creation offers the opportunity to take from the table all that we ever need so we can acheive the best we ever dreamed. Thanks for visiting here.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011


My guest today is Katina Ferguson: Author, Mother and loving daughter

You would wonder why I added that particular one about being loving daughter. The answer is simple, Katina became an author by simply chatting with her father. I was impressed when I learned that from her. I also was impressed by the comments of her father that not every book has to be an epic. One could be humorous, chatty and pass on sterling life lessons. I would love to say more but I guess this chat should suffice
1, Conversations with Dad has brought about Fergyville series, tell us more
I talk to my dad every 3 to 4 weeks, just to catch up things and see how he's doing. I tell him about the chaos of having three young kids in the house (what he calls pay-back), I talk about how tired I am, I talk about how tired my husband is, I talk about the car that needs fixing etc. It all sounds grim and dry, but I find humor in it all and the conversations become fun and lively. Right now, the driver-side door of my car won't open. Initially I thought someone tried to break into the car and messed up the lock. I even showed my husband subtle scratch marks near the key hole where the wanna-be car thief tried to tamper with the lock. After having a police officer look at the car, he said there was absolutely no evidence of an attempted break-in (at all). Go figure…it's true that I've missed the mark a couple times trying to get the key in the lock, but I never noticed the marks until the lock when bad (ha-ha). I'm not inclined to take the car to a mechanic (or locksmith) just yet, I want to exhaust all possible do-it-yourself avenues before we spend money on the door. Until then, however, I find creative ways to get into the driver seat (from the passenger side) without giving the general public the idea that I'm mentally retarded. These are the kind of stories I share with my Dad, and a string of these types of stories led him to nudge me in the direction of writing the Fergyville series.

2. Humour and anecdotes have become ‘teaching’ pieces without been prudish or boring how did you achieve that?
I love humor. It's how I learn, it's how I cope with life, it is pretty much a part of my DNA. I've become pretty comfortable with laughing at myself, even more comfortable with laughing at others (note, it's not my best social skill) and as long as humor is in the mix then I think it wipes out the chances of the material being boring. The other kicker is drama. When lessons have dramatic consequences I think it does a good job of keeping the reader's interest as well.

3. Your first is part of a series, which sounds like a serial epic or enter-educate collection, who is your primary audience?
I would have to say that my primary audience is men and women in their 30s. I think most of them would find themselves in same stages and phase of life as the characters in the book and would relate to them most, but I've had reviewers in their 20s and others in their 40s show great appreciation for the material, so I'm happy to welcome them into the demographic as well.

4. paranormal and science fiction may be made into this type of series, what do you think?
I have to agree. Paranormal and science fiction can set a different stage for these kind of stories to play out, but essentially the story would be the same.

5.You are a mother as well as author what do your children think of Fergyville?
My children are very young, so they have no idea I am writing Fergyville. They know that mommy works from home and that she's on the computer a lot (ha-ha).

6. When you observe people, and they give you ideas for your characters do you also wish to impart something to your readers?
That's a 50/50. My primary reason for drawing inspiration from real people is to create characters that are "real". If a reader can see a bit of themselves in a character (or two) then I know they will connect with the story, especially if the character does something that they would also do. On the other hand, the people I observe may present a style of humor, or drama, or a bizarre perspective I choose to share with the readers for entertainment purposes only.

7. What genre of writing will you call your series?
It would definitely fall within the realm of material that is contemporary. For genre, I've mixed in drama, with humor and mystery, so it's hard to find a box to put the series in, but if I'd have to pick one I'd have to go with drama.

8. This might be a hard tack from me, but if you were to pick reading material between this and Harry Potter, what will you choose?
Unfortunately I have yet to read a single Harry Potter book (don't shoot me!), so it's a bit hard to answer the question. If I wanted something quick to read, then I'd pick my book, but if I had an afternoon to myself (hubby and kids had gone off somewhere and left me to my own devices) then I'd certainly pick up a Harry Potter book.

9. The minds of young adults and children are malleable and easily molded by what they read as it fires their imagination, can your book be recommended for young persons?
I wondered about that. I would not recommend my book to young persons (anyone younger than 18), but I'm sure they could handle the material just fine. My writing isn't vulgar (though you'll find the occasional expletive) and I aim to keep it as realistic as possible, but sometimes one never knows how young people are going to process, or use, the information. In all fairness though, a lot of people I know now (at 30-something) are not much different from when I knew them in high school, so cutting out the high school crowd (because of their age) is just a precaution.

10, What has been the reaction to your book?
So far everyone that has read the book loved it. They love the characters most and find them to be well developed. A few readers were surprised to find that wasn't a standalone novelette (there is a cliff hanger at the end), so I've modified the product description for the book to reflect the fact that Episode 1: The New Plan is a first installment. I'm especially happy to get positive feedback from men. It lets me know that I've kept the viewpoints universal and not overly feminine.

11. Authors grow by the day and finding recognition becomes a bit tougher, do you hope one or all of the series might become a television hit sometime?
That is a thought that enters my mind occasionally. In 2004 when I started to really get into writing, my first batch of stories was for graphic novels and animated sitcoms. I was leaning heavily script-writing styles (even for the graphic novel) and envisioned those stories making it to the silver screen one day. With this series, I'm not sure how well it would translate as a television series, but if a producer wanted to option Fergvyville I would happily consent.

