Sunday, June 30, 2013

Interview With Author, Thomas Hay

Hi Everyone,

Please welcome guest author and fellow retired TWAer, Tom Hay. 


Thomas L. Hay was raised in Clinton, Mo.  He retired from TWA/American Airlines. When he is not golfing or fishing, he likes spending time with his family and friends. He currently resides in Lake Waukomis, Mo., with his lovely wife Karen, hyperactive squirrels, irritating geese and cranky old catfish.

Q.  What made you decide to write a book?
A.  I got bored with retirement. Just kidding. Most of my life I had dreamt to be an Author. I never could find the time to fulfill that dream during my day job. But after I retired, time was no longer an excuse. A subject or plot became my obstacle. To get me motivated, my wife suggested I write my memoir. “After all,” she said, “you have had an intriguing life.” Just in case you’re wondering, I didn’t keep any secrets from her. She is the only one, other than myself, that knows it all.

The more I thought about it the more it made sense. Now days, seems everyone is writing their memoir. Why not me? When I pass, they will turn to ashes and evaporate with me. Writing them down would guarantee that I could live forever and my descendant’s would have a history book to learn where their idiocy came from. Behold, “The Comeback Kid, The Memoirs of Thomas L. Hay” was born.

Q.  Tom, has your own life influenced your novels?  And if so, how?
A.  Well, since it was my memoir, I would imagine so. My memoirs did inspire the idea for my second book, “An Abduction Revelation: The Comeback Kid Returns.”  After publishing my memoir, it occurred to me that I could have mysterious phenomenon buried in my subconscious. Shortly after our divorce, my first wife claimed that we had been abducted (by aliens) during our marriage. She divorced me because her spirit had persuaded her to become a vegetarian, fast, and abstain from sexual activity. This melted her memory blocks instilled by the aliens and exposed some traumatic experiences. At the time I didn’t believe her. I just assumed she had a fertile imagination. I was just trying to get my feet back on the ground after the devastating divorce. I used her alleged abductions as the plot for my second book. It has my readers wondering, “Is this story real or Tom’s imagination gone wild?” I have been told that it is a very thought provoking story. The second book may appear to be a sequel, but it is not. I wrote both books to stand alone.

Q.  What's the hardest part of a novel to write:  Beginning, middle and/or end?  Why?
A. In the case of my original memoir, the whole book. I suppose the hardest part for me was to go back and remember everything that had occurred during those 60 some odd years. At this age, the mind tends to wander and lose track of time. I think that is called ‘senior moments’. I started writing in a big notebook. After fifty pages, with arrows and after thoughts scribbled everywhere, I had a complete mess on my hands. My wife again came to my rescue. “It would be much simpler if you would join the twentieth century Tom, and get a computer.”  Reluctantly, I submitted to the idea that she was probably right. But then the computer and I started having issues right from the start. We finally came to an agreement that I needed to take a class to iron out some of those issues. We still have a few now and then, but they can usually be resolved.

To jog my memory, I would think of songs I’ve heard during my life. A certain song can remind one of a person, a place, or a time of life event. For example:  “Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell. It’s down at the end of lonely street, its Heartbreak Hotel,” which reminded me of my first divorce. In both books, I quoted words from the songs that I used to describe the events that happened. It was a perfect fit and one that you don’t see often in a book.

Once I got my life events recorded, then came the big decision as what to reveal. I spent many months contemplating that one.

 The entire progress was both an invigorating whirlwind of self-enlightenment and an intense emotional journey. I wanted to capture my personality in the book, so I used a rollicked conversational writing style. I told my story, rather than writing it. I must have done a decent job, because most of my book reviews indicate the reader really enjoyed that style of writing.

Q.  What has surprised you the most about being a published author?
A. The amount of work it takes to promote your book. It would help if I could think of something (within the law) that would make me famous and get my name recognized. There are around 10,000 different books published each month. That’s a lot of competition.

Yes, it's a lot of competition, but not everyone out there is a good writer.  It's like having a second job when you have to promote your work.  Not only that blog, social media, websites, etc. 

Q.   Do you have a favorite author?
A.   The author’s who write memoirs, especially America’s war heroes.

Here are a few fun questions:

Q.  What did you want to be when you grew up at the ages of 6, 13 and 24?
A. At 6, a professional baseball player. At 13, a professional baseball player. At 24, a professional baseball player. At 40 (I’ve thrown that one in), wishing I was a retired professional baseball player.

Q.  What is your favorite color?
A. Red, always has been and always will be. It is the color of my favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s also the color of the blood that keeps my heart beating.

