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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Interview with Author Mari Collier

It is my pleasure to welcome author Mari Collier to my blog today. 

We’ll start out with a few questions. If you choose not to answer any question, please feel free to skip it, and if there is anything that I’ve missed, you’re welcome to add a comment.Let’s get started, Mari.

1)  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

It seems I’m someone who grew up without the amenities of modern life and witnessed the hard, everyday work of a farmwoman as though it were still in the early 1900’s.  It really gave an appreciation for the strength of the early immigrants and their ability to work.

2)   As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to become a Deaconess and serve in the overseas Lutheran Missouri Synod Mission field.  That meant I had to keep my grades up to qualify for their Valparaiso University in northern Indiana.  Unfortunately, allergies prevented me from living in the Midwest.

3)  When did you first start writing?   

I was in the sixth grade and wrote a story about Lazarus, the Wandering Jew (heavens only knows how I knew about that piece of folklore).  The other two classmates (yes, a one room country school) liked it so much they wanted a romance.  I wrote it for them and thought it really insipid.  I didn’t understand how they could like that.  Then Mama put me in charge of writing the Douglas Township news for the Audubon Advocate.  I decided I could write a Western set in the old West.  Of course, it had to be Texas as that is where the Comanche were based. My second oldest brother thought it was hilarious that his baby sister would write a story and kill off all the characters. 

4)  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? 

That was after I had children and began making up bedtime stories for them.  I started writing them down, and then pulled out the Western I had started so long ago.  I decided I needed more tutelage and took a mail order writing course. 

5)  How long does it take you to write a book? 

That depends on which book.  It took over fifty years to write Gather The Children.  Man, True Man I must have written in about six months.

6)  What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

The same every day except when I may have an appointment or visitors.  I write from 2:30 p.m. until 3:55 p.m.  Sometimes it does stretch out to a longer time.

7)  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I like to give short stories a twisted ending.  They aren’t necessarily happy ever after.

8)  Where do you get your information and/or ideas for your books? 

The ideas are just there.  The necessary technical information is in my library or on the internet.  The latter is such a time saver.

9)  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I would love to do more reading, but the writing interferes.  I like to work outside, take walks, and Nintendo forever ruined me.  I like to play electronic games too.

10)    What does your family think of your writing? 

My son couldn’t believe his Mother wrote those books.  My daughter likes one and some of my short stories.  My granddaughters are really proud of her grandmother. My grandsons are perplexed.  My nieces and great-nieces have been enthusiastic in their support.  My one living brother says that I am one hell of a writer, and the one (now at home with the Lord) complimented me for being the better writer.  You see, they are a mixed lot.

11)       What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating books? 

That I could see, hear, and smell the characters.

12)           How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?    

I have written seven novels and four Twisted Tales anthologies.  I really cannot pick a favorite.  It is like asking a mother which of her children is the favorite.

13)          Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?   

It is more like occasionally as far as direct communication goes.  The reviews are one way of hearing your readers.  That means I take the good with the bad.  Fortunately, most are good comments.

14)  What do you think makes a good story?  

Adventure, new or ancient worlds, love and hate, in others words, the essential emotions and curiosity of humans or other beings.

15)  How did you choose what genre to write in? 

It chose me.

16)  Do you ever experience writer’s block?  

No, I have not.  I have found that with other writers that sometimes they create their own blocks.  If something doesn’t go the way they want, they put everything away.  If something doesn’t seem to go right, I just move onto another project.  I usually have three or four others I can choose from.

17)          Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?   

The Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism.  The other main influence was the history books.

18)       Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?    

Oh, please, that was a nightmare as Kindle Publishing, Nook Publishing, and Create Space did not exist then.  I took my brother’s advice and went with a vanity company.  It was a horrible decision.  I am so thankful to have the rights to that book back.

19)       What was your favorite chapter or part to write? Why?  

I cannot pick one chapter, but one of my favorites is The Pastor Becomes The Shepherd in Before We Leave.  One man makes a complete transformation.

20)       How did you come up with the title? 

Trial and error.  Sometimes the title was there just like the book.  The vanity company insisted I change the title of my first one.  At least that vanity company didn’t charge for the cover or the printing.

21)       What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?   

The one that had nothing to do with the novel.  The best came from my granddaughter.  This is it:  My grandmother is the author. But I'm not being biased when I say her books are amazing! I own 4.

22)       Can you tell us about your upcoming book?   

The upcoming one will be The Silver and The Green.  It is a sequel to Man, True Man and takes place on the planet Tonath.  Tonath has almost recovered from the Burning Days, but not completely. One Seeker wants to restore the Star Path Institutes to their original teachings and the other wants to find the ancient family land holdings. Then war erupts between the battling governments and the different Star Path Institutes. Ordinary people are caught between the different rulers and the different religious proponents.

23)       What projects are you working on now? 