12. Who are your favourite authors?
I wish I could say that I had a favourite "anything", but that's not usually the case with me. No favourite food, color, music and no favorite author either. When something is good, or appeals to me, I keep it (yes, my tastes are eclectic). If you looked at my bookshelf you wouldn't find more of one author than another. I will say that a book that had a profound impact on me (I wasn't expecting to feel the way I did about his book) was The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. Another author, someone I discovered on Goodreads, is Haresh Daswani. He's not well known, only has one book out, but I found his book (The Evolution of Insanity) to be among my current favourites. I like his way of seeing things and illustrating concepts.

13. Share a typical day with our readers
My typical day varies by season. In the summer time (like now), when all my kids are home from preschool and elementary, the typical day involves entertaining them, teaching them (reading, math, etc), saving my house from their destructive tendencies, using their nap time (quiet time) to market my book, and in the evenings (if I'm not worn out by then) I write the next book.

14. Please give tips and hints on publishing, and what you have noticed publishers generally want.
Tip #1: If you are self-published, have more than one proofreader look at your book. The minute a proofreader becomes familiar with your text, they are likely to miss a couple things ─part of the brains wonderful auto-correct feature. Traditional publishers have many eyes looking at one manuscript and if you're self-published you should too. Three is my lucky number.

Tip#2: Get involved in a writing group and have them critique parts of your material. If you find that a lot of people don't "get it", then the problem isn't them, it's your execution…it may need some fine tuning.

Tip#3: Look for the angle that no one sees. Some genres of material are completely saturated with material (I think of paranormal vampire books when I say this), so what is your book bringing to the market that the others are not? Unique perspectives are hard to come by, but if you set your brain to actively look for one, there will be an impending eureka moment lined up for you. When it does manifest, you'll have a new story, an interesting plot and a better way to market your book.

Tip#4: Write no matter what. Write what you are passionate about. In this day and age you can afford to do that. If you can't find a home for your manuscript (and it is well written… so that's not the reason it is rejected by a publisher) then you have the option to self-publish at no cost to you; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu.com etc. Move on to your next manuscript, if it finds a home, super! If not, self-publish and move on to the next book …I think you get the point. With each book you become a writer and the more material you have out there, the better your chances of jumpstarting your career as a writer, or at the very least, gaining a following of readers who love your "voice".

Katina's book has been reviewed and has generally received an avarage 4 out of 5 stars rating. I will present a few:

I give Fergyville 4 out of 5 stars
Fergyville Episode One was a very well written novella that captured my attention from the very first sentence. I could feel Frank's annoyance, not so much with his job but more with the customers who kept pestering him, demanding the often impossible. I could also relate to Catherine and her growing frustration at trying to get everything right. The atmosphere was one of marital normalcy, and yet I could sense something in the air. Subtle hints placed by the author, who really knows how to play on emotion, throughout the writing that increased my anticipation and growing dread. I really liked the cliff hanger at the end and can't wait for the next instalment in the series to find out what happens next.
If you want a short, well written mystery that will draw you in immediately and leave you wondering what's going on, get this.  

Purchase outlets:

Barnes and Noble:http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=EBOOK&WRD=fergyville&page=index&prod=univ&choice=ebook&query=Fergyville&flag=False&pos=-1&box=Fergyville&ugrp=2

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/57376

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Mother, Author and multi musician

I blinked when I read the small blurb Laura sent me when I asked her to tell me about herself and invited her to Center stage. She is a mother of 9 children. In my corner of the world she only needed 3 more to qualify for a chieftaincy title. Then I saw her picture and blinked again, that would be the picture of her daughter I said to myself but then the caption said that was a picture of herself. I sighed, and thought life wasn’t fair, I mean I am only a mother of six and grandmother of two but I definitely look all of my age and some. Where did she get all that energy and figure? Beautiful, elegant and charming Laura is a pleasure as guest on Center Stage . Let’s us read first about her book before we chat with her.


Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants-- until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.
He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall's tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life-- pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts--- seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.

Blue Bells of Scotland is both a historical adventure and a tale of redemption that will be remembered long after the last page has been turned.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

First and foremost, I am a mother to 9 wonderful children, 7 boys and 2 girls. I'm also a musician and author. I majored in music and played trombone semi-professionally for quite a few years. I also play flute, harp, and piano, and have taught music lessons on a dozen instruments for over twenty years.

I consider myself lucky to have grown up in the military. It has some obvious drawbacks, but I got to see historical sites up and down the East Coast of America and plenty of castles in Germany and England, as a child.

2. Blue Bells of Scotland reads like an interesting read, do you wish you could turn back the clock sometimes on certain things?

No. I've tried from early on to live in a way that I would not have regrets. There are some decisions I might be tempted to say I would change--such as setting aside my writing for 15 years. But even decisions such as those, either I had good reasons for doing at the time, or a great deal of incidental good has come out of those 'bad' decisions.

3. What motivated you into writing this book?

I had written a novel many years before that was sitting in my drawer, and set writing aside. In 2004, a friend on a twins forum raved about National Novel Writing Month, in which participants write a novel (defined as 50,000 words) in a month. I figured I didn't have time.

