Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Salty - A New Novel by K.S. Thomas



Synopsis: 

Tritonia ‘Salty’ Casavant has spent her entire life out at sea on her parents' sailboat. Raised by a marine biologist and her mother’s extended family of modern day pirates, her perception of the world isn’t exactly normal.
Now a single mother herself and living alone on the boat her parents left her, she enjoys her private paradise as she cruises back and forth between the Islands of Hawaii.
Everything changes when a local gang begins using her strip of ocean as a dumping ground for smuggled drugs and firearms. Soon Salty is in the middle of an all-out turf war she inadvertently started and the only way out is through Detective Finn Murphy.


Excerpt 

As the challenger approached, it became apparent that Chick was bringing visitors. Salty frowned as she spotted two haoles standing at the helm. Even from where she was positioned she could tell that they were cops. Given her life experience, she knew the type inside and out. Then, having written those characters a hundred times over in her stories as the antagonists and the nature of the heroine in her novels, it was hard for Salty to muster any warm fuzzy feelings at the sight of the two police men as they pulled up beside her sailboat.
     From the look on Chick’s face, she could tell that he wasn’t thrilled either, although those feelings were probably partially directed at her now that he had likely discovered Amaui’s identity.  Regardless of the reason, the strangers’ presence seemed to be a necessary evil for the time being, so Salty made her way to the stern and waited for Hani to toss her a rope. Once the speedboat had been securely rafted off the Salty Kisses, all four of the men aboard the A'ole Aina found themselves standing on Salty’s front step.           
“Salty, this is Lieutenant Pierce and Detective Murphy. They’re colleagues of Detective Mahelona’s.” Chick made a face as he said Amaui’s name.
     “That’s nice. Why the hell did you bring them here?” Salty replied, completely ignoring the two men wearing badges.
     “Because we asked him to,” Lieutenant Pierce interjected. “Ms. Casavant, you were witness to a crime. We were hoping you could recount the events that took place the night you met Detective Mahelona for us.”
     Salty eyed the man from top to bottom. He was almost as tall as Chick, but considerably leaner. His hazel eyes had a youthfulness about them, but the flecks of grey he had spread throughout his hair and goatee had Salty gauge him to be at least in his early forties, forty-five at the most. Even though he was a white guy, he had the distinct look of someone who had lived on the islands for a very long time. With his loosely fit grey cargo pants and navy blue polo shirt it was about as lax a uniform as you could find. Not uncommon for Hawaii though. Pierce’s partner, on the other hand was as much of an outsider as the tourists who trampled the beaches year after year, season after season.
     Murphy was shorter than Pierce with dirty blond hair and blue eyes that matched the surrounding waters. He was stocky and muscular and wore his black pants and fitted blue button up shirt nicely. The sleeves had been rolled up, but that was the only indication Murphy gave that he was aware of the summer climate and its accompanying 83 degrees.
     Salty glanced back and forth between the two one last time, trying to decide whom she would rather deal with, when she heard Murphy mutter, “This is a complete waste of time.”
     “Whose time is that exactly, Detective?” Salty demanded.
     “Ours. We should be out following real leads, not wasting our time taking boat rides out to see some modern day pirate princess who’s probably been out at sea for so long she no longer has a real grasp on reality!” Detective Murphy ranted at her.
While Salty had been sizing up the two officers, Murphy had apparently done the same with her. Judging from his little speech, he hadn’t been too impressed with what he’d seen. Maybe it had been the fact that she was barefoot and wearing nothing more than her standard shorts and bikini top. Or perhaps it had been the sight of her tattoos which spanned the greater part of her body. Salty had to take a mental account of what her hair might look like at that very moment. She had washed and brushed it just that morning, but the ocean air and constant breeze wreaked havoc on her long brown locks, and most days Salty found herself staring at a wild woman anytime she came face to face with her reflection. She never bothered with make-up, but her permanent golden tan, sparkling green eyes and wind burned red lips had made it unnecessary anyway.
     “What are you doing, Finn? You can’t just insult these people!” Pierce sounded appalled as he scolded his partner. He turned to Chick and Salty, looking mortified. “I am so sorry. Please, let me apologize for Detective Murphy.”
