Monday, July 30, 2012

Anjie Harrte Kidnaped By Her Characters!

I would like to welcome Anjie Harrte to my blog today. She is going to let us know whether or not she plans what she writes (Plotter) or if she wings it by the seat of her pants (Panster).

Kidnapped by my characters
Sometime during my many chores and many responsibilities, ideas for stories creep up on me; however, I must retain them in my mind until I am behind a computer. Why? Because I am a panster.

I don’t plot, I don’t plan and I am not organized. I don’t make detailed sheets of who my characters are and what make them up, at least, I don’t do any of these things in the beginning. I sit behind a computer and tap away at the keys. The story flows in my mind and as it goes, I write. I spend a lot of time going back and forth checking details and names so that it remains the same throughout.

When I sit down to edit then I am faced with the task of character sheets and plots. My characters are very secretive; they tend to hold back details about themselves in the beginning. It is through the writing of the story that they reveal who they are, what their motives are and the role they play in my story. So, it is only after I have finished the story can I make up a character sheet for them.

The same thing goes with my plot. I plan a story in my mind but as I write it, it changes on me and surprises me with details that I didn’t plan from the beginning. For example while writing A Fatal Indiscretion (the original story not the one for the blog) I had planned a scene where the MC and her husband are supposed to be fighting in their bedroom. I built the scene on a flaw in their relationship; the fact that they don’t communicate with each other, that is, when she starts a discussion is when he is ready to turn his back and sleep. I had all the details planned out in my mind, what he will say, what she will say, the frustration that will build up when he goes to sleep, her stomping off into the shower and reaching out to someone else for comfort. Then in the middle of the writing these characters decided that they didn’t want to fight. Instead they wanted to let out their frustrations through sex. No matter how many ways I tried writing this scene with a big argument between these two people I couldn’t get it to happen. Eventually I gave in, I allowed them to guide me and I wrote the sex scene. I believe only writers will understand what this is like; to sit down to write something following an idea or a plan and to be guided in another direction. The thing is while trying to write what I wanted to happen it felt forced and it was as if I felt my characters’ frustration, but after writing the scene they wanted me to write I felt relief.

Writing mostly brings relief to me. I write contemporary fiction and most of my stories are about things that happen to me or could’ve happened to me. I think that is what makes being a panster easier for me. I already know the story and the characters; I just need to get it written. I wrote An Unexpected Desire by the seat of my pants and I believe in the end, I over did it. The story turned and twisted and included some mystery and betrayal and soon became what I intend for it to become. I felt as though the characters had kidnapped me and made me to their bidding. This is how I feel most of the time. So, now I am editing and tweaking it to be what it was supposed to from the beginning, a lesbian contemporary romance. I know the story, it is already written. I know the characters; they are already before me. But, still I created character summaries, so that through my edits I can stay true to my summary and I could easily check back to make sure the details about the character is in keeping with the plan of the character.

So I would have to summarize this blog post by saying I have no organized writing process. I don’t even plan when and where I will write. Most times I write when I am at work, but sometimes days go by with me not writing anything. I don’t plan when I am going to write, what I am going to write and who I am going to write about. My mother calls that laziness. I call it spontaneity. What do you call it? Do you think that planning would help me to actually finish a project? Do you plan? DO you make detailed character sheets? How do they work for you?

Anjie Harrte: Romance with some Caribbean flavour
Anjie Harrte is a twenty nine year old mother of one who resides in sunny Guyana, South America. Sometime between running a small business, having a full time job and being a mother and partner she finds time to pursue her passion for creating stories. Anjie dreams up stories of contemporary fiction splashed with some romance, a little dose of murder or an ounce of suspense and sometimes when no one is looking she dashes in a little twist. When she isn’t doing any of that, she is decorating a cake, knitting a chair back or sewing her latest design. Anjie even finds time to lurk around and stalk people and pages on facebook and you too can stalk her if you like at  or you can follow her on twitter @anjieharrte or keep updated with her writing at

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Edgar Cayce's Earliest Psychic Readings, by Doug Simpson



Edgar Cayce, the Edgar Cayce who was destined to become America's legendary mystic, began attending Sunday School classes around the age of ten. The lesson being taught on that first day was the story of creation from the book of Genesis. Edgar was mesmerized. He asked his father for a book with the entire story of creation in it, and soon received a gift of his own personal Bible. Edgar's life-long love of, and expertise in, the contents of the scriptures had commenced. Edgar quickly vowed to read the entire Bible at least once each year for the rest of his life, a promise he faithfully kept. But, at age ten he considered himself ten readings in arrears. Edgar was fourteen years old when he completed his fourteenth complete reading of the Bible. He was quickly regarded as the local Biblical expert and began teaching adult Bible classes while still a teenager.

