First blog post

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Welcome to my new blog! I’m leaving The Puritan Chronicles’ site to use just for that trilogy, and adding this new blog as my general blog. My blog posts lately are just random musings, so I thought I’d give them a fresh new home!

Meet Romance Author Miranda Oh!

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Canadian author Miranda Oh’s “Chin Up, Tits Out” motto rings through her series with every page. Read her interview below!

1. On your website, you say your motto is “to always have a chin up, tits
out attitude, no matter what!.” How is this attitude displayed in your
characters?
a. Our main character Hadley takes you on a wild ride through her
twenties, where life seemingly continues to throw her curve
balls. Through immigration struggles, a battle with cancer, and a
deep dark love story this girl consistently gets knocked down, but
insistently gets up, dusts herself off, tells herself to chin up tits
out and move on. With little golden nuggets of positivity and
enlightenment sprinkled throughout, I hope to evoke inspiration
and relatable raw emotions from my readers.

2. How would you define your writing style?
a. Spastic, just like me! The planning of the series and each book is
much more a-type personality. I have everything mapped out,
charted out, listed out etc. When it comes to the actually writing,
I have to be in the mood, and in the space. Most of the time, I
have some wine nearby, and minimum 4 hours to put into it.
Sometimes I can write a whole day easy as pie and sometimes I
can write for an hour, and feel like I am choking on each word
coming out. So if I’m in the mood, I am writing and I write until I
can’t anymore. Once I am done, I am SPENT!
3. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
a. Real Life, eh! Reality is often stranger than fiction. I have always
been a curious person, I love to learn about people, and how
they function, process etc. With being open minded and going
through some pretty tough stuff in my twenties, I thought what
better way to process and heal myself and also relate and
connect to others out there, than to write it out and share it.
Thus, a fantastic trilogy came of it.

4. There are currently 3 books in the “Chin Up, Tits Out” series. Can we
expect more installments in the future?
a. I am so excited for the future, we never know all the possibilities
that could happen for us. With that said, one thing for sure is that
you will be seeing more from me, I am currently mapping out,
scheduling and formulating my research plan for my second
series. This is a huge project in the undertaking for my new
series. I am eager to start it, I am scheduled to start in March
2020. Chin Up Tits Out has been an amazingly wild ride, I will
always strive to share that idea and that life motto.

 

 

40.5 Hours in 6 Days(?)

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When I first joined SGI last August, I was handed this little booklet to record my hours of chanting.  With 30 hours on each page, I successfully logged in 30 hours my first month.

Now, 5 months and 259.5 hours of chanting later, I come to the last few pages of the little booklet.  The Neurotic Me drove me to chant 9.75 hours on August 31 just so I could fill in the first page.

But it looks like I won’t finish this booklet in January and the Neurotic Me realizes I am not going to finish the booklet in 6 days, unless I chant 6.75 hours ever day!

While that’s doable, I don’t know if I see that happening. And it’s ok if a few hours in February spill into the register.

Today also marks the end of my 90 Day Challenge, which didn’t come into fruition, but my heart wasn’t 100% in it anyway ( for those who are curious, 90 days ago I was inspired to chant for a “lofty goal,” and the loftiest goal I could think of was that Puritan Witch rose to Amazon’s Top 10 Bestseller list on or before today.  It hasn’t. It’s currently #968,062). I wrote my trilogy to fulfill a lifelong dream, not for money or notoriety.

But I enjoy chanting and I understand the theory behind it, and so, despite the strong likelihood of not finishing my little chanting register on January 31, I will, in earnest,  start a NEW 90 day challenge for something far more personal and important.

As luck would have it, I was gifted with yet another chanting register, so I will begin this new campaign today and report back April 24th! I’ll have celebrated my 55th birthday by then, and we’ll be well into Springtime, the time for new beginnings!

 

Free to Good Home; 1 K-9, 3 Cats, 1 Grey Parrot & A Kleptomaniac Capuchin Monkey

pexels-photo-2695827adorable angry animal animal portraitho

photography of gray and black monkey

to by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Photo by simon on Pexels.com

Remember, way back about 2-3 years ago, I had this great story idea set in Berryville, a small midwestern town filled with quirky characters?

It’s ok if you don’t because I just haven’t been able to wrangle the HUMAN characters into submission. I can’t even decide whom to make the main character!

Adding to my torment is the growing menagerie of NON-human characters who keep clamoring for me to get on with this 4th book because all pets, even fictitious ones, need homes.

