A Mid-October Update


October has sure turned out to be a very busy month! Along with the college admissions/visit journey we’ve been on at home, there’s been a lot of fun things going on in the writing life.
For starters, my fellow HVRWA members and I participated in a Wine & Sign event at Palaia Vineyards in Highland Mills, NY. That was Saturday, October 4, and despite the gloomy weather, we had a fantastic turnout, and everyone sold books – we had something for everyone who came by that day. It was so much fun, we’ve decided to look into doing similar events in other area wineries, so keep an eye out for details as we plan.
Here’s the whole crew just prior to the start of the event:
Our Fearless Leader, HVRWA Chapter President Elf Ahearn:
And some of our other prolific members:
The biggest October event was the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book conference. I attend this every year, and it is always a great time. I think all my fellow attendees had just as much fun as I did. It really was a fabulous time – a good chunk of my local RWA chapter attended, which always makes it more fun, because we all know how to trigger each others’ silly spots! We all know what couple of words will set one of us off into a tizzy of delirious laughter.
The thrill of being a finalist in the Golden Leaf this year added to the excitement. Alas, neither I, nor my fellow finalist, critique partner and friend, Elizabeth Shore, took home the coveted award. Still, as they say, it was an honor to be nominated. But I really do mean that – having my book chosen as one of the best in the category says a lot, and tells me I’m doing something right.
Special thanks to Tara Andrews who managed to get a shot of this:
Truly, though, as always, this conference is a wonderful experience, on so many levels. I posted last year that the hotel services were very strangely a little under par – this year, they were on the mark (or above it) every time, so that was great. I’ve been to this hotel many times over the last 20 or so years, so last year was truly an anomaly. Though I must be honest – $9 for a glass of wine was a bit much. A lot much. Even when I was working FT, I learned a long time ago how to work around that, but this year, it was on the outrageous side.
So what did I like? Everything! The PAN retreat, the Editors Panel, the workshops – everything offered was just what I needed, whether I knew it going in or not. I gained some really valuable info, which has me re-arranging a few things.
I also got to meet several people in person who I’d only previously met online. Yeah, there’s a bit of fangirl in me. I doubt it will ever go away completely!
I made some good connections, discovered some new opportunities, and learned a few techniques (some that will make life a whole lot more manageable, if I do them right). So stay tuned, I hope to be able to be sharing some upcoming events – I promise they’ll be a ton of fun!
One event on the horizon that I can share now is that a few of my critique partners and I are participating in a Book Talk at the Washington Township, NJ library on November 20. We’ll be talking about our books, writing craft and the romance fiction industry, holding a Q&A, plus we’ll be signing our books. I’ll have more specific details about that later on, with links and how you can get in on the fun!
October is also a big birthday/anniversary month in our house, too, and it reminds me of how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful family, fantastic friends and a rich full life in general. I am truly thankful for that.

Janet Lane Walters with Horu’s Chosen


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Janet’s back – with an excerpt of her latest release, Horu’s Chosen, Book 2 in her alternate Ancient Egypt trilogy. 
 
Blurb:

Seth, an undercover cop has been betrayed by his handler. To escape he calls a number on a flyer and is transported to an ancient Egypt he doesn’t understand. He must rescue the Daughter from the evil priests of Aken Re.
Merin is the Daughter. She must find the man who by wedding her will become Pharaoh. She plots to escape the priests of Aken Re and flee to those who years ago saved her life.

Can Seth and Merin find a way to defeat the priests? Is love the answer to their problems? Can they join with the Warrior of Bast and of Horu to bring unity to the Two Lands?