Q.  If you could be anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A. In the future. I would like to go back home someday. Although I was raised in Clinton, Mo., it’s not where I am from. I can’t reveal where home is, as it would be a spoiler for those who would like to read my second book.  

Q.  Do you have a bucket list of things you would like to do?
A.  1. Make the New York Times Best Sellers list. 2. I would like to follow the Cardinals one season to visit every major league baseball stadium in America. 3. Finish the third book in “The Comeback Kid” trilogy. 4. Die with a smile on my face. :)

 Now, we know a bit about the man behind the book; we're ready for a blurb and a excerpt of your story. 



“While visiting Stonehenge, I felt that tingling sensation again. It was the same feeling I had while visiting the Pyramids and the same as the night of my freak auto accident.”

You can find plenty more in a five-part series I wrote: “Who are the Abductors - The Search for an Answer.” The series is blurbs and excerpts from both books and on my website:  

  Both books are also available in paperback or eBook on and (PS - Smashwords has the latest and best edition of both books,  available in all eBook formats)

For those who live locally, Sun Fresh, in Platte Woods, has paperback copies of both books.

Thanks, Sandy, for having me on your blog site. If or when I do an author interview on my site, you will be my first guest.  

Thanks for being here, Tom.  We've enjoyed getting to know you better.  Everyone, have a great week, and I'll see you again next weekend.

Sandra K. Marshall, author at Eirelander Publishing

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Harley Davidson Factory Tour

Hi Everyone,

You know there's nothing I like to do than promote things to see in the Kansas City area.  If you live in the area, or are visiting this year sometime here's something you motorcycle riders might like to visit, and it's free.  Wink!  This might even interest those who don't ride motorcycles. 
Harley Davidson Plant in Kansas City
Inside front entrance
Harley Davidson is an equal opportunity factory

Just a few weeks ago, we went to the Harley Davidson Factory to watch them make motorcycles.  Our tour guide was terrific, and we received a lot of information.  Just remember no open-toed shoes for this tour. 

The Kansas City, MO plant is where the vehicle and power train operations are located.  I found the
inspection process interesting.  And guess what all Harley's are made in the good old U.S.A. 
I only saw workers, so if they weren't working they were hiding.
I have never seen a place this clean.  The people are courteous and watchful for our safety during the tour.  Also, there is a gift shop in the front entrance.
Here is the Kansas City website:  Also, you may go to to learn of other factories you can visit.  And, here's a review site to see if you want to spend your time visiting the plant.

Thanks everyone for visiting my website this week, and come back next week.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Interview with Author, Melissa Keir


Hello Everyone,

Please welcome, author, Melissa Keir to my blog today.  Today, you'll have a chance to learn about Melissa as I ask her questions about her life.  Her books are lovely and deal with every day issues that all of us can relate to. 

Thank you Sandy for having me on your blog. I love visiting with you and reading your blog each week. You have some interesting posts on things that are really important in the world around us.


As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing.  She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and EPIC.  Melissa is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.  She also believes in helping other authors and features authors and their books on her blog.

Melissa doesn’t believe in down time.  She’s always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer, an editor for a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature “happy endings” and is often found plotting her next story.

 Q. Melissa, when did you decide to get serious about writing?
A. I decided to get serious about writing about a year ago. I was working as a book reviewer for Sizzling Hot Book Reviews and had just begun working as an editor for a new publishing house when some other authors suggested that I write my own stories. It’s been a wonderful experience.

Q. What genre do you write?  Are there any other genres you would like to try writing?
A. I write contemporary romance, short novellas. I love to write the shorter stories that are perfect for e-readers and allow the reader to read them while sitting in the doctor’s office or at their child’s soccer game. We live in such a busy time, I like to think that people can read a story at any time of the day.

I would love to write paranormal romance or horror romance. I know that second one sounds like a strange combination but I’m seeing more and more stories that cross the lines of what we think of as traditional romance.

Q.  Do you have a set time of the day to write?
A. I don’t have a set time to write. Usually I try to fit it into my busy schedule. I’m an elementary school teacher which takes up a large part of my day. I also am co-owner of a publishing house, so I do all the formatting and work for that in my spare (laughs) time. Writing seems to fit in when I can. I’m really looking forward to the summer when I have more time for writing.

Q. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
A. I like to get my ideas from the world around me. I might have a dream that I can use a piece of or overhear a conversation that I can use. Mostly I take from what I know and experience. My stories come from things I know about like divorce, blended families and small towns. These are all experiences I’ve lived through.