See above.  I’m also trying to work on a short story, a new blog, and the next sequel.

24)       Will you have a new book coming out soon? 

I’m hoping The Silver and The Green will be out before this summer.

25)     What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why? 

Martin Luther as his summaries of scripture is so succinct.  Unfortunately, I do not speak or understand German.

26)       What would you serve?  

         Sausages and beer. What else?  We’re German.

27)     If you had a magic wand to grant any wish, what would that be?    

Impossible to say.  I doubt if it would be anything noble. I would think of my family before anyone else.  People wish for peace, but that will never happen in this sinful world.  When lives are too peaceful, people tend to read something with violence within the story or watch a movie, YouTube episode, or television show that will have murder or mayhem of some sort.

28)     Is there anything more that you would like to say to your readers and fans?    

Thanks to all who have read or purchased my stories.  If you haven’t seen or read any of my tales and would like a look  or preview of them, click on the Amazon Author Page below.  A double thanks to all who have not only read the tales, but left a review. Thanks for inviting me, Kenna and much love and happiness to all.

Thank you, Mari, it was a pleasure to interview you. All the best of luck on your upcoming novel, and warm wishes for a happy and profitable year.

Twitter:  @child7mari

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Healing Properties of Love: A Review of "Flawed Perfection"

TODAY we think about romance once again, and the healing properties of love in the face of adversity or error. I gave my review 4 stars.



An interesting anthology of romance novellas just perfect for curling up with a cup of hot chocolate in front of a fireplace, and losing oneself in a universe where good things happen at the end to flawed women. There are six stories, and my favorite was saved till the last, "The Chase" by Marnie Cate, which ends with a romantic winter evening and snow falling on a bench, my favorite quote from Shakespeare, and emotional healing with love.
As someone who was brought up with innuendos in romance rather than graphic detail, some of the descriptions of sex seemed superfluous to me in a couple of the stories, which detracted rather than added to romance for this reader. This could be a selling feature for some readers, though, and I understand that romance novels are a distraction from the mundane, a "feel good" experience for those seeking escapism, and in this case, a vindication of hope in the form of romantic love. These tales sprang from a desire on the part of the authors to celebrate a woman's strength in the face of adversity or error, and the healing properties of love. I think the placement of the stories in "Flawed Perfection" was well thought out. 
Flawed Perfection: A Collection of Winter Wishes by [Ouvrard, Jude, Beaudelaire, Simone, Northup, Julie, Morgan, Savannah, Dawn, Taylor, Cate, Marnie]
Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Warm and Fuzzy Christmas Story -- A Review

A Millionaire's Christmas by Brian Porter

My 5 star review

Christmas being less than two months away, and the unfortunate results of an unprecedentedly vicious US election behind us, I yearned for a cozy, warm and fuzzy story that would personify the meaning of love and charity at this holy season, and leave me with a feeling of peace on Earth.
I was not disappointed. This very short book by Brian Porter is Biblical in some of its references and a miracle that took place between a dying man and a dying small boy, and what might be called synchronicity rather than coincidence. There is no coincidence in miracles nor in Porter's mind, I'm sure. 
A great hunger exists in the world today for beauty, love, charity, truth, and peace. Who can be blamed for wanting to stop the world and get off the merry-go-round, at times? This book is just the right length for reading in ten minutes or less. Porter has presented a Dickens-like heart for the suffering in the world and the futility of a life devoted exclusively to commerce. I loved the Greek names!

Thursday, November 10, 2016


I just reviewed a book of war poetry by Brian Porter, British author. It's a gritty and realistic portrayal of war from a British viewpoint. Porter doesn't sugarcoat war nor does he glorify it. 



War poetry for the history afficionado told from a British point of view -- my favorite poems in this collection are Postcard from Stalingrad and Letter to a Loved One, both of which bring into the pale light of afteryears a woman's perspective. I know there were many brave women who joined each conflict, and were conscripted during WWII as WRNs and WAAF and so on in England, but they are not included in this gritty collection of war stories. I especially noted the inclusion of German young soldiers and airmen, who, like the Allieds, had no choice but to fight and perhaps die for their country's call. As someone whose father served in WW II and returned to Canada with PTSD or "shell shock" as it was called back then, I can appreciate the realism of the bloody mess that war is, and Porter has not tried to sugarcoat nor glorify war. It's a unique collection of snapshots of war that presents the reality and comradeship, necessity and ultimate futility of the battle. For American readers, the Vietnam War was a uniquely American conflict and not represented in this collection. The Royal Navy and RAF are heavily represented and bomb demolition experts, as well as, interestingly, one poem written from a Japanese point of view, a Kamikaze pilot who survived with lifelong guilt for surviving. The letters home are particularly well done, I thought. Something to remember on this evening of November 11, when some of us wear poppies and many still mourn for loved ones or comrades lost in yet another senseless war, as Porter points out, fought by young men and women and orchestrated like chess pieces by old generals. Some real gems in this collection -- which rhymes!
Lest We Forget: An Anthology Of Remembrance by [Porter, Brian L.]
Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Let's follow Annie Hansen -- "I do like a strong female lead"...schizophrenic young woman private eye. 