     Salty was starring daggers at Finn Murphy and he was locked onto her returning fire.
     “No, I agree with your partner. This was a complete waste of your time. You should go.” She turned on her heel and began to walk away. “For what it’s worth, this wasn’t the first drop the Kakumei have made. I’ve counted at least seven, always between the hours of midnight and 2am. By sunrise some local fishing boat comes tugging along to retrieve the shipment. It’s never the same boat, but twice I noticed they had the same colors. I was never close enough to make out any lettering, but I could still give a pretty good description if I needed to.” Salty didn’t know what had possessed her to divulge all of that. Probably the part where that idiot Murphy had implied that she was crazy and incompetent. It’s not like he could have known that it would strike a chord with her, but it had…and not in a good way.
     So much for not getting involved, she thought. She could already feel Chick’s glare burning through the bare skin of her back and she reached up absentmindedly to rub the spot.
     “How do you know it was the Kakumei?” Murphy asked.          
“For starters, I’m not an idiot. Just because I don’t spend my time on land doesn’t mean I don’t know what happens there. It’s all about perspective, haole. When you’re standing directly in front of a tree, all you can see is that tree’s bark. But, if you back away a bit, you start to see the entire forest…or, as it is in my case, the entire island.” Salty was slowly meandering back over to where the men stood. “Look, if you don’t believe me, send a dive team out. Last week they made a drop. Three times I heard something hit the water, but the next day the crew only pulled out two shipments. I’m guessing whatever else they dumped is still sitting at the bed of the ocean in hopes of never being found.”
     The officers exchanged a glance. Both Chick and Salty noticed.
     “What?” Salty asked. “You already know what it is, don’t you?”
     “Eric Choy’s father went missing ten days ago. He’s been a prominent player in the business world for many years, not just on the island but internationally. We think his shipping company may have been compromised somewhere along the way…and we think the Kakumei had something to do with it,” Pierce expounded stepping forward.
     “That explains what they were doing with Eric. How did Detective Mahelona end up in the mix?” Salty wasn’t even sure why she wanted to know. If nothing else it was potential material for her next novel.
     “Amaui’s his girlfriend. It was just an unlucky coincidence that she was there when they grabbed him,” said Murphy. Pierce shot him a look suggesting he zip it, but Murphy just shrugged and said, “What? Now we’re not disclosing important information regarding our highly sensitive, open investigation? My mistake. I was just following your lead, buddy.” For the first time since meeting Finn Murphy, Salty had to fight back a smile.
     “Anyway,” Pierce continued, “any information you can give us regarding that night, or any others involving these ‘drops’ would be greatly appreciated.”
     Salty twisted her mouth from side to side as she mulled it over, purposely avoiding eye contact with Chick as she did so. Finally she said, “I’ll tell you whatever I can, but honestly I don’t see how any of it will help. I mean, sure, I can identify boats, but not people. I doubt any of my information will trump what Amaui already knows.”
     “That might be less than you think,” Murphy said, shaking his head and turning away. Neither he nor Pierce elaborated on it any further.
So, Salty began to recount everything that had happened, starting with the first night she had heard the plane down to the night she pulled Amaui and Eric from the water. She was sure not to leave out even the tiniest of details, not because she wanted to be thorough, but because she simply couldn’t help herself. Details in descriptions had become a hazard of the job a long time ago. Even Finn Murphy seemed pleased with everything she was able to give them.
     “That was incredibly meticulous. Are you sure you don’t have a background in law enforcement?” he joked.
     Salty snorted. “Not exactly. I write about a lot of cops in my books though.”
     Chick chuckled.
     “Why’s that funny?” Murphy asked.
     “Because the cops I write about aren’t exactly the most observant. They can’t be. I mean, it wouldn’t work very well for my heroine if they were stellar members of the force,” Salty explained. She knew she wasn’t coming off well, but then Murphy and Pierce had to have known when they were coming on board that they wouldn’t be held in the highest regard. Cops and pirates just didn’t mix.




