without some minor reintroductions. We’re also exploring a new part of Good Liniment for this help, and I need to slow down and describe it. I have every intention that someone could pick this story up without ever having read any of the others and not feel lost.

Turns out the basement at Good Liniment might be even more interesting than the bar and restaurant upstairs.

This is going to turn into a wild goose chase to find something to deal with the gremlins. Imagine trying to kill cockroaches with pistols. She needs a new tool. It’s going to allow Lizzie to foster a relationship with Joyeux DuPont, and allow me to introduce a new witch entirely.

This one won’t be quite as dark as some of its predecessors. I’ve gotten Lizzie shot before, gave her a mental meltdown, and there have been some brutal killings in previous volumes. I can afford one that’s a bit lighter.

This doesn’t mean Lizzie will have a cakewalk. I intend to put her under a curse that could be career ending. (I intend to play it for humor.)

Another thing I could be struggling with is the publication schedule. Good Liniment is on Amazon right now. Midnight Rambler will come out this Fall. Goodbye Old Paint could include growth points from a story nobody’s seen yet. I don’t think this is the problem, though. Moving the pieces into place always takes time for me.

I’d like to fit Kevin the vampire in here somehow, but he’s not exactly working for this story. Dash’s kind of help seems more pertinent. I also need to come up with something for Night Bump Radio, but government hacking should be a simple enough idea. Tying it to the urban legend of Hellpox might take some serious thought.

Word count came to 2200 today. About a thousand off from what Mari’s last writing day produced.

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Not according to plan, but I’ll take it

Today might be my last flex day ever. I really wanted to make the pixels fly, and earmarked this time for Lizzie and the hat.

All I needed to do first was go back through Mari’s story for some quick changes. I wanted to add a few southernisms and some Spanish to my dialog. Little things like Miss Kililah, as opposed to just Kililah.

I wound up getting into the story as I edited, and added 3500 words to it. I got through a tropical storm, and the Voodoo scene I’ve been looking forward to. I did some research here, and think I stayed fairly true, but also made it work for the story.

Papa Legba is an entity who can speak every language. Extinct languages and even those that haven’t been created yet. He serves as a kind of broker between us and the Gods because we can’t speak their language. His favorite number is three. I used three old fashioned keys to a really cool effect. He loves black and red, so I covered an altar with deadly coral snakes. He also loves dogs, more on that in a couple of paragraphs.

It may seem like a neat thing, or even a handy tool for Mari, but it’s actually a major upgrade. We see a lot of heroes who can fly, are bulletproof, stretchy and bendy. This story doesn’t lend itself to that. How many heroes have you ever seen with an enhanced olfactory sense?

To expand on this, Mari rescued a black & tan coonhound. She’ll have to rescue her one more time, but I didn’t get that far. Here’s Mari, having lost her family, and suffered through a brutal gang rape. I gave her something adorable to grab onto. The fact that it’s a hound with a superior olfactory sense works wonders for me. It gives me some better bonding opportunities to work with as Mari learns her way around this unique skill.

I stopped right there and moved over to Lizzie’s story. I want to read what I have so far, and will focus on that before adding any new words. I still have hopes to move Goodbye Old Paint ahead before the weekend wraps up.

If I get anything done tomorrow, I’ll check in again.

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Smorgasbord Bookreviews – #Fantasy – Good Liniment (The Hat Book 5) by C.S. Boyack

Sally shared her thoughts about Good Liniment today. Please visit this wonderful supporter of indie authors. You might decide you need some Good Liniment for your summer reading.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share my reviews for the 5th book in The Hat series by C.S. Boyack.. Good Liniment.

About the book

Someone is murdering members of the local witches coven. They turn to Lizzie and the hat for their unique skills that might help eliminate the killers.

A religious zealot might be a monster, but is still a human being. This task isn’t the same as staking vampires or shooting zombies. It isn’t the usual project Lizzie takes on for her night work.

This all takes place during a recovery period for Lizzie. She needs to keep her cover band together and find a new way of getting them gigs. More bands and less venues are making finances tight. The hat didn’t make things easier during her absence, by spreading rumors about why she took her sabbatical.

Someone killing others over a point of view insults Lizzie’s sensibilities. She has…

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Better than I’d hoped

Sundays are usually horrible days for me to write. I call my mother and spend about an hour with her. There are general chores and such that I earmark for Sundays. I might gain an hour or so, but usually don’t.