2005 was a difficult year that needed something good in it. So on November 3, I signed up, went back to my love of writing, and started a story based on bits and pieces of ideas that had been hanging around in my head for a couple of years: a children's novel about four siblings who go into a tower in the 1970's and come out in medieval Scotland, the lyrics of a folk song that became a well-known trombone showcase piece, and a fragment of an image of a man gambling away his livelihood (in this case, his trombone) and conning his girlfriend into pawning her ring to buy it back.

4. Crime and Punishment, redemption is a longing of the human spirit, tell us a bit more about Shawn.

Shawn is charming, funny, good-looking, charismatic. He's also a drinker, gambler, and womanizer. He's arrogant and selfish and has learned he can be, because his ability to earn money for his orchestra and all the musicians in it has given him a great deal of power. When he wakes up in medieval Scotland, he learns bit by bit that he no longer holds any power, and that people fighting for their lives and with different values are not amused by his ways. And, they're much more willing than their modern counterparts to express that displeasure with knives, swords, and nooses. Bit by bit, he faces why he's made the decisions he has, and begins to think about others, and begins to redeem himself.

5. Historical adventures and romance mixed in with tense thriller reads like a very heady mix, what has been the response so far?

Quite good. Blue Bells of Scotland currently has 24 reviews onamazon.com. 20 are 5 stars, and the other 4 are 4 stars. One reviewer sent me a private e-mail calling it one of her top 4 favorite books of the year, and another put it in his top 3. It has currently moved into amazon's top 100 top rated books in two categories. "I couldn't put it down," and "I was up all night," have been a common comments.

6. What is your favorite aspect of the story?

It's hard to narrow it down. I like both the historical aspect and the musical aspect. I loved learning about the lives of Robert the Bruce and James Douglas and their remarkable accomplishments in defending their country against a powerful nation. I think my favorite scene is when Shawn plays the sackbut at a medieval fair, under the angry eyes of Niall's enemies, to prove he's not Niall Campbell. As a musician, I like the musical aspect because there aren't a whole lot of novels about musicians, especially orchestral musicians. Then again, the story of redemption and change is also one that I value.

7. Authors generally leave a bit of themselves in a story, you strike me as particularly interested in correcting the mistakes of the past, if you had one singular opportunity, look into the future and tell us, in looking back what will you like to change about the world today.

I would put a sense of gratitude back into the world. I think we live very well in this country, but don't appreciate it. Being grateful for what we have changes everything, our entire outlook, our attitude, how we behave, how we spend our time and relate to others...everything.

8. Share a regular day with us.

I start the day with coffee, washing dishes, running a load of laundry, and maybe playing harp while I drink my coffee (play a song, drink some coffee, repeat). I check the younger boys' homework and make sure they get off to school. Then I spend a couple hours at the computer writing and editing. I have lunch with my kindergartener, push him on the swing while kicking a ball for the dog (who is absolutely convinced that swing time is his ball time, too!), take my son to school, and then head to wherever I'm teaching lessons that day, and write until my first student arrives. In the evenings, it's more checking homework, chores, and bedtime. After the kids are in bed, I usually write for another two or three hours.

9. Share your thoughts on the rise of epublishing and how you think it might affect traditional publishing.

It's been an incredible opportunity for those who are motivated and willing to work hard. There will be fewer bound books sold, due to cost and the ease of carrying around hundreds of books on your e-reader. However, I often think of the story of the carriage company that went out of business when cars became popular, because it defined itself as a maker of carriages, versus the carriage company that defined itself as a transportation business, and was able to adapt to new ways.

I have recently had the experience of finding a bookstore can't carry my books because they are going out of business due to the rise in e-readers and fewer people buying books. That really saddens me. There's something magical about browsing a bookstore. But I also don't think books will go the way of the dinosaur. There will always be something uniquely satisfying about holding a book in your hands.

10. What hints will you give an aspiring author wanting to come into the publishing world?

Write, re-write, edit, write. Read books on writing. Read books in your genre. Most importantly, get together with other writers for mutual critiquing. It is invaluable to have others go over your work. I cannot overstate the value of the Night Writers in my work. They are encouraging and full of positive things to say, but if something isn't working, doesn't make sense, whatever, they'll say so.

Thank you for coming on Center Stage.

Sunday, June 19, 2011




We seem to have a fair number of distinguished authors we will be talking to for a while. As a young girl growing up in Nigeria, I enjoyed Bessie Bunter comics and from there graduated to the romantic novels of Barbara Cartland and Denise Robins, As I got older I started writing comics myself and followed my childhood tales of Bessie Bunter, Archie and the like but I never thought there would come a time I would meet a lady who would answer to male nick name. We met on the social networking site and there were so many wonderful authors that socialized. I felt it would be a nice opportunity to get to know them not with the virtual hello and sharing, but really talk to them. I have the pleasure thus to welcome Veronica Massey known as the author Ronnie Massey.

Author Ronnie Massey gives the reader a bloody good time through a unique combination of captivating story line and the female narrator’s disrespectful tone. Violence, sensuality, tense conflict, and intense drama roll at full speed against the backdrop of North and South Carolina. “Crimson Dawn” manages to be almost everything to every fantasy fan, however, with a number of surprising twists and turns, a feat not easily pulled off.


