The stellar C.D. Melley

Hi Readers,

I am back with another incredible author.  Check out my interview with Douglas J. McLeod who writes under the pen names:  C. D. Melley, and Crimson Nuage and then one click his featured book “The Prairie Fire Within.”

Douglas J McLeod Author Image

Thank you so much for joining me!

  1. Tell me a bit about one of your favorites that you wrote.

I guess my favorite book to write was my first foray into the romance genre, The Prairie Fire Within. Before then, most of the stories I wrote were of the detective genre; whether it was private eye stories in elementary school, or the paranormal detective tales I write now. However, I wanted to try something different. Since most of the authors I had befriended on social media at the time wrote romance, I decided to give that a go. Only one problem: how to distinguish myself from my detective books? At the time, my great aunt was losing her battle with Stage IV lung cancer, so I made a vow to myself and to her: I would create a new author persona to pay homage to her. Taking the initials of one of my middle names, and my real first name, as well as, her maiden name, the name “C. D. Melley” was born. I released “TPFW” in February 2014, and was the first book of an intended trilogy. Admittedly, with three personas, and a plethora of plot bunnies to chase, the rest of the trilogy has been slow coming. I released the second book, The Prairie Fire Rekindled, in November 2017, and the final tome, The Prairie Fire Ablaze, has a goal of an August 2020 release. Whether or not I make that deadline is yet to be seen.

Douglas J McLeod - The Prairie Fire Within_Book Cover

The Prairie Fire Within is available on Amazon and other fine eBook retailers: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IGGNT30

2. Writing is a difficult endeavor. What makes you continue to write?

It is quite a difficult endeavor; even more so when you have a full-time job and are also studying part-time towards a university degree. That being said, I enjoy writing. I feel there are some compelling stories within me, and some interesting ideas that have popped into my head over the years. Granted, some of them have not been seen through to completion. I guess you could argue I have a bit of ADD in that regard. Regardless, I believe everyone has a creative side. For example, my wife makes homemade crafts for herself and the dog rescue she volunteers with. My case, it’s writing. I find it very cathartic to get my thoughts and feelings down on paper, or in a document, after a stressful day or week at work. It helps calm and relax me in the process.

 

3. What do you look forward to every day?

It’s funny you ask that. For years, I would dread getting out of bed every day because I felt like I didn’t have any real purpose or drive. I was constantly depressed and suffered from anxiety. This was due to a negative upbringing where I was made to believe I wouldn’t amount to anything. But thanks to writing and other positive cognitive practices, I am grateful for what the day brings me. Before, I didn’t have much to look forward to; whether it was in life, work, or romantic relationships. Now, I have a wonderful wife who supports me every step of the way, a day job that, while it can be stressful and aggravating at times, helps put food on the table, and a whole new life I didn’t think was possible years ago.

Part of that was moving away from a Toronto neighborhood where I lived the majority of my life (37 years) to start this aforementioned new life in Florida over three years ago. My anxiety was through the roof because I was not ready to step out of my comfort zone. But thanks to my now wife, she helped me break down those psychological walls, and show me that, in the famous words of basketball all-star Kevin Garnett, “Anything is possible.”

 

4. How do you define success? What makes you successful?

One would think success as an author is measured by sales, having a devout following of readers, or having a lucrative publishing deal. I don’t see that to be the case for me. As someone who is as eclectic and varied as myself between my three personas and the three genres I write (paranormal detective/mystery, romance with various levels of steam, and reflective poetry), it’s tough to garner a following. While I do enjoy it when I go to an event and sell a paperback copy of one of my titles, or I log into one of my online publishing accounts and see an e-copy has been purchased, I know that there are others who sell a considerable amount more. I think it’s because they have the time and energy to write on a regular basis. Alas, with my schedule, I try to write when I can. I guess, in short, my success is measured in the small victories I’m able to make along the way.

 

5. Any tips for a newbie writer?

My number one piece of advice for a new writer is not to get discouraged. The road to success has the odd pothole in it, and if you’re not careful, it will mess you up. You might not get the sales you hope for right away, or you might feel like you’re a small fish in a big pond. That’s perfectly alright. Just continue to write what you enjoy. To paraphrase the famous quote from the movie, Field of Dreams, “If you write it, they will read.”

Also, don’t get too intimidated when it comes to marketing yourself and your books. As a self-published author, the promotional aspects fall squarely upon our shoulders, and I’ll be perfectly honest, I can’t market myself worth a crap, so it can be quite daunting when you don’t know what you’re doing. However, getting to know fellow, supportive authors and others in the book community will help you on your journey.

You might hear the horror stories of cliques in the community, and yes, in some aspects, there is a “high school mentality” amongst some individuals. Those are the type of people you want to avoid and not get wrapped up in the drama. But if you do your research, there are some absolutely supportive people out there who will actually help you along the way. Just be prepared to return their generosity in kind because it is truly a “do unto others as they do unto you” mindset and courtesy to them. Just be careful if you intend to turn a hated rival into a dead body in a future work of fiction. Litigation can be an awful bitch.