Edgar was fourteen when he experienced his first vision. One night, as Edgar was almost asleep, his room suddenly lit up like the sun peeking through a crack in a cloud-covered sky. Standing at the end of his bed he noticed the figure of a woman and in his semi-conscious state assumed it was his mother and called out to her. The light and the figure of the woman disappeared. Edgar hopped out of bed and went into his mothers room to see what she had wanted, and was advised that she had not been in his room and to go back to bed. Edgar was not snuggled back in bed for long when the bright light and the lady reappeared. Edgar assumed it was an angel, and never forgot the words that the lady-in-the-light said to him: "Thy prayers are heard. You will have your wish. Remain faithful. Be true to yourself. Help the sick, the afflicted."

The next day in school, all Edgar could think about was the visit from the angel, and when he was called upon to spell the word 'cabin', he spit out an incorrect spelling. Edgar was sentenced to remain after school and write out the word cabin five hundred times on the blackboard. This was only the beginning of his problems! One of the volunteer teachers at the school that day was his uncle Lucian Cayce, and the tale of his spelling incompetence arrived home before he did. His father declared: "You will certainly know that lesson before you go to bed this night." Hours later after much studying and numerous swats from his increasingly irritated father, Edgar could hardly keep his eyes open but still could not remember the spelling lesson. Edgar begged his father for a five minute nap, and his frustrated father agreed, and left the room. 

Edgar had a plan. In his head he had heard "Rely on the Promise." and assumed it was a message from his angel. Edgar also recalled an incident that occurred when he was five, but did not understand at all at the time. Edgar had fallen-asleep back then with his head on a storybook, and upon awakening he was able to recite the entire story word for word. Edgar took his five-minute nap with his head resting on his speller. Smart move! When his father returned, Edgar could spell every word in the speller and could tell his father the page number and the location of the word on the page. After a few more good swats from his father, Edgar was sent to bed. From that day on, Edgar had no further problems learning his lessons.
The next remarkable event in Edgar Cayce's most unusual life started at school one day at recess, not too long after the episode with the speller.  The students were playing a ball game they called old sower.  Edgar was hit by the ball along his spine or the back of his neck and remembered none of the events that took place from that point on until he awoke the next morning.  It was reported that during the remainder of the school day, Edgar's behavior was totally out of character, his sister had to lead him home from school, and at the dinner table his behavior was so disruptive that he was sent to bed immediately.  A little later, in bed, Edgar volunteered what could be considered as his first psychic reading.  He gave instructions that a poultice should be made up and that it be applied to the back of his head near the base of his brain.  The delirious Edgar advised those in the room that he was suffering from shock, and that he would be fine in the morning if the poultice was applied as instructed.  The family, now well aware of Edgar's unexplainable talents, was wise enough to heed these instructions and the poultice was applied as directed.  Edgar's night was far from restful, but he awoke the next morning perfectly normal, just somewhat bewildered to find his room crowded with concerned relatives and neighbors.
 In 1900, at the age of twenty-three, Edgar lost his voice, and for over a year could only speak in a whisper.  The doctors called it aphonia, and the suspected cause was an unusual reaction to a drug he had been given for recurring migraine headaches.  A hypnosis stage entertainer, in town for some performances, claimed that he could cure the ailment if Edgar would allow himself to be hypnotized.  The experiment was attempted in front of a group of witnesses, and it worked fine, sort of.  Edgar, while under hypnosis spoke normally, but after he was brought out of the trance, his voice was gone again.  A second attempt brought an identical result.  These hypnotic experiments with Edgar were covered by a reporter for the local newspaper, and news of Edgar’s rare ailment managed to make its way to a noted physician in New York. The physician, a Dr. Quackenboss, who had never personally witnessed Edgar's rare medical condition, made a trip to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to see Edgar. He hypnotized Edgar, but could not cure the problem either. Dr. Quackenboss then questioned Edgar about the other unusual incidents that had occurred in his lifetime, and took special interest in the story about how Edgar learned his lessons by napping on his books.