When vampire Valeria Trumaine comes home one morning to find her father waiting for her, she knows she's about to get trouble in spades. But she never imagined it would come in the form of her ex-fiancé. Now she must confront old demons and face new possibilities as she struggles to bring the rouge vampire to justice.
After she left him, Valeria avoided Tristan like the plague, but now that he's gone rogue, she's going to have to utilize every thing she's learned as a sentinel to find him. Finding Tristan proves to be more dangerous than anyone realized. He's changed in ways that go against nature, and has become more powerful than anyone ever imagined.
Refusing to let her face the abomination that Tristan has become alone, Val's best friend and powerful Sidhe princess, Irulan joins the hunt. Valeria will find that Irulan's motives for keeping her safe aren't what she thinks. And soon she's faced with an undeniable attraction that makes her question everything she knew about herself.
Can she accomplish her task and prevent more innocent lives from being destroyed? Can she do it and not loose herself to his madness? In the middle of all the madness, can she embrace the unexpected love that fate has thrown her way?

1. Why do you use Ronnie Massey as the author of the book when you are actually a lady? I thought I was going to have a man as my guest.

Ronnie is a nick name that I have had all my life. Most people know me as Ronnie and don't even know that my first name is Veronica. My father named me after Ronnie from the Betty and Veronica, Archies Comics.

2. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a single mother with two wonderful daughters. I have been writing since I was in high-school and drawing for longer. The drawing lead me to learn tattooing. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty. Aside from writing paranormal themed work, I also love to write poetry. My poetry is very different from my other work, most of is it very introspective and afro-centric in nature. I also love to sing and write songs.

3. Do you think Romance has taken a violent turn these days?

I think it has in some ways. A lot of women like their hero's tall dark and brooding. And their heroines to be defend themselves just as well as the men now a days. With authors writing stronger characters, they also have to write harder situations for them to get out of.

4. Who were your role models in the dark fantasy genre?

I love Kim Harrison who writes the Rachel Morgan, Hollows novels. Laurell K. Hamilton is one of my favorite authors also, as well as Gena Showalter, Steven King, Rachel Vincent, and Lynsay Sands; although Lynsay Sands is more of a paranormal romance author than dark fantasy.

5, You have explored the dark depths of the human mind in this book, could you tell us why?

With my vampires, Val specifically, I wanted to have a clear struggle between her vampiric nature and the person that she wanted to be. My vampires struggle to prove to the world that they aren't the monsters that humans expect them to be, but some of them fail miserably. I think the same can be said of a lot of people in the world today. Not everyone is born with this driving need to do good or make a difference, a lot of people have to work at it.

The thing I love about fantasy is that you can have these off the wall situations and seemingly insurmountable odds thrown at these characters and somehow, some way they overcome. And if you look deep enough you can usually find some small instance where the fantasy mirrors reality.

6. Has anything within the human society influenced your preference for this genre of writing?

My preternatural races live in a world where humans know all about them. While some humans have accepted them, there are many that still many that don't want to share the world with races that are different from them. My Extras face the same prejudices that anyone for various reasons, may face in the world today.

7. Authors generally tend to have a personal message they send or disclose in their writing, what is yours?

With my main characters Valeria and Irulan I just want to show that love is love no matter what form it may come in. Gay, Straight, Bi...A heart doesn't have eyes and love does not know color, creed, or sexuality.

8. A vampire, or vampires are concepts that are steeped in myths and some will say ignorance, do you beleive in vampires?

I'm not sure if I believe in the 'rise from the dead', immortal being, kind of vampire. But who knows, maybe they are out there watching us and laughing at the media's many interpretations of them and wondering who will finally get it right. I believe that a person can believe that they are one. I do fully believe in ghost and spirits though.

9.As a lady, have you felt a need to identify a strong woman syndrome in your writings.

Yes. I am a diehard Xena fan and in my head any type of female that I write will have to project some of the strength that the Warrior Princess did. I like writing strong female that are able to take care of themselves and while they might not need a partner to complete them, the love of one just makes them that much stronger.

10 Who are your favorite female authors, why?

Kim Harrison and Laurell K Hamilton are at the top of the list because while they write very strong female characters, they aren't perfect. The characters face struggles and actually grow during the course of their stories. There is also Lynsay Sands who writes the Argeneau vampire series. I so totally love how she has taken one central family and picks different members to write about. Through the family members readers are still able to keep up with characters from past story line's and also begin for form connections with upcoming characters.

11. Self publication or traditional publishers, take your pick and tell me why?

A year ago I would have said traditional, but with self publishing on the rise I am leaning towards self. There are some people that look down on authors that choose to self publish. I've read articles that said self published authors lacked the drive to query traditional publishers and do what it takes to make their work sell-able. I've seen articles that say authors choose to self publish because their work wasn't good enough for traditional publishers. I think that is crazy. I have read plenty of works by self published authors that was just as good, if not better than the works of some traditionally published authors.

