Monday, 26 December 2016

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Merri Halma

1. Tell me about your book Indigo Traveler and where you got your inspiration for it?

I currently have two books out: Indigo Traveler Book 1 and Keys to the Shadowlands Book Two. Indigo Traveler is about Xander Veh who wants to meet the Creator of All Worlds to demand why he was made like he was. Before he can have that, he has to meet himself. The inspiration came from my own desire to have a face to face with Spirit.

Keys to the Shadowlands is about Xander going into a dark world full of illusions to find his lost nemesis. He risks losing his sanity. The inspiration came when I realized King Titus, from the first book, still has a story to tell.

2. How do you come up with titles for your books?

I asked my teen focus group to help me name the book because I was rewriting my very first book, Jamie and the Magic Digger. My son didn’t want a fictional character named after him, so the teens renamed the main character and came up with the title of the book. Shadowlands was named because one of the characters steals the keys to the Shadowlands

3. What do you plan to do next?

I am working on the third book in the series, Many Paths to Follow and will be polishing up a short story that has some haunting elements to it. I recently had my short story critiqued at the Indie Author Day in Boise, Idaho and my critiquer wants me to add more horror elements to the ghost story. He enjoyed the story, said the writing was good. I liked his suggestions for improvements and will implement them.

4. If all the worlds a stage, where does the audience sit?

I choose this question because last night I watched the original Westworld where the adults can go to an amusement park to live their fantasy era and interact with automatons. As I watched the humans watching and monitoring each world on monitors, I was struck with the idea, “What if we are in a similar world and there are humans outside of us watching our lives like that?”

I think the audience would be sitting behind a curtain we cannot see or know. They applaud those they can identify with boo the ones they don’t like.

5. Why did you choose to be a writer?

Writing choose me. Growing up, I had a speech impediment and had a hard time communicating. Writing gave me a way to express myself that verbal speech did not. It was also an outlet for my active imagination. After that, it was a strong urge to write, journal and empty my full mind so I could rest. I love writing, daydreaming and imaging a different way to live. After all, we are the creators of ourselves.

6. If you were president what would be the first thing you’d do?

Abolish war, tax the wealthy, create tuition free colleges for everyone and assist all to have health care. I would also have those able in the medical field learn how to educate people to do preventive health care and instead of prescribing pharmaceuticals, find a way to heal the diseases. We need to stop being the policemen to the whole world and start working together with all nations to forge peace, feed the hungry and build houses for the homeless.

7. Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes, I believe in ghosts. We are all souls/spirits in a body. After the body dies, the spirit goes back to where it came from. Sometimes, they still watch their loved ones and find a way to communicate to those who are sensitive.

8. Where is your favourite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?

I would love to go to a lake or river and just sit and dream, write in my journal and watch the seagulls play. When I lived in Spokane, Washington, I would go to Riverfront Park and watch the seagulls, stroll the park and watch people, too. When I lived in the Yakima Valley, Washington, I would go to down the Columbia River and walk around, often pausing to sit on a bench and stare at the Columbia as it rolled along. There aren’t many places where I live now that have peaceful areas like that. I think there may be, I just haven’t found them, yet.

9. How do you motivate yourself to keep writing?

My characters keep screaming at me and telling me what they want to do next. If I go too long from writing, I find a character’s story begins to form in my mind and see the action taking place. The main character for my fourth book keeps urging me to write his story. I want to start working on it, too. I just need to get the third book finished and the short story finished and published, too. The one thing that scares me is finding magazine to pay me for the short story so I am going to do my darnedest to see if I can find one who will accept it.

10. What is your best childhood memory?

I was about four years old playing out in my front yard alone. I paused and looked out across the street and soaked in the view of the Horse Heavens, a group of small mountains in Washington State where I lived. The sky was clear, crystal blue and white, fluffy clouds floated aimlessly across. In that moment, I knew I was a part of something much larger than me. I also knew I wasn’t normal. I have been searching for the answers ever since that day. And yes, I am still learning who I am.


Xander Veh, 13, could see the secrets others hid from the world. He dreamed of going to the stars to find out why he had this gift.

When his cat brings him a griffin encased in stone, a whole new world is opened up to him. A world where an Arimaspian giant is rampaging the lands, and they need someone like him. How can he stand up to a giant when he can’t stand up to the school’s bully?

To save a world from war, Xander must face himself.


About Merri

Merri Halma grew up with a speech impediment so writing became a way for her express herself and served as an outlet for her active imagination. She's studied writing at Eastern Washington University, Children's Literature and Children's Drama at Central Washington University and graduated from Heritage College in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Social Services and the Humanities. She also holds a Master of Science in Counseling-Psychology. For more information, see her website.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Dusty Pages Review: Bound to the Alpha

Stranded in the wilderness without her glasses, curvy Sarah must rely on the protection of Cain, a handsome and enigmatic werewolf.

I got the first part of this as a free download but now it a complete collection, it is better value for money to buy this one edition rather than the three separate parts. I enjoyed the story. There was a difference to the werewolves in this story that most of the others I've read. It reminds me of a character from the Dresden files, not a human that is sometimes a wolf but more a wolf that was sometimes human.

This is very much an adult book. The sex is intense and may be unsettling for some but I enjoyed it, it was in fitting with the type of character Cain is. I recommend this book to those that love shifter romances, especially one with the sweet ending this one has. A spin off follows the twins from Cain's pack, its in about eight parts at the moment, I advise to wait to see if a collection edition comes along.

I give this

Monday, 19 December 2016

Meet a Writer Monday Presents...

