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Saturday, 9 May 2020

Podcaster and author, Joshua Pantalleresco is on my blog today!

Want to see my unicorn pen?  No really. I got one.  Want to see it?



Here it is. My sister bought it for me. I almost got Ryan McFadden to sign his book with it. If his wife had seen the pen he would have had no choice.  Dang it.  But it's a cool pen right?  I legit write with it. 

So this joke started way back when my sister suggested that in my current novel that I'd put a unicorn into it. Now, I said yes immediately, already plotting out its demise. Then my sister got this pouting please don't do anything look on her face, and asked me not to kill it. Well crap. Not only did she see through my plan, she stopped it cold.  Dang it. Now what do I do with the unicorn?

I figured it out eventually. My current novel has a unicorn that farts out spam ads. This cute little guy is named Roy G. Biv, and he lives in the cloud. No one's quite sure how he got there, but long ago, someone built him to advertise giant spam ads on people's phones and pcs. He still is doing it, hundreds of years later. Much like the mighty cockroach, Roy had survived his own civilization's apocalypse, and had found a home for himself inside the cloud. Johnny, Gunblade and company discover him trying to rescue the daemon Stevie Y, who had gone into the cloud hiding from zombie mobsters.

Now reading that story I imagine a lot of thoughts enter your head. Why would a unicorn fart out advertising? I have no idea, and I wrote the damn thing. I hope you got a kick out of the name, and maybe you laughed at my cockroach joke, before my next few bits of information made you go a little cross eyed.  Trust me, it's on purpose.

Writers are magicians. We're supposed to trip you out with words and images you are imagining. I'm no different. I'm playing with you, challenging your perceptions and creating an image that is as bonkers as I can possibly cram it in.
Distraction is one of my favorite techniques. I'm bombarding your imagination with as many misshapen images as possible. I'm leaving questions. What does a zombie mobster do? (And no, they are not nice zombies. Are there nice zombies? I think there should be somewhere. Hmm. Going to have to ponder that one.) 
I digress. Hopefully you get the idea. Distraction is a wonderful thing. We live in a world where there are images and slogans and logos waging war for your attention. Most of them fail to deliver the surprise distraction craves in order to make it work. It's why we grow numb to the messages out there. Most of the distractions in our lives serve the same purpose. 
       They want you to buy. Buy me, I'm red and sexy, says fizzy bottle number one. Buy me, I'm blue and positive, says potato chip bag number two. It doesn't matter how you dress it up, the end result is buy me. We all understand business. We all need to eat.
But no one wants to hear a sales pitch. They say the same thing. They don't
talk to you or interact with you. They are mundane, dull and no one cares. Stories can't just follow standard formula for the same reason. We've seen the twirling moustache villain. We know that the princess goes off with their wonderful prince charming. We've been there, we heard that, and some of us have even bought the t-shirt. But it's a small world after all if that's all you subscribe to.
Great writers play with those expectations. They play with you. The great ones can take whatever tools we have, whether they be unicorns or cupcakes or zombies or evil robots or whatever you want to insert and they interact and present to you the reader a different experience.  It's why I love great indy books so much. They are incredibly well told tales done in ways you may not see.
In my case, I decided to embrace the whimsical.  There is magic in whimsy and breaking those expectations in ways never conceived. In book two which I'm working on now, I am actually writing about a killer cupcake. This cupcake was the creation of a bakery company looking to make more money. So they did what all of us do when we are desperate for cash – invest in weapons.  So in their quest for making a living in their troubled times, they created an apocalyptic monster of red velvet destruction, complete with sugary pink bow. 
What is the goal with distraction? The answer is simple.  Surprise.  I want to surprise you.  I want to wow you with the images I create. I want you to engage. I want you to play. I want to throw as many images into your head and make you crack up at the absurdity of it. 
I want you to enjoy the experience I crafted for you.  And, if you have to go, wouldn't you want to go to the sugary goodness that is a cupcake?
And here is a great picture of a cupcake. 
Great stories don't need to be silly. I like silliness, but that doesn't mean you need to create that kind of whimsy.  Stories can engage with your audience on any kind of tone you want. Tales can be told with tremendous gravity, or romantic as a country song or filled with epiphanies. All of these things are possible, provided that the reader is distracted with the tale being conjured in front of them.
My stories are distractions and escapes into other worlds. I want to play with you, and I hope you want to come along for the ride. There are unicorns and cupcakes and terrible elevator music. There is laughter, and even some tears. You can't have ups without downs.  You need to have some down notes, especially in comedy to get the jokes across. But in the end I want you to experience wonder and leave you with a great experience.
That's the real trick of any storyteller isn't it?