Whether it's an author that has received rejection after rejection and just wants to see their work in print for their own satisfaction, or an author that has decided to forgo the traditional route all together and is ready to put in the effort that it takes to build their audience; with platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing, Create Space, and Smashwords, among others, the self publishing industry is offering authors opportunity's that weren't here ten years ago. At the end of the day an author should do what feels right for them. Crimson Dawn was published traditionally but that is not going to stop me from self publishing my book of short stories and poems.

12. look into the crystal ball and tell me the fate of bedtime stories to children before the turn of this century.

I think that fairy tales will never go out of style as go to bedtime stories. Every little girl dreams of being a princess at one time or another but those same girls are also watching tv shows and movies with strong female characters so some stories will have to adapt. Little girls will need stories that show them they can be strong and not sacrifice their femininity. Young boys will need stories that show being sensitive and understanding does not affect their manhood and that strong women are nothing to be afraid of.

...And vampires and werewolves wont be the monsters, they'll be the hero's.

Thank you for coming on Center Stage

For more information, including a preview of the first chapter, see http://crimsondawn.copperhillmedia.com/.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


My guest today is a ‘young man’ just shy of 70. Merle has a sensitivity that age has lent him, a practical approach to the bewildering change that humanity has turned into. As we would say from my corner of the world, he has prepared for himself a seat amongst the ancients. He is a man made wealthy by nature, by an understanding of the possibilities of the human potential and how we have collectively frittered it away. I met Merle through the Muse, both as devotees at the altar of creativity became ‘family members’ of IFWG and have learned and shared since then.
The Author is a special breed, he dreams, makes a compass and hopes in the galaxy he might find that particular star that answers his dreams.
Please have an interesting time with my honoured guest and Author
Merle Burbagh

1 Please tell us a bit about yourself
I am called a WWII baby boomer born in 1947. The oldest of nine children, I was raised in a small farm community near Albany, N.Y. We hunted, fished, and grew our food, not for some back to the earth thing, because we needed food to live. It was many years before someone told me that because we didn't have a lot of money we were poor people. Looking at today's world, I feel sorry for those 'rich' people that lost so much of the meaning of life while hiding in their cities pretending they have the good life and never knowing the beauty of the world is invisible to them.
I joined the Army at 19 and did two tours in Vietnam. I attended a teachers college in Mo. until they tried to get me to go to an anti-Vietnam War rally. I quit and went back to the Army where I retired in 1988.
Been married to my wonderful wife for over 41 years now and have two children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild.
2. The human mind has some basic similarities round the world , would you agree or disagree?
I would agree.
People have certain desires, regardless of where they hail. They wish to be free to make most of their own choices, right or wrong. The desire to be able to find someone to love and have them love back. The wish to have basic needs of food and hearth available for themselves and their families. I also find minds are both good and evil. None are all good or all evil, but all seem to have a delicate blend of both that can be molded from childhood to lean either way. Always exceptions of course.
3. How would you classify what you write?
I tend to write along the Science Fiction genre because the mind is free to explore and present new ideas. To twist existing ideas and concepts into improbable scenarios that, if done correctly, seem to become believable, at least for a little while. I have dabbled in Westerns and other genre as well, but always gravitate back to Sci-Fi.
In my stories I do not try to sugarcoat death, having seen it up close, I find that somehow the world is being conned when people try to sanitise the truth of it, making them more willing to accept it as a first choice solution to problems facing countries the world over.
4. Your recent novella is a fantasy on abstract theme of the human mind for the sublime as it seems humanity has a need to achieve a luminous goal, why do you feel that way?