Q. What is the most difficult to write: the beginning, middle or end?  Why?
A. For me the middle is the hardest. I know how the story is going to begin and end, but getting to the end from the start is where I struggle. Sometimes the characters like to throw a wrench into the story and other times, I get stuck.

Q. Which appears first when contemplating a new project: A character, the plot and/or the title?   
A. The title is certainly last. Plot and characters are sometimes simultaneous. I can have a plot idea and then the characters fit it, or sometimes the characters come with the plot.
Q.   Okay, let's try a couple of fun questions:  Do you have a bucket list of things you want to do in this life?

A. I do have a bucket list. Mostly they aren’t written down but things I want to do. Because of my family medical history, I’ve never expected to live to be 80 or 90. My mom passed away at 55 and so I’ve always tried to live life to the fullest now. Becoming a published author was one of my bucket list items! One of the things I’d like to do is travel to Europe.

Q.  Are there any places you would like to visit some day?
A.  My husband’s family is all Scottish decent, so I’d love to see Scotland. My family is from England. In fact there are still streets and pubs with my family name on it. I’d love to see them. I’d love to see Hawaii and the Dakotas. Traveling is a big dream of mine!

Q.   Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself, Melissa?
A. I grew up dreaming of being an actor or singer and used to put on plays in the basement for my mom. But that dream wasn’t meant to be. I have huge stage fright, although I did perform in some plays in junior high. I’ve always wanted to drag race funny cars. There is something about the speed and the control of a fast car that makes my heart race. As I tell my students, I’m not done yet, maybe someday I’ll do it!

Now to learn about Melissa's story, Three's a Crowd. 

Three’s a Crowd by Melissa Keir


For Lissa, the second time at love was a charm but in marriage, three’s a crowd.

Single mother Lissa Vincent found her soul mate in her best friend’s ex-husband. Alex Hunter couldn’t believe his fortune when his ex-wife told him her best friend was available. After divorce, finding love again could be a challenge but it appeared Alex and Lissa had gotten lucky. Yet as they start their lives as newlyweds, Alex and Lissa don’t realize just how difficult it might be to blend a family.

When Alex’s ex new marriage begins to unravel, she sets her sights again on Alex. Does Alex still have feelings for the mother of his child? Will Lissa keep her best friend or lose her husband?

Fairytales promise a happily-ever-after. But what really happens after the after.


Sipping a glass of ice water while I waited, I looked forward to seeing Chloe. We’d been co-workers and friends for years.

When Chloe walks in, I watch as all the men’s heads turn to stare as she approached our table. Her beauty always drew gazes and left me feeling like a weed planted next to a stunning flower.

After Chloe and I make a bit of small talk and order, I ask the question I’ve been dying to ask since I ended our phone call. “What is going on, Chloe? What can I do to help?”

“Mike’s quit his job at the college and decided to open his own catering business and the stress of having no money coming in is taking its toll on us. All we do is fight. I can’t stand that I have no say in how our money is spent. Would you believe he bought a delivery truck for his business but hasn’t even gotten the brakes fixed on my car?”

“I’m sorry, Chloe. What does Mike say when you talk to him about this?”

“He really doesn’t understand. He has stars in his eyes about what the future holds and can’t see what’s happening right in front of his face. My salary is the only thing paying the bills. With the way Mike’s spending money, it’s going out as fast as it’s coming in. You know, Lissa. You’re so lucky to have Alex. He’s a wonderful provider. What I wouldn’t give to have him back in my life.”

Ouch. Chloe’s words hurt. I knew Alex was a wonderful husband, but he was mine now. Was she really indicating she wanted him back?

“Alex is a fabulous husband, father, and friend. I’m lucky to be his wife.” Needing to establish my territory, I made sure to point out Alex was mine.

“Yes, he is. I’d give anything to have him back. Just to make it clear, if you ever hurt him or let him go, I’m going to be right there to pick up the pieces. After all, we have a child together. We’ll always be in each other’s lives.”

“Well, Alex is very happy and I’ll do anything to keep him that way.”

The rest of lunch passed in a blur. I couldn’t keep my mind off her ultimatum. Maybe Chloe was just reacting to all the problems in her own marriage by lashing out at me. I was willing to give her the benefit of doubt. However, all I wanted to do was to escape the original lunch from hell and get home to Alex to reassure myself of his love. For me.