Horu’s Chosen Excerpt:
For a week plus two days Seth became a regular at the center. As well as martial arts he shot hoops with the younger boys and did his share of kitchen duty. He listened and watched. He found a spot in the alley that allowed him to look and listen to Father Joe’s meetings. Slowly he put the facts together. A few more days and he’d call his handler.
As he crouched at his listening post, Amara waved frantically. He went to her and saw the fear in her eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Ramos is here.”
“You sure?”
She nodded. “Saw him and the man who wants me. There’re with Father Joe. I ran.”
Seth pulled her close. “Avoid the center.”
“What will I do?”
He fingered the flyer he’d carried for weeks. Maybe Tira had escaped by calling the number. There’d been no sign of her and no reports of her body being found. If Ramos had her killed, the body would have been displayed as a warning. He removed the paper. “Don’t know if this means much but a friend dropped it. She was in danger and has disappeared. If things get too hot call the number.”
“Be careful.” She darted away.
Seth returned to his listening post. He peered through a small spot in the grime-coated window. A man slouched in a chair across from the priest’s desk.
“Way I see it, quid pro quo,” the priest said. “I give you the hotshot undercover cop and you keep away from the center. You and your men.”
“How do you know he’s the one?”
The priest laughed. “Bob Tolena gave me the name.”
Seth stiffened. Betrayed not once but twice.
Ramos chuckled. “Why the offer?”
“Better to sacrifice one for the many.”
Seth’s nails bit into his palms. So he was to be the sacrificial lamb. No way. He wondered how the priest could believe this would keep the center safe. If Ramos wanted in, he would find a way.
“His name?”
“Seth. Not sure that’s his real name but he’s here every morning at the martial arts sessions. He helps with the boys and in the kitchen. Send a man by in the morning and I’ll identify him.”
“What if he doesn’t show?”
“Then I’ll learn where he’ll be. Bob will tell me. Says the kid is becoming a liability.”
Seth’s gut tightened. His hands clenched. Damn, trouble had found him.He straightened and sped down the alley away from the center. He needed a safe place. He ducked into a doorway and hit a programmed number.
“How can I help you?” a woman asked.
“Read your message. I need a way out.”
She gave him an address. “When you reach the door, knock once, wait and knock twice. We’ll be waiting.”
Seth pocketed the phone. He crept from the alley and caught the first bus to arrive. Several changes later he reached his destination. As he mounted the steps of the brownstone his cell vibrated. He checked the number. No way would he answer. Let Bob Tolena and the priest wonder and worry. He dropped the phone and crushed it with his heel. Then he knocked in the sequence he’d been given.
The door opened to reveal an elderly woman with dark eyes and steel-gray hair. “How can I help you?”
Though Seth felt foolish he recalled the words he’d read on the flyer. “Need an escape. The answer is in my stars.”
She moved aside for enough for him to enter and led him down a hall where bright photographs caught his attention. He paused before one showing a hawk soaring over golden sand. He touched the bird with a finger.
“So that’s the one to interest you. Why?”
“The hawk is free.”
“And you?”
“Trapped and betrayed. I must escape.” Or at least hide here until I can come up with a plan.
“Join my sister and me for a meal. We were about to eat.”
“Don’t want to put you to any bother.”
“We have plenty. While we eat you can tell us about yourself and why you’re here.”