For whatever reason, probably having the house to myself, I managed some quality time. I stayed with Mari’s story, and feel kind of bad about it.

I left poor Lizzie handcuffed outside of a secure Federal agency in the grass. She didn’t do anything wrong, but she’s been there for a couple of weeks now. Next weekend I’ll get what amounts to my last flex day ever and might return to help her out.

Mari’s rescue was complete. She lost four or five days in an unconscious state. Sun, fire ants, and abuse will do that to you in my story.

Her rescuer is Kelilah, and she survived the war Mari only sees the remnants of. As Mari got her legs under her, she started checking the fish traps and figured out how they work. A neat skill for someone traveling through swamp country.

Kelilah also told her bits and pieces about the war. Not too many speak of it, so this was a rare opportunity for her to learn something about the previous world.

This conversation peppered a scene where Mari learned how to throw a box of knives Kelilah had collected from her old military unit as they were killed. These Arkansas toothpicks were a symbol of the scouts.

They also spent some quality time learning how to knife fight, and it’s more brutal than just trying to stab someone.

Bath time also came along which involved a trough and heating water on an outdoor stove Kelilah had built. This is where Mari learned one of her attackers, the same ones who killed her family, wrote his name across her ass. It will wash away eventually, but someone named “Keefe” made it to the top of her death list.

As the bruises heal, and the deep tissues start feeling better, Mari and Kelilah are heading for a distant community to forage. There are quality fruit trees and things there. I’ll have Kelilah reveal a bit more about the past as this section expands. For now, they have to wait until I get some more writing time.

With no expectations, my word count exceeded yesterdays. I always struggle with transitions, and now that I made them the story flowed better. Mari’s skill set is growing by leaps and bounds. She has two clues to work with, Keefe and someone with a yellow handled machete. Much better than the laughing silhouettes from her personal attack.

Still raining in Idaho. Now that the weekend is over, I’m sure it will return to sunny days and high temperatures. Heaven forbid we get a nice weekend. For those of you wondering, Old What’s Her Face pulled in about an hour ago and had a great time with her brother and our grandson.

Hope all of you had wonderful weekends, and have a great week ahead of you.

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Not as good as I’d hoped

It’s a bachelor weekend around here. Old What’s Her Face decided to brave the $5 gasoline and visit some family in Nevada. I had big plans for moving at least one story ahead.

I spent Friday night with a huge bottle of Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Crime Story. No sense getting greedy about writing, and I deserved an evening of whatever the hell I want.

I woke up early and intended to make the pixels fly. No real target or agenda. There’s a scene that I’ve been dreading in Mari’s story and rather than put it off I faced it head on.

There are some scenes I don’t feel like I write particularly well, but I’ve learned a pseudo-trick. I kind of write them from the side. I don’t have to write erotica to include characters who are intimate. I just pick it up from the other end. Works for me. (I need to dwell on this and I might get a Story Empire post out of it.)

This scene involves a personal failure on Mari’s part and she paid the price. Rather than feel every broken rib, or penetrative act, I skipped ahead to her being roused by a rescuer. Fire ants found their way into the story.

The old woman who rescued her is going to become a kind of mentor. This lady was actually in the war Mari sees the remnants of. There are some new bushcraft and frontier skills headed Mari’s way, but I never made it that far.

This is also the character that’s going to bring that little bit of Voodoo to the tale that makes it one of my stories. I’ve done my research and this is a gift from an entity known as Papa Legba.

I never did a formal count, but it feels like 3000 – 3500 words. Sounds awesome, but I had about seven hours at my disposal. I got up early. It’s also likely to be my weekly word count as well as my day. I’ll see how far I get tomorrow. Right now it’s at 15,160.

Mari’s story involves a lot of moving around, and I’m trying to get into the scenery. This includes remnants from the war, like the night she spent beside the burned up hull of a Blackhawk helicopter.

I’m also touching upon some of the exotic wildlife that has made its way into the Gulf Coast area. Nothing preachy, but there are iguanas and pythons present already. A few Quaker parakeets also exist. I’ll probably step it up from there, but so far it’s been realistic. Don’t know if I’ll include a bit about global warming, but it feels like something that could work here.