Excerpt #2:

“Hi, honey. I’m home.” I called as I entered the house. The boys were spending the night with their father but I could see Alex was on the phone and he quickly waved me toward him. Sitting down next to him on the couch, I listened patiently, curious as to what was going on.

“Yes, I suppose we can switch days for Joe to come over. I’m sorry things are that way at your house. Joe’s always welcome here. Just let me know what I can do to help.” Chloe. Frowning, I listened for more. “Mike seems like a great guy. If you two are having issues, maybe you can talk to a counselor or something. Let me know what I can do to help. I’m always willing to listen. Bye.”

“What’s going on? Your conversation seemed pretty edgy.”

“She and Mike are having issues. She thinks he might be having an affair. She wants us to get Joe early and maybe keep him a few days extra so she can spend some time with Mike and try to talk things through. She doesn’t want to put Joe in the middle. You know how he feels about Mike.”

“I’m sorry to hear it. She mentioned the stress to me at lunch yesterday but nothing about an affair. I didn’t want to bring it up to you or share things I shouldn’t. The boys love spending time with him and it’ll be good for Joe to spend more time with you.”

Alex put his arm around me and kissed me softly. “You’re wonderful, Lissa. I know this will take more work on your part, but I really appreciate how you’re willing to do anything for my son.”

“I love Joe, you know that. But honestly, I’m worried about something. Chloe seems to want to rely on you for support. I don’t want you to get caught in the middle of their issues. The other day at lunch, she told me how much she still cares for you and warned me away from you. It was uncomfortable.”

“Lissa, I love you. Not Chloe. You have nothing to worry about.” Taking my face in his hands, he kissed me deeply and made me forget all of my worries. “Let me show you how much you mean to me.” Alex picked me up and carried me to the couch. Undressing me slowly, he worshiped my figure with his mouth, making me cry out in passion. Then he moved me to our bed and showed me again, this time with his hard body, just how much he loved me.

This is what readers are saying about Melissa’s books:

Amazon 5 star review for Second Time’s the Charm- “Such a sweet and heart warming story. As I read it, and the details unfolded, I was engrossed to see if that I thought was going to happen, would really happen.” – Lacey Wolfe, Romance Author.

Barnes and Nobel 5 star review for Protecting His Wolfe- Great read. I couldn't put it down. I really liked the characters, especially Betsie and the Pigg brothers. A love story with suspense and surprise.” – Anonymous

Buy Links:

All Romance Ebooks:

Melissa loves hearing from readers! (fan page)

Melissa, it's been a pleasure having you here today.  Thank you for visiting with me and you're welcome to come back any time. 
Thank you Sandy. I appreciate you having me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure visiting and I hope people will let me know what is on their bucket list as well! I certainly could use some more ideas!  For one person who adds to my bucket list, I'll give away a PDF of Three's a Crowd.

Have a great week everyone and come back next weekend. 
Sandra K. Marshall



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Belvoir Winery is a Ghostly Place

Belvoir Winery


A few weeks ago, we visited a winery because I saw it advertised on the SyFy channel.  I couldn't believe it was so close to us. It was fun to visit the bar for a wine tasting, cheese and crackers and historical information about this place.  We visited the rooms, looked at pictures and walked around outdoors. You can do this any day for free except for the cheese and crackers do cost, but it's very minimal. 

Belvoir Winery located in Liberty, Missouri has long been known as one of the most haunted locations in the Midwest.  The winery is going to be on Ghost Hunters, the SyFy channel June 26th at 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  For those who would like to watch the show at the winery check their website to find out about tickets.

There are many events you can attend at Belvoir Winery for those who enjoy all things paranormal:

Boo's and Booze - This event offers the opportunity for people to learn about the history of this property started by the Odd Fellows while learning more about wines and the paranormal.  Nick Spantgos, their lead paranormal investigator at the winery, shows guests the tools used during the investigations and will answer questions you may have about paranormal activity at the winery and other places.  Event includes cheese/crackers, chocolates, tasting of all wines, and a souvenir glass to take home with you.  Tickets are $35.00/person.

Evening Paranormal Investigation - Evening is a five hour interactive experience with a paranormal investigative team.  You accompany paranormal investigators in small groups to various locations on the site.  The team will bring out gear for you to use during the investigation.  You're also welcome to bring your own camera, video camera, audio recorder, etc. to record your own evidence while on site.  Evening investigations are from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Tickets are $50.00/person.

All-Night Paranormal Investigation - This event is for the diehard paranormal fans.  All-night events are held to allow you the experience of a full investigation at the winery.  Like the evening investigation, you can bring your own gear, or you can use gear provided by the team.  Tickets are $100/person.  These tickets are limited so you need to lock them in as soon as possible. 

