“Sister Margaret” Giveaway Winner!

Posted in Event, Giveaway at 3:45 pm by Amber

Congratulations to Joyce Sterling Scarbrough for winning her own copy of “Sister Margaret” by Rhonda Parrish! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to have more giveaways and author visits soon.


Abiding Hope and Love Winner

Posted in Giveaway at 11:52 pm by Amber

I’m happy to announce the winner Connie Arnold’s poetry collection, Abiding Hope and Love, is Brenda LaVelle!!  I’ve emailed Brenda about where to send her autographed copy of Abiding Hope and Love.

If you didn’t win this giveaway, I’m sure Connie will be touring again for her poetry collection and you’ll get another chance.  You can keep up with Connie’s news on her web site – Inspirational Poetry of Connie Arnold.

If your taste leans towards fantasy, you may want to meet author Rhonda Parrish whom I interviewed earlier in the week.  She also wrote a guest blog post about secondary characters that is worth reading.


Secondary Characters = <3 - Guest Post by Rhonda Parrish

Posted in Event, Writing at 1:15 am by Amber

Have you ever fallen in love with a character in a story? How often is it a member of the supporting cast?

It happens to me all the time. When I read “Breathers” by S.G. Browne my favorite character wasn’t the main character Andy, but his best friend Jerry. In Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” Silas was my favorite, and if I may pick another Gaiman title, in “Neverwhere” I thought the Marquis de Carabas was made of win.

Even with all that being true, I was still shocked when people fell in love with one of my secondary characters.

Shocked in a good way, of course.

“Sister Margaret” is narrated by Michael, a vampire hunter with a fair bit of baggage, especially about how he treated his friend Charmaine when they were kids. He’s a pretty interesting guy and I had a lot of fun writing from his point of view and giving him a voice.

I could never have guessed at the wonderful reception my story would have, reactions have been more positive than I ever could have anticipated. However, if I could have guessed and were asked to pick which character people would like best, I would have picked Michael. He’s a vampire hunter for goodness sake, that’s pretty cool. Plus, it’s his story.

I would have been wrong. Dead wrong.

Bayne is a swordsman with ghostly blue eyes, long bone-white hair, a giant sword and incredible combat skills. He’s pretty awesome, in my opinion, and in many others as well. Bayne’s job in the story is to help Michael by taking care of some vampire minions. He’s a supporting character. And he is also the one everyone asks for more of.

People love Bayne, there is no question.

I’m not sure why everyone adores him exactly, but he’s a pretty popular guy just the same.

I’ve been asked over and over to write more about Bayne, to give him his own story. I’ve written several in response, none of which are published yet…but soon, I hope. Soon.

For a chance to win a copy of “Sister Margaret” and check Bayne out for yourself, please leave a comment. I’ll be making a draw to give away a free copy. If you’re stuck for something to comment on, why not tell me who your favorite literary supporting character is?

Thank you so much for having me here Amber, it’s been a pleasure.

Rhonda Parrish



Sister Margaret by Rhonda Parrish

Posted in Review at 10:20 am by Amber


Here’s a summary of “Sister Margaret”, a Coffee Break selection released by Eternal Press earlier this month.

Michael has always felt bad about the way he treated his friend Charmaine when they were younger, even going so far as to blame himself for her becoming a prostitute. Now she’s a priestess to Rakkir, the god of secrets and lies, and he is given a chance to make up for mistakes of the past when she calls him to deal with a problem for her. A vampire problem. But the more involved Michael gets, the more he realizes Charmaine may not be telling him the whole story… and she may have changed even more than he suspected.

It’s a succinct summary that pulls in the reader.  At just over 4200 words “Sister Margaret” is easy to read while on a break at work, set aside for a few days and then re-read it.  On an initial read the reader is left speechless by the ending.  With each successive reading, the reader picks up more details and sees how Rhonda Parrish has provided clues to the ending.  The truly amazing part is that even knowing how it ends, the tone of regret still comes through in Michael’s closing thoughts each time.

One thing I particularly enjoyed is the descriptive detail.  The story has a fantasy setting but the descriptions give enough detail that it seems familiar to the reader without being tiresome.  (In contrast, some fantasy stories I’ve read do such a poor job of describing the characters that it isn’t until nearly the end that I realize the figurative pig snout on a character is literal.)  One favorite line that jumps out at me is about Bayne – a memorable character who isn’t around the action for very long.  “He moved the sword as though it were an extension of himself, each movement calculated to destroy as many of his foes as possible.”  Doesn’t that sentence bring up the image of a trained athelete or warrior who is more than proficient in his field?  Reading it is nearly as breathtaking as it would be to see it on the silver screen.

The only thing lacking in “Sister Margaret” is that it’s not enough!  I know Rhonda has written more stories and a novel with some of these characters.  I’ve been purposefully staying away as a beta reader so I can be surprised like everyone else when they get published.  🙂

Hopefully I’ve peeked your interest in “Sister Margaret”.  It is available through Fictionwise and Rhonda is giving away a copy (or two) based on comments left here on her interview and her guest post.  Stop by tomorrow to read Rhonda’s guest post about secondary characters.