 

** Follow Douglas McLeod and his writing endeavors at**

https://www.facebook.com/DouglasJMcleodAuthor

 

 

The amazing Judith Barrett

Hi Readers,

Recently I had the chance to interview a sweet, kind soul who also writes fabulous books.

Take a look at my interview with Judith A. Barrett:

 

  1. Tell me a bit about one of your favorites that you wrote.

“The Girl Who Saw Clouds” is my favorite of my published books. It’s a compilation of all my interests-children with autism, farming, self-sufficiency, Florida weather, dogs, running, chickens, ham radio, baking brownies, offbeat humor, unicorns, pizza, and adventure.  I just gave you a synopsis of the entire book!

  1. Writing is a difficult endeavor. What makes you continue to write?

I have stories inside my head and heart, and I would explode if I didn’t let them out. I’ve always been a great storyteller, and I love learning. It’s been a struggle and a joy to learn how to transform those stories into words that invite the reader into the story on the page. I certainly agree it’s difficult and a lot of work.

“The Girl Who Saw Clouds” underwent 108 revisions before it was published. One of the things that kept me going was the encouragement of my beta readers who helped me see the improvements from one version to the next.

  1. What do you look forward to every day?

Every day I wake up ready for the day’s adventure with my husband and dogs. I’m a retired project manager, and I plan. I have a list for everything I’m going to do that day, that week, and that month. I have a five–year plan. I am thrilled every time I mark something completed. God, of course, knows how much I love to plan and frequently flips my plans to the side and says, “Nice plan. We’re going to do this instead.” His plans are always much more interesting than mine.

  1. How do you define success? What makes you successful?

I’ve always had two criteria for success: 1. Am I learning? 2. Am I having fun? If it’s not fun and I’m not learning, then it’s time to move on to something else. Maybe there’s one more thing-Did I get to check something off my list?

  1. Any tips for a newbie writer?

Consider any feedback as a gift, even negative feedback. Join a critique group. I like the online groups because I don’t have to show up anywhere at a certain time wearing shoes. Learn from everybody. Develop an eye for what’s good and what’s not. Read blogs and articles. Join a writers’ association. Attend workshops and seminars. Never publish a book before you hire an editor to review your manuscript. (Don’t be that guy.) Learn, learn, learn. And have fun!

Check out Judith A. Barrett’s book, available on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Who-Saw-Clouds-ebook/dp/B07DH12YS

and learn more about Judith on her Author page:

https://www.amazon.com/Judith-A.-Barrett/e/B074NCLYC2

 

 

 

Blah, Blah, Blah

a wish for your day

Hi Readers,

Wednesdays can be so blah.  It’s not the dreaded start of the week nor is it the exciting conclusion but somewhere in between, lost in the middle, standing off by its lonesome.  It can get you down.  It can be so dreary but what is the saying?  See the glass half full or half empty?

At the end of every storm, there is sunshine and calm, peace.  Whatever you’re going through at the time is temporary and things will get better.  Don’t ever forget that.   There are plenty of people who love you and are rooting for you every day though you may not be aware of them or not realizing it.  You are loved and you will get through this!

Check out my brand new Positivity page for more inspiration.

https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Pause-with-Michael-854566458079147/

 

~*~*  Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends!  ~*~*

 

 

A break for Positivity, please

Take a break from the hustle and bustle and stresses of the day for a bit of Positivity.

Michael and I welcome you.

Article for today concerns my hair needs.  =0)

I will also be hosting promotions and giveaways plus announcing my books later on, for a bit of entertainment and fun.  Join the celebration for the Grand Opening of my Page.  Come interact with me and leave your cares behind.  All are welcome!

https://www.facebook.com/PositivityPause

I choose joy

 

 

 

A Daydream of Paradise

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Sometimes, when we are striving to reach our goals, we forget how very much we have in our lives. We start taking them for granted, feeling we don’t have enough because we want so much more. As an author, we might even compare ourselves with others, colleagues who have hit the big leagues, have titles we covet like “best-selling author”, a book that is a best seller or a book that is in the top 100’s when ours are teetering in the millions.

I want so much more in life and even more with my book business but it seems the struggle continues. I try and try but success seems so far away and I wonder if I will ever obtain it. The more I try, the more success seems to be out of my grasp, not even close enough to slip through my fingers. I don’t want to envy writers with fancy titles but I do sometimes and I wish I knew the secret to own one of those glorious titles because I have no idea how they became successful when I am still here, struggling and trying to remain positive among a sea of unknowns.

So in light of my own personal struggles with: juggling my caretaker responsibilities, my full-time day job that has lost its luster and passion for me, and my book business that most days seems to harbor on the back-burner anymore, I somehow lost sight of all the wonderful stuff and people I do have in my life and I was reminded about this fact, last night.

While staring up at the beautiful lights and ornaments of my Christmas tree, my special friend Michael reminded me to appreciate all that I have. He has been asking me to open my heart, which I did not know was in bad need of damage repair. Instead of love, anxiety and fear crept in. They have riddled my days, for quite a long while now, and I did not know. I didn’t realize, in this season of light and love, how far removed I was.

