Two Trailers showing #TSRA Hall of Fame #Authors – A Blogaversary Present…

G G Collins, Author & Journalist:

Honored to be included. Thank you Chris.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

In thanks for all those authors who have supported and contributed to The Story Reading Ape’s Blog for the past TWO YEARS, (Blogaversary TODAY), I thought it would be nice for you to be recognised AND to give you something you can display on your own blogs and websites…

So…

Here are TWOAuthor Hall of Fame Promo Trailers that you are FREE to use, refer or link to, reblog, tweet, share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon and many other places.

If you can’t remember when you first entered the Hall of Fame, go to it HERE, find YOUR name, click on it, and see the date (top of article) your Guest Author article was posted.

NOTE: If you posted updated or other articles after the first one, find the links to the previous ones in the latest article revealed and follow all such links through to the original…

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Book Review: “Liberty Falling” by Nevada Barr

Yearning to Breathe Free

Reviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2015)

***** Reports of ghostly sounds by the night Park Ranger on Ellis Island has Anna searching the historic landmark’s creepy abandoned buildings. But what has brought her to New York City is her sister’s illness. It’s a heart-wrenching time for Anna in what is one of Barr’s best stories.

Liberty Falling by Nevada Barr Berkley, Penguin Group

Liberty Falling
by Nevada Barr
Berkley, Penguin Group

In Liberty Falling Barr reached a comfortable place writing Anna, the park ranger who grapples with murder in every park she works. The nice thing about this series is that Anna is such an authentic person, er, character. We like her because she screws up. She battles alcoholism, she struggles to express her feelings and she knows who we are because she is us. It’s the perfect combination of human weakness quelled by the strength we all somehow muster in challenging times.

In this remarkable chapter in Anna’s life, she has come to New York because her sister, Molly, is gravely ill. Molly is a very important person in Anna’s life: part sister, part mother. The problem is that Molly, too, needs a confidant. While she is a successful therapist, she does everything wrong as far as her own health is concerned: smokes, drinks, no exercise. It has finally caught up with her and she lies in ICU at Columbia-Presbyterian where she underwent bypass surgery complicated by pneumonia.

Anna’s former lover Frederick Stanton is also standing vigil and as steadfast readers know, he is now smitten with Anna’s sister. His obvious love for her sister as he reads to the unconscious woman causes conflicted emotions for Anna, and the romantically inclined attentions of Molly’s doctor further confuse her. No longer on the wagon, Anna sips the deadly brew to fortify her sagging soul.

To be close to Molly, Anna’s staying at a friend’s house on Liberty Island. When a fourteen-year-old girl takes the express route down the Statue of Liberty—usually 354 claustrophobic steps and a hot two-hour climb—Anna’s attention is diverted from her sister. A visitor to the statue claims that a park employee pushed the dead girl. Anna likes the accused, in spite of knowing Hatch for only a short while, and can’t help doing a little investigating on her own even though she has no legal authority. When Hatch is found dead at the base of Lady Liberty some herald it as a guilt-induced suicide but Anna thinks it may be murder.

Missing the open spaces in her home park of Mesa Verde, Colorado, Anna goes exploring Ellis Island, part of Liberty State Park. One building has been painstakingly restored to its lavish 1920s design but the others remain sad ruins of another era. During its day, 10,000 of the masses passed through Ellis Island each day hoping for a new beginning. The building consisted of a huge immigration center and state-of-the-art (at the time) hospital including operating theaters and autopsy facility. Today, the same numbers visit the compound and wonder what it must have been like. You will too because Barr describes it well and you almost feel lost in time.

What she finds leads to a conspiracy of death and destruction if Anna can’t uncover who is behind it. In the final spellbinding pages Anna attempts to thwart a pernicious plot at Liberty’s feet in Barr’s shining homage to the best and worst of humankind.

Liberty Falling does not fall short of expectations and instills in the reader a new appreciation for those who came before—yearning to breathe free.

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Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 7)
Berkley, Penguin Group ● 352 pp ● March 1999 ● Now available on Kindle

To read the full poem written by Emma Lazarus and learn about Liberty State Park go to http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm. Lazarus died four years after writing the poem at age 38. It is unclear if she ever saw Liberty standing.

 

Book Review: “Star Witness” by Lia Matera

The Truth is Out There

Reviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2015)

***** Willa Jansson was all set for a three-week no-brainer holiday when she made the mistake of answering the telephone. In a few moments, visions of idyllic beaches and languid hours vanished. Psychiatrist Fred Hershey called in a favor and Willa is hard-pressed to say no in this delightful romp through the strange.

Star Witness by Lia Matera Simon & Schuster

Star Witness
by Lia Matera
Simon & Schuster

For the past year Willa has been coasting along as a multimedia attorney—mostly because she thought it sounded cool and she’d been unemployed when the opportunity came along. Hershey wants her to defend a client accused of manslaughter in a hit and run accident with bizarre extenuating circumstances.

