Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Honor of a Brave Man Who Lived With Polio

A high school classmate from Lawrence, KS died June 13, 2012 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.  His name was Gerald Max "Jerry" Vogel.  You might wonder why I'm calling Jerry a brave man since he never served in the military or saved anyone's life.

The reason I call Jerry a brave man is because he kept going against all odds.  At the age of nine years old, Jerry was struck down by polio and became a paraplegic.  Before that he was a normal kid living on a farm.  I can't even imagine how difficult it was for Jerry and his family.

I didn't meet Jerry until middle school, but I remember he always had a smile on his face.  Jerry loved sports and while in high school he lettered as a manager of the football team.  He graduated from Lawrence High School, and he attended the University of Kansas.  He left the university because it wasn't wheel chair friendly at that time. 

He became an amateur radio operator joining the Lawrence Amateur Radio Club, and he enjoyed taking part in their Field Days.  His call letters were WA0OWH.  He was asked to join a committee to discuss how best to help those with disabilities, and Jerry made many suggestions to help people get around in his situation.

Jerry worked as a computer lab instructor at Independence, Inc, where he had completed several business courses in computers.  Technology was his friend, and he made use of voice-assisted technology.  Jerry lived next door to his parents and for the last ten years next door to his sister. 

The other heroes in this real life story are Jerry's parents who stood by him all his life and let him become as independent as he could be.  His sister, a distinguished scholar and professor at Fort Hayes State gave up her profession to live next door to her brother for the last ten years of his life.  There are numerous cousins and friends who were there for Jerry, too. 

Goodbye, Jerry, you were an inspiration for the rest of us.  We'll be thinking of you at our 50th class reunion.  You'll be missed.  Thank you for all the hard work you did on the class reunion committee. 

Thank you for reading.  I hope to see you next Sunday.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Writing World

The publishing world is becoming more dangerous for authors.  I belong to a Yahoo Group named Romance Books R Us.  We have a website, blog, Twitter and Facebook Account. 

The owner of Romance Books R Us started this group in 2010, but recently an author named Adele Dubois was asked to cease and desist using the name Adele by Sony Cooperation.  Sony sent a letter to Google telling them to remove all articles on Blogger by Adele because her name infringed on the singer, Adele.  Sony threatened Google with a lawsuit, so they removed her articles.  Eventually, this ended up being solved because Adele was the real name of the author, Adele Dubois. 

Another author had a series using realtor, and had to use something else because Realtor is a trademark.  I've gotten off track here, but now I'm going to tie back into the first paragraph.  Because of the lawsuits, the owner of Romance Books R Us decided she'd better trademark the name Romance Books R Us.  After applying for the trademark, she received an email from the lawyers for Baby's "R" Us and Toy's "R" Us that she had 5 days to remove her site or face the consequences of a lawsuit because R Us was their trademark. 

At this time, I'm not sure how this is going to turn out, but I'll keep you informed.  This is something that concerns anyone who has a business, and writing is a business.  It's getting late, and I just hope I'm making sense. 

Thank you for stopping by.  Have a lovely week, and I'll see you next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Kauffman Center and Walt Disney

Last Sunday my cousin took me to the Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies (part of the family series for the symphony at Kauffman Center), which was magical even at my age.  It was the final in the family series for this year. 

Here are some pictures of the Kauffman Center.  It's a magnificent building where the Kansas City Symphony performs.

The family series for next season is John Lithgow's Farkle and Friends based on John's spellbinding children's book the remarkable Farkle McBride is September 16th.  The Christmas Festival is December 16, Magic Circle Mime Company: Music, Noise & Silence is January 27, and The Orchestra Games is April 21.  To learn more call 816-471-0400 or go on-line at http://KCSYMPHONY.ORG

Many people do not realize that Walt started his career as a film maker began at his first professional film studio, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, right here in Kansas City.  His studio produced both live-action and animated films. 

The building is now on the National Register of Historical Places.  It can be found at 3013 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64108 and from June 1 - July 27, 2012 you will have a chance to buy pieces of his art.  Go to to learn more.  Hours are M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..

Laugh-O-Gram is currently being renovated by a local non-profit organization.  This building is where Walt met and kept the mouse which inspired the creation of Mickey. 
To celebrate my birthday a little longer, I'm giving a lucky commenter a digital copy of my short story, A Fool's Fool. 

Thank you for visiting my blog, and I'll see you again next Sunday.  Have a great week. 