 You might even want to have a wedding there for those of you more adventurous folks.  Smile!

More information about these events can be found on their website.  

The dream of the property being turned into a vineyard started 15 years ago, when the first vines were planted.  The name Belvoir is French for beautiful view.  After Dr. John L. Bean and his wife, Marsha saw the beautiful vistas they wanted to turn the Odd Fellows Historic District into a unique event location. 

The initial renovation involves the basement and first floor of the Administration building.  The basement is being converted into the wine processing facility for the vineyard.  The first floor will be the event and business hub of the winery.  In addition to three dining rooms, the first floor also contains a wine tasting bar, a deli/ice cream shop and a library.   

Here is a bit of history about the Odd Fellows:

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) is one of the largest fraternal and benevolent orders in the United States.  The chief purpose of the order is to give aid, assistance, and comfort to its members and their families. 

IOOF is a secret society, and has its own system of rites and passwords.  The first lodge was organized in Missouri in 1835 and incorporated in 1843.  Where the winery and its buildings stand today, there was a hospital, orphanage and old folk's home.  It was one of the first of its kind in Missouri.  More fascinating history can be found at the website:

For those of you interested in history, paranormal and all things unique you might want to plan a visit to the Belvoir Winery.  If you can't make the trip the next best thing would be to visit the website. 

See you next weekend, folks. 

Sandra K. Marshall



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Contest! Wounded Warrior's Project! My Birthday!

Hi Everyone,

As you can tell by the subject line, we're covering a bunch of things today.  I have invited my friend, Stacey Joy Netzel, to my blog today, so be sure to read everything she has to say.

Romancing Wisconsin June Promo:
For the past two years, I’ve donated the royalties from one of my books for the entire month of December to a charity. In 2013, I’m switching it up and splitting it up to benefit more than one charity in a couple different months.

This June I’m donating 25% of my net royalties for the Romancing Wisconsin Volume I Holiday Boxed Set. It includes Mistletoe Mischief, Mistletoe Magic, Mistletoe Match-Up, and the exclusive bonus story, Mistletoe Rules.

Holiday stories in June, you ask? (and even if you didn’t, pretend you did) Well you see, the first story is actually Christmas in July at the zoo, so I’m just a month early on that one. Plus, these heartwarming stories will make you want to celebrate Christmas any time of the year—and Santa Butch is a treat you don’t want to miss. Best part of all, your purchase (or gift to someone else) not only gets you the boxed set, but you’re helping out a great organization that helps the men and women injured in the line of duty to their country.

In December 2012, I donated to a local no-kill animal shelter because my heroine in Mistletoe Magic runs an animal rescue. Reader generosity allowed me to write Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary a check for a little over $6000. But then I felt a bad because Janelle’s hero Mark is an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, and he deserves to be spotlighted, too.

So for this round I’ll be donating my royalties for RWVI to the Wounded Warrior’s Project to help US veterans injured in the line of duty.
For the first six days of June, I’ll have the Romancing Wisconsin Volume I Holiday Boxed Set on sale for $0.99. Yes, you read that right, less than a dollar! Regular price is $4.99, so it’s a great deal, plus you get the exclusive bonus story.

If you’re reading this after June 6th, the price will be back to $4.99, but remember, my donation will keep adding up through the entire month of June, so please still consider picking up a copy. US veterans and I will thank you!
Get yours today—or gift a copy to someone: Amazon US UK CA, BN, Kobo, Apple

Then keep track of the number of copies sold on my blog! I’ll keep a running total on the sidebar and do an update at the end of the month. You can check out excerpts there, too.
Going on the honor system, leave a comment letting me know you bought or gifted a copy of the Romancing Wisconsin Boxed Set, and I'll enter your name to win an ebook copy of my award-winning romantic suspense, *Lost In Italy*. (If you buy a copy AND gift to a friend/s, you can have an entry for each copy of the RW Boxed Set. Just let me know how many.)

Again, thank you very much for your generosity! Feel free to share this with friends on any of your social networks.
Stacey Joy Netzel

Okay, now, I'm going to add my two cents worth.  My birthday is tomorrow, and since I like getting presents I decided to give some.  One lucky person who buys Stacey's volume will win digital copies of all three of my Odyssey Mysteries, The Catalyst, Addiction and The Deceived.  Another person will win a copy of A Fool's Fool. 

Remember this is a worthy cause.

Thank you see you next weekend.

Sandra K. Marshall