They entered a large room. On one wall he saw a large double wheel. When he looked closer he saw the object was a giant horoscope chart. Had he wandered into some New Age establishment?
A second woman, less gray and wrinkled, brought several bowls to the table. Seth helped himself to wild rice and a chicken and vegetable dish. His cup held a tea flavored with mint.
Though Seth had intended to speak only of the past two years since he’d become a cop and gone undercover, tales of his early days emerged. The loss of his mother, his grandmother’s bitterness and the multiple foster homes found light.
Until Pete and Marge Blaine had taken a troubled teen into their home and encouraged him to hit the books he’d been lost. Their deaths in a car accident two weeks before his graduation from the academy had made him an easy recruit for the seamy side of life.
For some reason during his investigation of Ramos and the man’s focus on Tira’s sister, Seth had come to see Tira as one willing to work hard to escape poverty. Amara was another who needed an escape. Three orphans, all misfits and in danger. He placed his fork on the plate. “A friend, Tira, came here and vanished.”
The older of the women nodded. “She came and found the place where she was needed and she thrives.”
Would the same thing happen for him? Dare he hope? He drew a deep breath. “Is there a place for me?”
The second woman rose. She filled a glass with a dark red liquid and set it before him. “Tell us when you were born. Try to give the time to the closest minute.”
He knew the time. Every day until her death his grandmother had told him of the day he’d caused his mother’s death. She’d called the death “God’s Punishment.” “August fourth at six twenty-five AM.”
The oldest woman took his hand. “You are a Leo, a ruler born. Energetic and proud. You place your faith and trust in others. When they betray you, you feel anger and this keeps you from trusting others. You can infuse people with courage.” She walked to the wheel on the wall. The other woman joined her.
Seth frowned. What was happening here? He watched the women place objects on this wheel. An urge to flee tickled his thoughts. He had no interest or faith in Astrology. He never read his daily horoscope in the newspaper. He was about to speak when the women returned to the table.
The oldest one smiled. “You can leave here and go to a land where your skills are needed. You can bring peace, prosperity and justice to the inhabitants. Will you go?”
“Is this a joke?”
“Just an offer,” the younger woman said. “If you accept you will be given a task to accomplish. Failure could mean your death.”
Seth shrugged. “Wouldn’t be any change from what I face here.”
“You will be transported to an ancient Egypt. Once there you’ll learn what you must accomplish. You won’t about to speak of this world or of anything that doesn’t fit the time, place and culture of the land you reach.”
A desperate desire to believe her words were true filled his thoughts. “What if I succeed?”
“You will discover your home and heart. If you agree to go you can never return. Will you take the chance we offer?”
Seth sipped the savory beverage. Had Tira fallen for their line? He pondered his decision and thought of what awaited him if he returned to the city streets. Betrayal. Torture. No justice. His cover had been blown. He was weary of slinking through garbage-strewn and rat-infested alleys. He met the woman’s gaze. “I’ll go.”
“Finish the drink.”
He tossed the liquid back and stared at the horoscope wheel. The heady beverage hit his stomach. Liquid fire flowed through his veins. The wheel spun and the scene faded.