Meet Rhonda Parrish!

Posted in Event, Giveaway at 12:05 am by Amber

I’ve known Rhonda Parrish for several years and am always amazed by her latest accomplishments.   In addition to inspiring other writers through an online writing community, she edits Niteblade and somehow manages to find the time to write original material.  Her story, “Sister Margaret“, was recently published by Eternal Press.  In celebration of the occasion, Rhonda allowed me to interview her.  She’s got a little surprise for you at the end!

Amber: Congratulations on your recent Rhysling Award nomination.  You write in many formats and genres.  Is there a specific piece you’re most proud of?  Or one you have a funny story about?

Rhonda: I am very proud of “Lovers” which is my Rhysling nominated poem. It’s a haiku, which I think is one of those poem formats which is easy to learn and difficult to master. I’m a very long way from mastering anything, but I think I have a very solid poem in “Lovers”. That someone else felt that way too makes me exceptionally happy.

By Rhonda Parrish

Where river meets bank
We linger, yet again, with
Your fin in my paw

Interestingly, I read “Lovers” at the World Fantasy Convention’s open mic poetry event and was quite surprised when people laughed. The story behind the piece in my mind wasn’t a funny one, it was a very sad one. I think that message got lost when I changed the title from “Cursed Lovers” to “Lovers”. That’s one of the reasons I adore that poem so much, it can be interpreted in many different ways.

I’m also incredibly pleased with “Sister Margaret”. It turned out exactly how I envisioned it and has been getting positive reviews, which makes me happy because I’m pretty much just an ego with legs 🙂


Amber: Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?

Rhonda: I don’t. I kind of wish I did because that could make for more interesting writing sessions (and a better answer to your question). Really, I just sit down and write.

Maybe I should make up a ritual! 😉


Amber: Have you noticed an evolution or style change in your writing since you began writing fulltime?

Rhonda: Oh, absolutely. When I wrote my first novel for NaNoWriMo in 2005 I used then and than interchangeably, had no idea what active voice was and over used ellipses. Really, really overused them. And commas? Don’t even get me started on them.

I’ve come a long way since then, but I’ve still got loads of room for improvement.

I guess that sounds like the mechanics of my writing as opposed to style, but the two are related to one another. Without the ellipses, passive voice and misspellings my writing style is hugely different. The drawback of that, of course, is that sometimes when I go back and read things I wrote even a few months ago it can take a lot of willpower not to revise it. Again and again. LOL What stops me is knowing that if I kept doing that, I would never write anything new again LOL


Amber: “Sister Margaret” could have worked well in a contemporary setting.  Would you say Dungeons and Dragons has influenced your work in the fantasy genre?

Rhonda: Without question. The vampires in “Sister Margaret” are far more of the monster variety than the sexy or even the sparkly/sexy variety, and I think that’s a direct reflection of the roleplaying I used to do. In addition, one of the main characters, Bayne, is the child of my favorite Dungeons and Dragons character.

I know one of the unwritten rules of RP and writing is ‘No one else will ever think your roleplaying character is as cool as you do’ but surely writing about their offspring doesn’t fall into that category right? Right? 🙂


Amber: Did the story for “Sister Margaret” appear fully formed or did it take a few revisions to get to where it is today?

Rhonda: Both of the above. The skeleton for “Sister Margaret” appeared fully formed in my brain, but it took several revisions to get it where it is today. Heck, I had to do one revision solely to take out extraneous ‘thans’. Apparently I was very fond of the word than when I wrote the first draft LOL Just another example of how my style has developed I suppose.


Amber: In “Sister Margaret”, the narrator mentions dwarves, elves, half-humans, and incubi as some of the species that can be found in Haven.  What other species might be found in the city of Haven?

Rhonda: There are several different elvish races, and a few different varieties of demons in addition to the incubi. The demons, including full-blood incubi, aren’t welcome in Haven any more than undead are, though. There are several flavors of them too, zombies, vampires, lichs…


Amber: Will your readers get to explore Haven or other places with Michael and Bayne in future publications?

Rhonda: I hope so LoL.

I’ve written a few other stories set in Haven, or Aphanasia (the world in which Haven is set). I’m currently looking for publishers for the shorter pieces which feature Bayne, his sister and a few other very interesting characters. I’ve also written a novel called “Shadows” that is sort of a sequel to “Sister Margaret”. It features Michael, Bayne and a whole host of other characters. I’m seeking agent representation on that one. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


Amber: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Rhonda: I’d just like to thank you for having me here today and for this wonderful interview Amber. As a way to show my gratitude I’d like to give out a copy or two of “Sister Margaret” to your readers. Anyone who comments today or on my guest blog post tomorrow will have their name entered into the draw to win an e-book copy of “Sister Margaret”. I will hold the draw on May 2nd to give people a chance to pop by and enter, and if there are more than 15 comments (not counting mine) I’ll give away two copies.

Thank you again for having me here Amber. You rock!

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