Most of the world seems adrift, no goals other than those immediate ones for self or family. Christian religion is being attacked, and others as well, as some evil plight put upon man that is demanding we have a moral rudder. The naysayer tells you man should have no morals set for them, only those they wish to apply to themselves. Any religion requires a belief and often has a set of goals or moral edicts to strive for. We have proven repeatedly the many failures when man is not allowed to believe, except as dictated by those in charge.
5. Would you say evil counterbalances good?
Right now, today, I would say Evil has started to gain an upper hand. Here in the States we pamper our wrongdoers with hotels called prisons, we coddle to illegals, totally disregarding the word illegal. We supply the drug cartels with money in our never ending quest for new highs to help escape the very reality we have created.
I will hope I am wrong and that there is still enough good in the world to draw a line and say "Na evil, you shall go no further."
6. What motivates you in what you write, do you have a hidden longing to see a better world?
I believe I addressed that already, but yes. My grandfather felt the world was going to hell in a hand-basket with the younger generation. My father said the world was going to hell in a hand-basket with the younger generation. I guess nothing has changed as I also feel the world is going to hell in a hand-basket with the younger generations.
Still I feel there is hope as I see people give their lives unselfishly to try to save others, people they don't even know. Over and over it happens around the world. Someday there may indeed be a better world if we can expose the evils so cleverly hidden among us in disguise.
7. There is a school of thought that feels that writers are the moral compass of the world as they write from the effects of what their sub conscious has picked or sensed, will you like to comment?
I would say religion has always tried to fill that role. However, writers display the effects of the direction that the compass swings. We can hope that some small percentage of writers try to point the compass in a positive direction and perhaps influence a few readers to follow its course.
8. Circle of Seven is suited for young persons but ‘young at heart’ persons would enjoy it, writers are sometimes teachers too, what do you hope this would do for your young readers.
I would hope that some would realise that what is seen as good or evil isn't always so easily identified. Being good does not stop one from taking harsh actions when necessary in the battles against evil. I guess the final idea would be that good can overcome evil once it is properly identified as such.
I have been complimented by three older people on presenting a good action story that didn't require swearing in every other sentence, people notice.
9. There are authors who have written stories about witches thus spawning a morbid interest in children on all things satanic, but the works of authors live long after their own mortal death, what slice of immortality are you hoping to achieve by what you write?
Very interesting question and something I honestly have never thought about beyond my great granddaughter maybe reading one someday and saying she liked it. I will fall back on my idea that an author is nothing but a storyteller using print as their medium instead of their voice.
I guess my goal is still the same as it has always been, be it for tomorrow or a thousand tomorrows away:
To write the perfect words when combined with the readers imagination allows one to get lost in a world of the mind and escape reality, if only for a little while. To cause them to be late for work or to bed, to maybe say at its end, "Well done." Sorry, I have no grand enlightenment to bring forth.
10. Please share a day with us on writing.
Boring at best.
I wake about 3AM every day and start both the Computer and coffee. I read and respond to E-Mails and glance over several sites for changes and additions that might interest me or give me a story idea. I tend to write many different stories at once so I can select from any 'in progress' works that feel right for my mood or thoughts. I will break around 7Am to eat breakfast and take my grandson to school as well as getting my great granddaughter's day started. (Yes, when needed I will even change dirty diapers. Imagine that?)
From then the day varies drastically. Some time is devoted to reading, some to family, but usually I am back to writing before 10AM. I tend to write for hours on end, often with no concept of time. My wife reminds me it is lunch time with food or my great granddaughter will remind me she wants playtime. I have no rigid schedule I follow.
Following a personal tradition, after lunch I often spend 30 minutes or so sitting in my front yard staring at nothing, thinking of nothing in particular, enjoying the world around me, then back to work. For the afternoon, until 4PM I will write or edit any of half a dozen ideas I have running through my mind. After supper, as the mood strikes, I may go back to writing for a few more hours but am usually in bed around 9PM for my 6 hours of handsomeness rest, which my wife assures me has failed.
11. Have you ever had writer’s block?
I have a very hard time defining that. If you mean have I had a period of time when nothing came to mind on some specific story I might be working on, then yes. If you mean a period of time where nothing at all comes to mind, then no. On average I have six or seven stories and maybe a novella or Novel I am working on, all at the same time. I always find I have something to write about on any given day.
12. Your book has been reviewed by adults, have you had a feedback from a young person on your novella?
Two teens, one biased in my favor (My grandson) who read the early versions, but he is more into the vampire slayer type books.
The other happens to be a Fantasy fanatic and she tore it apart, comparing it to Tolkin and Rowling. The fact she put my book in the same category as them was a shock. She had to be reminded it was only a novella and didn't get the in-depth development given by those writers to their worlds. She liked the dragons and riders and all of the action and magic scenes, but felt there wasn't enough 'dark' forces running about doing evil things. She said she liked it overall so I am happy.
13. You have briefly explored selfless sacrificing love, the ultimate gift of love as it were, are you exploring another sublime theme again in your upcoming novel.. We were Legends.
Sublime? High spiritual or moral worth? Not sure I could say yes to that.
The main character is thrown into a failing culture as his spaceship crashes on a freezing planet and he tries to introduce 22nd century ideas into a barbaric tribal society were most men have died from war and love is a concept that is almost forbidden. Fighting the norm, he finally compromises with himself and them, as he fights to save the dying planet and manages to get almost half the tribe killed. I think the best I can say is good wins in the end.

excerpts from reviews of Merle's book:
After being kidnapped by pirates, a young earth girl, Myra, finds herself on a strange planet full of magic, hate, and ancient prophesies. Befriended by a Dwarf Princess, she struggles to understand her environment or die.
War looms on the horizon as Elves, Dwarfs, Dragons, and others face the reality of an ancient judgment to come.

This is the story of pirates, death, war, magic, and ancient prophesies.
Myra may hold the key to their planet's destiny in her tiny hands as she struggles to fulfill the ancient writings and stay alive.

Onet's review (Jack):

Circle of Seven

A group of misfits in the guise of space pirates on the run from the Inter Galactic Police Force land on a planet called Vitore where morality and a rigid hierarchy rule. To their great consternation, they find they have landed on a world where magic, manners and a strict moral code of absolute truth is the norm.
Populated by Magi, Elves, Gnomes, Orcs, Fairies, Dwarves, Dragonkelt and Yeti, where the populace speak using a form of telepathy, regarding vocal speech as anathema, the world of Vitore slowly unfolds within the tale.
Two innocent children from Earth, Myra and Kyle, taken prisoner by the pirates are seemingly rescued by the locals. But all is not as it seems as they begin a great adventure of discovery while being taught the ways of the world they find themselves marooned upon by the devious Faeldor and then the kindly Dwarf princess Deeppacer.
Imagine Tolkien's characters in space and you have the basis for M.F Burbaugh's novella.