Here’s where you can find Janet on the web:

Twitter: @JanetL717
Get a copy of Horu’s Chosen here:
And here’s a review of Horu’s Chosen from RT:

Following on the heels of The Warrior of Bast, this story is filled with magic and fascinating characters. Those interested in ancient Egypt will find this an enthralling tale. A satisfying ending is presented for the hero and heroine, with a promising lead-in to the next story.

Presenting Janet Lane Walters


Today I am delighted to welcome Janet Lane Walters to my blog. I’ve known Janet for many many years, and she is a special mentor to me. In fact, when I hit some dire straits writing-wise a few years back, she was one of the ones who talked me down from the ledge.

Janet’s taught me a lot – I appreciate her honesty and her willingness to help (not just me, but everyone she sees that spark in), and the time she has devoted to supporting so many of my fellow authors. I can honestly say I would not be where I am if it weren’t for Janet’s support, encouragement and guidance. If you’ve never read one of her books, you are seriously missing out. Janet writes in just about every genre – I think science fiction and horror are the main genres she doesn’t write in. But you can find Janet’s name on anything from YA fantasy, to erotic romance, to romantic suspense (Code Blue has one of the creepiest villains EVER!), to cozy mysteries, historical romance, well, you get the picture.

I’ve got Janet in the hot seat today – and don’t forget to check out her latest releases, a fantasy romance trilogy set in an alternate Ancient Egypt. Books 1 and 2 are out now I believe, with Book 3 soon to follow. Here’s the cover of Toth’s Priest:

When did the writing bug first hit?
Hard question to answer but I’m sure the bug was always there. From the age of six or so, my friends and I spent hours on the porch making up ghost stories. In high school I learned to write by reading and often tried my hand at stories. The real surge to write didn’t come until after marriage and was living in a small town in Oklahoma where the library was scant. I read every Zane Gray in their library and began searching out books on writing. I took some courses and finally had a short story published several years later. I’ve been published for 46 years and still cranking out the stories.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am a plotter but I also do a bit on free writing. I start with an outline that is rather scant more topics with information on what should go into the scene. Then I do the rough draft and if surprising things happen, I look at my outline again and make the changes. My rough drafts are usually about a third of what the book ends up becoming wordwise.
Do your characters come first, or the story?
This is a hard question to answer. Often the idea for a plot comes first but sometimes there are characters who leap into view and I know they need a story. My process is sort of an amalgam of the story and they come together in a kind of rush. I really don’t think the two can be separated. And though the characters and plot come together until I finish the rough draft I really don’t know what the final parts will end up being.
What was the most valuable piece of advice you received when you first started your pursuit of publication?
When I began writing centuries ago, I went to an all day conference with a writer who said. “First you must finish the book. Then you must rewrite and revise as many times as it takes.” I wish I could remember the name of the writer but I can’t. That’s the advice I give to others. Until you finish the book you can’t know what to keep and what to delete.
What’s the same mistake you still find yourself aggravatingly making from your early days?
There are a lot but the main one is forgetting to put in all the details of setting. The first editor comment I ever received was “Your characters are living in a vacuum. I always have to do a draft that makes me look at setting, setting setting.
When you hit that brick wall (as all writers eventually do at some point or another), how do you get through it?
I’m not sure I ever hit this wall. That may be because I work like a painter and keep layering the story with four or five re-writes and make changes as I go along There are times when I start a story that is going nowhere. I just put it aside and may come back to it again or not, depending on what I want to do at the time. I will worry a story until it’s finished unless I decide I don’t like it.
What was the first book you loved so much that to this day, you can still pick it up and read it and savor every word again?
Actually there are a lot. I’m a re-reader and have read many books again and again. Have read Pride and Prejudice many times. Every time a new book in a series comes out, I start from book 1 and read up to the new one.
A giant asteroid is about to hit the planet. What do you want to be doing at the moment of impact?
Writing, what else?
What was your favorite childhood game/toy? What happened to it?
There were a number but one of them was playing football with the boys. Growing up where there were 2 girls and fifteen boys on the street meant one had to play boy games. The boys didn’t want me to play after I began to develop. Snowball fights were another fun game with building forts and planning war strategy. Grew up during WWII so life was much different then. Unfortunately one has to grow up and the body ages.
Do you believe in ghosts and other supernatural creatures (vampires, witches, werewolves)? Have you ever encountered any?
Perhaps I believe in witches. Perhaps I am one. I’ll never tell. Once heard a ghost running down the street in front of our house. She stopped running when the man she was running after died.
Coffee or tea?
Love coffee if it has lots of cream and chocolate. Rum is my choice of alcoholic beverages but I’ve been known to drink many things. Do not like Scotch one bit but that’s another story. I can do both chocolate and vanilla, depends on where it’s to be found.
What was the craziest out-of-character thing you’ve ever done?
A very hard question and I’m not sure I should answer this since my character changes from day to day. I’ve lived a long life and have done many things that might seem out of character but since my character changes who knows if they were crazy or just reacting to the moment.
What’s the one thing you had the chance to do but didn’t, and wish you could go back and do it this time?
I have always wanted to visit Egypt but have never had the time or the money.
What was the worst vacation you’ve ever had and what caused it to be the worst?
My honeymoon. We were strapped for cash so we went camping. Unfortunately my husband had no idea about camping. The first night we ate our meal cold since the fire never got started. The second night he pitched the tent in an area were there were springs. I ended with pneumonia and the rest of the trip was miserable.


Here’s where you can find Janet and her books online:
Twitter: @JanetL717