I am one that advises and encourage others any chance I can get. I help my fellow authors and author friends anytime I can and I work tirelessly to uplift others, even if it means spending hours messaging or talking with a friend so that they can feel better after our conversation. However, have I taken my own advice? Well… no. I encourage and cheer others but I haven’t done the same for myself. The problem is I expect so much out of life and out of myself and I want it Now. And because I haven’t received it and I see others successful when I am failing to achieve my goals, I have essentially forgotten to take care of myself.

I learned so many things yesterday but what I didn’t realize was that we can get caught up in our wants and desires and neglect ourselves in the process- and not even know it.

We need to take care of ourselves first because if we are not in the right frame of mind, we will accomplish nothing.

This is a reminder to look at your own lives and discover all that you have. I have seen several with no home when I have a comfortable one, begging for food when I am not lacking. I have an amazing dog and am fortunate enough to have found my life partner who is also my best friend. These are only a few of the many blessings that I, personally, have and I know you have a list too. During this upcoming New Year, write your list down and reflect upon it, knowing you are starting the New Year on a very good note. And may you receive many more blessing throughout 2018!

Christmas Memories

Hi Readers,

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

I posed this question to my Street Team earlier tonight.

I absolutely love Christmas and I shared with my group one of my favorite memories from when I was a kid but there are so many more like the time when my mom and I went Christmas Caroling through a volunteer group at our church.  It was wonderful.  There was nothing professional or organized about it.  Just a group of kind volunteers who wanted to spread Christmas cheer.  We followed each other, driving our individual cars to several homes and even to a local shelter to sing our hearts out.  Whether we were out of tune or not, no one cared and the smiles we received for our efforts lit up each home, each facility.

My best memory of that beautiful day was the last home we headed to.  It belonged to a man who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I remember entering his bedroom and seeing him lying in bed.  We waited as the nurse propped him up on his pillow and he watched us, all huddled in one corner of the room.  It was the first time I had ever met anyone with a debilitating disease and I was humbled by the experience.  After we sung several songs, so out of tune and uncoordinated the angels must’ve blushed, the nurse looked over at us in the silence and said he was smiling.  It almost brings tears to my eyes, once again, while I am writing this.  He has since passed but I truly hope we were able to bring a little bit of peace, a little bit of joy in his life amidst his final battle.

My mom and I tried to volunteer the following year and hoped for the same enjoyment but sadly, the church replaced the random acts of kindness from good people wanting to sing Christmas carols with the professional church choir and it was not the same.

However, I hold this memory of that special day and that precious man in my heart and that is the spirit of Christmas.  Of giving, of loving, and of spreading joy and comfort to those around us.

I truly hope you are surrounded by such love and joy and miracles, too, for each one of you deserves a lifetime of happiness.  This is what I wish for you.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, my friends.  Be safe and enjoy the rest of the year.

My-favorite-Christmas-memory

These are my favorite things…

Happy-Holidays-snowmanHi Readers,

The Holidays.  Just saying that, how does it make you feel?  Stressed?  Joyful?  Maybe a little of both or in between?  For me, I am sad the Holidays are almost over.  It is frightful to know we are on the last day of November when Halloween seemed to occur just yesterday!  However, I am determined to make the best of the rest of the year and I hope you are too.  These are a few of my favorite things at this time of year.

  1.  No more excuses.  Time to spend with the family and days off too.  Don’t you love it?  Not only do you get days off to spend time with family and friends but you get paid for the days too.  Now if you work in retail or other types of businesses where you have to work the holidays, I apologize because this can be a bummer.  I have a co-worker who worked in retail last year and was scheduled to work on Thanksgiving (for black Friday sales).  She will never forget how sad she felt having to work when her family was enjoying time together around the dinner table with relatives she hadn’t seen in quite a long while.
  2. Lot of sales!  I looove shopping throughout the year but items can add up and get expensive real quick.  However, at this time of year just about everything you can think of is on sale at some point.  You just have to watch the ads or check out the stores to catch them.
  3. Bright, twinkly lights.  Who doesn’t love beautiful lights?  Especially when you don’t have to pay for the electricity.  I love driving around with my hubby viewing beautiful displays of animated snowmen, merry Santa Clauses and cute reindeer.  It’s fun and it’s free.  What’s not to love?
  4. A different feeling in the air.  People are generally happier.  They open doors for you and are a bit kinder than they might’ve been the rest of the year.  Sometimes you might even receive a surprise like your favorite beverage paid for before your car hits the drive through window.
  5. An excuse to eat sweets with less guilt.  Yes, I have a sweet tooth.  In fact, I think I might have two or three instead of one.  Hahaha.  This time of year, you can feel a bit less guilty indulging in your favorite dishes though that’s not an excuse to gorge and overdo it!  But your doctor’s Rx is more lenient at this time and he says “treat yourself because you are special.”  You deserve it.  (wink)

These are just a few of the lovely things I enjoy this time of year.  What are yours?

I sincerely wish you Happy Holidays!  May they be merry and bright and filled with much love and laughter.  Till our next chat, take care and be safe throughout this holiday season!

 

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