Meet The Author

Author K.S. Thomas



Dog Lover who likes her pastries full of cream and sugar….oh…and I write some 
Aside from being an author, I am also a mom to a beautiful 5 year old little girl. I tell everyone I named her after my great-grandmother (because that’s the mature answer), but really, I named her after my favorite princess – just so happens I got lucky and they had the same name…If I wasn’t a writer, I would work on a horse ranch – I’m an animal lover (in addition to dogs, horses are at the top of my list). I wear flip-flops pretty much everywhere I go. I would rather stay awake until 5 am than get up at 5 am (years of bar tending have left their mark), if I can, I’m going to the beach AND I will always be nice to people who bring me chocolate…or coffee…if you bring me both, I’ll probably love you forever.
A gypsy at heart, I write the way I live, following the story wherever it may lead, always ready to start the next one. This is clearly reflected in my body of work which to date includes everything from Children’s Lit to Thrillers.
I happily reside in sunny Florida (for now) and can be contacted via my blog, my website  or the following social media sites ~

Twitter: @friedgatortail

Other Books by K.S. Thomas include ~


Upcoming Releases for 2014
Diner Guy
The Final Descendants “Et Calceum” (Book Two of The Final Descendants Series)

Sign up HERE to stay up-to-date on all of her upcoming releases.

To purchase Salty




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sorry, Wrong Number - Fun in Writing.

I gave out the prompt for our Fun in Writing group a couple weeks ago. We were talking about being on the phone and how rude some people are, so I decided Wrong Numbers was a good one. This is what I wrote.

I've gotten a lot of wrong numbers over there years. A few of them stick out in my mind. Back when I was in college, I often slept in. My classes were later in the day – on purpose – because I often had to work late on crews for the various plays we were staging. We had only one phone and it was in the living room. I can't stand to hear a phone ring. Since it was back in the days before voice mail, some people would let the damn thing ring 10 or 15 times before hanging up. My room was in at the other end of the house, so I'd have to walk all the way out there to answer it.
If one of my parents was excepting a call, they would bring the phone into my room when they left, plugging it in by my bed. I got several unwanted calls, some of them wrong numbers.
One day, I was sleeping in. My parents were gone and I hadn't gotten in until 4:00 in the morning. The phone rang right next to my bed. I muttered a blurry hello.
Is Steve there?” the woman on the other end snipped.
No Steve here,” I mumbled. “You have the wrong number.”
This is the number he gave me.”
Then he gave you the wrong number. Goodbye.”
I hung up. She called back less than a minute later.
I want to talk to Steve. I know he's there!”
Lady, there's no Steve here. You've got the wrong number.”
This is the number he gave me.”
Then he gave you the wrong number on purpose. There's no Steve here!” I hung up again.
She called back again.
I want to talk to Steve!”
Okay!” I bellowed. “I'll just roll over and wake the bastard up!”
She hung up and didn't call back. I kind of felt sorry for Steve. I have a suspicion she probably came after him with a knife. I watched the obituaries for several days after that, looking for the name Steve to come up.

A few years later, after I married, we moved into a small house in a not so nice part of town. The phone company gave us a number that had belonged to a minister who had, apparently, a unique way of ministering to the women in his flock. We hadn't been there more than a week when I got the first call.
I wanna speak to the Reverend!” A very angry man yelled at me.
You have the wrong number.”
I don't have the wrong number! I know this is his number. Put him on the phone!”
I hung up. The angry man called back.
Sir, you have the wrong number. There is no Reverend here.”
This is his number! I know it's his number! He got my wife pregnant and I wanna know what he's going to do about it!”
I hung up again and he called back. I unplugged the phone. Nervous and worried, since it was nighttime and my husband was at work, I left it unplugged until morning. Once I plugged it back in, the calls started again. I got even more scared, worried that they would come to my house in an angry mob. Then I remembered, “Oh, yeah! The phone number doesn't go with the house.” However, since I was tired of angry men yelling at me and calling me names, I contacted the phone company who kindly changed my number.
I watched the obits after this too, wondering if an angry husband caught up with the Reverend.