Careful study of his notes back in New York caused Dr. Quackenboss to suspect that Edgar was what the medical books referred to as a auto-hypnotist, and suggested, in a letter, that his annoying condition might be removed by putting himself to sleep as he did while studying, and to have someone make the suggestion: “You see yourself, tell us what is the trouble and what to do about it.”  This experiment took place in the Cayce home in 1901, and was Edgar Cayce’s first psychic reading in his self-induced, self-hypnotic trance state, and it was a success.  After being instructed to wake up, Edgar could once again speak normally.  His mother wept, openly.  Of course, no record of this first reading was made that day, but for the rest of Edgar Cayce’s life he would periodically lose his voice again and needed to go through a similar revitalizing process.  The first reading that was taken for Edgar Cayce himself that was also recorded and kept in the readings files was one such voice restoration process, nine years later.


This psychic reading given by Edgar Cayce in Hopkinsville, Ky., this 1st day of December, 1910, in accordance with those in charge.

1. ACL [DS: He was Al Layne, a Hopkinsville hypnotist and unlicensed osteopath.]: You are now asleep and will be able to tell us what we want to know. You have before you the body of Edgar Cayce; he is before you now.

2. EC: Edgar Cayce, yes we have had him before. [No copy of earlier readings.]

3. (Q) Examine his throat and tell us what is the matter with it, if anything. (A) The muscles of the vocal cords here, you see, produce a partial paralysis to the vocal chord, especially to the left side of the vocal box. You see the chords here are taut from the box or sound here, as the air is expelled from the lungs and drove in and thrown out. We have a nervous effect of the nerves and muscles all over the whole body; we have a tightening or a sensation in the nerve force to contract it and of the muscles of the vocal chord or box here.

We have caused, all along in the front part of the body along the larynx to the vocal chord, to the right end here in front, as this muscle is taut then the voice sounds as if it is loose here or not contracted by the nerve forces and muscles; together this leaves one side that does not sound and produces a whispering sound. This comes from the same trouble we have had before from the pelvis.

4. (Q) What will we do to remove that now? (A) Just circulation here will remove it; that is the only thing that will do it. From suggestion to the body forces the circulation through it here and as the circulation passes along it takes that away; puts new life to it; makes the supply to the nerve force go, you see.

5. (Q) Increase the circulation and watch that and see the condition removed; that congested condition. Increase the circulation; is that removing now? (A) Circulation is beginning to increase.

6. (Q) Watch it increase now; watch that remove. All that congested condition will be removed away by the circulation. Passing off now, is it not? (A) Passing off now.

7. (Q) Watch it move clear on; it will become normal, will be in its normal condition. Watch it now and when that becomes perfectly normal tell us. (A) Have to remove the trouble first.

8. (Q) What is the trouble now? You see the trouble is away. Now the trouble is gone. Now the vocal chords are perfectly normal, are they not? (A) They are perfectly normal now.

              Al Layne was most impressed with the results of their first reading together in 1901, not reading 294-2 above, and asked Edgar if he would do a reading to diagnose and remedy a stomach problem he had lived with for many years.  A somewhat reluctant Edgar eventually agreed to return the favor to his new friend.  There is no copy of this reading, but again it proved to be a success.  A delighted Al Layne commenced a routine of requesting readings for some of his patients when their problems were not obvious to him.  Word of Edgar’s successes quickly spread around Hopkinsville and other requests for medical readings followed.  Edgar was understandably concerned that his readings could result in injury or death to someone, and was usually hesitant to comply with most requests.  On the other hand, Edgar never forgot his first vision in his bedroom a decade earlier and could not turn down a request for a reading for anyone in dire need.

Doug Simpson is a retired high school teacher who has turned his talents to writing. His first novel, a spiritual mystery titled Soul Awakening, was published in the United States in October of 2011, by Book Locker. Check it out at . It is available in print and eBook format through most book stores around the world. His magazine and website articles have been published in 2010 to 2012 in Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His website is at
© Doug Simpson 2010.

Edgar Cayce Readings © 1971, 1993-2009 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation.  Used by Permission, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Book Is His. His Alone.

I am happy to host Michael Meyer today as my guest! See how he feels about self publishing...

People often ask me how I decided to self-publish my own novels. The answer is simple, and yet there is some complexity to it. I wanted my work to be read right away. If I had gone the traditional publishing route, DEADLY EYES would still be somewhere along the lengthy publishing route, lying there not yet ready to be put into readers’ hands. It takes months, sometimes years, to get one’s work published the traditional way. I am so delighted that Amazon Direct Publishing came onto the scene. DEADLY EYES has already sold hundreds of copies since its birth at its new home on Amazon Kindle in March of 2012. And in that short time, this international thriller has made me an international author. Copies of it have already been bought in England, Germany, France, Australia, and Singapore, in addition to wide distribution throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, DEADLY EYES is also now available in paperback on Amazon. None of this would have been possible, in such a short time, if I had chosen to pursue the traditional publishing route.