If you’d like to meet these furry and feathered characters, read on;

The Felines

  • William (owned by Agnes Harper, as much as anyone can “own” a cat) is a 13-year-old tabby who’s wise and battle-scarred. He’s been top cat of his territory for the past 10 years, but now a young upstart has encroached upon William’s domain. He’s also gifted with clairvoyance.
  • Mao (the aforementioned young upstart). 3 years old and raging with feline testosterone. A Main Coon/ Siamese mix, he is determined to knock William off his perch.
  • Salome,  the lovely long-haired calico and mother of William’s latest batch of kittens.

The K-9

Kaiser is a 4-year-old German Shepherd K-9 officer. Ranked lowest in his training class, this sweet and well-meaning dog is the canine equivalent to  Barney Fife.

The Grey Parrot

Reginald ( owned by Agnes Harper) is an escape artist who frequently abandons his cage and observes the goings-on of the small town. Owned by Agnes Harper’s late husband Ned, who taught the bird foul language.

The Capuchin Monkey

Alejandro is the newest member of the menagerie and belongs to the mysterious “Mr. Swishy,” who brings the mischievous primate with him everywhere, claiming he is an emotional support animal.  Alejandro has been taught some shady tricks, which disrupts life in the peaceful town of Berryville.

See how fun this sounds?! Do you see why I need to get all my human characters in order? Because until I do, this wonderful group of animals will remain homeless!

Wanted; Book Reviews

So what did you read in 2019 that you particularly enjoyed?  Or maybe even less reecently–in the past 2 or 3 years?

Whether it was fiction or nonfiction, I’m looking for book reviews written by fellow readers (and writers!) that I can post on my blog. Whether you loved or hated or were even indifferent to a book, let me know!

If you’re interested, please email me at puritanwitch@gmail.com. Or PM me on Facebook;https://www.facebook.com/PuritanWitch/

I’m looking forward to getting some great recommendations!

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Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Life is an endless series of transitions

As 2020 looms just hours away, I consider how nothing stays stationary in life.

And that can be an unavoidable double-edged sword.

Your life is good. Everything is just as you want it. Then one day, your car needs repairs. You have a fight with your spouse. Maybe you lose your job, or a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In nature, nothing can remain stationary.  Air, water, blood–all stagnate if not allowed to circulate.

Same is true with our lives.

I’m grateful that this year I suffered no personal loss of loved ones and instead acquired many more new friends! But my heart aches for those whose lives have been visited by grief and sadness this year, and I hope they can move forward, at their own pace, into a more accepting viewpoint of their circumstances.

May 2020, with whatever changes it brings, be kind to you.

I just wanted to urge my handful of readers not to grasp too tightly to the present, because it will be the past soon enough, and one of the surest things in life is that everything is in a constant state of transition.

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The Cloud with the Golden Lining; Reflecting on 2019

At the beginning of each new year, I often wonder what the headlines will be. I also wonder what changes with come about in my own life.

I started 2019 with the determination to free myself of anti-depressants, which, if you’ve been following my story, led me to crash miserably in April with awful withdrawals and anxiety beginning in April.

It wasn’t until about June I began to feel somewhat “normal” again, and I decided what I needed was to meet new people and make new friends. Most of the friends I have made were due to jobs I’ve had, and now that Dave and I don’t work anymore, my social life was dwindling. So I joined 3 groups and in so doing, met some incredibly wonderful people! In no particular order, the groups are:

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I checked out “social women’s groups” on Meetup.com, and discovered the Hagerstown Friendship Circle, created by the lovely lady on the right in the above photo. She was new to the area and wanted to meet people, so I joined and although I haven’t attended all every event and activity, I’m happy to have met and befriended the ladies in this group!

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Last summer it occurred to me I was finally old enough to join the Red Hat Society! I searched online for a local chapter, and when I couldn’t find one, I called the RHS Headquarters, who told me if I joined, I could search their site for local chapters.

So that’s what I did.

Turns out a new chapter was just forming in Williamsport, a nearby town. This welcoming group of ladies were another much-needed shot in the arm, so to speak. I even volunteered to be the Secretary! Red Hatters traditionally wear purple, which works out for me since I LOVE purple and have LOTS of it in my wardrobe!

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Last but certainly not least, there’s SGI !

A concerned distant cousin, upon seeing the state I was in earlier this year, declared, “I’m going to find you a local chanting group!”

OK, I thought. Whatever THAT means….

True to her word, she got me in contact with Kathy (far right, on the floor in above photo), a member of this Nichiren Buddhist organization. Having only a slight familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism, I had never heard of Nichiren and SGI, and was curious.