In this case of tabloid proportions, the accused, mushroom authority Allan Miller, maintains he can’t remember the accident happening. Under hypnosis he confessed to being kidnapped by aliens where he underwent gross experiments. Even he would rather he be guilty of the crime than admit to what his subconscious maintains happened during a period of missing time. (Cue eerie music.)

As Willa reluctantly investigates the earthly possibility that her client committed this crime, the other world of UFOs and alleged abductions comes to the forefront. A crop circle is found in a field by a local citizen who attracts believers to Santa Cruz from all over. Shades of Roswell! Even Willa experiences missing time and struggles with trying to explain it to herself.

It appears the provincial law has not done a compelling job of examining the evidence. Certainly tire tracks were not found in the Brussels sprout field. The car in question had to sail off the cliff adjacent the growing cruciferous veggies in order to land atop the car below. Willa is determined to look for terrestrial evidence to clear her client.

To offer a balanced defense she requests the least kooky UFO specialists she can find. Unfortunately they can’t agree among themselves just how to explain, let alone prove, UFO abductions.

Other witnesses are afraid to testify due to the financial and social ramifications. Willa is fired when the firm catches on to the shenanigans going on in Space People’s Court.

Further complications arise because of a well-known columnist who has been sitting in on the testimony. He exposes Miller’s long ago doctoral thesis which posed the theory that mushrooms may be an alien life-form, opening the prospect of Spore Wars. Well, you get the idea.

Willa’s fruitcake mother shows up ready to organize a demonstration. She has a long ago connection to one of the UFOlogists, but to avoid upsetting the trial her daughter scuttles her back home before she can cause anymore hullabaloo.

Matera doesn’t draw any conclusions regarding the legitimacy of UFO reports or abductions, but getting there is a hoot. As we all know, the truth is out there.

Star Witness (A Willa Jansson Mystery, Book #6)
Simon & Schuster ♦ 255 pp ● June 1997 ♦ Now available on Kindle

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Book Review: “Act of Betrayal” by Edna Buchanan

Britt Montero Never Takes “No” For An Answer

Reviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2015)

*****  Miami.  Bold, sizzling and dangerous. Police reporter Britt Montero is front and center when it comes to danger in this breathless slam-bam thriller from author Edna Buchanan.

Act of Betrayal Edna Buchanan Available at Amazon

Act of Betrayal
Edna Buchanan
Hyperion

It was no surprise when Alex Aguirre’s life was extinguished in a car bombing outside his employer, WTOP-TV. His outspoken commentaries put him in disfavor with Castro, Miami’s high-ranking politicians, The Miami News, the Mafia, CIA, even the U.S. President. Perhaps most menacing is Juan Carlos Reyes, a rich and powerful anti-Castro revolutionary.

A persistent parent grieving his missing son approaches Britt in the newsroom. She reluctantly agrees to do some checking when she remembers another missing boy of similar description. Missing people are nothing new, and rarely news. Most either turn up or don’t want to be found. But the age cluster these boys belong to is the most difficult to find. They are too young to be missed immediately by family or day care; not old enough to be easily tracked by Social Security number, driver’s license or credit cards.

As her investigation evolves, Britt learns that there are other missing boys, all fair-haired, blue-eyed and close in age. The police develop a task force—for political reasons. Parents of the missing boys, encouraged by her inquiries, form a support group. The families revive their hope that the children will be found unharmed.

Britt is exasperated when ordered to do a political interview with Juan Carlos Reyes, during one of her busiest seasons—late summer, the high season for violent crime.  Although of Cuban descent, she abhors Cuba and its politics preferring to concentrate on making a difference in the here and now. She blames her superior, an incompetent token-type, but then learns that Reyes specifically requested her.

Britt approaches Reyes with trepidation. His vehement outbursts against The Miami News are legendary. Surprisingly, he is quite charming and alludes to knowledge of her mother (a relationship?) and long-dead patriot father—assassinated by the Castro regime. He tells her of a diary her father allegedly kept until his death, hinting that he may be able to place it in her hands.

When Britt tells her mother about the interview with Reyes, mom promptly pulls a vanishing act leaving Britt alone in a restaurant. Britt’s calls remain unanswered along with her attempts at personal contact. Mom’s uncharacteristic behavior leaves Britt baffled.

Confusion becomes her constant companion when Jorge Bravo, another Cuban insurgent, protests her interview with Reyes claiming him to be a traitor. He scoffs at Reyes statements about her father’s journal. Bravo, a man nearly spent by his compulsion to liberate Cuba, does produce a photo of her father as a young man.

While Britt sorts through clues to the missing boys and tries to determine who she can trust regarding her father’s writings, a hurricane of gigantic proportions rages in from the Atlantic threatening to wipe out the city. When it rains, it pours!

The trail of lost sons reaches its apex during the worst hurricane to strike Miami in fifty years. With all emergency help cut off (“Miami, you’re on your own.”) Britt abandons her storm post to confront the man who knows the truth of her father’s execution. Putting her own life at risk, she exposes the work of a heinous killer.