Sandy AKA Sandra K. Marshall

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Interview with Author and Body Builder, Wendi Darlin'

Today it's my pleasure to present my dear friend, erotica romance author and body builder, Wendi Darlin'.  I think all of you will enjoy getting to know Wendi.

Q.  Briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing and what hurdles did you have to overcome to get published?

A.  Writing started for me before I ever attempted to write. I was a voracious reader as a child. Every time I closed a book that touched my soul, I had an overwhelming desire to do what that author had done. Throughout school, teachers encouraged my writing and told me I had talent, but I didn't think I knew enough about life to tell a worthwhile story. I attempted my first novel in college. It was awful. I wrote a few short stories around that time that I only shared with friends. They weren't too bad. About 8 years later I wrote another novel. It was only slightly less awful.

The smartest thing I did was devote myself to learning the craft. I took classes, joined writing groups and worked with critique partners. A couple years later I had two books that were viable. I won a few RWA contests and finally earned a publishing contract. It wasn't easy. There has been a lot of bloodshed, sweat and tears along the way. I still sweat and bleed and cry for this profession. But for me it's worth it. I think it's important to remember that first and foremost writing is a passion and perhaps a talent. But in close second-place writing is a craft. Writers who don't fully appreciate the skill involved and work to improve their skill set are cheating themselves, their readers and their stories, in my opinion.

Q.  What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving your goal of publication?

A.  Not giving up. If I had perceived rejections as a reason to quit instead of improve, I wouldn't be a writer now.

Q.  What has surprised you the most about being a published author?

A.  How many people want me to write their books for them! It's comical actually. I literally cannot count the number of people who have met me and within only a few minutes have said something along the lines of "I have this amazing idea for a book. You could write it for me. Is that called ghost writing or something?" I don't have time to write all of the books swimming in my head. I definitely don't have time to write anyone else's.

Q.  How do you come up with your story ideas?

A.  They come from everywhere. Sometimes I have what I call a lightning strike moment where the idea just seems to whack me in the head out of nowhere. Sometimes I hear or see something and want to build on that. And sometimes I have thought, hmmm....what would sell more copies than the last book I wrote? Honestly, the stories I write for money resonate the least with me. The stories that mean the most to me seem to develop organically. "Throwing Stones" (written as Wendi Christner) which won the 2010 Writer's Digest Short-Short Story competition built itself around something my grandma used to say when she got in the car with Grandpa. I think no matter what sparks the idea, the best stories are the ones you pull from your heart.

Q.  Do you have a favorite author?

A.  I have a lot of favorite authors. I love to read Lisa Carey, Sue Monk Kidd, Joshilyn Jackson, Rachel M. Harper, Anne Rivers Siddons, Gloria Naylor, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty... I could keep going. I love authors who pour their soul into their writing and don't try to clean up the mess when it lands on the page. I tend to read a lot of Southern literature for that reason.

Q.  What did you want to be when you grew up at the ages of 6, 13 and 24?

A.  If you had asked me this question when I was those ages this is what I would have said: At 6, a teacher.  At 13, a fashion designer.  At 24, a literature professor.  But underneath it all, at every age, I wanted to be a writer.

Q.  What did you do when you got the call? You know the one saying they wanted it. Grin.

A.  I cried. A big, ugly, nose-running, sobbing, cry.

Q.  How did you come up with the idea for your latest release?

A.  I hate to admit this, but the latest release is one of those "what will sell more copies than the last book?" books. It's a fun read, but I don't write those books anymore. I took a little time in the past year or so to regroup and re-evaluate my priorities. I've come to the conclusion that writing without that heart connection isn't worth it for me. From now on every book that comes out with my name on it will have my soul within the pages. Every. Single. One. That's a promise I've made to myself and everyone who reads my stories.

Q:  What made you become an erotica romance author rather than writing some other genre?

A:  It was completely accidental. I had written Cowboy Games as a sexy, but not really erotic, romance. I loved that book and really wanted to see it published. I submitted it to Siren Publishing. The publisher loved the story but she wanted me to heat up the sex scenes so it could be sold as an erotic romance. I did and officially became an erotic romance author without ever setting out to be. Cowboy Games is very mild on the erotic scale and four years later is still selling steadily. 

Q:  Is it tougher to write erotic romance scenes than other love scenes?  