...Lisa Acerbo

1. Tell me about your book Wear White to Your Funeral and where you got your inspiration for it?

I love the supernatural and how it relates to history. After writing about another local legend, the Old Leather Man, I came across the story of the White Lady, a ghost who haunts the Union Cemetery in Easton, Connecticut. Some say she is Harriet B. Seeley, who had a son die in childhood. Now, Seeley’s ghost walks through the graves endlessly searching for him.

There are other interesting story about the White Lady. Local lore suggests that the White Lady could be Ellen Smathers, a woman who was murdered in the cemetery in the 1800s. Smathers was stalked by Richard Dean Jason. Jason murdered her husband and dumped his body near the cemetery and hoped his act of murder would demonstrate his deep emotions. When Ellen Smathers didn’t return Jason’s feelings, he murdered her and dumped her body next to her husband. Now Ellen Smathers wanders the cemetery.

The White Lady made an interesting ghostly figure in my upcoming YA novel.

2. How do you come up with titles for your books?

The title is one of the last things I figure out. While writing, I hope and pray my characters say something interesting. Other times, I rely on my family or friends to come up with a title that is witty and appropriate. Like the rest of the writing process, deciding on a title is a process that requires a lot of thought and revision.

3. Why did you want to write this book?

I am a high school teacher and love reading what my students read. I wanted a chance to write for them. My second book, Remote, was also young adult and I enjoyed trying to get the characterization and voice correct. With this book, I had a great opportunity to combine my love of the supernatural and local history with developing realistic teen characters and authentic teen voices.

4. How do you feel about public appearances? Do you do them often?

Public appearances are excruciating – worse than the dentist. I am an introvert and trying to sell something, even if it is my writing, can be painful. I force myself to do workshops and public appearances because deep down I know it is good for me, like taking my medicine when sick.

5. Is there one area of your writing that you’ve always wanted to improve upon?

Dialogue. Getting dialogue to sound realistic is tough. I always try to remember the excellent writing advice that realistic is not the same as real. My daughter sometimes laughs when I attempt to write as a teen. She also tells me when no one under twenty talks that way. Luckily I have her around to edit my old-lady language.

6. What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I cheated with this one. My daughter took it and sent it to me, but it shows how cute my dogs, Mia and Carrie, can be. They can also be nightmares, and tend to want to hog the bed at night. Now that my kids are off to college, my phone is filled with pictures of dogs.

7. What is your perfect pizza?

All pizza. All the time. Cold pizza for breakfast and leftovers for lunch. It doesn’t matter if it is thin crust or Sicilian pizza, I love them all, except if they have meat on top. I’m a vegetarian.

8. What does love feel like to you?

Rory, the main character in Wear White to Your Funeral, describes it well. With her boyfriend, Bowen’s kisses, Rory’s world shifts. She feels as if she is spinning and falling all at once and enjoys it. In fact, she become the falling girl, plunging into strong emotions. To experience love, Rory immerses herself in both the feelings and the moment.

9. Do you believe in ghosts?

The more research I do on the supernatural, the more I believe. My daughter claims to have seen a ghost upstairs and when she described the ghost it sounded exactly like my deceased father when he was young. Since then I’m a believer in things that go bump in the night.

10. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have been too scared to?

Bungee jumping or skydiving. I keep telling myself one day it will happen. I keep waiting.

11. Where is your favourite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?

My dogs, Mia and Carrie, drag me through the woods at the local nature preserve every day for an hour or two. They get to run around off leash and I get to unplug. I put the cell phone away and reconnect with the world around me. I love it, and often times I work out plot twists or holes.

12. If you were forced to open a bakery, what would you name it?

In the last chapter of my book Wear White to Your Funeral, the characters come to a cupcake food truck and it is named The Cupcake Break. I’m a sugar and caffeine addict and I would be happy to spend my days around frosting and coffee.


A half buried dead body and the ghostly apparition lead Rory and Bowen into a deadly game of cat and mouse, but who is the killer? Is it human or something long dead and otherworldly? Rory is drawn into the mystery of the White Lady, which opens doors for some very real danger. A suspected killer, a menacing ghost, and a stalker have Rory and Bowen on the run to solve this supernatural haunting.

She died wearing white, but now it’s time for their funeral. Rory is your average high school senior. Or she was, until her mother banishes her to hell, also known as Trumbull, Connecticut. The small suburb with only a mall and movie theater sure feels like the netherworld until Rory’s first day at her new school. That’s the day she meets Bowen, who begs her to join him on a class project. But when Bowen drags her to a graveyard after dark for research purposes, Rory wants to fly back home to Atlanta, or at least return to her aunt’s house unharmed and unmolested.

Nothing could go wrong, right? They talk, they laugh, and they wander among the tombstones looking for information on the local ghostly legend known as the White Lady. Then they have to run, but they cannot outrun a ghost. The police are of little help, Rory’s aunt just wants her to remain safe, and Bowen, who she can’t stay away from, keeps finding ways to get her into more trouble than she has ever known. Whether breaking into a suspected killer’s house, being followed by a menacing ghost, or being stalked at school, Rory hopes finding the killer will put an end to the supernatural craziness.

THE NEWEST YA MYSTERY by award winning author, Lisa Acerbo is filled with thrills and chills. The well-known and highly documented White Lady legend of Connecticut comes to life in this exciting romantic mystery.


About Lisa

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct instructor at the college level holding an EdD in Educational Leadership.. In addition to writing fiction, she has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter. Her first novel Apocalipstick, about zombies, the end of the world, and romance, was published in 2013. She went on to write, Remote, a science fiction novel for young adults and the romantic suspense novel No Trouble at All. Her latest book, Wear White to Your Funeral, featuring the ghost of the White Lady, will be released October 28, 2016. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs.




Twitter: @Apocalipstick_