In Act of Betrayal Britt Montero establishes that a woman alone is not helpless but can be a powerful force during life-altering events. Britt lives life with resourcefulness and grit, never taking no for an answer in her quest for a breaking story.

Act of Betrayal by Edna Buchanan (Britt Montero Series Book 4)
Hyperion ♦ 320 pp ♦ February 1996 ♦ Now available in Kindle format

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#Women #Authors in TSRA’s Hall of Fame (So Far…)

G G Collins, Author & Journalist:

From Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Honored to be among the women on TSRA’s Authors Hall of Fame. Thank you Chris for supporting authors and writing in a BIG WAY!

 

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

FYI

Out of the 387 Authors in my

Authors Hall of Fame

239 are Women

and here they are

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Interview: Fantasy Writer Scott Marlowe

Welcome to the World of Scott Marlowe

Scott Marlowe defines himself as a “first-generation Texan.” (His family had heretofore been staunch New Yorkers). After bouncing from one end of the country to the other, he finally returned to his beloved Lone Star state where he lives with wife and “two crazy dogs” (the crazy dogs’ response to their interview was “grrrr”). A software engineer by trade, he had long been a reader of fantasy. He founded a fantasy-science fiction ezine Pegasus Online and wrote a “terribly written story” (hey, we’ve all been there), but not so bad it wasn’t published. But writing books was on his horizon. He launched The Alchemancer, followed by A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name. He lives in a strange little world called Uhl, but they like him there. You’ll like him too. Read on.
(Copyright 2015, G G Collins)
Author Scott Marlowe

Author Scott Marlowe

How does a software engineer stray into the fantasy/sci-fi arena? Was it an escape from machines or a natural next step for you?

It actually was a first step. Like most authors, I was a reader long before I became a writer (or a software engineer). I started with such classics as The Chronicles of Prydain and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Also, I got hooked as a child on Harryhausen movies. Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans (the original, not that travesty of a re-make). Classic stuff which led me into the pulp works of Robert E. Howard, the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, and the sword and sorcery masterpieces penned by Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock.

Tell us how you add that touch of steampunk to your stories.

Coming from a fairly classic fantasy reading background, steampunk was something new for me. I liked reading it, but when it came time to get back to my own writing, it was back to the usual fantasy sorts of things. But then I started writing one book in particular and it just hit me that the story needed an infernal device of some sort. I already had the powerful magical device trope in there, but I started to think, what if this magical device was actually a mechanical device? Even better, what if it was a blend of science and sorcery? The story—and the series—took a completely different turn from there. I wound up incorporating these same technological elements into my other series; I kind of had to since they take place in the same world, albeit at different geographical locations.

So what started as a single infernal device prompted a certain proliferation of other technology: handheld devices to measure energy; mechanical, alchemically-driven carriages to whisk people around the larger, more modernized cities; and, of course, airships, some with specialized engines for high altitude travel.

Despite this, however, the overall feel of my stories remains fantasy. I didn’t want to stray too far from that, so it’s very much a pre-industrial world, where the overall presence and use of technology remains at the fringes, its potential benefits—and dangers—still looked upon with a skeptical, wary eye by many.

Introduce us to the World of Uhl and some of the “creatures” who reside there. I especially enjoy the cat-people. Me-ow!

"The Five Elements"  The Alchemancer: Book One

“The Five Elements”
The Alchemancer: Book One

Uhl (pronounced “ool”) is the world where my stories take place. It’s a world without gods—they destroyed themselves five hundred years ago—where science and sorcery have risen to fill the void left behind. It’s populated by a diverse group of races: humans, dwarves, eslar, skeva, krill, raspel, sitheri, and others.

Humans are what you might think. They’re spread out amongst the Four Fiefdoms, which is the remnants of a single kingdom, and the Freelands, which is a “lawless land of outlaws and bandits,” depending on who you talk to.

My dwarves are much like one might expect in fantasy, though mine are also raiders, a bit like Vikings.

Eslar are a blue-black skinned race that lives far to the east. They’re a bit of a mystery to readers because I’ve only dealt with them through three characters: one in The Hall of the Wood, a sorcerer, and the other two, Ensel Rhe and his daughter, Jakinda, in The Alchemancer series. But, in the next, upcoming book, I’ll deal with them some more and continue to reveal bits and piece of their society and way of life over time.

"Hall of Wood" Marlowe's Debut Novel

“Hall of Wood” Marlowe’s Debut Novel

Skeva, or rat-men, live beneath other cities. They’re featured quite prominently in the second Alchemancer book, The Nullification Engine. I had a lot of fun writing them. The best part? Bringing out their human qualities.

Krill, or cat-people, most definitely do not make ‘meow’ sounds.  They’re vicious hunters, strict xenophobes, and all-around mean people. That’s what they want the world to believe, anyway. Gerwyn, a krill character in The Nullification Engine, is actually quite friendly and a bit of a gentleman. He’s also weapons master to Jakinda Rhe, Ensel Rhe’s daughter.

Raspel are an insect-like race of traders and sitheri a tribal people who exile their warriors from their swamps, not allowing them to return until they’ve collected a certain number of scalps from their kills. They’re not a very friendly species.

