October Spookiness Comes to the Island

October is time to rake and can and plan for winter in Martha’s Vineyard. The daylight hours are shortening, flocks of tourists are nearly gone. Year round residents take a little time to have Halloween fun with jack-o-lanterns and autumn’s beautiful leaves.

October’s book choice was an easy one: Mudge loves coming up with the Halloween book. This year he’s going with the master of darkness himself, Stephen King. The twist is King’s co-writer is his son, Owen. Can Mudge spook the group more than last year with:

Pick it up at Amazon, B&N, Apple Books, or Kobo.


Have you read Sleeping Beauties yet? Yes? –proceed scrolling for some very real comments by the members of the BBG.

If not, download it before you proceed.

There may be spoilers, otherwise!


Blythe (proprietress of Blythe Cove Manor): Well, I’m not a King fan, as you all know. I like lighter books, with very happy endings. But I must say it was interesting to see how the world coped with losing women. And there’s something satisfying when a sleeping woman leaves no doubt that her sleep should not be disturbed. I will be sleeping with a light on for the rest of the month, as usual Mudge.

Helen (director of the local library): I love a good mystery, even if it comes with supernatural suspense. Knowing what had caused the Aurora virus and whether the women would come back. Not to mention how much the world would have changed when they did come back. I’m not sure how I’d have felt. Also, has anyone else noticed how the heater, when it turns on at night, sounds a lot like a ghost pounding up the stairs?

Mudge (excursion boat owner/operator): Knew it. Knew this book would get you Blythe. I picked it because King is the King, as you know I believe. Now that’s he’s passing on the torch to his son Owen, I want to get everyone ready for next year. By the way, I found this excellent jack-o-lantern nightlight for you all. Maybe you’ll have sweet dreams before November, Blythe.

Aggie (owner, Sandpiper Restaurant): Mudge, leave it to you. If you’re King’s #1 fan, then I’m his #2. This book made me think, jump, and look behind me every time I heard a creaky floorboard, or a rustling rush of wind. I want to be Eve Black, just so you all know.

Fred (island taxi driver): Mudge, I look forward to the October pick all year long. This one took me to surprising places. Fortunately, I don’t believe in ghosts or zombie sleeping beauties, so I’m still getting my eight hours without trouble.

Did you miss the other book group picks? Check them all out here.

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Real or Fiction

Real or Fiction: Where does one begin?

by Shirley Hailstock


I recently read an author’s blog about writing from or about real life. Many authors do this, myself included. However, until I read her blog, I thought most of what I wrote was fiction, made up, not associated with the real world, but of a world I created. I never use people I know in my stories. I tried using the name of a relative once and found I was making the character that person.


This is not to say that the attributes of characters I write about are not from real people. All of them are. But shortly after introducing a character, they take on a life of their own and the author can only record what they say and do.

The stories I write come from the heart, from past experiences or from emotions that I’ve experienced or can tap into, empathize with. They reveal a lot about the writer. This is why the stories we find most endearing are the ones that have an underlying truth to them. It’s not “in your face” truth, but subtle, the kind that touches the emotional nerves and basically rings our bells. As readers, they draw us in, identify the same emotions the reader has, giving the reader an experience that is safe while it can make the heart beat faster, return them to the memory of a first love, or have them living vicariously through the pages.

We all have favorite authors. For several of mine, I’ve done binge reading of their books, usually fifteen titles in a row. I do this to learn about writing, but the by-product of this method is I learn a lot about that author, their views on the world, what they read, what political stand they have and what kind of person they are.

This may seem like an audacious comment since most authors are introverts and do not want to put their lives out in the world.  However, as an author, our stories reveal that we’ve opened a vein and poured our blood into the stories. This is honesty. It’s real. It’s the truth. And it makes for vivid stories that glue the reader to her/his chair as the author takes them on an adventure. And within that adventure, in between the lines and pages and chapters, inside the world created by the author, is the truth of the author’s conscious, her/his values, her/his life.

So the next time you pick up a book to read, handle it carefully and remember you’re holding the author’s heart in your hands.


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Please Welcome Galatea to the Bookshelf

Galateas-Revenge-PlayThe Book That Might Never Have Been Published

Every published author you meet has the story of “that” book. The one their agent loved but couldn’t sell. The one that editors enjoyed but passed on because “it’s too [insert something ridiculous here]”.

Agents and editors have it hard, because they see so many books, but they can only work on a few, so they have to choose based on their gut instincts even when they know they may be wrong. Ever wonder if the editors who passed on Harry Potter lose sleep over that? Probably not. It’s just part of the business.

We authors used to be left with books that we loved and yet had no way to get to our readers. Book limbo, where books were shoved under the bed to gather dust.

Then along came Amazon, who paved the way for authors to get their books to readers directly. And then iBooks followed suit to reach a whole new audience. And Barnes and Noble. And Kobo.

And now my book that might never have been published is on the bookshelves at iBooks Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

It wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Kindle Scout (disclaimer, they passed on it, just like all the traditional editors in the past).

Kindle Scout made me realize that there were readers interested in the book. So I tested the theory and gave the unedited, unpolished book away to readers for an honest opinion.

Their feedback? Publish it!

Encouraged, I revised it (which meant digging back into research on Victorian London and putting on my romance writer hat again).

I got a talented editor to fix my errors (thanks Alyssa!).

And now, my characters Elspeth (known on the mean streets of London as Gal) and Damian have their happy-ever-after at last.

Here’s what readers are saying (all quotes taken from public reviews, not from the many private emails I received during the ARC period):

I was living Elspeth and Damian’s journey to love with them. It is definitely a journey worth taking. CeCe, Barnes and Noble customer.

In two words powerful and compelling! April R. (read the whole review here on My Book Addiction and More Reviews; it made me happy)

Revenge couldn’t be any sweeter. Athena…Amazon Customer

If you were wondering if there were any more books under my bed…only one. The one I was working on for my Master’s thesis. I love this book, but it does not fit into my marketing plan for a while so I’m not going to talk about it…


Thanks to my wonderful, wonderful readers, you can now find Galatea’s Revenge at iBooks Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo. It feels great to be able to tell you that.


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