Get the book and connect with Josh!

Twitter/IG: jpantalleresco

About the Author:
Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff and podcasts too.  His forthcoming book, the Cloud Diver is his first novel, and fourth book.  Joshua always has written poetry for Mirror World Publishing, and has been published in magazines such as Onspec.  He writes a column for First Comics and has made the leap into the freelance world.
His podcast Just Joshing is fast approaching 400 episodes. He has interviewed debut novelists, New York Times Bestselling Authors, musicians, illustrators, pro wrestlers, politicians, comedians and other creative people twice a week, and reads from his work, along with other authors every weekend. He has won the Aurora for his podcast, and has been finalist for that award twice.  He lives in Windsor currently, but has been known to wander at a moment's notice.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Ramblings of a Crazed Writer: F&$king Characters!

Let’s discuss characters. Whether one, two, or three dimensional these plot driven fictitious bastards are devious little creatures that have caused me to shout at my lap top, toss a book across the room, shake my hand in the air, and drink heavily.

There is always more than one character, and in some cases there are too many and I need to keep a list of them. (one word: nightmare)

But it is the stubborn character, the one with a mind of his/her own that always throws me for a loop.

I am writing the first book to a five book series and I am super pumped for this one. I’ve taken months to plot out the book, create new characters, and add twists and turns. It will be friggin' awesome!

Easy peasy, right? WRONG!

Nothing is easy when you have a character like mine. He has become a living being outside of my head who is constantly yammering on about his story. This spells danger, disaster, whiskey, and more whiskey for me.

I am the inventor of the book. I write the damn thing! But this character has other motives. He wants to go in another direction that I had not planned on. And planning is everything when writing a book, especially to someone who has OCD.

I have tried to appease him by placing him in other situations, or pulling him in the direction I need him to go, but the bugger won’t budge. Hell, I’ve even threatened to write him out of the bloody book, but he says I need him and is firm on me moving him in the way he wants to go.

Am I crazy? 

After all this is a fictitious character. One, may I remind you, I created. Does
it matter that I have long winded conversations with him almost everyday on the plotting of the book? How about the fact that the other protagonist has decided to join in? 

She feels the same way.
Son of a B*&@H!
How did this happen? Everything was fine in the beginning. Now, they’re like my dogs when I walk them, always pulling me the opposite direction.
What gives?

Listen, I am good to these guys. Yes, I write them into some unfortunate situations, but I always get them out. I give them what they deserve by the end of the book. Why are they being such asshats and complaining?

I never hear anything from the antagonist. He is right as rain being the villain, doing any despicable thing I write. He doesn’t stop me mid paragraph and want to be the protagonist! He is happy with his place in the book, even if I kill him, which happens almost all of the time!

Not my protagonists. They keep telling me it is their story and I need to stay true to them. I get that! 
But I had it all plotted out. Can’t they see how much work I’ve put in already? I don’t want to change things now!


BAH!

This insanity will not stop until I give them what they want. They will continue to whisper in my ear, hold me hostage in my own mind until I give in! 
Which makes things worse when you're on a deadline! 

I love them, even though they piss me off. They’re a part of me, who I cherish, but at the same time I’d like to delete them and move on to the next book. But I'm not a quitter, and even though I'm beyond frustrated I will wave my white flag in defeat.

After all, It really isn't my choice.
I want to tell their story. Which means one thing ... a lot of whiskey and writing it the way they want me to.



Happy Friday, Friends!!!

Cheers,
Kat

Monday, 13 April 2020




Three novellas from bestselling author, Kat Flannery's The Montgomery Sisters series. Purchase this limited edition boxed set and be captivated by these strong-willed women forced to make it on their own in the western frontier.

Book 1: FERN

Can one woman heal the heart of a lawman?

A gardener who uses plants to heal, Fern Montgomery is an outcast who refuses to be pushed out of town. When her friend is murdered and all fingers point to Fern as the only suspect, she must find a way to prove her innocence while fighting off unwanted feelings for the sheriff.