When working with fantasy and science fiction subjects, how much research can you do and how much is left to imagination?

Because I’m primarily writing fantasy, I leave a lot of it to imagination. But I often start with a subject which is better served by science fiction, then bend and twist it to conform to more of a fantasy norm. It gives me free “reign” to play with things like negative energy, dark photons, anti-gravity, and other theoretical topics. I then research those topics as much as needed for the story or for whatever hokum I happen to need at the time. A lot of ideas on how to pull these concepts into a fantasy world come out of just the research itself.

You have two series: The Alchemancer and A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name. Describe your protagonist from each. What do they have in common? Or not?

Author, and outdoors-man, Scott Marlowe hitting the trail.

Author, and outdoors-man, Scott Marlowe hitting the trail.

Interesting question because the characters are almost complete opposites. The Alchemancer features Aaron Shepherd, a young sorcerer’s apprentice who finds himself in that role because of his intellectual abilities and not because he has any aptitude for magic. In fact, he has no skill with magic at all. Aaron is a selfless individual, always putting the problems of other people ahead of his own. He’s most definitely an intellectual character, so it’s not likely you’ll ever see him in a physical role.

The title character in the Assassin Without a Name, on the other hand, was called by one reader an “endearing sociopath.” Where Aaron often finds himself in situation where he is in over his head, my assassin character never does, simply because, in his mind, there is no situation he can’t handle. He is completely confident in his skill with weapons, his charm, his wit, and his cunning. Of course, this is only in his own mind. He often finds himself contending with situations where he has no choice but to rely on others to succeed or, even more fun as an author, where he simply falls flat on his face.

I think the only common ground between these two characters is that, ultimately, they both want to do the right thing. My favorite witty assassin may make sure his interests are taken care of in the process, but even he has others he cares about, so it becomes a question of eliminating the greater of two evils where he is concerned.

“Thief’s Gambit” is your forthcoming book, the 5th in the Assassin Without a Name series. Give us a sneak peak.

Click on the picture to pre-order "Thief's Gambit"

Click on the picture to pre-order “Thief’s Gambit”

Thief’s Gambit is a rip-roaring escapade where readers find out why the Assassin Without a Name, well, doesn’t have a name. It’s much more revealing about the character than any of the previous stories, and it moves the overall storyline along nicely as we find out that the Warders, who have seemed benign up to this point, may not have the good people of Alchester’s best interests at heart after all. Elizabeth West, the title character’s love interest and the thief referred to in the title, is back, leveling insults at my main character while making sure he doesn’t get himself killed. The series has been a lot of fun to write and this story, I think, is the best yet.

An outdoor guy, how does your love of the great outdoors influence your stories or characters?

I think some of that came out in The Hall of the Wood, one of my earlier works, especially because most of the story takes place outdoors. But all of my work after that has been inside city walls mostly. It’s probably a good thing since a lot of people think The Hall of the Wood is “overly descriptive.” Oh well. What can you do?

Just for fun. I’m a dark beer fan too. What are your favorite 3 beers? 

Only three? My favorites change, but right now I love a good Blue Moon Mountain Abbey Ale. The Sam Adams Octoberfest last season was a real good one, too. I love seasonal beers. Also, New Belgium has a black lager called 1554 that I never turn down. I generally go for stouts (Guinness was a favorite for a long time) and I’ve been on an IPA kick lately. New Belgium’s Ranger IPA is one of my current favorites.

Find Marlowe on Twitter: @scottmarlowe & Facebook: www.facebook.com/ScottMarloweAuthor. Also on Goodreads, Pinterest and Google+. His books are available on Amazon. Click on the book pictures above for a direct link.

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Book Review: “Tombstone Courage” by J A Jance

Sheriff Joanna Brady is Every Woman

Reviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2015)

* * * * * When last we saw Joanna Brady in series premier, Desert Heat, her husband was murdered while running for sheriff of Cochise County, and she was under suspicion for drug trafficking.

Tombstone Courage J A Jance William Morrow & Company

Tombstone Courage
J A Jance
William Morrow & Company

After she was instrumental in solving the case, which included corruption in the sheriff’s office, her friends urged her to run for the office once held by her father.

Joanna Brady’s first day on the job as sheriff is a stressful one. Two bodies have been discovered in the county, her chief deputy openly campaigned for one of her opponents and thinks the sheriff’s office is no place for a woman, and the ditzy office receptionist makes no effort to hide her hostility. Her personal life is complicated by young daughter, Jenny, when she has ambivalent feelings about mom’s new job. What if she gets killed too?

Joanna struggles to reassure her child, gain respect at the office, all the while sorting hideous clues involving one of the dead men, his estranged daughter and a lawsuit.

Holly Patterson, once a rising star in Hollywood and now a has-been, has come home with therapist and lawyer in tow. As an alleged victim of repressed childhood sexual abuse she is suing her father for his entire ranch. If she wins, it would displace her sister Ivy who has worked the ranch side by side with her father for forty years.