            F. Scott Fitzgerald, the highly acclaimed international author, often complained of having to change parts of his books, especially endings, to satisfy his publishers. He is not, by far, the only author who has had to adhere to someone else’s editing in order to be published. In my case, the case of a self-published novelist on Amazon Kindle, I have complete control over every single aspect of my book, every word, every punctuation mark, and even to the appearance of the cover. It is my choice, and mine alone, how to begin and how to end my own book. I have complete control over all of my characters’ actions, thoughts, and words. In a nutshell, as a self-published author, I am the true writer of my own work. No editor has had a hand in changing even a single word of my original work. The book is mine, and mine alone, and it is presented to the reading public exactly as I want it to be, nothing changed to satisfy a publisher’s whim.

            Yes, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has been a real godsend to me, and my Caribbean thriller DEADLY EYES is proof of that.

Title: Deadly Eyes
Author: Michael Meyer
Publisher: Self/Amazon Kindle
Length: 225 Pages
Genres: Mystery/Thrillers/Suspense (Non-Romance)

Available at:

“DEADLY EYES” is a semifinalist for The Kindle Book Review Best Indie Books of 2012!!

James Cuffy, better known as Cuff, is living in paradise with his girlfriend, on the small Caribbean island of St. Croix, where the sky is as blue as Cuff's eyes, the ocean as pretty as Rosie's cheeks, where the gentle lapping of the waves is a lullaby, and the swaying of the palm trees is a dance. The sandy beaches are as white as sugar, and the horizon is a world away. St. Croix indeed is paradise, the perfect place for living, laughing, and loving.

But the sandy beaches and the turquoise sea can provide no cover from the deadly eyes of the unknown stalker pursuing Cuff. Murder leads to murder as he attempts to untangle the terrible web in which he has suddenly become entangled.

The twists and turns are relentless, the roads of the fast action leading in all directions, but time is running out, and Cuff, his faithful Rosie at his side, knows it.

These were not naked eyes, for the distance between these eyes and the beach bar at Cathy’s Fancy was too great for the naked eye to discern who was who. No, these eyes had planned meticulously. The eyes were glued to a pair of terribly expensive and unbelievably powerful Swarovski Optik binoculars. The balcony on which they now worked, taking in the scene before them, was the perfect place to see but not be seen. The powerful binoculars saw to that.

The distance, the palm trees, and the rays of the sun all helped. The position had been hand picked, after careful consideration. Every angle had been considered, and, one by one, they had all been discarded for one reason or another until this very spot, the perfect place to observe while not being observed, had been selected. 

Yes, the eyes had seen it all. The eyes had seen precisely what they had hoped to see. They were like a master puppeteer.  They planned, controlled, and observed, but from a safe distance. They did not miss a trick.
The eyes. The deadly eyes of St. Croix.

About the Author:
I have resided in and have visited many places in the world, all of which have contributed in some way to my own published writing. I have literally traveled throughout the world, on numerous occasions. I have lived in Finland, Germany, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, on the island of St. Croix, where DEADLY EYES is set. I gained the wanderlust to see the world, to experience other cultures, at an early age, and this desire has never left me. If anything, it has only gained in intensity as I have aged. I try to travel internationally at least once a year. In the interim, I spend lots of time traveling around both my home state of California and other nearby states.

I spent my early years in the small town of Lone Pine, California, the home of almost every western movie, in addition to a wide variety of other genres, made in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. In fact, Hollywood still films parts of big-time movies there today. My dad, the town’s lifeguard at the time, personally knew John Wayne, Lloyd Bridges, and Lee Marvin, all of whom came to the town’s pool, the Memorial Plunge, at times to cool off after a hectic day of working in the sun. I was even an extra in a movie filmed there in 1957, MONOLITH MONSTERS, a B-cult favorite even today. I was ten years old at the time. Even though I resided in a small town hours from the big city, I was exposed to the excitement of action and heroes at a formative age, and, thus, my interest in writing novels of suspense such as DEADLY EYES was born.

As a recent retiree from a forty-year career as a professor of writing, I now live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two other cats. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

How did Ellie Mack's characters come to be in Kiss of the Dragon?

               Before Ellie takes the floor, I'd like to thank her for being a guest on my blog today! Sometimes it's difficult, and sometimes it's easy to build our characters and name them. See how it was for Ellie...