Sheriff Gabe Bennett has his mind set on arresting Sarah Fuller’s killer. But his key suspect isn’t what he expected. He soon realizes there is more to the quiet gardener than he’d first anticipated. As passion blooms, Gabe is forced to face his feelings—and the woman who has stolen his heart.

Book 2: POPPY

Poppy Montgomery has always been good with a gun and could fight her way out of anything. Tough as nails and a sharp shooter, her beauty deceives the outlaws she’s after.

Hot on the trail of the Clemmons gang, a group of outlaws who rob trains and killed an innocent woman and child a few months before, she is determined to make them pay for the sin’s they’ve committed by bringing them to justice.

Pinkerton, Noah Shaw is investigating a ring of stage robberies and knows the Clemmons gang is behind them. Told to track down the infamous redheaded bounty hunter, Noah gets more than he bargained for when he arrests Poppy for assault.

Handcuffed together the pair must work together to stop the robberies, and figure out who is behind them. But what happens when love interferes and thrusts Poppy into discovering emotions she never knew existed? Will she choose the solitude she’s always known, or Noah’s sweet embrace?

Book 3: IVY

Ivy Montgomery is tired of her sister’s constant nagging and protectiveness. Blind, she decides to escape in the middle of the night when she is captured and brought far from home. With no understanding of the outside world, Ivy must use her keen abilities to navigate the wilderness around her. Anger and hopelessness are her only defenses against the things she cannot do. Until she meets a strong-minded Lakota Chief, who will not let her cower to the blindness any longer.

Lakota Sioux Chief of the Paha Sapa, Hotah is on a hunt for his brother, Kangi. Cast from their tribe five years before, Kangi has grown a dark spirit and a hatred for all white people. Now on reserved land, Hotah makes a deal with the General to capture his brother in return for his people to have the provisions they need. After rescuing Ivy, he promises to take her home, but danger is near and Hotah soon realizes it is not just his brother he should fear.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Kat's Blog Tour!




Book Details:

Book Title:  Ivy (The Montgomery Sisters Book 3) by Kat Flannery
Category: Historical western romance, 164 pages
Genre:  Adult Non-Fiction
Publisher:  Picco Press
Release date:   November 11, 2018
Format available for review:  ebook  (ePub, PDF + mobi)
Tour dates: July 1-31, 2019
Content Rating: PG + M (swearing and mild violence)
Book Description:
Ivy Montgomery is tired of her sister’s constant nagging and protectiveness. Blind, she decides to escape in the middle of the night when she is captured and brought far from home. With no understanding of the outside world, Ivy must use her keen abilities to navigate the wilderness around her. Anger and hopelessness are her only defenses against the things she cannot do.
​Until she meets a strong-minded Lakota Chief, who will not let her cower to the blindness any longer. Lakota Sioux Chief of the Paha Sapa, Hotah is on a hunt for his brother, Kangi. Cast from their tribe five years before, Kangi has grown a dark spirit and a hatred for all white people. Now on reserved land, Hotah makes a deal with the General to capture his brother in return for his people to have the provisions they need. After rescuing Ivy, he promises to take her home, but danger is near and Hotah soon realizes it is not just his brother he should fear.

Although IVY can be read as a stand alone novel, the first two books in the series are also available for review. Just choose this option on the sign-up form.

Fern, The Montgomery Sisters, Book 1 by Kat Flannery
Book Details:

Book Title:  Fern (The Montgomery Sisters Book 1) by Kat Flannery
Category: Historical western romance, 182 pages
Genre:  Adult Non-Fiction
Publisher:  Picco Press
Release date:   April 4, 2018
Format available for review:  ebook  (ePub, PDF + mobi)
Tour dates: July 1-31, 2019
Content Rating: PG + M (The occasional swear word, not the F-word, mild violence)
Book Description:
Can one woman heal the heart of a lawman? A gardener who uses plants to heal, Fern Montgomery is an outcast who refuses to be pushed out of town. When her friend is murdered and all fingers point to Fern as the only suspect, she must find a way to prove her innocence while fighting off unwanted feelings for the sheriff. Sheriff Gabe Bennett has his mind set on arresting Sarah Fuller’s killer. But his key suspect isn’t what he expected. He soon realizes there is more to the quiet gardener than he’d first anticipated. As passion blooms, Gabe is forced to face his feelings—and the woman who has stolen his heart.