Before Holly’s father, Harold Patterson, has a chance to set things right he is killed leaving more questions than answers. Did Burton Kimball, Patterson’s attorney and nephew commit the crime in a drunken stupor after a blowup with his uncle? Ivy Patterson hasn’t spoken with her father for sometime because she has come to believe her sister’s accusations. Could she have murdered her father? She did, after all, delay overnight before calling authorities after finding her father’s body. No one knows much about Russian immigrant, Yuri, who has suddenly become engaged to Ivy. Was he looking at a quick ticket to citizenship?

Tombstone Courage refers to one of the ten tragic errors made by law enforcement officers–failure to call for backup. Sheriff Brady for all her pluck has yet to learn this valuable lesson probably because life has taught her to handle things on her own.

Joanna Brady, first woman sheriff in Cochise County, is a great character. She deals head-on with resentment, sexism, and political shenanigans with aplomb and when warranted, force.  Yet she is vulnerable to her child and everyday irritations such as runs in her hose. She shows cagey inventiveness as she assembles a new life for herself and her child.

This book isn’t really about law enforcement–the mystery almost gets in the way–but the exploration of the American woman on the move, meeting daily challenges, and rising to the occasion.

Every woman in America is not a sheriff, but Joanna Brady is every woman.

Tombstone Courage by J A Jance  (Joanna Brady Mysteries Book 2) 
William Morrow & Company ♦ 304 pp ♦ June 1994 ♦ Now available in Kindle format

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Crystal Energy: Adding Dimension to Spirituality

Meet M J Trantham: Share Her Journey of Enlightenment

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to M J Trantham, my crystal sage and good friend. I’m one of those people who had purchased a few stones because they were pretty. When I began writing about Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, I wanted her to grow as she became more astute, albeit reluctant, with her psychic abilities. M J had been telling me about her exploration of crystals and I was fascinated. We’d talk—she’s correct, it’s nearly daily—and soon I was asking questions and including crystal power in Rachel’s paranormal adventures.
Get comfortable and enjoy this intimate one-on-one with M J Trantham. Whether you’re just beginning your journey with crystals or are already a fellow traveler, M J’s story may inspire your own.                                                                                                            
(G G Collins Copyright 2015 including photos)

♦         ♦        ♦

When did your interest in crystals begin?  Was there a specific turn of events that led you down this path?

Crystals in Dish. Includes Lemurian Wand  Copyright G G Collins 2015

Crystals in Dish. Includes Lemurian Wand
Copyright G G Collins 2015

I think I have been fascinated by rocks since I was a child.  I remember having a “rock collection” which probably consisted of rocks I found in our back yard.  When I got a little older, I watched my grandmother collect rocks from places she visited.  She brought them home and put them in her yard.  When my grandmother died I picked up as many as I could identify and now they are in my yard.

As an adult, I used to drive to Hot Springs, Arkansas every spring to the Arkansas Derby, but I always made a stop at the tourist crystal shop.  I still didn’t have a clue what I was buying but was attracted to their beauty and would take my time holding and admiring them before making my selections.  My first crystals were an Amethyst and a Rose Quartz.  I also have several very large crystal clusters in my home that I know I didn’t pay a lot of money for.  I see similar ones now for hundreds of dollars.

I think my turning point was when I had two nephews join the military.  It was during the transition from the Iraq war to the movement of troops to Afghanistan.  I was so afraid for them.  One evening during my meditation I was impressed to make them each a medicine bag for safety.  I also had a niece that was working for ICE on the Mexican border.  I purchased three medicine bags and a book on crystals.  I selected the crystals that I felt were appropriate and sent each of them a bag.  Then I decided to make a bag for each of my grandchildren and then all of my nieces and nephews and a new project was born.  By then I was so intrigued and basically hooked on crystals.  My friend, G G Collins, had written Reluctant Medium and graciously accepted my suggestion that her protagonist needed crystal energy to help her accomplish her goals.  I now crochet the medicine bags which I feel adds my energy to them and select the stones after meditation.

Explain what the “properties” of crystals are. Do they hold actual  powers?

Rose Quartz & Amethyst Copyright G G Collins 2015

Rose Quartz & Amethyst
Copyright G G Collins 2015

Crystals have been acknowledged for their beauty and power for thousands of years.  Most people first notice the color and brightness of crystals.  Later, maybe minutes or maybe years, we begin to learn that each crystal is special and emits different types of power.  I like to call that power, energy.  Some crystals have energy to help someone heal from a disease or a situation which is uncomfortable or causes emotional pain.  Other energies are used for abundance, prosperity, wealth, and protection from people, places, and/or things, grief, and assistance in achieving goals.  I have been able to find a crystal for almost any situation.  I believe the “power” is real, just like I believe “faith” is real.  Someone might pick up a raw crystal, one that hasn’t been polished or tumbled, and throw it down thinking it is just a rock.   Others will see the beauty and feel the energy in the palms of their hands.  Sometimes it is a slight vibration and sometimes becomes warm.