Some interesting calls started after we moved to our current home. Our number is one digit different from a local charity – and the County Parole Board.
The calls from the charity don't bother me. They are usually polite and apologize for calling. I give them the other number and assure them it's all right. I get a lot of calls like that. I had one lady who used to call every month or so, an elderly lady named Rose. She was sweet and sounded lonely, so we would chat. I know after the first couple of times, she called on purpose, but that was okay.
My least favorite wrong number was for the parole board. A young woman called:
Who do I make the check out to?” I couldn't understand her at all. She mumbled and ran her words together. Also, I wasn't expecting to get a call like that.
I'm sorry?”
Who do I make the check out to?” No further explanation.
I'm not sure I understand.”
Are you stupid?” She was yelling by this time. She spoke very slowly. “Who do I make the check out to?”
Just who do you think you're talking to?”
Is this the County Parole Board?”
Did I answer the phone, Hello, County Parole Board?”

There was a pause and she hung up.

Dellani Amazon page http://tinyurl.com/kqc8bof

Monday, February 03, 2014

Can I Get This Right? or The Real Deal or False Lead? by Lynette Willows

You are sitting in the light of your computer monitor, a huge stack of books, most of them recently acquired from a scoured library propped next to the desk, drinking endless cups of coffee or bottles of soda (for us Canadians, pop). How on earth was something coherent going to wind up on the page, especially after finding many of the history volumes have conflicting information? After wrestling with material for days, the pressure of getting it right and the level of caffeine in the body high enough, pen is figuratively put to paper. On the contrary, I sometimes wonder that students' bad experiences writing papers for high school doesn’t drive some them away from historical writing.

Writing history constitutes a broad set of skills which may be difficult to master but are so rewarding when your unique draft is ultimately finished. Having developed a historical timeline, writers must find a set of primary historical sources which can address the idea they have formulated. Once again, this is no easy task. It requires an array of skills using the library and online sources that can be trusted. Historical writers must know how to manage the on-line library catalog, be an irritant to the librarian and perhaps even, horror of horrors, know how to use the old card catalog and fiche. They must be willing to explore the stacks, learn to use special collections, travel to locations, or interview experts or even witnesses if there are any. This kind of primary source research demands a diligence and persistence rare in these days of easy Internet access, which often has it wrong, spitting out old and outdated resources from Wikipedia. By the way, that’s a source that should only be used as a starting point, and take the information with a grain of salt.

If you’re researching online, haunt any free resource attached with University libraries and historical societies. And it’s a matter of trial and error using key search words, a skill I have only recently hit upon and mastered somewhat. It’s surprising what pops up when you hit that magical combination, and the rich resources you stumble across. They must craft a theme wherein they pose a clear historical plot and then offer their characters addressing it. In a well-structured, grammatically correct manner, they must work their way through a story without falling into common historical fallacies. They must match evidence to argument, grasp little known facts that on the surface look incidental but ultimately prove infinitely fascinating, and anticipate and pre-empt challenges to their argument. Sources, noted down but not included in bothersome appendixes, should be kept for any dissension on following blogs that discuss your book.

Phew! It is little wonder that history novelists can find research so traumatic. Often history teachers, in the author’s early life, presented past events in a dry lecture that left us wondering why we are even vaguely interested. This is understandable. We often do not understand how we think about the history-writing process, and old prejudices developed in high school hang tenaciously on. Most writers do not have it as easy as history addicts like myself. Many do not have the innate passion for the past which propelled history teachers into spasms of joy. I absorb history with an "osmosis" technique, soaking it up like a sponge that many find foreign, but my own history teacher celebrated. Even those with little apparent interest need to approach what they read with a critical, analytical eye. You have to evaluate what research will fit into your novel and craft it to become a seamless part of the story. But wait…I’m writing historical romance. Is this really all necessary for a genre that typically wants only the love story to take center stage? All this research will only make my novel cumbersome and dull.

As for the research, absorb odd incidents that will serve to heighten the interest in the story, and may even move the plot along and put your characters in a truly unique situation. Let’s face it, romance novels have pretty much run the gambit of swashbuckling situations no matter what era you are tackling, and have become stale and repetitive. As romance novelists, I feel it’s our job to come up with fresh and unique ideas based on little known historical facts that better serve the cravings of our educated, far more sophisticated modern readers, especially women. I have recently found out, through our own experimental steps, that men can be attracted to romance as well, based on feedback from our male readers, We expanded on plot in a traditionally character driven genre. I admit, we stuck a slim toe over the line, and it worked. We included a brief battle scene in the book, a typical no-no in romance that allowed the reader, both male and female, to taste, smell and feel what it was like to be there. We also included many technical scenes concerning historical horse breeding that garnered applause in reviews. It shows that even the most mundane appearing point can be expanded and presented to your readers as a unique approach without sacrificing, and in fact enhancing, the romance of the story.