Poppy, The Montgomery Sisters, Book 2 by Kat Flannery
Book Details:

Book Title:  Poppy (The Montgomery Sisters Book 2) by Kat Flannery
Category: Historical western romance, 140 pages
Genre:  Adult Non-Fiction
Publisher:  Picco Press
Release date:   May 16, 2018
Format available for review:  ebook  (ePub, PDF + mobi)
Tour dates: July 1-31, 2019
Content Rating: PG + M (The occasional swear word, not the F-word, mild violence)
Book Description:
​Poppy Montgomery has always been good with a gun and could fight her way out of anything. Tough as nails and a sharp shooter, her beauty deceives the outlaws she’s after. Hot on the trail of the Clemmons gang, a group of outlaws who rob trains and killed an innocent woman and child a few months before, she is determined to make them pay for the sin’s they’ve committed by bringing them to justice. Pinkerton, Noah Shaw is investigating a ring of stage robberies and knows the Clemmons gang is behind them. Told to track down the infamous redheaded bounty hunter, Noah gets more than he bargained for when he arrests Poppy for assault. Handcuffed together the pair must work together to stop the robberies, and figure out who is behind them. But what happens when love interferes and thrusts Poppy into discovering emotions she never knew existed? Will she choose the solitude she’s always known, or Noah’s sweet embrace?


Buy the Book:

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Thursday, 13 June 2019

Poison Rings...

Dainty ring could be used to conceal keepsakes. c.1880

Historic jewelry has always captivated me. When I was younger, I’d sift through pages of the encyclopedia looking at all the necklaces, rings, crowns and other jewels the Royals wore during the renaissance. There was something more than the mere flicker of a ruby that attracted me, something deeper that had my imagination roaming to faraway lands where the characters I write came to life. 

It is how I've always created stories...based on something real that has existed. But there was more...what has attracted me all these years with the baubles and wares, is who wore them, what was going on in the world at that time, and oh how I wished to be able to teleport there! Museums do the same thing to me—my mind runs a mile a minute at who, what and where the artifact has been.

When I wrote the Branded Trilogy, I had to do a lot of research dating as far back as the American Colonies during the 1700’s it was the first time I'd seen the Box ring. 

As I was rummaging through pages and pages of history for the most recent book I'm writing, I came across the odd, but very mesmerizing piece of jewelry again. The Box ring, or also known as a locket ring. What else is a writer to do, but delve deeper into the history of this charming piece of jewelry. 

These rings were popular throughout Europe during the 16th Century. The rings were used to store many things from perfume, a lock of hair, to messages and devotional relics. Fashionable and different, most of the wealthy owned one.

The locket ring came to Europe from Asia, Russia and the Middle East during the Holy Trade. However, there were other uses for these rings that had nothing to do with placing one’s keepsakes inside.

The Poison ring had been used long before as a means to an end for those in captivity or before being placed into confinement. The small compartment under the bezel of the ring would hide arsenic, cyanide or the poison of choice. While the captor awaited the noose, guillotine, or other ways of torment, he would take the poison, thus ending his life without such torture.

The Poison rings became sought after pieces of jewelry during the war to elude capture, but also if the opportunity arose to poison your enemy. Rulers used these infamous rings to hide arsenic and poison their political rivals.

Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (who later became Pope Alexander VI) The Borgia family was very powerful and wealthy. The Cardinal used his daughter as a pawn of trade to further the family’s status on the political ladder. But some would say Lucrezia was not to be toyed with. She owned an array of poison rings using them often at family parties.



The Poison ring was made with intercut detail. How one wanted to dispense the poison from inside depended on the ring’s construction.

For example, some rings had a tiny hole drilled into the left or right side of depending on which hand you wore it on, where the poison could be dispensed into a glass of wine. The wearer would simply remove the inside finger covering the hole and dump the contents out. The victim being none the wiser.

Other rings had a lever that when pressed with the inside of the finger would open the top of the bezel.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a more morbid style of ring emerged. Jewellers began making coffin style locket rings with images of skeletons and death inside. These were called Funeral or Mourning rings and given to mourners to remember the departed.

I’m not sure I’d wear any of these rings…but I’d love to know where they’ve been!

Happy Thursday, Friends!