Crystals were created when the Earth was born.  Most people know about Amethyst, Quartz, and Birthstones.  However, crystals have evolved as the Earth has evolved and we now have what some call “New Age” crystals, such as Larimar, Petalite, and Phenacite.

What crystals would one choose for issues such as fear, creativity, and wealth?

There are many types of fear.  If you want to alleviate fear, use a Charoite.  Charoite is a beautiful purple stone when polished.  It is a stone of transformation.  “Charoite is the soul stone that overcomes fear.”  Smoky Quartz relieves fear, lifts depression, and brings emotional calmness.  When purchasing a Smoky Quartz, look for one that is slightly cloudy.  The darker the color the more likely it has been radiated to enhance the color.  You want the natural one.

Creativity also covers many types.  For a writer, I would recommend a Blue Topaz.  This crystal helps a writer become aware of the influence their writing and knowledge can have on others.  It promotes openness and honesty.  It helps a writer see the bigger picture and the minute details.  If a writer is experiencing “writer’s block” a Fire Agate helps dissolve the negativity that might be causing the block and replaces it with creativity once again.

Tiger's Eye Crystals: Gold, Red, Blue.  Copyright G G Collins 2015

Tiger’s Eye Crystals: Gold, Red, Blue.
Copyright G G Collins 2015

A Brown and Gold Tiger’s Eye helps any type of creativity by aiding that person in recognizing one’s talents and abilities, and faults that need to be overcome to achieve their desired goal.

A wonderful crystal for wealth, abundance, and prosperity is a Honey Citrine.  It comes in small round stones, large Citrine points, or larger geodes.  Honey Citrine can be placed in a medicine bag and carried with you at all times in your pocket or purse.  You can also use a medicine bag with a cord attached and wear it around your neck and over your heart.  It can also be placed in the “wealth corner” of your home which is the farthest left corner of your home looking in from the front door.  It is also used for grids when mixed with other wealth stones like, blue or green Citrine.  Honey Citrine encourages sharing what you have and yet helps you to hold on to your wealth.

What is a medicine bag and how is it used?  Describe your signature bags.

Trantham's crocheted medicine bags.

Trantham’s crocheted medicine bags. Works of art.

A medicine bag is simply a bag of some type to hold your crystals.  Some crystal users recommend storing your crystals in a silk or velvet bag.  Many people prefer leather bags.  When I decided to make medicine bags for my friends and family, I decided on a very soft yarn and began to experiment with different shapes, sizes, and colors.  Depending on how many crystals I want to include decides the size.  Most are 3 x 3 or 4 x 4. I like to decorate them with ribbon, buttons, pins, and charms.  The type of bag and decoration depends on who the bag is made for.  I use several bags.  I have one under my pillow to ward off night terrors and recently added a crystal that assists with dream recall.  I have a bag I meditate with that is for good health, self-control, and will power to eat, drink, exercise, and be healthy.  I have a friend who is very interested in angels.  I made her a bag with stones to attract angel communication.  A family member travels a lot in an RV.  I made them a bag for safe travel.  Medicine bags can be for any type of issue that is going on in someone’s life.  I tell people if they feel uncomfortable wearing the bag, to place it on the night stand beside their bed.

In the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series, you’ve been an enormous help in broadening Rachel’s psychic horizons.  How do you approach this challenge; introducing a reluctant medium – and her creator – to the world of crystals. 

I don’t think it was ever a challenge because I was so excited to be included in G G’s writing process.  I can say what I do for Rachel Blackstone is constantly evolving.  My study of crystals is always a learning experience as I continue to use crystals in everyday life.  I was so excited when Reluctant Medium first came out I read it in one day and was absolutely hooked on Rachel.  I had to go back and reread it to really see what was happening.  During the second read, I began to think about how crystals and psychics have so much in common using crystals for guidance, safety, protection, and direction.  I honestly don’t remember exactly how we got from “there to here”, but G G asked if she could use my personality to create another psychic that dealt in legal marijuana in Colorado and crystals.  I was so flattered and excited I had to say yes!  G G and I discuss Rachel and ideas almost everyday, so I think I understand where Rachel might be going.

Honey Citrine & Blue Topaz Copyright G G Collins 2015

Honey Citrine Point & Blue Topaz
Copyright G G Collins 2015

No matter who I am working for to create a medicine bag, I want to know what the issue is and what outcome they would like to have.  I have shelves of books covering Metaphysical subjects and I use them as a reference for all of my projects.  If the person says they are depressed, I look for crystals to help depression.  If they are afraid, I look for crystals that dispel fear and restore a positive outlook.  I also look for things that specifically address health issues, cancer, chemotherapy, renal failure, heart failure, broken bones.  If I can’t find something specifically to “cure” a broken bone, I look for other reasons for the broken bone, maybe osteoporosis or some type of calcium deficiency or maybe just a really bad fall.  One suggestion leads to another and I continue to learn as I go along and finally decide on the correct crystal for the situation.

I didn’t mean to get into Rachel’s head, however, I found myself talking about her as if she was a real friend of mine.  I think I just do for Rachel what I would do for any friend that asks for my help.