14. Thank you Merle for coming on Center Stage

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The broken bowl

Have you been drinking Babatunde?
Babatunde smiled, “If I have, I wouldn’t be so daft as to talk to you will I? Do you know what people mean about emere?”
Tope stared at him and he stared back knowing he needed to look serious. Tope for all his jokes could be temperamental. Babatunde did not want him upset. He was intrigued by the concept of emere as it seemed to fit a fairly scientific explanation. He had been reading somewhere about Bi-polar people and that had interested. What if the people we call emeres are actually people who need medical attention and there could be a perfectly rationale answer to the myth?
Tope scratched his head and Babatunde knew he was trying to make sense of what he had been asked, “Why do you want to know, okay don’t tell me, you suspect the lady you have fallen in love with is emere?”
“It is all over you that you are smitten, better tell me all the dirty little secrets so I can sift which one of the cleaner ones will bear repeating”
Babatunde gave him a considering look,” You will be the last male I will share love secrets with, you lecher, I am wondering if I should tell Papa about the escapades you got into with Dupe.”
“Mentioning names are we?” Tope demanded looking over his shoulder. Babatunde sensed his discomfort and patted him on the shoulder. He told Tope that he just wanted some information about the specie as he had heard quite a lot but wanted someone who could tell him something concrete.
“Okay, I can’t say I am in position to tell you facts but I can tell you the signs that helps people suspect if a girl is emere. First, they are usually extremely beautiful, you find yourself drawn to them instantly and may never be able to explain. Now depending on what mood brought them here to earth, they could have their sights on destroying a man or the family they incarnate into”. Tope paused and gave Babatunde a look, “You probably fell in love at first sight right?”
Babatunde smiled, “Go on Tope you are interesting me so let’s keep to the subject.”
Tope sighed, “I am the only one that can give you decent advice besides I can spot one mile away.”
Babatunde scoffed, “You don’t know an emere from an abiku if she was under your groin never mind a mile away, I asked you how do you identify, for I think you are hiding quite a lot of information as it is.”
Tope looked alarmed, “She has told you?”
Babatunde was puzzled, “who has told me what?”
Tope sighed, “All this is to find out what Dupe told you right?”
Babatunde gave his brother a long look, sighed and made for his room. “You know for a minute I used to think you were smart, my mistake.”
Tope spoke slowly as if he was thinking it out, “You know you could be right about them coming from two poles. One minute they are nice and laughing and suddenly they start crying and are completely miserable. That is the classic sign or when they start sharing their meals with their mates. You never see their mates but you see them offering their morsels of food to people you can’t see. The morsels are visible but those eating it are only visible to the emere. Or when they are fully grown and ready to wreak their final havoc, they pick a man and show him heaven as they prepare him for hell. He likes the idea because they have the ability to completely take over his mind. They can make a man very rich especially those of them who come from water. Those are the real twin poles, hot and cold, take you deep down to the depth and give you so much wealth that they can take away if you cross them. I think the major difference between them and abiku is that the emere lives long enough to effect her mission while the abiku just comes and goes”. Tope sighed pausing for breath. Babatunde sat back slowly, his heart beating fast as he listened and memories flooded back into his inner being.
He did not want to go home. He stared at the food in front of him as the shadows gathered, the bustle of the village slowing down as the night hawkers set up. He sat there as the sounds around him changed in tones and volumes. Why bother to go home he asked himself, should he maybe go to the priest?, and tell him what? He shuddered and slouched deeper into his chair. At least he should make some attempt to find a solution to his fears but he wondered if there was anyone willing to step into his shoes, or offer him a spiritual solution. He could always go see the new pastor, he told himself, or well one of these miracle churches where they would promise him release… from his wife?

He grimaced as he imagined the conversation, No pastor it is not about divorce. She is giving me everything I ask for. Good food every time I ask for it, she groans appropriately anytime I turn her wrapper or loosen it, she has the right figure I had dreamed of, you know the type of figure that seemed to have, he shook his head violently- no don’t even think about it.

His skin crawled and he knew he was afraid. Should he tell his mum? ‘I told you she was the wrong color, didn’t I?’ , his mother would scream at him and then suggest they go ask the ancient one, or she would suggest he take another wife as antidote. Of course that will just hasten his death he told himself glumly as he swatted at the mosquitoes.
What would he tell the priest? The priest had probably heard worse stories and would simply nod his head. He remembered all the coughing the priest did the day he brought the yams. So his story wouldn’t be anything new— except maybe raise a laugh, from the priest and the dreaded words.. I tried to warn you didn’t I?.

Was he really frightened of his wife? He really didn’t believe all that, did he?The first time she told him that she was actually married to her spiritual husband and wanted it to coincide with his own wedding to her. He had felt like someone just deflated him. He was horrified, shocked, stunned, oh well he could think of any number of words to describe his despair. But then, did he dare to say it to her. He also felt jealous. She had described the spiritual affair so well that he was not so sure he should not actually head for the divorce courts. He should maybe visit his friend and confess that he had married a powerful emere. He imagined his friend Ade’s smile and he cringed, for he also remembered that his friend had been skeptical when he had come in excited that he was going to marry Kike, his wife. He had hinted that Kike was not the right colour, that she had all the classic colour and mannerism of a spirit from the sea.He was too besotted or bewitched then to listen.