I attending a chanting session, and it was unlike anything I’d experienced before. They meet in members’ homes, and only about 5-6 members attended my first time. I didn’t sense any cultish “weirdness,” just genuine friendliness and sincerity. I kept going to meetings and officially joined SGI in August, which officially, technically, makes me a Nichiren Buddhist! But the great thing about Nichiren Buddhism is, I don’t have to sacrifice my spiritual eclecticism! I’ve always seen the commonalities in belief systems and I see chanting as simply another form of prayer.

So 2019 didn’t quite go as expected; in fact, it went BETTER than expected! My life is clearly as cyclical as lunar phases. The difficult times, hellish as they can be, always leave me stronger and happier than before, and this year the dark cloud’s lining wasn’t silver; it was pure gold.

 

Meet Crime Thriller Novelist Dwayne Clayden!

wolfmanCanadian author Dwayne Clayden gleans inspiration for his crime novels from over 40 years as a police officer and paramedic in Calgary, Alberta. Read his interview below!

  1. Your first novel, Crisis Point, introduces Calgary police officer Brad Coulter. How much does this main character mirror his creator, Dwayne Clayden?

The premise of the Brad Coulter series was, “What could my career have looked like if I stayed a police officer.” The options were unlimited. So in the early drafts of Crisis Point, there was a lot of me, and situations I had been in. As I attended writing classes, and learned the craft of fiction writing, an interesting thing happened. Brad stopped being me and became Brad Coulter, his own character. There were times I felt that Brad was leading the story, that he knew where the plot was headed. I was there to write the words. In the second two novels, Brad is very much his own person.

 

2. Crisis Point was a finalist in the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award. Do you anticipate entering more competitions?

This year I will enter the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards in the best novel category. There are so many awesome Canadian writers that I will up against some incredible competition. But who knows, I think Wolfman is Back is a great novel.

 

3. Congratulations on the November 7 release of your third novel, Wolfman is Back. What can we expect for Brad Coulter in future installments?

The response from readers has been overwhelming. They love Brad and the series. While I was writing Wolfman, I received emails and texts from readers wanting to know when Wolfman would be released. Immediately after it was released, I received more emails wanting to know when Brad Coulter 4 would be out. The pressure is on to get writing! I have started novel 4. The working title is Sniper. As long as readers want more of Brad, I’ll keep writing. I have general ideas for at least ten more.

I am editing a novel in a new series, Speargrass-Opioid. This novel takes place in Montana and deals with the Opioid crisis in Great Falls and a fictional Indian Reserve. (US terminology) or First Nation  (Canadian Terminology).

4. You also speak at writers’ conferences about police, medical and paramedic procedures. What do you enjoy most about sharing your wisdom and experience on these subjects?

I love speaking to groups or at conferences. As a paramedic I spoke at EMS conferences across North America. I’m at ease in front of a group and very passionate about both careers. TV and Movies get so much wrong in police procedurals, so I wanted to present what really happens. To me, the interesting thing is both careers were very exciting (some of the time) and the embellishment on TV and movies isn’t usually needed. In my talks, I focus on the relationship between partners in both police and EMS. You are with your partner ten hours or more, and over time you know a lot about each other, including the buttons to push. And boy do you push them!

The main reason I give these talks, is because if you are a writer, and you don’t have police or paramedic experience, your only reference is what you have seen on TV or movies, or read. So you might think that is the way it really is, so that’s what you write.

A couple of examples from my talks would be the TV detectives about to execute a search warrant wearing a ballistic vest and carrying a pistol. They enter the house before the completely armored SWAT who have long guns and practice every day for this type of entry. The other eye rolling TV theme is that the police rush in the front door, and the criminal rushes out the back door. Its like the police have no clue there is another exit! Actually, being at the back can be great, the suspect literally runs into your arms and you get the arrest. After a talk I gave, an author came up and said he needed to change part of a chapter, because he had the suspect run out the back door with no police to apprehend him.

Paramedic procedures are seldom shown on TV or movies. I have paramedics as characters in my novels and you read about what they do on the scene, on the way to the hospital, and what happens in the hospital. There’s not enough space here to talk about what TV hospital shows get wrong!

Although I do yell at the TV when a medical procedure is shown wrong, especially when it is dangerous. A prime example is the inaccurate use of an EpiPen for allergic reactions. Hundreds of thousands of people have them, and they may administer the drug based on what they saw on TV, and that could have serious consequences. Another is breathing into a brown paper bag for someone hyperventilating.  That practice has been out of medicine for a decade or more. Depriving someone of oxygen and ‘rebreathing their expired air’ can be very dangerous.