This is no longer the time of old romance formulas, where the hero snarls and indulges in mild rape to titillate the reader into sympathizing with the heroine, who does eventually succumb to the advances of the man. Modern women in 2014 want sophistication, more accuracy and driving plots along with their strong characterizations. As writers, we owe it to them to work harder to get it right, and entertain at the same time. It’s at this point that I need to mention the language. If I wanted to be truly authentic, I would have to have the dialogue follow how they spoke then, and frankly, no one would understand what your characters are saying. Methods of speech were quite different than they are now, even though they still speak English. Slang and phrases were as unique then as they are now, and they have shifted so much, it’s almost like speaking a different language. We need to keep modern terminology in our historical stories for the ease and enjoyment of the story. Otherwise, you have to have an extensive glossary of terms in the back, and that’s not very practical.

As an example of obscure research, there have been much confusion and inaccuracies concerning hygiene in these rough eras, not just amongst readers, but writers themselves. Many think that people went for weeks, or months between wash-ups, which simply isn’t true. I remember Kathleen Woodiwiss trying to overcome this problem in her novels in the seventies, by her main characters installing an actual, working bathtub, complete with taps, plumbing and a drain with plug. Unrealistic for colonial America, but oddly no one seemed to notice and soaked up her novels in record numbers. But women can no longer suspend their belief to such an extent, even though the taste for romantic fantasy is still going strong. Readers now demand more realistic, suspenseful, and historically accurate plots and characters. They are better educated and they will nail you on inaccuracies. They even got me on one small phrase I used, the word “bush” instead of forest, which was not used, nor ever really used, in the United States from what I understand. My “Canadian-ism” escaped unnoticed in the final draft, and it was a few readers who spotted it. The only other place that term is used is in Australia.

Art takes work and innovation. It took me a few weeks and extensive research on a subject for my blog that was not well documented, since hygiene is a very intimate issue that was not generally discussed in polite society during colonial days. Good hygiene habits were passed from mother to daughter, and father to son, in private and in whispered tones. Ultimately, I had to research implements, recipes for soaps, hair rinses and bath houses to get casual, off side comments on how often they bathed, and how. Surprisingly, it was far more frequent in innovative than we previously suspected. But it makes sense, as well. Otherwise, diseases and distasteful smells would have overcome the most lovesick person into avoiding close contact. Basically, it took lateral, or sideways thinking to find what I wanted to find. Sometimes, even after doing this, it will take going through secondary links and finding obscure sites that are rarely viewed, but hold fascinating details that will spur entire books! It’s what happened with my current work in progress that resulted in a fascinating event in history that few people know about. On further research, I found even more exciting facts related to this unusual occurrence…well, needless to say, I couldn’t pass on it. I had to write this story.

So, it seems that good reading, writing, and evaluating are deeply linked in historical accuracy for the new generation of romance writing. I am eager to know what works for you in research habits.

Lynette Willows, Author Blog: http://lynettewillows.blogspot.ca/ Lynette Willows & Carley Bauer Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynette-Willows-Carley-Bauer/278323855613717 Twitter @LynetteWillows: https://twitter.com/LynetteWillows Tirgearr Publishing: http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Bauer_Carley/no-gentleman-is-he.htm Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/No-Gentleman-Sons-Liberty-ebook/dp/B00BPY7UJO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363812843&sr=8-1&keywords=no+gentleman+is+he Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/292998 Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-gentleman-is-he-by-carley-bauer-and-lynette-willows-carley-bauer/1114915852 Apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch): (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/no-gentleman-is-he/id617170488

Character Quotes from So Much It Hurts by Dellani

“ How about you unpack and grab a shower and I’ll take you to dinner? There’s a good Thai place around the corner,” Flynn said. “ Tha...