He tried to remember if she had indicated anything to him about her nature and he shrugged knowing that was too late. She had chosen him and annoyed her real husband from the sea. How was he to know that her beauty was unnatural? She had acted like a normal lady. You know quiet, respectable, a demur Miss and he had been lost. As always, she had not said much, just kept to her corner and stayed close to him. She rarely spoke and she would only smile and lower her eyes. He had not believed he could be that lucky. Everything seemed to be going well for them until the visit of.. what was the name of the spiritual husband again?..yes Jide and he had been instantly jealous by the way Kike seemed to have come alive and excited just talking about him. That night she was really a fire ball to his desires demanding over and over again. He was too excited to remember that she had acted reluctant each time he had made love overture before.
Sated and relaxed he had turned on the mat and gave her a smile and that was when he screamed for she looked unearthly. She had such a look that he got up and his manhood ran right almost into his anus. He sweated and his scream died in his throat as she turned and looked beyond him. He had followed the direction of her gaze and that was when he saw Jide hovering over him, a murderous rage in his eyes. He had been stupefied and terrified but Kike had simply said nothing, turned over, and with her arms reached for the devilish husband. That was revelation time, when she told him what would happen from then on. He closed his eyes and clenched his fist.
The nightmares started after that, each terrifying night his manhood would be taken from him and dropped in a roaring flame, while Kike made love to her spiritual husband. Each morning he felt exhausted and weak and too ashamed to say what was going on in his room. His mother asked him what the problem was and he simply shook his head in silent misery.
He wondered and searched desperately in his mind for a solution. He fasted and took himself to churches but each time he knelt he became afraid to say amen to his longing and his heart stay frozen, so he stood up and walked away. What if these prophets saw what his problem was and told others? He would be a laughing stock. He went to the priest to ask for the red lizard oil hoping it will make his manhood return. Each night he washed himself and rubbed the oil but nothing ever happened on those nights for she will simply ignore him, laugh and close her eyes while his heart burned.
Those nights when Kike’s dream lover came, he would be in agony. Who was going to accept his story? I’m going crazy. But what the hell was he to tell friends that each night a man came in ghostly form and made love to his wife who groaned and moaned while they dropped his manhood, or he felt it being roasted and as he screamed silently in agony they made all types of contortions to torment him? He could not even perform with other females as each time he tried he could not get it up. Kike didn’t starve him since in a sick way, he was asked to start and then the dream husband will take over and he would be left with the heat of his own interrupted coitus.

That is right, he mocked himself. Was he to report to the priest that his wife was having an affair with a man in her dreams, or a ghost lover in his presence? Yes they did that now and he squirmed in shame and helplessness unable to say anything or do anything and he never could complain. Most morning after such nights of terrible passion they would head for the farm and Kike would have a happy smile on her lips and even sometimes sing.

He was not going to give any sane reason to Ade, that he wanted to divorce his wife because she had a lover and he was being tortured each night by the pair. In the last horror three days ago, the lovers had made him an offer that would bring his freedom even bring him wealth Kike said with a wicked smile, lots of gold, beads, wealth beyond his dreams, she had requested they use him to make children as their children from the sea needed to join them and that way Jide could become solid human, but it would look to everyone she had gotten pregnant for him. She will use her evil craft to make him rich if he agreed. He had shuddered at the thought of those types of creatures being called his children and that had angered her. He was so miserable that he had cried uncontrollably. Kike and her husband had laughed at him making sport with him.
During the day he would undress in the shed and stare for long seconds at his manhood. It looked normal, even almost healthy, but his confidence was as dead as the thing that was dropped every night in flames.
He shifted in the chair, knowing he was afraid to admit to what had frightened him was not the explicit love making Kike always made him watch with Jide but that he was jealous. That for him was the final indignity. The need to please her and he felt he was losing his mind for he acted like an automaton each morning from those dreams. He was being a witness to his own murder. Kike would describe in minute details her next line of action.
He was afraid to go home because his wife was planning a final seal for him tonight. It was getting late and he was the only one left sitting in the palm wine shed, it was time to head home, to his death. There was despair in his soul and a prayer from him to no one in particular and suddenly a bright flash, the sound of rushing water and he stood up startled to behold a figure swathed in bright colours. A lady moved out of the lights surrounding her and carried a white calabash full of water which she gave him to drink. He felt refreshed and as if in a dream, the lady walked up to him and spoke softly, “water refreshes and heals; Mother says I should give you this to drink and tonight you will be free of your bondage to dark love, this is your release. Go home and you will no longer have any trouble. You will remember me as Imole Ife or Ife”. He thanked her still holding the now empty calabash, “My name is Babatunde I will always remember”.
That night his wife packed her belongings, swearing and crying left his home and he felt a return of his vitality. He went to the farm next morning and heaped more than two hundred heaps for his yams and found himself whistling only one name.. Ife

Babatunde jerked into the present gasping and shaking, Tope was alarmed, “You went stiff suddenly. I have been shaking you for more than ten minutes.”
Babatunde shook his head as he remembered he had just shared his inner being with Ife a few hours ago and that was what had set him wondering about emere. Oh dear Lord, he was in despair. He did not want to learn that Ife was also an emere. He paused in his thoughts as more understanding flowed through him, if she was emere she would not have helped and the girl I met today has no idea we had met before or did she?