On Sale for 99 cents

This coming Saturday

July 23 - 29, 2016

Four **** Review from top Amazon reviewer Gisela Hausmann! 

"When two well known residents of Serendipity, a doctor known to drug addicts and the mayor get killed Annie is being put on the case. Both murders are grisly, actually in a way disgusting. Was the killer a whacko drug addict or did the killer try to blame a whacko drug addict? Even more complicated… Were both victims killed by the same killer? (Sorry, I do not post spoilers.) And, is it a coincidence that all of this happens, right before the elections (for mayor)?

Annie will make a transformation when she meets handsome detective Mark. Will they solve the murder (oh, wait… Is Annie a suspect too?)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Laura Secord's famous trek through history, retold

A little story for my Canadian readers. You all know the story of Laura Secord, who drove her cow through 20 miles of forest to warn the British of an American invasion during the 1812 war with the US. You also know of our famous Laura Secord chocolates based in Ontario, named after the heroine. This is a little tongue in cheek story of Laura's walk to fame, based on the real story but of course, embellished.

You Won a Milk Chocolate Gold Cigar
by Kenna Mary McKinnon

The white house at the bottom of the green hill was more than twenty miles from the British forces at Beaver Hills. There in the white house,  a young woman, Laura Secord, and her wounded soldier husband, James, billeted American troops. It was June 21, 1813, the British forces unaware of a fiendish attack planned by the chocolate eating Americans in Laura Secord's home. James lay helpless with bullet wounds in his leg and shoulder, hardly able to lift a hand to pop a miniature mint into his mouth.
"Good men," Laura said to their slobbering guests, "I must go out and find Bossy Cow to have milk for the liqueur tomorrow. Otherwise no Bossy no Candy."
"You nefarious Loyalist," a captain said, "we won't need your box of miniatures tomorrow, nor a bag of your perfect sized bars…"
"… all made from premium chocolate." She concluded his sentence with pride. "Why not, may I ask, good Captain, do you not require my premium chocolate, or perhaps a box of premium teas?"
"Tea!" the Americans roared. "Remember the Boston Tea Party!"
"Oops," Laura said. "Sorry, fellows."
"This is Canada," James said gently, raising himself onto his good arm and reaching for a mug of French & Frosted Mint hot chocolate.
The American soldiers began to murmur amongst themselves. Laura could hear "surprise attack" and "June 23" and "Beaver Dams". She knew the British commander, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon, would be caught unaware if the Americans attacked his post, as her husband had informed her that their encampment, reached only through a trail of barbed wire, land mines, and cow dung, was not prepared for an invasion. James had recently come back from Queenston Heights himself, where he had been sorely wounded and now could scarcely lift a Milk Chocolate Crispy Chip to his mouth.
So it was that the next morning, brave Laura beat Bossy Cow with a stick ahead of her on the treacherous twenty mile journey alone to Beaver Dams, to warn the British Lieutenant FitzGibbon and his Loyalist troops of their danger.

She was successful. The Americans were beaten back, and upper Canada held. No acknowledgment was given to the slender, brown-eyed woman who so courageously trod the slippery path of loyalty to the Crown and warned the British and their Mohawk allies of an impending invasion. James later succumbed to an acute case of diarrhea, and Laura died impoverished and unrecognized at the age of ninety-three, other than having a number of schools, statues, a granite monument, a circulation stamp, a chocolate factory, a deluge of articles, entries, and plays, and a coin named after her.
            Of course, that was after her death. Small help it was to her then.

Brought to you by Blood Sister, a quirky and courageous mystery starring a schizophrenic young woman private eye and her two friends, formerly published under the title Red Herrings. 
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Friday, June 10, 2016

SHORT CIRCUIT sale over and BLOOD SISTER coming up next!

Thank you to all who helped bring Short Circuit and Other Geek Stories down to within 20,000 on Amazon, which is better than a million where it had sat for several months. I have my new publisher, Creativia, to praise and also my own efforts. 

Also the very good stories in the book, which may appeal to those younger people who love SF and fantasy, robots, and all good things my son liked so much growing up.

It's still 99 cents (pence) on Kindle but the sale will be gone soon.

If any of my readers remembers Red Herrings, it will be in it second printing with Creativia soon under the new name, "Blood Sister". 

We're working on a new book cover. Will keep you appraised of Creativia's decision. Their book covers rock! Can hardly wait to see what they come up with. I've given them some input and some graphics for the creative process.

Do you have any suggestions for a new book cover for a macabre double murder solved by a young schizophrenic female private eye?

It takes place on an island off the coast of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.

 Look for more on this later.