You’re in the process of bringing what began as a personal interest to the next level:  a business.  What will you be offering in the way of medicine bag combinations?

I love to crochet and knit.  I like the feel of the yarn and watching something very pretty result.  It is also a great time to meditate or work out a problem.  When I decided to crochet medicine bags, I did so because I thought mine were prettier and less expensive to make than the ones available at the crystal shops and metaphysical fairs.

Transition Crystals for the Dying: Scolecite, Lilac Kunzite, Lapis Lazuli & Pink Tourmaline.

Transition Crystals for the Dying: Scolecite, Lilac Kunzite, Lapis Lazuli & Pink Tourmaline.

I am going to take a few months to get my material together and see how I would do at the local Farmer’s Market.  We have a very nice one all summer in the city where I live.  After much thought, I am going to make medicine bags for several different issues.  I will most likely begin with bags for healing, love, protection, recovering from an illness or grief, anxiety and depression.  I also like wealth, abundance, forgiveness, angel communication, and raising spiritual awareness.  I’m open to more suggestions.  Several years ago, I found a blessing for a dying person to assist in a pain free and fearless transition.  I have used it several times and have had good results.  By results, I mean, less sadness, more acceptance of the loss of a loved one, and for one I actually got a return message of a safe and happy arrival on the other side and in living color.  It has totally changed my opinion of death, past lives, and what I might find in my next life.

Some bags will be empty and buyers can choose their own crystals.  Others will hold the crystals that assist the person requesting help.  The type of bag and whether or not they hold crystals will determine the cost.

I’ve already developed a flyer to assist someone buying crystals on how to take care of them, how to cleanse them and program them for their own purpose.

What would you recommend to people just beginning their journey into crystals and their uses?

This photo shows the difference between raw, tumbled and egg-shaped crystals.

This photo shows the difference between raw, tumbled and egg-shaped crystals.

Visit crystal shops, metaphysical fairs, and gift shops to explore what is available.  Pay attention to what you are attracted to.  Before investing a lot of money, check other shops for a price range.  I often find crystals that are $7 in one shop and the same crystal is $2 in another.  Crystals can also be purchased on Internet sites, but I prefer the “in person” method.  If you go in person, you can hold the crystal in your hand to see if you get a response.  A response is not always necessary, especially if the crystal has been handled by lots of people.  It may need to be cleansed and near you for several days to begin to recognize your energy.  I received a crystal as a gift.  I cleansed it and wore it for several days so it would recognize my energy and work just for me.  I do the same when I give crystals as gifts and finish with a dedication to the recipient.  I then ask the recipient to meditate and claim the energy for themselves.

There are lots of books out there that tell all you need to know to begin using crystals.  For a beginner, I would suggest buying a couple of books.  Most crystals have several different energies and address multiple issues.  I usually research the issue for suggestions regarding which is the best crystal to buy.  Then I research the crystal to see all that it can do.  Lots of crystal shops also have classes to share information and I find “crystal people” excited to talk to anyone about their crystal beliefs.

To begin your crystal journey, Trantham recommends these books:

Book Crystal BibleThe Crystal Bible, A Definitive Guide to Crystals, Judy Hall, 2003.

The Crystal Bible 2, Over 200 Additional Healing Stones, Judy Hall, 2009.

The Crystal Bible 3, Over 250 New-Generation Stones for Healing and Spiritual Alchemy, Judy Hall, 2013.

The Encyclopedia of Crystals, Judy Hall, 2007.

Book Crystal TherapyCrystal Prescriptions, The A-Z Guide to Over 1,200 Symptoms and Their Healing Crystals, Judy Hall,          1988.

Crystal Therapy, How to Heal and Empower Your Life with Crystal Energy, Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., and Judity Lukonski, 2005.

Simply Crystals, Cass & Janie Jackson, 2006.

 

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Author Patrick Parker Talks Suspense Thrillers

Welcome Author Patrick Parker

From GG: There’s no one better to tell a story than someone who has lived much of it. Patrick Parker’s military career took him to Southeast Asia, Europe and Panama. He drew from his defense experience and the many locales where he was stationed and fashioned them into fast-paced thrillers. His wife challenged him to write the his first book, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, and he was hooked. In his second novel, War Merchant, Parker wrote about a woman assassin and weapons broker. Let’s see what else he has to say.

You have written two suspense thrillers, Treasures of the Fourth Reich and your latest, War Merchant. What is your background and how did you come up with these two exciting books?

Author Patrick Parker

Author Patrick Parker

During my army career my family and I lived in Italy for five years and traveled extensively during my off duty time. We spent many hours visiting museums, castles, cathedrals, churches and historical sites in Europe. I was fascinated with the history. The Nazi lootings of treasures became the catalyst for Treasures of the Fourth Reich. I was sent to Panama before the invasion and, while there, I met a fascinating art dealer. She formed the basis for my character Maria in that story.