                Have you ever had a complete stranger walk up to you and start a conversation?  There was no handshaking or introductions.  My characters for Kiss of the Dragon just “popped” on the scene as if they were in their own homes. An inspirational spark struck, and the two main characters showed up and started conversing.  A few of the supporting characters wandered in here or there, but some had blurry features.  A few stood off to the sides like cardboard cutouts. 
                My female lead showed up in her masquerade costume carrying on about some painting.  I had to listen for a few minutes before I made sense of it as she was babbling what seemed to be nonsense.  About the time that I figured out what she was going on about, she passed out from a severe headache.  Nice!  We need a medic here!
                Then Bran, Lord Zanathrus’ younger brother saunters on the scene stark naked. GAH!  Talk about getting a girl’s attention!  I couldn’t help but admire his physiche; he was built like a Greek statue, only better!  He had a pompous air about him; and swagger that said “I’m sexy and I know it!”
                Zane was off to the side, silently watching, waiting, observing.  I could feel the power rolling off him, the intense sexuality that raised the temperature in the room at least ten degrees.  As I fanned myself I dared to engage him in a discussion.  He is totally hot, brilliant, charming, but above all sincerely a good guy.  Oh don’t get me wrong, he can be a bad boy when he wants to but he has a good heart and is a good leader of the green dragon sept.
                When the mage wandered in bumping into the furniture, knocking off trays of food, causing the platters to hit the floor I knew it was a party!  A comical genius that in some ways reminded me of Robin Williams but much older, Eldwyn Bede was the life of the party.  He is a burr under Merryk’s saddle, but Merryk has  many issues!
                I must confess that before the party was over Merryk and Bran both bent my ear to tell their tales.  Those will come in the second and third books of my Dragon Lords series.  There just isn’t room in the first one.  Merryk has a thing for Isabelle.  From the first he takes on this fatherly role, wanting to protect her.  Merryk has loved and lost.  His mate is gone because of Eldwyn Bede, and if it weren’t for the oath he’s taken to Zane he would have already killed the mage.
                Bran did put his clothes on – slowly, putting on quite a show.  What can I say?  It’s a trip to party with dragons!  Bran had to make certain that he’d impressed every female in the room before he stretched out on the sofa then summoned one of the servant wenches to fetch his clothing.  The fact that my conversation with the servant may have delayed his dressing is irrelevant.
                Have you ever had your characters show up fully formed demanding you tell their story?  This was a first for me. Usually, I have to slowly get to know my characters before they ever reveal their faces.  It can be like a game of twenty questions just to get their names.  Not this time!  They crashed my home with their wild dragon party and I was captivated.  Or did Eldwyn put a spell on me when I laughed at him for spilling the hors devoures?  Hmmm, now that I think about it . . .  Eldwyn? 

                Wouldn’t you know it, he’s suspiciously quiet.
                Do your characters ever come to you and demand you tell their story?  Sometimes they can be quite the divas.  There have been times when I wrote several scenes before I noticed that my leading man is leaning against the wall refusing to participate. I’ve learned to listen because their story is usually so much better than what I was trying to force. 
                This is not the usual way my characters develop.  This cast showed up ready to party. It’s been a challenge to keep up with them.  The only elusive one of the bunch was Sir Erick.  He left a cardboard cutout standing against the wall in the shadows.  I think somehow he had a bug planted on it, or a camera.  He was there, but he’s elusive.  He was the most tight-lipped of the bunch, with good reason.  He doesn’t play well with others and has his own agenda.
                Where do your characters come from?  Do they show up like vague shadow outlines or fully formed individuals with their own personalities?  I’ve had both extremes and everything in between.  Most of the time, I have to play guess who or twenty questions before getting any facial features.  Not with dragons, they are loud and proud and in your face from the start.  Next time they bring their party, I’ll give you a call.

Ellie Mack lives in a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in geography/cartography. She has worked for Department of Defense, county government, as a substitute teacher, and various other jobs.  Her hobbies include reading, bicycling, playing Tombraider, and Dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and Zumba. Between being a mother to two teenage girls, a wife, homemaker, and a mortgage loan officer, Ellie writes paranormal romances.
Ellie’s first erotica piece is appearing on


What did you think about Ellie's blog? I thought it was great fun to read! 
How do you name things/pets/characters? Do the voices in your head help you? Do you do research? Do you name them after people you know? Let us know in the comments below. Ellie and I would love to chat with you!

Thanks for stopping by!