Poor Mari is really going through the crucible in this one. She’s tough and well prepared, but not as well as she thought. Perhaps this mentor character can provide a bit more that she’s lacking.

This mentor will provide some things, but not everything. I have another stop far down the line that will deliver a bit more, but it’s Mari who’s going to have to make the ultimate evolution before the big showdown.

I’m probably going to go back to some television for the rest of the day. Stormy and hot here in Idaho. It’s a weird combo, but the weather all year has been weird.

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Reporting in today

Plans didn’t change, but nature dictates what I can do.

I actually wrote that one into The Midnight Rambler, and got the cover ordered. I plan on releasing this one for the Halloween reading season. It’s a hat story, and I’m excited to share it with everyone. I wasn’t going to talk about it today, but this song is invading my head right now.

While Lizzie and the hat are chasing the Midnight Rambler, there is a major flood event happening. Naturally, the band drifts into songs about rain.

It was raining when I woke up. It rained all day. We have a first-rate thunderstorm brewing out there right now. Safe to say, spraying my trees wasn’t on the agenda today.

I wound up starting with Mari, back in the swamp country. This involves a big portion of world building in a town called Columbia. This is based upon a nuclear submarine that washed miles inland during the big war. The reason this is a post apocalyptic world.

The end of the war involved nuclear weapons and the subsequent wave brought it to rest. The town built up around it, and some wise person used the reactor to provide electricity to the town. They boast it’s the only town with electric lights in the whole world.

This next section is going to be hard to write. I need some time to think it out, because Mari is going to get herself in trouble.

I switched back to Goodbye Old Paint. Lizzie is dealing with the FBI and the file they have on her activity. I have some real problems in store for her, too. I need to get things moving and this always takes a bit of dabbling. Lizzie’s problems will be more humorous, while Mari’s are pretty serious.

Lizzie is sorting things out from the end of Midnight Rambler, like FEMA benefits. I swear this will still work as a stand alone.

I need to get her to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to see her problem first-hand. It’s going to be something she and the hat are ill equipped to handle. (Still coming up with things the hat can call this agency that are incorrect.)

Still, I added words to both stories. I’ll probably stick with Lizzie and the hat tomorrow. Assuming it’s still going to be raining. If the weather breaks, I may actually spray my trees.

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One of those days…

I’ve had a goal for a couple of weeks now, and the weather seems to be against me. I have an asian pear tree that I need to spray. Codling moths are a problem here. Think wormy apples.

This is going to involve spraying all three of my malus family trees, because there’s no sense in letting the damned things thrive on the crabapple and medlar and only spraying the pear.

Peach tree doesn’t care and moths aren’t a problem. At least I’ll have them.

It’s been beautiful during the work week but rains every damned weekend. Today is the same thing. I don’t use any heavy pesticides, only Sevin which is for vegetable gardens. The tree produces so much I can’t eat it all anyway, so if I lose a few it’s no big deal. Better for the environment and safer for the dogs. It just needs to stay on the tree and dry for a bit.

Since that wasn’t an option, I turned my efforts to blogging. I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. This took a while because we need graphics with them. It’s getting harder to find decent free-use images.

I also scheduled a visit for a friend to promote her newest book. Happens to be the same day my Story Empire post goes live. I may be slow on responding to all the comments, but I will.

Count this post, too. No sense in stopping now… unlike the rain.

I did a bit of writing before sunrise this morning. Didn’t amount to much. I’m still world building in this story, and don’t want to dump too much, too fast. Mari is getting around, but she’s learning a bit as she travels. I’m also dealing with her emotional issues around the campfire.

There was a lot of backing up and editing, too. I haven’t written anything in first person since the last Jason Fogg story. I love this POV, but have to do everything possible to tone down the use of I and my in the internal dialog. It’s still going to be heavy, but I’ll put some effort into it.

I’ve reached a point where this tale needs some deeper thought. I always know what’s going to happen, but I have some things on the page and those need to weave into whatever happens next. Simple stuff that doesn’t probably baffle other authors. I placed a town to pass through, I have to keep its location in mind for future events so I don’t put the next place on top of it.

This is usually when I jump stories. Maybe tomorrow I’ll move over to Lizzie and the hat. I know these characters pretty well by now and sometimes I can make the words fly when I write them.

Fingers crossed for a fairly productive weekend, and maybe one day without rain.

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