After retiring from the Army, I worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. I continued to pursue my writing and developed the concept of War Merchant. This story is taken from my corporate experience and coupled with my military background. After retiring a second time, War Merchant came to life.

Neither story is about war but about espionage, deception, betrayal, terrorism, and murder.  All the elements to make a good story coupled with a real world environment.

As a man, what were the greatest challenges in writing your female lead character in War Merchant and why did you choose a female protagonist?

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

Dydre Rowyn, my female protagonist, is a combination of several women I knew from my corporate career.  She was definitely a challenge as I wanted her to be smart, cunning, very attractive, and deadly.  She also had to have a mother’s instinct.  A woman can be more dangerous than a man which I knew.  But it was her feelings, emotions, and knowing just how far a woman would really go to get her son back and protect him.  That was the challenge.

I received counsel from several mothers and from my wife.  I did drive my wife crazy trying to get it right.

In a story like War Merchant, people would typically expect this to be a male protagonist.  I thought it would be a lot more fun and exciting to have a female protagonist.

You used several locales for War Merchant. These included Africa, Europe, Central America and the States. How do the varying countries contribute to the story? You live in the US, but have you traveled abroad?

In the real world of government contractors and arms brokers, it’s a world-wide business. Every country has a military of some type. Countries hire government contractors (mercenaries, trainers or contractors, they are all basically the same) when they don’t have an army large enough to fight the conflict; a government cannot garner the political nerve to answer the call; or simply don’t want to get their hands dirty.

Dydre works for a black arms dealer in Germany.  Clay Zsigmond. Zsigmond, who became corrupted by money and power, is a consultant, supplier of arms, trainers, and services to the countries around the world. He brought a young defenseless and naïve Dydre into his business to do his dirty work. When she finally realized it, she was in so deep she became vulnerable if things went wrong or she crossed him.

I have traveled extensively internationally and believe it adds to the realism to incorporate international locations into the story as that is real world.

How has your military background helped you in your storytelling? Does it add depth to your story through shared experiences with your characters?

Yes, it gives it depth and adds realism. My characters and their environments are based on real places, people and events.  Even my FBI agent is based on real female FBI agents—tough as woodpecker lips.

My military background and defense industry experience has given me insight as to how things really work. I want my stories to be plausible and based on real events.

What do you see as the essential elements of a good suspense thriller?

First of all it should be believable. The details make a difference and must be right.  The protagonist should be faced with some sort of disaster or death and insurmountable odds.  Just as in our real world, all choices have consequences based on current circumstances.  The wrong decision can be disastrous.

I believe pacing is very important, use lots of action verbs and keep the story moving.

I like to use real events in the story.  For example in War Merchant, the assassination of the President of Rwanda which sparked the Tutsi and Hutu war, was a real event.  No one knows who was responsible for downing of his plane. This provides a glimpse of what Dydre does and what she is capable of doing. The action starts immediately.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

In Treasures of the Fourth Reich I used the real events of Nazi looting as the basis for that story. We are still seeing today real stories related to the looting as I have shown in my blog (http://bit.ly/1tTUjjv).

My next book is based on current events, ISIL, terrorists, and a real man-packed nuclear bomb.

Real life can be stranger, more complicated and more amazing than fiction.  This all makes for good story telling.

Why did you publish an e-book first instead of paper? What do you enjoy about self-publishing?

Once I received my manuscript back from the editor and finalized, it was very easy to publish as an e-book. The paperback edition required a little more work getting it into the format and the back cover completed.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich was first published by a royalty paying publisher. I didn’t have control and things I was promised never materialized. The publisher talked a big story and delivered a small package. Self-publishing gives me the freedom to do things that need to be done to market my books. If something isn’t done it is my fault and I have fewer frustrations.  Although I am a lot busier, I am a lot happier. I am getting more done and making better progress now as a self-published author. My royalties are much higher as well.

For more information and updates, please see:

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1izsnBH

Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1pnfAoM

Twitter https://twitter.com/pparkerntx

Google + http://bit.ly/1xQof6e

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1pnLth0

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Read Tuesday (Black Friday for Books) December 9, 2014

Today is Read Tuesday!

Read Tuesday (Black Friday for Books) December 9, 2014

Read Tuesday (Black Friday for Books) December 9, 2014

Special Deals all day!

Find out about Read Tuesday here:

http://readtuesday.com/2014/12/07/tip-for-finding-read-tuesday-book-deals/

Learn about your favourite books and authors; discover new ones. Check out books, boxed sets, author profiles. It’s Read Tuesday!

Reluctant Medium:Debut Novel in the Series

Reluctant Medium:Debut Novel in the Series

Try “Reluctant Medium” beginning at £0.99 in a Countdown Deal on Amazon.UK :  http://amzn.to/1AbeQUy

This year “Reluctant Medium” is available only on Amazon.UK to introduce the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series to UK readers. My thanks to US and Canadian readers for placing “Reluctant Medium” and “Lemurian Medium” on Amazon Top 100 Lists over and over!

Thanks to Chris Graham at the Story Reading Ape and Chris McMullen for including me.

 

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