A:  I don’t think so, if you approach them the same way, but it is beyond the comfort zone of some writers and readers. Understandably so. Erotic scenes, in my opinion, should have the same emotion as any other love scene. It’s just a matter of added detail and word choice. In erotic romance you call a duck a duck and you don’t brush past it. But when it boils down to it, I’m still writing romance and that needs to come through in every scene no matter what words I use or how I describe what’s going on.

Q:  When did you start your writing career and how long did you write before getting published?

A:  I had my first novel published in 2008. I had a few short stories published prior to that. I’ve been writing since I was a little girl and then off and on as an adult, but in 2004 I decided to become an author. So it took a good four years and a couple of really badly written novels to learn the craft enough to reach my goal.

Q:  How many books do you have published? 

A:  I have 12, a combination of novels and novellas.

Q:  Do you have a new one coming out?

A:  I’m currently working on a mainstream urban fantasy that I will be sending to my agent in the very near future. Hopefully, he will find a home for it soon.

Q:  What is your latest title?  Tell us a bit about the story.

A:  My latest is All That Glitters. It’s a cowboy m/f/m ménage. The heroine is a Vegas Showgirl down on her luck who happens to break down in the right small Texas town. I really like the dynamics of the characters in this story. They are very different from one another, but I think the combination works well.

Q:  For just a moment we're going to switch gears.  I'm very curious of why you decided become a bodybuilder.

A:  Hahaha! I don’t really consider myself a bodybuilder, but I am competing in Figure competitions, which is a very feminine form of bodybuilding. In Figure, the emphasis is on body symmetry and proportion. Muscle definition is necessary, but Figure competitors don’t strive to have the large muscles that traditional female bodybuilders have. There are several ways women can compete in the bodybuilding arena depending on their personal preferences and natural build. Figure is just the option I chose. I decided to compete for a couple of reasons. Primarily it boils down to vanity and my ongoing battle with aging and gravity. I will do just about anything to cling to my youth. My personal trainer and some of my friends compete so I was introduced to competitions through them. My trainer convinced me I could improve my body and stay younger looking by building more muscle. The competition gives me short term goals and as an added bonus, it gives me the opportunity to put on a sparkly suit and pose for pretty pictures. Anybody who knows me knows I can’t pass up the opportunity to sparkle!

Wendi looks like a body builder to me.  Doesn't she look like one to you, folks?  Smile!

Q:  Do you plan to write a book using a bodybuilder as your heroine?

A:  I haven’t planned on it, but who knows. I do think I may write some non-fiction books on the subject or related subjects. Right now I’m focused on the urban fantasy series that I’m working on and I’m keeping my options open for future projects.

Q:  What is your favorite drink?

A:  I love Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc. Unfortunately, while I’m in competition training wine is not on my diet.

Q:  If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

A:  I have a list! My list is consumed by islands and beaches. I’d love to go to Fiji, Bora Bora, Antigua, any island I haven’t been to and all those I have. Nothing makes me feel more at peace than an ocean breeze and crashing waves. I travel as much as I can. Not all my destinations are tropical, but those are my favorite.

Q:  What is your favorite food?

A:  Chocolate. It’s the only food I ever crave beyond reason.

All That Glitters

Wilder, Texas 2

By: Wendi Darlin | Other books by Wendi Darlin
Categories: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Multiple Partners, Western/Cowboys
Word Count: 28,437
Published By: Siren-BookStrand, Inc.
[PolyAmour: Erotic Cowboy Multiple Partner Romance, M/F/M]

Former Vegas showgirl Dahlia Burke can’t get out of Texas fast enough. She’s winding her way through rural Wilder, Texas when she plows into Tanner and Scooter’s work truck. Dead broke and stranded, will Dahlia find more than one reason to stay--or two more reasons to leave?

Tanner Dawson barely escaped with his life when Dahlia plowed into his truck. And once he and his best friend, Scooter, take her under wing, he’s not sure if she’s planning to love him to death or finish him off.

Scooter Austin can’t tolerate gold diggers. When he finds out Dahlia is newly divorced from a man who has a revolving door of trophy wives, Scooter’s ready to send her out of Wilder with the toe of his boot.

How will these cowboys know if Dahlia has a heart of gold or just an eye for all that glitters?
A Siren Erotic Romance

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for having me!! I’d like to invite everyone to friend me on Facebook. I stay pretty active on there, and I like to keep in touch with readers and other writers.

Where to find information about Wendi Darlin:  list websites, blogs, all links, etc.,,

I hope all my readers have enjoyed getting to know Wendi.  I know I had fun with this interview. 

See you next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall